Saturday, right? You know what that means, right? Video time! And here comes the newest one.
Saturday, right? You know what that means, right? Video time! And here comes the newest one.
Writing is a strange thing. There’s so many times when you sit down to write when you don’t really feel like writing, that you wonder if you’re going to produce anything worthwhile. Then you sit down and surprise yourself. You might not write a lot, but what is written is satisfying. And sometimes satisfying is the best thing that we, as writers, can produce.
I was sort of in that mood last night. I was back from dinner and watching The Doors, which I hadn’t seen in a while, and didn’t think I’d get in much writing before hitting the sack. So I started in on the scene and before I knew it I had close to seven hundred words written before going to sleep. That’s how it goes sometimes: you just start to writing and it comes to you. And even though I’m not hitting a thousand words a night, hitting five to seven hundred a night is pretty good.
Yesterday a couple of the newest Cernunnos B Levels came to see Annie and Kerry and they said he had something he wanted to tell them. It turns out he does, but he’s getting there via a few questions:
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)
Kerry suddenly seemed embarrassed. “I don’t really have anything tell you: I’m really just doing something that a C Level did for me last year.” He spent a moment gathering his thoughts. “How did you guys like Advanced Flight One today?”
Nancy we crossed her legs so that now her left was over her right. “We had a great time. Vicky flew us down the coast all the way past Cape Cod until we were out over Long Island Sound. That was the first time we ever did that.”
“You’ll do a lot of that, both in a group and as a team.” At that moment the snacks appeared and everyone grabbed a glass of cider and a banitsa and spent a few moments enjoying both. “You two are flying together as a team, right?”
Nancy sat her cider and banitsa on the side table. “We room together, so we figured it’d be best if we flew together.”
“Have you come up with a team name yet?”
Soroushi shook her head. “Were trying to come up with something that is identifiable to both of us.”
“How about amazons? The word is Persian, I believe, and it can be used as a pick for two strong women.” He smiled as he shrugged. “Just a suggestion.”
Both B Levels looked across the coffee table at each other considering the suggestion. Soroushi nodded. “That’s… actually good. You’re right, that would work for us.”
Nancy looked at Kerry. “You knew that?”
He shrugged. “I know all sorts of stuff like that.”
Annie slid her arm around Kerry’s left. “He’s a font of information and trivia. He’s constantly surprising me.” She leaned closer to him. “Bikhte li iskali da pravite seks tazi vecher?”
Kerry blushed deeply as he half turned toward Annie. “We’ll talk about that later.” He cleared his throat. “Let’s back to flying.”
For want of a better phrase, Kerry is a fount of worthless knowledge, which comes from all the Internet digging he does when there’s nothing else to do while the music plays. Amazons is something I remembered reading a while back and I checked it out when I was looking up names for Soroushi’s and Nancy’s flight team. See? I have a lot of worthless info as well.
And since people are going to ask, here’s what Annie said: “Would you like to have sex tonight?” Yeah, that little Bulgarian is getting bold, isn’t she? It’s a good thing that Kerry is used to her teasing, too, as any other thirteen year old kid would probably be ready to pop about now if they were told something like that by their girlfriend. The thing is, we know Annie is bold–which is another way of saying she’s mature and getting even more so–and of the pair it seems like her hormones are the ones that need to be put into check. Maybe it’s time for Coraline to have “The Talk” with these two again.
So, what was it that Kerry wanted to ask? Well…
“Sure.” Soroushi said back and crossed her legs. “What did you want to tell us?”
Kerry decided to get right into the subject. “We have two openings on our racing B Team: The one guy on the team dropped out and one of the girls decided she wanted to finish out her schooling at The Vee because it was closer to home and they specialize in spirit studies.” He used the common name for the Vesuva Investigative Research, located in Hyderabad, India.
“Wait—” Nancy leaned forward. “How many years did she have to go?”
“She’s a F Level this year, so she was due to graduate. Her mother’s been having some health issues, so she asked if she could finish up her studies in India but still come back here to graduate as a Salem alum and she was told it was okay. But getting back to the race team…”
“Yes, the race team.”
“As you know from last year there are normally three people on the B Team and right now we have two slots open. You’re the only two Cernunnos members in Advanced Flight One and Professor Semplen tells me you’re both extremely good. So, he wanted me to tell you that we’d like you both on the B Team.”
We learn something new: under special circumstances it’s possible to finish up your schooling at another school and be given credit that you finished a Salem graduate. Madhushri was likely an exceptional student, so allowing her to finish her last year at The Vee–the Vesuva Investigative Research in Hyderabad, India, as stated–was not difficult to allow. You can rest assured that if you’re a C Level and you decide you want to finish your schooling at another Foundation school, however, the odds are like one hundred percent you’ll be told you are no longer a member of Salem. That’s how it goes, kiddies.
When the school year came to an end in the last book this is how the Cernunnos B Team appeared:
Original B Team (End of 2012/2013 School Year)
Madhushri Pai (F) E India Captain
Victoria Diop (F) D DRC
Hasan Fofana (M) D Sierra Leone
Hasan was the guy Kerry replaced on the A Team after he broke his leg and ended up becoming the Wally Pipp of Salem Racing. Looking at the fact that he likely wasn’t about to get back on the A Team any time soon, he left the B Team. So with both him and Madhushri gone, here’s the current lineup:
Current B Team (Start of 2013/2014 School Year)
Victoria Diop (F) E DRC Captain
In case anyone wonders, Victoria Diop likes racing on the B Team. She’s not super competitive and she loves the idea of being able to mentor new fliers coming up. This last is something Cernunnos needs as they haven’t had a great racing setup for some time. Putting two B Levels who are good fliers on the B Team means at some point in the future they’ll be able to step up and make the A Team shine. Or at least that’s the hope. Maybe they’ll come up and take Kerry’s spot.
Yeah… don’t think so.
Like it or not it feels like spring, and today’s first day going to go and work bare legged. That means no stockings or hose at all–just those bands at the top of my thighs to keep them from rubbing together, because I got mermaid thighs and one of these days I’ll probably grow a tail and go swimming in the Susquehanna. Now all I need to clam shell bra.
The writing was pretty good last night. Eighteen hundred words for the recap and then I turned around and wrote almost seven hundred words for the novel. The scene I’m in has gone off in a way I didn’t expect, mostly because I wasn’t certain how to start the scene. But not I haven’t started, it makes a whole hell of a lot of sense. Plus, it allows me to have any interact with someone in a way she normally wouldn’t, as well as giving just a bit more insight into how things sometimes work at school. It’s actually become a lot of fun to write, and tonight I should be getting in to what would be normally the meat of the scene.
Oh, Annie is going to have so much fun.
Speaking of fun, Annie and Kerry got busted on her sofa last night–well, not really busted but they were interrupted. Let’s just say, after two years people seen these two canoodling on her sofa and then sometimes around twenty-three hours or so, they lay back and go to sleep. No one should be surprised by this–not even the two B Levels from their coven standing on the other side of the coffee table watching them. After all, if by now you don’t know who the Lovey Dovey Couple is, you’re probably in the wrong school.
But why are these two here?
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)
Both girls sat and got comfortable. Kerry glanced back and forth at them. “We’re going to order snacks; you guys like anything in particular?”
Nancy crossed her legs and shook her right foot. “What are you guys getting?”
Annie fielded this question. “Banitsas and apple cider.” The puzzled looks meant she required additional explanation. “Banitsas are a type of Bulgarian pastry that are sweet and flaky: the ones were having tonight are filled with cheese and walnuts.”
Soroushi leaned against the arm of her chair, resting her chin on the knuckles of her hand. “That sounds a lot like baklava.”
“They’re very similar. I think the only differences is in the dough used.”
“Sounds delicious.” Soroushi scooted around on the chair adjusting her abaya. “Have you ever had bastani?”
“No.” Annie leaned forward slightly. “Isn’t that Persian ice cream?”
“Yes, it is. I really love it.” Soroushi was now smiling broadly, for she had found few people with whom she could speak of the foods she knew back home. “There’s a version called havij bastani which is a float using carrot juice.”
Kerry’s eyebrows shot upward when he heard this. “Carrot juice? You make ice cream floats out of carrot juice?”
Soroushi nodded. “Sure, why not?”
Carrot juice ice cream floats are a real thing. You know they are because I looked it up. Why, I even have photos:
The interesting thing is that Annie and Soroushi know a lot of the same foods. That’s because a great deal of the cuisine from what is now the Middle East made its way up into what is now eastern Europe, and countries like Bulgaria and Romania share many of the same delicacies as found in Greece, Turkey, and Iran. So, as Soroushi says, she can discuss food with Annie. If Kerry wants to discuss food, he could always talk Penny about their love of fish and chips. Though it just doesn’t seem to have quite the same ring…
And Kerry’s comment about carrot juice floats brings an immediate response from Annie–
Annie lightly touched Kerry’s hand. “Remember, my love, you were hesitant to try Bulgarian dishes two years ago and look how you are now with them.”
He nodded slowly. “True that.” He turned to Soroushi. “One of the nice things about knowing students from all over the world: you get to hear about all sorts of different food.” He gave the B Level a reassuring smile. “How about tomorrow night we try those?”
Nancy’s foot bounced up and down as she seemed to grow excited. “I love to try all this stuff.” She shifted her gaze among everyone seated. “Back home in Arviat we eat a lot of fish and meat; it’s a pretty simple diet. Since coming here I’ve got to try things from everywhere.” She looked down as she chuckled. “This place is really going to spoil me.”
Kerry looked at Annie then back at Nancy. “The same thing happened to me; it’s not just you.”
Annie put in the snack and drink order and when she was finished she turned to their guests. “Did Professor Semplen send you to us?”
Soroushi gave a quick nod. “He sent us both an email saying that we should come and see you here tonight. He mentioned that Kerry had something he wanted to tell us.”
Where Nancy is concerned I looked up the diet of the Inuit and found it’s true: they do eat a lot of meat and fish. So for her to come to Salem, it’s not only a new world completely separated from where she lives, but it’s a smorgasbord of culinary delights for her to sample. As Kerry says it can spoil you, and they are the only students that discovered this the hard way.
But now we get something else: Kerry has a message for these two B Levels. And what could it be? You can either figure it out on your own, or wait until tomorrow to find out.
Both work for me.
Well, here it is lunch time and the living is easy. Or so-so easy. Last night was not an easy night for me even though I bought a new version of Dragon–which I should get in a few days–and I made it through Ep 2 of Humans, which I need to recap tonight.
I am such a busy girl.
Now that we have Annie’s swearing out of the way–and the feeling seems to be that Annie was likely to be the first of the couple of swear because she’s way ahead of Kerry in terms of her personality–there’s something else we have to get out of the way–and we’ll leave it to Kerry to get running with that ball …
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)
A moment of indecision crossed Kerry’s face before he wrapped his arms around Annie and begin kissing her. As they kissed he slowly lay her on the sofa seat, stretching out his legs so he could lay between her and the sofa edge. When he was done kissing he propped his head up with his elbow and began stroking her cheek with his finger. “I understand you perfectly.”
Annie stretched out and relaxed. “What is this?”
Kerry looked at her with dreamy eyes. “Do you know what I wish?”
“I wish when we leave here tonight we didn’t have to go to separate rooms.”
She turned her head slightly so she was staring up at the faraway ceiling of the Dining Hall. “Like what we had in Paris.”
“Yes. Just like that.”
“I think…” Annie wrapped her arm around Kerry’s neck and pulled him closer. “Having our own room here at the school would be a dream come true.”
Kerry moved closer until he was almost pressing into her. “But it will probably never happen.”
Annie nodded. “I think the odds are slim. I believe the headmistress would be conscious of the fact that other students would think were getting preferable treatment.”
He lay back yet remained close to her. “They know were not going to be having sex.”
“The headmistress and everyone else might know that, but the other .” She began tracing her finger over the area of his chest where the medical monitor was implanted. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that…”
Kerry chuckled. “Having everyone think were having intercourse all the time, or actually having intercourse all the time?”
Annie lay partway upon his left shoulder and rested against his chest. “You know which one I would like.” She leaned in and kissed him for a few seconds. “And considering that my period is finally over—”
He was about to say something when he noticed movement out of the corner of his eye. His eyesight shifted slightly to the right for a moment, then back to Annie. “Hold that thought.” Kerry turned his head to greet their new visitors. “Hi there.”
Soroushi Yazdi and Nancy Piugattuk, the B Levels with whom they shared the second floor of their tower, stood quietly on the other side of the coffee table. Nancy was the first to speak. “Is this a bad time?”
Annie sat up moments before Kerry and spoke before he had a chance. “No, we’re just fooling around a bit.” She motioned at the easy chairs on either side of the sofa. “Won’t you please sit?”
“Students are going to think that we’re having intercourse our every waking moment–not that there’s anything wrong with that…” Needless to say, Annie gives no shits what the other students think she’s doing with her Ginger Hair Boy, and right hear admits that, if it were possible, intercourse would likely become an extracurricular activity. Annie’s more mature mentally and emotionally, and with her fourteenth birthday only a few weeks away she’s ready to add sexually to that list. We started seeing her develop last year and this is something that will happen throughout this novel and the next ones.
The kids are growing up and this is going to become something for which they’ll need to deal. They both want The Three Bindings, but if they keep spending the night together in their own hotels rooms when they’re away from school and homes, they may have to forget about that special Gift. And then we have Kerry laying down with Annie in the Madness, talking about having their own room and sleeping together in the tower–good think Kerry’s mom isn’t present to hear her son talking about what he’d like to do now.
But leave it to a couple of their covenmates to throw some cold water on these two. Wonder why they’re there?
To see the show? Probably not.
Remember how I said yesterday I was going to get another post out? Well, I did but it wasn’t the sort of post people were expecting. In other words, I sort of fibbed. After the long drive to Jersey to watch The Walking Dead when I returned home so I could put in my two cents in recap and then I went out to a political meeting. Busy, busy girl, I know. But by the time I got home I didn’t feel like writing, so I sat and watched a movie instead.
You’ll be happy to know, however, that my doctor says my labs are boring. She jokes that I’m just too healthy and there’s nothing wrong with me, which is one of the reasons why I only need to see her every six months. But now I don’t have to get labs for another year and the chances are good that when I go back again next February, I’ll be just as boring. At least that’s what I hope.
But now, let’s talk about something that isn’t boring.
In the last excerpt a couple of days back any once more gave Kerry a bit of castigation over who was really at fault about any bad times they had in Paris. Needless to say, she doesn’t feel it was his fault that he was treated like a total shit before he left home, so we know where she believes the fault lay. And it seems that it’s about time for the truth about that event to come out…
Since returning to Salem they had avoided discussing his abandonment by his parents, but Kerry sensed that Annie remained upset by their action. “Let’s not discuss this, okay?”
She nodded slowly. “I agree. We’re here to enjoy ourselves tonight, not discuss those two worthless cretins.”
He couldn’t prevent himself from chuckling. “Man, I guess you don’t like them a lot more than I imagined.”
Annie spun on her seat, tucking her right leg under her left so that she could face Kerry. A cold fury radiated from her eyes and it could be heard in her voice when she spoke. “I will say this just this one time and then I will speak of it no more. What they did to you was deplorable; it was mean-spirited and petty. Your parents spent all summer pushing you away from them, then two weeks before you leave for school, feign shock and surprise once they discovered just what you could do magically is a witch and a sorceress.
“They not only had all summer to speak with you, but they could have also used the time to try and understand what you were and who you had become. They didn’t do that because they couldn’t control the conversation, mostly because your mother is a sadistic control freak and your father is afraid to stand up to her and tell her she’s wrong in the way she treats you.”
So Kerry basically pretty much triggers Annie into speaking after they both agreed he didn’t want to discuss the events leading up to Paris. But let’s face it: in a way, Kerry wants to know how Annie feels. I mean, after all this is the girl he’s gonna marry in a few years and eventually they’ll produce a gaggle of baby witches together. No matter how hard you try to hide your feelings for your in-laws, at some point they come out, just as your parents feelings about your spouse always seem to come out as well.
Now we know Annie has strong feelings about her future in-laws. And how strong are those feelings? Why, let’s find out.
She reached over and took his left hand in her right. “You are my friend, my soul mate, my husband, and one day you’ll be my lover. And I do not like anyone hurting you. I’ve learned to control my actions when it comes to other people doing this because I’m can’t step in and fight those fights for you. I would never hurt your parents and I would never take any physical action against them, but you have to understand it’s not just a case of not liking them.” She drew in a deep breath and closed her eyes as she shook her head. “Right now I hate them.” She opened her eyes and turned to him. “I simply fucking hate them.”
So, let’s review words counts:
A For Advanced: 425,226 words.
B For Bewitching: 331,320 words.
And C For Continuing, up to the antepenultimate word in the above paragraph: 123,881 words.
Total for all this: 880,427 words.
Eight hundred and eighty thousand, four hundred and twenty-seven words until the moment when one of my kids drops their first “fuck”. I am definitely not George R.R. Martin, as in his world this would’ve happened a long time ago, along with a few rapes and murders as well. But I have been hinting for a while that it wouldn’t be long before one of my kids dropped the F-bomb, and it won’t be their last.
The reality is I wasn’t planning on this event happening just yet. The way I had planned this out–and yes, I actually plotted out when I thought my kids would swear this way the first time–it was going to be Kerry who first said fuck. But then I thought, Annie has swore before–something which is about to come up in conversation–and am certain she’s heard some colorful language around the house once her father’s off the track. There was also the incident in the Paris hotel where she told Kerry that his parents are treating him like shit, so she was kind of leading up to the moment when she was going to drop a big one on him.
Therefore, I felt this was the perfect moment to let Annie Cross the Rubicon and be the first to let fly with that ultimate of curse words. Because if there’s one thing Annie isn’t, it’s a demure snowflake who is protected from the rest of the big bad world because it might be too much for her to handle. No, she’s the girl who killed her first two Deconstructors when she was twelve, so telling her soul mate that she fucking hates his parents isn’t that big of a deal.
And yes: Kerry will also drop an F-bomb or two, maybe three, before the end of this novel. And it is very likely that Annie will drop another before the end of the novel as well–actually, I know she does because I know exactly where happens, and I know she’ll do the third time because I know exactly where that happens, too. My kids: they’re growing up fast. And they’re bringing their little potty mouths with them.
And being that he’s only thirteen years old, Kerry is somewhat amused by this:
Kerry didn’t allow any shock to register, though a slight smile began forming upon his lips. “Well, if you’re gonna drop a f-bomb you must really be pissed at them.”
Annie snorted. “You know I swear from time to time.”
“Yeah, but you usually swear in Bulgarian.”
“I swear in English when I want you to know what I’m saying.” She turned towards him with a bit of mischief in her eyes. “And this time I wanted you to know without a doubt.”
Annie, however: not so amused. She is not amused at all. Her amusement has gotten up and left the building as well as the state of Massachusetts. In short, she is pissed off at his folks and she wanted him to know that. When Annie doesn’t want you to know what she’s saying she’ll mumble in Bulgarian, and like she said she’s already cursed a few times in her native language. I should go back to the books and gather all the curses that she’s said in Bulgarian so you can see for yourselves, because you know I have them translated.
And now that we’ve got the cursing out of the way, something is about to happen that’s going to bring a blush to people’s faces…
It’s beautiful in The Burg today as it was yesterday. It actually got up to 70 F/21 C, and I was out walking around in my fleece jacket. And once I was home it was tee shirt and yoga pants for the afternoon and evening.
Also, seven hundred words were all I needed to finish up the first scene of Chapter Ten and get everything at the superlab closed out–
Today is also a nice day. It’s sunny, it’s gonna be low 60s F/mid 10s C, and I’ll spend time at a BLM meeting today. And tonight I’ll do laundry so I’ll have something clean for my doctor visit tomorrow. Busy, busy day, let me tell you.
Speaking of work my kids are also busy little beavers. All kinds of advanced classes, a special class coming up, placement on the school’s protective groups–and now something else?
“Probably one of the few were going to have over not going to have to work ourselves hard.” She glanced up at Kerry. “Was I correct in hearing Vicky ask if you would considering being a minion for a few of the Advanced Flight One classes?”
He nodded. “Yeah. It sounds like she’s gonna rotate out some of the flyers for minion work. She did a little of that last year: we had Nadine and Riv for a couple of our overnight flights, but remember, we had Penny and Alex for one as well.”
“So now she wants you and Emma to step in.”
“We both did the overnights last year, so we know the routine. Plus, I think she wants to phase Nadine and Riv out a bit: Nadine’s a E Level and Riv’s going to graduate this year.” He glanced at Annie out of the corner of his eye. “Riv still hasn’t made up her mind if she’s gonna race from what I understand.”
Annie used a bright silver fingernail to trace circles in her soul mate’s thigh. “I don’t mind you doing that, it’s just that were going to have a lot to do this year and it’s not as if you need more work.”
Kerry understood Annie’s concern. They not only had special classes, but they knew they were going to get special special classes on top of the rest of their school work, and burnout was a real possibility. “I’ll ask Vicky to give me a weeks’ notice when she wants me to minion for her. If I don’t feel I can do it, I’ll tell her.” He rested his cheek against her hair. “Is that good?”
“Ahhh—” She tilted her head back and kiss his cheek. “That’ll do. But I want you to promise me something—”
He knew what was coming. “I will not let Emma talk me into doing a flight I don’t feel I can do.”
“She doesn’t carry nearly the workload we carry, so for her a weekend flight where she gets to act like she’s in charge isn’t that big of a thing.” She cast a warning sideways glance. “I know how persuasive she can be at times.”
Goddamn, Annie! It’s been two years since the Boulder Ginger nearly got your soul mate eaten by a monster, so let it go, Elsa. Right. Like that will happen.
Really, though, from the shade being tossed out it seems that neither girl has completely put behind them the drama that began back during their A Levels. Though in the grand scheme of things your boyfriend almost being eaten by Cthulhu because someone didn’t want to keep hiding in the woods carries a lot more emotional weight than being rejected as a potential date. Do this mean this is the reason we had that scene in the trailer where Annie wants to speak with Emma? You decide.
Meanwhile Kerry’s in the middle of this. Good thing he’s got his wits about him:
It was all Kerry could do to keep from laughing. “I’m not a A Level anymore, Sweetie.” He shifted his head so he could whisper in her ear. “I’ve got a wife to love these days, remember?”
Annie leaned back and looked at Kerry with a smile on her face. “Yes, I do remember.” She leaned closer so he could hear her whisper. “Husband of mine.”
Kerry leaned in until they were touching the tips of their noses together. “Do you know what I wish?” He tilted his head until his forehead was resting against hers.
Annie closed her eyes. “Tell me, my love.”
“I wish that when the Madness is over, we didn’t have to go back to separate rooms.”
“Hummm.” She adjusted so that she felt as if she were pressing into him even further. “I would like that as well.” Annie half-opened her eyes. “What brought this on?”
Kerry kept his eyes close while speaking in a mellifluous tone. “I just sort of want to make up for the way I was acting in Paris last week.” A long, sad sigh escape from his lips. “It wasn’t fair to you.”
Annie leaned back and touched her left index finger to the tip of Kerry’s nose. “Shush, you. Do not blame yourself for what happened in Paris. If you want to blame someone, blame your parents for leaving you without so much as a goodbye.” She pressed her cheek against his. “If there is anyone who ruined our time together in Paris, it’s them.”
And speaking of smoldering resentment… We know Annie was pissed in Paris over Kerry’s treatment by his parents and it seems she’s not put that shit behind her, either. And how much is she bothered? You’ll find out tomorrow.
In the meanwhile have a good day, everyone. Let’s have fun–
What’s this? Looks like writing. Where’s the video? Not here, that’s for sure. Because today I’m coming to you from the customer service center of Faulkner Honda in Harrisburg because my car was called in due to a couple of outstanding safety recalls that I ignored.
I’m also getting an oil change because in a month I return to Indiana for the first of two trips I need to make this year. The chances are good that this may be the last time I return to this hellhole as the reasons for me returning are becoming fewer and fewer as time advances. I’ll keep everyone informed.
Now, about those witches…
Yes, I wrote last night after I spent a couple of hours watching The Untouchables, which, for a movie written by David Mamet, has some of the most overwrought dialog in the history of cinema, I got to work on the superlab and had some fun with a certain ginger hair boy. The scene is nearly over and I’ll be moving on to a couple of scene showing Annie and Kerry hard at work at the same time, but in different environments.
But that’s the future and we’re still in the past. And here, in the last scene of Chapter Nine, we’re about to have a little music as we descend into Madness…
Annie entered the Dining Hall to the sound of Lorde’s Royals playing over the hum of multiple conversations. Normally any music played at the Midnight Madness was kept confined to the small circle of friends listening, but on special occasions the headmistress allowed someone, or multiple someone’s, to tie their laptops or tablets into the room’s sound system and play songs—and Annie believed that the first Midnight Madness of the new school year certainly ranked as a special occasion.
As they walked across the hall towards her usual seat, and he realized how relaxed and happy Kerry appeared. She had met him after his return from his morning flight and they both share the news about accepting positions with the school’s defensive groups. After lunch they set out to do something never done before: they hiked all the way to the Polar Portal. Though they had flown by the area many times, they never actually visited the northernmost entrance to the school, and Kerry thought it might be a good idea to walk there so they could get used for hiking about the school once more.
They arrived and climbed the stairs that led to the wall, then walked along the northern most wall looking out at the nearby homes and the sea beyond. They rested for a bit before flying off to Perquat’s Grove, where they rested for about an hour before walking back to the Pentagram. By the time they returned for dinner neither was that tired, though they were just slightly winded. Kerry remarked that after another week they be back in the same shape they had at the end of their B Levels.
First, a little walking tour of the school.
We don’t get up to the north side of the school that much, mostly because there’s little up there except for the Observatory. And that edifice is one of the main reasons why there aren’t more buildings in that area, because the school wants to keep the skies dark in the north. So even though this is the smallest area of the school grounds, it’s just as empty up here as it is in the south.
Most people are not aware that Polar Portal, the northeastern tower, is also one of the exits out of the school. A few of the wall towers have doors, though they are rarely used and a few are even permanently sealed. But you can not only get out from the school there, it’s possible to take the stairs up to the wall–which Annie and Kerry do before walking along the north wall.
Polar Portal is over on the right, and those lines you see inside the walls are the various race courses. Polar Jump, Polar Turn, and Northwest Passage are not only part of the Green Line but the area where Kerry learned, for the first time, that Emma likes to block not long before she wrecked his ass; Observatory Bend is one of the high speed turns on the Blue Line; and that stay line climbing up and out of sight is the Red Line. In terms of the story the kids walked from Polar Portal left to about the middle of the north wall. And didn’t see one White Walker. Damn.
After that they flew off to Perquat’s Grove, which is where, a year and a half earlier, Annie professed to both Erywin and Kerry that she’d decided to marry the Ginger Hair Boy long before he ever said he loved her. They usually visit here at least once a year, because while it’s quiet and secluded, it’s also way the hell away from most everything. Which is one of the reasons if you visit here you’ll likely be alone most of the time.
When you are north of the Witch House you have a bit of a walk ahead of you. By now, however, the kids are used to walking and Kerry doesn’t huff and puff like he did as a starting A Level.
It’s likely you noticed that there was a bit of a musical entrance at the start because, when imagining this scene, I thought a musical intro would be the bomb. And this is where we discover something about Kerry’s taste in music…
Annie was a little surprised at Kerry’s reaction to the song. Though he still preferred to listen to the classical rock music performed from the 1960s to the 1990s, he was starting to develop an appreciation for current music because of her influence. She knew there was still a great number of things he didn’t enjoy—she noticed his boredom the weekend before when she was playing some Ariana Grande on his computer—but earlier this evening, while in the Mezzanine Commons, they were sitting with Penny, Alex, and Jario, and Annie put on Blurred Lines so she and the girls could dance. Out of the corner of her eye she could see Kerry smiling and bobbing his head in time to the rhythm, an indication that he was enjoying the song.
Before she knew it she might actually discover Kerry creating a YouTube playlist of nothing but her songs. She figured that with him anything was possible…
They reached their sofa on the east side of the hall, set the comforters and pillows to the sides, and sat. She did the same thing as Kerry the moment they were sitting: she gave a quick glance downward to make certain her enchanted medical monitor wasn’t showing. This time the year before she wore a cami top; now she wore her jade green silk pajamas which buttoned high enough that she wouldn’t have to worry about anything showing, yet would keep cool enough that she wouldn’t feel like she was overheating.
After she was sure the monitor remained invisible, Annie snuggled in against Kerry. “Oh, this is so nice.”
Kerry twisted around and gave her a quick kiss. “It certainly is, my Darling.” He stretched his legs while wrapping his left arm around Annie’s shoulders. “Though it was a good week.”
What is this? Kerry may like Blurred Lines? Are you shitting us? Like, OMG, Annie’s influence on her husband-of-mine is greater than we could have ever imagined! And this wouldn’t be surprising: Kerry knows he doesn’t like everything that Annie likes, as she doesn’t like everything he likes, but over their two years physically together they’ve come to enjoy things the other links, and that includes music. Like it or not, Kerry’s going to find music in the 21st Century isn’t always bad. And even when it is at times, it can still be entertaining.
Here is the version of Royals the kids heard as they walked into the Dinning Hall. This is the original version which played outside the U.S., about a minute longer and somewhat more stripped down. I can see this as a sort of slow-mo beauty pass as the kids walk through the Madness on their way to their sofa–and when this becomes a Netflix series I’ll make certain that’s exactly how it’s filmed.
But Kerry is getting off on Robin Thicke? Probably because he saw the video where he was dressed like Beetlejuice and figured he’d give the tune a spin. The most interesting thing about the scene where Kerry is grooving out is that the girls–Annie, Penny, and Alex–put on some music and decided to start dancing for the hell of it. Well, why not? The first week of school is over, tomorrow is a day off, and they’re young teenage girls. All the ingredients for an impromptu dance party is ready to mix, and this isn’t a bad song with which to get one’s dance on.
The kids are all right and getting ready to relax. That doesn’t mean they aren’t going to talk about school…