Be End of the B

It seems like not too long ago I said I was going to go ahead and start plotting out the next Foundation novel, probably some time in May.  And it wasn’t too long after that when I mentioned on this blog when I mentioned that I’d started said plotting, mostly because I wanted to get started on that.

And now I can tell you I’m finished, most or less, with the major plot out.  This is what happens when you have these things in your head and they want out:  you can’t say no to them.

I have finished Parts Ten and Eleven, and that’s all there is, folks.  One change I made was moving Part Seven to Act Two, so that now Act One is Parts One, Two, and Three, and Acts Two and Three have four parts each.  There are thirty-two chapters, which are ten fewer than the last novel.  Still, after looking at what I did today, I added fourteen scenes to the story, bringing the total, so far, to one hundred and twenty-nine scenes.  I’ll likely add a few more along the way, so I’m guessing the novel will top out around one hundred and thirty-five scenes, which should work out to an estimated two hundred thousand words.  Only about half the last novel, but still . . . it’s a lot of words.

I’m still thinking a quarter of a million is going to be more the real length.

Let’s see what we have.  Here’s Part Ten.

Sort of looks like May is here.

Sort of looks like May is here.

As you may remember, 3 May is Kerry’s birthday, so there are a few scenes dealing with that event, just as there is a chapter dealing with Annie’s birthday.  This is something that will show up in every novel, because if there is one thing these two kids need, it’s birthday time together.  And the scene Tag-a-Long . . . That will be the last time Emma is in a scene, and probably the last time any flying is observed.  And Kisses at My Madness–the time means something, it really does.  And it’s something that’s going to happen in a later novel as well.  It’s even going to become a tradition of sorts between these two . . .

After that we have The Three Bindings, and when I speak about something happening a while back in this novel that changes everything with these kids, this is where they get into details on that.  It’s also where Erywin talks about shenanigans, and Deanna says something to Annie that makes her blush, so it must be good.  I expect Sitting by Sunset to be something short and sweet, and perhaps the moment where the kids are absolutely certain about their future–or at least the future they know they could have.

Then there’s Part Eleven–

It's one more, it's the end!

It’s one more, it’s the end!

The two chapters deal with two days.  Chapter Thirty-One deals with the departure from the school and the night Annie and Kerry spend before flying back to Europe, while Chapter Thirty-Two deals with the flight back, the arrival in Germany, and Kerry’s return home.  Annie’s last scene is the penultimate scene–which translate as “Goodbye For Now”–but she’s going to do something before leaving that will be far different than how she acted in Amsterdam when she said goodbye to her soul mate.

As you can see by the notes on the right side of the screen–said notes attached to the scene After Breakfast Jaunt–I’ve figured out the time in four different cities in four different time zones.  That’s how when I get to the penultimate scene I know the time in all four of the locations selected.  I’ll have to show you how I do that one day.

That’s it, she’s finished.  As I said, I’ll probably add a few more scenes in time, maybe as I write, but for now this is the layout for the next big project.

And I’m already thinking about that . . .

The Quiet on the Campus

The fight in Kansas City is over, and it’s time for some rest and reflection.  This scene–the first of only two in Chapter Thirty-Eight–is a big change of pace from what’s happened before.  One, no one is watching someone else, running all over town, and trying to puzzle out mysteries.  And two–they’re not in Kansas City any more, Dorothy.

Time to see what happened, right?  After all, it’s time to wind down a bit and reflect . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Erywin sat back and looked up and enjoyed the feel of the sun on her face. Compared to Kansas City, it was much nicer here—brighter and warmer. And from her position on the bench she could turn to her right and look out over the small lake just below this quite viewing area.

She spotted Helena, wearing her ever-present leather jacket, heading her way. She glanced towards the lake every so often, but for the most part kept her eyes locked on Erywin. She didn’t acknowledge Erywin’s presence until she was four meters away. “We’re all packed and checked out.”

“That was quick.” Erywin crossed her left leg over her right as Helena sat to her left.

“When you have four other people having you pack it’s easy to clean up and clear out in fifteen minutes.” She slid her arm over the back of the bench and behind Erywin. “I checked us out while our luggage was sent back to Salem.”

“So no need to return to Kansas City?”

“No.” Helena snorted. “There’s nothing there for us to do anyway. The Link walkway has been cleaned up, and the Guardians are all over Kaden’s house looking for additional clues. We were the opening act—” She turned to Erywin and grinned. “The headliners are on-stage now.”

 

Yeah, those lucky headliners:  they let you set up the audience and talk all the abuse from the fans who didn’t come to see you.  Helena has the right attitude:  you do your job and get out.  There’s usually no glory in what they did–even though they did save someone’s life.  Or is that lives?

It’s pretty obvious that they aren’t in Kansas City any longer, either, since Erywin’s asking if they have a need to return.  So where are they?

 

“The headliners never had to worry about getting killed.” Erywin looked at the long building within her line of sight. “They told me they should be able to release Annie and Kerry about sixteen.” She glanced over to her partner. “Did you see them?”

“I did. They’re getting the finest Foundation care a fake biosafety level 4 unit at the CDC can offer.” Helena looked around, taking in the campus. “You know, this is the first time I’ve been here.”

This was the first Erywin learned that Helena had never visited The Foundation facilities at the Center for Disease Control. “They never brought you here when you were hurt?”

“I was never injured while operating in North America.” Helena chuckled. “You three got lucky. I figured with you hurt they’d take you off to San Francisco or Minneapolis or Tucson—here you get pulled to the best lab facilities The Foundation has to off on this side of the world.”

 

Yep.  When I mentioned that The Foundation has places where they “hide in plain sight,” many of those places are pretty well known facilities.  We know Helena had access to underground bunkers used for continuation of government purposes, and that they held meetings at the World Trade Center, but now we find out The Foundation has facilities at the CDC?  Sure, why not?  After all, wouldn’t getting diseases under control be something they’d want to get their hands around?

You can see Erywin and Helena if you look just above that lake.  And Annie and Kerry if you look to the long building to the right of the lake.  You won't see the bad guys:  they're in the morge.

You can see Erywin and Helena if you look at the dark circle just above that lake. And Annie and Kerry if you look to the long building to the right of the lake. You won’t see the bad guys: they’re in the morgue.

Did The Foundation help build this place?  Maybe.  Do they help run it?  Perhaps.  Do they have a hospital here?  Damn right.  They do a great job keeping the image of the place up, too–

Although the Deconstructors have somehow gotten out word that they are working on the virus that will bring about the zombie apocylopes.

Although the Deconstructors have gotten out word that they are working on the virus that will bring about the zombie apocalypse . . .

Which is probably one of the reasons the CDC put out their information on getting ready for the Zombie Apocalypse.  Don’t forget to check out the comic, too, if you go to the website.

And now that they’re here, Erywin has a question about someone that came in with them . . .

 

“Probably because of Kaden.” Erywin looked around to make certain no one else was within range of their voices. “I saw that rig they pulled off him. Is that what you found him in?”

“Yeah.” Helena sighed and stretched. “Hanging in the goddamn closet. The Deconstructor doppelgänger was using the enchantment in the crown unit to leach off the real Kaden’s memories so Tanith didn’t know she wasn’t living with her father. The rig was keeping him alive, too.”

“So I heard. One of the doctors told me he was dehydrated and malnourished, though.”

“Happens. Those rigs are only good for keeping someone alive for a couple of months.” Helena shrugged. “That’s about all they’d need if Tanith was their real target.” She faced Erywin. “Did you see Tanith?”

 

So now you know why Helena called an abort:  ’cause when you see the guy who just left the house trussed up like a turkey in the closet, you know the Deconstructors got there first.

And what about Tanith?  Glad you asked:

 

Erywin nodded. “For a little bit. She thanked me for saving her father and her, and she wanted to know if she could see Annie and Kerry.” She gazed out over the small lake. “I told her ‘our people’ might let her in to see them, but it really wasn’t up to me.”

Helena nodded. “Good answer.” She’d not told the children that once the operation was over their access to Tanith would be cut, and the likelihood that if Tanith did meet Annie and Kerry again in the foreseeable future, it was unlikely she’d know who they were. Standard procedure on a field operation like this— She tapped her fingers against her thighs. The people who come to bring you in are erased from your mind so you can’t ever go after them should Deconstructors get you again—or you decide to turn. “I’ll have to talk to them tomorrow about the operation followup—just in case she were to show up at school next year.”

“They need that.” Erywin placed her hand on top of Helena’s. “Did you see them before coming down?”

 

The good news is Annie and Kerry saved the girl.  The bad new:  she’ll never remember them bringing her in.  Just as Isis talked about sending in “memory speicalist” to take care of Kerry’s and Emma’s parents and family if it turned out they’d died during the Day of the Dead attacks, those same people will go to work on Tanith to make certain she can’t even blow Annie’s and Kerry’s cover in this field operation.  It’s sort of a crappy thing when you think about it, because they were probably starting to bond and stuff, and now . . . nope, she won’t remember them.

Oh, and Helena has other news . . .

 

There was a lingering pause as Helena debated telling Erywin this next, and figured she needed to know. “I met with Gabriel up in the ward.”

This surprised Erywin greatly. “What was he doing here?”

“Wanted to see how the kids were doing, and pulled me aside to get a quick update. He told me we don’t have to debrief until Tuesday morning.”

“Why wait so long?”

“For one, Kerry’s a bit out of it and anything he says is going to be crap, and two . . .” Helena chuckled again. “I think he’s giving us a chance to get our stories straight. He told me he was at the walkway scene for a few minutes—said he was a bit surprised by what he saw.”

 

“Getting your stories straight” is usually a euphemism for, “You guys left shit really messed up and I don’t wanna have to ding someone.”  Which is what comes up next–

 

Erywin snorted. “I’m sure he was.” She turned to Helena. “Are they going to red flag Annie’s file?”

“I don’t think so. I made a point of telling him that she’d been under orders not to kill anyone if she could help it—” Helena shrugged. “Spells must have gotten away from her.”

Erywin nodded slowly, a slight smile on her face. “Must have. What about Kerry?”

“They’ll yellow flag his file for sure.” Helena slowly ran her finger over the bridge of here nose. “Did you hear about what he did to that last Deconstructor?”

“I just heard something quick after they brought in the bodies, but nothing specific.”

“He had four broken ribs, a ruptured spleen, perforations to his small intestine, and damage to his liver.” Helena gave Erywin a slight nod. “You told me he used an Air Hammer—he used dark energy on it, didn’t he?”

“Yes. No way I didn’t feel that.” Erywin cleared his throat. “Definitely trying to kill him, wasn’t he?”

“Probably why the guy was so pissed off. If Kerry hadn’t been trying to juggle two spells at the same time, he might have pulled it off.”

Erywin took a long, deep breath before asking her next question. “Any news on Ruth?”

 

We now learn, for real, that Kerry was going for the kill shot.  Unfortunately, he was also trying to charge up shields, and as good as the kids are right now, that’s a little too much on their plate to put up incredible shields and bounce off killer spells.  At least there was enough energy in the shields that no one was killed, just a little messed up.  Kerry:  once again saving lives and getting messed up in the process.  And, yet again, the girl came in and saved him . . .

“Any news on Ruth?”  Well, you’ll get that when I finish this scene, and a whole lot more.  That’s coming tonight, and then, for New Years Eve, I finish out the chapter and part while finishing the year 2014.  So when Beltane starts up in the novel, it’s a new year, and I have the impetus to finish the novel by the end of January.

Almost there, people.  Almost.

Oh, and Helena does not approve of fake CDC buildings.  Not at all.

Oh, and Helena does not approve of fake CDC buildings. Not at all.

The Secret Witch’s Gathering

The last couple of nights have been slow going.  It’s been a little difficult to get motivated this week, but according to the NaNoWriMo site I’m three thousand, three hundred and seventy words from fifty thousand, which means by tomorrow or Friday I’ll pass that mark and be ready to verify my word count.  This will, by the way, be the lowest word count I’ve ever managed in four years of doing NaNo, but in a way it’s helped considerable due to that fifty thousand getting wracked up fast, instead of being doled out in small number throughout all of December.

My progress last night wasn’t helped by Internet issues.  I was trying to look up a few things to refresh my notes, and the bandwidth wasn’t there.  Which is why I was up at six AM getting things nailed down for my current scene.

I need real stuff, even when I'm faking it.  That's how I roll.

I need real stuff, even when I’m faking it. That’s how I roll.

As you can see by my notes, we know where this Guardian operation is taking place.  Does that mean–?

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry said nothing right away, and Helena hadn’t expected him to speak first. She looked at Annie, who stared right back with no sign that she was giving the matter much thought. Annie nodded slowly. “I want to do this.”

“Are you certain?” Helena kept her voice as neutral as possible since she wasn’t supposed to sway the child’s feelings either way on the matter.

“I am.” She crossed her hands across her lap.

“I see that.” Helena turned to Kerry, knowing good and well he was going to say—

“I’ll do it.”

She arched a brow at him. “You’re certain about this?”

He turned and looked at Annie for about five seconds, then went back to Helena. “I’m sure.”

Helena turned around and nodded at Erywin, who stood and handed two tablets to the students. “I want you to read these before you do anything—” Helena leaned towards the two children. “I mean read them. Don’t just skim the document and then tell me you’re ready to sign. Take your time reading them, then let me know when you’re done.”

 

Now that they’re both in, where is “in” taking them?

 

A city scape appeared in the display. “The field operation will take place in Kansas City, Missouri, and we’ll stay in that part of the city. We’ll set up a base of operation in the Sheraton Kansas City in the Crown Center.” She pointed out the locations on the view. “We’re expect to check in to the hotel on 26 April, though there is a chance the operation could be moved up. Still waiting on that bit of information.”

Annie examined the display. “Why would they move up the operation?”

“There’s always a buffer built into these operations to deal with anything that could be construed as unexpected.” Helena didn’t look concerned. “It’s one of the reasons they wanted to get you involved now, so we could test you out and familiarize you with the equipment we’ll use.” She wanted to put Annie—as well as Kerry, who hadn’t said a word yet—at east. I wouldn’t imagine the operation getting moved up more than two week if they do move it. That would have us leaving here for Kansas City on 12 April.” She shook her head a couple of times. “Plenty of time to get you checked out and tested.”

 

Welcome to KC:  I guess this makes them the Sunshine Band?  Over Helena’s dead body–which would probably be someone else’s, come to think of it.

There is a question that Kerry has, and it’s answered so there aren’t any questions about the witches in the room . . .

 

Kerry finally spoke up. “Is everyone in this room going to KC?”

“Yes: all four of us. In fact, that’s going to be our cover.” She pointed to her second. “Erywin and I will be traveling as a same-sex couple from England—a big stretch for us, I know—who are here on a combination business and pleasure holiday. We have our documentation for the company we represent, and we have an itinerary made out of places visited and places to see that will pass the tightest scrutiny.

“You’ll have a cover as well.” She pointed at Kerry. “You’ll be Erywin’s naturally born son. You’ll have a history you’ll need to remember, such as the name of your father, when he and your mother separated, when we met . . .”

“You’ll also have to remember—” Erywin chuckled. “—to call me ‘Mummy’.”

Kerry laughed right back. “That’s gonna be fun.”

“Yes.” Helena jumped back into the conversation. “But necessary. You’ll need to work on the accent as well. And—” She pointed at the top of Kerry’s head. “The hair, too. It’s one of the reasons you were picked: you skill in transformational magic.”

Erywin nodded. “And you have started to show some skill in minor self transformation—at least according to Jessica.” She stood and walked towards Kerry. “We’ll have to work on getting your hair closer to my color—”

Kerry focused on Erywin for about two seconds before the color of his hair changed from his normal ginger to something very much like the professor’s dirty blond color. He smiled as the instructor stopped when she saw the change. “How that—Mummy?”

Erywin glanced at Helena. “I’d say that’s pretty close.”

 

Not much has been said about what they’re picking up, though Mr. Gabriel did mention that Kerry was getting a real hang of transformation magic–and that little demonstration shows that.  Now, what he did was an A Level spell, but the quickness and completeness surprised Erywin–stopped her in her tracks, you might say–which shows Kerry’s pretty much mastered that spell.

Annie has her own question, and this leads to a quick wake up of something potentially troubling for Kerry and her . . .

 

Annie had her own concern, however. “If Kerry is pretending to be Professor Sla—”

“No titles, please.” Helena held up her hand. “When we are meeting like this, it’s first name basis at all times. In pubic it’s one thing, here it’s another.”

Annie fell right into step, since she was already used to this. “Then if Kerry is pretending to be Erywin’s son, what am I?”

“You’ll be my adopted daughter—from Bulgaria, of all places.” She smiled back at the suddenly unsmiling girl. “It was believed that would be the easiest way to pass you off—that I’ve never been married and that I adopted a girl from Bulgaria—which would explain the accent and language, and why you don’t look like me.”

“That would mean—” Annie turned slowly towards Kerry. “He’s suppose to be my brother.”

It hit Kerry in that moment what she meant. “Wait . . . that means that we can’t like—”

Annie nodded slowly. “Be close in pubic—which means . . .”

Erywin finished the statement. “No public hand holding or snogging.”

Kerry shot Helena a worried look. “How long are we gonna be in Kansas City doing . . . this?”

“We leave here on the 26th, and should be there for most of Friday and Saturday. If necessary we’ll return here on Sunday.”

He turned to Annie and sighed. “The whole weekend.”

She nodded. “We’ll miss the Madness.”

Helena appeared gravely concerned. “The things one must do for their Foundation.” She chuckled and pointed at the display. “Let’s see why we’re going there in the first place—”

 

Suddenly the idea of being Undercover Witches doesn’t seem like a lot of fun, not if it means you can’t hold hands with your pretend brother.  And missing the Madness?  Heavens forbid!  The world has suddenly turned into a mass of suck.  They just come out of a traumatic situation regarding their relationship, and they’ve being told they gotta be siblings.  I guess we can now joke, “Do you kiss your brother with that mouth, Annie?”

I promise this scene will finish up tonight.  You’ll get some history, you’ll get the reasons why these two have been picked–you may even get part of the next scene.  Really, I’m so close to the end I’m almost feeling like ripping off three thousand words and getting the story to where it’s all tucked in and ready for bed.

It’s possible, you know.

 

NaNo Word Count, 11/25:  1,170

NaNo Total Word Count:  46,630

The Ins and Outs of Guardianship

By now it’s pretty obvious that the stuff that started out Act Three thirty thousand words ago (yep, it’s that many, and a little more) is now coming home to roost.  And since Helena came over to give the kids the “good” news, chances are she got all her wishes granted.  It’s just like she’s Dorothy and she traveled to the Emerald City to get her wishes granted by The Wizards, only somewhere along the way she ditched those other three losers and probably realized that Glenda the Good Witch was the bitch who actually needed to get put down, so she smoked her, too.

After all, I’d bet any amount of money Helena has taken down a fair share of witches in her time, so notching Glenda wouldn’t be that big of a deal.  But I digress . . .

In fact, this situation with the Guardians is going to take up some of the bulk of Act Three–namely Parts Eleven and Twelve, and all the chapters therein.

It just looks like a lot--and trust me, it probably is.

It just looks like a lot–and trust me, it probably is.

The good thing is, once this creeping and peeping stuff is out of the way, there’s only two more parts, and those deal with the end of school and Annie and Kerry heading home and breaking up for the summer and not seeing each other and . . . hey, do I know how to end a novel on an upbeat note?

Trust me, it won’t be that bad.

But let’s get back to the spook stuff at hand.  I didn’t quite make my NaNo word count for the day yesterday–mostly because I spent about six hours on the road and I was pretty beat last night–but I managed to push it over a thousand words, and now I’m only forty-five hundred words from fifty, and that means that while I’m likely going to make my word count for this NaNo, it’s not going to be anything to write home about.  However, my word count starting from last year’s NaNo is about 340,000 words, so what’s another fifty, right?

What’s the story here, Cassie?  Well, Helena’s being a secretive witch, and she’s got herself and three other people locked up in her office in the lower levels of the Witch House, and she’s doing her spiel . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

It was only after the room was sealed that Helena spoke to the other three members who’d gathered. “Before we get into the matters of why were are here and whether or not certain people will agree to do something . . .” She looked hard at Annie and Kerry as she walked past their chairs on her way to the chair behind the desk. “I have to make this clear: what is said in this room today stays in this room. If in five minutes time we decide not to move forward, neither of you—” She pointed across the desk at both children. “—are to ever admit this meeting happened, or that we ever gathered on this date and time.” She sat, glanced at Erywin sitting to her left, then turned back to the real reason she was here. “I hope I’m clear on this matter.”

Annie leaned on the left arm of her chair. “I understand completely, Professor.”

Kerry nodded slowly. “Same here.”

 

You were never here, this never happened . . . always a great way to start out a meeting.  What else is happening, Sunshine?

 

“Good. Now, according to protocol I’m permitted to give you some light specifics on why I’ve ordered you here, and the meaning behind my statement last night.” She sat back and forced herself to relax. “Difference factions of The Foundation pour over our student reports combing them for talent. In case you hadn’t thought about what happens outside these walls, talent is prized by The Foundation, and while there are a number of other schools in the system, this is the one they look to the most, because only those whom we believe will become the best students in are allowed through Founder’s Gate.

“The one organization that examines us the closest is the Guardians. The reasons are simple: not only do we produce the best witches, but we also produce the best sorceresses—and being a great sorceress is a must if you want to become a Guardian. Knowing sorcery—in particular, knowing Morte spells—is the main requirement for being a Guardian, because we’re the ones walking in the shadows dealing with nefarious shit that we hope never becomes known to the Normals. And I say ‘we’ because I’m still a Guardian with a field operative rating—and I’ve handled my fair share of nefarious shit over the last two decades.

“The Guardians not only cherry pick our students records, but if they find someone they like, they contact the people in charge and ask for additional information on them, always in the form of a detailed report. If they like what they see there, then they take the step of requesting access to the student for a few days—usually no more than that—and they take them out into the field to see how they operate in either a test environment, or on an actually field operation.”

Helena set her elbows on the arms of her chair and leaned forward. “That’s why you’re here. The Guardians saw the reports on you and wanted additional information. They were given that information a few weeks ago, and now they want to see what you can do.” Once again she glanced at Erywin before looking back at Annie and Kerry. “They don’t want to test you; they want to send you on a field operation.”

 

You get too good in this world and you end up getting to play Secret Witch.  Aren’t they lucky?

She lays out all the stuff that she pretty much already laid out for Gabriel and Mathilde, and though she never mentions this to the kids.  She also lets them know that one of the reasons Erywin is her second is because she knows people–she’s a counselor and the school’s LGBT adviser–and it’s her job to figure out if the kids are, as Helena puts it, “mature enough to handle something like this.”  Which was a concern she brought up once, but not to Annie and Kerry.

Finally we get to the last bit, the thing that determines where we go with this . . .

 

Helena stood and came around to the other side of the desk. She leaned against the edge directly in front of Annie and Kerry. “Now we get to the important part: your participation. And here’s where it gets tricky, kids, because no matter what I’ve said up to this about what I’ve done to ensure that this mission won’t screw you right into the ground, nothing happens if one or you both invoke your Right of Refusal.”

As she expected Annie said nothing, while Kerry asked the question. “What’s that?”

“It’s simple. You are both minors, and remain so until you’re eighteen, the Age of Majority. Now, under extraordinary circumstances The Foundation can conscript sixteen and seventeen year olds for operations, but that in no way affects you. You’re twelve and eleven, and about the only way they could get you out into the field would be to kidnap you and make you do it against your will.” She didn’t tell them she suspected that could happen if the wrong people got desperate . . .

“That means you have Right of Refusal, and that means if you say ‘no’, then you’re finished, your not involved, there’s the door, see you around, and remember not to tell anyone you were ever here. If, on the other hand, you say ‘yes’, then you sign non-disclosure forms, we pull out the data, and we start putting the operation together.” She looked from Annie to Kerry before focusing on a point between them. “So what’s it going to be? Are you in, or are you out?”

 

And that’s where I ended it, because I know what they’re going to say, and you’re likely know what they’re going to say as well, otherwise I’d find myself writing something else.  And as I mentioned, I was tired, so I didn’t need to write the next part–

At least not last night.

It’s a new day, though.  Looks like I have a few thousand words to work out today.

 

 

NaNo Word Count, 11/17:  1,232

NaNo Total Word Count:  45,460

Out of the Dreams and Into Reality

As I pointed out yesterday–I think it was yesterday, yeah–I thought there was an excellent chance I’d write up the last two scene and finish not only this chapter but the part.  And guess what?  I did.  Yay me!

First Drafts for as far as you can see.

First Drafts for as far as you can see.

But the question remains:  what happened?  When we left my kids yesterday Kerry was crying on Annie’s shoulder while they were standing on the north short of Lake Lovecraft, and . . . then what?

Glad you asked, because I’m here to tell you.

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

It was completely dark now and Annie sat, still on the north short of Lake Lovecraft, while Kerry slept peacefully with his head in his lap. After his realization of who she really was and what she’d always meant to him, he grew drowsy and fell into a stupor, slumping to the ground as he set himself into his—and Annie’s—current position.

She never considered getting up and flying to the hospital to summon Nurse Coraline: she felt that Kerry wasn’t in trouble, nor was he in danger. Annie felt the best thing to do was to let her moyata polovinka sleep and see what he would do next—

She knew she wouldn’t need to wait long for that: Kerry began stirring, first with movement in his arms, then his arms, and finally a slight moan as his eyes twitched open. He rolled on his back and looked straight upwards into Annie’s smiling face. “Hey, Sweetie.”

“Hello, my love.” She brushed his hair with her hand. “Are you all right?”

“Yeah, I just . . .” His eyes moved left and right. “What happened?”

“You fell asleep—it was like all the energy left your body.”

 

Yes, Annie could have went to the hospital, but since Kerry didn’t have blood squirting from his nose and eyes–and Annie knows what that looks like–she figured it was something else, something not as bad.  And she was right . . .

 

He stared up into the sky. “It’s dark. How long was I out?”

“Maybe an half-hour.” She shrugged. “Forty-five minutes at the most.”

“Okay.” He sat up slowly, then turned himself around so they were sitting facing each other. “I remember the dreams.”

The smile on Annie’s face grew wider. “Which ones?”

Kerry chuckled. “All of them. It was like watching a series marathon.” He shook his head as he smiled. “I’m all caught up—at least to that last one.”

“Did you—?” Of all their shared dreams, all she remembered of that one was they’d met. Beyond that it was a blur. “Did you see what happened?”

“I’m not sure. I’m still trying to figure that one out.” He leaned forward as his smile grew brighter. “But I was there reliving everything else. Not only the regular ones were we talked and play, but . . .” He took Annie’s hand and held it tightly, as if he was afraid she were about to float away. “The first time we met; the first time I read to you; our first time riding bikes—”

“Did you remember what else we did?” Annie slid closer, hoping he’d remember what else they did that night—

“Yeah: that was the first time we told each other our names.” Kerry got to his feet and helped Annie up. “I saw the first time you told me you knew I was a real person, and that you were real too; I saw when you told me you were a witch—”

“That was my tenth birthday.”

“I remembered thinking how cool it was having a dream girlfriend who was a witch.” He pulled Annie close. “I should have freaked out—”

 

And from here it’s pretty obvious that if Kerry had remembered all of this before Annie and he had met in London, he probably would have known she was going to be there, would have hammered down her door the night he arrived–or at the least would have done more than introduce himself as “Hi, I’m Kerry Malibey” in the book store.  Other than the fact that neither one of them knew Kerry was a witch, they seemed to know everything about each other–and why not?  They’d been together for years . . .

They related once more about how they both remembered, in detail, the dream where they said to the other that they loved me, and Kerry finally understood how Annie must have suffered to have been with him and know that he didn’t remember him.  Kerry’s an emotional kid, so when he cuts loose with those feelings, he tends to go big.  We know he’ll cry at the drop of a hat, but when he’d happy–look out, Salem, ’cause you’re gonna know about it . . .

 

She kissed him long and deep, and was pleasantly surprised to feel Kerry return the kiss in kind. As he did once he learned to open his heart to me. “We’re together as one again.”

“Yes, we are.” He kissed her as she’d kiss him; when he finished he broke into an ecstatic laugh. “The Ginger Hair Boy is back with his Chestnut Girl.”

Kerry released Annie and began walking towards the edge of Lake Lovecraft. He stopped a few meters from the water’s edge, raised his face to the cloudy night, and shouted into sky. “Did you hear that? I’m back with my Chestnut Girl. Do you hear me, Salem? I’m back with soul mate—with the witch I love.”

Annie joined him and stood at his side as Kerry threw open his arm and yelled out his love, his voice echoing across the pitch black water. “I am hers again, and I will never leave her. Understand? I will never again forget my soul mate—I will never be with anyone but Annie Kirilova.” He turned to his left, found her next to him, a smile plastered across her face and her eyes shinning bright with love, and faced her as he shouted one last statement to the heavens. “I will never, ever love anyone else.”

He threw his arms around her and pressed himself against her. Kerry lay his head upon Annie’s shoulder and whispered into his ear. “Moyata polovinka.”

Annie whispered back to him. “Moyata polovinka.” She chuckled as she rested against Kerry. “I never once said that to you in any of our dream.”

“I know.” He closed his eyes and drank in the moment. “I’m glad you taught me what it means here . . .”

 

And that settles that.  Sorry, Emma, but the odds were never in your favor.

Did I say that settles that?  I mean that settles the dream stuff, but there was one last scene that takes place in the Great Hall, and . . . well, let’s look:

 

As they were getting ready to leave Lake Lovecraft she mentioned she’d flown only once at night—though she didn’t elaborate on that disastrous flight—and Kerry mentioned that the last time he’d flown in the dark a monster intent on killing his had chased him all over the grounds.

They both laughed as they sailed out over the lake, gained altitude, and sped off towards the dimly lit Pentagram.

Kerry touched down just outside the East Entrance and Annie was off the saddle the second her toes touched the ground. Kerry snatched the broom out of the air and carried it at his side in his right hand as his left found Annie’s right. They entered the Great Hall and, with huge smiles of joy on their faces, strode towards the Dining Hall.

 

Yeah, remember those disasters that happened the last time you flew at night, and just laugh them off ’cause love, right?

They get to the hall and the head of the kitchen says she’ll whip something up for them.  Kerry wants fish and chips with pomegranate juice, and Annie orders lamb güveç (a kind of Bulgarian ratatouille) and a lemon drink.  They find their table, they sit, they talk for a few minutes, and then this:

 

“There you are.”

The both turned around and found Professor Lovecraft standing between them. Annie felt a chill run through her, because the look on the sorceress’ face was one she’d seen many times before, and it was a look she didn’t like to see. She’s here on business— “Hello, Professor.”

Kerry nodded. “Hello, Professor.”

“Hello.” She motioned for them both to follow her. “Come over here; we need to talk.”

They followed Professor Lovecraft to a point along the east wall of the hall about a twenty meters from the doors leading to the Atrium. She turned so she could keep and eye on the area around their table—and the other hall entrances—before speaking. “No one can hear us here, but I’m going to keep this short. After lunch tomorrow I want you both to come out to the Witch House. Be there no later than thirteen-thirty.” She turned to Annie. “We’ll meet in the office I keep off the Vault.”

“Okay, Professor.” Annie was liking this less; the professor didn’t use that office much—she’d only seen it in passing, and had never been in there—which meant something serious was happening. “What’s going on? Why do you want to see us?’

“Yeah.” Kerry looked even more pale than usual. “Did we do something wrong?”

“No, Kerry. Actually . . .” A lopsided smirk flashed across her face for a few moments. “You’ve done something right.”

“I don’t get it.”

Helena leaned in towards them and lowered her voice. “Something important has come up, and your Foundation needs you.”

Annie was now as puzzled as Kerry. “What do you mean?”

Helena took a deep breath and mustered her most serious demeanor. “You’re being summoned by Guardians: they have a mission for you both . . .”

 

Cue the dramatic music, for things are about to get serious.  Mr. Gabriel got his way–he must be related to Annie, it seems.

That means Part Eleven–it’s one more, as you can see–starts getting into this stuff.  Not only will I peek behind the Foundation curtain a little, but a bit more drama between Annie and Kerry will arise.

Really, did you think I was finished with that?

 

NaNo Word Count, 11/23:  1,868

NaNo Total Word Count:  44,228

Revelations in the Library

This happened last night:

I just beat Act One!

I just beat Act One!

As did this:

Looks like I'm gonna have to reset the counter

Looks like I’m gonna have to reset the counter.

So that’s the thing:  with Act Two’s end in sight, I passed both 150,000 words and 300,000 words total.  What am I guessing this will finish out at?  With three more scenes, maybe another five or six thousand words and she’s finished.  And then, this being NaNo, I can hop into Act Three–the final act.  And wrap up this story in another . . . let’s not talk of this, shall we?

As for NaNo . . . hit my word count, and edged in just over nine thousand words since I started writing on Saturday.  That’s not unusual:  I’m right around the ten thousand mark by the fifth day, and I’ll clear that tonight with ease.  At the rate I’m going, I should finish Act Two by Friday–which means I have Saturday to get started on Act Three.

What happened in the recently concluded scene?  Annie and Kerry are at the library, and Kerry’s doing most of the talking, Trevor Parkman–the librarian–is doing most of the listening.  Annie’s already heard this story a couple of times, but she doesn’t mind hearing it again.  For all we know–well, I don’t, but you do–Annie’s the one that got them there tonight.

And what is Kerry talking about?  No, his grandfather doesn’t know about Salem and his grandson being a witch–but he knows there was something strange in the family a long time ago . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

 

“Her name is Aisling Callaghan. She’s my great-great-great-great-grandmother.” Kerry checked his tablet from time to time; his notes were there, and unlike when he’d first given Annie an overview, he wanted Mr. Parkman to heard what he’d told Annie the second time. “My grandfather knew she was born in Ireland in their early 1800’s, but he couldn’t pin down the exact year: he figured it was anywhere between 1804 and 1810. He had almost nothing on her except the name of a church parish near Galway, and some information that she’d moved to Liverpool when she was a girl—again, no exact date.

“He and my grandma went to Ireland in the late eighties trying to hunt her down, but they didn’t find anything useful—”

“Given the family name, if he didn’t have much to go on, he’d have a difficult time tracking her down.” Mr. Parkman sat back and crossed his arm. “Callaghan is such a common name.”

“That’s what my grandfather said. But he had a parish name to go off; it was suppose to be in an old town that had been located between Tuam and Headford.”

“Yes, so many towns up and vanished during the Ninetieth Century.” Trevor gave the matter a few seconds of thought. “Did he mention the closest town to where this town was suppose to have existed?”

Kerry check his tablet. “He mentioned Caherlistrane.”

“Okay.” Trevor filed the information away in his encyclopedic memory. “Go on.”

“Like I said, he didn’t find anything, even though he spent a couple of weeks in the area. So he just filed it all away and came back home after spending three days around Liverpool trying to find something on her.”

“He find anything there?”

“No.”

Trevor raised an eyebrow. “I find that a little strange. There aren’t many Catholic churches in that areas, and I’d imagine they’d have her name on a parish roll.”

Annie spoke for the first time since the conversation began. “Unless she didn’t attend church.”

Kerry looked at his girlfriend a little strangely, while Mr. Parkman chuckled. “Heaven forbid that thought. Even if they left the Emerald Isle and came to England, they found time to attend church.” He paused and his eyes took on a vacant gaze as he tried to remember something salient to the conversation. “They would have had a record of her at St. Peter’s, and then move those records to St. Patrick’s or St. Vincent at some point.”

 

All those places are real, and while Kerry’s grandfather didn’t find Great-Granny’s date of birth, you know I have it.

And there’s more, because when you have a good mystery hugging you around the neck, you don’t let go:

 

Kerry nodded. “Yeah. After my mom and dad were married in 1997, he and Grandma went back to Ireland that summer; he told me they’d planed to spend a month in around Galway checking every parish within a hundred miles of the city. He told me he’d mapped out the location of every church in the area, and even found the locations of parishes that had closed. He said he started checking all these places, and after two weeks he’d come up with nothing. Again, a lot of Callaghans—”

“Which is expected.”

“—But no Aislings. None at all. Or, at least none that fit the time for when she might have been born.”

Trevor held up a finger. “Excuse me, but what was he using as a point of reference for her date of birth?”

“She had two kids: Gwendolyn and Randal. He found birth records for Randal from . . .” He checked his tablet. “9 July, 1849, in Leeds. The hospital record listed the mother as Aisling, but only gave her age as ‘Early 40’s’. He figured from the birth record that she might have been born in the time frame he was checking.”

“I’m surprised they listed her age that way.” Trevor leaned onto his elbows and rubbed his palms together.

“Is that unusual for the UK?” Annie knew from her own family history that the records were fairly exact—but then, her family had information on their lineage going back seven generation.

“It depends if she knew her actual age.” Trevor shook his head. “Most of the time a person will still give an age and not bother with approximations. And a hospital wouldn’t normally list the mother’s age in such a fashion.” He looked at Kerry. “What sort of hospital was it?”

“My grandfather didn’t say, but . . .” He tossed his head to one said. “I got the impression that it was a pretty good one.”

“Which meant they wouldn’t have listed the age that way.” Trevor scratched at the back of his left hand. “Interesting.”

“No—” Annie cleared her throat. “The interesting part comes next.”

“Oh.” Trevor sat up and lay one hand over the other on the table top.

“Yeah.” Kerry chuckled. “You’ like this.”

 

We find a couple of more of Kerry’s ancestors, with Randal being his many-times-removed grandfather.  And born in England as well, which probably burns up his father.

But what’s this interesting thing Annie’s speaks of?  Kerry tells him:

 

“Okay, well . . . After a couple of weeks he tells me he’s got nothing to go on—none of the churches he’s visited have any information on the parish my ancestor was suppose to have attended, and a few even said the town he talked about never existed. The way he described things, he sounded pretty out of it ‘cause according everything he was finding, this Aisling didn’t exist.

“So my grandma and him are sitting in a cafe in Galway having lunch, and this woman comes up to them and introduces herself and says she’s with some historical preservation society that’s gathering data on all the old parishes around the country. She’s heard from several of the churches that he’s looking for information on an ancestor, and guess what?” Kerry threw up his hands an expressed surprise. “She just happens to have everything he’s looking for.”

Trevor was listening even more closely now. “That is interesting. What did she have? Parish records? Marriage records?”

“It’s better than that, Mr. Parkman.” Annie eyed the librarian closely.

“Do tell.”

Kerry grinned broadly. “There were parish records, information on her mother and father, travel documents to England, a few school records—” Kerry pushed his tablet to one side. “According to the documents my grandfather was given, when she was eleven she was sent off to attend a private school—in Scotland.”

Where in Scotland?”

Annie spoke up. “Near Edinburgh.”

Now Trevor was grinning as well, though his tone indicated he was skeptical. “You believe she went to ECMI?”

Kerry nodded tow his girlfriend on his left. “That what Annie thinks.”

“Edinburgh was built in 1808—” Annie was growing excited as she spoke. “Kerry said the papers he say said she started school in 1818. It makes sense.”

Trevor held up his hands as if to hold back the girl’s enthusiasm. “However, there were other private schools in Edinburgh—”

“There’s something else—” Kerry paused for effect. “She graduated from the University of Oxford.”

“What?”

He checked his tablet. “My grandfather showed me documents and pictures. She attended The Queen’s College and graduated in 1830.” He leaned forward, his voice serious but rising with excitement. “I checked, Mr. Parkman: Oxford didn’t accept women until 1878. There is no way she could have attended one of the colleges at Oxford in the 1820’s unless . . .”

Annie finished the statement. “Unless she had help from an organization like the Foundation.”

Trevor rubbed his hands together, working the fist of one in the palm of the other, while he thought. “The Foundation as we know was still forming, but The Lucifer Club was gathering considerable influence in England at that time, and they were doing much of the same things that The Foundation does today.” He pointed at Kerry. “You’re certain she graduated from Queen’s College?”

“Mr. Parkman . . .” Kerry took a deep breath. “My grandfather was not only given her diploma, but there was a graduation picture of her and four other people—three of them women.”

 

It was really nice of that woman–whomever she was–to simply hand over all that secret information without a second thought–right?  Edinburgh was one of the schools attacked during the Day of the Dead, and another of the larger schools in The Foundation.  So if Grandma Aisling went there . . . yeah, witch.  Not to mention she and three other women graduating from Oxford almost fifty years before women were allowed in?  Someone was playing around with records . . .

 

And the only way your great-over-grandmother—and whomever else was in the picture—could have done that would have been with help from The Lucifer Club, or one of the organizations affiliated with them.” He nodded slowly. “It sounds exactly like a Foundation shadowplay.”

“What’s that?”

Annie answered before Trevor could. “It’s where they change the identity of a person and give them a new life. I didn’t want to say anything when you were telling them this earlier, but since Mr. Parkman isn’t saying you’re wrong—”

“Then it’s likely the assumption is correct.” Trevor stood and stretched before leaning on the back of his chair. “If someone discovered she was a witch, it was prudent to move her out of Ireland as quickly as possible. It’s also likely that Aisling Callaghan isn’t her real name; the chances are the only people who would know her real identity is—”

“The Foundation.” Annie nodded. “And would you be able to access that information, Mr. Parkman?”

“If there is any truth to what Kerry is saying, then it’s likely she’s in the data base.” Trevor sat down behind one of the computer displays and began typing away on the keyboard. “Could you spell her name, please?”

 

So Trevor hops on the computer and starts checking the data base–and gets locked out.  He enters his security code–because he does have a right to see sensitive information–and he’s told to make a call . . . to Paris . . .

 

“Paris is the main headquarters; there’s always someone there. Not to mention this is through the Archivist Division, and they run 24/7—” Trevor’s call was connected. “This is Trevor Parkman, Librarian and Archivist for the Salem Institute of Greater Learning and Education. I’m conducting a data base search and I’ve triggered a security lock. Yes, it’s—” He read the code off the screen and waited about tens seconds before speaking to the person on the other end. “I’m performing this search at the request of one of our students . . . Kerry Malibey—M.a.l.i.b.e.y.. Yes, he’s here now—” He listened for a second, then lowered the phone and turned to Kerry. “Is your given name Kerrigan?”

Kerry nodded slowly. “Um, yeah.”

Trevor was back on the phone. “He says yes.” He said and did nothing for the next thirty seconds save nod. When he did speak again, it was in a less authoritative tone. “I understand completely. I’ll let him know. Thank you.” He closed the call the returned his mobile to his jacket.

It was all Kerry could do to keep from shaking in his seat. “What happened?”

Trevor sighed and snapped the monitor off. “I was told you’ll get your answers tomorrow.”

Annie recalled a few times when her mother ran into situations like these, and what usually happened when her “answers” arrived the next day. “They’re being hand delivered, aren’t they?”

Kerry glanced from Annie to Mr. Parkman then back to Annie. “What? What do you mean?”

“What she means is we’re getting visitors from Paris.” Trevor leaned his elbows on the table and almost set his chin against the back of his intertwined hands. “Someone wants to speak with you.”

 

See what you get poking around, Kerry?  You should have been happy with the orgy of secret data your grandfather was given, but no!  You just had to go looking around.  And now you’re getting a visit from Paris.

Tomorrow.

Which is today.

And I will write that up tonight.

 

 

NaNo Word Count, 11/2:  2,240

NaNo Total Word Count:  9,027

The Girl With the Family Secrets

It was an interesting after-work situation yesterday, only because I did something I rarely do, which is venture out into public.  I was out because I had to pick up a book–yes, I still read–and then it was over for dinner.  However, the internet at my local Panera wasn’t working, so all I could do is write.  Damn it all, as they say, are you trying to make me productive?

It was a good thing there wasn’t an internet, because I cranked out nearly six hundred words in about twenty five minutes.  Ah, to be back in the old zone.  It was a good feeling.

 

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

“A little.” He nodded his head back and forth. “Mostly, though, I used to do computer racing.”

“I’m sorry?”

“A few years ago I got a racing program for my computer. It was really more of a simulation for grand touring cars—”

Annie couldn’t help but grin. “FIA-GT.”

“You know that?”

“Oh, yes; I know that. Go on.”

Kerry wanted to ask how she know about that particular series, but decided to tell Annie his story. “I have a steering wheel at home that I plug into my computer—gear shifter and foot peddles, too , so using the program was as much like driving the car as possible. The tracks were modeled perfectly on real courses, so when you raced at, say, Spa, it felt like you were really racing there with other drivers.”

“Did you race there?”

“Spa?”

“Yes.”

He nodded. “Yeah, that was one of my favorites. I did the twenty-four hour endurance race there a few times.”

This time Annie chuckled. “I know all about that one.”

How do you know about that?”

Like she’s going to tell you, kid.  Actually, you’re going to find out in just a bit.

This part was really easy to put together, because Kerry is speaking from the writer’s experience.  I used to do a lot of racing on my computer, using my GTR2 racing simulation game.  I also had the same wheel set up he had, which is how he know it was like driving a race car.

Ah, there you are!  Remember all the laps we put in before I wore you out?

Ah, there you are! Remember all the laps we put in before I wore you out?

That was my rig right there.  I wore out the gear shifter, and because I was unemployed at the time it went belly up, I didn’t use the rebate for the wheel to by a new one.  Which is probably a good thing, because I drove thousands of lap on that game.  Remember Kerry saying he did the twenty-four hour endurance race at Spa?  I did two.  The first one was in the rain and took 550 laps to complete.  The second one was in good weather and I managed 600 laps.  I didn’t drive both of them in twenty-four hours straight.  That’s insane.

He tells Annie about how racing was a challenge to him.  It wasn’t recklessness; it was about being good at what you do and having your car in one piece at the end of the race.  And he talks about setting Emma up:

 

“She threw a couple of blocks at me in the north part of the course. I figured out that she was trying to throw me off, to get me upset, so I’d do something dumb and lose ground to her. So . . .” His grin turned positively ornery. “I set her up on West End, and when she threw a block on me in Sunset—” He demonstrated with his hands how he got around Emma. “She wasn’t thinking about how this course is three dimensional. So I got her.”

Annie giggled and almost applauded. “I’m impressed. That’s a good thing you did there.”

He looked off to his left and scoffed. “Then again, if I hadn’t gotten in front of her, she wouldn’t have crashed into me.”

She gave his hand a stronger, lingering squeeze. “If you decide you want to race, you’ll quickly discover these things happen.”

“Is that what happened with your dad when he was here?” Annie grew still and quiet, though she didn’t turn her eyes away. “Professor Salomon told me a while back your dad used to race here, and Nurse Coraline told me the same.” He quietly swallowed, clearing his throat. “Does he still do that?”

“You could say that. He still races PAVs now and then, but . . .” She took his hand in both hers. “My father is Victor Kirilov; he races in the Formula One series. He also raced in FIA-GT for a while, which is why I knew about that.” She slowly breathed in and out. “The team he drives for is owned and run by The Foundation. They de-engineer super science technology and test it on their cars, so it can be used on Normal vehicles.”

 

So there it is:  it’s out.  Annie’s finally admitted that Daddy’s a big deal.  Of course Kerry is confused by the name.

 

“Oh.” Her smile was soft and enchanting. “That’s how it is with Bulgarian names. My family name is Kirilovi, with an ‘I’ at the end. My father’s name is the masculine version of the family name, which removes the final ‘I’. My mother’s name, and mine, are the feminine version of the name, with an ‘A’ at the end—hence ‘Kirilova’.” She leaned back slightly, hoping she hadn’t confused Kerry too much. “Do you understand?”

He nodded slowly. “It’s sort of like with Russian names.”

“Yes, something like that.”

“I get it.”

 

Clever boy.

The scene finishes with Annie’s true apology.  Sure, she was mad, but her real reasons for seeing Kerry tonight are as such:

 

“That’s okay; I understand—” He looked up as the lights in the ward flashed twice. “Is that your two minute warning?”

Annie was looking up as well. “Gretchen is letting me know my time here is almost over.” She took her time lowering her gaze, little by little, until she once more settled into his deep green eyes. “There’s my apology. I won’t be mad at you for the things you want to do, or at least try. I won’t ever tell you what to do or try either, Kerry. I can offer suggestions, or give advice, but you have to gain these experiences on your own. I’m never going to be that girlfriend who tells you what you have to do, what you must do, and what you can never do.”

She scrunched up her eyes and shook her head. “I know you like to fly, and there’s a fair chance you’ll want to try racing. And . . .” She tightened her grip on his hand. “I love flying with you, and though it might scare me horribly, I’ll watch you if you end up racing.” She bent over and kissed his hand. “I’ll never try and keep you from being the person you’re meant to be.”

 

And there you have it:  the real reason Annie’s there.  To let him be himself, she has to let him be himself.  Of course, there’s also something else going on here, because a while back she confessed to the School Seer that there was a lot more going on than meets the eyes.

Something I’m going to write about tonight.

They’ve got a few minutes before Gretchen kicks them out to get things said . . .

You are getting a lot bigger, you know that?

You are getting a lot bigger, you know that?