Stillness in the Heart

I had a hard time writing last night.  One of the issues before me was how to get the scene started, because words weren’t working.  There was also a certain amount of distraction around, but none of it had to do with my usual face burning, because I’m not doing that until Wednesday.  It was just my mind being all over the place.

But there was a section of my brain that felt a little bit of suffering, and it didn’t have anything to do with getting an electric probe shoved into my skin, it was about emotions.  Feelings.  Wantings, you might say.  I’m in the down section of my hormonal cycle, and I was slipping into sad mode while I thought about, and wrote, the scenes before, because it began pulling up old feelings I’ve had for quite a while.  And it was hitting me hard, because . . . well, let’s start the excerpt and perhaps you’ll see.

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Seconds after opening his eyes, Kerry sensed the silence and the darkness. The darkness was easy to notice: even in the aftermath of the Midnight Madness there was always ambient light available so any students who stayed until the end—or had fallen asleep, as Annie and he had done on many occasions—could find their way out of the Dining Hall without fear of running into or tripping over furniture.

Then there was the silence. Even at the end of a Madness there was some kind of soft noise: students or instructors speaking; the shuffling of feet; the crackling of dying embers in the huge fireplace. None of that existed at this moment. The room was beyond deadly quiet: it was as if Kerry awakened in the quietest room in the world.

If not already aware that this was the Dining Hall, Kerry might have believed he was lying in his bed back in his room—

Except for one thing . . .

 

It not hard to figure out what that one thing is Kerry has here in the aftermath of the Midnight Madness, and not back in his room.

 

He propped himself up on his left elbow and watched the still-sleeping Annie. During all their moments when they’d slept together, she was usually the first to wake, or she’d wake at the same time. The only time he’d ever seen Annie sleeping was the morning after returning from Yule holiday, when he’d found her on the sofa in the Mezzanine Commons, she she didn’t look much different then than she appeared now—face soft and slack, lips parted slightly, eyelids smooth and forehead unfurrowed, her hair piled to the sides around her ears.

Kerry imagined this was how she’d looked every night, so completely different from the person he’d seen in his dreams for almost a decade. It seemed impossible that this was his Chestnut Girl, the one he’d played with as a toddler, the one he’d read to when he became a tweener, the girl he’d loved for so long before telling her—and the girl who he’d forgotten, and whom he’d fallen in love with once again before remembering he’d never loved anyone else.

After watching her for almost a minute, Kerry touched his finger to her lips, applying the slightest of pressure. At first Annie did nothing, then her head shifted to the left before slowly returning to the prior position. He did the same thing, but this time Annie’s head rolled back slightly. She gasped before speaking in a soft, sing-song voice. “Ummmm, az sŭm na toplo. Drŭzhte me tuk, Obicham da sŭm na toplo.”

He’d chuckled, for he’d never heard Annie talk in her sleep. It made sense she’d speak in Bulgarian, with it being her native language; his only regret was not knowing what she’d said—save for obicham. He’d come to recognize that word so well that when writing over the summer to Annie, he’d ended his letters with the phrase “Obicham te”—”I love you.”

He kissed her on the cheek, touching her as gently as he had her lips. Annie sighed as a tiny smile began to form. He kissed her again, and she squirmed the slightest bit, her hands moving slowly under the comforter. Kerry gave her a light kiss on the lips—

 

This kids and their watching someone sleep moments.  We’ve already seen Team Annie at work as she’s done her Edward bit a couple of times and watched Kerry for a few minutes in the hospital before saying screw this and moving right up into the bed next to him, and now it’s Team Kerry not only watching, but doing a little touching.  And smiling.  And kissing–let’s not forget the kissing.

And this is where I was having problems writing, because feeling Kerry do those things–I so wanted to do them myself.  When I wake up in the middle of the night, it’s just to stare up at the ceiling and wondering about things and people:  I never get the chance to look over and see someone sleeping and dreaming away the night.  I needed to get up and walk away for a bit, to just recompose myself after bring out that scene.  It’s only a few hundred words, but it touches me, and even hurts a little–

So many times Kerry sat awake in the dark, when there was no one, even in his dreams, to comfort him.

So many times Kerry sat alone in the dark, where there was no one, not even from his dreams, to comfort him–

And for so long now, I’ve felt the same.

Ah, enough of this.  Let’s finish up with my kids, because this is their story.

 

Annie gave the softest of moans as her hand blindly reached upwards and touch his head and shoulder. He held the kiss for about fifteen seconds, and when he pulled away he was peering down into her now slightly opened eyes.

“Ummmahhhh.” Annie arched her back as she stretched. “You woke me with a kiss.”

He ran a finger over her left cheek. “I thought you’d like that.” He kissed her again, and while he didn’t hold it as long as the last, it was far more passionate. “There’s something you need to know . . .”

Annie was fully awake now. “What is it?”

“We’re the only ones in the hall. It’s empty.”

She was sitting up a moment later and looking around. It took but a moment to confirm his statement. “Hummm.”

“Do you know who was in charge of winding down things tonight?”

“I think it was Helena and Erywin.” Annie lay back and looked up at her boyfriend. “It looks as if she thought we needed to speak to each other.”

Kerry knew what she mean, for this wasn’t the first time they were allowed to sleep on after the Madness was over. Back at the end of March Professor Lovecraft let them sleep over so the Dining Hall could clear out and Annie could ask him an important question . . . “So it would seem.”

 

And that last time in the Dining Hall was the lead-up to the final “Do you want to be a Good Sorceress?” question, and that turned out all right.  At least for now.

The remainder of this scene has been changed a lot from how I first saw it, and I should get to that tonight.

I’ll remember to stay out of the dark.