Yule Time Tea Time

Yes, I know:  late, late, late.  No, really, it is late.  It’s like almost one PM, or thirteen on the clock, here, and I’m just getting to this.  Why so late?  Because I have like no energy.  I spent a lot of time just napping and stuff yesterday, and this morning . . . just can’t focus.  Every little thing pulls me away–like the pain in my left shoulder that came back yesterday.

But I’ve done stuff, too.  Like . . . you’ll see.

First, though:  the writing.  Between last night and this morning, twelve hundred and seventy words went down.  The Christmas tea party is over, and well, Annie had questions, right?  Lots of questions.  But what are her answers?

 

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

Annie waited for nearly twenty minutes before broaching a subject that had been on her mind since returning home. “May I ask for something?”

Pavlina set down her tea. “Is there something you’d like from the kitchen?”

“No, Mama, thank you. I had something else in mind.” She looked from her mother then to her father. “If I may—”

Victor nodded. “Certainly, Nini. Speak whatever’s on your mind.”

She knew she’d not have a problem with that, as that was her intention. “I’d like to buy either a laptop or a phone.”

Both parents glanced across the table before her mother spoke. “Why do you need one, Annie? You can use my laptop most of the time.”

“I know, Mama, but . . .” Annie cleared her throat and kept her tone reasonable. “I feel it’s time I have a computer of my own—or, if nothing else, an iPhone like—” She caught herself before she said, “Kerry,” and went with the far more generic expression. “—the other kids at school.”

Again Pavlina and Victor looked at each other across the dining table, neither speaking a word, and again it was left to Pavlina to answer. “I’m not certain you need a mobile, dear—” She glanced out the large window to her right. “Or a computer.”

A puzzled look dashed across Annie’s face. She expected her parents to ask a question or two, but she didn’t expect her mother to seem reluctant to commit to the idea. Annie moved on to the next part of the process— “I wouldn’t expect you to buy either for me; it’s best if I pay for this out of my trust.” She turned towards her mother, a slight smile upon her face. “All you have to do is pay for it then take the money from my—”

“No.”

For a moment Annie was taken back by her mother’s single-word comment. “What do you mean, no?”

 

Yeah, mom, what do you mean by “no”?  This is something Annie’s not heard much in her life, or at least not this definitively.  Keep in mind the year before it was, “I wanna buy Kerry a broom,” and mommy bought the thing and took the money out of Annie’s trust fund.  Suddenly Mama’s putting down the hard line, and Annie wants answers.

 

“I mean no. I mean you I don’t believe you require a computer or a mobile right now.” Pavlina raised her cup to her lips. “That should answer your question.”

Annie wasn’t about to take her mother’s answer as the final answer. Though she was educated and cultured, she wasn’t above performing the same action as teenage girls everywhere: she turned to her father. “Papa, I—”

Victor was ready for his daughter’s tactics, however. “I agree with your mother on this matter, Annie. You have a computer terminal at school, and your mother has a laptop here you can use when absolutely necessary.” He took a moment to enjoy a bite of banitsa before bringing up this last point. “As for needing a mobile—it’s not as if there are a huge number of people with whom you need to speak, so again, the need for a mobile—”

“What do you mean it’s not as if there’s anyone with whom I need to speak?” She hadn’t meant for her tone to come off sounding as heated, but she knew full well that they knew there was someone with whom she wished to speak . . . “You should—”

“I do know, Annie.” Pavlina set both hands palm down on the table as focused on her daughter. “We know exactly why you want these: you want to be able to speak with Kerry. Either you’re going to call or text him—or, if you have a computer, you’ll Skype him so you can speak face-to-face, more or less.” She shook her head. “If I thought you were going to use either for something other than speaking to—” For a moment Annie thought her mother was going to say “that boy”, but she didn’t. “—Kerry, then I might consider your request.

“However, I don’t believe that to be the case. I feel the only reason you a computer or mobile is so you can spend this upcoming summer holiday chatting away with your Ginger Hair Boy. Isn’t that so?”

 

So Annie’s parents are totally hip on the reasons why Annie wants this:  they just aren’t down on given them to her.  Or letting her buy them.  It seems like Pavlina has visions of her little girl sitting in front of a computer screen all day long during the summer chatting up her boyfriend–who she’s careful not to call her boyfriend, at least in front of her husband.  Even though you know they both totally know.

It’s also nice to know that Annie isn’t above doing the old, “If one parent says no, see what they other says,” trick.  Teenagers be teenagers, even if they’re witches.

Finally Annie gets right to the exact point of why she wants to have this contact with her soul mate:

 

Annie nodded. “I want to be able to speak with Kerry directly starting this summer. He has to come out to his parent after we go home—”

“As always happens with witches from Normal backgrounds.”

“It’s not going to be easy for him, Mama.” Annie leaned towards her. “His parents aren’t like either of you: they don’t understand him, they don’t show him any affection—”

“Thank you for saying we do those thing for you.” Victor smiled across the table at his wife. “It’s so rare one hears these things from their children.”

Pavlina smiled back. “Very true, my darling.”

Mama; Papa.” Annie knew her parents were stalling, trying to deflect the conversation away from the current discussion. “I want to be there for Kerry this summer. I want him to be able to speak with me quickly, and not have to rely on sending as letter and waiting three days for a response.” She changed her tone so as not to be so stern. “Please, Mama? I don’t want Kerry to feel alone.”

Pavlina slowly drew in a breath, scrutinizing her daughter the whole time. “I know you’re not going to want to hear this, but you need to understand this: you can’t always be there for the one you—” She caught herself before substituting the correct word for another phase. “—care about. This is most true about Normal witches who come out: they don’t always have an easy summer following their announcements, and what follows is something they must face alone.

“And as painful as it seems, you can’t be there for Kerry. You can help to a certain extent, but you can’t be his lifeline, Annie. You can’t always be there to rescue him; you can’t help ease his discomfort.” She shook her head just enough for Annie to notice. “And even if you had some way of maintaining constant contact with him over the the summer, it won’t always be enough.” Pavlina poured more hot water into her cup and set her tea ball inside to seep. “He has the face these things alone; he has to decide for himself what path to follow.” She place one hand over the other and set them in her lap. “Just as you do with him now: you let him learn these things on his own.”

The last thing her mother said made Annie regard her with cold reflection. The reasons given to Annie concerning not getting a phone or computer could have boiled down to, “Because we said,” but her mother took the reasons a little further and gave the exact reason: You can’t be there for Kerry. You can’t be there to help him.

Even then there was more to the statement, and her mother made certain Annie was aware of this fact.

 

What seems to be at work here is Annie’s parent know things are often hard for witches from Normal families, and Kerry will likely not be an exception.  But there are things said, things hinted at, and when Annie goes to her room at the end of this scene she begins to wonder things . . .

Two scenes down, two to go:

Keeping the words coming even when it's not easy.

Keeping the words coming even when it’s not easy.

Tomorrow we get a peek at Annie’s house–no, not the lake house:  you’ve seen that.  Her parent’s house.  And it’s really a treat . . .

Willkommen in Wien: Das Setup

Well, now, it’s Yule Time in my world at this moment, and it’s time for the kids to get away and head for home.  And as you’ve probably noticed, the bad German in the post heading means they’re going someplace where German is spoken.  If you’re thinking, “Berlin,” wrong, because you only need look at my layouts to know where I’m going, and know that Wien means something else in English:

This means nothing to me/Oh, Vienna

“This means nothing to me/Oh, Vienna.”

If you remember from last year–yeah, about that time–when Annie left for home sweet home at Yule, she jaunted into Vienna.  And by now we know why we’re going to the airport, because The Foundation loves using airports for something besides flying . . .

 

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

Bernice Rutherford entered the waiting area of the Main Foundation Jaunt Transit Center located twenty meters under Terminal 3 of Vienna International Airport, having jaunted from London to the public center under Terminal 2 only ten minutes earlier. She scanned the room—about twenty by fifteen meters, with the main jaunt platform in another room just beyond a glass wall—and quickly counted just under a two dozen people. She knew they were there for the same reason she was there: children were returning from Salem for Yule holiday, and people were on-hand to take them home.

A number of the individuals gathered in the waiting area were like Bernice: case workers there picking up, for the most part, A and B Level students, though a few C and D Level students were still in need of transfer from here to their homes. In some cases one or both parents arrived with their child’s case worker, but most were waiting alone like her, and would leave as soon as their charge was ready to depart.

There actually wasn’t a need for Bernice to be in Vienna. Her charge lived in the United Kingdom which meant she should pick him up from the transit center under Heathrow, but an email she’d received on Wednesday informed her that her charge was entering Europe through another station, and she’d formulated a good idea why there was a change of venue.

She spotted a somewhat familiar face in the crowd, and as she head toward them to make her introductions, she wondered if they knew of this change in plans . . . “Hello, Mrs. Kirilova.”

Pavlina Kirilova turned towards the young black woman and spent only a moment searching her memory. “Bernice Rutherford, isn’t it?”

“Yes.” She held out her hand. “We met in Amsterdam when your daughter returned from her A Levels.”

 

Here we are, and I’m starting out the scene with the point of view not from the kids, but someone close to one of the kids.  It only makes sense that if Ms. Rutherford is in Vienna she’s probably going to run into someone who close to the other one of the kids, and she wasn’t disappointed.  And that other person remembers who Ms. Rutherford is close to as well–

 

Pavlina smiled as she shook the case worker’s hand. “My daughter and someone else, I believe.”

Bernice tightened her grip on the purse handles around her shoulder. “Yes—someone else.”

“Is that the reason you’re here?”

“Yes. Kerry emailed me Wednesday morning and told me he was returning through Vienna.” Bernice watched the face of Annie’s mother. “Were you aware he was coming?”

“Yes.” Pavlina glanced over Bernice’s shoulder, then shifted her gaze back. “The last letter from Annie informed me that Kerry was going to accompany her to Vienna, and from there he was going to either London or Cardiff.” She gave a quick shrug. “I received her last letter yesterday morning, though, so I didn’t have a chance to ask more about the change.”

“Oh, I see.” Based upon everything Bernice knew about Annie, it almost appeared as if the young woman was trying to head off a conversation by waiting until the last moment to inform her mother than she wasn’t traveling alone. “You could have contacted the school yesterday and asked for clarification.”

A few seconds went be before Pavlina chuckled. “Doing that would have made me look like one of those parents who micromanage their child’s life—and one thing I learned years ago is that Annie does as she likes. Contacting the school to speak with Annie—” She smiled while slowly shaking her head. “Besides, I trust Annie’s judgment: it’s not as if she’s doing something one might consider bad—”

“What are you two discussing?”

 

Yes, Annie’s mom knows all about Annie’s, um, friends.  Her close friends.  Her soul mates, you might say.  And here we learn that Annie waited until the very last minute to tell her mother that, hey, guess who’s jaunting into Vienna with me?  Not saying that Annie is being a little sneaky, but (1) she could have mentioned this at any time weeks before, and (2) she totally is.

But there’s really no harm here, because Annie’s mom has met Kerry, and Kerry her, and since they’re both headed for Europe why not leave together?  Kerry would have to kill time before leaving for London anything–because of the time difference he wouldn’t leave the school for another ninety minutes–and maybe they both thought it best to remove Kerry from a place where (1) Annie wasn’t around and (2) a certain red haired girl might throw caution to the wind and try something really stupid, which would lead to (3) Annie killing said girl, or at least messing her up bad.

But wait:  who is talking here at the end?  Because it’s obvious they’ve interrupted Pavlina–

 

Bernice turned and found a man about six centimeters taller than Pavlina standing to her right with short-clipped dark hair and brown eyes. He was dressed simply in jeans, tennis shoes, and a sweater. He wasn’t wearing a coat, but that was to be expected if he’d just jaunted from a home.

He handed a small cup of steaming liquid that Pavlina accepted without question. She took a small sip and nodded her approval. “Thank you, dear—oh, nothing much.” She turned to Bernice as she motioned towards the man who’d just joined them. “Bernice, I’d like you to meet my husband. Honey, this Ms. Rutherford.”

 

Remember me saying you’re going to meet someone you’ve never really met before?  Who has only actually appeared in the novel once, way back in the very first scene I wrote, which was Annie leaving for school.  He’s actually never appeared in the excerpts, but now, finally, you get to meet him.

Welcome, Annie’s father!

 

The man held out his hand. “Victor Kirilov. Pleased to meet you.”

She shook his hand. “Bernice Rutherford. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” She sighed out a breath. “And, if I may, congratulations on this last season.”

He appeared pleased. “We fought hard to reach third, so it was a welcomed podium.” He turned to his wife. “Did I hear you talking about Annie?”

Pavlina nodded. “Yes. Bernice is a case worker, and she’s here to pick up her charge.” She peered over the rim of her steaming beverage with large, dark eyes. “She knows Annie through her charge.”

“I see.” Victor turned to Bernice. “Are they someone in Annie’s level?”

Bernice fought hard to keep the grin off her face. “Yes, they are.” She shot a look at Pavlina, not certain who should be the one to do the reveal.

Annie’s mother saved her with a quick nod and a gleam in here eyes. “Honey, she’s here for Kerry.”

Victor required a few seconds before turning to his wife. “That Kerry?”

 

That Kerry?”  Sort of like, “That slime mold?”

 

“Yes, the one and the same.”

“Didn’t you say he lives in Wales?”

“He does, but apparently he’s coming home with our dearest daughter.”

“Hum.” He cast as quick glance in the direction of the jaunt platform. “I see.”

Pavlina smiled at the now grinning case worker. “I believe you will.”

 

Yes, I believe you will, Victor:  you will finally meet your dearest daughter’s one and only.  And he’ll get to meet you.

Yeah . . . this should be fun.