This is the next part in the fictional tale I have been working on. It follows the story of Annabelle. These are posts from earlier this week:
Chris felt ashamed that he had ended up with Jenna. But it had happened, there was nothing he could do about it now. He thought about what Jenna had told him about Annabelle all day while he worked. Jenna and Annabelle were two very different women. He had mixed feelings about the news there was someone who Annabelle was pining for. On the one hand he felt gratified that he had not technically been rejected. If she was into some other guy that was fair enough. But the thought of someone playing with her feelings and keeping her waiting made him feel sorry for Annabelle.
For the past eight months he had found himself thinking about Annabelle Riley more and more. He had asked her out for a drink once or twice. She had an irritating habit of replying that she already had plans but extending an invitation for him to join too. “Blackwood folk are so friendly Chris, I am sure they would be happy if you came along too.” Annabelle seemed friendly, but didn’t show any signs that she wanted to go on a date with Chris. She was impossible to chat up. He had joined the rambling group because of her. She seemed pleased, but whenever he tried to walk alongside her, she always seemed to migrate towards others in the group. He couldn’t speak to her alone.
He could not remember being this wrapped up with a woman. Chris had a couple of girlfriends in college, and for the last ten years he had enjoyed dating and kept things casual with a string of women, some of whom had employed him to do some kind of repair on their home before flirting with him over iced tea. It’s not that he didn’t want to commit to a serious relationship, but he had never met the “right” woman. This was the first time he had a crush on a woman who didn’t seem to want to flirt with him. At times he felt demoralised. But sometimes he found himself enjoying the challenge. The chase could be fun, so long as the prize was attainable. What a prize! She was annoyingly gorgeous, pretty close to his dream woman, and her personality was so attractive. She was as Jenna said “Blackwood’s favourite girl-next-door”.
As Chris drove home from Glenelg towards Blackwood, he thought more about Annabelle’s being let down by some mysterious man. There being another guy who Annie had a thing for made sense of why she was keeping her guard up. Who the hell was this other guy though? And what was with the mid-life crises Jenna mentioned? Maybe this was an opportunity to win over Annabelle. Afterall, whoever this other guy was, he was not in Blackwood. So now was perhaps the time to make a play for Annie. It was playing on Chris’ mind all day at work. So much so, that he decided to swing by the the Jennings home to see if he could probe Burt Jennings for more details about their lodger.
Burt was pleased to see Chris. “Annie tried to help me hang a couple of pictures indoors Chris. One picture is not straight, the lasted about forty minutes before falling off the wall and taking a chunk of plaster with it. Do you have any filler in your truck?”
Chris was more than happy to help out. Perhaps Burt would be more willing to answer some of his questions about Annabelle. After patching up the area damaged by Burt and Annabelle’s DIY mishap, Chris asked Burt if he could have a word in private.
“It’s about Annabelle”
“Oh dear. What do you want with Annie?” replied Burt, while a deep furrow appeared on his forehead, making it clear to Chris that Burt was not going to make this easy.
“Well, to be honest Burt, I really like Annie. But I hear something is going on with Annie and some other guy, which may not be any of my business, but it sounds as if she has been treated badly.”
Burt looked even more anxious, “Chris, it really is none of your business, or mine, to be curious about Annie’s love life. She is a grown woman and can make her own decisions and make her own friends. I don’t think she would appreciate me interfering.”
“I just want to be her friend Burt.”
“Huh? Sure you do, like all the rest of them. What young man wouldn’t want to get closer to the prettiest girl in Blackwood? You are not the first to notice her!” Burt looked amused.
Chris couldn’t think of anything to say that would make him look as if his interest in Annie was noble, so he let out a deep sigh, “But you don’t object to me trying with her?” Burt remained silent and his face was expressionless. Chris sighed, “Is it impossible Burt? is it completely impossible that someone like me could make Annie happy?”
“You don’t think she is happy?”
“Well, no, she seems very happy, most of the time. But I would like to see if I could make her even happier. I don’t want to harm her in anyway. I would not play games with her. I think she is wonderful. She deserves someone who is there for her, and not someone selfish who has left her to go off and find himself or have a mid-life crises. I mean everyone gets the blues at times, but whoever this guy is, what on earth was he thinking leaving her to wait for him?”
Burt gave Chris a baffled look. “I don’t know what you have heard son, but I don’t think you have any idea of what Annie has been through. Pearl and I are here for Annie. And a whole long list of folk in Blackwood who care about her and have supported her. I don’t think she cares to be romancing at the moment. She has needed peace and quiet and to have her confidence built back up.”
“I’d like to get to know her better.”
“That’s between you and Annie. That’s nothing to do with me. I am no matchmaker. But I think you will find her heart is with this other man you have heard about it – and I will say this, if you badmouth him to Annie, don’t expect her to react warmly.”
“Thanks for the tip Burt.”
“Oh no, it’s no tip, more of a warning. Annie does not need anyone upsetting her. It’s not my place to say, but she has had it rough in the past few years and she doesn’t need any stress. Look son, I am not encouraging you to try with Annie, not at all. But she is free to make her own decisions and friends. It’s up to her to tell who she pleases what she has been through in the past. It’s none of my business. But if I did think you were going to hurt her, I would get out the shotgun and make sure it was all in order.” Burt chuckled and Chris laughed.
At that very moment, Annabelle was at the top of Blackwood Hill wiping tears from her eyes. “What were you thinking Robin?” she mumbled to herself.
“Ok Burt, thanks for the warning then.”
“Any time Chris, now you must excuse me, I have errands to run. I promised Pearl I would pick some things up from the garden center. It closes soon, so I must be off.”
Burt shook hands with Chris and marched over to his car, leaving Chris a little disappointed and more curious than ever.
Here is the next part of Annabelle’s story:
Kim, the creator of Writer Side of Life has given us some great writing prompts. Several of them appealed to me, but I have only chosen one to work on for now, because I am still playing catch up with blogging, after my trip to Australia:
I chose a prompt under the ROMANCE section: 3. Who is she waiting for?