Annabelle Riley is the star of a little fictional series I have been working on. You may have noticed I have thrown in a few personal incidents into Annie’s story, but I keep trying to steer it more towards complete fiction. I hope you enjoy this development. These are previous posts:
Chris felt incredibly excited that Annie finally seemed to be warming to him. She accepted all of his invitations and was pleased with everything he suggested. But Annabelle Riley still made it clear she wasn’t going to be on her own with Chris.
Planning for the weekend after their breakfast together, he insisted to Annabelle they would have a Star Wars marathon, trying to watch every episode of Star Wars. Annie seemed to find all sorts of peculiar residents of Blackwood, folk that Chris had never met, to come along to his home to watch the movies with them. But he made sure she sat next him. He knew he couldn’t lay a finger on her, but he could look. Just being able to nudge her and breathe in the vanilla fragrance she wore felt very satisfying.
On the treks the rambling group took, Annabelle had embarrassed Chris more than a few times by fleeing from him when he tried to walk alongside her and start a conversation. But now he was gratified that she sought him out and asked him many more questions about himself. She particularly seemed interested in his battle with depression. Had he been to any counselling services, what kind of medication had he taken, how did it effect him, how did his family deal with his depression. She asked him if he ever tried to harm himself in anyway, if he isolated himself away from other people, if he felt a sense of hopelessness.
Chris was more than happy to be open about what he had been through. He told her of his parents’ divorce and the pressure of exams. He had lost motivation and been overwhelmed by the thought of the loans he had taken out to study. He told her how much his sister Gina had supported him and insisted he seek medical attention. And Annabelle would listen, concentrating on every word from Chris, oblivious to the looks and comments of other ramblers in their group who had noticed the sudden attention he was receiving from the most popular member of the Blackwood Rambling Group. One afternoon Annabelle was so focused on Chris’ face that she missed her footing and took a tumble. Chris helped her up, anxious she was hurt. Annabelle just laughed at herself. But for some reason she didn’t let go of Chris’ hand. Chris thought it must have been a whole twenty seconds before she seemed to realize and wriggled her fingers and pulled her hand away.
He started to swing by to the Jennings household on the way home from work. Pearl would always offer him a drink and sometimes invite him to stay for dinner. Annie was not always there, but when she was, he made sure he accepted Pearl’s invitation. That led to more conversations with Annie, more of her happy laughter. He started to wonder if there could ever have been a time when Annabelle had really been depressed. It was hard to imagine. He found her company exhilarating. The more time he spent with her, the more Annabelle seemed to relax. But she would only relax if either Burt or Pearl were in the same room. He offered to help Annie study and complete homework for her business studies course. She seemed glad of it, she confessed she found the course material boring.
Helping her with the business studies course created more reasons to invite her out. Annabelle always made sure they would have company. He was getting to know people from Blackwood he had never met before. But despite the abundance of chaperones, he was rewarded with lots of conversations with Annie. He had her attention. So long as they were not alone, she was warm and open and friendly with him. But what would happen if he made a move on her? He wanted to. There were so many times he wanted to stroke Annabelle’s hair, or take her hand. When she was leaning over to clear up the remains of a picnic they had over on Bishops Brow, he couldn’t help but stare at her slightly plump cleavage, and he decided to head to his truck to avoid her noticing the incriminating swell in his crotch. Thinking about what Annabelle looked like underneath her jeans and sweater occupied Chris’ thoughts as he lay in bed that night.
There was a music festival over near Lake Rawstone. Annabelle came up with a list of people who wanted to go, so much so that Chris had to hire a mini-bus. Yet, he had to admit it was fun. Seeing Annie getting everyone laughing and singing on the bus just made him more excited about her infectious gregarious personality. She was fantastic fun that day. He did everything he could to be involved in the trail of fun she lead. He lifted her up onto his shoulders when they were watching a local rock band The Hoppers. He kept grabbing her hands and swinging her round. It was the first time there seemed plenty of opportunities to have physical contact with Annabelle. With thousands of people around, and the excitement of the festival she didn’t seem to mind the closeness of their bodies. Yet he noticed that rather than sitting up front next to him on the way home, she relocated to the back of the minibus.
Annabelle seemed especially pleased with the camping trip he planned. A few of the middle aged members of the Blackwood Rambling Group were happy to join them. They walked to the top of Piper’s Gorge and then made camp in the woods below. After a sausage and onion casserole heated up on the campfire they had built, and a few games that Annie came up with, Chris was pleased that the other campers had become sleepy and were quietly talking amongst themselves. He seized the opportunity to start a conversation with Annie.
“Have you ever had sex in a tent Annie?”
Annabelle rolled her eyes, “If I tell you I will have to kill you Chris.”
“No names, no details, just a straight yes or no.”
“No details! But I can give you a name: Robin of course! He had a real thing about making love outside under the stars.”
“Under the stars? So technically you weren’t in the tent?”
“In the tent, outside the tent, while we were still trying to put the tent together…”
“Ok now you are just making me jealous.”
“So you haven’t?”
“No…I sure as hell would like to. In the tent, outside the tent, underneath the stars.”
“Hopefully you will meet a lovely lady and all your camping canoodling fantasies will come true Chris.”
“Where is Robin now Annie?”
“He is in England.”
“What’s he doing in England when you are here?”
“He is English. His family are there – mom, dad, his brother and sister and their families. He needed to be near his family for a while. He had some things he needed to sort out.”
“Ok, so why are you here and not in England with him?”
“It’s complicated. Why are you asking me that Chris?”
“Because I think he is crazy for leaving you here.”
Annie’s smile had vanished. “Actually, the reason he had to go away was that I was making him feel like he was going crazy. I was not well, not at all well. It pushed Robin to the limit, he had what I guess what you could call a nervous breakdown. He couldn’t work, he couldn’t face people. He needed to get better. He needed the support from his family and to be back home for a while.”
“How long Annie?”
“As long as it takes Chris. You should know that. When someone’s nerves have been pushed to the limit, when they are broken, it can take a while to heal. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. So long as he is recovering from what happened.”
“And you promised him you would wait for him I guess?”
“Damn!” Chris exclaimed, “so I guess there is no point me trying to seduce you? You are determined to wait for him.”
“Is that what you are trying to do? Why on earth would you even want to? Are you after all of my earnings from ironing for the Blackwood community?” Annie laughed shaking her head and then she changed her tone completely and looked directly at Chris. “I love him. I love Robin. You are a nice guy Chris. But Robin is my life. Robin has made so many sacrifices for me, he supported me when I was broken. But I wasn’t able to support him the way he did me, because I was still not well. You ought to know that I am not a great catch Chris. There are some really nice women in Blackwood who are single. I am sure there is a lovely lady just longing to be snapped up. I am not an option.”
Although Annabelle’s voice was gentle, Chris felt the force of her words. His reaction was to throw the stick he was playing with into the fire, “There are some nice women in this town, but there are none so pretty as Annie Riley, and none of them make me feel the way you do.”
“Chris please stop. I asked you not to flirt with me. Nothing is ever going to happen between us. “
“I am trying Annabelle Riley. Believe you me, if I was’t fighting the way I feel about you, then I would already have picked you up and thrown you over my shoulder. I would have taken you into my tent and made love to you a hundred times already.”
Annabelle stared at the fading embers of the campfire. “That’s what Robin did the first time we went camping. He carried me over his shoulder from the shower block back to our tent, in front of a whole field of campers. He didn’t care what anyone thought.”
“I can’t hear this. It makes me insanely jealous. Annie…fire is about to go out, I am going to turn in. If you change your mind and decide you want a night of hot sex in my tent, you’d be more than welcome. Mine is the blue tent. Tim and Amy are in the green tent. I don’t think they would want you to join them! Good night little lady.” Chris rose to his feet and started walking towards his tent.
“Good night Chris. I am not going to change my mind, not tonight and not ever.”
Chris held his hand to his chest with a dramatic motion, “When we get back to Blackwood, you are buying me pizza – with the earnings from your ironing.”
“Pay back for breaking my heart Annie Riley!” He winked at Annie and then blew her a kiss before he stooped down and disappeared into his tent.
The doorbell rang. Robin had just stepped out of the shower. He put his robe on quickly and hurried to the door.
“Hi Robin – I brought breakfast.” said the pretty petite brunette holding up a paper bag, “well, aren’t you going to invite me in?”
Robin hesitated, “Give me a few minutes. I will put some clothes on. It looks like a beautiful morning. We can go and eat in the park.”
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?