Well…what is going to happen next with Annabelle’s story. I will admit to you, I am not even sure at the moment. These are previous posts in Annabelle’s story:
Gina Ward drove back over to her younger brother’s home trying to make sense of everything she had heard. The blonde with the boobs was one complicated chick! You couldn’t help feel sorry for her, but Gina’s main concern that her situation made her the wrong girl for her brother Chris. Whatever she decided to tell Chris about the conversation she’d had with Annabelle Riley, she would emphasise that it was a very good thing that Annabelle was in love with someone else.
When Gina had driven over to the home of The Jennings, she was doubtful she would received a warm welcome. Pearl had answered the door to Gina. Neither of them had met, so Gina had given her name and enquired if it was possible to speak to Annabelle. Pearl had immediately replied that she was sure that Annie would be glad to see Christopher’s sister. She told her that Annabelle had been helping her to do some gardening, but invited Gina to follow her through to the garden. Pearl was right. Annabelle had appeared very pleased at Gina’s visit.
After Pearl had brought a jug of iced-tea and an ooozey lemon drizzle loaf, the three ladies sat outside in the garden. In the few minutes that Pearl had been preparing things in the kitchen, Gina had told Annabelle that she was visiting Chris and was concerned about his low mood. She told Annabelle that Chris seemed preoccupied with a misunderstanding between the two of them. Annabelle didn’t have a lot to say, but she had nodded a lot.
Once Pearl had joined them though, the tone of the conversation had changed. Pearl had mentioned that they were preparing for the arrival of Robin.
Gina had been frankly amazed at how open Annabelle had been. Annabelle had related in detail what Chris had referred to briefly. She heard all about how Annabelle had met Robin at a party in New York and had ended up spending that night and the following day and the following night with him, before they were both back at work on the Monday. She said that from then on there didn’t seem a reason not to be together whenever they could be.
She related that when Robin returned to England over a year later, they had both agreed to allow time to settle their feelings. Annabelle had found it hard without Robin. She said he had been very busy once back in England and starting a new demanding but very well-paid job and being back with his family and his circle of friends. Weeks after he had left, she had realized she was pregnant. Not long after she was on a plane to London so she could share the news face to face. The next thing she knew she was in a hospital with Robin by her side holding her hand.
Pearl Jennings was a very hospitable lady. She seemed to be constantly offering more refreshments to Gina. Each time Pearl had left them for a minute or so, Annabelle had slipped in some detail to her own account of her situation that perhaps she did not want to say in front of Pearl. She had whispered to Gina that before Robin she had only ever had one boyfriend, a guy she’d met when she was seventeen. She said he was a guitarist. but when his band had become famous he had started drinking heavily and taking drugs and had one day hit Annabelle. But when Pearl returned, Annabelle changed the subject.
Annabelle related to Gina that the head injuries she had received during the traffic accident started to cause her challenges. These were heightened when her daughter had been born. Her account of the loss of her baby girl was so moving, Gina had a few tears escape her own eyelids. Annabelle tried to describe her own grief, but became so red faced and upset as she was speaking that Pearl rushed off to the kitchen to fetch some Rescue Remedy. When Pearl had left them, Annabelle looked straight at Gina with wide eyes and told her, “Robin’s family wanted to have me sectioned.” As soon as Pearl came back, Annabelle started relating how supportive Robin had been and had decided it would be best to leave England and take Annabelle back to the States to be near her family and friends.
Annabelle spoke highly of Robin and told of how when it was clear that she could not cope with the noise and crowds of New York, he had started looking at other possibilities.
But Annabelle’s family did not want him to take Annabelle anywhere. They had felt that they were enough support for Annabelle and actually Robin may be to blame for Annabelle’s emotional state. In their minds, this trouble had all started when Annabelle had travelled to England to follow Robin. They tried to tell Annie that she should never have gone to England, that they would be better off without Robin. They blamed English roads, English hospitals and Doctors, and even the English weather for the changes in Annabelle. There had been months of friction and stress between Annabelle’s family and Robin. Eventually after a huge argument between her parents and Robin where they demanded he do the best thing for Annie and everyone and go back to England, Robin had decided to take the first chance to move to a quieter area he could.
That’s how they had arrived in Blackwood. That’s when Annabelle became aware that Robin was having his own challenges. She had not realized how much Robin was struggling. It was only when they arrived in an area where either of them knew anyone that Robin seemed to give up trying. He lost energy, he lost interest in everything. Annabelle admitted that she had not understood until Robin said that he had to go back to England to be with his family for a while because he thought he was losing his mind. She had been very alarmed at this. It seemed incomprehensible to her that Robin would leave her alone. She was adamant she would return to New York to hear her family criticise Robin over and over. He had pleaded with and persuaded her. She had confessed she liked the quiet of Blackwood and would stay there until he returned. He had arranged for her to have the live-in carer job.
Twenty months had passed since he had gone to England. Annabelle explained that she was nervous about Robin’s arrival, because so much time had passed. She had been all consumed with thinking about his visit to Blackwood. She was very happy Gina had come over and she expressed that she did not want Chris to be worried about anything. She considered him a good friend. She indicated to Gina that some folk in Blackwood had observed that they had been together a lot recently and that some had jumped to conclusions about their relationship. She wanted to make sure that nothing was going to make Robin uncomfortable when he returned. It was already a huge step for him to come back to a place where he had become so despairing.
While she was driving back over to her brother’s home, Gina thought about everything Annabelle had told her. Should she tell Chris exactly what she thought? Should she relate everything that Annabelle had said about him? There was one thing she knew she had to let Chris know.
“Well?” asked Chris pushing a mug of tea towards his sister, “You’ve been gone for hours. I’m hoping that the Jennings didn’t rope you into a game of scrabble.”
“Nope, monopoly actually.” Gina took a sip of tea and looked at her brother, “You didn’t tell me they had a baby who died.”
“No, and that they lived together for two years. What they’ve had is pretty serious, as relationships go. You do understand that don’t you?”
Chris sat down at his kitchen table and started running his hands through his hair. “I think so.” he said with a sullen tone in his voice. “Dis she say anything about me and her?”
“She said…she said you have helped her a lot. You’ve been helping her study haven’t you?”
“She mentioned that, and she also mentioned you have helped her to understand what Robin may have gone through. Apparently you have been telling her all about your experience with depression. She said she was wrapped up with her own mental health for a long time. These injuries she had in a car accident, they had a sudden and dramatic effect on her moods and emotions. But she said what happened with her partner was different, for him it was the gradual build up of stress and grief. She said that a lot of things you said to her were almost the same as things that had Robin had told her when he was trying to explain his feelings – things like “trapped”, “cornered” “drowning” “suffocating”. She found hearing you explain your experience calmly helped her to think back and make sense of what Robin had been trying to tell her before he left for England.”
“I’ve helped her understand him?” Chris took a large gulp of tea.
“The point is, you have helped her a lot. She is extremely grateful to you Chris and you are an important friend to her.”
Chris thought about what Gina was telling him, “But she doesn’t want to talk to me? That says a lot about how much of a friend she thinks I am!”
“She said, and by the way, she didn’t mention you kissing her, so I didn’t mention it either, that people in Blackwood have seen you two together and jumped to conclusions that you two are a couple.”
Chris raised his eyebrows in a mixture of surprise and doubt, “Nobody’s said anything to me, well, not really. I had a strange text message from a a girl called Jenna. She told me to ask Annie if she was into threesomes. I just deleted her message.”
“What! I hope Annabelle isn’t getting those kind of comments. Chris, she is really worried about how her partner is going to cope with Blackwood. He was really at his lowest point when he was here. And apparently he has some difficult stuff he wants to talk about with Annabelle.”
“What kind of stuff?”
“She didn’t say.” Gina hesitated as she wondered to herself whether she should share with Chris what Pearl Jennings had whispered to Gina.
“Is that why she’s giving me the cold shoulder? Because she is worried about what other people in Blackwood think?”
“She is worried about her boyfriend Chris. The man she has been in love with these past few years, the father of her child.”
Chris stretched his arms outward, flexing his shoulders, “Ok Gina, I get it. I get it.”
“You can still be a good friend to her you know. She is really worried about the neighbours who have agreed to put Robin up. She said they’ve been asking a lot of questions about Robin and she is frightened that they are going to interrogate him.”
“I think most of the folk in Blackwood are kind of curious about newcomers. I felt as if folk were interrogating me when I moved here.”
“Well, why don’t you offer to have Robin stay here?”
“What! You must be kidding! Why would I have the woman I love and her boyfriend sleeping together under my roof?”
“Annabelle wouldn’t be here. It would only be him. I get the picture nobody would approve of her spending the night with him. I am sure that couple Pearl and her husband would disapprove. He just needs somewhere to stay, with someone who is not going to stress him out. All you would need to do is let him sleep and shower and you can grunt at him when you see him or whatever.”
“Oh I don’t know. I think it’s a bit nuts of you even to suggest it Gina.”
“Would you think about it?”
Chris shook his head. “I don’t think I could. I mean the fact is I am jealous as hell of this guy. Why do I care if he has a hard time while he is here?”
“Look, I don’t know if I should be telling you this, and you have to promise me you are not going to do anything crazy because of this. But, what if I told you that it sounds as if he has got back with his ex-wife?”
“Seriously? Did Annie tell you that?”
“Actually it was Pearl. Annie had gone to use the bathroom. Pearl said that Annabelle is very anxious about it and they are guessing that is what Robin is coming here to tell her face-to-face rather than in a letter.”
“Oh. Oh wow. Annie is going to be devastated. She is devoted to this guy.”
“Would knowing that help you to be a friend to Annabelle now by offering to put him up for a few days?”
“Maybe I’ll think about it.”
“Well you don’t have long to think about it Chris. He arrives tomorrow.”
Annabelle put down the phone and took a deep breath.
“Is everything alright Annie?”
“That was Chris, Pearl. He called to offer his spare-room for Robin to stay in.”
“That’s very kind of him. Christopher is such a nice young man. And it might be easier for your Robin to be with someone his own age rather than with Frank and Olive.”
“Maybe I should pop over there now and let them know Pearl.”
“Yes dear, I think you’re right, before it gets dark. Olive might be making a fuss preparing the spare-room.”
Annabelle rose to her feet and made her way out of the house to go and speak to the neighbours to let them know Robin would be staying somewhere else now. Pearl carried on knitting smiling to herself. When Burt came in with a tray carrying three cups of tea, he asked her what was making her smile so warmly.
“I really like that young man Christopher Ward. I think he would really look after Annabelle. I mean only if her Robin let her down.”
“He hasn’t even arrived yet. Give him a chance. Pearl Jennings – ever the matchmaker. Tut tut tut!”
You can read the next part of Annabelle’s story here:
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?