Oooooh, what will happen when Robin arrives in Blackwood after being away from Annabelle for so long?
These are previous posts in Annabelle’s story:
Chris opened his eyes and tried to mentally grab hold of what he realized had just been a dream. It had been so real, and he’d felt happiness gripping his stomach. She’d been right there with him. He had dreamt about Annabelle before, well more let his mind fantasize about her. But this was a dream that had started when he was fast asleep. To wake up and lose her brought a wave of disappointment and irritation.
He stood up from his bed and felt tension come back into his neck and shoulders. Glancing over at the pendulum clock that was sitting on top of a chest of drawers, he saw that it was still early. He had plenty of time to tidy up before Burt and Annabelle arrived with Robin. Besides, why should he make a fuss? He was determined he was not going to go to any extra trouble for Annabelle’s boyfriend. Gina had already changed the bed linen before she’d driven home the night before. Why should he do anything else?
Chris needed to let the tension in his body escape. He headed down to his garage to take out his stress on the punchbag that hung there. Chris wondered how on earth he had allowed Gina to talk him into offering his spare room to Annabelle’s boyfriend. Although, if he was back with his ex-wife – that was a complete game-changer. He didn’t know whether to be angry or glad or jealous anymore. All Chris knew was that he was doing this for Annabelle, and if Robin was coming all the way here to break her heart face to face, Chris was going to make sure Annabelle could rely on him.
Burt and Annabelle were on the way to the airport at Appleton, aiming to arrive early. Burt had noticed Annabelle seemed to be shivering. He had asked if she was cold. But she had shook her head and admitted she felt very warm. Burt touched Annabelle’s hand and with a laughter in his voice, “last time I was shaking like that was when I was on my way to meet Pearl at her home before I took her to our high school prom.”
Annabelle smiled, “I feel sick with nerves Burt. I can’t wait to see him, but my insides feel like they are on a roller coaster.”
As they drove into the airport and headed towards the parking area for arrivals, Annabelle called out, “That’s him. Burt, he is standing over by the Arrivals sign. Burt applied the brakes gently, and as the the car came to a halt, Annabelle unclipped her seatbelt and slipped out of the car. Burt turned to watch her long legs stretch out, as she ran towards the man she had been pointing to. Burt chuckled to himself that her nerves seem to have vanished rather quickly.
“Robin!” Annabelle started to call out as soon as she thought he would hear her. The nerves had well and truly vanished. On reaching Robin, Annabelle flung her arms around him and embraced him tightly.
“Belle! My Belle!” Robin’s hand held the back of Annabelle’s head close against his shoulder and he nestled his face into her hair.
“I can’t believe you’re here Robin.”
“Baby, look at me.” Robin gazed into Annabelle’s eyes, “it’s been too long, I know. I feel terrible.”
“Shhhh. All that matters is that you are here now.” Annabelle buried her face into Robin’s shirt again.
Robin wrapped a large chunk of hair in his hand and gently pulled her head back. The memory of Robin tugging her hair during steamy nights together made her neck tingle. He wanted to look at her. “So pretty, so so pretty. How are you Belle? Apart from being furious with me for taking so long to come back here.”
“I am not furious silly. I am very very happy now you are here.” Resisting the tug on her hair, Annabelle pushed her face back into Robin’s chest and breathed in the scent of his aftershave. “Wood Essence.”
“Yeap, I wore it for luck.”
Annabelle let out a deep sigh, “I am so glad you are here.” She turned as the toot of Burt’s car sounded.
“Is this our ride?” asked Robin.
Annabelle opened the boot of Burt’s car and Robin lifted his cases into the trunk. Within minutes the three were heading back to Blackwell. Burt asked Robin how the flight had been and if he had been waiting long before they had arrived. Robin chatted pleasantly, with mundane details about the food on the aeroplane and the turbulence they had encountered. Robin told Burt how Annabelle had often written about him and Pearl. He expressed how grateful he was for them making Annabelle feel so welcome. Annabelle was quiet and content as she sat in the back of the car. She loved listening to the tone of his voice. She frequently put one of her hands on his shoulder or played with his hair.
Burt told Robin that Pearl was preparing dinner for them that evening. He then asked if he would first prefer to head to the home of Christopher Ward, the friend of their’s who had offered his spare room for Robin. Robin turned to look at Annabelle, who turned her face away and knotted her eyebrows. Robin admitted he would like to freshen up after the long journey and change his clothes. So it was agreed they would drive straight to Chris’ home.
On arriving at Chris’ home, Annabelle was slow to unbuckle her seatbelt. Burt realized she may still feel useasy, so he climbed out of the car and strolled over to the front door, while Robin and Annabelle unloaded his suitcases. Before Burt had reached the porch, he heard the voice of Chris calling out as he walked across the garden with a paint tin in his hand.
Burt greeted Chris very warmly, stretching his hand out, “Very good of you Chris. We all appreciate it, especially Annabelle of course. He seems like a nice enough chap. I’m sure he won’t cause you any trouble.”
“No problem Burt. How is Mrs J?”
“Mrs J won’t sit still for more than five minutes, she’s been baking and cooking, making jam and pickling. She sends her regards Chris.”
Chris turned towards Robin and Annabelle and his heart sunk. They did not look as if they had wasted any time patching up whatever they needed to talk about. Robin did not look like he was going to let Annabelle go, nevermind end their relationship because of his ex-wife.
Chris cursed under his breath. He marched towards them and grabbed the large case next to the car and started walking back towards his front door. He felt a kind of resentment building up in him. He knew only too well it was jealousy. He couldn’t even look at them. Not at him anyway. It was hard not to shoot glances at Annabelle. Her face lit up with joy. He wanted to see her smiles.
Burt excused himself saying that he needed to pick up some groceries for Pearl. He asked Annabelle what she was going to do. Annabelle whispered into Robin’s ear and he nodded. She then addressed Chris, “would it be alright if I stayed here while Rob gets ready Chris?”
Chris told Annabelle that she was welcome to stay. Burt asked Annabelle to call when they were ready to come over for dinner and he would drive by to collect them. As soon as he had left, Chris grabbed the case again and headed towards the stairs, “I’ll show you the spare-room.” Robin followed Chris, while Annabelle lingered downstairs in the hallway. When Chris came back down the stairs on his alone, he thought Annabelle looked sheepish.
“I’m putting the kettle on Annie. What do you want to drink?”
“Chris, I just wanted to say thank you. It is so kind of you…”
“It’s nothing Annie. Are you happy he is here?” Chris told himself mentally that he had just asked a stupid question.
Annabelle couldn’t help but smile. “Sure am.” She looked down at the floor and her fingers fidgeted with her sleeves. “I wanted to talk to you Chris.”
Chris looked at Annabelle. “Please don’t feel awkward Annie. You look as if you want a run a mile. Just relax.”
“I know this must be awkward for you though, isn’t it?”
“Well, yeah, kind of. The last time we spoke you told me I was crazy. You said you couldn’t trust me. And you haven’t answered your phone when I tried to call to apologise. I thought we were friends.”
“I ought to have called you. I have been busy, but I should have called. My head has been all over the place recently. I didn’t want you to think I was angry about anything. I was annoyed that night, but only because I wanted to read Robin’s letter,” Annabelle was too embarrassed to maintain a lot of eye contact with Chris, who had that adoring gaze in his eyes, “But Chris, a few days later, someone told me that people were talking about the two of us. People saw what happened. Talk was that you and I were making out on the high street. I tried to make it clear that we are just friends, but people just want to believe whatever they like. I just thought it best if we made sure the gossip didn’t get any worse. You know, for Robin.”
Chris looked sternly at Annabelle. “Nobody would have known anything about it if you had just called, or even texted, to tip me off. I thought you were mad at me. You – my best friend here in Blackwood, I thought you were just cutting me off. I’ve been pretty moody lately because of you avoiding me.”
“That was wrong. I didn’t think. I am sorry, I have just been wrapped up in getting ready for Rob to come. I just didn’t think about how you would be feeling. I should have called.”
“Ok, so we have both apologised. Does that mean we are friends? Because it’s pretty lousy thinking you want to bail out on me.”
“We are friends Chris,” smiled Annabelle, “I am really grateful that your sister came over yesterday. She’s so lovely.”
“She’s great. Best sister in the world,” Chris looked at Annabelle with an eyebrow raised, “but you know this was her idea, offering to put up Robin. She kind of bullied me into it.”
“Oh dear, oh I am sorry Chris. If you aren’t really happy to have him, then…”
“No, it’s cool. It’s cool Annie. I’m just saying it because it does feel a bit weird. You know how I feel about you. There you go blushing again. I’m only saying it because I would do anything to help you out, but I confess, him being here is going to be hard for me – probably the last person on the planet I would want to be hosting.”
Annabelle nodded, “I think Chris, that out of all of us, Rob is the one who is going to find the next few days the hardest.”
“Maybe. But he is going to be spoilt by Pearl Jennings, which should make up for it.”
“Oh I forgot, Pearl wanted me to ask you to join us for dinner. I am supposed to ring her to say if you are coming.”
Chris was hesitant, “do you want me there Annie?”
Annabelle found she couldn’t look at Chris, although she realized he wanted her to, “Please come Chris” she said softly.
“Well, ring and tell Burt I’ll drive us over then.”
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?