Well….I have been deliberating and debating how Annabelle’s story will end. It is so hard to make life choices for a character! I am getting there! And I am enjoying writing Annabelle’s story, which is the most important thing. I never imagined I would have a go at a longer fictional project.
These are previous posts in Annabelle’s story:
Claudia checked her phone again. There were no missed calls or text messages from him. She scrolled through her contacts until she came to GRAINGER, ROBIN, and pressed call. She listened to the ringing tone until the voice mail recording began.
“Robin, you said you’d call me. Have you told Annabelle yet?” she ended the message there and then turned to the friends she was having brunch with, “I hope he doesn’t do something foolish while he is over there. Not after everything is working out so well for him here.”
“He doesn’t deserve you darling.” declared the immaculate and stylishly dressed woman seated next to her.
Mrs Jennings had been preparing a roast dinner for the evening. “She always serves her roast with two different kinds of meat, and there is always stuffing,” whispered Annabelle to Robin.
“Hmm. I could eat an entire cow right now. Do you know what kind of meat she is cooking tonight?”
“Maybe I do, maybe I don’t.” was Annabelle’s response with laughter in her voice, “Aaaaagh!”. Robin had shot his arm out behind him and his hand was gripping her knee tightly. “Ow, that hurts! Ok, ok, I saw lamb, I didn’t see what the other meat is. Ow! I mean it, I didn’t see any other meat, but I know there will be another. You are going to bruise my knee you baboon.”
“But sweets, you don’t like lamb.” loosening his grip and turning to Chris, who was driving his truck, Robin, started doing an impression of Annabelle’s whimpering voice complaining at why anyone would want to eat a little lamb.
Annabelle focused her eyes on Chris, “Lamb, rabbit and little ducklings – I have no idea why people want to eat cute animals,” she turned her face back toward Robin, “You are obviously not that hungry Robin. If you were nicer, I would promise you could have my lamb, but as you have injured my knee and offended me at the same time, I am going to give my lamb to Chris.”
“Ha! Well…if I was driving Belle, I would make you get out and walk the rest of the way.” He turned around and gazed softly at her, with an expression questioning if she was enjoying the banter between them.
It didn’t escape Annabelle’s attention that he was concerned she was happy. She lent forward as far as her seatbelt allowed and put her arms around the chair in front of her. Her hands could reach just past Robin’s arms and touch his chest. “Do you really think that Pearl Jennings would allow either of you two into the house if she thought you had abandoned me on the way?”
Chris who had been listening to the conversation between his two passengers, eagerly trying to identify any hint of estrangement between them, chimed up, “Burt wouldn’t, but I don’t know Annie, Pearl probably would.”
“So true! Robin, Pearl adores Chris. I think she wants to adopt him.”
Chris tried to grin. As much as he was fond of Mrs Jennings, it was the young lady who lodged with them that he had been trying to impress for the past ten months.
“Oh Belle, how is the old boy you lived with before, Mr Crabbe?”
“I forgot to tell you. Ralph had a fall. He is still in hospital because he fractured his hip. Ralph would really like to see you again. I have promised we will visit while you are here. But I think we are going to have to sneak in.”
“Did you say Ralph Crabbe is in hospital Annie?” asked Chris quite startled at the news.
“Yeah, they are trying to get his blood count up before some surgery. I think they are giving him iron and some other medicine that encourages more red blood cells to be produced. I think he is going to be in hospital for a while.”
“When did he fall?”
“Erm, well, it was at the start of last week I think. Let me think, I went over there on Tuesday evening. I had called and asked if I could come over and he invited me to have some dinner with him. When he didn’t answer the door I went round to the back and saw the back doors were open. Ralph was lying at the bottom of the stairs. So I just called for an ambulance straight away. I have been to visit him every day since. Burt and me went to see him this morning before we needed to be at the airport.”
“Well done beautiful!” Robin’s whole face lit up with pride at Annabelle. “Why are we going to have to sneak in to visit him?”
“Well, one of the medical administrators at the hospital is a little bit…how can I say this without being unkind?…let’s just say, there is someone who works there who, if she sees you, will ask you about a hundred personal questions, and then whatever you say, she will tell about a hundred people.”
“Are you talking about Jenna?” Chris felt his face redden slightly.
“Please don’t think I am being cruel. But news does travel very quickly in Blackwood. Jenna’s very nice, but I am always a little careful of what I say. If she passes anything on to Margo and Amber, well it may as well be printed on the front page of the Wisconsin State Journal”.
“Oh I know Jenna, don’t worry Annie. Anything you say about her is not unkind. She is not…well, I just know. You don’t have to say it.”
“Are you two trying to say that she is a right cow, but you’re both being too polite?” Robin started laughing.
“Ha ha! That sounds so funny with your English accent. I don’t think I should have said anything to you.”
“If she asks me a hundred questions, I will give her a hundred answers that are complete rubbish. She can spread that all around Blackwood. Tell her I’m one of the royal family, or I have a yacht on Lake Como. Or I’m a racing driver. People like that – you just tell them anything and everything – except the truth!”
“If you make her think you are rich, then she, along with the rest of Blackwood’s population of single females, will be trying to charm the pants off you. Tell her you make tea-cosies or something that is not going to make you a chick-magnet Robin. The last thing I need is to be fighting off other women who want a piece of you.”
“I don’t know Belle, it might be quite entertaining. What do you think Chris? Female wrestling. Belle takes on the Blackwood bitches. Maybe if you are wrestling in nothing but your underwear, it might draw quite a crowd. I’d bet all my spare change on you sweets.”
“In your dreams Mutley!” cried Annabelle with a hint of shock in her tones.
“Oh Babe, in my dreams, every night, you in your underwear.” Robin raised his arms and then shook his hands into his palms.
“But not in real life. Well, whose fault is that?” snapped Annabelle.
Surprised that her tone had become sharp, Robin turned around and looked at her, “All mine. And don’t think I haven’t punished myself a million times for letting you down.”
“I’m sorry Robin, I didn’t mean…”
“No, it’s ok. You can say whatever you want to say gorgeous. We’ll talk later Belle. We’ve a lot of talking to do. Save it all up for when we’re alone.”
As Chris pulled up outside the Jennings’ home, he found his head was stewing over every part of the conversation that had passed between Robin and Annabelle. As they were all climbing out of Chris’ truck, he was surprised when Annabelle touched his arm and to hear her quiet voice say to him, “Jenna seems to like you Chris. She said you are a great kisser.”
Before Chris could think of a reply, Robin had grabbed Annabelle’s hand and the two of them were walking ahead of him up to the veranda of the Jennings’ home. He thought he overheard Robin say, “I know he does, you’re giving your lamb to me though Babe.”
Chris had not wanted Annabelle to become aware that he had dated Jenna in the past, or that he had ended up spending the night with her, after Annabelle seemed to snub him. Had Jenna told Annabelle? As he was walking towards the Jennings’ front door, Chris felt a surge of adrenaline creep through him. He felt in the mood for a fight, which he knew was not really the way to enter into the Jennings home just before they all sat down for Pearl’s home cooking.
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?