Have you been wondering what it is that Robin needs to tell Annabelle? I have been thinking about it a lot. Now…I have to admit, I have called on the real life experience of a close relative of mine. So to me it does feel like a real situation. It’s made me think about how much life experiences help you to understand other people when they start opening their mouth and sharing. It can be a scary thing to do for some. Will those they are telling even begin to understand?
These are previous posts in Annabelle’s story:
Annabelle found herself wide awake throughout the night after Robin’s arrival. She tried to drift off into sleep, after she had received Robin’s text message, but her mind was alive with strong emotion and questions she had. At six o’clock in the morning, she was surprised to realize there were taps on her window. She shot to her feet and opened the latch.
“I was scared I was going to break the window if I threw much harder.”
“It’s easier to phone you know.”
“You say that now, but you haven’t been so hot with answering your phone for the past couple of weeks.”
“I was going to come over to your’s for breakfast. Robin texted me last night.”
“I need to talk to you.”
“Wait there Chris. I’ll come down.” Annabelle shut her window and latched it. She grabbed a jacket and trainers and ran down stairs, before emerging out of the front door and onto the veranda. The October morning was a shock to Annabelle as she stepped outside. “It’s freezing Chris.”
“Come and sit in the truck Annie.”
Once they were sat inside Chris’ truck, both of them spoke at the same time.
“What was that last night?”
“I was out of order.”
“Yes, yes you were. Why? Just why would you say that?” cried Annabelle shaking her hands in the air.
“Because I’m an idiot, a jealous idiot. I shouldn’t have.”
“This has got to stop Chris.”
“I know. I know Annie, and I really am sorry.”
“I don’t know how many times I have to say it. I love him. That’s not going to change.”
“Don’t I know it.”
“I can still ask someone else to put him up.”
“No, you don’t have to do that.”
Annabelle turned to look at Chris and glaring at him, she asked, “Well?”
“I don’t want to hurt you. But I think he is going to hurt you big time.”
“I know that. He’s come here to tell me something he can’t say over the phone or in a letter. But that’s between Robin and me. We have hurt each other plenty in the past. But we love each other. Love can cope with being hurt sometimes. If he has come here because he knows he needs to do the right thing, I don’t want anyone to make it harder for him.”
“I am sorry. I don’t want to screw this up for you.”
“Just be my friend Chris, like you’ve been for the past couple of months. Let Robin and me try to work things out.”
Chris nodded his head. “Come on buckle up. I don’t have much in the cupboards. We’ll go and pick up something for breakfast on the way back to mine.”
Robin had leapt out of bed as soon as he read Annabelle’s text message “I’M DOWNSTAIRS IN THE KITCHEN.” He ran downstairs and was surprised to see Annabelle and Chris sitting at the breakfast bar.
“What kind of ho-bo has my girlfriend become? Have you walked through town in your pyjamas?”
“Do you want coffee Rob?” asked Chris.
Still rubbing his eyes, Robin replied “Sure, thanks.”
“Blame my personal chauffeur. Chris said you wouldn’t mind me wearing my night things.”
“When have I ever been happy about you wearing pyjamas? They are a complete waste of money. You should always sleep naked. It’s better for your body.”
“In case you hadn’t noticed, Wisconsin can be pretty cold at night. When my hot-water bottle went to England and left me on my own, I started wearing pyjamas again…and bed socks!”
Robin had placed himself behind Annabelle. He put his arms around her and kissed her neck gently. “Thanks for bringing my girl over Chris.” Robin reached down and cradling his arms underneath Belle he lifted her slightly and nuzzled his nose against hers, “We are going to talk today, before we do anything else aren’t we. Claudia’s been harassing me, asking if we’ve had chance to talk.”
“Here Rob – milk and sugar are there if you want them.” said Chris pushing a mug across the counter.
“Cheers.” Robin let go of Annabelle and stood to the side of her taking a large gulp of coffee. “Can I ask you Babe, you didn’t really think that I was living with the ice-queen did you?”
Annabelle’s reaction was just to dip her head slightly, “I didn’t know what to think Robin.”
Robin threw his head back and laughed, “But you know Claudia’s a dragon. That’s why she’s been the only one who could sort me out. She is one of the only people I know who is intimidating without saying a word. She’s incredibly scary for someone who is only five foot three.”
Both Chris and Annabelle had confused expressions on their faces. Chris voiced what they were both thinking, “You called her your rock last night. I don’t get it.”
Robin nodded, “she has been great. She has bossed me and threatened me and bullied me into getting my act together. I owe her a lot.” Robin turned to look at Annabelle, “I really messed up Belle. As soon as I arrived in London, I kind of went off the rails on some insane self-destruct mission. I really want to tell you what has been going on. You have a right to know.”
“Chris, would it be alright if Robin and I could talk here at your place?”
Chris rolled his eyes, “just do me a favour guys, leave the door open. If you want another kind of privacy, go find a motel or something.”
So Annabelle and Robin headed for the spare-room and sat on the bed facing each other, and as Chris had requested, they left the door wide open.
“Whenever you called, you told me that things were going well in England and that your family were supporting you. I don’t understand.”
“I’ve been hiding a lot Belle. I think I was ashamed at first, worried about you. I was out of control. My parents wanted me to live with them for a while. But I hated being with them. I wanted my own space, so I found a place in Battersea. But it cost a packet. I spent time with friends, the wrong kind of friends, those whose lives were not particularly together. They were easy company. Everyone else was so intense, they all seemed on a mission to save my soul. I just wanted to be allowed not to think, not to feel. It was just so easy to bury everything when I was out with them. Bury everything I couldn’t face.”
Annabelle’s eyes studied Robin’s face. He seemed to have lost all of the colour in his skin and he looked in pain as he spoke. Annabelle tried to smile and in a soft voice, she asked him, “What couldn’t you face?”
“I used to be able to think so clearly Belle. I wasn’t remotely sentimental. When I left New York, I thought it was over between you and me. We’d had so much fun together. But I thought that it was time for us both to grow up. I thought we would both move on. I knew I would miss you, but I was sure you would fall for someone else, and I’d meet other women. Everything changed after you came to England. I couldn’t think straight, all my feelings were so strong. I just did not want to feel anything else Belle. I’d been feeling everything for so long, I was so worried about you when you were in ICU. I thought I was going to lose you. It felt like it was my fault. My fault for not coming to meet you at the airport.”
“Of course it wasn’t. Nobody could have known.” Annabelle reached out for Robin’s hand.
“Lucy was such a surprise” Robin carried on talking, but his eyes were fixed on the floor, “I was thrilled though, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so proud of anything in my life. And from then on I knew my life was going to be centred around you and her. That felt right. I wanted that. But you were so tired and so unhappy. I couldn’t bear it. I was trying Belle, trying so hard to make everything alright for you. Nothing worked. I felt as if I had lost control a long time ago. The universe seemed to be throwing everything at the two of us. Taking everything from us. The universe took Lucy. I could never switch off. I never knew what you were going to do next. Aaaagh. I couldn’t face having feelings anymore. It was so bloody exhausting. I did not want to feel anything.”
“I didn’t know how long you’d felt like that. You always seemed so strong. You always seemed to know what to say.”
“I felt like a failure for leaving you. But I couldn’t face coming back here. I dreaded the thought of it. The guilt was a killer. I didn’t want to feel it,” Robin opened his eyes wide and with great strain he admitted, “drinking was only the start of it.”
“You were drinking? A lot?”
“A lot! But Belle, I was doing everything you would hate. You hate smoking. This is really hard for me Belle, I know you are going to hate this. Claudia insists that I tell you, that I can’t just turn up expecting you to be mine anymore. She says you have every right to say it’s over between us. “
Pearl brought a pot of tea into the sunroom where Burt was flicking through the newspaper. He continued to scan the pages, at the same time nodding to Pearl’s remarks about the evening before. “He seems like such a nice boy. I had thought from what Annabelle had said that he would be more aloof. But he was very pleasant.”
“I like him.”
“I can see why Annabelle has been so taken with him, he’s a very attractive young man. Very charming.”
“It’s clear how much he likes her.”
“I feel sorry for Christopher. I think he has hopes for Annabelle. It seems very unlikely now.” Pearl sighed before taking a sip of tea, “but it’s nice to know that such a pleasant young man will be looking after Annabelle. Do you think he’ll want her to go back with him to Switzerland or England? I will miss her so much if she goes.”
“I haven’t heard either of them mention it. Still, they probably have a lot to talk about. Maybe that’s why she wanted to go over there so early. Pearl, are you going to help me with finishing this crossword?”
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?