Annabelle and Robin have more to talk about. Will they be able to work through the challenge they face?
These are previous posts in Annabelle’s story:
Chris heard a knock at the front door and went to open it. “Rob, are you alright?”
“Sorry it’s late Chris.”
“Chill. Do you want a drink?”
“Uh, no, no I’m fine.” Robin started walking to the stairs.
“Wait a minute pal. You’ve had a few haven’t you.”
Robin looked alarmed. “A couple.”
“Look Rob, I could tell from what Annie said that today was kind of heavy between you two. But don’t screw this up. She doesn’t deserve it.”
Robin had a guilty expression on his face, “She does not deserve it Chris. I know that. I’ve already screwed up a lot of things. I don’t want to hurt her.”
“So what’s with the boozing then? Is that going to help your case?”
“I just needed a drink. I didn’t plan to stay out so long. By the way, I met Jenna tonight.”
“What? You’re kidding.”
“Seriously. She doesn’t mess around does she. As soon as she said her name I nearly cracked up. I told her my name is Montgomery Ramsbottom and that I’m a pig-farmer and I make tea-cosies for a hobby. She still gave me her number. She’d shag anything that’s not nailed to the floor, she’s a flippin’ tart.”
Chris scratched his neck. Eager to change the subject, he asked, “Did you mention Annabelle?”
“No. I don’t want to cause any trouble for Belle here in Blackwood. Is she alright Chris? Is Belle ok?”
“She’s ok. Might be a bit dehydrated after all the crying she did.”
“It must have been horrible for her. Did she tell you anything?”
“All I know is you’re a prick and she deserves better than you.”
“She said that?”
“No, I’m telling you that. She loves you to hell and back. She wanted to talk to you tonight. I drove her back here and she waited for a whole hour. But she was shattered. She didn’t sleep last night. I took her home and told her to get a good night’s sleep.”
“I can’t thank you enough mate. She really needed someone looking out for her today.”
“Listen Rob. I have to work tomorrow. It’s going to be a long day because I should have been at work today. I’m going to give you the spare key. Don’t lose it. And don’t bring Annabelle here. I know you want to be alone with her. But that’s not happening under my roof – got it?”
The next morning Annabelle walked over to Chris’ home. She had already sent a text message to Robin to tell him to be ready to go into town and they could have a coffee and talk. They walked into town hardly saying a word. Robin kept on turning to look over at Annabelle, but she kept her eyes fixed on the pavement ahead, trying to prepare herself for what to say to him.
Once they had sat down with their coffee, Annabelle asked Robin, “Is there anything else that you want to tell me?”
“Annabelle, I want you to know how truly sorry I am. I know, believe me I know that what I told you yesterday must be heart-breaking, but I had to tell you the truth.”
“I think I’m still in shock. I know that’s not helpful to you. I just wasn’t expecting everything you told me. In some ways, I wish you had come here to tell me you were back with Claudia.”
“I know it made you laugh, but it would have hurt less than what you actually have been doing. I really thought you’d just stopped loving me and moved on to someone else, someone who made you feel good.”
“Belle, I know you might not want to hear this, not after what I told you yesterday, but I don’t think I could feel the way I feel about you for anyone else. I know it’s been a long time and we had an ocean between us. But you and I – we’re entwined.”
“Right now that sounds like a load of crap. Ok – I’m sorry Robin I don’t even want to hear it. I just want to know for sure that you’ve told me everything I need to know.”
“I’ve told you the worst of it. Claudia’s going out with someone you know. I think she’s hoping he’ll propose soon. Wouldn’t surprise me.”
“That’s great for Claudia Rob. But I don’t think I’m going to be sending a card when she gets hitched.”
“I don’t know what to say Belle. I know you have every right to be angry but I don’t know what to say. I am really really sorry. I regret everything I have done. It was completely crazy. I know what an idiot I’ve been, but what I regret most is how it must make you feel.”
“So what are we going to do? Are you going to go back to Switzerland at the end of the week and leave me here?”
“Would you even want to come with me? I would love to ask you to come back with me. But I can’t. I am living in a tiny flat with two other guys. It’s all I can afford. I need to clear some debt before I can do anything. I really like living in Switzerland, it’s healthy. Working fir Claudia’s father is the only way I can earn any decent money right now. But I don’t plan to stay there forever. It’s just right now, it’s hard to plan anything.”
“Ok, so what about us? Is there still an us anymore?”
“I was hoping you would tell me that.”
“I’m so used to you making decisions. I wish you would just tell me if you want to be free of me so you can carry on sorting out your own life. Why should I have to make any decisions?”
“What do you want Belle? Do you want us to be together?”
“I want to be happy. We were happy once.”
“There is nothing more that I want in the whole wide world than you. Maybe you don’t want to hear it at the moment, but I cannot imagine being able to find the willpower to keep going if I don’t have the hope of you being back in my life, being back in my bed every night.”
“What about other women?”
“I’ve been in Switzerland for six months Belle, there have been no other women since I stopped drinking and going out to clubs. That all happened in London when I was really low. I am not going to do that again. I’m not going to make those same mistakes. I’m not going to lose what I have now, the chance Claudia has given me.”
“How long will it take Robin? Months? Years? You can’t be sure you won’t meet someone else during that time? And what about me, do you expect me to just wait for you?”
“I don’t think I can expect you to do anything. The ball’s in your court Belle. I think I’ll be debt free in a year. If I carry on at this rate.”
“Another year.” Annabelle looked pretty glum as she contemplated what was ahead of her, “Well, could I visit you?”
“Of course baby. Belle I would love you to see Switzerland. You would love it. I’d come here too. I’ll make sure I budget for it.”
“I have not even looked at another man Robin in all the time you’ve been away. There were men who asked me out. Some of them persistent. Chris was one of them. I made sure all of them understood I had a boyfriend and I was not interested in anyone else.”
“Belle, you will always have men queuing up to take you out. You are breath-takingly beautiful at times, and the rest of the time just amazing. I know there have been plenty of men who would have loved to have stolen you from me. If you wanted to date other men, well, that’s only fair. I don’t deserve anything from you. But I am here because I need you in my life.”
“I don’t think you felt that way before you left Blackwood.”
“I can hardly remember how I was feeling. I was not well. But you were the best thing in my life. You were the only reason I had to go and get help. If I hadn’t had you, I would have given up on life, I was that low Belle.”
“I still don’t understand why you didn’t take me with you.” Annabelle could no longer suppress the tears that were gathering on her eyelids.
“Honestly Belle, I regretted it later. I think I knew I was about to fall apart. I was just about holding it together, but I knew I was going to flip at some stage, and I didn’t want it to be in front of you. I just wanted you to be somewhere safe, just for a short time. That’s all I was planning. I thought I’d see a Doctor and they’d help me out. but that is not how it played out. I know it’s been too long. I know I screwed things up for us.”
“I just can’t bear the thought of you going away again and not answering my calls.”
“That won’t ever happen again,” Robin promised with an earnest expression on his face, “I couldn’t bear speaking to you without being able to tell you the truth.”
“You could have given me an idea.”
“I should have. I just didn’t know how. I realized that it was something I couldn’t break to you over the phone or in a letter. I needed to be here.”
Annabelle nodded, “I’m so glad you came.”
“Belle can we get out of here?”
“Sure, where do you want to go?”
Robin didn’t say anything, he just held up a key and shook it.
Outside Chris’ house, Annabelle turned to Robin, “I’m not coming in with you.”
“He’s at work all day, he said he had a lot to do today.”
“No way Robin. Claudia is right, you can’t just expect this to be so easy, that I can just be ok with what you’ve done. I can’t, I absolutely can not do this, not while I feel this way.”
“Belle, I need you, please.”
“Na na no! I’m not going to. It would be meaningless. It’s not happening.
“It wouldn’t be meaningless to me.” Robin’s frown of frustration carved up his forehead.
“Right now Robin, it would be completely meaningless to me. I’m stunned ok. I still can’t believe what you’ve told me. Don’t you dare think that I am going to hop into bed with you and then everything is going to be ok.” Pointing at her chest, Annabelle continued, “There is a lot going on in here right now.”
“Can we try to to work through this? Just come in and let’s talk.” pleaded Robin.
“If you go in there, you’re on your own. If you want to be with me, then we go somewhere else. Come back to Burt and Pearl’s with me. They’ll want to see you. Pearl has been baking.”
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?