Well, what a long conversation this is turning out to be! I think this is the end of Annabelle and Robin’s heart to heart during their walk out by West Creek. I wonder where this will leave them.
These are the previous parts in Annabelle’s story:
“Do you remember the last night before you left?”
“I do. We were out late.”
“Up on Blackwood Hill Robin. Well, I have been back there every day. Every single day. It’s been the place I felt close to you. I felt happy up there. Only lately, I’ve found I was becoming despairing, I have cried and cried up there.”
Robin frowned, “You are a hopeless romantic aren’t you? I love how soppy you are sometimes, but it’s not balanced. Look at me Belle! It’s a little bit obsessive – do you realize that?”
Annabelle looked pained, “I don’t think you understand how much I missed you, how much I needed you.”
“I’m sorry Belle, I’m sorry it was so long. I realize how hard it’s been for you. But you were doing well here in Blackwood.”
“The thing is, just before you wrote to me, I’d lost hope Robin. I thought that I had completely lost you. Like I told you yesterday, I’d given in, I’d started to hurt myself again. I had such a huge need of someone I could trust. And well, that’s kind of when Chris started to turn up at Burt and Pearl’s all the time.”
“It’s good that you have him. I was so glad that he went after you on Monday. I was really worried about you.”
“I was really close you know, to letting something happen. I didn’t intend for anything to happen. But it was trust that was building. I wanted someone so much. He seemed to understand me. His eyes were so warm. I started to want him to just put his arms around me and hold me.”
“Are you saying you had or still have a crush on Chris?” teased Robin.
“I’m not saying that. I never had a crush on Dean. I didn’t even have a crush on you when we met.”
“Liar!” exclaimed Robin, “you couldn’t wait to get me out of that tux!”
“Sure! I’d only just met you Robin! But I decided I could trust you. It’s been all about trust. I needed someone to trust. I have always needed that, always. Chris and I have been spending a lot of time together. I’ve cost him a fortune with all eating out he has paid for. I was starting to need Chris because I trusted him.”
“That’s normal. We all need to trust someone.”
“Yeah well. After what you told me on Monday – I didn’t think I was ever going to trust you again. But I realized last night when Burt and Pearl were talking, that before all this happened, I never really trusted you enough. I should have trusted you with everything. If I had maybe you would known better how to deal with it. It’s taken me so long to tell you how young I was when I started to self-harm.”
Robin gazed at Annabelle, “You could have trusted me.”
Annabelle still seemed fretful despite Robin’s reassurance, “I was so afraid to lose you though. So scared of what you would think.”
“But I loved you Belle. I would have only wanted to help you.”
“When you go back to Switzerland, I am going to miss you. I am going to be here on my own again, needing you. Chris is such a good friend. He means a lot to me. I just worry because he and I were getting really close. Really close. There were a few times when something might have happened. I hardly trust myself anymore.”
“Hmm. You’re telling me he is serious competition aren’t you.”
“He’s not competition. But I just worry, because I’ve opened up to him so much and I know that trust has grown and I have started to need him. I am a bit scared of one thing leading to another.”
“I am going to do a better job of keeping in touch ok? I know that having counselling can kick-start a cascade of emotions. You need people around you that you can trust. I am glad you have Chris, and Burt and Pearl too. You might need hugs. So let them hug you. If that’s what you need. But there’s a big difference in letting Chris hug you like a friend and letting him shag you.”
Annabelle raised an eye-brow. “I didn’t mean that.”
“I can’t talk, I know that. But it’s true, that is what Chris wants. He’s a man. Watch my words, if you carry on spending time with him, he will try to make a move on you.”
“I don’t want to hear this.”
“Well you’re going to have to. Like I said, it’s rich coming from me. But if you and I are making promises to each other, you ought to know that if you let him give you the affection you think you need and it ends up with you two getting frisky with each other, well, that’s either going to make you feel better or really guilty. You’re not going to really know until it happens.”
Annabelle turned away and let out a groan of frustration, “Please stop it. I don’t like what you’re saying.”
“You know what I am saying is true. I am ok with him being a friend. I am ok with him hugging you if what’s what you think you need. But I’m not being ok with you being naive, or telling yourself you can’t control your needs. The more time you spend together, the more familiar you will become. Opening up to him and letting him look after you, you’re only making him think he has more of a chance with you. He’s going to be waiting for the right moment.” Robin suddenly felt alarmed at the thought of losing Annabelle to someone else. It hadn’t crossed his mind before now that she would want someone else.
“Well, I guess we are both going to have to trust each other aren’t we? But I think you need to lecture yourself Robin, because so far, I’m not the one who has turned to someone else to fill their needs for sex. I wasn’t even talking about sex. I was talking about trust. You’ve not been listening. It’s all about trust. That’s what I need.”
“I get it Annabelle. I get it – it’s all about trust not lust – is that what you are saying?” Robin seemed irritated with Annabelle, but seeing that she was clearly more frustrated with him, he added softly, “I guess it’s going to take a while to undo the damage.”
“Yeah, I guess it is. But look, we’re working on it. I just wish…” Annabelle pulled back and turned away from Robin without finishing her sentence.
“You wish what?” snapped Robin.
“Robin, Chris is very easy to talk to. He doesn’t jump in. He doesn’t misunderstand. You are sometimes so impatient, and so direct.”
Robin threw his hands up in the air in frustration, “Sometimes you go all round the houses saying something, it is hard for me to follow you Annabelle. And besides you didn’t make it easy for me to talk to you. Storming out on me.”
“You can’t deny that I had reason to be upset. Please just let me finish. At the end of the day, I don’t have anything to lose with him. It’s easy for me to say what I need to. But with you, I’m scared. I’m scared that you’ll hate me for what I need to say, that I will lose you. I can’t begin to explain how much I hated the arguments we used to have. I loved you so much and it was devastating.”
“I loved you Annabelle. It was just the stress was building for us both. You said some pretty mean things back then. You were not yourself.” Robin regretted his words as soon as they had left his mouth.
“I remember. I hated what I was becoming, I thought that was why you left me alone in Blackwood. I did start to think you would never actually come back.
“Is there more you need to tell me?” Robin felt convinced that Annabelle had a lot more to say and regretted he had stifled the flow of her thoughts.
Annabelle looked down, “I think I meant more past tense. It’s just that before now, I realize there were things I was scared to trust you with, because I thought you would hate me and leave me. That’s exactly the way I thought when I was with Dean.”
“That scared you.” queried Robin.
“Yes. I was so needy that I could not trust either him or you. I put my need to be loved and have affection before my need to share things about myself. I did trust you, and Dean before you, but not enough.”
“Stop comparing me to Dean.” Robin drew Annabelle into his chest and held her tightly, “I’m trying to listen. I am trying to understand. I do not ever want you to be scared of saying something you need to say. I love you, and that is not going to change. I want you to believe that and to feel totally secure with it.”
Annabelle nodded her head. “I am not naive ok. I know what Chris wants. I know he’s a man.”
Robin sighed. “You know Belle, you don’t make it easy.”
“What do you mean?” asked Annabelle, looking anxious.
Robin nuzzled his nose against Annabelle’s and kissed her lips, “I have needs. I’m a man. It’s not easy to ignore that you are so beautiful.”
“You’re pretty hard to ignore yourself.”
“I don’t really want to go back to Switzerland without making love to you.”
Annabelle looked up at Robin, “we can’t here in Blackwood. People would not like little Annie Riley if they thought she wasn’t pure.”
“Well we’re not in Blackwood right now are we?”
Annabelle hesitated. For the first time all week, she found herself wanting Robin, “Not here. I’m all sweaty from walking Robin.”
“Urrrrgh. Do you think I care about that?” Robin put his hands on Annabelle’s hips and lifted her up. She automatically let her legs dangle and held tightly to his neck. “If you need to bathe, we can go for a swim in the lake.”
“Don’t you dare Robin. It will be freezing. Do you want me to catch my death from the cold?”
“I just want to be alone for with the woman I love. I want to sleep with you in my arms. I want to do all sorts of sinful things to you that would make the people who live in Blackwood horrified. Is that really too much to ask?”
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?