Oh, it was all going so well…and then Chris had to confront Robin about his drinking in front of Annabelle. Where will that leave the two of them?
These are previous posts in Annabelle’s story:
- Who Is She Waiting For?
- Why Is She Waiting?
- Where Is He?
- What On Earth Was He Thinking?
- Do You Think He Is Coming Back?
- Why Are You Worrying?
- Secrets And Darkness
- Coffee And Croissants
- Just Friends
- His Letter
- Strained Relations
- Blackwood Gossip
- The Older Sister Act
- Getting There
- Dinner Conversation
- We Need To Talk
- Hurting Ourselves
- We Hide What We Hate About Ourselves
- Not So Easy
- Wounds That Don’t Heal
Robin had ushered Annabelle out of the front door.
“Tangerines Belle,” were the first words that came out of Robin’s mouth.
“What?” Annabelle mumbled.
“You promised Ralph you would drop off those tangerines with whoever is visiting him tomorrow.” he reminded her.
“Oh I forgot all about that. Thank you”
“Come on, we both need some fresh air. Let’s walk.”
Annabelle seemed quite shaky. Robin instinctively placed his arm around her. She leaned on him as they were walking, not saying a word. After a few minutes he turned his face towards her and kissed her temple. “Don’t,” muttered Annabelle.
They continued to walk with Robin pondering what to say next. After a few minutes, he started to explain, “On Monday, after you left, I was pretty wiped out. The volume in my head was on full blast. I felt I needed a drink. I walked into town and went to the first pub I could find, sorry the first bar. I just needed a drink to cool down. I’d been worrying for months about coming here to tell you what had been going on. It was all so intense. I just needed to chill. I didn’t get drunk. I didn’t disgrace myself or you in any way. But when I got back Chris made it clear he didn’t approve.”
“Right.” was Annabelle’s only reply.
They walked on together towards the town centre and then turned onto Mason Street. When they arrived at Burt and Pearl’s home, Robin told Annabelle, “I’ll wait here. Go in and grab the tangerines.”
Annabelle obeyed and within a couple of minute she had returned with the fruit. “Len and Philippa only live a few minutes away.”
After they had dropped off the tangerines at the Booth’s home, Annabelle and Robin headed in the direction of the park. “Is there anything that you want to say Belle, or ask me?”
“I’m trying to think Robin, but I’m just feeling overwhelmed.”
“Alright. Listen, tomorrow morning, I want you to ring your doctor’s surgery. Ask if they have any appointments free for tomorrow. I don’t know how busy they get, but it’s worth asking. I’d love to come with you.”
“I’ll do it.” Annabelle promised in a low voice.
“Good.” Robin looked at Annabelle. She seemed tired, her face was devoid of expression and she seemed to be slumping. “I went back to the same bar on Wednesday night after we talked. I was feeling kind of overwhelmed then. I had a lot on my mind.”
“I’m really not sure what to think Robin. But my heart just broke a little back there.”
“I’m not going to let you down kiddo.” Robin tried to draw Annabelle close to him, but she pushed back and turned away.
“Everything we talked about Robin. Trust! I thought you understood. You came all the way here to tell me that you made a habit of going to bars in London and ended up taking drugs and sleeping with other women. Then you go straight out and find the nearest bar as soon as you’ve told me that. Do you understand? Do you actually understand what I am feeling?”
“I think I do. I guess it was kind of stupid to go to a bar for a drink, after what I told you. I thought little of it. I can go out for a drink or two without getting myself in the kind of trouble I did in London. But that’s because I am so much better. I’m not low anymore. I’m not burnt-out. I know how to handle my drink, when I’ve had enough, when to leave. I know how to handle the likes of Jenna and her friends who are hanging out there looking to hook up with someone.”
“You met Jenna at a bar?” Annabelle’s face wore an anxious expression.
“Oh she was quick to pounce. I told her exactly what you said, that I made tea-cosies, although I said it was just a hobby and that I have a career as a pig-farmer.” Robin started to laugh as he was relating his conversation with Jenna.
“I’m not laughing Robin.”
Robin tried to maintain an air of humour, “Do you know what Jenna told me today?”
Annabelle frowned, “This isn’t about Jenna Robin.”
“This is about you and me Belle. Jenna has nothing to do with anything. She is just a jealous cow. So jealous, that she told me that you and Chris are having an affair and making out with each other in full view of anyone passing you.”
“She said that? That’s ridiculous! That’s not true Robin.” Annabelle seemed hurt.
“Belle, I know it is ridiculous. I thought it was hilarious actually. But that’s because I trust you. I know you like Chris. I know you two are close. I know he is important to you now. I also know that Chris is extremely keen on you, and that he is jealous. He is not like Jenna at all, but he is jealous and he wants you to think that you cannot trust me. Just the same as Jenna wanted me to doubt you.”
“Oh you’ve got this all figured out haven’t you?” snapped Annabelle.
“Don’t be mad Belle,” watching Annabelle roll her eyes, Robin asked, “Hey, what is that look supposed to mean? Why are you so angry?”
“I am angry because of everything. I hate drugs Robin. I hate drugs and people getting drunk and doing disgusting things. I saw enough to last a life time when I was with Dean. I was utterly miserable seeing what went on. I should never have been there, but I was so desperately in need of Dean, I put up with it. I’m angry because when I met you, I never in a million years would have imagined that you could be so stupid. I trusted you. I’m angry because I need you so much and I feel as if you are going to let me down again. I don’t feel as if I can trust you to stay out of trouble. And I don’t want to be desperately in need of you to the point where I just put up with it. I don’t want to put up with it.”
Robin started to scratch the back of his head with annoyance., “I am not going to make the same mistakes. It won’t happen again. And if it did, I wouldn’t want you to put up with it.
“Do you realize that if I was stronger, I would have ended this already? Ended our relationship. Because when someone has sex with someone else, then usually that’s it, it’s all over. You slept with not just one woman, but who knows how many? But because I need you, I’ve not been able to think straight. And I’m angry that I let you touch me. I wasn’t ready. I needed time to think.”
Robin felt the full force of Annabelle’s words, “Annabelle, I came here to tell you the truth. I have told you the truth. I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I knew the truth would hurt you. But after everything that has happened between us the last couple of days. Why are you saying this now?”
“Because it hurts, it really hurts. The thought of not being able to trust you. You not being completely open with me. I don’t know Robin, it’s like a broken bone. You broke my trust, and it’s still healing. It’s not ready to be knocked again and again..”
“So do you not want us to try to fix things? Are you giving up on us now? After today?”
“I don’t want to be scared that you are hiding things. I can only do this if we are completely open about everything.”
“Isn’t that what I’ve been doing? What we’ve both been doing?” cried Robin in earnest.
“Do you think there’s something I’m not telling you?”
Annabelle looked down. “I am just confused Robin. Tell me, why was it Claudia that frogmarched you to rehab? Why wasn’t it your parents? I don’t understand.”
“My father and I had argued about money Belle. When I first went over there, I sponged money from him, a lot of money. Dad was cool with it at first. He and mum were worried about me. They just wanted me to get better. But after six months of asking for more and more money, Dad was sick of it. When he found out I was gambling his money, he vowed he wasn’t going to give me another penny. We didn’t see each other after that. I borrowed money from friends. A lot of money. But I was spending a lot of money. Claudia just happened to be at The Club, do you remember the one we had to go through the flower shop in order to get into?”
“The one near Covent Garden?”
“Exactly Belle. I saw Claudia. She told me later she was only planning on being in London for a couple of weeks. I was so desperate for cash, I asked Claudia for a loan. Well, that was it. She knew something was wrong. She told me later that I was twitching and sweating. She sussed me out straight away. She hounded me after that. She went to my parents. She found out where I was living. She bullied me into getting help.”
“And then she suggested you moved to be near her in Switzerland and work for her dad.”
“Yes. That’s exactly what she did. After I had been through rehab, she told me to get out of London. She found me a room in one of her Dad’s hotels initially, but told me to find somewhere else. She paid the deposit and the rent for the first couple of months because she didn’t want to give me any cash. If I needed anything I would either have to use the money I still had, or ask her for it. Pretty humiliating to be dependent on Claudia. I looked for work. I was going to train to be a coffee barista. Claudia demanded to know my financial situation. When she realized how much I owed, she persuaded her father to employ me so I could earn more. But my salary is strictly controlled by her. I only receive a fraction of it each month. She is managing my finances for me.”
“Oh. Ok. See, I needed to know that. There really is a lot to fix Robin.”
“A lot. A lot of people whose trust I have broken.” Robin pulled a face, “my Dad was fuming last time we spoke. I think he was ready to disinherit me completely.”
“Robin, Chris tried to kiss me. It was right in the middle of the high street. It was the day your letter arrived. I can’t remember everything he said because I just wanted to go and read your letter on my own. But he told me how he felt, and then he kissed me. People saw it. Jenna has already asked me about it and I told her that there is nothing between Chris and I, that we are only friends. But people jumped to the wrong conclusion. There are some people who love to gossip in this town.”
“Ok. I’m glad I know that. But I trust you Annabelle. I don’t trust Chris. But if Chris hadn’t tried to make a move on you before now I would wonder what was wrong with him.”
“I have spent a lot of time with him, but always with other friends. I have been careful Robin.”
“And I have been careful. In Switzerland, I don’t let anyone flirt with me. There are some of the hotel staff who are very friendly. I talk about you. I have photos of you in my wallet and in my phone that I can show everyone I work with. I talk about my girlfriend to them and I make sure nobody thinks I am available. I should have done that in London. I have learnt my lesson.”
“What about Chris?” asked Annabelle.
“What about him?”
“Did you lie about Chris saying it was fine for us to spend some time alone at his place?”
Robin kicked his feet. He lent back against the railings and a smirk appeared on his face. “We needed today Belle.”
“Robin, you…ugh. I can’t believe you. After everything we have said about trust. You just don’t care do you? You don’t care about anyone but yourself. You’ve lied to me, you’ve lied to my friends.”
“You wanted today too. You seemed pretty happy with the situation this morning.”
“I wanted to believe I could trust you, that we understood each other. You needed today. Today was all about your needs, and you didn’t care what you had to do to get your own way, to fill your needs.”
“I can’t believe you’re saying that. Today was special.”
“Well lying takes all the special out of it. I trusted you and now I feel like such a fool. What has happened to you? You used to be someone I could rely on and trust. You were responsible, now you just seem so selfish.” Annabelle’s voice started to crack with the emotion she was feeling. She pushed away Robin’s arms as he tried to place his hands on her shoulders and shook her head. “No Robin, I can’t do this.”
Robin watched as she walked away and cried out, “Don’t do this Belle. Please don’t do this. I thought we were going to support each other. Don’t let other people come between us please.”
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?