There is only one more day before Robin returns to Switzerland. What will happen? Can anything keep him in the US, so he is with Annabelle? What about Chris? Will he try to get Annabelle to see Robin the way he does?
These are the previous parts in Annabelle’s story:
On Friday morning, Robin and Annabelle found themselves sitting within the waiting area at the Blackwood Medical Practice waiting for an appointment with the practice nurse. Robin held Annabelle’s hand. “They’re not going to eat you alive.”
“Huh? Oh, yeah, it’s ok. I’m ok.”
“Your grip is pretty tight for someone who is ok. I would say that grip is more that of someone who is about to start hyperventilating. Try to relax.” Robin put his arm around Annabelle’s shoulder. As his phone started to play a jingle, Robin checked the display, “Belle, I need to answer this, it’s Claudia.”
Annabelle nodded and rested her head on Robin’s shoulder as he confirmed the time of his flight the following morning and the time he was due back in Geneva. As soon as a door opened and a rosy cheeked member of staff called out “Annabelle Riley”, Robin explained to Claudia that he needed to go and he ended the call.
Robin had to explain a little before Annabelle stopped shaking and began to talk to the practice nurse herself. Judy, the practice nurse was very kind and reassuring. She confirmed that Annabelle would need to see a doctor and that she would arrange for an appointment for her. Judy remarked that there were a number of options and possible services that might be helpful to Annabelle, but it would be best to discuss those with the Doctor who could write a referral letter for her. She presented Annabelle with a number of leaflets before the end of the appointment.
“Are you ok? How are you feeling?” asked Robin as soon as the had left the medical practice.
“She was nice wasn’t she?”
“Very sweet. It’s a shame there were no doctor’s appointments free today. You will go back next Tuesday won’t you.”
“Yes. Yes, I will.”
“You’re going to be fine. You know that don’t you?” Annabelle put her arms around Robin and he kissed the top of her forehead.
“I wish you weren’t going.”
“I know. I feel the same way Belle.” Robin stroked Annabelle’s hair looking at her sad face, “I think you and I should talk to Chris about our plans Belle.”
“I think he’s still going to be mad at you.”
“It doesn’t matter if he’s mad at me. You are going to need someone close who can handle what you are going through. You don’t seem keen on telling Burt and Pearl, but you said Chris already knows. I think it would be good for there to be someone to keep an eye on how you are doing. Someone you can talk to. You can call me anytime day or night Belle, but if I am working and can’t answer the phone, there needs to be someone near you.”
When Chris arrived back in Blackwood, after finishing his work out in Mapleton, Robin and Annie were sitting on the steps of his porch. Chris stopped his truck in his driveway and sat for a minute. He was not in the mood to see Robin again. He was tired. He tried to organize his thoughts and prepare himself to remain calm. Finally, he pulled the keys out of the ignition and climbed out of his truck.
By the time he approached his steps Robin had removed himself, leaving Annabelle sitting alone. “Hi Chris, how was your day?”
“Fine. I managed to finish off all the work. That’s the last trip I will be making to Mapleton for a while.”
“Chris, I wondered if I could talk to you about something.”
“Go ahead Annie. Do you want to come in?”
“I’d like to. It’s a kind of awkward subject.”
“Come on in.”
Chris opened the front door and headed straight to his fridge. He poured some juice into a glass and offered it to Annabelle. She declined, so Chris drank it all and then poured himself a second glass. Once Chris and Annabelle had sat down in his living room, Chris decided to apologise for upsetting Annabelle the night before.
“I know Robin might not have made a great impression on you Chris. To be honest, even I have found him difficult at times this week. But he is not himself right now. He has been through a lot. He’s on edge.”
“You know him better than I do Annabelle. I just don’t want to see you get hurt.”
“I do appreciate that Chris. And I am really grateful to you. I know you care. I am glad to have you as my friend. But Robin also cares about me, a lot. You can’t imagine what he has been through in fact. It’s been caring about me that led to him becoming exhausted. It’s because he was so tired and so low that he is now in a really challenging situation. There’s no way I am going to pull out on him now after all the support he has given to me in the past.”
“Is he still going back tomorrow?”
“Yes he is. And I know you asked him last night where that leaves me. There are no guarantees for him and me. But we want to try to focus on our future. His situation is complicated. He has to go back and earn as much as he can. I am going to stay here in Blackwood with Burt and Pearl. I hope to visit Robin in a few months, and we are going to talk as often as we can. Now that we’ve talked about so much this week, it will be easier.”
“How long is he going to be in Switzerland and you here?” asked Chris.
“At least a year. We don’t yet have a plan for what we’ll do afterwards. We are going to deal with one thing at a time.”
“I’m glad you’re staying here.” said Chris looking intently at Annabelle.
“I think I need to be here Chris. There is something I need to take care of before I can think of a future with Robin,” Annabelle paused and looked down at her feet, “Or with anyone else. Something I should have done a long time ago.”
“What is it?”
“I tried to get a Doctor’s appointment today. Robin really wanted me to, but there were no appointments available, so instead we saw a practice nurse. She has arranged an appointment for me next week. Robin wants me to talk to the Doctor and ask to be referred for some kind of counselling.”
Chris nodded, “That’s really good Annie.”
“Yeah, well I am dreading it actually. I can’t do this on my own. I don’t feel I can tell Burt and Pearl about the history I have with harming myself. I don’t want to alarm them. I’ve managed to hide it from them. But not from you. You sussed me out. So now you are stuck with me. I am going to need you to be my friend.”
“I don’t know why you would feel you need to even ask.”
“It’s just that I need you to know Chris, that I really really love Robin. That might not be what you want to hear, but I want to get better because I want to spend the rest of my life with him.”
Chris swallowed hard and looked at the floor while he said in a low voice, “What kind of a friend would I be if I didn’t respect that?”
“Thank you for letting Robin stay here Chris. And for telling him he was a jerk. He needs to hear that when he does something stupid. Thank you for helping me too. I was so angry with him on Monday. You were really great.”
“I really care about you Annabelle. Like I said, I don’t want you to get hurt. Where did Robin go?”
“He figured that if he was around I might not be able to say what I needed to say to you. He said he would wait down the street somewhere. Burt and Pearl are expecting us for dinner. Will you come too Chris?”
“No, not tonight Annabelle. I just want you to enjoy your last night with him. I think it’s better if I’m not around him too much.”
“How about some time over the weekend then? I’m going to be pretty down after Robin’s gone. Can you and I hang out?”
“Sure Annie. I’d like that. You better get going. Don’t leave him waiting.”
As Annabelle stepped outside of Chris’ front door she turned and saw that Chris look pained. She knew. She couldn’t do anything about it, but she knew how Chris felt. She put her arms onto his shoulders and then pressed herself against him with a warm hug, “Thank you Christopher Ward. Thank you for caring about me.”
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?