No Regrets

I loved writing this part of Annabelle’s story. It grew longer than I was intending, but that’s because I loved what was developing.

dean and annie6Do you remember that Annabelle had decided to write a letter to Dean. Who is Dean you might be asking? Annabelle’s first boyfriend. She met him when she was seventeen, and within a couple of years she had left home to be with Dean when his band were given a record deal and started to tour.

You might also remember that Annabelle’s relationship with Dean was rocky in it’s latter stages. One night when the two of them were arguing fiercely, Dean lost his temper and hit Annabelle. But the two of them calmly sat down and agreed to end the relationship. Dean had bought Annabelle an apartment in New York and helped her get a job for a major record label. Well… in this post, you are finally going to meet Dean.

These are the previous parts of Annabelle’s story:

The Thursday they flew into New York Annabelle was very quiet. Chris noticed she seemed to be shaking at times. They arrived at the hotel, and Annabelle after inquiring at reception confirmed that there was a reservation under her name. They transferred into the restaurant and sat drinking tea at a table close to a the window. From where she sat, Annabelle was able to look out onto the busy street.

dean2.jpgEvery car that pulled over caught her attention. She spotted him immediately. Dean was one of three passengers who climbed out of a black car. Dean then walked into the hotel with a scowl on his face. As soon as Annabelle noticed him, she tensed, which didn’t miss the attention of Chris. He had asked her already if she really wanted to talk to Dean alone. Annabelle had assured Chris, that she felt safe with Dean, she was just anxious because it had been a long time since she had seen him. Chris said he would wait in the hotel lobby.

But Chris was taken aback when he saw Dean walk straight over and grasp Annabelle’s hand and pull her along behind him. The two of them headed through to a smaller function room at the back of the hotel. On entering, a couple of men who Annabelle recognised, were moving around black equipment trunks with silver casings that Annabelle had seen thousands of times. Dean said a few words to them and they nodded and immediately left the room.

“Dean, thanks for letting me come and see you.”

“It’s been a while Nan. How’s things? Are you broke? You’re not trying to get back together with me?”

Annabelle raised an eye-brow, “Spiffing Dean. Just thought I would come and annoy you before your big show. Madison Square Gardens is kind of a big deal.”

mildew.jpg“It’s mental isn’t it!”

“I’m thrilled for you Dean, really!”

“I feel sick at the moment.” groaned Dean.

“You will be amazing. You always are. Even when you are nervous you go on stage and you turn it on. Everytime. Just try to enjoy the moment.”

“Yeah. Well, I can’t back out now. So, is Pretty boy your boyfriend now?”

“No, Chris is just a good friend.” smiled Annabelle, “A really good friend.”

“He looked a bit star-struck.”

Annabelle raised her eye-brow, “Not everyone worships you Dean.”

“Wanna bet?”

mildew.jpg“Ha, you’re so full of it!” Annabelle shook her head, “Actually, I think he is a fan Dean. He has at least three of your albums. He had no idea I knew you until last week. He was pretty bewildered when I told him.”

“What have you told him?” Dean looked anxious.

“Nothing that would make you lose a fan.”

“So long as he doesn’t think you need a bodyguard when you are with me.”

“Just don’t wave your arms about when you’re talking to me, because he might get a bit twitchy.” laughed Annabelle.

Dean frowned, “Last time I spoke to your Dad, who still obviously hates my guts, he told me you were in a car accident. Looks as if they patched you up alright. We had some flowers delivered to the hospital. Never had a call from you afterwards.”

“I didn’t know that Dean. I’m sorry. I was out of it for a while. They had to keep me in a coma because of my head injuries. That’s three years ago. A lot has happened since then. Dad and me aren’t speaking.”

“What’s new? You and you Dad were hardly ever on speaking terms. Is it that long? Time flies. What happened to your English fella then?”

“He’s fine. He’s working in Europe at the moment. I am going to visit him in January.”

“Come on sunshine, what’s the deal? What did you want to talk about?”

cbt1Annabelle began to speak with a tone of earnestness, “I’ve been trying to work out how to do this. There are a few things I want to say, that I should have said before. I’ve been having some therapy. It’s called cognitive behavioural therapy. It’s helped me realize a few things.”

“I hope you’re not here for absolution or something nuts.”

“Will you hear me out?” sighed Annabelle.

“I’m not a shrink. I think we both know that.”

“Dean, just let me say what I need to say.”

“Go on Nan. Don’t expect much from me though, I can’t take your kind of crap anymore.”

flat.jpeg“Uh, you can be so!” Annabelle took a deep breath, “I wanted to thank you for pushing me to go to a Doctor for so long. I am truly sorry I made things so tough for you. Thank you for everything, everything when I was with you, and for the apartment and everything else you gave me, and helping me get the job with Sony…and a million things that I should have thanked you for but didn’t appreciate at the time.”

“We’re cool Nan. Everything is in the past. You were my one and only great love. No kidding. But it’s long over. I wouldn’t even want that again, not with you, not with anyone. I don’t believe in that stuff anymore. Just enjoying the rock and roll lifestyle to the max these days – all the sex and drugs that go with it too. And I don’t have you winging at me about it.”

Annabelle pulled a face and then continued, “Whatever. Well, I realize now I manipulated you Dean. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. I made you feel guilt for things that you were not to blame for.”

dean and annie5.jpg“Hey, I think we both know I am no innocent.” laughed Dean.

“I was upset by what you and the boys were up to, but it was wrong to let you believe that was why I started hurting myself. I used that to try to make you stop. I tried to make you think that you were to blame for what I was doing.”

Dean rolled his eyes and groaned, “Is this going to get heavy Nan? We were up late last night and I’m still a bit hung-over. I don’t think I can be your priest right now.”

“I just want you to know that it’s something I started doing when I was thirteen, years before I met you. I stopped for a long time after I met you. I’m still not really sure why I started again. But it wasn’t your fault.”

nan.jpg“What slashing and bruising yourself? Right. Look, I’m glad you’re finally getting some kind of help. You never listened to me. You were so spoilt. I spoilt you because I loved you. It might seem a big deal to you Nan, so forgive me if I’m not bowled over by you confessing, but I don’t know if that would have made a huge difference at the time.”

Annabelle’s face became crumpled with disappointment, “Why do you say that?”

Dean couldn’t look at Annabelle, so he turned away and started to direct his words away from her, “I’m happy with all my decisions Nan. I don’t really do guilt. So even if you were trying to make me feel guilty, it didn’t affect me that much. I felt guilt after that night we argued and I lost control. But buying you that apartment was me absolving my conscience. I wasn’t going to let that night torture me. You can’t keep on beating yourself up about stuff. Everything else I’ve done, I have done what I have wanted to do. I have lived the life I wanted. My decisions. No regrets. Even when things haven’t worked out, like you and me, I’m cool with it. You can’t go back, only forward.”

“I don’t find it so easy. I feel guilty for pushing you, threatening you, arguing with you – all sorts of stuff.”

dean and annie8.gif“Look, you’ve got to drop all that. Things were getting pretty vicious between you and me, that’s why we broke up. Before that we had good times. Seven years is a good run Nan. I thought it was great. Really great. I know we were getting to a point where it was a bit of a nightmare for both of us, but I am so glad that we had what we had. I don’t regret anything, except the way it ended. We held on for too long. We should have called it quits before then.”

Annabelle sighed, “I am just so sorry Dean. Please let me say this. It’s not about getting things off my chest. You were really special to me. I don’t think I showed that enough. I find it hard to explain how much. You literally helped me escape a situation that was making me miserable.”

nan1.jpg“You mean leaving your folks? You hated home didn’t you? I reckon they were glad to get rid of you too.”

“There was no love lost between us. But you did love me back then, I know you did, and it was wonderful to be loved. I am sure that was why I stopped self-harming. I didn’t want to hurt myself for a couple years, and that was all because of you and the way you made me feel. I forget later on how much of a difference you had made to me.”

“It was special Nan. It was special for me too. But it’s long over. We have both moved on. We’re different people now.”

“I know that Dean. I’m not trying to get back with you. I just want you to know I was really happy for the first time when I was with you. And I’m sorry I messed up and ruined it.”

“Stop it. We were happy together once, but later it was miserable. Don’t forget that. We clung on for too long and it made things horrible. We should have called it quits long before.”

“I wouldn’t have been able to leave you. Not after everything you’d done for me.”

dean1.jpg“Look, we were kids when we met. And I like that you were my girl. It was great back then. Both of us changed. You became a woman. The truth is you didn’t really want the lifestyle I did, and I still do want. For what it’s worth, I am really glad I had you with me. I don’t think I could have coped with the pressure during the early days if it wasn’t for having you with me.”

“It was an amazing experience to be with you and the band. I am really grateful to have all those memories. And you, you are so talented. I am really pleased you have had so much success Dean. I am sorry if I held you back in any way. It wasn’t fair for me to be such a burden when you already had so much to deal with.”

“If you work it out, and I’m sure some music writer has somewhere, our best selling songs were the ones I wrote about you. “Claws” the album that you freaked out about, paid for your apartment. You were becoming a right pain towards the end, but you were not a burden. I was stressed out all the time. There was a lot of pressure with touring and interviews and all the other crap we have to do. But back then, I would have done anything for you. Only love can make you put up with being messed around like that.”

“I am so grateful. I know I didn’t show it back then, but I am really grateful for everything Dean.” Annabelle’s tears began to stream down her face.

nan3.jpg“Don’t screw your face up like that. If it wasn’t for you I probably wouldn’t have come up with a lot of the lyrics. You were an inspiration. Writing about your pain made us rich. Because of you, people have tapped into our songs, millions of people Nan. They have gone out and bought our music and you were a big part of that. The songs that crowds sing along to at our gigs are the ones about you. I think about that all the time.”

“You wrote some beautiful lyrics Dean.”

“Listen sunshine, I wouldn’t put up with any rubbish from anyone else now. I’m a cynic, love is for idiots. But I’m glad I had it once. And I know that when you love someone, they are not a burden. You worry about them, I was freakin’ out with worrying about you. But you gave me far more than I ever gave you. I remember it well Nan, all the support you gave to me. And I loved the way you looked at me, the way you depended on me. That sense of responsibility for each other was part of growing up. And we also had fun didn’t we?”

“Yes, we had a lot of fun Dean.”

dean3.jpg“Remember the fun Nan. Think about the good times. Remember when Rick and me bought our first bikes hey, and we took off with you and Lauren down the west coast. Wasn’t that weekend the greatest!” Dean had a broad grin and his eyes sparkled.

“It was great! I felt so free!”

“Just don’t obsess about anything you think went wrong. No regrets. Both of us should have moved on long ago.” Dean put his hand on the top of Annabelle’s head and scruffed up the top of her hair, “How’s the flat? I hope the tenants are looking after it.”

“Honestly Dean, I don’t know. I haven’t seen it since before I left for England, just before the accident.”

“Well if you haven’t heard much from the tenants, then you there can’t be much trouble with it? I thought your Dad said an agency were looking after all the landlord’s checks and maintenance issues? Do they ever call you about anything?”

flat2“Never. They don’t call me at all. I don’t even know which agents are looking after it.”

“So long as they are paying you the rent each month I suppose it doesn’t matter.”

Annabelle’s face looked completely blank. “I don’t know if they are paying any rent. Maybe I should find out.”

“Oh god, you make me laugh. You still haven’t got a clue about anything have you! You are just as hopeless as ever. That was one mistake I made, I freakin’ spoilt you.”

“Don’t say that. I can look after myself. I am self-employed. I cook and do laundry for a dozen clients in the town where I’m living. I rent a room there and I have been saving my money.”

annies parents1.jpg“That apartment cost an entire album Nan. Whoever is renting it should be paying you thousands of dollars every month. Ring yer Dad. I bet he’ll be looking after everything for you.”

“I haven’t spoken to him in almost two years.”

“Ha! You’re an ungrateful brat aren’t you. You come to see me to try to sort out what’s wrong with your head, and not your parents. That’s where you should be Nan. If you want to go around making peace with everyone, you should have started there.”

“All they do is criticise everything I do and slag off all my friends. They were horrible to Robin, I don’t want to see them.”

nan4“I’ve never been keen on your folks Nan. But they probably just want what they think is best for you. You have been a bit of a rebel when you think about it. Parents do freak out when their daughters decide they want to be full-time groupies.”

“Oh is that what I was? A groupie?”

“No, you were my Mrs. I would have kidnapped you to take you with me if you hadn’t been so keen to run away from home yourself. Look, I am no expert, but I can tell you this, love comes in all sorts of colours, all shapes and sizes. They may have not loved you the way you wanted them to, but if you thought about it harder, I think you’d see they do care about you.”

“I thought you said you aren’t a shrink.”

“Better stop there, next minute I’ll be going into priest mode and telling you to go and say your hail Marys.”

“Dean thank you.”

nan5.jpg“Yeah, you’ve said that about five times. Will you get out of here and go and sort your life out? You can call me you know. If I’m not in the mood, I won’t answer. But don’t let such a long time pass before you make contact right.”


“And look…I don’t know whether it was insecurity, or jealousy or craziness that made you miserable. But I did love you. You were absolutely beautiful inside and out. We broke up because it was time. It wasn’t rejection. Do you get that?”

“Now you’re saying I was insecure and jealous – thanks! I am so out of here!”

“Anytime Nan! I probably know you better than anyone else you know.”

annie leavingAnnabelle was heading towards the door to the function room to leave. She turned her head and winked at Dean, “Ciao for now Bambino”.

“Hey, you said Pretty boy has three of our albums. You make sure he knows that he can come along to the show on Saturday. If you see Jim around he’ll tell you where you need to be and sort out passes.”

Annabelle looked alarmed, “I don’t think we can Dean. I think we were going to fly back to Wisconsin tomorrow evening.”

“Do you have a cheese festival waiting for you in Wisconsin or something? Why do you think I have paid for you to fly out here and stay here in the hotel with us? Don’t be an ungrateful brat. You’re to blame for “Claws”. That was the album that made this happen. You have to be here.”

dean and annie9Annabelle had a stern expression on her face, “Do you think I want to hear tens of thousands of people singing along with you about me self-harming?”

Dean bound across the room and put his hand on Annabelle’s to stop her from opening the door, “Come here. Those songs are love songs. They are my prayers about you. They were me trying to understand why you were hurting yourself, picking up on your words, the looks on your face, your moods, your tears. I put your pain into those songs, and millions of people heard the words and fell in love with you, just the same way as I did. There are probably thousands of other people out there who have felt the same way, and have tried to harm themselves in some way. What you went through and I wrote about touched them and they loved it. For “Claws” to have gone platinum so quickly, that means that over a million of people were moved by what you went through. So do not think I am going to let you get on a plane to go to the cheese state before you share Saturday night with us.”

Annabelle looked down at the floor, trying to hide her emotion, “I’ll talk to Chris.”


You can read the next part in 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:

Free Creative Writing Prompts

I chose a prompt under the ROMANCE section: 3. Who is she waiting for?

kim's prompt
Photo by Thiago Matosfrom Pexels 



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