Well, after opening up even more than before to Chris, there was a knock at the door at the end of the last post. What will happen next?
These are the previous parts in Annabelle’s story:
Chris opened the door of the hotel suite. Dean looked confused, he mumbled “Where’s Nan?”
Annabelle appeared behind Chris, “Are you alright Dean?”
Dean stretched his arm out and clutched the door frame. He seemed to be unsteady on his feet and muttered “Nan come with me.”
Annabelle sighed, “Dean you need to be asleep, you need to rest before tomorrow, well. it’s today now, it almost two in the morning.” Dean stepped into the room and his hands reached out towards Annie’s waist. Annabelle muttered quietly, “Chris he’s drunk.”
Chris put his hand on Dean’s shoulder and said “Don’t you dare,” eliciting a furious scowl from Dean.
“Get off me.” gnarled Dean instantly tensing his whole body in a threatening stance towards Chris.
Annabelle put her hands on Dean’s face and then gently pulled at the skin around his eyes so she could look at his eyes properly, “What have you taken Dean? Hey, hey Dean, look at me, we’re going go back to your room ok?”
Dean grinned at Annabelle and tried to pull her closer, “I want you.”
“No you don’t. You need to have a good sleep before the show.”
“I want to shag you.” Dean’s hands locked around Annabelle’s hips and he started to pull her through the doorway.
Chris automatically put his hand onto Dean’s arm, who flashed a glare of contempt at him. Chris quietly stated, “Hands off her.”
Annabelle warned Chris, “Do not provoke him! Come on Dean, come inside our room.” She took Dean’s hand and pulled him in. Dean stumbled forwards and steadied himself by grabbing Annabelle’s arm tightly. “Ouch! Careful Dean, come on, follow me.” She walked Dean through to the room where she had slept and gently pushed at Dean so he was sat on the bed.
Chris followed asking Annabelle what she was doing. Annabelle concentrated on Dean, but she answered Chris by saying softly, “We’re going to make sure Dean is going to be alright. He needs to rest.” Her hands were stroking Dean’s arms. He seemed agitated, but it was clear from his face how exhausted he was. Annabelle tugged at his jacket, “Let’s take your jacket off Dean.”
Dean sat gazing at Annabelle with adoration as she pulled at his jacket and slipped it from his arms. She knelt down and pulled his shoes away from his feet. Dean muttered words that were barely audible, although Annabelle recognised “You’re mine.” He tried to press his forehead against hers, which was uncomfortable for Annabelle while his every breath was so laden with alcohol. She kept her soft smile up, while she quietly assured him that she would look after him.
She turned around and looked at Chris, “Might need your help in a moment. I want to get him onto the bed properly.” She stroked Dean’s face with her hands and then pushed her palms against his chest gently pushing his back onto the bed. He was only on the edge so his legs sprawled out in front of him. He tried to reach up for Annabelle, but she had taken a step back. She walked up to the side of the bed near the pillows. Dean turned onto his side to watch her. Once he was on his front he tried to push himself up onto his feet. Annabelle looked at Chris pleadingly.
Chris shrugged his shoulders and rubbed his face in his hand. He grabbed Dean by the hips and gave him a forceful push onto the bed, managing to cause Dean to land pretty much entirely on the bed. Dean seemed unaware of what had happened at first, but was distracted by Annabelle leaning towards him and stroking his left arm. “There you go Dean, are you comfortable?”
Dean looked at Annabelle and smiled at her. He mumbled “Are you going shag me first?” and then his head fell to the pillow. He reached out for her.
Annabelle knelt on the floor but she stretched out her arms so that she could continue gently stroking him. Staring into Dean’s eyes, she spoke words intended for Chris, “Could you look for a spare blanket or something we can put over him?”
Chris started to open the closet doors until he saw a folded blanket on the top shelf of one of the closets. He unfolded it and draped it over Dean. Annabelle took the side closest to her and pulled it right over Dean. She remained on her knees all the time her hands reassuring Dean of her presence until she saw his eyelids remain closed and his breathing becoming deeper. When she was satisfied that Dean was fast asleep she rose onto her feet and thanked Chris for his help.
Chris pulled out his phone, “I have to get a picture of this.”
Annabelle immediately pushed Chris’ phone downwards, “Like hell you do. No pictures Chris, don’t you dare! He’s completely out of it.”
Chris apologised, “Sorry Annie, this is just a bit surreal.”
“Get over it. It’s real. I’m going to ring reception and find out which room Jimmy is in, and leave a note under the door so he knows we have Dean. I don’t want them freaking out in the morning because he’s nowhere to be found. It will be a hectic day for all of them tomorrow.” Annabelle picked up the phone on the side table and dialled to be put through to reception. Once she had the information she needed, she grabbed the pen and the notepad next to the phone and started scribbling a note. She asked Chris to keep an eye on Dean and then she disappeared out into the corridor. She was gone for less than five minutes.
“All good. Is Dean still asleep?”
“Looks like he’s dead to the world.”
“He drinks more when he’s nervous. He can down a hell of a lot in one session. This is going to be their biggest show. Playing live is not his strong point. It’s something he has always struggled with. I bet going down to the arena and all the sound checks freaked him out. He needs to sleep this off otherwise he’ll be terrible on stage.”
“You can sleep in the other room, I’ll crash on the sofa.”
Annabelle looked at Chris, “I think I should be out here Chris. If Dean wakes up I am going to need to be quick to settle him again.”
“I can’t let you sleep on the sofa.”
“Why not? This sofa seems as comfortable as any bed. There must be another spare blanket in your room.” Annabelle could see that Chris was shaking his head and was about to object again, “I’m not going to argue this one Chris. I know Dean, I know how to handle him.” Annabelle made it clear that she was not going to sleep in the other room, so eventually Chris accepted that she was going to remain stubborn. As soon as she was alone on the sofa, she texted Robin to tell him Dean had turned up at their room and Chris had helped to deal with him. Robin texted back immediately: DON’T YOU DARE BE ALONE WITH HIM WHEN HE IS DRUNK.
In the end all three occupants of the suite slept very well. The men in each room and Annabelle stretched out on what was indeed a very comfortable sofa. It also meant that she was near the phone when it rang at 5:30am, “Hey Jim, yeah it’s fine…Dean came to the room pretty wasted last night… Someone should have kept an eye on him…No, he’s fast asleep still…What time?…Does he have to?…Can you change it to a phone-in interview?…I want him to sleep for as long as possible…What about Nick or Liam?…Ask them, it would be better…Dean’s not going to make any sense anyway when he’s hungover…Yeah sure…Is there anyone who can take over baby-sitting? I have a friend with me who has never been to New York before, we had plans for today…Before eight ideally. It would be better if I wasn’t around when he wakes up, but I can’t leave him on his own…That would be great…Thanks Jim…No trouble at all, just like the old days…Yeah sure, I’ll see you later…Oh Dean told me to ask you about where to be tonight and to ask you about passes…Great. Ok…Yes, see you later then, thanks again Jim.”
As soon as she had put the phone down, Annabelle headed over to the room Dean was sleeping in. She had left the door to his room ajar so she could hear him. She opened the door and looked at him, his chest still rising and falling in his deep sleep. She then crossed the room and knocked on the door of the room Chris was sleeping in. There was no answer, she knocked again a little louder, but there was still no answer. She didn’t dare to open the door while Chris was asleep, it didn’t seem right somehow. So she looked for her mobile phone instead. Once she had selected his name she called his phone number. She could hear the jingle inside Chris’ room and after around ten seconds, she heard a very groggy “Hello.”
“Can I come in Chris? Are you decent?”
“Annie? Yes sure.”
Annabelle opened the door to his room. She sat on the end of the bed and told Chris that someone would come to the room and hang around so that Dean could sleep for as long as possible. She asked Chris if he was happy to listen out just incase Dean woke up or there was a knock at the door while she showered and dressed.
Quietly Annabelle, and then Chris, got themselves ready, taking turns to be prepared in case Dean stirred and listening out for a knock on the door. At 7.45am the promised replacement arrived at their room. Annabelle opened the door to someone she immediately recognised and greeted warmly as Ron. Ron was still on his phone receiving instructions from Jim.
Chris stood watching Annabelle discussing Dean with Ron and expressing concern that he was allowed to sleep as long as possible. She asked Ron to order some room service and to tell Dean that Nan had insisted that he eat a proper breakfast before the big day and that she would be there at Madison Square Gardens well before the show and she would make sure she came to see him.
At exactly eight o’clock Chris and Annabelle left the room and started out towards Central Park. Annabelle pointed to a cafe where they could grab some breakfast and coffee.
“I feel a bit wrecked Chris. I think today it’s going to be one coffee house to the next.”
“I’m with you. Did you get much sleep last night?”
“I did sleep, but I kept on waking up thinking I’d heard a noise. I wasn’t awake long though, I’d go straight back to sleep. I’m used to that. I spent years sleeping with an eye on Dean to make sure he was ok.”
“It was really something to see that last night. It was a bit bizarre, the lead guitarist of Mildew in the same hotel room, and you…I’ve been finding it hard to imagine you and him together, but last night, well, I kind of get it now.”
Annabelle’s face was half smile and half frown. “What you saw last night, that was my life on a regular basis for several years. Dean drinking too much, or getting stoned, and me having to support him. Mainly when they were on tour. It was so much better when they were off the road and he could just relax. Although LA was terrible for him. I hated Los Angeles. Still, it was there where he could write songs then see them come to life in the studio. He didn’t get anywhere near as stressed when they were recording for an album. It’s the live performances. He get’s so terrified before them.”
“I have never seen them live. I’ve seen some videos of them playing live on YouTube, they seem great to me.”
“He is a brilliant guitarist without a huge audience. A small venue is not so bad, but anything more than a thousand people and he loses it. It really scares him. When I first met Dean he would play with the band in Liam’s garage. But the band wanted to play live more. Dean was very reluctant because he would always lose his bottle performing in front of an audience. I told him there was no way he would ever achieve his dream of being a professional musician unless he was willing to put the effort into playing live. I pushed him and pushed him.”
“Well, it paid off Annie.”
“Yeah but, he still finds performing live hard. He says he can’t concentrate, his head is completely distracted. And he becomes so so tense before a show. But then he goes out on stage and he’s great. Well, so long as he hasn’t drunk too much. If he starts fudging chords on stage he gets really distracted and the other guys get anxious. Some of their live shows have been criticized badly and the rest of the band and management all blame Dean for losing it. They are right of course. The only reason they don’t dare drop him from the band is his songwriting is so good. Dean is the talent when it comes to writing material and recording in the studio. He is actually phenomenally talented. He needs to keep working on his live performances though. It’s a nerves thing.”
“You did a great job of calming him down.”
“I know him well. I used to find it traumatising when he was like that. But I’ve seen him that drunk a hundred times. He just needed to be asleep desperately. I didn’t think there was anyway we were going to be able to get him back to his room. Hopefully he’ll wake up feeling a lot better and he’ll be all set for tonight.”
“It’s going to be an interesting story to take home Annie.”
Annabelle looked dismayed, “Chris, you don’t get it do you?What happens with Dean is not a story to tell. Please do not share anything that could possibly damage him.”
“Can I tell Gina I met him? Gina knows that’s why we’re in New York.”
“I would really appreciate it if you were discreet. Tell Gina you’ve met him and hung out with him. Please don’t say anything bad about him though. You have no idea how much pressure Dean is under, the stress is enormous.”
“You really care about him don’t you. I was thinking about what you said last night, when you love someone, you don’t abandon them at their weakest.”
“I care for him. I couldn’t have gone on living with him. I would have cracked up. I hate it when he drinks so much or gets high. I couldn’t go on living like that. There are other people around him who should be keeping an eye on him.”
“You were harming though when you were with him.”
“I don’t want to talk about that here Chris, but I was in a bad place mentally and emotionally for a long time. That life is exhausting. Dean and I were both shattered. I was trying to help Dean live his dream, but it was something I stopped enjoying a long time before we finally broke up.”
Chris used the teaspoon to stir the foam that had settled in his cup of coffee. He stared into the bottom of the cup, “And then you met Rob.”
“About three blocks from here, at a party. He was everything Dean wasn’t – smooth, sophisticated, debonair and very sharp minded. And damn hot in his tux. But he was cringing because he was so nervous when he spoke to me. He told me later that when he saw me he thought I was out of his league but he dared himself to try to chat me up. It was the nervousness that made me like him, otherwise I would have thought he was just a right snob. I liked that someone who seemed perfect also had frailties. I felt safe with him. If he had been a fraction more confident, I don’t think I would have felt safe. It was his nerves that made me relax. Too perfect would have put me off. I needed someone who was safe and stable, which Dean wasn’t. But I also needed someone with imperfections and insecurities, someone who I could support.”
“Did you need to support Rob?”
“It’s hard to explain Chris, but I think I spotted plenty of reasons that first weekend I spent with him for me to feel I could be useful to Robin. I did need that, I needed to know I wasn’t going to be a burden, but rather an asset. It’s something I need to feel. Robin needed to loosen up. He was screaming public school brat. New Yorkers would have steam rollered him. He was very driven with his career, and very money orientated. I knew I was going to bring something refreshing to him, something he didn’t know he needed. It’s a delicate balance. There came a point when I was more of a burden than a support to Dean, that’s when our relationship started to unravel. With Robin, I had to establish in my own mind that I was bringing something to his life, something that would make him feel he needed me. I need to be needed.”
“You need to be needed?”
“Why would I risk inflicting myself, with all my imperfections on someone, unless I thought I had more to give than I would ever need to take? Like I said, it’s a delicate balance. When I felt I was a burden, I started to unravel, I started hurting myself.”
“With Dean or Rob?”
Annabelle paused and looked thoughtful, “Maybe with both of them.”
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:
I chose a prompt under the ROMANCE section: 3. Who is she waiting for?