It’s Saturday in New York. Chris and Annabelle still have most of the day together before Dean and his band Mildew perform their biggest concert yet at Madison Square Gardens. What will this day bring?
These are the previous parts in Annabelle’s story:
Annabelle wanted to take Chris over to Central Park while it was still quite early. The autumn colours against the blue sky made the park look especially pretty.
It was while they were walking that Annabelle brought up the subject of the concert that night. “It’s going to be a fantastic night Chris, and I am thrilled for Dean and all the boys.”
“I’m really looking forward to it Annie.”
“Good. The thing is Chris, I’m going to need you to cover for me.”
“Cover for you? What do you mean?” Chris looked puzzled.
In a very matter-of-fact tone, Annabelle explained, “Well, I just cannot be there. It’s too much. It’s actually like torture hearing those songs.”
“You’re not going to be there? I thought you told him you were.” Chris seemed quite shocked.
“I intend to come down with you to the arena later. And I will make sure I check on Dean to make sure he’s in one piece before the show. I think it will mean a lot to him. But I cannot listen to him playing, so many of those songs are about me. It’s just unbearable. I have to be careful what I say though because those songs mean a lot to him.”
“So you are going to disappear while they play. You want me to cover for you?”
“Once the show has started, noone is going to notice I am not around. I will be back for the end. I want you to stay there and fill me in on anything that I will need to know happened. I’m going to need something to say to Dean to make him think I was watching.”
Chris looked uneasy, “You are going to pretend to him. Why would you do that?”
“You’ve had a taste of Dean at his worse. I don’t want to upset him. He can get really nasty. But I just can’t be there. It’s not something that I can debate with him without him freaking out at me. I’ll be there for him before and after their performance. But not for the songs.”
“Where are you going to disappear to?” Chris looked concerned.
“I’ll be fine. I’ll just find somewhere quiet and keep a close eye on the time. I might ring Robin, and probably Pearl too.”
“You’ll stay safe?”
“Hey, I’m a New Yorker! I know how to stay out of trouble,” laughed Annabelle.
Chris and Annabelle decided to walk from Central Park down Fifth Avenue to the Empire State Building. Annabelle spotted a pharmacy as they were walking. “I want to see if they sell Arnica Chris.”
“Arnica? Do you mean those little tiny things you put on your tongue? If I fell off my bike Mum would run after me with a little tube and make me stick my tongue out to have one of these almost invisible little things.”
Annabelle laughed, “Pearl always has a tube of Arnica cream in the side-drawer. When I first moved in she would notice bruises on my arm and she’d grab her Arnica and insist I dab it on my arms.”
“Are you buying it to take it back to Pearl?”
“Nope, they sell at the pharmacy in Blackwood. I just want to dab some on my arm now.”
Chris looked alarmed, “Annie, you haven’t been hurting yourself have you?”
Annabelle decided to ignore Chris and walked ahead of him into the pharmacy. She found some Arnica cream near their First Aid section and took it to the counter to pay for it. Once she had paid for it, she took her jacket off while she was still near the counter and rolled up her sleeve and started to apply the cream to purple marks on her left arm.
“Oh that look nasty,” remarked the counter assistant.
Chris was staring at Annabelle. She screwed the lid back onto the end of the tube and put it back into the box it was packaged in. “Dean grabbed my arm when he fell last night Chris. He didn’t mean to hurt me, he just lost his balance.”
The explanation brought a mix of relief that Annie hadn’t caused herself those bruises, and equal concern that she hadn’t mentioned her arm being so tender earlier. Annabelle wouldn’t allow Chris to make any more fuss about her bruises though. She insisted it had been an accident and that he should forget about it. While she was agitated her pace increased and Chris ran after her and reached her hand.
“Alright. I’ll forget it. I was a bit shocked to see the state of your arm, that’s all. Are you ready for another caffeine fix?” They decided to it was time for more coffee and bought some from Starbucks.
Once they were up at the top of the Empire State Building, all agitation melted away. Chris was really taken with the views. Annabelle too found herself gazing out with a sense of inspiration sweeping over her. “Why is it that sometimes you have to be up somewhere high up to see everything in your life so clearly?”
“Everything in your life?”
“Yes. I don’t know why climbing a mountain in the Swiss Alps, or stepping in an elevator to take you up eighty-six floors makes such a difference. Maybe it’s because the air is thinner the higher you go? Maybe that is why our brains work better and we can see everything that seemed so complicated suddenly seem so clear.”
“What do you see so clearly now?” asked Chris puzzled at Annabelle’s emphatic statements.
“I see the solution Chris.” But Annabelle was reluctant to tell Chris anything else. They continued taking photographs. Annabelle seemed to have become very joyful which was something Chris loved to see. She took his hands and danced with him, and in response he twirled her around. As the sky became more colourful Annabelle became even more excited. Leaping up into the air, she cried, “Come on! Let’s go and find Dean!”
It was less than a ten minute walk to Madison Square Gardens, but it took Chris and Annabelle a lot longer to find the entrance Jim had told them to use. They received their passes and made their way into the corridors. “These places are like a maze of tunnels, and everywhere looks the same” laughed Annabelle. They made their way to an elevator that took them down to the ground floor. Five minutes of walking along corridors and showing their passes to security staff and Annabelle started to recognize faces. Several nodded to her or greeted her as they rushed past.
“Hey Liam!” yelled Annabelle to the drummer she had spent years on tour buses and planes with.
“Great to see you Doll. Catch up with you at the party later. Second door on the left, he’s climbing the walls.”
They approached the door Liam had pointed out to them. Anabelle knocked very firmly and the door immediately swung open. Ron ushered the two into the room.
“How’s he been Ron?”
“He slept until midday. He ate breakfast. That’s all the good I can say. He’s threatening to bolt. I’m glad you are here.”
Annabelle walked further into the room and spotted Dean sitting on a sofa with a guitar. His face was crumpled in what could have been mistaken for anguish.
“All psyched up Dean?” she whispered as she crouched down next to him.
“I can’t do it.” grumbled Dean.
“Sure you can. And you are gonna. You’re not letting me come all the way here only for you not to go on stage!”
“Nick is a complete prick.” Dean grumbled.
“Ok then, so you two have obviously had words. Nothing like getting the blood going before a show. Why are you sweating?” Annabelle placed the back of her hand on Dean’s forehead. “You’re burning up.”
“I hate him.”
“Only before you go on stage. At the end of the show, you two will be hugging each other.” Annabelle sighed, “Come on Baby let’s get you out of here and get you some fresh air.” She swung around and asked Chris if he would stay while she took Dean to find some daylight.
Annabelle grasped Dean’s hand and weaved through stage hands and runners towards the loading bay and out into the open. She walked out towards an area away from the noise and shouts that were coming from inside the dark loading bay. There she could hold eye contact with Dean and say all the words she knew he would be needing to hear. One of the Arena security staff slipped his phone out of his pocket and snapped a photo of Dean resting his arms on Annabelle’s shoulders. If you zoomed in on that photograph, that 67K viewers liked during the course of the following week, it really did look as if Dean and Annabelle were kissing.
As soon as Dean had stepped out with the rest of the band onto the stage, Annabelle knew he would be fine. She stood with Chris until they began to play and then checking the time on her phone, she yelled to him so that she could be heard, that she would meet him outside the same room that was being used as a dressing room for Dean and the band.
It took took her another ten minutes until she was outside of the arena and then she started to hurry towards the subway entrance at 34 Street – Penn Station.
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?