I don’t know if you read the ending of the last part of Annabelle’s story. I found myself sobbing while I was writing that. The little lady whose story I am telling is still struggling despite all the therapy and support she has had. But her story is about to deal with something Annabelle is going to find very hard to swallow.
These are the previous parts in Annabelle’s story:
Chris called round at The Jennings’ home a couple of days after they had been back in Blackwood. He had calmed down. He knew Annabelle must be upset, because she wasn’t answering her phone or responding to his messages. The photograph Dean Mathers had posted on his Instagram account of Annabelle in bed had been removed. Chris guessed she must have called Dean.
Chris had called Jenna and told her to leave Annabelle alone. Jenna had seemed amused on the phone. Robin had called Chris, and had downplayed the photo that Dean had posted. Robin didn’t seem at all provoked by it. Robin was very warm in his thanks to Chris for travelling with Annabelle to New York.
Annabelle was not home when Chris arrived, but Pearl was eager to hear from Chris more about the trip to New York. He told her about the places they had visited and showed her photographs taken from Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, Central Park and The Empire State Building.
“Annabelle seems very tired. She has been very quiet since she came back.” mentioned Pearl.
“We packed a lot in Mrs J. Lots of rushing around the city from here to there.”
“And of course there was the accident too. She said she fell over?”
“Fell over?” Chris was puzzled.
“Yes, her arm is badly bruised. She seemed a bit evasive when I asked her exactly what had happened,” there was a very concerned tone in Pearl’s voice.
Realizing he could not tell Pearl the entire story of how a drunkard had stumbled and grabbed Annabelle’s arm to steady himself, Chris simply affirmed, “Oh yes, sorry yes, she did have an accident. We picked up some Arnica cream for her arm from a pharmacy.”
Pearl seemed satisfied, “It’s really good for bruises. Maybe that’s why she is so tired. Anyway she is at the Doctor’s today so she could always mention it at her appointment.”
That evening Annabelle called Chris. He was relieved to hear her voice, “I only called to say I am not going to be going to Tayford anymore. Thank you for taking me up there every week, but I don’t have to go anymore.”
“You are not going to CBT anymore? Ok Annie, well that’s good I guess.” Chris waited for Annabelle to reply, “Are you ok Annie?”
“I’m fine. Anyway, I have to go now.”
“Alright Annie, we’ll have to do something at the weekend. I’ll be in touch.” There was no reply, “Annie?”
“Bye Chris” preceded the call being disconnected by Annabelle.
Chris didn’t hear from Annabelle again until a couple of days later when he texted her to ask if she wanted to go and see a movie at the cinema. Annabelle replied, stating that she already had plans for the weekend. He responded by asking her to keep some time free the following weekend. It seemed unusual, after they had shared so much together during their eventful trip to New York, that they’d barely spoken all week. Neither had Annabelle hadn’t been out with the rambling group that week.
He sent a couple of texts before the weekend. Annabelle would eventually reply with a smile emoji. Something was wrong. He presumed it was to do with his own reaction to the photograph Dean had posted of her on Instagram. Chris decided to call Annabelle to speak about it. She didn’t answer her phone all weekend, but she did text on the Sunday evening: “SORRY I MISSED YOUR CALLS, IT’S BEEN A BUSY WEEKEND.”
Chris texted back, “SO LONG AS YOU’RE NOT AVOIDING ME.”
The following Friday Annabelle answered her phone when Chris called asking her if she was free. She told him she had a lot planned again. But she made an effort to chat, asking Chris what he had planned for Thanksgiving. Chris said he would be up in Chicago with Gina and one of their brothers. Their Dad was going to be there too. He asked Annabelle what her plans were. She said she would join Burt and Pearl who were going to go up to Mapleton to spend Thanksgiving with Gloria’s family.
“Well, we’ll have to do something before Thanksgiving Annie.”
“Yeah,” Annabelle paused before offering a suggestion, “Maybe we could go for a coffee or something.”
Around fifteen minutes after the conversation with Annabelle, Chris received a phone call from Robin, “How did she get on with her therapy this week?”
Chris was surprised at the question, “She isn’t going any more, hasn’t she told you?”
“She said that her appointment last week was rearranged. She went to it on Tuesday instead of Thursday. I thought it was all back to normal this week?”
“Well, I didn’t take her up to Tayford yesterday. She told me last week that she doesn’t need to go anymore.” replied Chris.
There was a pause from Robin, “That’s weird. She hasn’t said anything about it to me. Something’s not right. Does she seem ok to you?”
“I’ve not seen her Rob, we’ve spoken on the phone a couple of times. I was worried something was up, but all I can get out of her is that she’s busy at the moment.”
“I don’t know Chris, I’m getting mixed vibes from Belle. She is so excited about coming over here. She’s booked a flight to come out here in January, did she tell you? She’s been telling me how much she enjoyed her time in New York, she can’t say enough about how great Dean was. She told me she spent all of last weekend shopping for Christmas presents for her family, which is great! She seems quite positive about her parents at the moment and oh, she said Pearl is teaching her how to bake.”
Chris was surprised at all he was hearing, “She hasn’t mentioned any of that. Although, it was kind of obvious she was pleased with Dean when we were in New York. That photo said it all.”
Robin ignored the comment about the photo, “Did you two get on alright in New York? I asked her about how you enjoyed the trip and she didn’t have much to say, which is odd, because she is raving on about everything else ten to the dozen. She seemed a little evasive.”
Chris hesitated, “I thought we did. She was a bit snappy the first evening after she’d spoken to Dean, but she kept saying she was tired.”
“She does get grumpy when she’s tired. She’s like a kid. She needs a lot of sleep. Staying up all late three nights in a row would have made her it tough for her.”
“Well, she had an early night the first night we were there. She slept for over twelve hours. I thought that must be keeping her going for the rest of the weekend.”
“No, she didn’t Chris. She was up until after three o’clock in the morning. She told me the next day she’d been in Dean’s room most of the night talking. She said eventually they had both fallen asleep on his bed. Annabelle reckoned that’s when he must have taken that photo. She’s already given Dean an earful about taking photos of her when she was asleep.”
Chris felt shock at what Robin was telling him, “What!”
“She said it really helped her to have the chance to talk for so long. It turned out that Dean had a lot he needed to get off his chest too. I think they both felt they’ve left things on a better note than they did when they first broke up. She’s told you about that night hasn’t she, when he ended up hitting her?”
“She didn’t tell me she’d been in his room.” Chris was trying to work out in his head how that was even possible.
“At the time, she told me not to mention it, but after Dean posted that photo, I thought you’d figured it out she’d been with him,” Robin said nonchalantly, “You didn’t think she’d actually let something happen did you? Annabelle would never cheat on me, not for my sake, for her own.. She knows she would never be able to get over the guilt of it, it would drive her insane.”
“I honestly thought the night he was in our room that something must have happened. I couldn’t understand it. I asked her about it on the way back here from the airport. She just said it was none of my business.”
“That’s Belle when she’s grumpy. Have you not talked to her about it since? I’m sure she’ll tell you what happened. It’s no big deal. I just don’t understand why she’s not mentioned to me that she’s not going to therapy anymore. Something’s wrong I’m sure. I don’t get it. On the phone it sounds like she’s super happy and excited, but she’s hiding something.”
Chris was very thoughtful, “I wonder if I upset her in the cab when we were came back from the airport. I was tired too. I thought she was lying about what had gone in between her and Dean. It was hard to see how close they were in New York. I don’t know, maybe I was jealous. When she told me to butt out, I was annoyed. I didn’t even bother saying goodbye to her. I just jumped out of the taxi and walked home.”
Robin sighed, “Chris, you should know her well enough by now. She’s like a child, or a little puppy. She’s so affectionate and sweet, she get’s all excited about everything and loves having fun. But she’s insecure. Even with people who are close to her. You have to be careful. If she thinks someone is angry with her, she takes it badly. She can’t handle it when she thinks she is being punished or criticised, especially if she doesn’t think it’s fair. If she does realize she has done something wrong, she feels terrible guilt, much more than is normal, literally it would tip her over the edge to do anything seriously wrong. She can’t take any kind of rejection or condemnation. It’s the kind of thing that sets her off harming herself.”
Chris found Robin’s words played on his mind all weekend. He was determined he had to see Annabelle to find out what was going on.
What was going on with Annabelle Riley? That was something she was not prepared to share with anyone yet. She kept herself very busy with tasks that seemed to take on an urgency in her mind. Alone in her room at night, her little child-like heart bled. The cycle that had held her captive since she was thirteen still controlled her. The wave of emotion, leading to her doing what brought her relief, followed by a sense of failure and guilt, which contributed to the next wave of emotion, provoking yet another act of injuring herself. It was a cold and lonely time for her, brutally disappointing after all that had transpired in New York.
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?