After an emotional day when Annabelle and Robin discussed their past challenges and finally Robin was able to broach the subject of post natal depression and borderline personality disorder with Annabelle, the two of them now turn their attention to the future.
These are the previous parts in Annabelle’s story:
Robin and Annabelle were both tired after the intense discussions and emotions of the day. They both slept heavily that night. It was almost noon on Thursday morning when Robin’s phone ringing awoke them. Robin’s mother Fiona was calling to express her excitement that they would be returning to England the following month. It was soon settled that she would be delighted to help with arrangements for their wedding. She also made it clear that Robin and Annabelle were welcome to stay with them in their home.
Robin’s pleasure was obvious. He kissed Annabelle’s neck and whispered into her ear, “I can’t wait to be with them again Belle. I have so much I want to say. I owe them a huge apology. But I think we made our peace when we spoke at Christmas. It will be so much easier, especially now that we are going to be together. I can tell how much it means to them.”
“Your parents are so lovely Robin.”
“Yes they are. Not as lovely as you though.”
Annabelle turned onto her back and smiled warmly at Robin, “You say that even though you think I am a…”
“You are not going to say that word are you?” Robin rubbed his face against Annabelle’s, “Say it again and you will be over my knee.”
Annabelle giggled, “Oh really. Is that supposed to be an invitation?”
Robin stared intensely at Annabelle, “Love, honour and obey, that’s what wives are supposed to do isn’t it? Is it just me or does the obey part sound kinky?”
“It’s definitely just you. But I do kinda like your kinky ideas and your dirty mind. I hope you don’t get bored of that when we are married.”
“Bored of sex? That would be tragic!” Robin slipped two fingers around the edge of the claret coloured lace briefs Annabelle was wearing, “You keep spending your money on these lacy thingies and I don’t think there’s any chance of me getting bored.”
“I want to grow old and wrinkly with you. I want to be like the folk in Blackwood. They have all been married for decades. I don’t know if they still have sex, but they definitely care for each other.”
Robin kissed Annabelle, “We will still be having sex when I am a hundred, if I have anything to do with it.”
“Well I will make sure I am still shopping for lingerie then. Are we going to stay in bed all day?”
“Let’s get up and have some breakfast and go for a walk. Then we need to talk weddings. Mum has given me a hundred questions about the wedding, and she is going to want answers soon.”
After they had showered, dressed and eaten, Robin and Annabelle headed out into chilled winter morning to get some fresh air. It wasn’t long before they were playing in the snow. After the intensity of the previous day, they both wanted to be playful and light hearted. They both needed a break.
Back at the hotel, Robin grabbed a large notepad and pens and took them up to the room for him and Annabelle to write notes on what they would want for their wedding day. But whatever Robin asked Annabelle, her responses were ambiguous. She continuously replied that she didn’t mind and wanted to know what Robin’s preference was. He found himself becoming increasingly frustrated that Annabelle didn’t have any clear hopes even for her own wedding.
“Is it easier for me to ask you where you don’t want to get married than where you do want to get married?”
“England Robin! For goodness sake, I am sure we agreed on this already. I want to get married in England, in a church ok!”
“Ok Belle, are you sure?”
“You are going to drive me crazy trying to make me think about what I want. I don’t have lots of big ideas and strong opinions. If I have to start studying these wedding magazines to decide on flowers and cakes and dresses…I think I will lose the will to live!”
“I just want you to be happy Belle.”
“But it is one day, the wedding, I will be very happy because I am marrying you. I honestly don’t think I am going to remember much else. And I don’t want it to be stressful – do you?”
“No, I don’t want it to be stressful, but I want it to be special.”
“What about those people who plan weddings. Could we get one of them to make all the decisions?”
Robin looked doubtful, “We could. I just want it to be your wedding. I don’t want some wedding planner coming in like a military commander and making it all a big Disney themed event. It should be personal.”
“I think you have a better idea than I do of what kind of wedding we should have. Do you think your Mum might come with me to help me pick a dress Robin?”
“Of course she would. We’ll call her and make sure she sets some time aside. She would love it Belle. And the flowers, Mum loves flower arranging. She will help you if you would like her to. What about cake?”
Annabelle stared at Robin for a moment and then with her eyes widening she asked, “Would it be ok to have Christmas pudding wedding cake?”
“Christmas pudding wedding cake? Do you mean fruit cake?”
“Well, yes, but like Christmas pudding, with lots of booze soaked into it?”
“If you would like,” Robin looked at Annabelle’s eager face, “ok, you’ve surprised me, this seems like something you really want.”
“Robin, I wanted Christmas Day with my family to last long enough so that I could have some of Mum’s Christmas pudding. But it all went wrong. And I meant to find some grocery store that was open so I could buy some, but I didn’t end up with any cake at all. I know it might seem silly, but I would love to have a cake that I am not going to be sent to my room before I have a slice of. And I want it to be the cake I always missed out on, every year – boozy, fruity, spicy cake.”
“Christmas pudding wedding cake it is Belle,” Robin squeezed her tightly, “and you’re not going to your room until I take you up there…which will be after you have had as much cake as you want.”
“Maybe I like the idea of this wedding malarkey afterall!”
“We can ask my parents to get some invitations printed, but it might be a good idea to tell people the date now, so they can reserve it. Shall we write to your family now?”
“I don’t know if they are going to come Robin.”
“But we are inviting them Belle. Can you imagine how mad they would be if you didn’t even invite them.”
Annabelle pulled a face, “I think they will moan about the wedding being in England. But I would be much happier if the wedding was something that revolved around your family than mine. Because my family are impossible to please.”
“The wedding is going to revolve around you Belle.”
“I am not sure if Dean will want to come or not. It depends on what kind of mood he is in. But he would be really upset if I didn’t invite him.”
Robin rolled his eyes, “I am more than happy for Dean to be there. He has been very generous. We don’t have to have the whole band do we? And is there anyone else you want to invite? Friends from New York? Your friends in Blackwood?”
Annabelle scrunched her face, “Honestly Robin, I would love to have them, Ralph and Burt and Pearl at the wedding. And Chris too. But I don’t know if they would want to travel to England for a wedding.”
“It’s up to them to decide that Belle,” Robin pondered for a moment before adding, “but if they can’t come, it will be because of the distance. It won’t be because they don’t love you. You know that don’t you?”
Annabelle snuggled closer to Robin, “They are lovely people Robin. I know that. Ralph won’t be able to come. He is still in hospital.”
Robin was silent. He tightened his embrace around Belle. He thought about the text message he had received from Chris telling him that Ralph did not want Annabelle to know he had bone cancer. Chris had indicated that it could be a very short time before he passed away, and he didn’t know how Annabelle would feel of she realized nobody in Blackwood had told her. “Did you get the chance to go up to hospital to see Ralph after Christmas?”
Annabelle nodded with her face tucked in to Robin’s chest, “I went everyday. He seemed to be getting worse. I was worried in case he had picked up some kind of bug on the ward. That sometimes happens doesn’t it? You hear of people picking up an infection while they are in hospital, or after surgery. It seemed as if his body was fighting something.”
“He’s that kind of age Belle. You know he could go at any time.”
“I am afraid of that. I wrote him a letter Robin the day before I came here. I kind of wanted to say goodbye just in case anything happened while I was away, but he was asleep the whole time I was there. So I wrote a letter to thank him for being my best friend. He has been like family, real family I mean.”
Feeling a swell of pride for her, Robin kissed Annabelle’s forehead tenderly. Her answer had confirmed in his mind that she did not need to know about the cancer. After her devoted visits to Ralph and her genuine affection for him, urely she would not feel guilty about being abroad if he did pass away. But he wanted to keep her focus on their plans for the wedding.
Together they called Burt and Pearl, who seemed genuinely delighted at the news of their engagement. It was a huge boost to Annabelle, especially after the phone call to her parents had been so disappointing. Her Mother had answered the phone to Annabelle and before Annabelle had been able to say anything, Carol Riley had started to chide her for leaving their home on Christmas Day without apologising to her oldest sister Alicia. Disheartened, Annabelle had decided it wasn’t the time to share the news. Her first impulse had been to hang up on her mother, but instead she put the phone on the table and let her mother go on talking, while she moved away from the phone. When she returned later on, she could see the call had ended.
“I think emailing is a much better idea Robin, really!”
“Shall we do it now?”
“Let’s send an email to Chris. It’s too awkward to tell him over the phone.”
“Do you want to do that on your own?”
“If I try to do it on my own, it might be next year by the time I think of something to write. I think I need you to come up with something for me.”
Robin laughed, “Ok, I will type a message and you can tell me what you think. Robin’s fingers flew over the keyboard and then he turned the laptop to Annabelle for her to read the message he had produced, “DEAR CHRIS, I HAVE SOME NEWS THAT I THINK YOU MIGHT HAVE MIXED FEELINGS ABOUT, BUT IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT TO ME THAT YOU KNOW. YOU HAVE BEEN SUCH A GREAT FRIEND TO ME. ROBIN HAS ASKED ME TO BE HIS WIFE. WE WOULD LOVE YOU TO BE AT THE WEDDING, WHICH WILL BE IN ENGLAND. BUT IF IT WOULD BE WEIRD FOR YOU I UNDERSTAND.”
Annabelle looked at Robin, “Is it too…I don’t know, is it too direct?”
“He should know soon Belle. Do you think he will want to hear it from you or from your other friends in Blackwood?”
Annabelle thought over the message, She changed some of the words, and added a couple of sentences and ended the email with “I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH CHRIS AND ROBIN KNOWS HOW MUCH YOU MEAN TO ME.” She turned the laptop over to Robin for him to read the message that she had made considerably sweeter and softer. He grinned at her and lent forward to move the cursor over the SEND button. He pressed ENTER and soon there was a MESSAGE SENT sign on the screen.
“Do you feel better?”
“Yes,” Annabelle nodded.
“Parents. Hmm. I am going to copy and paste the message to Chris and we can adapt it a bit so that it is more suited to them.”
Over the next few days, Robin and Annabelle had repeated conversations with Fiona Grainger, Robin’s mother. Fiona was highly pleased that Annabelle wanted her to help choose a wedding dress. Fiona wasted no time in making appointments for Robin and Annabelle, finding an available church and vicar, booking a venue for a reception and engaging caterers, florists, a string quartet, invitation printers and everything else she felt would be needed for the wedding.
By the time Robin and Annabelle arrived in London in the middle of February, a considerable amount had been arranged for their wedding. But before they discussed the wedding, Robin wanted to speak to his parents about other subjects.
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?