Robin and Annabelle are about to set off on their honeymoon. Annabelle’s friends are still in England. How will they spend their time?
These are the previous parts of Annabelle’s story:
“Good Morning Mrs Grainger,” Robin whispered into his bride’s ear.
Annabelle could not suppress a huge smile spreading across her face. She turned over to face Robin, “Husband,” was the word that left her lips.
Robin gently rubbed his forehead against hers, “My beautiful wife.”
“Robin,” Annabelle murmured, as his fingers slipped below the covers and found her most sensitive parts.
“You like that Annabelle?”
Her eyes closed as she found pleasure building within her. She whispered, “I have forgotten shoes. I only have the stilettos I left the wedding in.”
Robin grinned, as he continued arousing her, “Shoes, hey? What do you need shoes for on your honeymoon?”
“I can’t wear those shoes the whole time we are in Greece. They will be ruined,” she gasped as Robin increased the pressure his finger tips applied.
“The last thing you need to worry about is shoes Belle,” Robin gently pushed Annabelle onto her back and kissed her lips intensely, before he began to make love to her.
On the Sunday after the wedding, Nick and Anna accompanied Burt, Pearl, Gina and Chris, as they caught the train from Newbury Station to London Paddington. On the train Anna chatted animatedly with Burt and Pearl telling them about the London sites they were interested in. Chris and Nick were silent for most of the journey. Gina was occupied with sending text messages to someone, and when her phone began to jingle, she removed herself to the area between the carriages to have her phone conversation.
After arriving at Paddington the party made their way to Knightsbridge, so that they could shop at Harrods. Gina and Pearl seemed particularly taken with wandering around all of the different rooms and counters within Harrods. Handbags, scarves, perfumes and the chocolate hall took two hours to traverse through.
Nick kept Burt busy with conversation about the work he did at the Grainger’s estate and other locations he had worked at. Burt answered Nick’s questions about American politics and industry.
Anna had been watching Chris. He still seemed in low spirits. He hardly uttered a word to anyone and seemed to have no interest in anything he saw.
“I wondered if you might like to see some photos from the wedding?” she suggested to him.
Chris looked through the photos on Anna’s phone. They brought back some of the vague memories he had from the wedding. The last photo he became attentive to, was of Annabelle after she had changed out of her wedding dress into a pink dress in order to leave the reception. He swiped his fingers across the screen to zoom in on a part of the photograph.
“She’s wearing that ring,” Chris muttered.
Anna smiled, “Since she came to England, I have never seen her without it.”
Chris kept looking at the close-up of the mood ring he had given Annabelle as a Christmas present. “It was light blue or a kind of turquoise when I saw her wearing it back home.”
“I don’t remember it ever being any other colour than blue,” replied Anna looking at the close-up of the ring with curiosity. She looked at Chris, “Do you know what pink means?”
Chris shook his head, “There was a little guide in the box with the ring. I didn’t look at it properly. It was just something kind of sentimental. I thought she would like it. Well, I thought she would appreciate that I wish I understood her better.”
Anna gazed at Chris, “It’s funny that you say that. She told me that you knew her even better than Robin. Annabelle told me that you had helped her learn more about herself than anyone else.”
Chris was silent in response. After looking through the photos again, he said, “She’s a mystery to me. I hardly feel as if I know her at all.”
Anna’s face revealed his sympathy, “Nick says that all women are a mystery,” seeing that Chris wasn’t amused by what she had said, Anna added, “Annabelle and I used to go for walks in the countryside around Inkpen. She talked a lot about you. She thinks the world of you, I am sure of that.”
Chris handed Anna her phone back, “Thanks,” was all he could respond with before he turned his gaze to the tiled floor.
Anna, started typing into her phone. Once she had found what she was looking for, she announced, “It says here that pink means, nervous, fearful, uncertain.” Anna was not sure if Chris had heard her. She decided not to repeat her words.
While her friends were shopping at Harrods, Annabelle was kicking off the stilettos she had worn on the journey from Gatwick to Santorini. “My feet ache Robin.”
“Did you pack on your own? I thought my mother asked Anna to help you pack.”
“Anna has been working so hard. I didn’t want to bother her with something I should be perfectly capable of doing myself.”
Robin pulled Annabelle into his arms, “There has been a lot going on Belle. Something like shoes would be easy to forget,” he grinned at her. Seeing that Annabelle still seemed frustrated with herself, he added, “Maybe it was a subconscious thing. You probably knew I had plans for you that didn’t require any footwear at all.”
“No, I think it was just me being a clutz.”
“I don’t know why you didn’t buy those flip-flops you saw at Gatwick, but we can buy you some shoes here Belle. We’re going to be between the hotel and the beach most of the time. I bet you hardly need any footwear. I am just glad you wanted a honeymoon somewhere warm with a beach. If you had chosen somewhere else, no shoes could have been a problem.”
“Could we go down to the beach now? I would love to feel the sand in between my toes. It’s years since I went anywhere near a beach.”
“You didn’t forget swimwear did you?”
Annabelle pulled a face, “I have swimwear. But you are going to have to carry me down to the beach, because there is no way I am wearing those Manolo Blahnik’s down there.”
Gina had been busy buying English memorabilia and gifts to take back to her family. She had attempted to stir interest in Chris, asking for his opinion on items she thought their mother or another family would like, but he seemed determined to be glum. “Chris, do you want to go up to Covent Garden with the others? Or do you want to tag along with me?”
“What?” asked Chris, looking at Gina in confusion.
“I have a friend from college who has been living in London for a couple of years. I have been on the phone to him and we’ve arranged to meet for a drink not far from here. The others want to go up to Covent Garden. What do you want to do?”
Chris was surprised at Gina’s plan, “Him? Is this someone I know?”
Gina responded, “Jordan is someone I dated for a short time at college Chris. He’s a couple of years older than me. When he graduated he moved back to Arizona. But we kept in touch. We’ve talked on Skype, but we’ve never actually got round to visiting each other. He works in Canary Wharf. But he lives in Hammersmith, and he said it’s easy for him to get up here to Knightsbridge.”
“I don’t know if it’s safe to be on your own in a strange city?”
“I won’t be alone. I’ll be with Jordan. But I would actually really like you to meet him. Do you think you’re up to it little bro? Jordan and me – we might be smiling and laughing for some of the time. Is that going to be unbearable for you?”
“I’ll come with you Gina. Have you told anyone else about this?”
“Nick said that he and Anna will look after Burt and Pearl. He was wondering about where to meet to travel back to Newbury. But if you and I are together, we can stay here longer and travel back on our own. That means that when Burt and Pearl are feeling tired, Nick can take them back.”
“You’ve got this all figured out hey Gina?”
“While you were in a world of your own, I have been busy Chris,” Gina grinned.
Within an hour, the others were on an underground train, heading for Covent Garden. Chris and Gina were waiting in the bar of the hotel Jordan had suggested.
“I am going to be watching what you drink Chris. You might want to lay off liqueur!”
Chris nodded, “I don’t think my head can take any more. I’ll stick to soda.”
“Oh wow that’s Jordan,” exclaimed Gina with excitement, before she rose from the bar stool she was perched on, and went over to greet him with a hug.
It turned out that Chris did find it a little unbearable to see two people so wrapped up with each other and clearly attracted to each other. Even though he was happy to see Gina enjoying herself, he was reminded yet again of his own loss.
Another American accent was a welcome sound. Jordan was interesting. He had a lot to tell them about life in London and stories of family back in Arizona. He and Gina talked of friends and events they had shared at college.
After a couple of drinks in the bar, Jordan travelled with Chris and Gina from Kensington up to Paddington, and then led the way through the roads to somewhere he thought they would enjoy dinner.
“Have you tried fish and chips yet guys?” Jordan asked. When Chris and Gina indicated they had not, Jordan told them they couldn’t really come to England without trying a fish and chip supper.”
They were fortunate in arriving when there were a couple of tables available. Even though it was still early in the evening, the restaurant was packed with diners.
Chris was glad he had chosen to stay with his sister rather than the others. But his head was somewhere else entirely. He thought back of all the walks he had taken with Annie Riley – the sweetest woman he had known, but one who had turned out to have a struggle she had been hiding for most of her life.
The beautiful woman he had fallen for, had been hurting her body when she felt lost and rejected. It was something he had never really understood, as much as he had tried. But now that she was on her honeymoon and he was here far away from her, far away from home, and overcome with the sense of futility now that the loss of her seemed so real – he felt perhaps he understood some of what she had been through at times in her life when she had felt alone and abandoned.
The fish and chips was a helpful distraction. As Gina seemed more interested in talking with Jordan, Chris ended up eating half of her meal as well as his own.
After dinner, Jordan walked with Chris and Gina back to the railway station and waited until they had boarded their train before he departed. Chris had deliberately looked away when his sister said goodbye to Jordan. But he could tell on the train back than she was very satisfied with how their reunion had gone.
Another part coming soon…
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?