Annabelle has just had an emotional exchange with Chris. She is so consumed with her upset that she did not notice Robin dropping hints about the house that Chris has been working on.
These are the previous parts in Annabelle’s story:
It took a while for it to sink in. In fact it was only when Burt Jennings crouched down in front of Annabelle and told her that Pearl and he were thrilled she would be living near to them that Annabelle began to understand. Her reaction was a fresh outpouring of tears. Annabelle stood and ran inside of the house that had belonged to Ralph and Barbara Crabbe. The house that she had moved into as a live-in carer, when Robin had returned to England without her just over two years earlier.
Burt Jennings put his hand on Robin’s shoulder, “Honeymoon’s over son. I’ll leave you to it. I best be getting back to Pearl with the groceries.”
After Burt had returned to his car, Robin looked at Chris, “What happened?”
Chris looked awkward. In response he held his hand in a claw shape and then placed it on his arm grimacing. “I thought she was supposed to be better.”
Robin seemed alarmed. He rushed into the house to find Annabelle. Finding her standing besides the fire place in the front room, he embraced her. “Belle, I thought this place would be good for you.”
Annabelle was sobbing into Robin’s chest, “Where’s Chris?” she asked.
“I want to tell him.”
“Tell him? What do you want to tell him?”
“Will you tell him to come here please?”
Robin did as Annabelle had requested. Soon Chris was standing in the room with Annabelle and Robin opposite holding hands. Annabelle could not look at Chris. She began to speak to him, but kept her eyes fixed to the bare floorboards below, “If we’re going to be living here, I want you to understand something about me. I was afraid to tell you before. And it didn’t seem to matter after I left.”
Chris waited patiently. Robin looked at Annabelle uncertain what she was about to say. “Belle, do you want to take a breather? You seem tired.”
“No, I’m ok. I’m just emotional Robin. Nothing new. I want to tell Chris what happened with the Doctor at Leaston. They think I have something called Borderline Perso…” she couldn’t finish her sentence. She buried her face in Robin’s chest again.
Chris looked at Robin displaying his confusion. Robin said clearly, “Borderline Personality Disorder.” Annabelle clung to Robin, not wanting to look up at either his face or Chris. “A Doctor tried to diagnose Annabelle. She wasn’t so sure herself, where you Belle?” Annabelle didn’t say a word. All that could be heard from her were sniffles.
“What is that?” enquired Chris.
Robin was holding Annabelle in his arms, but he spoke earnestly to Chris, “I’ve been reading about it and we’ve talked about it a lot. Belle’s history with self-harm. The way she reacts to guilt and rejection seem to match a lot of what we’ve read together. It is possible that the Doctor had a point. I think we’ve agreed that – Belle?”
“I don’t want to let anyone down. I don’t want to let Robin down. But I know I might. I’m not over it, I’m not over the feelings that make me want to hurt myself. They come back, I don’t know why. I should be happy. I am happy. But sometimes it comes back and I still find sometimes I give in. It’s so hard to fight. I’ve been doing well, but it’s not gone away completely. And I’m afraid, it’s not going to ever go away completely.”
Chris had no idea what to say, but he pushed himself to say something, “I’m sorry Annie. I didn’t realize you were still fighting. You seemed so happy when I saw you in England.”
Annabelle kept her head in contact with Robin’s chest but turned her face to make eye-contact with Chris. “I am afraid that if I keep giving into it, Robin is is going to be sick with anxiety. I made him sick in the past. I don’t want that to ever happen again. I am scared of people knowing what I’ve been struggling with. I won’t let Robin tell his even his parents, his lovely parents. He is all on his own with his worry for me.”
Robin gazed down at Annabelle and kissed the top of her head while rubbing her back, “We’re doing ok aren’t we? We said we’ll deal with challenges when they come. And we’re going to live here in Blackwood with your friends. You love it here. I know you do.”
Annabelle shook her head against Robin’s chest. “You’re too good to me. You’re so so good,” Annabelle took a few deep breaths, “It’s not here Robin. It’s them. Ralph and Barbara were so good for me. Living in their house is special. I’m blown away. Burt and Pearl are so wonderful. And it’s him. I love him. Chris has been such an amazing friend. I don’t know how it’s going to be anymore.”
Chris felt compelled to reassure Annabelle, “Annie, I know Burt and Mrs J, they feel as if you are family. They are so excited that you are going to be living here. So am I. I’m thrilled Annie. Of course it’s gonna be different. It has to be. I’m really proud of you. And I respect you. And Rob. It might take us a while to figure it out, but we will. We will figure out a way. I don’t know what to say.”
Annabelle could see that Chris was struggling for words. She kept her left hand clutching Robin’s but as she stepped towards Chris, she took his hand and gently shook it, “We need you Chris. I need you. You know things about me that nobody else in Blackwood knows, noone in my family knows. I’m not sure I’ve had chance to make sure Robin knows everything we have talked about yet. You are my trusted friend and I love you very much. I do not want to be a burden to Robin. But he is going to have times when he is sick with worry about me. I know that now. I wish it wasn’t the case. He is going to need someone to talk to, and it’s going to be you. You are the only one I have trusted with this. He is going to need you.”
Chris nodded, “Of course.”
“And I am going to need you. I’m going to go back and talk to a Doctor about what happened in Tayford. Not because I want to. But because I don’t think it’s fair to Robin not to. But I’m scared. It was only because of your support that I stuck at the counselling in Tayford. You were so helpful. You were exactly what I needed.”
Robin stepped closer to Annabelle who was looking at Chris eager for his reaction. He put his arms around her, “There’s no pressure Belle. We are going to take things one step at a time. Chris has been working on getting this place ready for us, but there is still a lot to sort out. He wants you to sit down and talk about how you want this place decorated, which I have warned him will be no easy task. When we are here, settled in our new home, see how you feel. You know I am all for you accessing any kind of healthcare or support that would be useful to you. But there is no pressure.”
Annabelle let out a gasp of laughter, as a tear streamed down her face, “I’ve just made a decision, a big decision, that I’m going to go back and ask for more counselling. There is no way you are getting anything out of me about wallpaper or carpet. You can turn it into a ruddy man-cave for all I care Grainger. You are kidding yourself if you think I have anything left in me today.”
Robin and Chris grinned. “Did you hear that Chris, she said “man-cave”. If she tries to deny it later, you are my witness. I’ll turn this room into a cinema and games room. With a projector pointing at that big white wall. Pool table can go in the dining room. We can eat dinner on the sofa when we’re watching the TV. We can take out the Aga and just have a microwave in the kitchen. Rip out those oak cupboards and we’ll put a huge refrigerator in, with one side just for beer.”
Annabelle nudged Robin with her elbow, “If you do that, then I’ll go and ask Burt and Pearl if I can move back in with them.”
“You’d miss me if you did. You can’t stay away from me.”
Annabelle pulled a face and clenched her fist. She placed it next to Robin’s chin and then tapped his chin with her fist. “You are asking for it!”
Robin’s eyes flashed a playful look, “Are you going to get that leather whip out again?”
“Robin! I’m sorry Chris, please just ignore him.,” Chris had turned away the moment he noticed Robin’s hands had descended further down Annabelle’s dress and were now splayed across her behind.”
Chris took a few steps before the door muttering as he walked, “I’ll let you two talk.”
As soon as the door was closed, Robin asked his wife, “Well, how do you feel about living here?”
As Annabelle indicated her delight with a passionate kiss, Robin hoisted her up and she automatically wrapped her legs around his hips. “You are amazing Robin Grainger.”
“I’ve been wishing you would say where you really wanted to live.”
“I like your decisions. I’ll let you know if I ever do have an opinion. Man cave – nuh uh! And I really like the oak in the kitchen.”
“Good job we held off on the kitchen.”
“You do realize that if I start going to counselling, you might end up with a very different wife. They might make me feel all empowered and assertive. I will start redecorating the whole place and trying to boss you around.”
“Which is exactly why I am going to need Chris hey? To sneak off the the pub and go and drown my sorrows. Maybe we’ll get chatted up by Jenna and her mates.”
“Robin Grainger…Is Blackwood ready for you?”
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?