Now Annabelle knows the reason that Robin doesn’t seem as happy as she wanted him to be. Is the difference in their desires going to cause challenges between them?
These are the previous parts in Annabelle’s story:
Over the weekend Annabelle decided to ask Chris, “What do you think of Harriette?”
Chris turned towards Annabelle who was buttering some toast and asked her, “Is there a reason for that question?”
“Sheer curiosity,” she replied.
“Right! She seems like a nice girl Annie.”
“I like her,” continued Annabelle, “I’ve got to know her a little better over Christmas and she seems very sweet.”
Chris stared at Annabelle, “You’re not serious Annie, are you?”
“What!” she cried.
Robin entered the dining room with a coffee pot his mother had handed to him, “Morning Chris,” he hailed, whilst he observed the half triangle of host that sat on Annabelle’s plate. He leaned towards her and quietly told her, “Mum cooked the mushrooms for you. Nobody else likes mushrooms, so you should try to eat some of them.”
Annabelle looked slightly peeved, “Robin, you were saying last night that Harriette might want to come over to visit us in Blackwood.”
Robin looked amused at his wife’s comment, “I told you not to bother Chris, didn’t I?”
Chris looked baffled, “Guys, come on, you’re taking the piss aren’t you? She’s a nice girl, but, no.”
Rob picked up Annabelle’s plate and reached over the table to take a spoon of sauteed mushrooms which he placed next to her slice of toast, “Chris, I told Belle she had it all wrong. She thinks that because my mum sat the two of you next to each other at Christmas dinner that means Mum is trying to set you two up. But that is not the case. My mother wouldn’t do that.”
“Robin!” protested Annabelle, “You never know. She is so sweet!”
Robin frowned. Checking over his shoulder to make sure nobody else was in the dining room, he directed his voice to Chris, “Belle wants to find a way to make you part of the family. It’s not my Mum who is trying to matchmake, it’s Annabelle. She’ll be inviting all of my female cousins over to Blackwood, so you better watch out.”
Chris laughed, “So this is new Annie. I don’t think you’ve ever tried to matchmake me with someone else before.”
“I’m not matchmaking,” she objected, “But when we eventually move out here, it would be really nice if you were here in England too.”
Annabelle picked up one mushroom with her fork and nibbled on it. Watching Robin’s clear disapproval, Chris helped himself to a large portion of mushroom and started tucking into them.
Later that day, Chris brought up the subject of Harriette with Annabelle, “I would not dream of being unkind Annie, but surely it’s obvious that Harriette is not interested in me and in and honesty, I am not interested in her. She does seem nice, but there’s no spark at all.”
Annabelle wore a bashful smile, “Don’t worry, I haven’t said anything to Harriette. It was only Robin I mentioned it to.”
“Robin’s family all seem great. But even if I did hit it off with one of his relatives, it would make things complicated Annie. It wouldn’t be a good idea. You understand, don’t you?”
Annabelle turned away, “I think so.”
“It wouldn’t be right Annie. Not with the way I feel about you.”
“It was a stupid thing to say. I’m sorry Chris. I don’t know wheat’s the matter with me. I just wish you could always be near. It’s going to be hard when we have to leave Blackwood to move here.”
“It won’t be for a while yet though, will it?” Chris felt alarmed at the thought of Annabelle leaving Blackwood.
“Robin said it will be at least a couple of years before anyone will be expecting us to think about moving,” she sighed.
“Annie, this is a beautiful place to live. By then the accident will seem like a distant memory.”
Annabelle pulled her knees up towards her and held them close with her arms, “Anything can happen in two years. He might be so disappointed in me, he might not even want me to live here with him.”
Chris was shocked to hear Annabelle’s calm agony, “What are you saying Annie? Where the hell is this coming from?”
Annabelle was silent for a couple of minutes before she began to sniff, “I was pouring my heart out to him in that stupid song.”
“I think it’s a great song.”
A slight smile appeared on Annabelle’s face, “Lola’s voice is beautiful, and I love what Dean has done with the harmony.”
“The lyrics are beautiful Annie, it’s really moving.”
“Well, I think I was counting on you being a fan Chris. It’s a shame Robin doesn’t share your taste in music.”
“Sure, he likes it Annie. I’m sure it means a lot to him.”
“Can we not talk about this Chris?” mumbled Annabelle, “Thank you for being sweet about it. It was a silly idea. I should have known better.”
Annabelle had felt disappointed by Robon’s cool reception to the song she had written for Robin. But soon there would be another reason why Robin’s family would be talking about the song.
Michael, Julia and Harriet Chandler had already returned to Dorset, by the time Nick and Anna arrived back at Inkpen on Sunday. With them came Anna’s sister, Natalia. Stephen had already invited them over for sherry and mince pies. Both Stephen and Fiona were aware of how eager Natalia was to meet Annabelle.
Annabelle had been looking forward to meeting Natalia, but when the opportunity finally arrived, Annabelle was quiet. Natalia was charming and vivacious. She greeted Annabelle with a warm embrace and proceeded to enthusiastically thank her for all that she had done.
Robin sat with a puzzled look upon his face. He was listening to the conversation which was mainly dominated by his own parents asking Natalia questions about her artwork. Still not grasping what it was that Annabelle had done for Natalia, his curiosity caused him to beckon Annabelle to join him on the sofa. Annabelle was glad to place herself next to her husband. Almost whispering, he asked, “What have you been up to?”
Annabelle seemed reluctant to reply. As Robin continued to crawl his finger-tips up and down Annabelle’s bag to encourage her, she turned and with moist she muttered, “It’s no big deal.”
With keen uncharacteristically keen hearing, Stephen Grainger called over in the direction Annabelle was sitting, “It is exactly that Annabelle, it’s a really big deal for Natalia, all because you sending the photos of her artwork to your friends.”
The conversation between Natalia and Stephen and Fiona continued animedly, Natalia telling them about her upcoming trip to Los Angeles. She reported that the trip would be about artwork that she had been commissioned to produce for the next Mildew album. She then told them that some of her artwork had already been chosen to be used with the February release date for the song that Annabelle wrote.
“The song that Annabelle wrote?” Fiona turned towards her daughter-in-law.
Annabelle began coughing, and standing up, she excused herself, hurrying out towards the hallway. Robin followed behind her.
Chris had been upstairs in the guestroom he was occupying. He had just phoned his sister Gina who was stil in Arizona with Jordan’s family. Gina seemed very happy. After listening to her relate all the details of Christmas with Jordan’s family and answering the occasional question she asked about his Christmas in England, Chris had rested on the bed for about half an hour.
It didn’t make much sense being here in England. Annabelle and Robin were his best friends. But spending Christmas with Robin’s family, instead of his own, it just didn’t make sense all of a sudden. He had enjoyed his time with them. He had agreed to come on account of how much Annabelle had struggled for months. Before the trip, he suspected he would be useful to both Annabelle and Robin who had become reliant on Chris for support and camaraderie. The whole Grainger family had been welcoming towards him.
Now that Christmas was out of the way, a familiar feeling crept back over Chris. Since he had sat in the West Woodhey church twenty months earlier, watching Robin and Annabelle make their vows to each other, Chris had told himself to let go of Annabelle. When she seemed happy, Chris was dismal and depressed. But seeing her struggle helped Chris feel he was a valued friend to her.
During their phone-call, Gina had just told Chris that in the new year, he needed to start thinking of himself and what he wanted for his own future. Although Chris couldn’t disagree with Gina’s advice, he lay on the bed aware of a fog in his mind. Chris had no idea what he wanted for his own future. For so long, his friendship with Annabelle had been the most purposeful part of his life. Letting go, moving on, putting himself first – it sounded right, but he had no particular desire to see his relationship with Annabelle become a lesser part of his life.
Chris decided to join his hosts again downstairs. He left his room and was about to descend the stairs when he realized Robin and a tearful Annabelle were sitting halfway down the stairs together.
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?