This is it! This is the last part of Annabelle’s story. What an epic journey it has been! If you have read the previous parts, you will know that Chris, Robin and Annabelle are in Bayfield, Wisconsin for Annabelle’s thirtieth.
While I was writing and thinking about Annabelle’s epic journey, I had the theme tune to The Mission in my head, so I have had to add it to the end of this post!
These are the previous parts in Annabelle’s story:
“Why have we never done this before now?”
Annabelle responded warmly, “We have. This is exactly what we have been doing, isn’t it?”
Robin squeezed Annabelle’s waist, “We indeed have been sailing through life together, but this is great, isn’t it!”
“Robin, this is great! We should do this again.”
“We will.” Robin assured her.
After thinking silently, Annabelle declared, “With the money from the album, we could probably afford to buy a boat you know!”
“Sorry, I forgot. We’re not talking about Dean. I just want this day to last forever.”
After a day out on Lake Superior, including a tour of the Apostle Islands, the sail boat headed back to Bayfield Marina where Chris, Robin and Annabelle disembarked. As they were leaving the boat. Chris’ phone began to ring, “It’s Natalia, do you mind if I…?”
“We’ll be over by the rocks Chris. Go on.”
As Annabelle and Robin walked hand in hand she turned to him, “Days like today are why I have taken to writing songs about you.”
Robin let out a sigh, “We need more days like today.”
“Maybe we do, Robin. But every day counts with you. I wouldn’t trade any of them, even the hardest days we’ve had. They are all precious to me.”
Scooping his wife up into his arms, Robin, “You Precious, are getting better. Do you know that? You’re not so tired, are you?”
Pride filled Annabelle’s heart, “I do feel stronger Robin. I don’t just mean my energy, I mean inside of me. I don’t feel as frightened as I used to.”
“It’s been quite a journey Belle.”
“It’s been an epic journey,” she laughed, “and I have a feeling we’re only just starting out. Are you ready for what might be ahead of us?”
Robin firmly stroked Annabelle’s back to keep her warm, “I think there are changes ahead Belle. Are you ok with that?”
“What do you mean?” her soft gaze rested inquisitively on her husband’s face.
“Chris for a start. You were so sweet with him last night. But you are alright with it, aren’t you?”
Annabelle looked bashful for a moment, “Can I admit something to you? Please don’t be mad at me, but Anna and I have been talking a lot about Chris and Natalia. You know Anna really misses Natalia. It turns out Natalia is not all that happy up in Manchester. She has been renting a place there since university, but she said it doesn’t feel like home. Nick and Anna are looking for somewhere nearer to them, near to Inkpen, for Natalia to move to. Anna and I both think it would be great.”
Robin laughed, “Oh I see! You’re hoping that if things work out between Chris and Natalia, he might end up in England more, nearby our future home?”
“What do you mean, he might end up in England more? Robin, he might end up in England permanently! Can you imagine how wonderful that would be? Nick and Anna, Chris and Natalia, you and me! Wouldn’t that be a happy ending!”
Robin shook his head, “You really have been thinking about this haven’t you!”
“How could I not? I want everyone I love to be happy Robin. If possible, I want them close too.”
“What about Burt and Pearl? You will miss them. Do you have a plan for getting them over to England?”
“They belong here Robin. It’s so important to them to be close to Pearl’s sister Gloria and her family. I will miss them very much. I want to make the most of every chance I have to spend time with them. We have some great friends in Blackwood. I know we are going to have to say goodbye at some point, but we should make the most of this year.”
“This year? I think we should make the most of our friends too, especially Burt and Pearl. But why this year?” Robins tone indicated his curiosity.
Annabelle smiled, “I’ve been thinking about the future a lot. About our future. Our future is near to your family. They are wonderful. Our life is going to be with them. Our baby is going to grow up with your gorgeous family around.”
“Our baby! God! I love to hear you say that Belle!” Robin lifted Annabelle in his arms right up above him.
“I love you Robin. I want you to have the happiest ending possible. You, who I love more than anyone else, I want you to be happy and to have an amazing future. I am frightened as hell Robin, but I want to be with you.”
There was a sense of rejoicing within Robin’s chest, “We will be happy Belle. There will be challenges, but we will be happy, I just know it!”
“Anything might happen. There could be heartbreaks ahead Robin.”
Robin held his wife tightly, “Don’t imagine the worst Belle. Have faith.”
“Just stay close to me. Please always stay close. Good or bad, I need you to keep tight hold of me. Never let go!”
“A year then?” he asked anxiously.
“One more year here. A year to spend with all our lovely friends in Blackwood. A year to make sure we take a couple of trips to New York to see my family. Do you think we should tell my family we are planning to have a baby?”
“I don’t know, we’ll see,” Robin laughed, “I think a trip to see them would be a good idea. Probably before they see Mildew’s new album with your face all over it. Your parents cannot stand Dean!”
“God! You’re so right. They are going to hate that I have worked with Dean!” cried Annabelle, “But Robin, we should definitely tell Burt and Pearl about our plans. We need to make sure they know how special they are to us. And who knows, maybe in a year Chris will be thinking of moving to England too?”
“You’ve got this all worked out, haven’t you!” he pinched her side teasingly.
“Well, I’ve been spending a lot of time on my own thinking,” squealed Annabelle.
“I love the way you think Belle!”
“Not all the time. Not when I’m losing the plot. You don’t like it then. But I’m trying Robin. I think some of the fog is clearing, with a little help from my friends and my lovely therapist. Maybe we could take her to England too!”
Robin looked curiously at Annabelle, “How do you feel about living at Inkpen? What happened last year, can you put it behind you? My parents are going to need us to spend more time there soon.”
“That awful day crushed me Robin. But being crushed was what helped me to stop hurting myself. That awful day was the start of the rest of my life, a life where self-harming is not an option. It’s been a very hard journey. But if the destination is a happier life with you, then it’s all been worth it.”
“You’ve been healing. You’re not crushed any longer.”
“I’m not crushed. I’m at peace most of the time. I am happy most of the time. I am grateful for my wonderful friends. I love you and your family. I am excited about the future. Whatever epic journey might be ahead of us.”
Robin rubbed his face against Annabelle’s and murmured to her, “I think there’s a lot of happiness on the horizon Belle. For both of us, and the people we care about.”
Annabelle breathed in the scent from his skin, “Just help me keep focused on the horizon, please. Robin, the more my therapist and I have discussed it, the more I understand this diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. It’s such a horrid name. But the characteristics, I know they match my pattern. I know. I need help with the way I am.”
Robin searched Annabelle’s eyes, “How does that make you feel?”
“I’m not ashamed. I don’t think I want everyone knowing because so many people still don’t understand mental health. There are too many people who are scared of mental illness. It makes me very scared to be open about what I have been through. But learning about it, accepting it matches me, well, it’s helped me. Learning about myself and why I react certain ways has helped me.”
“You’ve learnt a lot about yourself Belle. I’ve learnt a lot about myself too. I think I am almost a different person from when I met you.”
“We’re better though, aren’t we?” she asked.
Robin nodded, “Yes, we are. We are stronger, and we know what is important now. We know so much more about life and love.”
Annabelle looked thoughtful, “Maybe that is the epic journey, learning about ourselves, becoming better people. Learning about love and learning about life. Living life with courage and not giving up when challenges come. Having faith, in ourselves, in the people close to us and faith that our future can be much happier than we might ever imagine. I don’t believe we are ever going to stop learning Robin.”
“I love sailing along with you Belle. This voyage of a lifetime is better than I ever imagined.”
She smiled and kissed and clung to Robin tightly, “This is what I used to dream about, feeling like this.”
Robin sang into Annabelle’s ear the familiar words from Dean’s first song about her “She Dreams: “Let’s go build a boat for me and you, and sail away on the ocean blue. We’ll stop at every bay we pass along the way. Dancing in the sand, walking hand in hand.”
“Guys, are you ok? Are you ready to head back to Blackwood?” Robin and Annabelle turned towards Chris who had called out to them.
No more parts…unless, I add some more background posts into the lives of some of the characters you have been reading about in Annabelle’s world!
A very special thank you to Kim, the creator of Writer Side of Life! It was Kim who supplied the writing prompt that lit a spark in me to tell an epic tale of love, life and mental health. I had just come back from spending summer with Goldfinch in Australia (their winter) and I was still grieving the loss of the tiny life that was growing within me before I lost her. I told Goldfinch, that if she was a girl, I would have loved to have called her Annabelle!
Anyway, Kim suggested a long list of writing prompts and several of them appealed to me, but I this chose one to work on:
I chose a prompt under the ROMANCE section: 3. Who is she waiting for?