Guilt

Annabelle has still not recovered her physical energy and her emotions are still tormenting her at times. At least she has the loving support of her husband and her friends. But Robin is always worried for his wife.

These are the previous parts in Annabelle’s story:

Chris was becoming an invaluable friend to Robin, as well as to Annabelle. It was of comfort to Annabelle that Robin had a friend nearby who he could talk to. Although she never liked to be without Robin, she was eager to encourage him to take a break from her whenever he needed, especially if it meant he could share his concerns with Chris.

“How’s Annie?” asked Chris.

crys.png“She’s been a bit low today. Lots of tears. I nearly cancelled on you mate, but Pearl called and asked Annabelle if she would like some help with that knitting she started, so she said she would go over there.”

“Are you alright Rob? You look beat.”

“I’m alright. Just been thinking a lot about what she said today. She’s going round and round in circles at the moment. It’s hard to break the cycle you know.”

“What with? What is she dwelling on?”

“I think mainly it comes back to guilt. I don’t half regret yelling at her about leaving that gate open. She keeps talking about being bloodguilty. Nobody died Chris, even the sheep were fine. But she is obsessed with the idea that she would have been bloodguilty if the accident had been worse.”

“You’ve always said how hard she takes guilt.”

Photo of Woman in Black Crew Neck Shirt With Long Wavy Blond Hair“I can’t help thinking that she’s making herself sick though. She’s torturing herself mentally. She kept going on today about how much a life costs, how precious life is, how awful it is when a life is lost. First she said she is a terrible person for disrespecting life. I asked her why she felt that she disrespected life and she said that harming yourself is showing a lack of respect for sacredness of life. She was sobbing and sobbing. I couldn’t get her to snap out of it. I don’t know where she is getting this stuff from. I don’t think her therapist would have put that idea in her head.”

“She’s not said anything like that to me Rob, but I don’t know, it sounds a bit religious.”

“Yeah, it does. I hope it’s not reading the Bible that’s putting ideas like that in her head.”

“Have you asked her why she is thinking about the sacredness of life?”

“I just presumed she was still going over the car accident and somehow making the link to the way she has treated her own body. Her beautiful mind is a maze at the moment. I just worry at how much she is still suffering nine months after it happened.”

paryar.png“I’ve seen her praying a couple of times Rob. Is that helping her?”

“I have asked her what she talks about when she prays, and she said usually she thanks God for everything she has. That sounded like a good thing. Her thinking about her blessings rather than her woes can’t be bad can it?”

Chris agreed, “You’d have thought that would help.”

“She feels guilty because of not being able to work too. She made me sit down with her and write a list of all the jobs that need doing around the house. She ticked the things she doesn’t want me to do because she wants to do them herself. I guess I’ve just been getting on with chores around the house. If I see something needs doing, I do it. But she wants me to leave some things for her. She told me what makes her stressed and she can’t face attempting on her own. But things like folding the laundry and putting it in the airing cupboard, loading the dishwasher and unloading it, there were a lot of things that she asked me to leave for her. She said she feels really guilty seeing me doing so much around the house.”

Chris was staring into his glass thinking about all sorts of things that Annabelle had said to him. She had repeated again and again her fear of becoming a burden to her husband, something which he had already told Robin frequently, “She does need to be able to get some satisfaction from feeling she is contributing. Giving, gratitude – they are going to be good for her self-confidence and self-worth.”

“Yeah, I just haven’t wanted her to worry about anything. But she seems to want to take on more responsibility. I’m going to see how it goes, I just don’t want to see her getting stressed.”

“Just keep encouraging her and reassuring her. I’m sure that’s what she needs – just a lot of love. She’ll get there Rob,” the long day at work, the beer kicking in, Chris was running out of practical suggestions.

tv1.png“I do worry though about what she reads and watches on TV. So many things upset her. She feels guilty when she sees charity adverts. I’ve told her she to talk to me before she starts ringing the number on the screen and donating thousands of dollars. We’ve agreed that spends over $100 should have a discussion between us.”

“You’re not serious, when you say thousands of dollars?”

Robin nodded, “It’s her money Chris. But I can’t let her just give it all away to every charity who run an advert. I’ve said it would be better if we discuss it first. But then she felt guilty thinking she’d upset me. Trying to tell her I’m not upset, I’m just concerned because I think she is vulnerable at the moment didn’t go down well. She said she feels pathetic.”

money“It’s hard, never being certain whether what you’ll say might upset her.”

Robin’s agitation was making his fidgeting more dramatic, “Yeah, but I do find it’s better to keep communicating. I can’t let her be on her own with her thoughts. We need to keep the flow of her thoughts going. Although sometimes it is a bloody roller coaster, at least when we do talk about things, we seem to get somewhere.”

Although the answer was obvious to Chris, he still asked, “And you, is it getting to you?”

After a deep exhale, Robin smiled “She is a joy Chris, an absolute joy. Even though she is not herself, she is still a pleasure to live with.”

“Rob, don’t take this the wrong way, but don’t forget how lucky you are to have her.”

“Do I sound ungrateful? I don’t mean too mate. I just worry for her. “

drik.pngChris was eager to wind the conversation up and head back home, but he tried to maintain the upbeat note. He knew Annabelle was counting on him,  “You’re not on your own.”

“I’ve so much support. I talk to my mum a lot. She’s very practical about everything, and very realistic too. I appreciate your support too – a lot Chris. I’m better at switching off than I used to be. Work helps, I need my space sometimes. She needs more sleep nowadays. Sometimes after dinner, I’ll take her straight to bed and… well, you know, and then she’ll fall asleep. I get up and ring my family or watch a movie or read, while she is asleep. I don’t let myself stew over everything.”

“You’ve got this Rob. She will get better, but it might be a marathon.”

“Even if she didn’t recover her physical energy, I’d like to see her beat the guilt. It’s controlling her. It’s heartbreaking to see her cry like she does.”

***

When Robin reached home, Annabelle was already in bed, “How was your evening Belle?”

tangle.pngAnnabelle put her arms around Robin’s neck, “Pearl gave up on my knitting. She said it’s probably easier to unravel it and start again.”

“I thought Pearl could fix anything.”

“Well, I think I may have challenged her. The wool was so tangled and knotted, she couldn’t see any way to unpick it.”

Smiling at his wife, Robin twirled some of her hair in between two fingers, “Speaking of tangled, can I pick your thoughts?”

Annabelle grinned, “Yes, I will admit to having tangled thoughts. What is it?”

“I just wondered if you had watched something or read something that made you so upset about the sacredness of life today. Chris wondered if it might be something religious.”

chat1“Weren’t you two supposed to be out to relax and have a drink? You haven’t been analysing me have you?”

“We talked about football too. But you are our favourite subject, by far.”

“Really!” Annabelle shook her head, “Chris is very astute Robin. As a matter of fact, I was reading something in the Bible this morning that made me very emotional. It was in the Psalms. It was very, what’s the word? Erm, profound.”

“I’m going to be honest with you Belle, I worry about you reading things that make you feel so guilty.”

Annabelle looked a little disappointed, “Robin, it had a very deep impact on me, and maybe part of that was guilt. But it was very moving, very inspirational.”

reads1.png“But you were so unhappy all afternoon. It’s hard to see you so heart-broken. Besides, I’m not sure we can afford to keep buying Kleenex at this rate.”

“I am sorry I cried so much. I don’t want you to worry about me. But I needed to cry Robin. I had a lot of emotions and I needed that relief. Crying is good sometimes.”

“Annabelle, you seem to be punishing yourself mentally. There is a lot in the Bible about guilt and sin. I don’t think that’s what you should be reading right now.”

Annabelle stared at Robin, “I trust your opinion and I know you care about me…”

“I love the bones of you Annabelle! I’m only saying this because I think it’s dragging you down. I want you to be happy.”

Annabelle smiled and kissed her husband’s chest, “Can I show you what I was reading? You can decide if it is bad for me?”

page.pngRobin nodded, so Annabelle reached over the bedside table and picked up Barbara Crabbe’s worn Bible. She turned to the Psalms and ran her finger down a page that had several of the hand drawn hearts that Barbara had written next to her favourite verses. She pointed to the verses she wanted Robin to see. He glanced over them, and then retraced his eyes over them again, taking them in more slowly the second time.

♥ For you produced my kidneys; You kept me screened off in my mother’s womb.

♥ I praise you because in an awe-inspiring way I am wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know this very well.

inside♥ My bones were not hidden from you When I was made in secret, When I was woven in the depths of the earth.

♥ Your eyes even saw me as an embryo; All its parts were written in your book Regarding the days when they were formed, Before any of them existed.

Once Robin had finished reading those words, he closed up the Bible and gazed at Annabelle with concern in his eyes, “That is what provoked you today?”

“Don’t you think those words are beautiful?” Annabelle asked Robin.

“They are lovely words. Can you tell me though, did they make you feel guilty? Is that why you were so upset today?”

Blonde Haired Woman in Orange Knitted Long-sleeved TopAnnabelle sighed, “Honestly, I think I felt a rainbow of emotions Robin. Maybe guilt was a part of it. I was looking at my arm and the way it’s healed up apart from these faint scars. I guess it really hit me that we are wonderfully made. Isn’t it amazing the way we can heal from our injuries. I found it very moving, and I started praying to God and asking Him to help my heart heal in the same way my arm has.”

Robin held Annabelle close, “I was worried that it had made you think of Lucy and feel guilty because of your depression.”

“It did made me think of Lucy. But not like that. This might sound strange, but I found it very comforting. I read those words at first and it made me think of me as a tiny embryo inside my own mom. An unplanned pregnancy that was inconvenient to my parents who were about to become grandparents. But there was someone who knew I existed from the very start and was watching me grow in secret. It’s kind of breathtaking isn’t it? I have never been close to my parents Robin. But the thought that I can call out and talk to somebody who has seen every moment of my existence since the moment I was conceived, someone who understands me so well – I find it deeply moving.”

lucy“You really believe that God is real, don’t you?”

“I know you think it’s silly, but I do. The more I read, the more I feel He knows me. I found it very comforting to think that He knew Lucy too. I wasn’t well when we had Lucy, Robin. I wasn’t well at all. I feel so disappointed in myself whenever I think about her. But you loved her very much. She would have been loved by you and your family, I know she would. But those beautiful words in those verses, it just makes me realize that she too could have turned to the person who watched her developing the moment she was conceived. It’s beyond wonderful,” a tear streamed down Annabelle’s face.

“If it brings you comfort to believe that, then I am happy for you,” Robin whispered.

thougsths“I felt comfort, I felt guilt, I felt wonder, I felt energised, I felt loved. I like reading the Bible because I feel as if I am being unzipped and the tangled mess inside is somehow unravelling. I used to feel so lost with my thoughts, but I don’t feel as lost. I feel as if there’s a bright light that slowly I am making my way towards.”

“Belle, you are so lovely. I just don’t want you to face any more disappointment. A lot of people have been disappointed in religion. You need to be careful not to put your hopes in something that is no more than a fairy story.”

Annabelle’s tone became frustrated, “Dean said religion is a con. But he believes in God. The Bible is not a story about unicorns and magic. It’s about real people and the lives they led, the decisions they made, the challenges they faced. It’s about how people could do things their own way or ask for God to help them.”

“Ok ok, I don’t want to argue Belle. It sounds like your faith is becoming very special to you. Just be careful. I love you very much and I don’t want to see you get hurt. Dean can think whatever he wants, I’m not worried about him, I’m worried about you.”

“Robin, I have felt so much hurt, for so long, I doubt that it can get much worse. I want to get better, and I do believe that reading the Bible helps me feel better.”

“My love, listen, for better or worse, that’s what we both said. I am going to be right here. I am going to be watching out that nobody takes advantage of you though.”

_________________

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:

Free Creative Writing Prompts

I chose a prompt under the ROMANCE section: 3. Who is she waiting for?

kim's prompt
Photo by Thiago Matos from Pexels 

 

 

Surprise

chris on sofa1Annabelle has been chronically tired since she has been back in Blackwood. She has continued to attend counselling sessions and with Robin’s support and help and encouragement from her friends in Blackwood she is trying to set goals for herself. But her energy is still depleted.

Their good friend Chris is still Annabelle’s trusted confidant and when Annabelle wants to talk to Chris, Robin stays in the room next door, so she can talk openly to Chris while still feeling comfortable. What will she want to talk about to Chris in this section?

These are the previous parts in Annabelle’s story:

“I hear you are turning into quite the writer.”

script“Oh do you mean the letters to my family and Robin’s family? It’s relaxing. I think when I can take my time and think about what I want to say, it seems to go down better.”

“And you like your desk?” smiled Chris.

“Oh Chris, it’s beautiful.”

“Good, I’m glad you like it. What else have you been up to?” he enquired.

Annabelle clenched her teeth and gripped the ends of the chair arms, “You may be surprised to know that I have been doing a heck of a lot of sleeping. Can’t get enough of it.”

“Maybe it’s what you need at the moment.”

asleepAnnabelle raised her eyebrows, “I slept twenty hours one day last week. Rob went to work in the morning and when he came home I was still fast asleep in bed.”

“Twenty hours hey!”

“Yeah, Rob woke me up because he had made some stir-fry for dinner. I ate a little, had a bath and went straight back to bed and slept all night. He said he’s going to try and enter me into the Olympic sleeping team.”

“Have you talked about how much you’re sleeping with your Doctor or your therapist?”

“They say it’s not unusual with depression. I’m depressed. That’s what they’ve decided. I’ve been given a prescription for some medicine that they want me to take. But I said to Rob, I don’t want to yet. Not while it is still summer. Maybe in the winter when it’s dark and grey. But I might be a bit better by then.”

tabs.jpg“It’s your decision Annie. But don’t be scared of medication. I took antidepressants for two years. I wouldn’t have got anywhere without them. You’ve got a lot of people looking out for you, a lot of people you can trust.”

Annabelle nodded. Her face crumpled as she groaned, “I just don’t want to be a burden to Robin.”

“You are not a burden!” Robin declared as he leaned over his wife to kiss her.

“Hey, you’re not supposed to be listening in,” she replied.

“I’m not. I was just passing through to see if Chris wanted a drink.”

latte“Coffee would be great,” called out Chris.

“Belle? Do you want some of your mint tea?”

Annabelle hesitated, “Yes please. Robin I love you.”

Robin smiled at his wife. He silently mouthed, “I love you too,” before he departed for the kitchen.

“Robin is doing most of the housework, and our laundry and cooking for us. I am pretty useless nowadays. I just don’t seem to have any energy. Some mornings everything in my body seems to ache.”

“Could there be anything else going on Annie? Have they ran any tests? Blood tests or anything else?”

test.png“They have tested my pee and my blood. No surprises. I don’t have anything to worry about. Robin is making me take all sorts of vitamins because I am not eating meat. Everyone thinks it’s all psychological. They want me to keep going to therapy, keep setting small achievable goals for myself and they are hoping I will try the tablets they’ve prescribed me. Maybe I am a bit scared of them.”

“Like I said, it’s your decision. But we’ll all be there for you, no matter what you decide.”

“Chris, it’s Robin’s birthday next week, and I still haven’t thought of anything to get him. I’m so rubbish with gifts. Can you think of anything he might like?”

Chris smiled, “Besides a pool table in the dining room?”

giftAnnabelle thought about what Chris had said, “I could get him a pool table.”

Chris looked at Annabelle realizing he had taken his joke seriously, “Annie, he doesn’t want a pool table. He won’t really care about a gift. I reckon it would mean more to him to do something special with you. What about a night out together? Somewhere romantic?”

Annabelle frowned as Robin entered the room with a coffee for Chris and a mint tea for her. “I’m going to call my Dad Belle. I’ll shut the door for a bit, ok?”

As soon as Robin had shut the door, Annabelle began again, “Robin spends a lot of time with just me. I wonder if we could do something for him to relax?”

“We? I’m not sharing a romantic night with you two. I’m not into that kind of thing Annie.”

pg.pngThe humour was wasted on Annabelle. She stared blankly at Chris. “Do you remember when we went camping up near Piper’s Gorge?”

“With Tim and Amy O’Neill and the Mitchells?”

“I think that cheap tent I bought is still up in the attic at Burt and Pearl’s,” Annabelle thought out loud.

“You could afford a better tent. I bet Rob would enjoy camping with you. You could get all the geer and have a weekend camping together.”

Annabelle was half excitement and half foreboding, “Chris, I can’t do it on my own. Will you help me please? It would be nice if we invited some of the rambling group to come, like last time. Tim and Amy are really sweet. It would be so good for Robin to meet some more people a bit closer to his age. Do you think we could make it a surprise? Please, would you help me?”

trip1.png“I’ll help you Annie. I think it’s a great idea. I can send a few texts round to see if anyone is free the weekend after next. Let’s look at tents online. We can get all the camping gear and hide it in my truck and surprise Rob at the last minute if you like.”

Chris helped Annabelle as he promised. She chose a huge “storm-proof” tent, and other items that caught her eye for the camping trip. She purchased them on Chris’s phone and they were delivered to his home. Chris heard back from some of the rambling group. He sent an email to everyone who said they were up for a weekend camping to explain it was Annabelle’s surprise for Robin’s birthday.

trip2.pngHe received eager replies affirming that people were keen to meet Robin and to see Annabelle again. Jeff Mitchell said he would bring his guitar up as he remembered Annabelle had got everyone singing on their last camping trip together. There were promises of beer. Tandy Coleman offered to make a cake. She asked Chris if Annabelle had already arranged a birthday cake for Robin. Chris was really pleased for Annabelle that it looked as if the camping trip would be so successful.

And it was a success. The following Friday evening, Chris turned up at the home of Robin and Annabelle and before long the three of them were heading up to the campsite near Piper’s Gorge were five other tents were already up and a campfire was smoldering. The members of the Blackwood Rambling group who had gone ahead, gave a cheer as Chris stopped his truck and the three emerged.

trip3.pngRobin loved that evening. It was just what he had needed. A night of laughter and excited conversation, music and singing. Jeff Mitchell managed to coax Annabelle into singing, although she was very reluctant at first. She sang the song that Robin and she had danced to at their wedding as Jeff played the chords. “How long will I love you?” Chris felt that familiar twinge of envy, while she was singing. But was genuinely pleased for both Robin and Annabelle that they were enjoying themselves.

After a few hours, Annabelle was fast asleep leaning upon Robin. Despite the laughter and chatter, she was overwhelmed with tiredness. After almost an hour of her slumbering in that position, Robin thanked everyone for the surprise and said that he ought to take Annabelle so she could sleep properly.

Silhouette of Couple Standing during NighttimeHe carried her over to the new tent that Chris and Tim had erected for them. Once there, he had to put Annabelle down onto her feet, so he could unzip the awning. She opened her eyes and realized what was happening. She was so sleepy, her words came out a little jumbled, “It’s your party, you go back, I’ll be ok, you go.”

“I want to be with you,” he kissed Annabelle softly, “How long will I love you? As long as stars are above you, And longer if I may” he whispered.

Annabelle clasped her husband’s hands, “I’m sorry I fell asleep.”

“Shhh. Tonight was perfect. Thank you for a such a great surprise.”

___________________

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:

Free Creative Writing Prompts

I chose a prompt under the ROMANCE section: 3. Who is she waiting for?

kim's prompt
Photo by Thiago Matos from Pexels 

 

What The Fans Will Say

fans.png

I found myself walking through the woods this week thinking about everything that has happened and worrying about the future. As the thoughts rumbled through my head, I ended up singing a song to myself. I can’t write the tune that was in my head. He could. He is a true musician. Anyway the words will have to do for you. make up your own tune if you like.

 

eyebrowsCaking my face with expensive make-up

Raking my wardrobe for a grand shake-up

I only do it for him, it has to be this way

Because you never really know what the fans will say

 

But it’s ok, baby it’s ok

Because he knows the real me

And no matter what they all might say

Turns out I know the real him

 

events (2).jpgBracing myself so I don’t disgrace him

Pacing the romance so I can face him

He says he does it for me, it has to be this way

If we get this wrong then who knows what the fans will say

 

But it’s ok, baby it’s ok

Turns out he knows the real me

And no matter what they all might say

He says I know the real him

 

careful.jpgBiting my lips so we don’t start fighting

Lighting up for him, these wrongs need righting

We’ll do it for each other, it has to be this way

We’re both afraid, terrified of what the fans will say

 

But it’s ok, baby it’s ok

I’d say he knows the real me

And no matter what they all might say

I’m in love with the real him

 

Shy

Annabelle and Robin are trying to settle back in Blackwood after the huge knock to her confidence. How is her recovery going?

These are the previous parts in Annabelle’s story:

“Do you have to go to work?”

morningRobin turned over to his wife, “Yes,” watching the sad eyes Annabelle displayed, Robin then added, “No, I don’t have to go to work.”

Annabelle gazed at Robin, “I don’t want to be on my own.”

“Are we going to do this every morning Belle?”

Annabelle looked pained, “I miss you when you aren’t here.”

“You can always come with me, you know that. It’s going to be a beautiful day. Come and watch me work.”

“Where are you going to be?” she asked.

Garden, Grass Cutter, Gardening, Grass“Just round the corner, Len and Phillipa Booth’s place. They said since Len hurt his back, the garden is getting out of control. There’s a lot to do. I’ll probably be there for a few hours.”

“I like Len and Pippa.”

“I know you do. They like you. Why don’t you come? Don’t be shy.”

“I just feel so tired.”

Robin’s gaze showed his sympathy to his wife, “I’m going to go and make some coffee and some breakfast. What would you like?”

“I’m not hungry Robin.”

shower.pngRobin frowned a little. He pushed himself up out of bed and walked through to the kitchen. While he was waiting for the coffee machine, he rubbed his hands over his face in frustration. When he returned to the bedroom with two mugs of coffee and a plate of buttered toast, Annabelle had fallen back to sleep. She didn’t stir as he sat on the bed and started munching toast. After showering and dressing, Robin kissed the forehead of his sleeping wife and told her he was heading to work.

It was almost three hours later when Robin heard a wolf-whistle and turned to look at the house. Annabelle was sat next to Philippa Booth holding a glass of lemonade in her hand. He strode over to the decking, “Hey Beautiful.”

Annabelle smiled, “Pippa called and asked me if I wanted to come over. I made you a wrap for lunch.”

lunch1.png“I was just thinking of taking a break. A wrap hey? Sounds good. Are you going to have lunch with me?”

“I’ve already eaten.”

Removing the baking parchment Annabelle had used around the wrap, Robin grinned, “Falafel. Did Annabelle tell you she has decided to be a vegetarian Pippa?”

Philippa Booth looked at Annabelle with a fond expression, “Really dear, that explains why you are so very slim these days.”

Annabelle looked awkward, “There’s a deli over in Winchester I really like. They sell all sorts of olives and mezes. I really like the stuffed vine leaves they sell.”

breakfast.png“Oh those stuffed vine leaves are great, just as good as the ones we ate out in Greece. We bought a tub of them yesterday.”

Annabelle pulled a face, “I ate them for breakfast Robin.”

After swallowing the mouthful of falafel wrap he was eating, Robin asked, “All of them?” In response to Annabelle’s nod, he added, “Good girl. This wrap is great Belle. Thank you for making it for me.”

After his lunch break spent chatting with Annabelle and Philippa, Robin declared he was going to finish off clearing up the cuttings from the morning’s work. He hauled wheelbarrows of sacks filled with cuttings out to the front of the property and stacked them on the drive.

garden.jpgHe was pleased to see on one of his wheelbarrow runs that Annabelle was kneeling on the lawn next to Philippa with some gardening gloves on, pulling out weeds from the flower bed.

A short time later, he saw that Annabelle was helping Philippa to bed some new plants she had bought earlier that morning. It was very pleasing to Robin to see his wife smiling and enjoying working alongside her friend.

At around three o’clock that afternoon, Chris pulled up in his truck outside the Booth’s driveway. He started to help Robin load the sacks of garden waste onto the back of his truck. After they had finished, Robin went to ask Annabelle if she wanted to come with them when they dropped off the garden waste at the recycling center on the road up to Green Bay.

Annabelle thought about it for a moment, “Pippa said that Len would like to show me his paintings.”

laterRobin kissed his wife on the cheek, “We’ll be back in just over an hour. Love you.”

“Good day Rob?” asked Chris, as soon as he had turned the key in the ignition of his work truck.

Robin nodded, “She was working in the garden with Philippa Booth. She looked like she was enjoying it. And she made me lunch. She’s not done that for a while. She’s definitely getting better.”

“It could be this heat you know, I mean, as well as everything else. Is she drinking enough water?”

pt.pngRobin turned to Chris, “She drinks peppermint tea and lemon water – lots of it. She’s nibbling food when she feels like it. I still can’t get her to eat a proper meal with me. But she’ll kind of graze on a handful of nuts or seeds or a little bit of salad whenever she does feel hungry. I still don’t think she’s eating enough.”

“If she’s not eating enough, she’s not going to have much energy.”

“Yeah, but this is all psychological Chris. You know that as well as I do. She can’t get over what happened.”

“The car crash?”

“Not the crash. It’s the way she injured herself she can’t get over. She’s completely shaken by it. She doesn’t understand how when she was at the happiest stage of her life, with everything going well, happily married and happy with splitting our time between Blackwood and a couple of months with my family in England, how she could give in to harming herself and worse than ever before. She’s totally lost her confidence in her power to fight it.”

burn1“Nothing else has happened since then though has it? I mean she hasn’t done anything like that again?”

Robin sighed, “She’s not hurt herself, no. After her counselling session yesterday, she told me she’s scared of the responsibility of being alive. I didn’t know what she meant. But she explained she feels overwhelmed with all the possible terrible consequences any of her mistakes could cause. She’s afraid of doing anything that could hurt someone else or cause damage.”

Even Chris felt alarmed by the thought of what Annabelle was wrestling with, “She’s still chewed up with guilt?”

“I feel so sorry for her. It could have been anyone who left that gate open. We’ve all done it. Why did it have to be her? You know, I yelled at her when I found out. I shouldn’t have yelled at her like that. It was the shock of seeing that car smashed up.”

Chris tried his best to reassure Robin, “I’ve been angry with her in the past. Do you remember how I reacted after that trip we took to New York? When I saw that photograph Dean Mathers had posted of her, I was shocked and I lost it with her. You told me how sensitive she is with guilt.”

guiltsRobin nodded in agreement, “It’s not just the accident and the self-harming, it’s everything. She won’t admit it but I’m sure it’s guilt that’s made her decide to become a vegetarian. She feels guilty about the thought of animals suffering. She feels guilty about anything and everything. I’m worried to let her watch television on her own. She seems to have taken the whole responsibility for climate change onto her own shoulders, as if she is the sole reason for global warming. And that bloody pastor at the church. I don’t know what he said to her, but I’ve told her she’s not going back there.”

“Guilt has always been a problem with her. She’s still talks a lot about guilt.”

“It’s controlling her now. She’s not enjoying life Chris. It’s hard to see her like this again,” Robin was grave in expressing his concerns.

“This is what she was like after your daughter died?” enquired Chris.

tears annie“This is what she was like even before we lost Lucy. No energy, no enthusiasm. I guess the difference is she kept going physically because she knew Lucy needed her. She kept getting up in the night whenever Lucy cried. She did everything right. But within herself she just kind of shrivelled up. She lost her spark. There was this weird emptiness inside her. I do worry that she’s going to end up the same way. The difference this time is she doesn’t have to push herself. I reckon she’s sleeping for a minimum of twelve hours every day with all the napping she does, sometimes more like fifteen hours or more.”

“It really does sound like depression Rob.”

Robin nodded, “She is depressed, yes, no doubt about it. It’s a part of the Borderline though, I’m sure of it.”

“How about you? How are you coping?” Chris asked.

“Of course I worry, but not like I used to. For a start, Belle and I are two different people now. I have something I can relate to to understand some of what she is going through. She is so sweet. She doesn’t throw the kind of tantrums she used to. She’s just knackered almost all the time. But It’s great to have support Chris. I don’t feel alone with it. You, my parents, Nick and Anna – just knowing that there’s a team who know about Annabelle’s situation, it makes a huge difference. All the information about Borderline Personality Disorder too, it really helps. I try not to voice what I’m thinking to her because she still hates the idea of being labelled, but she matches everything I have read, and it helps me to see what is going to help her and what isn’t.”

walkes.png“I got the impression that when you were in Wales she was doing a lot of walking. She doesn’t seem keen now.”

“We were isolated up there. Perhaps it was what she needed for a short while. It was just the two of us really. The only other person she saw regularly was that fantastic therapist Margo. We saw people when we were out and about, and we had brief chats. I knew we had to get her back with people who loved her.”

“I thought she might want to start walking with the rambling group. They all love her you know.”

“Now she’s back here, she seems to feel more anxious about people. This is the very best place for her right now. I am sure of that. But this fear of life, this fear of making mistakes or causing damage, it’s holding her hold back. She’s becoming shy of people. All this worry and anxiety is robbing her of energy and enthusiasm. The psychological is affecting the physical. She even gets tired just walking into town.”

helping.pngChris tried to be upbeat, “So it was great that she was gardening then.”

“Really great. Great to see her looking happy. Pippa has been amazing today. Everyone here is. This town is just what she needs. Everyone is kind and encouraging. They like her. And because most of her friends here are over sixty, she can keep up with them. I kind of wish people would stop commenting on how much weight she has lost, but other than that, it’s all good.”

“This is a great town. It’s been good for me too. Although, the lack of young blood has its drawbacks.”

“If you’re talking about your dating life then no comment,” grinned Robin, “How about that waitress over in Winchester?”

“No comment.” replied Chris.

presentRobin laughed, “Annabelle loves that desk you made for her. Almost every day she will sit at it to write a letter to someone. She writes to my mother, to Anna, to Dean and to each member of her family. She wrote a sweet letter to her nephew Oliver yesterday and drew little pictures all over it.”

“So are things going well with her family?”

“We haven’t seen any of them since that reception in New York last year. We were ringing her parents every few weeks for a while. But since she started writing letters when we were in Wales, they have started calling her. Not just her parents. Her siblings and some of their kids have called to thank her for the letters they received.”

Chris was impressed, “That’s gotta be a good thing.”

dean nyc1“Yeah of course. She doesn’t feel she can cope with visiting New York to see them. But she seems to be enjoying having more contact with all of them. Mathers calls her too. He is still on the list of people she writes too. She’s been sending him photos, and he’s telling her everything him and the band are up to. Although I’ve told him to be careful in what he says to her. I still don’t know why the hell you called him that night Chris.”

“She was going out of her mind when we couldn’t get hold of you. I couldn’t get signal in the hospital. I kept leaving the ward to go outside to try to ring you.”

“But Dean was in bloody California – what could he do?”

“At four in the morning, I was shattered Rob. I didn’t know who else I could tell about Annabelle hurting herself. But she told me to ring Dean and to ask him to try to contact you. It meant I could close my eyes for a couple of hours. When he couldn’t get hold of you Dean told me that I was going to have to tell your parents. He seems to think a lot of them. Annabelle was so upset about me telling your Mum, but Dean spoke to her and convinced her there was no choice.”

arresst“Dean has a funny way of being helpful when it’s really important, but I still think he’s an imbecile. You know he was arrested for driving while intoxicated last month. Annabelle doesn’t know. She doesn’t seem to use her phone or laptop anymore, so somehow she’s avoided finding out about it. Honestly though, I’m not really happy about the two of them being in touch so often.”

“He does care about her a lot though,” Chris defended his favourite musician.

“I value that. I value what he has told me about when she struggled in the past and what seemed to help her. But still, she is delicate Chris. Dean could knock her back so easily.”

“I think she knows him well enough by now surely.”

Cake, Coffee, Food, Drink, Table, CouchRobin contradicted Chris, “He calls her a brat Chris. A brat – Belle? I mean, that’s the last thing she needs right now.”

“She’d have laughed about that in the past.”

“She would have. I’m sure she has. But no matter what I tell him, he doesn’t seem to understand how different she is since January. I don’t think she does laugh nowadays Chris.”

“Rob, I know Dean might not use the gentlest words with Annie. But I think she will overlook that. She knows, I’m sure she knows that he loves her in his own way. She needs all the love she can get at the moment. That’s what is going to help her get better. A lot of love and reassurance.”

lucy blueRob nodded, “This is just as bad as when she had postnatal depression. And the sad thing is, she’s been scared of this happening to her again. She doesn’t want to have another child, because she has been fearing this kind of depression. But she’s here again, just a shell of the person she normally is. Always tired. Shy of life, scared of life.”

Chris was determined to be encouraging, “But she’s trying. Stay positive. Today was a good day. More days like today is what she needs.”

“I love her Chris, I don’t like the thought of how much she is hurting. I could bloody kick myself when I think that last time she was like this, I left her here on her own because I didn’t know what to do anymore. I’ve learnt a hell of a lot about life and about love since then. I’m not going to let her down.”

___________________

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:

Free Creative Writing Prompts

I chose a prompt under the ROMANCE section: 3. Who is she waiting for?

kim's prompt
Photo by Thiago Matos from Pexels 

Sheepish

After one of her worst incidents of harming herself, Annabelle spent a couple of weeks in hospital before at the suggestion of his father, Robin took Annabelle up to the family’s holiday cottage in North Wales. Just over three months later Robin and Annabelle are returning to their home in Blackwood, Wisconsin.

These are the previous parts of Annabelle’s story:

blackwood.jpegAnnabelle was glad to be back in Blackwood. It felt to good to step back into the house Robin and her had lived in happily for six months the previous year. The white walls and exposed floorboards she had enjoyed happy months at the start of her marriage, seemed so pleasant and soothing to her.

They had only intended to be in England until the middle of February. Twelve weeks later than planned, they arrived back at their home in their Wisconsin home. Annabelle was relieved to be far away from the memory of the car crash outside the Grainger’s estate in Berkshire. Despite what everyone had kindly said, and despite the helpful counselling she had benefited from both in Reading and up in North Wales, the memory of that day and the guilt that ensued were hard to battle with.

fi and anBurt and Pearl were thrilled to have Annabelle back in Blackwood. They had missed her. Chris and Robin had discussed Annabelle’s situation and had decided it was best for Chris to answer any questions from The Jennings by saying that Annabelle wasn’t well. Pearl became excited, jumping to the conclusion that perhaps Annabelle was pregnant. Chris didn’t add any information to what he had already shared.

But when Annabelle and Robin arrived at Burt and Pearl’s home, she was so much thinner than when they have last seen her, Peal abandoned the idea that she might be pregnant. “How are you feeling Annabelle?”

“I’m well thank you Pearl.”

cakes.jpeg“Christopher told us you had become ill when you were out in England. I’m glad you are better now,” Pearl hugged Annabelle, “But we need to fatten you up Annie. Would you like some cake?”

Annabelle felt a little self-conscious, “Thank you Pearl, I would love some cake.”

Robin answered a lot of the questions Burt and Pearl asked. He told them they would wait until Annabelle was feeling stronger before she responded to any requests to take up the ironing jobs she had before. He said he was eager to pick up gardening jobs again and was pleased when they said they would spread the word amongst their neighbours and friends. Robin encouraged Annabelle to tell Burt and Pearl about their anniversary party just before they had left England.

teesAfter the doorbell rang, Burt went to answer the door. He returned to the sunroom followed by Chris, who had just finished work. As soon as Annabelle realised he had entered the room, she leant forward to place her tea cup and saucer down and stood up, smoothing her hands over her dress to neaten it.

Robin had already bound over to Chris to shake his hand. Annabelle stepped forward and nervously looking at Chris, she raised her arms. He responded immediately and the two shared a warm hug. Annabelle returned to the sofa and Robin sat beside her with his arm place around her.

annie looking downPearl invited Chris to join them for some tea and cake. Chris eyed the cake hungrily. The five friends talked for another half hour. Annabelle remained the quietest of the party. But she felt happy. Pearl had already invited them to stay for dinner, but after repeating her invitation to try to persuade her guests to stay, Annabelle confessed she was weary after their flight the day before. Robin saw the tiredness that had crept over his wife, and began to thank The Jennings for their hospitality.

Chris also took his leave and followed Robin and Annabelle as they departed. Robin and Annabelle were walking home, but as they were on their way down the drive towards Chris’ truck, Robin and Chris quietly made a plan for the evening.

“You’re tired Belle.”

Annabelle nodded in agreement, “I am tired Robin. It just came over me suddenly.”

dinne.png“Do you want to have a nap when we get back? Chris is going to go and clean up. He said he’ll pick up some pizza on the way over to our place.”

Annabelle smiled and linked Robin’s arm, “Yes, I think I should go and rest when we get back. I don’t want to be miserable company.”

“Your two biggest fans are never going to find you miserable company. But do have a rest.”

When Chris arrived over an hour later, Annabelle was still asleep. “I think I’m going to leave her a bit Chris. She’s been sleeping a lot since the accident. She normally naps in the afternoon. She’s not been herself ever since. But gradually she’s been building her strength back up. She set goals for how long she wanted to walk each day, when we were living in Snowdonia. She’s doing really well.”

“She said in her last letter that she had a great therapist over there.”

Photo of Woman Standing Near Shrub“Yes, Margo. They really clicked. Margo was amazing. She took Annabelle out to talk instead of keeping her indoors. Annabelle told her about how much easier she had found talking to you out in the open, so Margo said weather permitting they would do that. She saw her a couple of times a week.”

“How is she doing?”

“We’re working on building her appetite back up. She likes Greek food. She only seems interested in hummus and salad. She never did eat lamb anyway” Robin looked as if he wanted to laugh for a moment but restrained himself, “She liked Wales. It was good for her to get away from the estate and everyone’s questions. I know she’s very glad to be back here in Blackwood.”

“A lot of folk have been asking about her Rob. They adore Annie. She will find a lot are very pleased to see her.”

fighters“That’s what she needs,” sighed Robin, “It was a huge knock to her though. She was so disappointed in herself. She has been really depressed about it. I think she’s just as bad as she was after Lucy died.”

“I was worried when I read her letters.”

“Thanks for the letters you sent. She has appreciated them so much. She’s turned into a total Luddite recently. In Snowdonia, she could never get signal on her phone and the broadband was really dodgy. But she loved buying her pretty writing paper and cards when she was out with Margo. She would come home and start writing. She’s sent letters to her parents and to Dean. She’s still going over things that happened in the past trying to understand why she reacts to feelings of guilt and failure so dramatically.”

annie coffee“I think anyone would struggle to get over what happened in that car crash.”

“Exactly, I keep telling her,” Robin sighed, “It’s going to take time Chris. We are making an appointment to get her therapy up and running again. She wants to carry on with twice a week to begin with. She says a week is too long. But if you have any spare time, I know how much she appreciates being able to talk with you. If you’re up to it.”

“Of course, I mean Rob, you know how much I want to be there for her. I just, well, you tell me how it’s going to work.”

Robin looked at Chris, “She is so beautiful Chris, she’s so sweet. I can’t settle with the idea of the two of you alone. I don’t mean that disrespectfully. But she’s so easy to love.”

“I wouldn’t Rob, I wouldn’t take advantage. She trusts me. I know how scared she’s been in the past about hurting you. It makes her uneasy and guarded. I want her to talk, I don’t want her to feel she’s doing something wrong.”

chris holding annieRobin nodded, “She needs to talk. Maybe if we were out together, the three of us. Or even hanging out here. I could be in the next room or something. It’s not that I’m suspicious, but when she’s pouring her heart out and she’s weeping, like she does, I know what you are going to want to do. I get it, it’s natural, but I’m not ok with that.”

“I’ll make sure I’m never alone with her,” promised Chris.

“I think I need that Chris. I’m sorry mate, but I do.”

Chris nodded, “I need a beer Rob. It’s been a long day.”

Robin and Chris were sat on the sofa watching television when Annabelle walked into the lounge area of their home. She lent down and kissed the side of Robin’s head, “Did you save me some pizza?”

“There’s a slice of pepperoni, a slice of BBQ Chicken and a whole vegetarian feast,” replied Robin.

Sliced Pepperoni Pizza on White Ceramic Plate“You have the pepperoni. I think I will nuke some of the vegetarian pizza,” said Annabelle.

“No, you sit down, I’ll get it for you,” volunteered Robin.

Annabelle looked grateful, “Rob-in,” she said in a childish tone.

“Yes Belle, what do you want?”

“Would you put some of those olives we bought on my pizza please?”

“Sure – extra olives. Would you like a drink?” asked Robin.

“Could I have some lime and soda please?”

“Of course. Sit. Relax.” Robin headed off to the kitchen, while Annabelle sat down.

Chris muted the television and turned towards her, “Alright Annie?”

Woman Lying on Bed Holding Book“I’m alright Chris. I didn’t mean to sleep for so long. But it feels good. You can’t hear the television from the bedroom at all. I noticed last night when I was reading in the bedroom and Robin was watching the news in here.”

“Must be the soundproofing we put in.”

Annabelle looked surprised, “What? Is that some kind of extra insulation or something?”

“Yeah, when I took all the paneling off, the plaster behind was is in such a bad shape. We ended up stripping everything back to the timbers and then we insulated and soundproofed the bedroom before we put up new plasterboard and fresh plaster.”

“Oh, I didn’t realize it was so complicated. You did a lot of work on this place.”

Person Using Dewalt Cordless Impact Driver on Brown Board“I put a lot of love into this place Annie. I knew who was going to be living here.”

“Thank you Chris. I mean for everything. Everything.”

Robin returned with two bottles of  beer and a lime soda for Annabelle. “Pizza’s on the way Belle,” he gave her a peck on the cheek, before dashing back towards the kitchen.

Chris took a swig of beer, “It was really hard to leave England with you still in that hospital.”

welsh“I was glad to get out of there! I can’t think about it though Chris, that hospital was scary,” Annabelle wrung her hands together, “The cottage we went to is really nice. I could have stayed there forever. I wish you could have seen Wales. It was spectacular. Unlike anything I have seen over in England. Well, Wales is a whole separate country, but they are all part of the UK. Except that in Wales, we didn’t need to pay for prescriptions at all.”

Chris smiled, “I’m glad you are back in Blackwood Annie. Did you take photos when you were in Wales?”

“I think Robin did. I couldn’t be bothered with my phone. I couldn’t get any signal anywhere except Wrexham. We had to go up to the hospital there a couple of times so they could check up on my arm.”

hm.pngRobin reappeared with the pizza for Belle, “There’s a little tub of herby mayonnaise from the pizzeria.”

Annabelle smiled, “Thank you Gorgeous, Robin did you take many photos up in Wales? I was just telling Chris how stunning it is.”

As Robin pulled out his phone and started to flick through the screen, Chris watched Annabelle. She bowed her head and kept her head bent forwards for about a minute before she started to eat her pizza. Chris found himself wanting to watch Annabelle eat pizza more than he wanted to look at photographs of Wales. But he politely looked at the scenes of forests, waterfalls, and hills in Snowdonia.

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Without thinking before he spoke, he remarked, “What’s with all the sheep?”

Annabelle looked up in surprise. Robin glared at Chris. Annabelle finished the mouthful of pizza she had, and then began to laugh. “Do you know what the crazy thing is…Robin, how many times did we see sheep that had escaped out into the roads?”

hazard.jpegRobin looked at Annabelle and started to laugh too. He rose up and sat on the arm of the chair Annabelle was seated in. He put his hands around her shoulders and lent his head against hers, “It’s bloody dangerous. Even I nearly hit one when we drove up to Bala Lake.”

Annabelle was still laughing “And Margo said there are accidents and near-misses all the time. It’s just an everyday hazard of life in that part of North Wales. There are so many bloody sheep, and some of the fencing is broken down. Bloody sheep are a nightmare. I refuse to wear wool and Robin has agreed not to eat lamb anymore. I’m starting the anti-sheep movement. They should stop  farming them and then the roads wouldn’t be so bloody dangerous. Bloody sheep!”

Chris watched as Annabelle’s laughter turned to tears. Robin rubbed her arms. He knelt on the floor and pressed his forehead against Annabelle’s and placed his hands on the back of her head, “Breathe.”

Photo of Holding HandsAnnabelle reached to take Robin’s hand in hers, she locked her fingers around his, “I’m so sorry. I’m so so sorry,” Annabelle sobbed.

“Take it easy. Breathe. Just breathe,” Robin whispered to her.

A few minutes later Robin escorted Annabelle back to their bedroom. He returned to tell Chris they were going to call it a night. Chris put his jacket on said he would call the next day about a couple of gardening jobs he had lined up for Robin, “I hope she’s gonna be ok Rob.”

Robin sighed, “She’ll be ok. I forgot to mention we don’t talk about sheep at all now Chris.”

________________

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:

Free Creative Writing Prompts

I chose a prompt under the ROMANCE section: 3. Who is she waiting for?

kim's prompt
Photo by Thiago Matos from Pexels 

 

 

Bravery

After the shock of the serious car crash that occurred outside his parent’s home (due to sheep escaping the meadow when Annabelle forgot to close the gate behind her), Robin saw something else that upset him. He witnessed Chris and Annabelle embracing within the stables. Overwhelmed, Robin climbed into his car and drove up to his parent’s London home.

These are the previous parts of Annabelle’s story:

dratRobin found it hard to sleep that cold January night. He paced around the guest room in his parent’s London home. He’d taken a bottle of gin out of the cabinet in the dining room. But after one glass, he found it made him sick to his stomach. He had not touched a cigarette in over a year because he knew Annabelle hated tobacco, but he found himself craving one. When he tried to sleep he tossed and turned with images of Annabelle and Chris together haunting him.

Robin’s phone was on silent setting, but he kept on seeing it glow. Glancing over he would see it was either Chris or Annabelle trying to call. Then just Chris, every hour or so throughout the night. Chris was the last person Robin wanted to speak to. He was determined to ignore his phone.

It was a surprise to see a couple of missed calls from Dean Mathers at around four o’clock in the morning. Robin could see that a number of voice messages had been left on his phone, but he had no desire to listen to them.

Robin had not slept at all when the morning light started to seep through the gap in heavy curtains. There was a knock at the door and Robin heard his name called out by his mother.

hosp.jpgRobin dressed hastily so he could open the door to his mother who had a china mug of strong black coffee for him. “I have just had a phone-call Robin, from that young American man. He’s been trying to contact you all night. You must have slept through his calls. He took Annabelle to hospital last night. She has been asking for you.”

“What! Where?”

“They are in Reading. He said he took her to Accident and Emergency, but that after she was treated there, she was moved to an observation ward.”

“What kind of observation ward?”

“Robin, there seems to be a question over her mental health. Your American friend seemed very anxious that you head to the hospital immediately. I will come with you. Your father has meetings today. But I will cancel my engagements for today.”

***

grrrr“Happy Anniversary Annabelle.”

Annabelle smiled sleepily, “A whole year Robin. It’s gone so quickly.”

“28th April. It’s been quite a year though hey.”

A slight frown appeared on Annabelle’s face, “We’ve had more than a few challenges.”

Robin gently kissed the scars on Annabelle’s left arm, “You are so precious to me.”

Tears trickled from Annabelle’s eyes, “I don’t deserve you. I feel like such a let down sometimes.”

annabelle finale“You are a treasure, more precious than you know. It’s me that has sometimes forgotten that you have a delicate side. You are perfectly lovely. I am the brute. I’ve let you down when you were most vulnerable.”

“You shouldn’t say things like that. You’ve never been a brute. Robin. You’ve been so kind,” Annabelle shivered, “I still feel terrible about what happened back in January.”

“Shhh, we’ve talked about this a hundred times Belle. We have all done it. Every member of my family, I swear, and friends and visitors. That’s why everyone goes on about that gate all the time. We have all forgotten about that gate. The sheep have escaped before. It could have been any of us it happened to. It was a huge shock I know, but it was an accident. It was a horrible coincidence that that driver was taking the bend at such speed. The roads were icy, he should not have been taking the bend so quickly. But everyone is fine now, and that couple seem more than satisfied with the settlement. And everyone is glad the speed limit has been lowered.”

english2“I am so scared to go back there, that day was so awful.”

Robin sighed, “It’s been over three months Belle. Everyone is looking forward to seeing you tonight.”

Annabelle pulled a face, “But I like Wales Robin. It’s good for the heart.”

“Snowdonia is beautiful. I think it was a good idea of Dad’s to bring you up here after you left hospital. But it’s time to be brave.”

“Everyone knows don’t they?”

“Most of the family know you had a kind of breakdown after that accident on the lane. Everyone is hugely sympathetic. It’s only my parents and Nick and Anna who know why Chris took you to hospital. But you agreed that you wanted them to know. They understand that you are very sensitive about it.”

robin bed“It’s good that they know. It’s too much for you to deal with on your own. I’m just scared of what they really think of me. What about all the neighbours? What must they think of me?”

“The line has been that you were very upset after the accident, which you were. Nobody knows anything Belle. My parents are very good at deflecting interest in anything personal. Everyone is just empathetic that something happened when you were trying so hard to settle into country life. Believe me, all of our neighbours realize that not closing a gate is so easily done. Nobody is going to judge you.”

Annabelle nodded as more tears trickled from her eyes, “I was trying so hard Robin. I wanted to learn all about the estate and how to cook properly and how to do everything right.”

“You were doing wonderfully Belle. You really were. I don’t think we told you enough how well you were doing. I was so proud of you. I am proud of you. The estate isn’t going anywhere. In the future we can start afresh. We’ll come back again for Christmas with my parents and stay a little while afterwards. Maybe not as long this time.”

“Thank you for being so wonderful Robin.”

early ngith“We have a responsibility to look after each other. Nothing is more important to me than you. And I have enjoyed learning to cook. It’s been good for me.”

“You’re a better cook than I am.”

Robin grinned, “All the best chefs are men Belle.”

Annabelle played with a tuft of Robin’s hair, “Thank you for sticking with me even though I caused so much stress.”

“You didn’t cause stress. My only regret is that I wasn’t with you that night. You were so brave. I should have been there with you.”

“I kept asking Chris where you were,” Annabelle murmured, “I wanted you so much.”

chris england“Chris told me everything that happened Belle. Everything. I will be forever indebted to him. He was amazing. Are you looking forward to seeing him again?”

“His letters are so beautiful, aren’t they? You know I have never been close to my older brothers, but Chris feels like my brother. We are two peas in a pod. I think we understand each other so well.”

“Chris is family Belle. No doubt about that.”

“He was so perfect that night. Maybe it was good that he found me. I think it would have upset you even more Robin if you saw what I was doing. You had already had such an awful day. Chris hadn’t had to deal with any of the stress from the crash. Maybe it was better he was the one who found me.”

Robin planted his lips onto Annabelle’s left arm again, “Come on Belle. Let’s get ready. We want to beat the rush hour traffic.”

Robin and Annabelle had a long journey ahead of them. After leaving the cottage near Betws-Y-Coed that his father owned, and their home for the over two months, Robin drove down to Berkshire.

anniversary.jpgThat evening many of the Grainger family were gathered at the Inkpen home of Stephen and Fiona, Robin’s parents. Fiona had arranged a very pleasant but low key anniversary party to celebrate the first wedding anniversary of their son. Most of the family had not seen Annabelle since Christmas. She was very nervous. She had chosen a long sleeved dress that hid the scars on her left arm.

Annabelle struggled to make eye contact with any of Robin’s family. But she was deeply appreciative of the hugs and squeezes of her hand from Robin’s relatives. Nobody mentioned the accident. Nobody asked Annabelle anything too personal. They all commented on how well she looked and asked her what she thought of Snowdonia. Anna made it very clear how delighted she was to see Annabelle again. The evening passed smoothly.

***

“That was nice wasn’t it?” asked Robin as he embraced Annabelle later that night.

“It was lovely.”

“You are lovely,” Robin kissed his wife.

vals“I love you so much gorgeous man!” she cried.

“I have an anniversary card for you.”

“I didn’t get you a card,” sulked Annabelle.

“That’s ok, you can make up for that by putting on that little red number I bought you for Valentine’s. But first you should read my card. Well, it’s not a card, it’s a boat, a paper boat. I’ve been very romantic you know. I’m going to go and grab some of the leftover wine from tonight and thank mum and dad. You read my message over there on the pillow,” Robin kissed Annabelle’s forehead and then left her to read his card on her own.

Annabelle picked up the paper boat that was resting on a pillow on the bed. She unfolded it and read the message Robin had written:

TO MY BEAUTIFUL WIFE ANNABELLE

THANK YOU FOR AN INCREDIBLE YEAR, THE BEST YEAR OF MY LIFE. I AM LIVING THE DREAM BELLE. FOR  A LONG TIME, I WAS WORRIED THAT IT WAS MY DREAM THAT WE WERE LIVING. MY DREAM OF MARRYING A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN WHO WOULD MAKE EVERYTHING SEEM LIKE AN ADVENTURE. BUT I THINK WE MIGHT BE LIVING THAT OLD DREAM OF YOURS AFTERALL.

sailing into sunsetIT TURNS OUT WE HAVE ALREADY BUILT SOMETHING SPECIAL TOGETHER. WE ARE STILL LEARNING HOW TO LOVE. I LOVE SAILING THROUGH LIFE WITH YOU. WE HAVE HAD SOME CALM SEAS TO ENJOY AND STORMS TO FACE. BUT WITH YOU, LIFE IS AN ADVENTURE. WE WILL GET STRONGER AND STRONGER. WE WILL SURVIVE STORMS.

YOU HAVE BEEN INCREDIBLY BRAVE THESE PAST FEW MONTHS AND I AM DEEPLY PROUD OF YOU. MY PRAYER IS THAT WE WILL GO ON LIVING THIS DREAM, THIS ADVENTURE, FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES.

I LOVE YOU DEAR WIFE OF MINE. YOU ARE IMMENSELY PRECIOUS TO ME.

ROBIN

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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:

Free Creative Writing Prompts

I chose a prompt under the ROMANCE section: 3. Who is she waiting for?

kim's prompt
Photo by Thiago Matos from Pexels 

 

 

 

I Only Wanna Hear Love Songs

romcomaFor the past couple of months…I have found myself feeling a lovely glow of happiness. I think I have always been a generally happy person…but I have also had some very stressful situations, and of course the crime I was victim of caused challenges that have been hard to deal with.

But Jack has made me happier than I was before. My head is a bit in the clouds at times. So loved up am I! Loving love songs, loving romcoms, loving every chance I have to be with him. It’s all good. I am looking forward to sharing the news with my family so much.

The past couple of months have been so very exciting though. Very very exciting. We both seemed to agree from the start that it was not fair that we are not allowed to enjoy getting to know each other years ago. Everyone was watching. We were not allowed to flirt. We were not allowed to gaze at each other. We were not allowed to be smitten by each other.

songa.jpgWe wanted to see if there really was the kind of spark that seemed to be there back then. It turns out the spark, was more like a roaring blaze! Jack told me very early on that he felt sure that what he felt was much more than attraction. He told me he was sure it was love. The first time he said that to me six years ago…I was bewildered. I was very skeptical. I thought he hated me at the time. So when he said it again, after four years of silence from him…I decided not to let myself doubt him for a moment on this occasion.

Anyway…I do realize I have been writing a lot about Jack of late. Can you blame me? He is the main subject on my mind from day to day! But if you are not interested in all this lovey dovey stuff – thanks for being so tolerant!