Bloody Lips

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

A complicated situation between two sisters and their lovers leads to regret, moral pain and longing for better days...

Bloody Lips

 

Annabelle had to tell someone. It was against her own rules, but she could no longer keep it to herself. Her sister Verina had been meeting a lover for years. He was a clergyman from the Alking parish of Saint Georges with whom she secretly went to bed in a rented room about every two weeks.

So, Verina couldn’t blame Annabelle for anything. That's why Annabelle told her sister that she had gone on a date with Robert Brundall. They were going to see each other in the Herchrode Abbey parking lot.

Annabelle needn’t ask Robert to keep a rose in his mouth so that she would recognize him. They knew each other from twenty years before. Then Brundall, Annabelle, and Verina were members of the same marching band. Robert Brundall even was a member of the board. He also taught solfège to the band musicians who needed it. Annabelle played the clarinet, but not very well, and she couldn’t easily read sheet music. As a result, Brundall was more involved with her than with her sister. Verina played the flute in the marching band, and she did an excellent job.

Yet, Verina knew that former solfège teacher all too well, she thought. Therefore, she couldn’t understand that Annabelle had accepted the man's advances. He was, after all, so much older than Annabelle. Moreover, Verina didn’t trust Brundall. She had seen how at the time he dealt with the young girls of the band. If they were beautiful enough, he would constantly turn around them and flatter and fleece to make a good impression on them. Once, Verina had even heard that Brundall had already been chasing more than one young woman outside the band. There were rumors that he had had an affair with a very pretty teacher from one of the secondary schools in Herchville. According to some, it had only been a short encounter, others pretended that their relationship had lasted quite a long time...

But Verina didn’t tell Annabelle. She didn’t want to shatter the dream her sister might have.

Annabelle had been thinking about Robert ever since they made that appointment. He had told her that for their first date, he would wear his navy blue blazer. She hadn’t told him that she would put on her thin black blouse and her jeans skirt. That had to be a surprise for him. To recognize each other after twenty years and as a sign of his love for her, he wouldn’t hold a red rose between his lips, he let her know. He didn’t think that was necessary.

Annabelle was a little disappointed. Such a red rose at their first meeting after all these years, it would have been romantic... She too wouldn’t have a rose between her lips. Not between her lips… She would bring one in her heart for him, and it would be red, flaming red, the color of true love.

--------------------

Annabelle was sad a week later. She had gone to Herchrode Abbey, in her jeans skirt and her black blouse. Her red love rose with velvet leaves and fine thorns had caused her heart to bleed. She had really tasted the blood, and it tasted very sour.

She had been waiting for more than an hour in the warm sun of late June, but Robert never showed up. At Herchrode, she had first walked around the parking lot, dripping with sweat. After all, it was sultry in those final days of June. The sun made her transpire, because there was a lot of moisture in the air. But that Annabelle sweated profusely didn’t only depend on the sun or the oppressive weather, but also on her nerves and the bitter disillusion she had suffered.

With her face half burned by the sun, she had driven back home on Grand Street at Boarmarsh. On her way home, a violent thunderstorm had started. Hail had even fallen. As a result, Annabelle had had to park her Renault alongside the road for five minutes at Splintbrook. She no longer saw enough through the windshield and just as little through the tears in her eyes to drive safely. But at last, she had arrived at Boarmarsh unharmed, but with a hurting bleeding heart. She had gone to bed with all her clothes and done nothing but cry for the rest of the day. But no matter how many tears Annabelle had shed the sour taste of blood in her mouth, she couldn’t get rid of it...

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A few days later, Verina went to Boarmarsh, curious to learn how the rendezvous between Annabelle and Robert Brundall had turned out Verina saw that her sister was in a mess. The rendezvous had clearly gone wrong. Annabelle was sitting at her kitchen table with a swollen nose and red eyes, she'd been crying so much. Yet Verina didn’t make any effort to comfort Annabelle. She thought it was a good thing that her sister and the older man probably wouldn’t start a relationship. After all, it wouldn’t have a future. At least, that was what Verina hoped from the bottom of her heart.

Again, Verina didn’t tell Annabelle what she really thought. She was curious, though. She hoped that her sister would start telling about Brundall all by herself. For the time being, Annabelle said nothing about him. That she had been stood up by him at Herchrode, she remained silent about that humiliating experience.

Because Annabelle didn’t say a word about how things had gone at Herchrode, Verina asked her sister how she had come into contact with Robert Brundall again after so many years.

Anna explained to Verina that she had met Robert on the Internet after twenty years and that they had been talking together for months. She said she had fallen in love like she had never been before. Robert was thoughtful, sensitive, open, compassionate, funny, very different from her own husband. She loved their conversations and looked forward to them. All day long, she remembered their discussions from the night before. Impatiently she waited for a free moment or the evening to continue talking to him. They talked about everything they were doing, movies, theater, the books they had read, travel... Annabelle also talked a lot about her work, both at school and at home, because those tasks demanded a lot from her. Robert didn’t work anymore, but he still was busy with all kinds of things. He didn’t lack any conversation at all. On the other hand, Annabelle and Robert talked very little about their family. It seemed that they wanted to shield them from each other.

Gradually, their love for each other grew even over the Internet. Both Annabelle and Robert dreamed that they might continue their lives together. They had found common points of interest: they both loved quiet music with meaningful lyrics such as the songs of Leonard Cohen and Francis Cabrel, they adored homemade limoncello, literature and freshly baked bread...

Sometimes they didn’t agree at all. Annabelle almost always spent her vacation with her family in the Austrian Alps and did long and strenuous mountain hikes there. Robert told her that he thought it madness to do those efforts, and then on vacation... He hated mountains. Once he was above five thousand feet, he could hardly breathe. Partly, that was his own fault because he smoked Pall Mall cigarettes, fifteen to twenty a day. Seas and oceans attracted him, and exotic beaches in distant lands. And then Kaiserschmarrn… Annabelle and her two girls liked them very much. She baked them regularly and served them with powdered sugar. Robert didn’t know about those specially sweet Austrian pancakes. He had a hard time staying close to his goal weight and he found Kaiserschmarrn real fatteners. Annabelle felt it as an indirect reproach because her youngest daughter was too fat. A little desperate, she objected to Robert that the child was always hungry and that she couldn’t let it starve...

But all things considered, between them grew a harmony that few people know. The more weeks passed, the more Annabelle wanted to write all kinds of intimate things to Robert in their conversations at secret Gmail addresses. Because they didn’t want to run any risk, they changed those addresses regularly.

On Gmail, they spent a lot of hours together, although that was not so easy for Annabelle with everything she had to do during her working week. That was why she gave Robert her cell phone number, because she couldn’t suffer long not to hear from him. Now, telephoning to each other, they did it quite rarely afterwards. Neither of the two was very good on the phone. They admitted that to each other. Strangely enough, Annabelle didn’t tell Robert that she would have liked him to call her more often. That was because she worried about his Internet connection and his Wifi network because they fell out regularly.

Yet, as soon as she had given him her number, he called her. He said that he was so happy to hear her voice, and that he wanted to talk to her over the phone for a very long time. Annabelle was happy to hear his voice and found it absolutely charming. It was deep and reassuring, just as she experienced his love for her.

Annabelle wasn’t shy to tell her sister Verina that too. She said that gradually their exchanges of thoughts and feelings became more and more frequent and increased in intensity. She said that Robert had told her about his budding feelings for her, now more than twenty years ago. Then she was only seventeen, and he had not dared to speak to her about it. Now she knew, after all those wasted years. She had been crying for joy. After all, she too had fallen in love with him, but to her, he seemed totally unattainable at that time.

Finally, encouraged by what they all had entrusted to each other, they had made that appointment to meet each other at Herchrode Abbey. He had let her wait there in vain. He later claimed that he had tried to call her, but that he kept falling back on her answering machine. He hadn’t left a message. His excuse: what could he have said? Annabelle once had told him that she disliked useless messages such as: "Yes, it’s me, where are you? Think of me." What would that be good for?

But Annabelle's heart was bleeding sourly. She reproached Robert that he had never called her back. He had in no way tried to reach her.

She also admitted to Verina that she had been desperate in the days after that failed appointment, and that she felt ridiculous. She said that she had to blame herself, that she had fallen in love with a bastard, yet another one, and that she was tired of being naïve. How could she believe that someone would ever find her attractive and love her, a married woman of nearly forty with two teenage daughters? She didn’t even love herself! And despite Robert's claim to the contrary, she didn’t think she was beautiful, but completely inconspicuous. Rather tall for a woman, too thin, with small breasts, dark straight hair and hazel-colored eyes, spindle legs, could she be more common?

Yet, their meeting had only been postponed. After her birthday at the end of June, they met. Again, their meeting place was Herchrode Abbey. Robert acted as if nothing was wrong and he even tried to kiss Annabelle on her lips. She didn’t want that and turned her head away from him. She still tasted that sour blood in her mouth.

No matter how much she loved him at the time, she was assertive. She told him everything that was bothering her in one go, crying almost all of the time.

Robert listened to her with pain in his heart. He walked alongside her, helpless, looking at her face with her deluge of tears and the mascara that drew dirty black lines under her eyes. But describing how much he loved her, that was impossible for him. Even with her red eyes, black stripes on her cheeks and a runny nose, Annabelle remained absolutely delightful. How could she not see how beautiful she was?

At one point, Robert gave her a handkerchief. She took it and released a weak "thank you" between two sobs.

Robert watched her cry, completely disarmed. He would have liked to take her in his arms, kiss her gently on her forehead and her eyelids, and tell her that everything would be alright. He would have liked to have wiped away the traces of her tears with his thumbs, which had become black from the mascara running over her tanned cheeks. He would have liked to take her head into his hands and make a slight smile appear on his lips. He wanted to move his face toward hers and kiss her...

He didn’t hesitate and did what he had intended.

At last, Annabelle didn’t taste that sour blood anymore in her mouth. She let herself go and answered Robert's kiss with an open mouth. The taste of his saliva drove away that of acid blood for a moment, though, but there was still an aftertaste...

-------------------------

Not long after their first rendezvous at Herchrode, Annabelle made a decision. Even if he had disappointed her in more than one way, she found Robert Brundall worthwhile. For reasons she couldn’t even explain to herself why she was smitten with that older man, madly in love with him.

The decision was not easy for her, but she started a relationship with him. That they wouldn’t be able to share their lives together, she realized that. There was no point in blowing up what she had built up together with her husband for her lover. That was true for Robert as well.

 

For two years, Annabelle and Robert were secret lovers. At least, that's what Annabelle thought. Except her sister Verina, no one else knew about her extra-marital affair, she thought. That wasn’t the case. There were more people in her immediate surroundings who knew that she and Robert Brundall had a relationship. There was talk and gossip about them two, that was clear. Even if no one was directly talking to Annabelle, she became aware that gossip was going on. For her, the only one who could be responsible for this was her lover Robert Brundall himself. He was so full of her, he loved her so much... The result was that he couldn’t keep his mouth shut about his love for her. He became careless and exulted in his happiness. However, Annabelle had made him promise from the beginning of their relationship that he could not in any way whatsoever inform anyone about their secret relationship. 

In the long run, Annabelle got tired of Robert Brundall’s imprudent attitude. She was terrified that their relationship would come to light. If that happened, her world would collapse and an end would come to her comfortable life with her husband and her daughters.

Annabelle didn’t have to think about it for a long time. After all, in the meantime, there was a sweet man sweet talking to her at her workplace, someone who was only nine years older than she was. In the long run, she gave in to him.

Her new lover was very different from Brundall, not a talker, someone who didn’t say much and could keep silent like a grave.

On her birthday at the end of June, Annabelle abruptly ended her two-year relationship with Robert Brundall, and she surrendered herself to her new younger lover. That decision made the sour taste of blood that Brundall had caused to her disappear at once.

--------------------

Annabelle had put an end to her relationship with Robert Brundall, but in the first months, she couldn’t really miss contact with him. She continued to talk to him over the Internet. Not only that, but a few times she also wanted to meet him in person as he insisted.

They usually sat opposite each other in a bar or on a terrace. Annabelle stared at the sad spectacle of her former lover’s broken heart. She thought of all the things she had never told him and that she wanted to confess to him. She opened her mouth several times, words were formed, but no sound came. She would have liked to tell him that she still loved him, that she had loved him since she first contacted him during the solfège lessons so long ago.

He wanted to tell her that every time he heard that she had a new lover, handsome, sometimes young and with strong muscles, but not necessarily very smart, he was depressed, almost unable to eat, and sleeping badly for weeks.

She had liked to tell him a lot of intimate things. How many times exactly had she slept with him... Every time they had made love together was still clearly in her memory, with all the details. Never again would she forget those moments of happiness and passion.

He had often told her that she was the woman of his life, but she didn’t want to hear that anymore. She felt that he was too obsessive about something that was over and would never come back. She did have the hope that one day he would see her as a potential friend and leave their past as lovers behind.

Unfortunately, her hope was vain. If there was a slight appearance of a friendly relationship, Robert relied on his recurring attempts to win Annabelle back. He also remained as open and honest as he had been in the two years of their relationship. He entrusted Annabelle with all his emotions, his desire for her, his plans, his doubts and his daily life problems.

It was all meaningless. He learned from mutual acquaintances how she went from one man to another, without ever considering returning to him. He heard from people around her that she became excited about every new romance, proud of the innumerable qualities of her new lover.

What Robert found very unfortunate was that after a while, Annabelle carefully kept all details of her new daily life hidden from him. In the long run, silence between them fell for good. Annabelle didn’t even want to exchange another word with Robert. He found that incomprehensible after they had so intensely loved each other for two years.

He would have liked so much that she would talk to him again, nothing more. To obtain that from her, he would have liked to confess that he had gone wrong and beg her for forgiveness. Whatever she wanted, he wanted to give it to her and take all the blame.

But whatever Robert Brundall thought, whatever he undertook to have contact with Annabelle again, it was all fruitless. She had banished him from her life forever. Secretly, she wanted him dead and buried once and for all, at least in her mind and in her heart.

Sometimes, not often, Annabelle thought back of Robert. She didn’t like that because it didn’t suit her well. Again and again, she tasted the taste of sour blood on her lips at such a moment. Not for very long anyway, because that taste went away very quickly when she could taste the saliva of another new lover...

© Bruno Roggen, Anhée, 2021


Submitted: July 10, 2021

© Copyright 2021 impetus. All rights reserved.

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