Ever since watching "Loving Annabelle," I've been troubled by the lack of character development in an otherwise great film. I found it difficult to accept that Simone and Annabelle went from teacher/student to lovers with so little exploration of their connection and backgrounds. I especially wanted to know what they talked about on the drive to the beach. So, I decided to create that conversation here and add a bit of foreshadowing. Please read and review, and as always no copyright infringement is intended.
Annabelle couldn't suppress the grin on her face as she packed a bag for what she hoped would be an eye opening day trip. With some prodding, she convinced Simone to take her off campus. It was a warm, breezy spring day in the middle of the semester break; too beautiful to spend on the grounds of St. Theresa's she thought as she smugly tossed her sunglasses into the bag. Her hands shook slightly as she fixed her hair; the anticipation of being alone with her sexy English teacher sent her mind reeling with the possibilities.
After gathering her things, Annabelle practically flew down the stairs secretly hoping time away from the oppressive environment would allow her to test her hypothesis: The wiser than her year's teen was sure Simone would be open to her advances away from the strict rules and suffocating Catholicism that assaulted them at every turn. She hadn't been with anyone for over a year, and she vowed to bed the English teacher for the pure joy of the chase and the satisfaction of her sexual desire. Simone was beautiful, and forbidden on so many levels, which is exactly why Annabelle wanted her.
When she finally made it to long driveway, Annabelle found Simone sitting in her car fidgeting with the controls and bringing the top down. Annabelle strutted over and put her bag in the backseat. Climbing into the blue Audi and exuding an air of confidence, Annabelle's dark blue eyes met the deep, seductive, lighter ones beside her. Annabelle's lust ignited, and Simone blushed fiercely. Annabelle flashed a smile that made the older woman's breath catch in her throat.
Simone panicked and was about to tell Annabelle this was inappropriate, and a really bad idea, and they should stay on campus to watch a movie in the lounge. Instead, she exhaled audibly as she recalled what Father Harris had said about not trying to figure everything out. She smoothed her hair with her hand, and for the first time in years, decided to go where her emotions led her and not worry about the possible after effects. She knew getting close to Annabelle was a risk, but she also knew the young woman's presence made her feel more alive than she had felt since before Amanda's death.
She thought Annabelle projected herself as a hard person, but Simone knew the girl had a good heart, and a great deal of compassion which made the pretty, younger woman all the more appealing, and she would not deny herself the joy of simply being around her despite the dangers.
Simone pointed the car down the road, lost in her thoughts until Annabelle's voice pierced the silence. "Where are we going Simone?"
The blonde woman briefly took her eyes off the winding road. "You're going to have to wait and see, but I will tell you it's over an hour's drive." Simone felt a surge of satisfaction. Annabelle had directed much of their interaction, and it felt good to finally have a modicum of control. However, that control was quickly taken from her when she turned the radio on, and the CD player began blaring the last resounding notes of Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." When she reached to switch to the local station Annabelle grasped her hand.
"Wait. You like Bach too?"
Simone froze as a jolt of electricity shot from her hand, travelled up her arm, and dissipated into a thousand radiating sparks somewhere near her throat. Slowly, she withdrew her fingers and allowed the music to continue flowing through the air. She didn't know what shocked her more, Annabelle's touch or her appreciation of Bach.
"Yes. I love 'Toccata and Fugue,' and just about anything from the Baroque era."
Annabelle playfully stated, "You're such a geek."
Simone huffed, "Well so are you. Not many seventeen year olds can identify Bach from a few stray notes."
"Yeah, you're the bigger geek; you own the CD."
The two laughed as Simone rounded a curve and the bright sun streaked across the windshield. The pair rode in comfortable silence for a few more minutes and enjoyed the closeness as they relished their freedom. Suddenly, conspiring in their escape from school no longer felt like such a terrible idea.
Annabelle shifted toward her companion with a quizical look, "Simone, I know that when women become nuns they take another name. What was your aunt's before she changed it?"
"It was Samantha Grace."
"Why did she become a nun anyway?"
"She and my mother had a contentious relationship; there was a lot of jealousy. My mother was two years younger, more outgoing, more popular, and more attractive. She got all the attention, and my aunt just withdrew more and more until she painted herself into a corner. She had low self-esteem, and figured the convent was a safe haven that would always love, protect, and accept her, so she joined."
"She sounds lonely."
Before answering, Simone bit her lip in a way that drove Annabelle to raw desire. "She is, and sometimes it makes her do spiteful things. But she's not all bad, misguided, but not all bad. My father was a professor, and my mother an accountant. They had little time for me, and my aunt stepped up to the plate practically raising me. It was OK until she started drilling dogma into me. "
At that moment, Annabelle saw Simone in a different light: she saw her as more than a sexual conquest when a tinge of sorrow fell across the normally stoic features. It made her heart ache a bit to see the other woman obviously hurting about a past that was wrought with difficulty and probably more than her share of pain. She wanted to reach out and hold the older woman's hand, but she refrained.
Wanting to change the subject, Simone asked, "How did your mom get involved with politics?" Just then a car full of boys on the opposite side of the rode slowed to make cat calls at the women.
Annabelle paused just long enough to give them the finger. "She started off like most women who get involved in government. She ran for city council to right some injustice, and it just took off from there. I think she's forgotten why she ran in the first place. Sometimes she acts like it's gone to her head and nothing matters, not me, not her family."
"I don't doubt that she loves you, but I am sorry that she's not there for you."
Annabelle swallowed hard. "Yeah, me too."
At that moment the connection between them changed almost imperceptibly. Annabelle hadn't realized that she put her physical needs aside, and let Simone see her as more than thundering, arrogant desire personified. They connected in a way that they couldn't with any other human being, not family, not friends, no one.
For her part, Simone felt relaxed. Talking with Annabelle without having to defend herself against sexual advances made her guard fall. She was sure Annabelle knew she was a lesbian in the same way Michelle Peters knew, but Simone never felt compelled to respond to Michelle's obsessive school girl crush. With Annabelle, it was different; she was so much more than the awkward, immature teen who wrote her love notes during class. Annabelle, was confident, and knew exactly who she was and more frighteningly what she wanted. She retained the fearlessness that Simone had lost after years of oppression and Amanda's death.
Suddenly, Annabelle burst out, "Hey earth to Simone! I know where we are. We're going to the beach aren't we?"
Simone nodded. "Yep, and I have a surprise for you when we get there."
Annabelle waggled her eyebrows suggestively. "Hmmm…..I like surprises."
"Good. I also hope you like Sergio's because I'm starving."
"Do they have pesto?"
"The best I've ever had."
"Then I like Sergio's."
The two women locked eyes, and felt their connection deepen as they pulled into the restaurant's dusty parking lot, taking a space close to the entrance. A car with an elderly man and woman parked right next to them. Out of courtesy, Simone would wait for them to exit their car first.
It was taking them a long time to get out, and Simone decided to make the most of it. She turned to face Annabelle, and gently placed her hand over the one that rested in the young woman's lap.
"Annabelle, I want you to know that I care a lot….."
Annabelle quickly reached up with her free hand and pressed two fingers to Simone's lips, effectively silencing her. The older woman shivered at the intimate gesture while Annabelle's fingers tingled at the softness just below her own delicate skin.
"Simone, don't. Don't say anything please."
The tall, elderly man finally made it out of his vehicle and stared down confusedly at the two women before limping to the restaurant's entrance.
Annabelle still had her fingers pressed to Simone's shapely lips, and wanted so much to press them with her own. Instead, she hesitantly returned her hand to her lap where Simone's hand still rested on hers. She gave the long fingers a gentle squeeze before saying, "Let's eat."
The two women hopped out of the car, and raced ahead of the elderly couple who were only half way up the walk. They nodded to the pair and held the doors open for them, smiling at one another the entire time. The couple thanked them, and as Simone and Annabelle let go of the doors, their hands brushed. The blushing pair waited for the hostess to seat them, grateful that she brought them to a secluded spot near the back of the eatery where they spent the next hour talking and sharing their pasts while dining on the best lunch either of them had eaten in a long time.