CANDY CANDY Fan Fiction ❯ Crossroad ❯ Tears of the Past ( Chapter 3 )

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The Andrew's Mansion had woken up eventful. Servants came and went
from one room to another polishing lamps, tiding up hangings, cleaning
dust, waxing floors, making flower-centrepieces... Everyone breathed
enthusiasm, even Mr. Madsen's face reflected a bit of excitement. It
had been a long time since the last coming up celebrated at the
Mansion, almost twenty-two years ago.

At that time, Miss Pauna was the sensation of the season, remembered
the butler while organizing the cleaning of the dinner cutlery. Hannah
and he were the only employees who still continued in the service.
Although it was painful for both of them making all these
preparations, as they recalled that dear gone girl, thinking about the
happiness that a pair of lavender eyes would reflect help them to
stand the pain.

Albert had decided to hire extra people to help organizing the party
and attending the guests that night. More than fifty new servants were
working inside the Mansion, while the gardens were being done by Mr.
Morgan, the gardener, and a small army of assistants that cut the
hedges and looked after the fountains. The peacocks, who had been
there through generations, had sheltered in their cubicles. They
wanted to avoid the agitation and excitement of all that strange
people who had invaded their territory and the noise of the fireworks
tests at the lake.

Hannah's voice, leading and determined, could be heard all over the
house. Everybody seemed to be caught by her frenetic energy.

"Where can I put this, madam?", asked a young maid.

"I come from O'Donnaghue's Confectionery, where do I have to leave
this order?"

"Who had to wax the dance-hall?"

Although everything seemed chaotic, there was in fact a
pre-established order perfectly directed by the housekeeper, who was
plethoric in such great activity.

"Place that in the kitchen. Take away those chairs and bring the
champagne vessel down. You have to polish more that glass-set, Martha.
You, Doris, tell Mr. Andrew that the tailor's order has just arrived",
Hannah continued giving orders while her face was getting redder at a
time. Only six hours lasted before the first guests arrived.

"I am sure everything will be great, Hannah. Don't worry so much",
Annie was telling her. The girl had come to the Mansion that morning
to help her supervising the preparations.

The old woman looked at her while an unhappy sigh let out from her

"I am not worried about the house itself, Miss Annie", answered the
woman. "The staff is very professional, as you can see. I am worried
about Miss Candy. She went to work to the hospital this morning, and
although she asked the afternoon off, I fear the worst. I hope she
arrives on time! Mr. Albert didn't want to tell her that on this
occasion he intended to celebrate something more than her birthday
party. He wanted it to be a complete surprise for her. What if she
doesn't arrive on time? What if she doesn't come at all?".

Annie tried to make her worries disappear.

"Nothing of that will happen, Hannah. She knows that all her friends
will be here tonight. She won't turn us down".

I hope so, anyway, thought Annie. However, because she knew her friend
so well, Annie could tell that Candy would dare throw them all in case
there was an emergency. At that precise moment, she saw Albert coming
down the stairs. He saw her immediately and came towards both women
with a big smile in his lips.

"I am glad you came, Annie. Thanks for helping us. As you see, this
place has become a madhouse this morning," he said to her as he
offered his arm, "I do not know what would I do if Hannah were not
here to take care of everything," he continued, winking at the old
woman. "Excuse me, Hannah but I have to talk with this young lady for
a minute."

She smiled briefly while she run towards the other side of the room
where someone was asking for her help.

Meanwhile, Albert took Annie to the top floor of the house.

"Candy's dress has just arrived from Mme Bradley's study," he said, "I
would feel better if you could give me your opinion about it. They
took as reference the size I provided from looking at other of her
dresses. Do you think I were too risky? What if it doesn't fit her?".

Annie gripped his arm and gave him a quiet look.

"Don't worry so much, Albert. You have an excellent taste to dress a
woman. I am sure it will fit her perfect."

He took her to Candy's chamber. There, over the bed, she found the
most beautiful dress she had ever seen. She couldn't avoid a shout of

"It's... it's wonderful, Albert."

Annie let her hand approach the soft mauve material. The diaphanous
textile covered her fingers and slipped slowly till it covered again
the bedspread. She took it again by the bodice and put it over her.
She noticed it had no sleeves, that shoulders and arms would be
exposed. It was tightly fitted to the body, with an exquisite style.
The skirt, down to the ankle, was composed by various superposed
materials of diaphanous silk in violet and turquoise, that matched
also with a mauve shawl with golden glints of the finest texture. She
tried to imagine Candy with it. Her plentiful and curled golden hair
contrasting the light violet material; her pupils matching the green
glints of silk; her pale and soft shoulders' smooth skin over the
refined shawl. Her still and peaceful beauty shinning with its own
light, as it should always have been.

The young lady felt a distressing prick as she remembered how she had
cursed Candy's life when she had met her again while the latter worked
at the Legan's, dressed like a humble stable boy and sleeping with the
horses. She knew she could never forgive herself for those years of
denial that had followed that meeting. Her stubbornness, not
recognizing her orphaned nature nor her growing up at Pony's Home; her
forgotten friendship with Candy -at that time, with no name, nor
money- in order to be able to be accepted by the richest neighbour
families, her envy when she knew Archie loved Candy...

She pressed the dress against her breast as she tried to stop her

I tried to take your position when it was your sole right, Candy, as I
got the Brightons to adopt me in your place. Although I feel very
sorry for that now, I know I will never be able to repay the pain I
made you suffer in the past. Life has already taken care of you giving
you some compensation, but it is not enough. Not even the silent pain
I continuously feel, knowing the special place you have in my
husband's heart, can take away the sensation of guilt I suffer. I know
I don't deserve Archie's love because of the meanness of my heart, but
I try to mend my sin. I truly do. I am sure he will never requite my
love as I wish, with the same intensity he felt towards you, but I try
to love him with all my soul and carry alone this weight of sadness. I
know that is my penance and that I deserve it, Candy..."

Annie moved away from Albert so he couldn't notice her confusion.

"I'm... convinced... that this is the perfect dress for Candy,
Albert", she tried to say as she left the outfit over the bed, "it
will enhance her beauty in every sense."

He smiled with satisfaction.

"Thanks, Annie... for everything you have done in our behalf. And,
above all, for being one of Candy's best friends."

Annie put her face down, trying to avoid his noticing her insecurity
and the intense sadness that his words had evoked. I only have tried
to be such a good friend for her as she is for me, she thought while
Albert was taking her back to the ground floor.

There, all the giddy preparations for that night continued.


The guests' voices could be heard over the tenuous waltz the orchestra
had just started to play. Female joyful laughs, male awkward
hoarseness, light taffetas, cigarette smoke... the mixture contributed
to make a picture of cheerfulness and delight.

Just as Albert had thought, Annie and Patty's models had caused great
sensation among the guests. Both dresses were a bit shorter than
usual, and Patty had even taken her corset off. However, their glance
hadn't lost any distinction, nor her modesty had been affected at all.
Their garments presented material of brocade and velvet respectively:
Annie's showed some trimmings of fox fur in the farthest end of her
long sleeves cuffs; Patty's had a tight jacket that emphasized the
girl's high swan neck. The elegance of their attires was obvious
though it was miles away from Chicago's society's dictates in terms of
fashion. Despite the new confections that had began to revolutionize
French fashion at the beginning of 1919 and that had been imported to
the USA by some well-known dressmakers, very few ladies of Chicago's
high society had taken the initiative of changing their wardrobe
following those new ideas.

Mrs. Mollie Barrington, an unavoidable reference in clothing matters
to any young lady who was to be officially presented in society and
also a basic pillar of the high bourgeoisie of the town, was angrily
commenting Mr. Albert Andrew's rude attitude towards her, as he had
forgotten to ask her opinion about his protégées' dress for that

"I think he has ordered the dress Ms Andrew will be wearing tonight to
that cheeky dressmaker, Mme Bradley. It seems Megan Snoward saw him...
Poor woman, she couldn't breathe normally till she told me. Do you
know that dress exposes her shoulders and neck? I think it's
indecent", she said in a low voice to widow Grey, a great observer of
the conservatism and one of Mrs. Barrington's best friends. "Mrs.
Cornwell and Miss O'Brien wear her dresses, too. What a nerve! Have
you seen their dresses' shameless length? They just go down the calf!
How do they dare show their ankles in public! And those transparent

"I think they are called stockings, Mollie," answered the widow as her
face turned red. "I'm not going to lie to you. I bought a pair the
other day, just to see them closer. Even though they are indecent,
they have such a delicate and soft touch...".

Mollie opened her eyes wide, she couldn't believe her ears.

"You tried them on? You too, Virginia! I can't believe it! If they had
already tempted you, what can we expect? Corruption will invade us.
Chicago will become another Sodom and all of us will be burned up,
punished by the Lord."

Widow Grey hid her ashamed face behind a fan, while her eyes implored
her friend's pardon. Oh, Mollie! What would happen if you knew I am
wearing those pair of stockings just now! Will I be condemned to hell?
Very nervous and contrite, she wandered her look around the

Not only Annie and Patty's models had been all the rage. There had
been also excited and surprised shouts when some girls started to
smoke cigarettes with holders, leaded by the overwhelming Jolie
McPherson who, always looking forward to be a focused creator distress
in every social meeting, had had his abundant hair cut to chin length,
following the European fashion.

Jolie was the only child of an important banker from New York and had
just moved to Chicago. She was immediately noticed by all Chicago's
high society because of her peculiar fancies and considerable fortune.
Soon enough, she became one of the most pursued heiress by all single
men of every age. Beautiful, intelligent, generous. Her rebellious
nature had been criticized hardly because she wasn't the type that
followed established traditions, but her firm and independent
character paid no attention to unwanted disapproval.

Mr. Madsen, at the main door, played the chamberlain and was
introducing the guests as they arrived. Just next to him at the
entrance-hall that had become an improvised assembly-hall, Albert
played the host part greeting and thanking his guests for coming. He
had chosen for the occasion a dark grey tail coat along with some
matching trousers, and a white shirt with a neckband trimmed at the
chest with a fine line of frill. His attire, as impeccable and elegant
as usually, broke its seriousness thanks to an informal hair style,
too long and almost white-blond, that he had tied back with a low tail
following the eighteenth-century model. His thin figure looked
comfortable and quiet while he stood up attending his guests. Nothing
seemed to trouble him on the outside, but in his mind he was deeply
troubled about Candy's delay. She should have arrived an hour ago and
he had apologized to the guests pointing out that her delay was due to
unavoidable personal circumstances.

From the other end of the room, Hannah looked after all the details,
resolving every last minute little problem. In spite of all, she
couldn't hide her distress due to Candy's absence and her eyes looked
inquisitive to Albert, who returned quieting looks to her from time to

Patty, who had been punctual driving her Ford, was chatting with Maxi
Rippendale, a pedant to whom she had been introduced that evening,
when she felt Annie's interrogative look on her. Just too quick, she
excused herself to the man, happy to get rid of him, as she walked
towards her friend.

"I have been looking for you for a while, Annie. Where have you been?
How come Candy has not arrived yet?", she smiled as she whispered so
the rest of the guests couldn't notice her worry.

Annie took her hand and brought her to a lonely row of balconies that
surrounded the dance-hall.

"We have to pick her up, Patty," suggested Annie, "you have got a car
and it won't take you long to arrive to the hospital. You have to
bring her here somehow. Albert can't continue excusing her delay."

Patty nodded, then a movement in the garden called her attention. An
unmistakable figure was running towards the service door.

"We don't need to worry. She's just arrived."

Annie sighed as she leant on the balcony. Then she felt a hand
touching her shoulder.

"Darling, what's the matter? You have come running towards here as if
the devil were chasing you. What bothers you?". She recognized her
husband's nice tenor-like voice.

"Don't worry, Archie. All has already been solved. Patty and I were
wondering where could Candy be but we have just seen her running
through the service door towards her room."

Archie looked at her with tenderness while he held her by the
shoulders. She's a charming wife, he thought, who could have guessed
that I would end up being happy with this marriage!

"Then, my foolish girl, now that you're not worried anymore, may I ask
you for this dance? You're overwhelming tonight and I know every men
in the hall envy me for monopolizing you," he said as a new waltz
started to be played. She nodded as she excused herself to Patty.

Knowing she was alone, Patty spent her time watching the guests. As it
had been planned, there had come the cream of Chicago's youth with
some representatives of some of the best well-known families of the
city, plus Andrew's family and friends. With Albert's consent and
knowing Candy would prefer it so, they had avoided inviting the Legans
and Aunt Elroy, who had all moved to Boston.

The girl yawned weakly as she moved to one of the service tables to
ask for a cocktail. Spying the surroundings with the corner of an eye,
she observed that Rippendale was walking towards her, and she tried to
escape. She was lucky when she found opened a small door at the
entresol from where she could see the entrance-hall perfectly. Patty
gave herself a moment of complete solitude and silence before coming
down again. She couldn't help smiling as she saw Rippendale looking
for her everywhere without success. Then her eyes moved to Albert,
who, at that very moment, was getting ready to receive another guest.

"Mr. and Mrs. Terrence Grandchester," anounced Mr. Madsen in a pompous
way, as half of the hall turned round in a sign of recognition to the
new comers.

Albert, Patty almost shouted as she kept back a cry, shutting her
mouth with her hands. Her curiosity had made her coming closer to the
flight of steps of the banister which headed to the ground-floor.
Fighting to listen to the conversation that both men were having, she
lost sense of reality. At that precise moment some steps took her away
from her thoughts. Promptly, she hid herself behind some near
curtains. In spite of her fast breath and her scamped heart-beats, she
was static enough to remain soundless. Feeling secure, it didn't take
long for her recognizing Candy's dumbfounded figure at the stairs. Her
exceptional watching place allowed her to see how Candy's face muscles
had been engraved. She appeared shocked, like her body, victim of a
sudden numbness.

It is him. Why is he here? Why has Albert invited him? I don't want to
see him. I can't let his memory come back to me as vivid as before or
I'll go mad.

Candy couldn't stop watching both men. From her eyes run silent tears
that she hadn't noticed at all. She just felt some icy cold that
invaded all her body as her eyes couldn't stop looking at the scene
that was taking place at the ground-floor.

Albert's figure had lost all his dearness next to Terry's, whose face
burnt Candy's pupils as if it was pure fire. Nothing looked real for
her, except him. She observed him with eagerness, thirsty of him,
trying to record in her mind all the details that her eyes were able
to capture from the distance.

He's as thin as before. More athletic than last time I saw him at that
crummy theatre, perhaps. His look is still, almost proud, it doesn't
drag along its past torture, nor does it seem muffled by alcohol. His
lips have lost that sour grin that dominated his face, and his smile
reminds me of those ones he used to lavish so rarely in the past. He
has matured, he's now a man instead of an impetuous boy. I think he
has never been more attractive...

Albert took Susanna's hand to his lips, without even fondling it,
dedicating her a smart compliment about her beauty. Then, he received
Terry's greeting with the hug that he only deserved to his best
friends. Both men had a similar disposition: Terry slightly thinner
and with a paler skin.

"It's a pleasure that you both could come. Terry, Susanna, you should
exhibit yourselves a bit more in Chicago. You know there are lots of
people that adore you."

Terry leant his head forward, resting his hand on his host's arm.

"Thanks for inviting us. We were looking forward to see you again."

Susanna, standing next to her husband, led her body lean against his.
Albert, worried, offered to look for a seat for her at once so she
could take some rest. Susanna stopped him, fighting against the
uncomfortable feeling that invaded her when she noticed she was
considered as a handicapped.

"I have begun to walk recently, Mr. Andrew. That's why I get tired so
soon, but I am making some progress, isn't it so, Terry?"

"Yes, darling, if there's someone that can achieve it, that's you,"
answered him with tenderness in his voice.

Albert felt uncomfortable, witnessing this involuntary token of
tenderness between them, and said:

"Please, Susanna, may I call you by your name? Call me Albert. I have
always been a great fan of yours. I am dying to see you playing again.
All your fans will be very happy of your recovery."

Susanna couldn't avoid blushing at his compliment. A lot of people had
forgotten she had been an actress a lustre ago and she still missed
those past usual comments on her performances.

"Thanks, Albert. My husband is helping me a lot. My greatest dream
would be to go back to stage, performing his counterpart with a female
main character. Doctors have promised me that, if I continue my
treatment and persevere as I have been doing up to now, I will be able
to go back to work next year."

Albert displayed a sincere smile and leaded the couple to a group of
guests who welcomed them with a remarkable token of joy.

Patty was still hiding behind the curtains when she noticed that
Albert had seen Candy's visibly inanimate figure at the top of the
steps. Silent and agile as a feline, it didn't took him long to be by
her side. Nevertheless, she didn't noticed him as her attention was
still captive on a certain figure at the ground-floor hall.

Patty didn't miss a detail of how Candy's figure affected Albert,
irresistibly beautiful with the dress he had given her. The model was
perfectly tight to her body, shaping it with undeniable
attractiveness. She had had her hair put up in a Venice style bun that
led some of her rebel curls out. Her cheeks were blushed and her lips
half-opened, her breath escaping restlessly.

Albert had never seen Candy so beautiful. His eyes were enchanted by
the vision of her warm beauty. His only wish at that moment was to
hold her and fill her trembling lips with his kisses. He came closer
to her in silence, afraid to break the enchantment, and only his
common sense made him give up his wish. Candy didn't see him. Her eyes
were full with tears. He knew she had been a witness of Terry's
arrival, he knew she was unable to take away her eyes from him, so he
obliged himself to walk away some distance to avoid her noticing his
intimate agony.

From her hiding place, Patty could see how Albert's face was
contracted in a grimace of pain and, how just thanks to a great
gesture of his will, he took control again over his reactions and hid
his feelings behind a mask of impassivity. It was after this when he
allowed himself to come closer to Candy again.

"What are you doing up here on your own?" he whispered, trying not to
scare her.

She looked away for an instant. She still couldn't see anything
besides her own anguish, but was attracted by the familiar sound of
his voice.

"I...," she managed to say.

Albert came closer very slowly, calming her with words. He took her by
her shoulders and placed her away from the stairs, afraid that she
could lose her balance due to the shock she had just suffered. She
leant on his shoulder while he took her to the smoking-room and made
her sit on a sofa. There, he sat in front of her, took her hands, and
started to rub them between his to warm them.

"Why have you invited him to come, Albert?" she asked, with her look
lost in the fire embers of the chimney.

"I had to, Candy. After all, he's the Duke of Grandchester. It could
have been an enormous lack of ceremony not doing so."

She looked straight to him, her eyes flashing with anger.

"Since when do you mind about ceremony, Albert?"

He raised his head to observe her and there was steeliness in her eyes
when he talked to her again.

"You are right. It's been a stupid excuse."

Candy stood up, deeply angry.

"Then, why?"

The man sat back in the sofa and lighted a cigarette without missing
any detail of her movements.

"It was necessary for you to see him again. You can't stay hiding in
your shell forever. You have to face your memories and assume reality.
That's the only way if you want to be able to be happy again."

She gave him an ironic glance.

"Why haven't you asked me my opinion? Do you think you know better
what is the best for me?"

Albert nodded while he observed her straight.

"Unfortunately, I do. And that's why, right now, you are going to dry
your tears. You will come down with me to the ballroom. Everybody has
already been waiting for you for an hour."

The girl turned confused against him.

"You won't oblige me to come down!"

His look just reflected determination. She looked at him furious.
Candy's thoughts were dominated by an overwhelming feeling of agony
and anger. Far away in her mind, there were now the thankful words she
thought to dedicate him for the wonderful dress he had given her as a
present. Oh, Albert, I didn't expect this from you! How is it
possible? You who have always been my comfort, my relief, my refuge.

Albert tried to held his feelings back as he stood up from his chair
and shaked off some rest of creases from trousers.

"You've got your eyes wet. Please, dry them before we go down."

Candy wiped her tears away and tried to dress up her ruined make-up
while she contemplated herself on a mirror. Albert turned his back to
her. Leaning against the large window of the room, he admired the
light sets that had been placed in the fountains of the garden. He
felt an absolute sadness that overcame his heart, but walled his
feelings. I can't let her see me like this. Just tonight. Till then, I
will resist anything necessary. I knew it would be like this from the
very beginning... His voice was still when he spoke again.

"Although I didn't tell you before. This is not only your birthday
party. It is also your coming out, an occasion to give you the
opportunity to be presented to Chicago society as an official member
of the Andrew family. Tomorrow I will no longer be your tutor, as you
have reached full legal age."

Candy was not listening. When she turned to look at him, he had
already opened the door of the room and was waiting for her. Albert
watched her for a moment before starting to come down. He smiled as a
sign of approval and offered her his arm. She took it and let him
guide her to the hall, where everybody was impatiently waiting for

Note of the author:

Thanks again Vio (, for your wonderful translation
of chapter 3. Hope I could pay my debt some day.

© 2000 Rosa Carmona