CANDY CANDY Fan Fiction ❯ Crossroad ❯ Encounters ( Chapter 4 )

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Patty had been concealed behind the curtains while Albert showed Candy
the way to the smoking-hall. At the entresol, some minutes of complete
quietness passed before she decided to come out of her hiding place.
She tried to dress herself up as she went down the stairs before
joining the rest of the guests. It had not been long when a pair of
curious eyes found her.

"Darling, it has been quite a long time, where have you been?".

The girl turned to the voice. Maxi Rippendale! Again! She tried to
smile openly so he didn't notice her deep nuisance.

"Maxi! "

He took her arm and led her to the terrace. Everything had happened so
quickly that she didn't have a chance to raise any objection. The
girl's mind could only look forward to finding any excuse to liberate
herself from his unwanted presence while, in silence, she kept staring
at the gardens. With terror she saw how Maxi was getting closer to
her, his face a few inches from hers. Just as their lips were going to
meet, she managed to move away from him, frustrating his intentions.

"Have you seen who's just arrived?", he asked her trying to disguise
the fluster caused by his failure.

She took the opportunity to go away from him with the pretext of
needing a cup of punch from the near table.

"I have no idea, Maxi".

The youngster tried to come closer to her again. His dark eyes,
usually languid, were emotionally stricken in a weird way.

"Terrence Grandchester and his wife", he replied with a perverse

Patty took the cup to her lips pretending indifference. Maxi's face
had turned into a sardonic mask and his proximity was making her more
and more uncomfortable.

"I don't know what that English is doing here. How has he been able to
get an invitation?"

Patty couldn't avoid observing the snub meant by his words.

"I don't know what you mean, Maxi", she answered in a cold mood he
didn't even notice.

"That third-rate actor", he explained, "is the natural child of the
Duke of Grandchester and his former lover, actress Eleanor Baker. His
father recognized him in spite of his wife's protests. The Duchess had
given herself birth to four legitimate children, but Terrence was the
oldest of all his descendents. So that, when the Duke died last year,
in spite of his being a bastard, he inherited the title and all the
privileges subordinated. Where are we all going to end up when not
even the British care to preserve their dignity? Tell me, Patty. Don't
you think that man is disgracing your country, showing himself off as
if he were a respectable man when he's just an undesirable bastard?".

His prepotent attitude, the slight and disrespectfulness of his
gestures, his intolerable self-satisfaction was enough for Patty's
patience, who turned to him unable to hide her aversion.

"You know what, Maxi?"

The girl's face was reddening and her eyes were full with fury. With a
very quick movement, she raised her hand and slapped him soundly.

"You are an idiot!"

She gave him no time to reply, turned around and walked away, leaving
him alone in the terrace. He followed her with his eyes. In spite of
the shame he felt, and the blush of his slapped face, an ironic
expression appeared in his lips.

Whore!, he thought, I swear that you will pay for this. If you think
you have cooled down my interest for you, you're very wrong. You
humiliated my friend Beauchamp, and I won't let you do the same to me.
I swear I will see you on your knees, begging me sorry for the pain
you've caused.

Rippendale rubbed his cheek, and came in the dancehall again.
Everybody was congregating around Albert Andrew and his pupil Candice.
Still embarrassed, he didn't feel like meeting anybody and retired
with discretion to a corner, far away from the crush. Lost in his
thoughts, he served himself a whisky, determined to get drunk.

Meanwhile, Albert had asked for the attention of everyone. Murmurs and
conversations muted, the orchestra stopped playing and all eyes looked
at the couple, waiting at the center of the hall.

"...We're here tonight", said their host, "to celebrate the
twenty-first birthday of my pupil, Candice White Andrew".

He stopped his speech for an instant, waiting for a reaction from his
guests that didn't take long to occur. The audience answered with a
great applause that Albert, accomplished speaker, stopped with a sign.

"...We both want to thank you all for coming tonight to share with us
this special occasion. We are very happy to know we have you as
trusted friends".

Because of the praise, one and all burst out into ovations and there
were even some voices who started to ask for a toast to Candy. Albert
raised his glass and dozens of hands imitated his gesture.

"To Candy!", shouted all of them.

"As you know", he continued when everyone calmed down, "Candy has been
my goddaughter for seven years and today, when she reaches her legal
adult age, I wish to give her a very special present".

He made a pause and all the people in the hall waited expectantly for
him to continue. Candy, who had been mentally absent, buried in her
thoughts, turned her attention to him, suddenly very tense. Her nerves
on the verge of exploding. Conscious as he was of that, he took her
hand to quiet her.

" My dear Candy", he said looking straight at the girl, "on the
occasion of your twenty-first birthday, I have decided to give you all
my properties in Lakewood...".

He paused for a moment. Silence was absolute in the chamber.

"...This means you will be the one and only proprietor of the incomes
from the land-and-cattle farms there located, which recently have been
increased thanks to the acquisition of the Cartright state, in which
Pony's Home is placed".

As his voice died, whispers of surprise and overflowing exclamations
filled up the room. Candy stayed still next to Albert, unable to
deduce the real significance of his words. She looked at his eyes,
sensing almost physically the emotion hidden under his words. The
youngster's eyes reflected a deep tenderness mixed with another
feeling that she couldn't define.

The first chords of a waltz started to fill the air.

You give me Lakewood and the opportunity of protecting Pony's Home
welfare forever...

"And now", he continued unaware of her thoughts, "will you dance this
piece with me, my lady?"

Candy couldn't react, speechless. She was too flustered. Too many
questions and different feelings excited her mind. Following his own
impulse, he took her softly by her waist and they started to dance to
the sound of a Strauss composition, while the rest of the guests
waited for the established time by protocol to join them.

"Albert", she mumbled, trying to regain composure, "I don't know what
to say. Thanks seems too empty a word to return your generosity".

"Shhh! Don't say a word!", he interrupted her. "Do not think about
anything tonight. Just enjoy yourself!". Then he approached his face
to kiss her on her forehead and felt how she relaxed on his arms.

She was feeling so exhausted and overwhelmed by events that closed her
eyes, trying to get away from reality. She sensed how the melody drove
her to her past. She had danced that same tune with Anthony, the sweet
love of her youth. She remembered his shyness when he had taken her
hand, her nervousness when she felt so close to him, their clumsiness
while they synchronized their steps on the dancehall. Anthony's memory
filled her heart with nostalgia.

The hands that were presently holding her were resolute and secure;
her partner's steps adjusted to hers with amazing ease; the body that
kept close to hers emitted a warmness that beset her for an instant.
She opened her eyes and looked at Albert, whose deep blue eyes were
staring at her with special intensity. His hypnotic firmness provoked
on the girl a strange pins-and-needles that run all over her body.

What's going on? I'm blushing like a little girl. Don't be silly,
Candy! It's only Albert!

Albert felt how the girl's mind and body were subtly moving away from
him. Just for an instant he had perceived how their hearts were
beating as one, witnesses of some feelings that he himself would have
never dared to confess.

I must have been wrong, he told himself as they kept on dancing. He
took his glance away from his partner, scared of betraying his
feelings. He wanted to preserve in his mind everyone of her features,
conscious that they would separate soon for a long time.

My dear Candy! I know that your mind and heart are far away from me...
Maybe that's why I want you even more... Loving you has made me
happier than ever in my life. Living with you, sharing so many little
ordinary things... I've come a point where my feelings have started to
drown me. Being so closed to you, and yet so far, has become
unbearable. I need to forget these emotions if I don't want to become
mad, and I know that only distance can make it possible. Just distance
and time...

Candy felt then Albert's hand holding her with greater firmness. She
looked at him, but his face was impenetrable, his look lost away. For
a moment, a deep feeling of loss overcame her, and she remembered
vaguely a dream. She was just about to share her worries when her eyes
bumped into a near couple. Terry was so close to them that she almost
could have touched him. Wide awake of the abyss that separated them
and of the strength of her love towards him, she shut her feelings to
the outside and immersed herself on her memories.

She felt transported to St. Paul College, when she had been disguised
as Juliet and had danced the same waltz with Terry... He had kissed
her then! She still remembered his taste, fresh and soft. The
sweetness of that moment came back to her heart as vividly as if time
had stopped on that instant forever.

Thinking of his imminent departure, filled Albert's heart with pain
and sorrow. I will leave her without having told her not even once
that I love her. But, what does it matter?

He looked down to her. She was abstracted in some kind of trance. Her
bright eyes looking intently at an invisible image, her heart
throbbing at a fast pace, her lips sensually parted. Her personal
charm enraptured him. Love and desire invaded his soul and he lost
control of the situation. Albert felt almost as if he was a mere
spectator when he saw his body coming closer towards hers. I love you,
Candy, he heard himself whisper.

Lost on her dream, the girl accepted naturally the fact that some lips
rested on hers, gentle and demanding at the same time. She surrendered
to that touch while her body awoke to a passion that she thought dead
for a long time. She felt a wave of desire wrapping her and the
violence of her reactions made her mindful of reality.

It's Albert! Albert!

She moved away from him brusquely. Her cheeks red. Confusion prevented
her from facing him, her heart full of distress and fear.

Why Albert? Why?

Candy looked around. She needed to leave him immediately in order to
forget what had happened. Her mind yet denied it. All her world had
been shattered in a couple of minutes. Although nobody had noticed
what happened, she felt as if she was the center of everybody's

You are an idiot, Albert told himself while he moved away from the
girl, aware of the mistake he had just made and the need of solitude
she silently begged him for. Her look was a mixture of fear, desire
and sadness. He went out to the terrace to calm down his excited

What were you thinking about? You know she just sees you like an older
brother. How did you dare to confuse her even more?... But I love her,
said the other half of himself. She's so beautiful tonight. Her lips
sighed for a kiss... Yes, but not for yours. What do you need to
understand that?

Albert buried his face in his hands while he tried to held back his
tears. I can delay no more my departure, especially after what has
happened tonight. I have speeded up the events myself. I have no
excuse for my behavior. Even if she forgives me, how could I forgive
myself? She is no longer my protégée, and I have taken advantage of
her confidence, and what's more, of her weakness.

His expression turned more serious as he watched the great moon that
embellished the sky. He had been so self concentrated that he hadn't
noticed that his entrance had interrupted the thoughts of another
figure, who had also found her solace in the terrace's quietness. The
soft touch of some material awoke him off his thoughts. He turned
around trying to identify something in the shadows. The trembling
reflections that the moon took out from the brocade revealed him a
female's presence.

"I'm sorry to disturb your solitude, Miss. Excuse me", he said getting
ready to leave.

"Please don't go, Mr. Andrew", she interrupted him as she got closer.
"You don't have to be sorry. I should have made myself noticed when I
saw you coming. I think I also owe you an apology for surprising you
in such an innermost moment".

The voice was deep and seemed full of whispering nuance. As she was
approaching him, her figure got more familiar. However, when the
moonlight exposed her features, he discovered surprised that, although
he had welcomed her at the entrance, he didn't know her identity.

"Don't pretend you know me, Mr. Andrew. I know for sure you don't",
she surprised him when her silvery laughter filled the silence.

He couldn't avoid imitating her.

" I'm afraid you got me there, Miss".

The girl leant on the balustrade next to him, while her fingers played
with the feathers of her dress.

"Jolie McPherson", she answered. "I'm glad coincidence has made it
possible to talk to you in private. Since I came back from Europe,
five months ago, I haven't enjoyed so much a party. I wanted to thank
you for your kind invitation".

Albert shut up for a moment. Although good manners forced him not to
ignore his guests, his heart longed to be alone with his own thoughts.

"I'm glad you have had a good time among us, Miss McPherson", he
obliged himself to say, assuming the perfect host part.

Her deep jet-black eyes looked at him with curiosity as she broke in
loud laughs.

"Excuse my behavior, Mr. Andrew", she said when she finally controlled
her unrestrained giggling. "You seem so unbearably correct... I know
you don't feel like talking to me and that you'd rather be on your
own. However, I was dying to talk to you. I must confess I have read
all the articles you have published in Unknown Species Review. I
wanted to congratulate you for your great job".

He turned his face to her, surprised. He had been collaborating a few
times with that magazine, sending short essays about Zoology. Nothing
really serious, but that obliged him to be updated and continue with
his researches. It was unbelievable for him that she knew about his
writings as USR was a publication with a limited print-run addressed
only to specialists.

" I'm shocked, Miss McPherson. How did you get those articles?".

She leant her face on her right hand while taking away a rebel dark
lock from her forehead.

" Oh! Sorry! I should have told you before... Silly girl I am some
times! I have a degree in Zoology. I studied at New York University.
Of course it was thanks to my father's influence that I entered the
Faculty. All men detest intelligent women and Professors aren't an

Jolie silently questioned Albert before she decided to continue.

"... I really hope this isn't your case because I have come to make
you a proposal. And I confide you won't disappoint me, refusing it".

Albert frowned unable to guess her real intentions. Everything in her
perplexed him: her short hair, so up to date, to her academic
curriculum, so infrequent in a woman.

"Well, Miss McPherson. I doubt that, in any case, my humble person
could fulfill any of your expectations. I guess you are a very exigent
person and I am, myself, a terribly occupied business man".

Instead of answering him she enfolded herself with her arms and
started to follow rhythmically some kind of silent music played in her
mind. In front of his astonished look, she stopped and abruptly placed
her hands over his chest. This time her face showed more

"I am resolute, Mr. Andrew. I'll do whatever it takes to obtain what I
want. I have worked very hard and I won't give up so easily".

Albert tried to hide a groan of frustration. Truth was that, in spite
of the girl's shamelessness, she amused him. He didn't have a clue
about what she desired but she seemed ready to do almost anything to
get it.

"Ok, Miss McPherson. You have convinced me. Tell me how I can help you
and if there is anything in my power, be sure you can count on me".

Some fox-trot chords came from the dancehall at that moment. Albert
didn't notice the music, being totally absorbed by the conversation.
On the contrary, Jolie let herself go through the rhythmic sound and,
following one her usual fits of audacity, took his arm and almost
pushed him to enter the chamber.

"I'll tell you after we've danced this foxie", she told him. "Now
cheer up and show everybody that you are as fashionable as your

At the girl's intrepidity, Albert didn't know whether to get angry or
to laugh. He finally decided for the latter. They started to dance but
he could hardly play a decent partner as he had never danced a
fox-trot before. Nevertheless, she didn't seem to notice. She was at
ease on the dance-floor. Sure that his partner wouldn't become aware,
he averted his eyes for a moment looking for Candy and it didn't take
him long to find her chatting with a young man. She seemed to be
having fun. He was so glad to find out, that the burden that weighed
his soul seemed to ease.

Although he tried, he couldn't escape the Charleston that was played
afterwards. The way Jolie monopolized him made Albert uncomfortable,
but at the same time prevented him from thinking about more serious
matters. He observed that the girl's conversation was interesting and
pleasant all the time, and what was more important, she had managed to
make him smile more than once.

"I can't dance anymore, Miss McPherson", he managed to say after the
forth waltz. "Please, tell me what you want from me".

She finally accepted to release his dancing partner and drove him to a
corner. She breathed deeply, as if she was trying to regain all her
confidence, and started to talk again.

"Ok, I'll tell you... I want to go with you to Zaire".

He opened his lips to say something, but words simply didn't come out
from his throat. I must be dreaming. How come this girl knows
something I have only told Monty?

"I don't know how you have heard about this, and I simply don't care.
But the truth is that I can't take you with me", he managed to say,
his expression suddenly serious.

The girl's face didn't show any sign of annoyance, as if she had
expected that contingency.

"If you're worried about it, I will tell you that I was informed by
Prof. Horacio Webster. As far as I can remember, he gave me some
details of your trip on a letter he sent to me about two months ago.
He was my mentor during my University years and he thought I could
learn a lot working for you... Although now I can confirm you are as
male chauvinist as all intellectuals and don't want to collaborate
with a woman. Anyway, I made you waste your precious time. I'm sorry.

She was going to leave when he took her arm to stop her.

"Miss McPherson", he said contrite. "You haven't understood me at all.
This has nothing to do with your being a woman. I admire your courage
and I am sure you would be an excellent assistant. The problem is that
I want to do this trip on my own... due to personal reasons. I'm

The girl's face relaxed as he held her hand firmly.

"It has been a pleasure anyway, Mr. Andrew".

Albert was admired it had been so easy to convince her. She didn't
seem to be a woman that could accept a no for an answer.

"For me too, Miss McPherson. I'm really sorry".

Jolie shrugged her shoulders as she stood on her tiptoes to kiss his
cheeks. Before Albert could say a word, she had already run to the
entrance hall, had taken her shawl with her and was gone from the

What a strange woman! Although she has guts! Albert was thinking as he
joined the rest of the guests. Luckily, nobody had noticed his
absence. Decided to play his perfect role as a host he entered various
conversations and danced with some girls he knew. However, and though
he didn't want to control Candy's life, he couldn't avoid searching
again for her with a glance, unsuccessful. Just as he was going to the
terrace to try on the gardens, Patty's voice stopped him.

"Albert, before leaving I wanted to thank you for this wonderful
party. I have had a great time. Please, say goodbye to Candy when
she's back".

"Candy? Do you know where she is, Patty?".

" I...", she kept silent, vacillating, doubting to tell him what she

At that moment, some movement in the gardens captured his attention.
In spite of the darkness, he could see an unmistakable feminine
silhouette next to an attractive masculine figure. Although his first
reaction was of uncontrollable jealousy, he managed to hide his shock.

"Don't worry about her. I'm convinced she knows what she is doing", he
told her as he took her hand and gave her a kiss on her cheek, "I'll
say goodbye to her for you, I promise".

The girl nodded. She knew he needed words of consolation, but she was
unable to pronounce them. Her heart was hurt as well. Although Annie
and she had been the ones who had planned to invite the most beautiful
girls of Chicago to the party, being a witness of how Albert had been
dancing with all of them had been a hard proof for her heart. Candy
was her friend, she could drop Albert for her sake, but Jolie
McPherson! She had noticed all the admiring expressions the Newyorker
had been dedicating to him during the ball and her way of monopolizing
him the whole night. She doubted Candy had noticed anything, as it was
expected from the original plan.

Crestfallen, she left the Mansion without noticing that a pair of dark
eyes had followed her as her figure disappeared on the distance.

Note of the author:

Thanks so much Vio ([1] for your wonderful
translation of chapter 4.

© 2000 Rosa Carmona