CANDY CANDY Fan Fiction ❯ Crossroad ❯ Thoughts in the early morning ( Chapter 5 )

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The vehicle started driving away from the Andrews' Mansion. It was
past five o'clock in the morning and the streets were silent and
somber. Susanna feigned a yawn in an attempt to hide from her husband
the suffering caused by the jolts of pain running up the stump of what
once had been her left leg. In some occasions, she still felt like her
leg was there, as though they had never amputated it. Sometimes she
could even feel the movement of the toes that no longer existed, the
slight tickling on the sole of her foot, the muscular tension in her
ankle... Her recent usage of a prosthetic leg was causing her to
develop ulcerations on her surgical wound; her tender skin hadn't yet
become accustomed to the hardness of her new artificial limb. In order
to avoid the pain to grow more intense, and that subsequent grimaces
could alert Terry of her discomfort, she quietly moved her prosthetic
limb to a position where the pain reached a bearable level.

She gazed at the young man as he drove. His quick and effective
reflexes never ceased to amaze her. She blushed as she thought about
how many other pleasurable uses he gave to those hands. She felt quite
content by his side. Thanks to his presence, she had been able to
overcome the depression in which she had fallen after her tragic
accident. She had even resigned herself to abandoning her acting
career with joy. Never, in her entire life, had she been so happy.
Although, in the beginning of their relationship, he had acted quite
distant and evasive, now, she could almost feel confident that he had
found a place for her in a small corner of his heart.

She had longed for her wedding night with such anticipation! But he
had somehow managed to postpone that moment, using her weak health as
an excuse. After a year of being married and living together, yet
never having consummated their union, the young girl had finally
resigned herself to her situation. She had made such great efforts to
recover, to rehabilitate that piece of flesh that hung inertly from
her body and that, before, had been a beautiful leg. She hated her
stump, hated her ugliness, and hated having become handicapped. But,
above all, she had hated her selfishness for not having relinquished
Terry to the woman he really loved. That is why she had resigned
herself to having him by her side merely as a companion, since it
wouldn't have been fair to ask for anything more. She was well aware
that he still was in love with Candy, and that, probably, he would
love her forever...

Yet, in spite of it all, fate had been merciful on her. One day, she
had noticed that the way in which her husband looked at her had
changed. There was suddenly a subtle difference. He enjoyed keeping
her company by candlelight, contemplating her in silence, lost in his
own thoughts. Sometimes he even smiled at her. At those moments, she
would have done anything to entertain him, longing to keep him with
her forever. Shortly thereafter, he had begun to talk with her about
himself, to confide in her his dreams and hopes. They had become
friends. To her, it was like living a dream.

She remembered they had traveled to Boston so that he could rehearse
for a religious play that was to take place during Easter. Knowing he
was grateful for it, she had become used to helping him every night
with the memorization of his lines. It was the perfect excuse to spend
a few hours by his side.

Then, it came that night... She had felt quite tired, her eyelids kept
closing despite all her efforts to resist her sleepiness. She had
spent all day attempting to control her new wheelchair, as well as
doing her routine exercises of rehabilitation in order to strengthen
her flaccid muscles. Although she had been practicing for months, ever
since Terry had started to show her some affection she had felt
stronger than ever. She had even been able to reduce her dependence on
Esther, her private nurse, and had asked Doreen, the stewardess of the
estate, to give her cooking lessons.

Her present disability had made her realize she had been living inside
a bubble, sheltered and spoiled throughout her entire childhood and
adolescence: for that reason, she had started to make a strong effort
to become independent. It had been quite painful to make the decision
to ask her mother to live on her own, rather than in Terry's estate
with her. Yet, her mother had ended up accepting it, knowing it would
be the only way to guarantee her daughter's marital and psychological
well being.

That night, in Boston . . . Her body had felt as though pinned by
thousands of needles due to the physical effort she had had to make,
even blisters had appeared in the palms of her hands from her attempts
to control her wheelchair. Although she had tried, she couldn't hide
her pain from Terry's eyes as she helped him with his rehearsal. But
he had surprised her in a most pleasant way when, taking her face into
his hands and looking into her disbelieving eyes, he had started to
kiss her.

Later that night, she had felt like she was dreaming when, at last, he
made her his wife in every sense of the word. Not even the grandest
ovation she had received during her successful acting career had
prepared her for the multitude of sensations that overtook her when he
made her his. Nothing had ever satisfied her so plentifully. He had
gazed at her naked body, his eyes had rested on her deformity and
hadn't felt repugnance. On the contrary, he had worshiped and kissed
her with a tenderness she never thought he could possess. He had made
her feel pretty again. Since then, she had begun to feel desired,
young, and a glimmer of joy had inundated her eyes.

"How have you been feeling tonight, dear?" Terry's voice broke the
silence that reigned between them, driving Susanna out of her

"Very well. It was a lovely party. And Candy looked stunning. I would
have liked to greet her personally, but there were so many guests, and
she was so busy attending them... Were you able to speak to her at

Susanna felt surprised when she realized she no longer felt jealous of
the one who had once been her rival. She had agreed to attend the
party with Terry, willing to accept the fact that, when seeing his
true love again, Terry might decide to abandon her. She sincerely
esteemed Candy, and, were this to occur, she wouldn't have been able
to reproach either of them. But for some strange, fateful miracle, he
had chosen her.

He nodded as she let out a sigh of relief, enjoying his presence as if
it was the very first time she was with him.

"I'm glad to hear that, Terry. I was worried, thinking we might have
made a bad impression on her. I left her present in one of the
bedrooms as one of the maids indicated. Do you think she will like

He smiled without taking his eyes off the road, as he placed his right
hand on the young woman's crippled knee. "Don't worry, darling. Candy
is a simple girl, and you have great taste."

She slightly knitted her brow. "Oh, Terry! I'll never be able to pay
her back for saving my life. I shall always be indebted to her. I owe
her everything I have, especially you."

Terry continued to caress her wound softly. He felt how her muscles
relaxed at the touch of his fingers. "How have you managed with your
prosthetic leg tonight, Suss?"

Susanna gasped before answering. "Very well. Don't worry."

He couldn't help but noticing the gesture of fatigue that appeared in
her face despite her great effort to hide it. "When we get home, I'll
give you a massage with the special oils the doctor recommended,
anyhow. You know you must be very careful with the ulcerations now
that you're using this leg."

She shook her head. "But Terry, it's far too late. You must be
exhausted after having gone to the party. I will ask Esther to help me

He didn't respond immediately, but, judging from the look on his face,
Susanna could see he was determined. She shrugged as she anticipated
with great excitement the pleasure that his eyes seemed to be
promising her. Terry's massages were fascinating and were always
accompanied by tips that always delighted her.

"Did you know I promised Mother that tomorrow we'd go visit her?" she
remembered suddenly. "I know you two don't get along too well, but we
have been away for so long that at least I should go visit her."

Terry didn't make any comments, he simply continued driving as his
wife came closer and kissed him on the neck.

"Susanna, I'm driving" he told her, trying to feign seriousness.

"I know," she replied without moving away from him.

The young man's lips curved into a smile. "Alright, I will go with
you. Now, be a good girl."

Instead of retreating, she threw her arms around his neck and
continued to kiss him even more intensely than before.

"Susanna . . . I said I would go with you."

She stopped for a moment. "Very well, you will come with me. Thank
you, my love," she said and kissed him again.

Terry sighed loudly. Sometimes her behavior was the same as that of
the capricious teenager she had been in the past. After all, it's
understandable. She's only twenty years old, he thought for a moment.

She became aware of his seriousness and felt frightened. "Are you
angry with me, love?" she asked regretfully, stopping herself.

He shook his head.

"You think I'm still a spoiled and impossible girl, don't you? I don't
want you to think that of me. I really am trying to change. Do you
believe me?"

The young man assented as she sat back reverently in her seat. Seeing
her so contrite, however, awakened in him an uncomfortable sensation
of repentance. "Come here, you silly dear," he said as he gave her a
fiery kiss on the lips. "Don't be sad. You know you can play with me
all you want."

The young woman's eyes recovered their glow when hearing him, and her
face was once again filled with happiness and life.

"Oh, sweetheart . . . you're absolutely right. I can wait until we get
home." He placed his hand close to hers and caressed them softly. "You
can rest your head on my shoulder and close your eyes if you like.
Relax a little. You'll see we'll be home soon," he offered without
looking at her, his eyes fixed on the road ahead.

The young woman followed his advice. She rested her head on his wide
and comfortable shoulder, closing her eyes. Just a few minutes later,
Terry could hear her regular breathing and realized she had fallen
asleep. The vehicle soon left the city behind, and then it deviated
onto an inner road leading to the Forrester Estate, which was situated
about thirty miles from Chicago. Terry had decided to rent a mansion
in the country for the sake of his wife's health. Even though Susanna
would have never asked him for it, he knew the rural tranquility would
contribute to alleviate the nervous tension that the rehab exercises
and the process of getting used to the prosthetic leg caused in her.
He couldn't deny her recovery had been prodigious. She had put forth
her best efforts in the past year, and her spirit of perseverance had
captured his heart.

His career had required him to travel excessively within the past few
months, always from here to there, having to endure exhausting
rehearsals and constantly changing schedules and locations. Susanna
had tolerated it all with stoicism, without one word of reproach, but
he knew that kind of a lifestyle was not the most indicated to aid in
her recovery. He had then decided to take a sabbatical year to devote
himself completely to help nurse her back to health. Moreover, he was
seriously considering the possibility of writing a play based on a
story that had been in his mind for several months.

He suddenly noticed the young woman was shivering from the cold as she
slept, so he sped up while managing to cover her up with her shawl.
Unconsciously, she held his arm closely, pulling it toward her chest.
This gesture evoked in Terry the contact of another woman whose scent
still remained, impregnating all his memories, enveloping him with the
same magic of the past.

Having reencountered her that night had brought about a catharsis of
some sort in both of them. She looked so beautiful... Her charm made
all the other women in the party pale in comparison to her. I had
imagined she'd be exquisite when she matured, but in reality she has
far exceeded all my expectations. Everything in her is seductive: her
beauty, her proper, delicate and adorable manners . . . Her eyes
haven't lost one bit of allurement, and her heart has gained, if that
was possible, in goodness and maturity. If ever there was a woman on
Earth who embodied my feminine ideal, that has been you, Candy.

Having seen her abandoning the mansion to seek refuge in the garden,
he hadn't hesitated to follow her. He had been observing how she had
sat on a bench, her gaze fixated on the playful lights gleaming over
the fountains, while he lurked behind a lush chestnut tree. To his
ears there had come the notes of a musical piece by Chopin he
recognized as the one to which they had listened together the night
they had spent in the Scottish estate of the Grandchesters. For
several minutes, he had silently admired the girl, who, with her eyes
closed, seemed to be consumed by the memories. Seeing her lost in her
daydreaming had reminded him more than ever of that flirtatious and
rebellious adolescent he had met on the deck of the ship that headed
for St. Paul's Academy in London more than seven years ago.

"My dear Tarzan Freckles", he had whispered to her as he sat next to

Surprised, she had opened her eyes, her cheeks blushing. "Terry, it's

He had made a face at her as he laughed out loud. His heart was as
touched as hers. Being so close to her seemed like a dream come true.
However, he hadn't wanted her to perceive how moved he really was. He
had decided to be strong for both of them in the present, as Candy had
already been in the past.

"Who else could it be, Miss Tarzan Freckles? Or is there anyone else
that dares to call one of the most beautiful girls in the party that

She had given him back a smile, sharing his sense of humor.

"You're impossible, Terrence Grandchester! You will always remain St.
Paul's terror! At all times so impertinent with girls. I hope that, at
least, you haven't given up playing the harmonica I gave to you!".

He had winked an eye as he took a rectangular object from the pocket
of his jacket.

"You still have it!" she had shouted with excitement.

He had opened the cover to take out the instrument. Then, he gave some
deep breaths as he had concentrated on the rhythm of the waltz that
the orchestra had begun to play. It hadn't taken him long to follow
the melody, playing it perfectly and improvising, at the same time,
difficult harmonious and new rhythms. Candy had listened to him
absorbed. As he played, the youngster's eyes had run all over her body
with longing, his lips fitted to the cold metal with desire, as if
through the melody he could express and share with her all his
passion, so long repressed. Nevertheless, the barrier that had taken
them apart in the past still remained between them. When the music
stopped, he had realized that she could read through his soul as
clearly as himself.

"I've begun to love her, Candy", he had said with his well-modulated

After listening to his confession, she could only stare at him. No
words had come out from her throat. Why have I told her? I have just
hurt her for the second time, Terry had said to himself. But he knew
he would have never been able to act in any other way. She deserved
and wished his total sincerity.

"If you are happy, I will be happy too", the girl had finally managed
to say, her sincere look full of tenderness. "I would have never borne
that you felt unfortunate. And Susanna deserves to be happy".

Candy had kept silent for brief instants before she continued.

"When I left you that night in New York, something inside myself told
me it would be forever. After that, sometimes, I have dreamt about a
future for us both. However, I always knew my dreams were just
utopias, unreal fantasies. Seeing you here tonight! Being by your
side! It's like reviving one of my dreams, Terry... I didn't want
Albert to invite you. I didn't know how I would react when I faced
reality. You are married to Susanna and I have no rights upon you
but... I still love you, I can't avoid it. It's something stronger
than me. Sometimes I think I will be in love with you eternally."

She had lowered her eyes in an effort to defend herself from the
emotions that overwhelmed her, prisoner of some sadness he recognized
as his own. He sensed it as a reflection of his own melancholy, of the
same deep emptiness that had suffocated him in the past, before
finding a reason that gave meaning to his life after parting with her
in New York.

He had taken her hand, wanting to communicate her some of the inner
peace that, with extraordinary effort, he had been able to reach. And,
maybe also, a bit of hope in the future, in her own future.

"Here," he had whispered, as his finger pointed out to his heart, "it
is born an invisible thread whose end is irrevocably joined to another
similar one placed in your own heart. It's an extremely thin fiber,
but it will never be broken. You and I know it. It's stronger than us,
stronger than life, stronger than death. It will always be there,
beyond time and distance. Nothing will destroy it, no barrier could
ever be against us."

He had opened his arms and she found refuge between them. They were in
silence for a moment, enjoying the touch, before he had continued

"We're twin souls, Candy. I'm convinced that we have lived other lives
together, and that in the future, when we're no longer Candice White
and Terrence Grandchester, we will be together again. It's our
destiny. A destiny bigger than us. Therefore, I don't regret being
unable to be with you in this life. Although Susanna took us apart, it
is said that God doesn't give us responsibilities that we aren't able
to bear, neither loads that could surpass our strengths. Since my
father died, I have been thinking a lot, Candy. I have thought a lot
about us. Before, I was living a torture, unable to forgive neither
the destiny that obliged me to leave you, nor myself for being so
coward as to accept it."

At that precise moment, she had began to touch his cheek with her soft

"I remember one particular day, Candy. I was in London, with Susanna,
who had been my wife for almost a year. Ours wasn't a happy marriage,
as you can imagine. And it was all my fault. I knew she loved me, but
I couldn't stand her vision, nor her touch. I always tried to spend
most of the days outside home. I'd rather be alone, wondering the
streets, than being a minute with her. Her obsession with me, her
love... terrified me, because I was unable to correspond her feelings.
That day, I passed by St. Michael's chapel by chance, and something
made me going inside. You know I have never been a religious person,
but the quietness and calmness of the place attracted me. I remember I
sat in one of the benches of the church while a rare sensation of
peace stifled me. There were some people praying, and their devotion
and reverent attitude made me wish to imitate them. It had been ages
since the last time I had prayed and I couldn't remember any of those
prayers my mother taught me when I was a child. But the desire to talk
to God was so strong that I made up my own speech. After that I felt
calmer, happier, complete."

He interrupted himself again, fighting to find the best way to mould
his thoughts into words.

"That night, when I came back home, I was surprised to see Susanna
under a different light. Her resignation, her feelings towards me, her
suffering... acquired a new dimension. I realized that my attitude
towards her had been selfish and unfair. Her only sin had been to love
me too much. It had been me who had decided to marry her in a free
will. I knew I couldn't go on thinking just about myself and my own

Candy then had opened her mouth; she had just been about to say
something but no words came out.

"You are a strong woman, Candy," he continued, "you have gone through
every difficulty you've found on your way. But Susanna is just a girl
that hasn't grown up yet, lost in a world she doesn't understand at
all. She needs me, Candy. I know you'd despise me if I left her alone.
You would never be happy by my side knowing that I had left behind a
destitute soul."

She had agreed in silence, facing the truth hidden in his words. Terry
had demonstrated her that he knew her better than herself.

"Maybe we can't be together in this life, my dear. But I know there
will be other lives for us," he had whispered her in her ear while he
was holding her tight.

He had felt the girl's body trembling against his, though her face
showed a deep determination. When she had finally talked, her tone was
vehement, her cheeks red due to her inner excitement, her pupils
dazzling impetuous.

"I have wondered many times why I let you go away! I have revived our
goodbye at those stairs so many times! In my dreams you always take me
to the railway station and come back with me to Chicago. But you're
right on one thing: we could never be happy together, feeling guilty
for Susanna's unhappiness. Although I have been lying to myself, I
have always known..."

The girl had placed her right hand on her chest, as if she was looking
for some inner strengths to keep on going.

"Even so, I can't avoid wishing we were back to those happy days at
St. Paul's College, when we thought we had a future at our
disposition, when we foresaw stunned that long life that we were going
to spend together, when we fell in love. I want you to go back today
with me to that past, to that May Ball when you kissed me... I want
you to kiss me for the last time. Terry..."

For an instant, he had stood still.

You don't realize what you are demanding from me, Candy, he had
thought. It will be a torture for me. Remembering the taste of your
lips, knowing that I will never be able to hold you again in my arms.
You are reviving in me a desire that I've been repressing since we
went apart. Can't you understand?

But, watching her so near him, fragile and supplicant, had broken his
defenses. Turning his face towards her, he had sealed her lips with a
kiss. For a moment, there was no present. He had imagined himself in
his French cavalier suit, while he was holding his Juliet in his arms,
so lively, anxious, full of energy. Although he had tried his touch to
be chaste, he had felt that some force more powerful than himself
invaded his senses completely. So many years of abstinence, living in
her absence, took out from him a deep lament.

Then, he felt complete again, as if the light, that had before been
stolen from him, had come back, more intense than ever. His breath had
become nimble, his heart lighter, his soul had known fullness at last.

The lights of the fireworks that enlightened the night illuminated
their shapes, dragged in ecstasy. Almost as if, in their last goodbye,
Heaven had wanted them to find perfect happiness.

I love you, Terry. I always will.

I love you, Candy. I always will.

Although they didn't say it aloud, both of them could hear their
thoughts as if they had cried them out. When they went apart, some of
their nostalgia had disappeared, at the same time that a new
acceptance shone in their eyes.

"Promise me one last thing, Candy," he had asked her while he held her
hands between his, "be happy besides someone who loves you deeply. And
try to love him as much as he loves you. That is the only way I will
be happy."

Then, she had looked at him with eyes full of trust in her future. And
he had believed her.

Now, in his car, he couldn't avoid thinking that he had left the most
precious treasure of all; however, when he looked down to the relaxed
figure that was leaning on his shoulder, he knew that the absence
would never be so bitter.

Goodbye, my dear Tarzan Freckles. I hope you can find happiness. I
promise you I will fight to reach my own. And surely, someday,
somewhere, we will be able to start together again.

The End of Chapter 5.