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May 09 2015

Peculiar Relationship Chapter 2

Note: Thank you all very much for the positive feedback and encouragement. I’m significantly touched by your support. 😀 I know this chapter is short, but the next one is going to be long. Hence, I will publish this one first. Hope you like it too! 🙂

-Ms Puddle

Chapter 2

When Darren was getting himself ready for the grand opening party held by the Leagans today, the butler informed him that his father would like to see him in his study.

After some casual talks, Mr. McPherson turned serious and asked his son how he felt about Miss Eliza Leagan.

The father looked him hard in the eye and waited for his response. The young man in his mid-twenties shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly. “Miss Eliza? She’s alright. Why, may I ask?”

Mr. McPherson pushed his high back leather chair back and stood up, pacing around the study without a word. He was convinced that his only son showed no special interest in Miss Leagan even though their families had frequented each other lately. In fact, although there wasn’t a lack of young ladies in their social circle, Darren hadn’t paid much attention to any of them ever since his fiancée had been hit by a car nearly two years ago.

When Darren was patiently waiting for his father to say something, his father broke the silence, “Darren, have you heard of Sir William A. Ardlay? The major shareholder of the Leagans’ business?”

The young man with auburn hair answered, “The family name sounds familiar. What about him?”

“Sir Ardlay is related to Mrs. Leagan, and he has accepted the invitation to the party this evening, bringing his young adopted daughter with him.”

“Father!” grumbled Darren aloud, pulling himself up from his seat, but before he could voice his protest, Mr. McPherson uttered in an authoritative tone, “Sit down, Darren! Listen to me first!”

With reluctance, the young man plopped himself down on the chair. Then his father explained, his tone much softened this time, “Your mother and I want you to meet her, Son. We’re not asking much of you. One dance is all we ask… for now.”

While his son considered that with a frowning expression, he continued, “I’ve never met this Sir Ardlay, but his wealth is beyond measure. Without his financial support, the Leagans wouldn’t have been able to sustain their business. Yet, for some reason, he remains unmarried but adopted a young girl years ago. Darren, our family business is only peanuts compared to his, but who knows?”

Darren grasped his father’s intention even though he didn’t say it explicitly. “So Father, just one dance?” he asked, raising one of his thick eyebrows.

“Yes, Darren. That’s a good start,” he answered, sounding pleased. “In case you do find her desirable, I might do some background check on that girl if necessary.”

That was reasonable enough, so Darren nodded in agreement. Then his father added, “Mr. Leagan has agreed to introduce us to Sir Ardlay upon his arrival, so be prepared.”

Later, when the McPhersons arrived at the party, Mr. and Mrs. Leagan welcomed them with eagerness. Darren could see that both Eliza and Neil were busy with other guests at the moment, and there were at least a hundred of them, milling about the grand ballroom for the time being.

With pride, Darren wandered around the ballroom that was decorated with various lightings and lamps. Its high ceiling was illuminated by a dozen gorgeous crystal chandeliers, all produced by the McPherson’s workers. His family owned a large business that manufactured lighting products for numerous local hotels and resorts, and Darren was in charge of exporting their products to other countries.

Now Darren reached the roof terrace, and he noticed some guests who had lingered in the courtyard to admire the setting sun and the crimson evening sky were now returning toward the ballroom, where the fine orchestra was playing beautiful music. As the round moon peeked its head behind the grey clouds and the stars started shining, Darren realized the lighting in the garden wasn’t well designed enough, especially the farthest corner behind the wishing fountain. If it wasn’t for the full moon, it would have been way too dim. No wonder the vast courtyard was now unoccupied. Nobody liked hanging out in the dark.

Perhaps he should inform the Leagans about that, and that was when he heard a familiar man’s voice from behind, “Darren, I think they are here. Let’s go and meet them.”

Mr. Leagan and Darren’s family then approached Sir William A. Ardlay and his daughter from behind. Uniformed waiters were serving them champagne and hors d’oeuvres.

Darren spotted the blond-haired man right away. He was considerably taller than the people around him, and comparatively, the lady was petite with a pleasant figure. Upon hearing her name, the young lady gracefully turned around, and so did the man beside her.

The instant Darren laid his eyes on the lady, he was mesmerized by her glistening eyes, from which he swore he could see a reflection of himself, a man whose jaw was dropped. She got such an enchanting smile that he almost couldn’t tear his gaze away from her face, so when he turned to look at the tall man next to her, Darren was genuinely perplexed because a pair of striking blue eyes were smiling down at him.

For a brief moment Darren thought this fellow was Miss Candice’s partner for the party and her adoptive father was somewhere else at present. Yet, Mr. Leagan addressed him as Sir William Ardlay.

Little did Darren expect to see a man in his prime, who was at most few years older than him. Darren had pictured a feeble old guy in his mind, but this fellow wasn’t even old enough to be Miss Candice’s father! Not to mention he was one of the most handsome men Darren had ever met.

Nonetheless, Darren composed himself, asking the millionaire for his permission to dance with Miss Candice. Then Darren saw Miss Candice exchange a fleeting glance with her adoptive father, and after that, Sir William granted his wish and also invited Darren’s sisters to dance. Even a fool could tell that the girls swooned over the young millionaire, and their father, Mr. McPherson, chortled his agreement.

The rest was like a dream to Darren. Since his fiancée’s death, he had somewhat avoided dancing with other young ladies. This time, he told himself he was simply obeying his parents by dancing with Miss Candice, but the moment he took her small hand, leading her to the dance floor, he felt something inside him had revived. Besides, he could hardly take his brown eyes off her captivating emerald ones, and yet she appeared guileless, unaware of how easily men could lose themselves in those green pools of light.

While dancing, the men around them shot him envious glances as Darren had anticipated. He ignored that and focused on the lady. She seemed accustomed to dancing, and her movements were natural and flowing with grace. He honestly admired her, and then he introduced himself a bit more. Yet, unlike most other girls he had met in the past, Miss Candice just listened and smiled, asking nothing in return, not even about his family fortune. It wasn’t like she couldn’t care less, but her thoughtful silence seemed to indicate that her mind was preoccupied by something else. Before long, he realized she masked the sadness in her eyes by smiling constantly, but once he had seen it the sadness never disappeared. Before he knew it, someone tapped his shoulder and asked him to introduce the beautiful lady. The time passed by so fast that he wasn’t even aware the music was ending, but as much as he wanted to stay with her, he had to let her go.

Since then, many had invited Miss Candice to dance. Beyond intrigued, Darren found himself waiting in line for her. She exuded such a charming aura that people couldn’t help but be drawn to her, and Darren was no exception. He wanted to be physically close to her again. At the same time, he was getting more and more curious about her relationship with the handsome Sir William. Why on earth a young man like him has adopted a lady her age?

Then it came the time for photograph shooting. To Darren’s surprise, Miss Candice refused to stand next to her adoptive father. Instead, she stood among the Leagans’ employees. Some moments later, Mrs. Leagan asked for the guests’ attention and made a brief speech. Many in the audience were taken aback when Mrs. Leagan mentioned that they had hired Miss Candice from the orphanage as a playmate to her children but later demoted her to a servant girl, working in the barn. Nobody would have guessed Miss Candice wasn’t born a lady, that she had been merely adopted into a rich family.

When Mrs. Leagan was speaking in an icy tone, Darren’s brows drew together in a deep frown. His own mother was known as a philanthropist among her contemporaries, and she was a founding member of a local charity for people with disabilities. Therefore, Darren was immensely disturbed by the way the Leagans had treated a less fortunate person. How old was Miss Candice then? How long has she been mistreated? How could they do that to a girl?

Every now and then, he couldn’t help throwing a glance at Miss Candice, who was sitting near the orchestra with her eyes fixed on her lap. He had a hunch she must have an awful childhood before the adoption. As he imagined how Sir William had discovered her existence and rescued her out of pity, he didn’t quite hear the rest of the monotonous speech. When Mrs. Leagan was done talking, he decided to talk to Miss Candice to cheer her up. Wait a minute… where has she gone?

Darren then saw Eliza and her mother leaving the ballroom in a hurry. He rose from his seat and headed toward where Miss Candice had been sitting, and yet a heavy hand landed on his upper back. He turned his head over his shoulder and saw his father shaking his head in disapproval. The man’s face clouded over, and he whispered to his son, “Hold it, Son. Let’s talk later.”

Darren nodded once. “Fine,” came his terse reply.

Though he had no problem deciphering his father’s cryptic message, he disobeyed him and secretly looked for Miss Candice, worrying that she might have been affected by the speech, but soon the sadness in her eyes resurfaced in his mind. He gathered something else had been bothering her, but what could make a lady like her feel down? She had nearly everything one would ever want, youth, beauty and riches, no doubt about that. Yet, was she in a steady relationship with anyone? She had reached marriageable age after all. Many ladies in the high society were either engaged or married around this age.

Regardless, Darren pretended to be mingling with others while scanning the grand ballroom with his eyes. When he was certain that Miss Candice was no longer inside, he found that Sir William Ardlay was not in their midst anymore. Is he looking for her too?

While his father wasn’t looking, Darren exited the crowd, heading toward the terrace. Up there, he saw two ladies near the swimming pool. If he wasn’t mistaken, they looked like Eliza and her mother, Mrs. Leagan. Perhaps they might know where Miss Candice was? With that thought in mind, he decided to check with them.

(to be continued…)

Peculiar Relationship

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  1. CKati

    What’s going on with Candy? I assume the sadness Darren is talking about, doesn’t have anything to do with her childhood during her stay with the Leagans. Although she must have felt really embarrased when Sarah Leagan told all the people there about their history with Candy.
    Did Darren overhear Eliza and mother? What will he make of it?

    1. Ms Puddle

      Thank you for reading, CKati! You will get most of your questions answered in the following chapters! Have a good day!! 😀

  2. Luna

    Dear Ms Puddle,
    Creating Darren is a very good idea in order to poke Albert;) . This character is a perfect rival. He lost his fiancée,and probably he couldn’t forget her…So let’s say it is not easy to affect him. If he likes Candy at the first sight, this is something serious. Also,he is curious, he can catch details, shortly he is an observer. I find that he can also make empathy. This is a very important specialty which can differentiate him from others. …and more importantly he is actually looking for a person who is not running after the fortune, social status etc… So he is not bad as that! Albert should take him seriously .. Yes, we have no Terry any more but it does not mean there wouldn’t be good ones around.I really wonder how he will handle this situation… I don’t think this time “wait and wait and again wait ” will work…
    I hope;)
    Cheers

    1. Ms Puddle

      Bonjour Luna! I’m very impressed reading your comment, and I must say you’re a brilliant reader! You managed to catch everything about Darren, my own character. Yes, there’s no Terry anymore, but Candy was an attractive young lady herself. 🙂

  3. Vera García

    Un saludo cordial Ms. Puddle
    Su historia cuenta con interesantes matices y a dejado en mi mente tantas interrogantes; pero soy paciente y pido a Dios que su musa no le abandone. pero muy en especial en este momento. Fue muy precisa la descripción de la hermosura de Candy porque no solo nos descubre su físico sino también su alma hermosa.
    Gracias , gracias por llevarnos por tan bella historia su amiga Vera García.

    1. Ms Puddle

      Muchas gracias, Vera García! Thank you for your encouraging words, and I hope you will continue to like this story 🙂

  4. Jehiel

    O yeah I really love your work is passionate and clear and make us see the entire story with another point of view. And you got a specially inclinations to put characters who move the fellings of our couple and sometimes a little of butterflys.
    But the most fantastic always get a ending with they both.
    I love this. And enjoying thus new work.
    I be waiting for the next chapter.
    Blessing and inspiration.
    Hugs.

    1. Ms Puddle

      Thank you Jehiel for your kind words. Nice to meet you! Glad you like the story so far, and I’ll do my best to post the next chapter soon. Blessings and hugs to you too!

  5. Evelyn

    Oh wow Ms Puddle!!! Fascinating. We are reading the same event through Darren’s perspective in this chapter! Yes definitely he would fall for Candy at first sight because she exuded pureness and beauty inwardly as well as outwardly. I like what you and Reeka said that Candy’s beauty was different than Susanna’s but to me Candy does not lack beauty and holds her own specially with Albert! 😉

    So far I get the sense that Candy is sad and her mind preoccupied because she has deep feelings of love for Albert yet she must appear in public as his adoptive daughter probably leaving her confused and sad. I doubt that the Leagan’s speech made her embarrassed since Candy has never been superficial about her social status and has always embraced her origins. Darren seems nice. Have a feeling he will make Albert work hard for Candy! Can’t wait to see what happens next. 😀 😉

    1. Ms Puddle

      I totally agree with you, dear Evelyn! Candy was very attractive in her own way, and I believe she’d be more beautiful when she was a grown up.

      Thank you for taking the time to read, my friend! About the story, I don’t give spoilers, but I’m happy to read comments from all of you. Very encouraging indeed! 😀

      1. Evelyn

        Yes I agree with you Ms Puddle! I also believe that Candy would have blossomed greatly as an adult woman. Imagine how beautiful she must have been in her 30s and early 40s! Her beauty was natural like Rosemary’s 🙂

        1. Ms Puddle

          Yes Evelyn! That’s exactly what I thought, that Candy would be a beautiful woman just like Rosemary! Again, great minds think alike. 😉 😛

  6. Quevivacandy

    woohoo!!! Thank you for the update!!! I have to confess that I’m really liking Darren… :p please, do not make him suffer for Candy, lol… He seems to be a good guy.

    But still wondering on my mind, Why Candy was crying? With this chapter you left me more intrigued ’cause she was already blue before Sarah’s speech, did she hear something before it? Will Albert confess Candy his feelings? Will Darren catch them red-handed? I guess I have to patiently wait impatiently!

    Short but indeed a great chapter! looking forward for the next one… hmmm you said a long one? mua ja ja

    1. Ms Puddle

      Yes, Darren is a fine young man, and you will know soon why I created this character, dear QuevivaCandy!! Thanks for reading! 🙂

      Yes, Candy’s mind was preoccupied by other things, and after the speech, she left the crowd. You will read more next chapter, and yes, it will be longer than this one. 😉

  7. Reeka

    Hohoho I like it! In many fanfictions, where both Candy and Albert looked like playing a wait and see game, I’d love seeing a third person. And I liked it better when the expense was on Albert’s :). I love seeing him threatened and jealous and try hard to win Candy.

    And Darren seems like a very fine young man with a kind heart. I’m not sure about his father, though. I think it’s just about time Darren will see the sparks between the two blondes.

    I really love the way you tell the story from Darren’s eyes, my friend. From his eyes, Candy was pictured like she’s gorgeous beyond words. Not a Miss Universe kind of beauty, but more like an Audrey Hepburn. The fact is I imagine someone like Emma Stone.

    Now I am intrigued to know, where was Darren during the Garden’s scene? Would he witness the conversation between Albert and Candy? 😉

    1. Ms Puddle

      Thanks dear Reeka! Actually me too. That’s why the story is not written from first person’s perspective. Want to write how others see Candy and Albert. 🙂

      Like you, I think Candy exuded charming aura rather than a beautiful Miss Universe kind of girl, like Susanna for example. Your examples are great ones because I like both of them. 🙂

      Please wait for next chapter(s), my friend! 😉

  8. Agnès

    Hello, Ms Puddle!

    Find again the pleasure to read your excellent writing, Ms Puddle, it’s a delight and yet, addictive! 😆

    Well, Darren seems to be a good man, I have compassion for him, have lost his fiancée in such way!
    It is very interesting to see Candy through another man’s eyes! He fell for her at the first sight, didn’t he? And he felt her sorrow but about what? He wondered (as me)! . Darren could be a rival for Albert? Well, well, well! Let’s see! 😉

    1. Ms Puddle

      Thanks dear Agnès for your kind words! Once I begin writing, I try not to stop because if I stop, my muse might leave me 😉

      Yes Darren expected another ordinary girl from the high society, but he found Candy different from others. Of course, he was attracted to her at first sight too, just like Anthony, Archie and Stear. 😛

  1. La suite de la fiction de Ms puddle! - True Romantica

    […] le chapitre 2 de la fiction de Ms Puddle, l’histoire est de plus en plus intrigante et intéressante. Bonne lecture! […]

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