Sep 05 2015

Peculiar Relationship Chapter 10

I’ve been very quiet lately because I was writing two chapters in a row. Thank you all for your patience! For those who aren’t familiar with Candy Candy Final Story (CCFS) spoilers, please bear with me. I don’t want to repeat what Mizuki had already written in the epilogue, so this chapter begins near its end. Because of this, some time had elapsed since the previous chapter, so be ready for flashbacks here and there. I’ll provide the link to CCFS spoilers later.

Hope you like this chapter as much as I do! ❤  If you spot any mistake, please kindly let me know. 🙂

-Ms Puddle

Chapter 10

“Good night, Candy,” said Albert in a soft voice right after planting a peck on her cheek, his warm breath tickling her ear. As he drew himself away after that, she practically threw herself at him, one hand resting on his chest and the other holding her old diary, which Albert had just returned to her back in Lakewood.

He stiffened but managed to clear his throat, murmuring, “Candy…”

She mumbled, pressing her cheek against his firm, comfortable chest, “Please… just five minutes. I promise.”

It was a sweet torture, feeling her soft body against his with the leather bound book between them, as if he needed a reminder about the shadow looming over his future with Candy. Yet, he complied and lowered his head, locking her petite frame in his strong arms and breathing in her flowery scent, just like what he had done earlier today, when Candy had been shedding uncontrollable tears for his dear nephew, Anthony. Unlike this afternoon in the enchanting forest, she was rather quiet and thoughtful right now.

Little did he know that she missed him already, unsure when he would visit her again. His absence prior to today had been agonizingly long, and getting his sentimental letter from São Paulo had made the wait even more intolerable for her. How could she not realize back in the apartment he was everything she should want in a man?

In fact, her Prince on the Hill was everything she wanted to be herself. Ever since their very first encounter, he had seen her tears; she had sprinted up the hill, her refuge, to supposedly hide from everyone, including her loving caretakers, only to meet the first love of her life.

Yes indeed, she was back to her first love. She could hardly spend a day without thinking of him these days. Therefore, the moment he had invited her to go to Lakewood with him early this morning, no words could describe her exhilaration. He would spend lots of time with her, meaning that he hadn’t forgotten her original birthday wish.

For the time being, she relived the moment when he had lovingly pulled her towards his bosom to comfort her when she had blamed herself for being the culprit of causing Anthony’s death. Rather than playing down or belittling her grief, he had uttered to her, his voice dripped with melancholy, “It was I who adopted you… It was I who ordered the fox hunting… ”

She had been flabbergasted by the deep regret and sharp anguish in his tone. Only then she had realized all these years he might have been tormented by the thought that he had unintentionally taken Anthony’s life. As she understood firsthand the pain to have lost someone dear to the heart, she couldn’t bear inflicting chastisement upon Albert as the dominant cause of the tragedy.

Nevertheless, they were both involved and somewhat responsible for the disastrous consequence. She had been sobbing so hard that her body couldn’t stop shaking and her tears had soaked his shirt, but he had held her tighter in the safety of his loving arms, as if he had wanted her to transfer her sorrows to him. Moments later, he had reasoned, no one could have foreseen the accident, so it had been nobody’s fault. Right then, his words had miraculously liberated her; the heavy weight of the guilt and blame had been lifted away from her.

Meanwhile, she snuggled even closer to him, hearing his steady heartbeat and savoring his body heat, his warm breath on the crown of her head, and his familiar fragrance. As always, she had found solace in his embrace, and how she wished she could hold him like this forever, but all of a sudden, the way the expensive linen of his crumpled shirt had clung damply to his chest this afternoon, outlining his pectoral muscles, resurfaced in her mind. Instantaneously, her pulse raced and her face reddened with a rush of blood. Feeling self-conscious, she reluctantly released her grip on him. Just then, a cool night breeze swept over them, chilling the warmth of her cheeks, ruffling her blond hair and making her dress move as though it was alive.

When she brushed the stray strands of hair away from her face, he couldn’t take his eyes off her. Before he knew it, he reached out to gently thread his fingers through her tousled, blond curls. Startled, she looked up, only to meet his intense gaze. As she gaped at him, swallowing hard and feeling butterflies in her stomach, he scrutinized her features, his hands sliding down to cup her face. Yearning flashed in his eyes when he opened his mouth, but nothing came forth. A couple of seconds later, he inhaled sharply and suddenly closed their distance by kissing her.

She gasped, but it was the pleasant kind of surprise. She had been longing to feel his lips on hers, so she responded to him with fervor, shedding tears of happiness. Feeling encouraged, he deepened the kiss, and she melted in his love, unknowingly letting go of the diary that she had been holding. It fell right on her toes, causing her to yelp in pain, “Ouch!”

Candy shot up in bed, her cheeks burning in shame and her heart pounding furiously; the dream seemed so real that she couldn’t help uncovering her feet to check if her toes were bruised. No, they look fine, of course…

Still reeling from the wild dream, she sighed, pulling her knees towards her chest, wrapping her arms around her legs and resting her chin on top of her knees. The kids sharing the large bedroom with her were fast asleep at present, and she was relieved nobody would know about her dream of kissing her prince. At this point, his striking blue eyes flashed across her mind, and she whispered, “Little Bert… when will I see you again?”

She recalled the first time she had timidly called him “Little Bert”, a name given by his dear late sister, Rosemary. His features had broken into a smile of joy and affection. Nodding to her encouragingly, he had said, “I like it, Candy, very much.” Then, with courage, she had attempted using a louder voice, “Little Bert!”

He had appeared delighted, fondly petting her hair and looking tenderly into her eyes. “Yes, that’s it.”

Then she had laughed, unexpectedly running away from him. “Catch me if you can, Little Bert!”

Chortling out loud, he had gladly accepted her challenge and caught her shoulders in no time, turning her around and murmuring, “I feel that I’m bound to your spell, Miss Sorceress.”

She had collapsed in giggling. It must be the spell she had cast on him prior to her birthday earlier this year. “Ahhhh, so my spell is working after all!”

Only then he had released her and continued touring the premises of the Ardlay’s villa in Lakewood with her. It had been the happiest day in her life yet, even happier than her twenty-first birthday in Chicago when she had received presents after presents from him.

His love and thoughtfulness in celebrating her birthday had moved her to tears, but deep down, she treasured his presence more than anything else. Now, almost two weeks had elapsed since her prince had spent his entire day with her that fine summer day, just the two of them, on a Sunday. After spending several hours in Lakewood, he had driven her back to Pony’s Home that night. Then, hugging each other, he had indeed leaned forward, scrutinized her face and run his tender fingers through her locks, trying to smooth her wind-tossed hair for her as in her dream, but before long he had taken a deep breath and stepped backwards, bidding her goodnight once more and heading towards his car.

Currently, as the pre-dawn light infused the room, Candy felt that her cheeks were gradually cooling down. She wondered if Albert had received her letter yet, the letter she had sealed with love and gratitude from the bottom of her heart. Just as she had predicted, she couldn’t sleep that night despite being exhausted from work that day. She had been anxious to find out how Albert would react. Would he write her a reply or would he pay her yet another sudden visit? She hoped to see him in person if she was given a choice. She ached with the longing to feel his protective arms around her.

Albert would usually come on Sundays when Candy had her day off for sure. Sometimes she had to work on Saturdays, but not today. Dr. Martin had made new friends in the village, and they would go fishing together today.

Just then, Candy had an urge to watch the rising sun, so she gingerly tiptoed out of bed, grabbed her morning robe and quietly left the bedroom on bare feet. After the renovation, thanks to Albert’s generosity, the floor would no longer creak with every step, so not a soul was disturbed when she was heading towards the bathroom down the hall.

Having enough windows near the ceiling in this public bathroom, there was no need to turn on the light during the day. She swiftly washed her face and brushed her hair, tying her long tresses up into a ponytail. When she was satisfied with her looks, she went straight to the front entrance and put on her morning robe. As expected, it was a little chilly outside, and very foggy too, but she didn’t mind a bit. She knew the path by heart.

She liked going up the hill without shoes, and right now she relished feeling the dew on the grass under her feet. Miss Pony had admonished her once, “This is not a good example for the kids, Candy.”

Yet, Candy was alone at the moment, and if Albert was really serious about their relationship, she didn’t know how many more times she could run up Pony’s Hill barefooted or whether she could feel the grass with her toes again. However, for her beloved Prince on the Hill, she was willing to give up all these, and she prayed that her message in her long letter was obvious enough to him. Yes, Albert, my happiness lies in you and you alone. I need you, and I sense that you need me too when you hold me. Whenever our eyes meet, I feel love like I’ve never felt before…

That day in Lakewood, after unlocking the door to the family memorial hall, Albert had picked up a flat velvet box engraved with the Ardlay insignia on top of a writing desk. Then, taking her hand, he had gently uncurled her fingers to expose her palm, where he could place the velvet box. Flipping it open to show its content, he had remarked, “For you, Candy.”

While she could only stare at him, bewildered to see the familiar silver badge again, he had explained, “This is meant to be passed down to the male heir, but who says I can’t change the tradition? Therefore, please accept it as my gift to you, Candy. I know how much it means to you, so you won’t… you will remember me…”

He had faltered, diverting his eyes to a prominent portrait not far away from them. Then, as though nothing special had happened, he had introduced the gorgeous-looking couple in the portrait to her, “Candy, want to meet my parents?”

She could see love in his blue eyes, but her mind had been preoccupied with his words, you will remember me…

She believed he had alluded to their first encounter on the hill, where she had discovered the badge. Since it had always represented him, it had struck her that he wanted her not to forget him, ever.

“Prince on the Hill…” she murmured to herself right now, wandering around the spot where Albert had stood after coming all the way from Chicago to Pony’s Home on a fine spring day just to confess to her. Even though George had soon interrupted Albert’s dreamy confession, she could never forget the moment when Albert had responded with moist eyes and in a hoarse voice, “…you’re also pretty when you’re crying, little girl…”

Anthony had promised to come to Pony’s Hill with her, but he had passed away. Terry had stepped on the winter soil up here for a short time, but without her. Only Albert, her prince, had shared this refuge with her, again and again. They had been tied by an invisible thread after all.

“Invisible thread? What do you mean?” Albert had been baffled by her remark. He couldn’t stay long to celebrate her birthday with her. When he had to leave with George, she had taken the chance to thank him and George for all the birthday presents, especially painstakingly finding Caesar and Cleopatra for her. While George had humbly dipped his head and slid into the driver’s seat, waiting for his young boss, Candy had started, “Just like the horses, they’re meant to be… after being separately sold to different owners, they could now get back together, happily…” she had continued her feeble attempt to articulate her thoughts, but her voice had faded away. Yet, Albert had comprehended her simply by looking at her eyes. “Candy, I got it. My sentiment exactly. So true.”

Then, planting a light kiss on her forehead as his customary goodbye to her, he had added, “Enjoy the rest of your special day with your friends, Candy. Happy birthday to you!” He couldn’t possibly know how much she’d rather spend the day with him, alone.

Anyway, Albert had indeed understood what Candy had implied. Later in one of his letters to her he had brought up this topic and acknowledged that they had been tethered by an invisible thread; their paths had somehow crossed time after time despite being so far apart for so long.

Come to think of it, even his runaway in his youth had led him to a poor little girl living several hours of driving distance away, consoling her and encouraging her to smile. Since then, neither of them could forget the details of that brief encounter, as though their lives had already been connected. Therefore, Candy had meant wholeheartedly when she had written to Albert in her letter, ‘I… to my parents who abandoned me at Pony’s Home, I’m extremely grateful. Thanks to them, I was able to meet Albert, that’s why!’

Oh, how she missed her prince at this point in time; her heart constricted with deep yearning. Is it possible I have misconstrued his intentions of returning the diary to me? He wants me to be happy, right?

She shook her head vigorously as if trying to shove any lingering doubt to the farthest reaches of her mind. My days back in London will never compare to the time I have shared with Albert so far!

Then she talked to Anthony in her mind, Anthony, please, please watch over me… for sure you know my feelings for your uncle… But how about him? Does he know?

“Candy,” said Sister Lane, jolting the girl from her reverie. “You have a visitor, from Chicago-”

Before she could finish, the girl was exceedingly thrilled. She gave Sister Lane a quick hug to thank her, loosened her ponytail and dashed down the hill at her top speed.

“Wait, Candy!” cried Sister Lane, but the blond girl had already disappeared in the thick fog.

If Candy hadn’t been missing Albert so much, she would have noticed the worried frown between Sister Lane’s gray brows. When Candy saw the polished black car with Ardlay’s insignia parked near the entrance, she didn’t even pause before pushing open the main door of the orphanage.

“Albert!” she called him with enthusiasm, her gaze darting around the lobby.

Miss Pony peeked her head out of her office, ready to beckon her in, but before Candy could react, Great Aunt Elroy appeared from inside the office, leaning her weight on her personal maid’s arm. Candy should have known that Albert didn’t normally drive a car with family insignia. Then she heard, “Candice, is that how you greet an elderly in the morning?”

Madam Elroy looked her up and down and scrunched her wrinkled face in disapproval. Candy instantly blushed in embarrassment. She wished she could hide right this instant, as she was aware she couldn’t have possibly looked more like a farm girl. Her locks were unkempt, and she was clad in her pajamas and morning robe, her feet dirty with wet grass and dirt.

Yet, to her great surprise, Great Aunt Elroy invited the girl to talk with her alone inside the office. “Thank you, Miss Pony. It won’t be long, that I assure you.”

As soon as the two sat down on the sofa, the old lady began, “I’ll make this short if you can cooperate with me, Candice. Miss Pony said she hadn’t seen William since about two weeks ago. Now, be honest, where is he?”

“What?” the girl blurted out, but at once she apologized, “I’m sorry, Great Aunt Elroy. I didn’t mean to raise my voice. Yet, I must say I don’t know his whereabouts. ”

The old lady cast her a suspicious glance before she resumed, her expression suddenly softened, “I should thank you, Candy, for taking care of William for so long when he was sick. I don’t know how to pay back your kindness to him, so I didn’t stop him when I found out he had paid out of his own pocket to purchase the land and finance the reconstruction and renovation of this orphanage.”

When she paused to sip her cup of tea, Candy didn’t say anything in response. She was highly disturbed by Great Aunt Elroy’s original question about her nephew. What’s happened? Has he disappeared?

Hence, the old lady’s pleading voice made her jump, “If you still think that’s not enough, what else do you want from us, Candice? What will make you leave William for good?”

The girl couldn’t believe her ears. “I beg your pardon, Great Aunt Elroy?”

It was difficult for the old lady not to lose patience when William had gone missing since yesterday morning after having a heated argument with her about Candice over the course of breakfast. He had related to his aunt that he had been suppressing his feelings for the orphan girl, but things had improved lately. Due to mutual attraction, they had entered courtship for a while now, and for this reason he had officially filed for adoption annulment. The breaking news had caught Madam Elroy utterly off guard, but the astonishment had soon turned into rage and subsequently dissuasion. However, he had refused to discuss this any further, and he couldn’t finish his plate. Before leaving the mansion, he had declared in a level tone, “Aunt Elroy, you have my respect, so I meant to inform you what’s going on in my private life. Please note that I’m not seeking approval from you whatsoever.”

But he hadn’t gone to work as usual. Even George hadn’t seen William at all. According to George, William had called his secretary to confirm that nothing had required his presence for the day, so he would delegate tasks to George or his subordinates. Nonetheless, Madam Elroy had spent the whole day contemplating various mental strategies in order to talk some senses into her nephew, but William hadn’t come home. She had stayed up for the night, waiting for her nephew, but the longer she had waited, the more frantic she had become. Madam Elroy had dreaded that William had resorted to elopement, so she had determined to track him down, but first and foremost, she would try to find Candice.

Therefore, Madam Elroy was more than relieved that Candice was seemingly just as clueless. At least the girl was still around. As long as William wasn’t with the orphan, Madam Elroy had time to spare. Not to mention that the girl was apparently the easier target to tackle, given their relative positions in the family.

“I mean,” the old lady started to clarify herself, “I can do anything in my power for you with the condition that you will not see him ever again.”

“Never,” the girl couldn’t have responded faster. “Never will I promise you that, Great Aunt Elroy,” replied Candy to the point, her voice amazingly placid but firm.

Madam Elroy eyed Candice, masking her astonishment of getting such a response from the normally meek girl. Since his debut, William had put extra efforts to amend the relationship between Aunt Elroy and Candice. Over time, Aunt Elroy had gradually developed a liking for the girl, so the two had been in good terms for a while now. However, to treat her as a remote family member was entirely different from accepting her as the future lady of the house. Hence, Madam Elroy was unwilling to back down yet, and she proposed, “How about I send you to London or Paris? You’re wasting your time and talents here in this countryside. They are still in desperate need of experienced nurses after the great war, and I have connections with some hospital directors over there.”

Candy hesitated. The idea of working in a large hospital had occasionally crossed her mind, and yet, imagining the rest of her life without Albert made her heart ache, as if imagining her days with no more sunshine. Thus, she took a deep breath and declined, “Thank you for caring about me and my future, Great Aunt Elroy, but I won’t go if that means I can’t see your nephew again.”

The old lady had run out of patience now. Taking advantage of the girl’s kindness, Madam Elroy explained in detail how the questionable nature of her nephew’s relationship with his adopted daughter had considerably marred his reputation, ruining his prospect of marrying a lady from a respectable family. In other words, the scandal had put William in a bad light, making him the laughing stock of the high society for years. Therefore, they should do something concrete to squelch all this negative publicity.

While the old lady was still talking, Candy had remained pensive and avoided the eyes of the persuasive matriarch. Just then, the old lady abruptly changed the topic, “Has he proposed to you?”

The girl shook her head, looking down her lap. “No,” came her terse reply in a low voice, and she mused, has my relationship with Albert reached this stage already?

Madam Elroy was aware that William had recently taken Candice to Lakewood without a chaperone, but it wasn’t time to talk about propriety. The matriarch had a more pressing matter at hand, so she implored, “Will you promise me not to accept him if he does?”

“No, I won’t,” Candy retorted in a murmur, standing up without warning and taking a big step away from the matriarch.

At that, Madam Elroy frowned and pursed her lips in chagrin, craning her neck to glare at the girl. When awkward silence befell them, Candy bit her bottom lip, shaking her head nonstop as though she wanted to emphasize her preceding, straightforward answer.

So Madam Elroy employed a less confrontational approach. “Aren’t you grateful to your adoptive father? Is that how you repay him?”

“I love him!” Candy couldn’t help pronouncing, tears welling in her emerald eyes. Then she quickly added, “From the depths of my heart!”

“Exactly, Candice! So that’s why I’m here,” the matriarch spoke in a patient and kind tone. “You’re simply too naïve, or perhaps too stubborn to accept the reality-”

Before she could finish, the girl buried her face in her hands and began to sob. “I love your nephew,” Candy repeated. “I really do…”

Her voice trailed off. Great Aunt Elroy was right. Candy had been ignorant of the extent of the rumors, and though damage had already been done to Albert’s life, her resolve was rapidly melting away like a sugar cube in hot tea. Then the old lady’s words further fanned the flames, “Yes, but Candice, you will eventually regret. Your attachment to him will only bring downfall to his life.”

As much as Candy was hopelessly in love with Albert, she perceived she herself had been the ultimate cause of his being ridiculed by others. Then she heard Great Aunt Elroy say, “If I were you, I would leave William… before it’s too late.”

Understanding the reasons why his aunt was desperate to make her disappear in his life, Candy thought out loud between her sobs, “I know… I shouldn’t… make him suffer anymore… because of me…”

Just when Madam Elroy’s eyes lit up, believing that she had gained the upper hand and the girl had come to her senses at last, a resounding knock startled them both. In a split second, the door to the office was swung open. The young man who entered into the office earned an audible gasp from the ladies inside, and he sniffed as if he had a cold. As he gave the old lady a polite nod, the corners of his lips curling up a bit, Madam Elroy was relieved yet unnerved to see him here, unsure how to proceed at this dramatic turn of event. Candy looked at him through her tears, wondering if she was dreaming. He had appeared out of nowhere again, this time looking particularly handsome in his business attire of navy suit, black leather shoes, white shirt, and a striped tie in blue and white.

When Candy was in a trance, the man opened his arms wide, smiling broadly at her. Then he sniffed again but uttered invitingly, “Come, Candy, come to me.”

His affectionate voice could always bring smile to Candy’s face and make her temporarily forget what was troubling her. “Albert!” she cried out and wasted no time, striding towards her prince.

“William! Candice!” The old lady was upset about the setback, but she demanded their immediate attention nonetheless.

Yet, the two had missed each other so much that neither of them could hear the warning voice, as if everything else around them, including the matriarch, had magically disappeared. When Candy was close enough, she made a leap and flung herself into Albert’s arms. As she found herself sinking into his loving embrace, he ran his fingers through her hair, his free hand cradling her head and pressing her face to his chest. Then he hunched slightly forward and spoke tenderly to her, “I love you too, Candy.”

Candy froze, her eyes doubled in size. Albert had heard her. He must have heard her words from outside. Then he sniffed, his voice getting hoarser and more nasal every second, “I love you beyond the depths of my soul… I can’t find the right words… to express… my happiness right now.”

His heartfelt confession stirred her heartstrings and brought fresh tears brimming in her eyes. Then he gently pushed her away from him and wiped her tear-stained face with his thumbs. Today, he looked even younger than usual, like a boy who could finally unwrap the long awaited present. She blinked back her tears, her eyelashes quivering in emotion and the pounding of her heart roaring in her ears. For the time being, tears threatened to spill from his eyes too, but he was smiling and snuffling, his eyes luminant pools of bliss. As he stroked her face with his hands, his fingertips brushing over her jaw line and his breath caressing her nose, she shivered at his loving touch and was frozen in place, a mix of surprise and anticipation painted all over her face. Her eyes couldn’t help but be drawn to his lips, the shape of which long imprinted in her mind. Immediately, she felt a tug of desire to be kissed as in her vivid dream, and the warmth of a blush crawled up her neck in no time.

Meanwhile, the lovers were so absorbed in each other that they were oblivious that the matriarch was increasingly alarmed by their outrageous behavior and proximity. Their bodies were too dangerously close for her comfort. The old lady hadn’t realized they had reached this level of intimacy already, and she couldn’t bear the sight of them together like this, especially the girl wasn’t even properly dressed. Not only that, the old lady was seething at the sudden realization that these two must have been accustomed to seeing each other in sleepwear every day while living together for more than two years. Thus, she snarled, “Enough! That’s enough nonsense!”

The young people were staggered, spinning their heads towards the old lady. Only then they remembered that they weren’t alone. Madam Elroy had used her cane to help her rise to her feet, her face enraged and her chest heaving in fury.

Candy blushed profusely, feeling bashful and uncomfortable under the furious glare of the family matriarch. Spontaneously, Candy pulled herself away from Albert to keep some distance between them, but he reached out and clasped her hand in his, something which he rarely did. Even when walking side by side with her in Lakewood, he hadn’t held her hand. At this point, what had plagued Candy before resurfaced in her head. “Albert,” said Candy, a tremor evident in her voice, “Great Aunt Elroy told me-”

He put a finger to his mouth to signal her not to say a word, and she complied. In fact, he comprehended what was bothering her. He had arrived at the orphanage not long after Miss Pony and Sister Lane had brought the kids outside to play in spite of the fog. When he had seen his aunt’s personal maid, Marge, with them, he had got a picture in mind. Though he had been worried about Candy, out of courtesy, he had waited inside the building without interrupting the ladies, but the walls weren’t soundproof, so he had overheard their conversation. Soon he could tell that Candy, who was naturally kind-hearted and selfless, had been perturbed by his aunt’s rambling speech. That was when Candy had declared that she loved him, and his heart had skipped a beat. Feeling doubtful if he had heard it right, he had been ecstatic when she had repeated her words to Aunt Elroy that she loved her nephew. Filled with overwhelming joy, he had felt a lump forming in his throat and tears burning the back of his eyes. Just behind that door is the lady I haven’t been able to stop thinking about… Then he had decided to intervene.

Now that Albert was certain Candy loved him, he glanced at his aunt, then back at Candy. With his eyes fixated on her emerald ones, he said in a voice loud enough for his aunt to hear, “Candy, what my aunt said to you is true. I can’t control what the others are saying about me or you, but I do have complete control over how I feel about them. The truth is, I couldn’t care less.”

Hearing this, the burden weighing on her chest lightened significantly, but her concern for him remained. Then he remarked, “After all, it’s not the first time in my life I get looked down by all people around me, right?”

At her affirmative nod, he concluded emphatically, “What matters most to me is you, Candy. With you by my side, I can face whatever comes my way.”

She was tremendously moved by his words, and she momentarily lost her reasoning ability. She stood dazed, feeling dizzy and dreamy, his reassuring words ringing in her ears again and again. She thought likewise; his company meant more to her than any other thing in the world. As the frown between her brows smoothed away, her apprehension subsiding, his lips curled into a blazing, irresistible smile, which mesmerized her even more. Before she knew it, he lifted up her delicate chin and bent to her, his lips capturing hers in a chaste kiss. Dumbfounded, she was too startled to react. She hadn’t expected to be kissed right now when his aunt was just behind him, but he drew away too soon, and she missed his warm lips upon hers already. Nevertheless, the sweet kiss alone was enough to send her to cloud nine; it signified that their relationship had advanced to another level.

Her rosy lips were just as soft and intoxicating as he had imagined hundreds of times. He almost couldn’t break away, but this was certainly not the appropriate time to give her a lingering kiss. He meant to do this to seal his love with her in front of his aunt. Yet, Candy looked extraordinarily lovely to him afterwards, her flushed face breaking into such a beaming smile that he had to exert all his strength not to take her mouth with his at the moment.

Madam Elroy couldn’t really see what was going on because her nephew was blocking her view with his back facing her, but she heard everything and gathered what had occurred. She was clueless that it was actually the very first kiss they had shared, and the fact that William dared to kiss the orphan girl right before her eyes made her gray head spin. Overcome with a sense of defeat, the old lady had no more strength to remain standing. She retreated until the backs of her legs hit a chair, and she collapsed into it, dropping her cane onto the floor. Then, with her fists clenched in her lap, she lowered her face and mumbled to herself, shaking her head, “I don’t understand. I don’t understand any of this… why… oh why… ”

Both Albert and Candy saw that, and he said, “Let me talk to my aunt. Please get changed, Candy, and wait for me. I have something to show you.”

She agreed without thinking twice and politely bid Great Aunt Elroy good day. Although the old lady didn’t even respond, Candy was way too excited to be upset about it. She desperately wanted to tell her foster mothers the good news, so she left and closed the door behind her. Albert thus turned his focus back to his aunt. Much to her surprise, her nephew crouched down before her, gently holding both of her old hands in his. Stunned, his aunt raised her eyes to meet his blue ones, and he said, “Aunt Elroy, I think I should let you know this. Believe it or not, the dark memories of my amnesiac days sometimes haunt me and make me wake up screaming, with cold sweat all over my body. I feel so disoriented every single time that for a moment I don’t know who I am, where I live or what I do. Even to this day, I remember precisely how the hospital staff treated me like I was nothing but a man with suspicious identity… how they didn’t even bother concealing their disgust when they talked to me, all the while they avoided having any eye contact with me. In short, I was a piece of trash they couldn’t wait to get rid of.”

His aunt was visibly shaken. He had never related to her in detail his horrid experience as a patient. Then what he said next threw her even more off balance, “I was terrified… actually, I sank into despair upon learning from Dr. Leonard that nobody could predict when my memory would return. How I wished it was just a nightmare that I could wake up from, but no. There seemed no end to the dire situation. Aunt Elroy, put yourself in my place, and you will see why I would rather not exist than putting up with this pain and humiliation indefinitely. In fact, I thought of committing suicide then, more than once.”

She dropped her mouth open, aghast. How could the hospital staff mistreat her precious nephew this way? Yet, his voice was so tranquil that she found it hard to believe he was talking about his own experience. Next, he raised himself to his full height and grabbed another chair in order to sit opposite to his aunt. He then looked her in the eyes and carried on, “Candy was my only hope then. She was practically my angel. If not for her, I wouldn’t have survived those days. Aunt Elroy, when you used your influence to make Dr. Leonard fire her because she was living with a male patient for months, she could have abandoned me, but she defended me and stayed with me. What’s more, she continued to cheer me up, day after day, not because she could benefit from my eminent social status or immeasurable wealth, but simply because I was her friend, a homeless and penniless one. Other than Rosemary, never in my life have I met a more caring soul. Can’t you see, Aunt Elroy, why Candy is the only woman in the world whom I can completely trust?”

His aunt stubbornly averted her eyes, dodging his question. Then he let out a sigh and went on, “By the time I became aware of our legal relationship, I realized that I had fallen in love with her. I delighted in her heart-warming presence, and I was unable to will myself to leave her. However, because of her, I had the courage to embrace my destiny and take up my role and responsibilities in the clan.”

Perplexed, a puzzled frown materialized on his aunt’s wrinkled face, but he didn’t elaborate further. He only said, “For her, I was more than willing to come out of hiding, to make a début earlier than planned so that nobody would ever misuse my name to make her do anything against her wish.”

He sounded matter-of-fact, and there was no trace of anger or bitterness in his tone, but his aunt’s countenance became pale, recalling the forced engagement she had imposed on Candice more than two years ago. Still looking at his aunt, he placed his hand on her shoulder, saying, “To me, Candy is beautiful inside out. She loves me for who I am, not for my money or what I can do for her. Therefore, no matter what happens to me, I know she will just love me the same.”

Having said that, he gave her a brief hug, which nearly stupefied his aunt. He had seldom, if ever, shown affection to her because with him, she had always taken a strict and stoic stance. Before she could compose herself, she heard him, “Thank you for listening, Aunt Elroy, but I have to go. I’m sorry to have worried you. Rest assured I’ll return to Chicago later today. Now, let me get Marge for you so you can go home.”

Then he headed towards the door. With his hand on the door knob, he cocked his head over his shoulder and remarked, “Aunt Elroy, I don’t expect you to change your attitude towards Candy right away, but please at least bear in mind that she was the only companion I had during my darkest hours. Therefore, regardless of what you think, I will continue to love and cherish her for as long as I live.”

After that, he opened the door and left her alone inside the office. By the time Marge came back with Miss Pony and Sister Lane, Madam Elroy’s weary face made her look as though she had grown so much older. On the way back to Chicago, she shut her eyes and appeared to have dozed off, but in fact her mind kept returning to what had transpired back in the tiny office of the orphanage, before and after her nephew’s appearance. Madam Elroy shuddered, imagining how William as a patient had been despised by many. As he had said, he could have died out of despair. On top of all that, it was impossible for the matriarch to deny the genuine jubilance displayed on his face when he had held that orphan girl in his arms. She had never seen him happier, so she couldn’t help asking herself, what is it like to marry for love?

After Madam Elroy had left, Miss Pony and Sister Lane brought the children back inside the orphanage. It was time for their morning snacks. While the kids enjoyed their cookies, Miss Pony murmured to Sister Lane, her eyes moist behind her glasses, “Candy’s found her happiness at long last.”

Sister Lane nodded, a content smile gracing her lips. “That’s true,” she agreed before closing her eyes. Then she folded her hands and prayed, giving thanks in silence.

They couldn’t forget the day when Albert had brought Candy back from Miami. He had opened up to them, telling them he had been in love with Candy all along and asking them for permission to court her. However, not wanting to jeopardize their long-term friendship, he wouldn’t confess his love to her until he was absolutely sure that she loved him and only him. He had prepared a surprise for her, a venture to test the waters, but he had to patiently wait for the perfect timing and setting.

The two ladies then let out a collective sigh. Candy was currently out there with Albert, possibly up at their favorite refuge, the Pony’s Hill, but the ladies weren’t entirely sure. The fog was so thick that there wasn’t much to admire anywhere. Oblivious to them, though patches of fog were hovering over the valleys, up on the hill the fog had already dissipated, so Albert and Candy could actually see the clear blue sky.

As a matter of fact, before reaching the spot where Candy had planted Sweet Candy, which she had brought back from Lakewood, she could see a wooden swing for two hanging down from a sturdy bough of her favorite tree. When she cast Albert a surprised glance, he smiled at her, commenting, “I hope you like it.”

“Of course! I can’t wait to try it!” she exclaimed in excitement, sprinting towards it. Only when she came closer did she see that the wooden seat had words engraved on it:

Candy, will you marry me? Love, Albert’

Overjoyed and awestruck, she couldn’t believe her eyes. He approached her slowly, smiling. It was another warm summer day, and he hung his jacket over his shoulder, his tie loosened. When he was near, he dropped his jacket on the ground and took both of her hands. Then he knelt down on one knee and produced a little navy blue velvet box with a glittering diamond ring in it. His eyes bore into hers, and he said in earnest, “I didn’t have enough time and skills to carve more words… I love you, Candice White, with all my heart. Will you give me the honor to be my wife?”

She was overwhelmed with sentiments. Everything happened too fast today. When she gazed at him, nonplussed, he professed his love for her once again. Then he explained to her that he hadn’t received her letter until after coming back from his short business trip, and since then, he could scarcely put it down, reading it over and over. His biggest concern was whether she would really enjoy her life with him in the city. She would have to give up everything here in the rural village.

When he broke eye contact and stared at the ground, she leaned over and gently hauled him up by the shoulders. No sooner had he straightened up than she wrapped her arms around him like she would never let him go. Leaning against him, she declared, “Yes, I love you too, Little Bert. For you, I’m willing… more than willing, to leave all this behind. Wherever you go, I’ll go.”

This was the place where Candy had first met her Prince on the Hill many years ago, and this was also the place where he proposed to her. With tears in their eyes, he slid the engagement ring on her finger, and he confessed how much he had missed her in São Paulo. That was why when he had spotted the ring in one of the jewelry stores there, he had impulsively bought it. Yet, he had intentionally left it in Lakewood. Yesterday, he had gone there to retrieve the ring, and he had stayed in the mountain Lodge near the waterfall, where he had all the tools and materials required to build a wooden swing for her.

Then they snuggled up on the swing, and he gave her an unforgettable kiss. With their eyes closed, it started off very sweet and tender. When she melted against him, combing her fingers through his wavy blond hair, he cradled the back of her head and circled his other arm around her slim waist, pulling her closer and deepening the kiss at a slow pace. He didn’t want to scare her, but she was delirious with happiness, following his lead and responding to him most ardently. The instant their tongues touched, the sensation was nothing like she had ever experienced before. She felt like she was being shocked by lightning, but in a wonderful way. She was floating on air, having reached such intimacy with her prince. Her legs turned jello in no time, and she would have collapsed if they had been standing. Thus, she was more than glad she was sitting side by side with him, huddled together with his strong arms locking her safe in his embrace and his feet touching the ground occasionally to keep the swing from swaying too much.

On and on, their lips molded together perfectly, their tongues dancing. To her, it was absolutely mind-boggling and enthralling. Although more than once she had dreamed of being kissed by Prince on the Hill, this was beyond her wildest imagination. As she poured all the love she felt for him into her kisses, he was doing the same to her, savoring and tasting her in delight. Her heart was thumping like a drum in her rib cage, as though it might burst any second from the turbulent emotions. Even the swing was rocking back and forth in response to their passion, the other noises being the birds singing above their heads and their loud breathing.

Some moments later, when their breaths became more and more ragged, they were still unwilling to stop, but as breathing became a necessity, they pulled apart reluctantly, regarding each other with fresh perspective. They had just shared their first real kiss after all. Panting heavily, he brought her hand, the one with the ring, to his lips and kissed it long and lovingly. “Candy, you’re incredible,” her prince admired, his dazzling blue eyes gazing at her scarlet cheeks and slightly swollen lips. When she looked away shyly, he chuckled and fondly brushed her stray locks behind her ear. “My beautiful fiancée, are you ready to head down? I should ask Miss Pony and Sister Lane for your hand in marriage.”

She nodded, smiling all the way to her eyes. His words were music to her ears. Yes, they were now an engaged couple, weren’t they? Though she had many questions on her mind, like his aunt, his relatives, his reputation, and so on, she gladly let him take her hand, ambling towards the orphanage together after he had put his jacket back on. The unexpected encounter with his stern aunt today had convinced Candy more than ever that Albert had already prepared himself to fight any impending opposition for her, for their love. Candy would brace up for him too, for she couldn’t wait to marry her Prince on the Hill, her Little Bert.

(to be continued…)

Peculiar Relationship

Note: I’d like to express my appreciation to the people below for their positive feedback to the previous chapter: ❤ ❤ ❤

Candy Bert, Tiny 12, Reeka, antlay31, QuevivaCandy, kittenandley, Memchew / Mema, Vera García, Anonymous, Evelyn, CKati, Cristina Marchetti, Paola Ruscio, and You Ri Lee.

I’ve let my imaginations run wild when writing this chapter. 😛 I like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice a lot, and I was inspired by the scene in which Lady Catherine visited Elizabeth Bennet, also around twenty-one years old, very early in the morning, giving her reasons why her family would only bring shame to her nephew, Mr. Darcy, a very rich and handsome man nearly thirty years old. Though Elizabeth wasn’t even sure how he felt about her, she had strong feelings for him, so Elizabeth couldn’t promise Lady Catherine that she wouldn’t marry Darcy. 🙄

Those who have read Candy Candy Final Story (CCFS) epilogue will find Candy’s recollections familiar. If not, here is the link to the spoilers. For your interest, I’ve also written many posts about those letters between Candy and Albert. Here are a few of them: A hug so tight, More than words, and The day her life changed.

If you prefer to read the letters in a fanfic, I highly recommend the Spanish story, Memorias de la Señora Andrew, written by my friend, QuevivaCandy. She has remained faithful to the original story portrayed by Mizuki in CCFS. 🙂 Or you can read my other short fanfic based on these letters, The Diary.

I will upload the next chapter some time this coming week. Thank you for following! ❤

42 comments

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    • Brenda on October 13, 2015 at 11:40 pm
    • Reply

    Hello Ms. Puddle! thanks for your response. Certainly, you mentioned aomething about the weddind in the epilogue,
    but you also did it about Patty and Annie. Honestly it was too short! You wrote muchmore about the honeymoon
    in The Diario chapter 4 as well as in most of your posts. I didn’ mean to bother you.
    thanks again for your great effort !
    Best regards.

    1. Hi Brenda, thank you so much for your understanding, and this story is meant to be short 😍… No please don’t feel that you have bothered me. On the contrary, I felt very encouraged by the eagerness in your last comment. 💗 Hugs and kisses to you! 😘

    • Brenda on September 30, 2015 at 10:47 pm
    • Reply

    Hello Dear Ms. Puddle and QuevivaCandy! Thanks for your response. I really appreciate your reply about
    this point. I hope we can get more information about Candy ‘s last chapters story. I honestly like your
    style much more than Kyōko Mizuki work. I guess she is shy about romantic scenes. I also hope you ‘ll get
    some sparetime to enjoy yourself.

    It was very nice to meet you too!
    Love
    Brenda.

    1. Dear Brenda, thanks again. What you said made me blush… 😍😄😆

      Candy Candy was originally written for young girls, and I’m not sure if Mizuki is shy though… The forced kiss from Terry was shocking to many. 😂😉

      Warmest regards! 😘

    • Brenda Mary Cross Martinic on September 30, 2015 at 7:05 pm
    • Reply

    Dear Ms. Puddle’s
    Thanks so much for your response. Yeah! I have already read the manga too, but my son
    told me I should get the original version. Can´t wait to buy it in colours!
    You are right! It might be the spelling variants. ( w.houseofnames.com/ardlay-family-crest)
    As you can see, I found this VIP. Surname like an Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It really doesn’t say anything about Andrew/Andrews, which I have found written in the manga
    and on Facebook as well! Besides nothing is clear yet, until the author gives us some more clues! What do you think? Sorry, I honestly like Ardley much better last name for Candy. (myheritage.es/last-name/ardley)

    Anyway, please continue with your wonderful stories and thoughts about Candy and Albert.
    I am delighted to read them and to check up your beautiful drawings too! I hope you will
    Publish a book someday. You are talented enough to do so!
    Regards,

    Brenda.
    Ps. Would you draw pictures of C & A babies too?
    ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKtKfl8GaRY

      • Quevivacandy on September 30, 2015 at 7:45 pm
      • Reply

      Hello MsPuddle and Brenda!

      May I join? I was reading your comments about the spelling of the “A” lastname. As you both say, in the web we found many forms to spell it. The manga has Andrew and Ardlay, and the anime Andrew, Ardlay and Andley. It is a complete mess. At the end, I guess it’s a matter of taste. I like Andrew the best, 😛

      How ever, we can say we have an official translation to western alphabet. Here you found how the italians have translated the names and surnames (I guess they did based on how they sound in japanese).

      Ardlay
      Lagan (Leagan)
      Georges Villers (George Johnson)
      Brighton (Britter – sometimes I have read it in manga and anime as Brighton but usually is Britter)
      Alistair / Stair (Stear)
      Sister Lane (In Spanish we always have known her as Sister María)
      Sister Kreis (Sister Grace)

      Right now I don’t remember others but the nicknames, oh my!!!

      1. Hello Brenda and QuevivaCandy!

        Yes, there are many different names, but thanks for the list in the Italian version, QuevivaCandy! In Japanese, the last name sounds like AR-DE-LAY. Therefore, Ardlay is the closest. 😊

    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Brenda! I like writing stories, but it takes up a lot of my time, so right now I need a break. For me, drawing takes less time. 😜😝

      Babies? One day I might. Perhaps when it’s near mother’s day or father’s day. 😘😍

      • Reeka on September 30, 2015 at 11:35 pm
      • Reply

      Hello My dear Ms Puddle & QuevivaCandy, and Brenda,

      Probably I can give a little contribution ^_^ for this confusing name translation.

      In Indonesian translation, almost all the names were translated similarly like those in English. Except, Candice is Candies, Ardley is Audrey, Granchester becomes Grandchester, and Terruce is Terrence and Therius. Indonesia, btw, has a very strong background relationship with Japan, so Japanese is not very foreign. Thus I believe the translation would be quite close. Like the end of manga, the scene that very often mistranslated, it says exactly like Ms Puddle’s translation directly from Japan version.

      And to me, I like Ardley or Ardlay the most.

      1. Hello Ladies!

        May I give you a little contribution too for the name translation? In French manga it’s André but I don’t like it at all. In my own story I choose Ardley but I’ve hesitated a lot between Ardlay and Ardley and I eventually choose the last one because of the scene you described Brenda, indeed, in the anime we can see Ardley in newspaper. Like you Reeka, I like Ardley or Ardlay the most.
        For Candy White it’s Candy Neige, neige means snow that’s beautiful.
        Leagan becomes Legrand.
        About George, in French it’s Georges with final S because without final S it’s a rare feminine name 😆 like George Sand a French writer!
        It’s a terrible mess, indeed! But it’s always a problem when you translate from a different alphabet! But at the end, this doesn’t change their characters! 😉

        1. Bonjour Candy Bert, I also like Ardlay and Ardley the most. It’s the closest to the original Japanese pronunciation.

          I actually like Candy Neige. ❤ Sounds very nice. About Leagan, I actually don’t know its real name. I just borrowed “Leagan” from a fanfic that I read. In Japanese it sounds like “Lagan” or “Ragan”.

          In CCFS, George has a French name, because he’s from France! So he’s Georges Villers, not George Johnson like many had thought.

          I agree with you. The translations are different but the characters remain the same. 😜😝

      2. Hi Reeka, so Terry has two names that sound like each other? In CCFS, his name is officially Terrus/Terruce but Candy and Susanna called him Terry. 🙂 I believe Annie and others called him Terry too, but I’m not sure at this moment.

          • Reeka on October 4, 2015 at 9:56 pm
          • Reply

          I’ve just checked my manga, apparently on volume 3, when Terry made an entrance at the morning pray, Sister Grey called him “Terrance G. Grandchester”. Later on volume 4, when The Duke visited him and asking about him meeting up with Eleanor in Scotland, the duke called him “Therius”. I guess it’s changed when the translator realised it actually sounded like “Terruce” on japanese translation? LOL. However, whenever he’s called by his nickname Terry, it’s also Terry in my manga.

          Btw, here we also had Leagan. Since japanese don’t have L alphabet, but pronounce R more like an L, so it’s all mixed up. :D. I think it means Leagan or Legan. Or, Reagan? :D:D

          1. I see! Thanks, Reeka dear! 😘😍

    • Brenda on September 28, 2015 at 5:29 pm
    • Reply

    Dr.Ms.Puddle Heaven,

    I’d like to tell you How much I enjoy reading your blog/stories
    about Candy and Albert!
    Thanks for sharing with us your thoughts.
    I am from Lima,Peru. Bu tthe only thing I would like
    is, if you could please write Albert’s surname as ARDLEY,
    which should be the right spelling. I saw it written on chapter
    114 when I was watching a DVD about Candy anime. She tried
    To find granduncle William, so it was written in the newspaper,
    therefore I searched http://www.ancestry.co.uk/name-origin?surname=ardley
    Anyway, thanks so much for accepting my subscription and for your
    beautiful work!
    best regards.
    Brenda.

    1. Hola Brenda! Nice to meet you. 😘

      Yes, Albert’s family name has many variants, and I actually got the name “Ardlay” from the manga version. Have you read it? Albert sent a parcel to Candy from Rockstown. He wrote her name as Candys W. Ardlay. I didn’t use Candys though because it’s not as common as Candice or Candace. 😊

      I know Ardley is also a big family name. I’m not sure which one is correct however. 😜 In fact, I don’t know the last name of Eliza and Neil. I found “Leagan” in some fanfic so I borrowed it. 😊😅

      Thank you for your feedback. I appreciate it. Saludos!! 😍😘

    • Quevivacandy on September 24, 2015 at 3:42 pm
    • Reply

    Hello my dear friend!

    I am so sorry I couldn’t read your blog ’til today. Things have been pretty busy over here and for some reason, I sensed the need to wait to read this chapter after I had uploaded mine, but even when that happened, some things came up that took me away from my original intention, but finally, here I am.

    First, I cannot believe what you did with that kiss!!!! lol… I guess I just had a taste of my own medicine. LOL… I was thinking there wasn’t any kiss at that moment but at the sametime so happy you had decided to write it and then…. plop… it was a dream, lol… I swear I haven’t read this chapter and but had the same idea since the very beginning of my fic… yep, I guess we were mean with our readers but in a good way, lol…

    And about the timing of the letter, we did exactly! I am really impressed!

    I was really touched when Albert gave back his badge to Candy, my heart was in a dream… but I was more than touched with his love confession… awww I want to be Candy!!! And that final kiss, oh my! I felt it like I was part of it…

    Also, I was in shock when aunt Elroy showed up… and then what? Albert was missing… The dialogue between Candy and Aunt Elroy, I had a hint you based it in Pride and Prejudice and how Lizzie put in place Darcy’s aunt, hehehe… I just love that scene and in this case, I love the way Candy face up the old lady… It was about time. 😛

    Another thing, I was surprised you also wrote Candy took with her the Sweet Candy from their trip to Lakewood but having read your review, now I see we also share the timing of Mr. Whitman letter…

    My friend, do not take me wrong or misunderstand my words, but many things you have written in this chapter, I already had thought them to that happens in my story, well, not the situation but the lines they say, 🙂 Now, I feel like I should have awaited to upload at least two more chapters before reading yours, hehehe hope you will bear with me. 🙂

    And thank you so much for have mentioned my story and for what you have said about it, I really really appreciatte it.

    Congrats for a marvelous chapter! You really know how to get us into the story.

    1. Dear QuevivaCandy, hola! 💕

      Don’t worry. I suppose our fics had reached the same stage, and I figured you didn’t want to get affected by what I would write. I totally understand. 😜 However, this is officially the last chapter. The next one is the epilogue already. 😅

      Yes, this is a short story, and I let the readers know about yours instead, which is so much longer and detailed. 😘😍

      Taste your own medicine? 😆 Yes, indeed, just at different times by a different person. Lol…

      About Candy and Aunt Elroy, right from the beginning I already planned this scene based on P&P, to show my readers that Candy is so lucky to have Albert. I’m sure he would fight for her in CCFS. They would marry, and there’s no need to wait for everyone to accept his choice of future spouse. He was an independent adult, not obliged to anyone, not even his aunt. Don’t you agree? 😍

      Yes, concerning the letter to Mr. Whitman, I’m in total agreement with you, my friend. 💕 Thanks again for taking the time to read my story, and keep up your good work on yours, QuevivaCandy! 👍💞

        • Quevivacandy on September 24, 2015 at 5:00 pm
        • Reply

        Thank you so much for kind words,

        About to taste my own medicine,well, It happened the very same day, a saturday, 2 weeks after their trip to Lakewood, just a few hours later, lol… but yes, just the character changed. 😀

        And I totally agree with you about Albert’s reaction in case he would have to fight for her. There is no one, even his own aunt, that could stop him to be with the woman he loves. Thinking about it, I just realized ’til now about P&P, “supposedly” (I’ not sure if that was a trick) Darcy was engaged to her cousin but at the end, he did what he felt in her heart. 😀

        Anyway, I guess you will smile when you read what I had planned, hehehe Are you sure you didn’t dig in my brain? lol

        I will read the epilogue later, right know I have to do some chores… 🙁

        Congrats again for a short but well done story! Cheers to you!

        1. Exactly, my dear friend!! Hahaha… It’s not the first time we think alike… Lol 😆

          Yup, nobody could stop Albert from marrying Candy. He was waiting for her to confirm her decision because he respected her, not because he was a weak person. He was actually strong willed himself. His aunt had no authority over him whatsoever. As in P&P, Lady Catherine couldn’t force Darcy to marry her daughter even though he was ‘supposedly’ betrothed to her, or so she thought. 😉

    • Tiny12 on September 9, 2015 at 4:29 pm
    • Reply

    Awwwww!!!! Ms puddle beautiful chapter, i was waitting for their first kiss and you give me that and their engagement too its more that i imagined thanks i”ll be waitting for the next chapter

    1. Muchas gracias Tiny12!!! ❤ I’m very happy to hear that you found this chapter beautiful. It’s very encouraging, and yes, I know, many things happened within one chapter. Thanks again for your continued support! 😘

    • Evelyn on September 8, 2015 at 10:23 pm
    • Reply

    Hello dear Ms Puddle!! Where do I start? I’m so touched! So many great parts 🙂 love the turn of events between Candy, Great aunt Elroy and Albert! Good for Candy for not backing down to Aunt Elroy’s selfish demands! So much like her to act this way toward Candy trying to use her influence to get her way to obtain what she wants!

    I always wondered how would Albert or Candy would disclose their love for each other but this is brilliant to have Candy make the confession of her feelings for Albert to Aunt Elroy and to have Albert hear the whole thing!! Oh my!! 😜😅 last night when I read that Albert told Candy that he loved her back, I gasped and my eyes doubled in size right along with Candy! Was not expecting that! ❤️❤️ So tender and pure that moment! Love love the part when Candy pushed away from Albert when she realized Aunt Elroy’s anger and Albert immediately grabbing her by her hand! His gesture was sooooo romantic to say the least! Love how he stands up for her to defend her and honor her the way she deserves. ❤️

    Aunt Elroy’s comment: ” what is it like to marry for love?” is so profound, made me think!!! Do we know if she ever married at all?

    And the story keeps giving between Candy and Albert, their love story could only come to fruition up on Pony’s hill where they first met each other, his confession to Candy as being her prince happened there also, and naturally it only makes sense that he would propose on that very spot! ❤️❤️😘 The wonderful swing with his proposal carved on it, Albert getting on one knee, the ring and “The Kiss”. Oh my!!! They are so in love with each other! You have made every detail pop, so vivid. Thank you for also giving us Albert’s POV on how he slowly fell for Candy and the turmoil he lived in his heart when he was amnesic. The way he relied on Candy just as she relied on him! Cudos to you, my friend for another great chapter!!! Thank you for your time!! ❤️

    1. Hola mi querida amiga! 😍 I was touched by your enthusiastic comment too, so thank you so much for taking the time to send me positive feedback! ❤

      Yes, it’s time for Aunt Elroy to take action 😆 … It’s unlike her if she relented without even trying. Don’t you think? 😉 Given her position in the family, she couldn’t do much to influence William anymore but she could easily affect Candy.

      When I first started to write this story, I’d thought of various ways for Albert to confess. For sure I don’t want it to be too similar to his confession on the Hill about being Prince on the Hill. It was quite special the two different ways Mizuki had described in the manga and CCFS. I’m soooo glad you like what I have written in this chapter. 😘😍

      Yes, Albert clasped Candy’s hand when she hesitated. He knew how his aunt had managed to intimidate her all these years, and he wanted her to know he was there for her, ready to protect her. After all, he wasn’t afraid of Aunt Elroy whatsoever. The engagement party in the manga gave us a solid proof of his authority over Madam Elroy. Right, dear Evelyn?

      Aunt Elroy did marry once. Sarah Leagan was her step-daughter. Aunt Elroy married Sarah’s late father, who had died long time ago. So in a sense, Sarah was an orphan herself.

      However, I believe Aunt Elroy didn’t marry for love. It’s highly likely her marriage had been arranged, which was very common back then.

      Like you, I think it would be ideal Albert proposed to Candy on Pony’s Hill. It isn’t written in CCFS, but I imagined somehow he would declare his love to Candy either on the Hill or somewhere near Pony’s Home. 😉 😝

      I’m very happy you noticed that in Albert’s confession to his aunt that he and Candy needed each other. It wasn’t one way. Candy in CCFS wrote about how she enjoyed being with him, like he gave her a marvelous sense of security, but in his letters to her we can tell he was grateful to her–she had saved his life from despair too.

      Thanks again for your continued support, my friend!! ❤😍

        • Evelyn on September 9, 2015 at 11:48 am
        • Reply

        Yes definitely my friend!! Albert’s authority is sufficiently displayed in the manga when he confronted Aunt Elroy at Candy’s forced engagement party. You can see that he is able to get angry and apply his authority when needed to protect Candy.

        It is my honor dear Ms Puddle! Thank you for allowing me to be a part! Thank you!!! ❤❤❤ 😛

        1. So true, dear Evelyn! It’s one of my favorite scenes in the manga, in which Albert was visibly angry and even openly rebuked his aunt before the guests. The old lady had oppressed Candy for years, and finally someone dared to stand up for Candy, protecting her from the powerful matriarch. The matriarch’s reactions to her nephew’s sudden appearance and reproof were priceless, which is enough to show who in the family was the one in charge. 🙂 ❤

    • Luna on September 8, 2015 at 2:02 pm
    • Reply

    Hello Dear Ms Puddle,

    It is really nice to see that at last Albert is sure about Candy s love. I really appreciate his reaction in your story when his aunt was trying to convince Candy to leave him. And I like a lot when Candy said her love without any fear. This scene is actually very looking like the scene where Albert was hearing Candy s defence for him against neighbours. Just instead of staying in silence and leaving later, this time he showed up and he did what should be done for his love👍Well,we could say,history didn’t repeat itself😊..

    Thank you very much for this chapter and many greetings❤️

    1. Bonjour Luna my friend! 🙂 Merci beaucoup! ❤

      Albert had spent more than half a day in the mountain lodge making a wooden swing for Candy. Before going to Lakewood, he had given his aunt a heads up about his courtship with Candy. Thus, he was on his way to propose to Candy but happened to overhear their conversation. This time, knowing for sure about Candy’s love for him, he wouldn’t let anyone, not his aunt or George, get in his way. That was why George had no idea where he was. Does this make sense to you? 🙂

      Good point about comparing this scene to that particular scene in the manga. Interesting thought! You’re right; history didn’t have to repeat itself. 😛 😉 Albert showed up and defended Candy. I think the major difference this time is that he knew Candy loved him 🙂 😉 whereas back in the apartment he had felt he was nothing but a burden to Candy. 🙁

      Thanks again for your support! ❤❤

    • Vera García on September 8, 2015 at 9:55 am
    • Reply

    An affectionate greeting Ms. Puddle

    Gracias por tan excelente, conmovedor y romántico capítulo.
    Es genial la manera de introducirnos en el capítulo a través de un sueño, donde el anhelo más profundo de Candy se hace presente, pero también subconscientemente Candy ha soltado su pasado al dejar caer su diario.
    La postura intransigente de la tía Elroy no es justificable, pero si comprensible por su carácter, por su paradigma y experiencia propia. Estaba fuera de sus posibilidades aceptar que el verdadero amor, no se ajusta a caprichos e intereses de conveniencia social.
    La única opción de Albert es explicar porque sus sentimientos hacia Candy están basados en un amor honesto y profundo.
    En verdad con forme avanzaba en la lectura mi alma estaba plena de emoción con la descripción de los acontecimientos y la forma tan única, sencilla y especial de la declaración de amor y solicitud de matrimonio de Albert. Además refleja la esencia de la personalidad de Albert y de Candy.

    Que tenga un excelente semana, su amiga Vera.

    1. Hola Vera mi querida amiga! ❤

      I’m very happy you liked this chapter and found it romantic. 🙂 ❤ You’re absolutely right, that subconsciously Candy longed to be kissed by her prince, and in her dream she dropped her old diary. 😉 I’m glad you noticed that, my friend!

      About Madam Elroy, she was desperate. She wanted to use her power to do whatever to hinder the relationship between her nephew and the orphan. However, Albert arrived just in time to save the day. Thanks again Vera for your encouraging words to me! Yes, their love was pure and true. ❤

      You have a wonderful week too! Saludos y abrazos! 😍

    • Ruth on September 7, 2015 at 8:09 pm
    • Reply

    Hola Ms Puddle si al leer el capitulo me pareció orgullo y prejuicio, este capitulo me encantó y más por el beso que se dieron y porque el le pidió Matrimonio. Gracias por compartirlo.
    Saludos y más inspiración.

    1. Muchas gracias, Ruth! 😍 I’m happy you like the chapter, the proposal and the kiss! Gracias!

      Saludos y abrazos! ❤

  1. Dear Ms Puddle
    Tout comme Reeka, j’étais déroutée en lisant le début du chapitre, je me suis demandée si je n’avais pas raté un chapitre !
    Un rêve, vous êtes très joueuse Ms Puddle ! 😉
    Incroyable la Tante Elroy qui se déplace elle-même à la Maison de Pony pour dissuader Candy de revoir Albert, j’ai cru qu’elle allait réussir son coup. Mais heureusement le Pince de la Colline est arrivé à temps au moment où personne ne s’y attendait. Quelle belle déclaration d’amour et de plus devant sa tante. Je trouve son entretien avec sa tante très touchant et émouvant et il ne renoncera pas à Candy peu importe ce que pense les gens.
    La demande en mariage et le premier baiser sur la colline est romantique à souhait et la balançoire gravée, cela est si mignon, j’adore !
    Bravo Ms Puddle, un magnifique chapitre où il s’est passé beaucoup de choses 😀

    1. Bonjour Antlay my dear! Thank you so much for your encouraging words! ❤

      Sorry to have confused you and Reeka 😉 😛 Yes, I skipped a bit in the story. Wish I had time to write some more in between. Sigh… Hope you like the dream though. 🙂

      I believe in CC Aunt Elroy had never gone to the orphanage, but her appearance indicates how desperate she was to stop the inevitable. 😉 She knew she couldn’t do much to alter her nephew, so she chose the easier target. Makes sense to you? 😝

      Yes, I want Albert to show Candy that he wouldn’t let anybody, including his aunt, to influence his decision. At the same time, he wanted his aunt to know he was deeply in love with Candy. ❤❤

      I’m so happy you like the swing, the proposal and and the kiss. Like I said to Candy Bert, I didn’t want to repeat myself, and I need to think of something different from my other stories. 🙂 😘

    • Memchew on September 6, 2015 at 7:09 pm
    • Reply

    Oh, my! Ms Puddle!!! Can’t wait for the next one! Love Pride and Prejudice!!! Lizzie and Mr. Darcy- another fave couple of mine! The kiss was just- mmmmm- electrifiying😍😍! Thank you! Thank you! Oh, did I say thank you already?😜
    I love that you had taken time to also flush out the other characters. Make it more engaging and make me appreciate Albert and Candy when they interact with them. Again, patiently waiting!!!

    1. Hello Memchew! I’ve loved Pride and Prejudice ever since I was young. Up till now, I think I’ve read the entire book about three to four times. 😝 Honestly, I do see some parallels between P&P and CC, at least Mr. Darcy and WAA. Yes, you did say thank you, Memchew. 😆 Glad you like the kiss. 😍 I guess you like my Aunt Elroy? Thank you for your encouraging words! 🙂

  2. Hello Ms Puddle!

    It’s already bedtime for me but I want to write a few words.

    Aww! Thank you for this beautiful chapter! I love it! ❤

    The visit of Ms Elroy was indeed unexpected and when I was reading I thought, oh no! She’s going to blackmail Candy on the reputation of her nephew and his sake! Phew!!! Albert has overheard all, it’s great! And their love confession in front of her I would not have dared it! 😉

    I love what Albert said to his aunt, how he explained his despair, and all Candy had done for him, how he wanted to convince her that Candy is the only woman worths his love, how she is genuine and had supported him at all cost, all what he thinks of her, so touching!

    And of course the proposal so original and on the Pony’s hill just were they met the first time, and the carved wooden swing, brilliant as Reeka said. Bravo my friend! And the first kiss, breathtaking and touching! ❤❤❤

    1. Dear Candy Bert! Thank you for your kind words! ❤ Since I had written similar stuff in my other stories, and I didn’t want to repeat myself, I had to think of something quite different. I’m actually relieved to hear from you and Reeka that this particular scene and love confession was unexpected. That’s a compliment to me. Thank you! ❤

      I’m also glad you found Albert’s words to his aunt touching. 🙂 About the proposal, I want something simple but Albert had to put in his time and effort, which probably meant more to Candy. 😉 Just my 2 cents though. Thanks again for your support! 🙂

    • Reeka on September 5, 2015 at 11:02 pm
    • Reply

    Goodness, Ms Puddle!! You surpass my expectation for this story. Unexpected turn of event, and a dramatic one it is indeed (just like Aunt Elroy had thought).

    I’ll make this comment short and quick, & later give the more appropriate one.

    You had already surprised me with the arrival of Aunt Elroy at Pony’s Home. I never saw it coming. Then I thought …oh no, another obstacle, Ms Puddle really wouldn’t let Albert and Candy united easily. ;-)). Then Albert’s coming … and heard Candy’s love declaration, with Aunt Elroy herself as the witness. And their PDA in front of the matriarch … Oh God, it couldn’t get any better that this.

    And the proposal … the breathless kiss … 🙂 on the swing he crafted with love, under that tree on the Pony Hill. BRILLIANT, my friend. Very well executed.

    Hugs.

    1. Awww… Thank you Reeka for your compliments. I’m so happy, speechless actually, that you enjoyed reading this chapter, even the drama. 🙂 It wasn’t an easy chapter to write, and I kept it short and to the point. So glad you like their PDA too. 😀

      Hugs to you too. Have a great Sunday!

      • Reeka on September 7, 2015 at 6:26 am
      • Reply

      Hello, my dear. Here I am again. 🙂

      When I read this chapter, first I was a bit clueless. I thought, wait a minute … how the previous chapter ended? Why suddenly Albert and Candy were in intimate atmosphere. Then when I thought he was kissing her, then … boom! It’s a dream. Hahaha I can’t believe it. Candy was desperately missed Albert, so much so she dreamed to be kissed by him.

      But yeah … she must feel nervous, excited, uneasy, unsure … all those mixed feeling altogether. The moment where we are sure our feeling reciprocated, but love hasn’t yet been declared.

      As much as I love the proposal and the first passionate kiss moments, the best part of this chapter to me is Candy-Aunt Elroy- Albert scene. You know how I feel about Aunt Elroy. All she needed was Albert’s affection. She’s a woman after all. And she loves him like her own son. Here on this chapter, you show how Aunt Elroy was surprised and touched by the gentle way Albert talked to her. And she must know, it was because of Candy. By accepting Candy, Aunt Elroy certainly would gain her nephew’s affection. I really like the way you picture Albert’s gesture here. Warm, gentle, yet determined.

      Ms Puddle, somehow I knew that you would point out Candy’s willingness to do anything for being with Albert. True that she had a free spirit, but she’s matured now. And if her beloved vagabond could live the life of a patriarch, so could she. She saw it from Albert that with power and money, you could help those underprivileged people. So, all the arguments about Candy couldn’t be with Albert because she couldn’t live as a matriarch, is non sense :).

      Oh well, it’s not me if I don’t bring up the proposal and the kiss scenes again … 🙂 I’m smiling now. In my ideal CC world, it is on Pony Hill where Albert should propose her. And nothing more perfect than it is also a place where they experience their first real kiss. But, I may say that the cherry on the cake for this whole scene is the wooden swing. I imagine they would tell their children about their proposal story when they bring them up to the hill.

      Is the next chapter a finale? 🙁

      1. Hello dear Reeka!

        Yes, some months had elapsed since the end of previous chapter. By then, Candy was head over heels already, 😆 so much so that she remembered the shape of his lips 😉 😮

        I’ve always believed the last letter from Candy to Albert is the turning point in their relationship. Not only he let her know his secret nickname, he allowed her to address him as such from now on. Candy also walked in the memorial Hall the first time in her life, with Albert. I think Mizuki had implied something. Like QuevivaCandy, I think Albert essentially introduced Candy to his parents. ❤

        No wonder Candy wrote such a letter to Albert afterwards. She was so bold and straightforward about her feelings for Albert. I mean if she wasn’t sure, she wouldn’t have written about being this thankful to her parents, right?

        I wished I could write a bit about the diary, but I have written so much about it in my other story and in several posts already, so I opted not to. 😉

        Therefore, my focus is on the triangle: Candy-Albert-Aunt Elroy. I’m thrilled to hear that you like this part the best. I’ve spent most of my time on writing this particular scene, so thanks for your encouraging words, my friend! ❤❤ You bet, I want to show that Madam Elroy was just human, and Albert’s tenderness would move her. Unlike some fanfic writers, I think Albert didn’t hate his aunt. In his letter to Candy he said his aunt loved him in her own way, and he knew it.

        Totally agree with you, Reeka, that Candy was willing to give up her life in the orphanage for her prince. As you said before, she was willing to learn to be a lady for Anthony and Uncle William, so it only makes sense she was more than willing to do that for the man she loved. ❤

        Like you, I think Pony’s Hill was special to both Albert and Candy, so my romantic side also wished Mizuki could have written the scene about their first kiss on the hill. Oh well… 😉 So I did. Lol… About the wooden swing, you read my mind, Reeka!! Albert wanted others, including his offspring, to know how much he loved Candy. It wasn’t unlike those hearts and arrows people carved on tree barks. 🙂 ❤

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