Jun 12 2016

A Man in Love – Chapter 1

Soon after writing my minific Reunion, this short story formed in my head. I hope you like it as much as my other stories. If you do, please let me know. I’d like to hear from you. 🙂

— Ms Puddle

Chapter 1

No words… in fact, nobody, including myself, can describe the extent of my great relief. When I thought today was just another ordinary day in summer, he appeared out of nowhere this late afternoon.

Sir Ardlay, your precious son is actually alive and well!! Who could have thought that God has kept him in Chicago all these months.

Not only that, he’s like a totally different person. For a big change, no more sunglasses, unkempt hair or any disguise that shrouds his features. Unfortunately, his unruly hair, black shirt and casual pants made my secretary highly suspicious of his intentions, in spite of his cleanly shaven face. She flatly refused to let him see me without an appointment.

Now that I think about it, I’m more than grateful that I wasn’t working inside my office then, and I happened to have forgotten an important document for a meeting, which rarely occurs. If not, I could have missed him. Who can predict when he would feel like showing up again?

Anyway, on the way back to my office from the meeting room, when I overheard a question, “May I leave a message for Mr. Villers then?”, I felt like my head had been struck by a hammer. This young man with short blond hair, whose back was facing me, had the most familiar voice I’d ever known. Although he had broader shoulders and more sinewy arms than the man I remembered, hope began to rise in me at a rapid rate, and my heart raced so badly that its beat roared in my ears. Before I knew it, an uncertain murmur emerged from my mouth, “Sir?”

To my chagrin, my voice cracked as though I could hardly control my feelings. Yet, I couldn’t help bringing myself closer to him. I must admit I could barely wait to find out if this unexpected encounter signified the end of my agonized search all over the world.

The suspense didn’t last long; he flinched at the sound of my voice, like he was just as shocked. Within seconds, he whirled around with both his hands stretched towards mine and blurted out, “Georges!”

As our gaze met, for a long moment neither of us could speak. He was scrutinizing me as carefully as I was scrutinizing him. If Anthony had survived the accident, he would have grown to be a duplicate of his uncle now, but would Anthony have such an athletic build?

Minutes later, his serious features broke into a smile of mingled joy and regret. I even caught a glint of moisture in his blue eyes. In fact, I was not any better; as I endured the onslaught of emotions that threatened to overtake me, the sting of tears burnt the back of my eyes and a lump lodged in my throat. For Heaven’s sake, the only son of my benefactor had been missing for more than two years. The panic that I had experienced when he, as a teenager, had escaped from the Lakewood villa out of frustration, was nothing when compared to the dreadful reality I had to face every day ever since I had lost track of his whereabouts in Kenya.

“It’s been a while,” his mutter shattered the awkward silence at last, giving me an eager handshake. By then I had composed myself and decided to reschedule the meeting. My secretary, Mrs. Thompson, frowning and eyeing my visitor once more before asking incredulously, “Mr. Villers, are you su-”

I cut her off by waving my hand and nodding emphatically, striving to contain my impatience. Nothing could be more urgent than catching up with Master William. Now that he had returned safe and sound, I had lots to do.

While I was talking to her, she kept casting doubtful glances at the young man behind me. Hence, he put a hand on my shoulder and raised a valid question, “Georges, aren’t you going to introduce me?”

It caught me off guard nonetheless. I’ve grown accustomed to keeping his identity a secret all these years, and without a direct order from him, I would always keep my mouth shut.

Thus, at my nonplussed demeanor, he gave me a nod of approval. However, how much could I tell? My old secretary, who had recently retired, had never met him in person, and this Mrs. Thompson was a new hire.

In response to my hesitance, my master stepped up and introduced himself, “My name is William A. Ardlay. Nice to meet you.”

At the sound of this solemn name, her jaw dropped, and color drained from her cheeks. She froze for one long second before drawing a sharp intake of breath. Only then she remembered her manners and covered her mouth with her hand.

She probably was unaware that I was taken aback as well. Today was full of surprises indeed, and yet I managed to hide my bewilderment and introduce her to my boss. All the while she was unable to respond verbally, so I cast her an understanding nod and directed my attention back to Master William. After sharing a knowing look with him that said, ‘yes, what do you expect?’, I led him to my office without delay.

While making sure that the door was securely locked, Miss Candice’s sparkling emerald orbs unexpectedly resurfaced in my mind. It’s a shame that I have unintentionally neglected her for many months. In fact, she had long stopped writing to Granduncle William for unknown reason. If not I’d learned from Master Archie lately that she had actually left the hospital for some time, I wouldn’t have found out.

If my boss was to ask me about her, what was I supposed to tell him? That I had devoted all my time and energy attempting to track him down, so much so that I had inadvertently forgotten about his adoptive daughter?

At this very moment, mortification suffused me. The mere thought that I had no idea where she was and what she was doing for a living embarrassed me beyond words. Just then, my master remained standing and spoke up, “Georges, I don’t plan to stay long today; my friend is expecting me home.”

“Friend? Home?” I echoed as though I heard something wrong.

He nodded. “Yes, my friend. We have been roommates not long after I returned to Chicago two years ago.”

My eyes must have doubled in size that he heaved a heavy sigh, his lips curling up into an apologetic smile. Then he began, “Georges, I owe you a detailed explanation. Long story short, I lost all my memory after an accident in Italy. Was transferred back to this city and treated in hospital for some time. There I met a friend who recognized me and gave me a name. Before long, I moved out with this friend…”

He went on, making it very brief and to the point. According to him, his memory had just returned yesterday. Then he wrapped up, “I’m ready to resume my role in my family, but please don’t tell my aunt anything yet. I’ll pay her a visit either tomorrow or the day after. She must have been worried sick, and it’s best for her to see me in person when I break the news to her that I have been hospitalized for weeks.”

“Sir,” I nodded in agreement but quickly followed up. “Are you saying you’re not going home… today?”

I emphasized the word “home” because undoubtedly this word had another meaning to him now.

As expected, he slowly shook his head. With a sheepish grin on his face, he produced a slip from his pocket. “Here, this is my current address. Please come and pick me up tomorrow morning at ten o’clock. Also, bring me a suit.”

Suit? Doesn’t he always hate formal business attires? What’s happened to Master William?

Nevertheless, I acknowledged by nodding. Then he turned on his heel, ready to leave, but I worked up my courage to stop him. “Sir William, please forgive me for asking. What’s this strong smell of antiseptic? Are you injured by any chance?”

Upon hearing my inquiry, his cheeks grew pale. He just stared at me, speechless, and yet his inscrutable countenance gave little away. “Nothing can escape you, my loyal assistant,” he responded after a couple of seconds of silence, choosing his words cautiously. “Yes… this afternoon, but I’ve been taken care of. You need not worry.”

He was determined not to relate it to me, so I didn’t push him either. Yet, I offered to give him a ride home. While he hesitated, I reasoned, “Because I’d like to meet your friend. We should thank him and reward-”

While I was still talking, he threw his head back and guffawed in a booming voice. Later, he stifled his laughter, regaining his composure, and said, “Sure. I’ll arrange… when she’s ready.”

“What?” I exclaimed, aghast. “I beg your pardon?” He has been living with a woman all this time?

Regrettably, my flabbergasted reaction didn’t affect him whatsoever this time. Rather than answering me, he turned down my kindness. “I’ll fill you in when I have a chance, Georges. I’d better get going. She has no idea I have come here, and it’s getting dark. She might be upset… who knows?”

As he chuckled afterwards, I had a strong feeling that he didn’t want me to meet his lady friend yet. When I accompanied him out of my office, my secretary swiftly stood up from her chair and bowed low, earnestly apologizing for her condescending attitude earlier. As she straightened up, Master William simply shrugged his shoulders and remarked, flashing her a smile of reassurance, “No worries, Mrs. Thompson. Believe me, I’ve seen much, much worse.”

Then he turned towards me, shaking my hand, “Have a good evening, Georges. See you tomorrow.”

Only after he was gone did I read the slip he had given me. On the front he had written, “I didn’t mean to have disappeared for so long. My sincere apology.” On the back it was his address.

He still comes and goes like the wind, but I know where to find him, at least for the next little while. Relief washes over me because he’s in one piece, despite somehow injured, and didn’t ask anything about Miss Candice at all. It’s as if I was given a second chance. I should have ample time to catch up if I can get ahold of Master Archie at the mansion tonight.

For the time being, I have returned to my office to cancel all the searches in major European cities and Kenya. While writing detailed instructions for my secretary to send a dozen telegrams for this purpose, I can’t help but wonder about my master’s roommate.

Apparently, he’d rather stay with her in the outskirts of Chicago. But why? Who’s this lady? How and where did she meet him before his accident? What’s her age? Is she single? Perhaps she’s an old lady without a family? Or a young widow with no children? Or a coworker back in the Blue River Zoo in London?

Come to think of it, the looks in my master’s eyes can’t lie; he seemed content, like he was finally at peace with himself. More importantly, the fact that he was willing to introduce himself to a stranger using his full name implies that he was at ease with his destiny, something which he has tried to escape all his life.

Have I seen him this happy and upbeat before? Perhaps the last time was Rosemary’s wedding. Was it really that long ago?

Thinking about Rosemary, the way Master William’s eyes lit up when he mentioned his friend reminds me of a man in love, like Vincent. Besides, tenderness was evident in his voice as he spoke of her. Above all, he did use the word “roommate”, so does that mean they have been sharing the same bedroom?

Presently, something dawns on me. Can it be… Master William is married to her?

I laugh at myself. This is ridiculous. If they’re married, he would have addressed her as “my wife” instead of “my friend”. Yet, seriously, what’s the nature of their relationship?

For sure she’s someone who cares about him a lot, and if possible, he doesn’t want to upset her. That’s all I know because he was extremely secretive about her, if not somewhat defensive, and he was quite reluctant to talk more than necessary. Clearly, he no longer regards me as his confidant. I surmise I have to glean information from him by taking things slow. If something is meant to be, it will fall into place. I should not rush.

(To be continued…)

A Man in Love


Thanks to my friend Yue Chan on Twitter. She confirmed that William A. Ardlay’s assistant’s name in Candy Candy Final Story (CCFS) is Georges Villers.

This short story is mainly based on the manga version but mixed with CCFS, in which Pouppe passed away and Albert had been living with Candy as brother and sister for at least two years.

If you remember the lion attack in the manga, Albert’s white shirt was ruined by the lion’s claws. This story took place after the attack but before he came home and found Candy crying for Terry in the dark. Albert was dressed in black then.


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  1. A great surprise to read you again; I can´t imagine the George´s face to see again Albert.

    1. Thanks again for reading, dear Cristina!! 😍😘

  2. Bonjour Ms Puddle

    Une nouvelle histoire ! C’est toujours une grande joie et un plaisir de vous lire ! 💕💞💖
    En comblant les blancs de CCFS cela nous donne une idée du déroulement de l’histoire et particulièrement à partir du moment où Albert a retrouvé la mémoire et le moment où Candy apprend son identité à Lakewood.
    Et c’est d’autant plus intéressant du point de vue de George, lui qui connait si bien Albert il est à même de constater qu’il a changé, qu’il est maintenant prêt à prendre ses responsabilités et à tenir son rôle de patriarche de la famille.

    1. Bonjour mon amie, Antlay! 😍😘 Merci beaucoup!

      I know you’re busy, and thanks for taking the time to catch up. I have this story in my mind for a long time, and I just need to write it down. I’ve always believed Georges chose to be disobedient for the first time in his life for a very strong reason. 💗💞💓

    • Memchew on June 16, 2016 at 9:10 pm
    • Reply

    Ms Puddle!

    I am so thrilled that your creative juices are at it again! Thank you! I am a bit disppointed thst it will only be a short story. 😔😕😧. Just blame it on me being selfish! I promise I will enjoy every bit of reading!!!
    Can’t wait!


    1. Hello Memchew! Nice to know that you are also excited about this new story 😊 😍 Thank you so much for your eagerness and encouraging words, my friend! 😘💓

  3. I agree with you about Albert’s change, above all he didn’t know who he was during two years!

    I see now what scene you speak of, I made a confusion with another, when Candy found papers, under bed, cried during hours, fell asleep on them and then Albert went home, found her and carried her in bed. The way Albert took care of her is one of other scenes I prefer! Sigh!…

    My two cents, George will discover Albert’s “roomate” is Candy because of adress. Albert gave him his and George will ask Archie about Candy’s whereabouts! 😉

    1. Sorry I put this comment in the bad place!

      1. It’s alright. No worries😋

    2. Indeed Candy Bert… having no identity for such a long time could actually change a person.

      Yes my friend. I know which scene you meant earlier, and you’re right, Albert had just recovered and came home with a heavy heart… debating whether to break the news to Candy. Her devastated condition helped him make up his mind. He decided to stay with her for a little longer. Sigh…

      That’s my number one favorite scene too…he was in love with her and he knew. 💓💞

      About your guess, it’s logical, my writer friend! 😍 You will know if you’re right in my subsequent chapter(s). 😊

        • Reeka on June 15, 2016 at 9:36 am
        • Reply

        Candy Bert, I had quite similar guess! 😅. The address Albert gave probably sounded familiar to Georges. It could be Archie who once mentioned to him where Candy lived, or Candy herself had wrote Georges a letter asking about Granduncle William or simply updating him about her being.

        Oh well, let’s wait then, Ms Puddle said 😝

        1. Yes, indeed Reeka, we’ll have to wait, for once it’s my turn to wait for the next chapter wondering what the author intended, as we say in France, it is the sprinkler watered! 😛 😉

          1. Dear Candy Bert, I take your curiosity as my fuel to keep writing! Merci mon amie😘😍

    • Reeka on June 14, 2016 at 5:59 am
    • Reply

    You know, when I first saw the update notification, I thought it was your new blog series. I thought I would read it later. Then I saw your update on my FB timeline … And WAIT!! Was it a fanfiction?? 😅😅 I opened your blog right away and read it!!

    I love this chapter! Thank you! Yes yes … We’re intrigued to know what Albert had been through after he regained his memory. And yes, I always thought what would have happened with these both men when they met again for the first time after almost 2 years! Especially, what would have poor George felt to see his master alive and … in love! ^^. At first I was confused who on earth was Mr. Villers. 😂. I see … So it’s not Johnson.

    How many chapters do you plan to write, my dear and kind friend? 🙂 10? Or 15? 😆 I would love it. The longer the better. I really look forward to chapter 2! I want to know how you make George know who this woman his master has been living together with is. Will it be Albert telling him or George playing spy game?

    1. Reeka… what you said made me laugh… you know some people actually like reading my thoughts about CCFS 😉 There are still readers out there who don’t know about this novel or believe the rumors about Terry being Anohito… sigh 😅😆

      Anyway, glad you like this chapter, my dear friend. 😍 Of course this story is purely my imagination based on the manga, nothing official. 😋 Yet, I have struggled how I could describe George. He’s always in control and reserved, but I remember he actually shed tears the moment he had found Albert the teenager (forgot if this is only in the old novel though).

      Yes in CCFS Mizuki actually gave him a French last name. George with an ‘s” is French name too. We can ask Antlay or Candy Bert. 😆

      As I said, it’s only a short story, but each chapter will be short as well, so I don’t know the number of chapters yet. About how George found out, you will soon read it in the subsequent updates. Thank you for your enthusiasm, Reeka😍

      1. You’re right Ms Puddle, “Villers” is a French last name and I’ve already seen it as George’s last name in CCFS, but I don’t remember where. This name is basically worn by people who live in the region “Les Hauts de France” (formerly Picardie and Nord-Pas-de-Calais), it is also a word that composes the name of many municipalities such as “Villers-Côtterets” where Alexandre Dumas was born.
        About George(s), the name takes a final “s” in french for a male because George without “s” is for a female only and rare such as George Sand ! 😆

        Reeka, my friend, I completely understand your enthusiasm! I share the same feelings! 😉

        1. Merci beaucoup pour votre explication, Candy Bert!! 💞💓

          Thank you ladies for your enthusiasm. My honor indeed😍😘

  4. Hello Ms Puddle!

    What a great news Ms Puddle a new story, I’m so found of your fictions! I’m dancing of joy right now! 😆 Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!… 💖💗💓💞👏

    A very interesting George’s POV ! The reunion between Albert and George has very moved me, after two years of missing I can’t imagine the worries of the brown during all this time!
    George could figure out the feelings of Albert to his “roomate” and how he was secretive about this woman and the changes in his master’s behavior he seemed to be ready to take his destin of patriarch! I’m sure it was all for Candy, to protect her, to deserve her. 😉

    I’m wondering about your timeline, Ms Puddle, you placed the lion attack before Albert has found Candy crying on newspaper about Terry ? I thought it was after! I thought Albert had recovered his memories and found Candy crying on Terry the same day on the evening and later there was the lion attack. Perhaps you have a different plot in mind? 😉
    Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading the next chapter because I’m sure it will be a great story as always, my friend, and this period is one of my favorite in the manga when Albert and Candy lived together under the same roof!

    1. Bonjour Candy Bert! Thank you so much for your eager support and compliments 💞💗💓 Merci beaucoup😍😘

      Yes my friend, I feel that his experience as an amnesiac patient had changed Albert. No longer a vagabond, he was willing to ‘settle down’ and work long hours every day, even on weekends. I think Candy was one of the reasons though, not the only reason. Usually some sort of serious illness can totally change a person, don’t you think?

      Remember that after the lion’s attack, Candy went to a store to buy things for Dr Martin? There she read another magazine about Terry. Later that evening she was all alone at home, crying for him by the window? It was then Albert came home but didn’t disturb her. Yet, as soon as she saw Pouppe, she stopped crying because she didn’t want Albert to worry about her.

      Like you, this manga volume and the last one are my favorites. We see how they fell in love without knowing… sigh… 💞😘💗💓

        • Reeka on June 15, 2016 at 9:31 am
        • Reply

        I see … So what you meant by the time Albert found Candy crying over Terry, it was the one where she looked over the windows and Puppee came. I had thought it was the one when she decluttering and found out the hidden newspapers.

        Candy Bert & Ms Puddle,

        I also always think Candy held the major role on how Albert finally accepted his status as Patriach. Especially his experience being a penniless man, having to work hard as a dishwasher, he must have realised he couldn’t do much to protect Candy, the woman he loved. It must have been painful to him witnessing Candy had been mistreated by the hospital and Neil. I think when he regained his memory, he somewhat relieved ( beside the confusion and misery he felt for falling in love with his so called adoptive daughter) that he was WAA, a man so powerful and wealthy. With that, Candy’s well being was secured, wasn’t it?

        1. Indeed Reeka, and by working hard he could think less of his love for her since he thought she was always in love with Terry. Sigh!… And yet, Albert has matured somehow taking his responsibilities to his family.

            • Reeka on June 15, 2016 at 2:08 pm
            • Reply

            Yes. It was about the right timing. They had met each other so many times, only this time the time was right. Right person in the right time, when they both were ready.

            I must say, although material & status were the last things both Candy and Albert could care, but frankly, having money and power were far better than being hopeless and penniless. It’s just a matter of how to use the power and the wealth, and WAA was the right person to hold such privilege.

              • Ms Puddle on June 15, 2016 at 6:07 pm

              Thank you both Reeka and Candy Bert. Can’t agree with you more regarding WAA and his big change. 😋😆

          • Evelyn on June 28, 2016 at 9:20 pm
          • Reply

          Hi ladies!! Sorry for jumping in so late!! Great new mini fic Ms Puddle! 👏 I totally agree with you Reeka about Albert accepting his role as patriarch and stop running away from his duties and destiny because of Candy example. By living with Candy for so long he was able to see first hand how mature and a hard worker Candy was. How she faced life head on and handled whatever was thrown at her. I have no doubt that through her example Albert learnt responsibility and to not run away from his duties. That’s why in the epilogue in the letter exchanges between Albert and Candy, Albert shares with her how selfish he was running away from his duties. It all ties together perfectly 🙂 that’s why we do not see Albert picking up his sac to continue life as a vagabond but instead he jumps fully right into his work. I’m sure he also did this to forget about Candy since at that moment he believed she still was in love with Terry. Sigh!! But no doubt Candy had quite a bit if not everything to do with his new found attitude in life! 😉

          1. Hola, Evelyn, mi querida amiga! 😍💗 Yes, Candy set a good example for Albert to face his destiny. I think he did work before (like going to college and expanding his business in London, etc.) But just that he wanted freedom to choose what he wanted to do in his life (e.g. living in Africa taking care of animals etc.). Yes, Candy was a major reason for Albert’s change, but as I said, she wasn’t the only reason.

            Thank you Evelyn for taking the time to read and write your thoughts. 😘😍 I still haven’t forgotten your brilliant comment to my earlier post, but my muse has taken me to write a story instead 😅😄😁

    • Martha Cervantes Quiroga on June 13, 2016 at 4:17 pm
    • Reply

    Eres una genio y genial. Tus historias son como eslabones perdidos, piezas de rompecabezas que van llenando los espacios vacíos de la historia original. Un buen comienzo.
    I’ll be waitting for the next chapter!

    1. Muchas gracias por leer, mi querida amiga, Martha! Thank you for your encouraging words and compliments😍😘💗💞

    • JeannyJJ on June 13, 2016 at 3:45 pm
    • Reply

    So glad to read the new story! Can’t wait for next chapter!

    1. Thanks JeannyJJ! Nice to hear from you again! 💗💞💓

    • Eydie on June 13, 2016 at 3:20 pm
    • Reply

    Creo haber entendido la mayor parte gracias a google traductor, ya que no domino el inglés. Aun así mis felicitaciones. Creo que asi debio de sentirse albert exactamente.

    1. ¡Muchas gracias por leer, Eydie! It’s not easy to read using Google translator, so gracias!! 💓😘

    • Delia Diaz on June 13, 2016 at 8:14 am
    • Reply

    Me encanta. Gracias por compartir tan bello talento.

    1. Muchas gracias por leer, mi querida amiga, Delia! 💓😍💗

    • Anonymous on June 13, 2016 at 6:56 am
    • Reply

    Great! We can see the story from different side.

      • Dee Anne on June 13, 2016 at 9:03 am
      • Reply

      Agree with you 🙂

      1. Glad to know you like it, Dee Anne! 😘😍

    1. Thank you! That’s exactly what I have in mind. 😍

    • Tiny12 on June 13, 2016 at 6:46 am
    • Reply

    I love it ! Ms puddle, thanks for writting it. Ill be waitting for the next chapter!!!

    1. Thank you Tiny12! Nice to hear from you again💓💞

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