A Very Good Reason
Notes: If you remember in the animated series, after George takes Candy to meet Uncle William and she discovers he’s Albert, he invites her to the country house that belonged to the Andley family. When they’re reminiscing about their adventures, Albert tells Candy that he’d received a letter from George telling him that she had escaped from school, and he decided to return to the United States. His reasons were that the time had come to introduce himself as the head of the family and because he loved her. This part was crucial in the story, because to me he was confessing his love for her, but the series didn’t follow through. This fanfic takes part of the story. I hope you like it.
Candy entered the study where George had told her that Uncle William was there. She had to talk to him, to ask him not to force her to marry Neil. She saw him seated in front of the window. She bit her lower lip and said, "Uncle William…it’s me Candy…I had come to…God! I don’t know how to begin…well…I want to thank you for adopting me and helping me all this time. But now you’re asking me for an impossible…you want me to marry Neil…I can’t do it…I don’t love him…as a matter of fact I hate him. I shouldn’t say this, but he has hurt me so much. He says that he loves me, but I don’t believe him. Please…don’t make me marry him…I beg you."
Uncle William said, "Is that all you have to say…Candy?" He got up and turned around to see her.
She gaped. "Albert!…Albert…is Uncle William!" She couldn’t believe it. After all this time waiting for the chance to meet him, to thank him for everything he had done for her and…he was so close…always keeping watch. She thought, "It can’t be…I must be dreaming." She felt faint…closed her eyes and dropped to her knees. Albert ran to her and caught her in his arms.
"Candy are you all right? Please answer me!" Candy felt her heart was going to explode. She tried to calm herself and said, gasping for breath, "I’m Ok…Albert…I mean…Uncle William…thank you…for everything you’ve done for me."
Albert smiled, relieved and caressed her hair. "Candy…forgive me for not telling you the truth, but I had to do it."
She said, "Uncle William…you’ve been so nice to me, I don’t know how to repay you…"
He shook his head and wiped a tear from her cheek. "Please Candy, don’t call me Uncle William. For you I’m Albert…just plain old Albert."
She winced in his arms. "Albert! Aunt Elroy said you’ve ordered that I marry Neil. Is that true?"
Albert frowned. "Marry Neil? Nonsense! Of course not! I would never do anything to hurt you."
Candy rested her head in his chest and said, "Why is that family so mean to me?"
He said with an angry tone in his voice, "They can’t stand seeing you happy in spite of all the obstacles they put in your way. Don’t worry. I’ll take care of them. Neil will not hurt you again." They got up and he said smiling, "Candy – we have a lot to talk about…let’s go to the garden for a while."
She wiped her tears. "Ok."
They stepped outside and went to the place where Anthony used to cultivate his roses with so much care. She remembered when he gave her a rose and called it "Candice White" in her honor. He was such a nice person…so sweet. Candy sighed and said, "Albert, why do the good people have to die so soon?"
Albert thought for a minute. "Maybe God sends them to make this world a better place. But we don’t appreciate it. Until is too late."
Candy smiled softly and thought, "Albert you always find the right words…I can’t believe I’m here with you…and that you’re Uncle William."
Albert turned to her. "Candy, is something wrong?"
She sighed and turned to him with a smile in her face. "No, no, I’m all right…it’s just that…I can’t believe that you’re Uncle William."
Albert smiled. "You’re not the only one who feels that way. I still can’t get over the idea of the great responsibility that awaits me, but I can’t escape from it. Aunt Elroy decided with her advisors that I should take control when I turned 24 years old and I’m 25. The transition of power was delayed because of my amnesia."
Candy smiled and reached for his hand. "Albert, don’t worry, I’m sure you’re going to do an excellent job, you’re very intelligent and capable of facing any tough situation."
Albert looked at her intently and thought, "I’m not so sure about that. I don’t know how to reveal my true feelings to you." He shook his head. "Come with me Candy. Let’s go for some horseback riding."
Candy winced. "But Albert, I don’t have the right clothes."
Albert smiled. "Don’t worry Candy. The clothes you left behind when you went to London are still in your bedroom. I hope they still fit."
She frowned. "Oh! Albert, you’re so mean!"
He laughed. "Candy don’t get mad at me. You know I’m only joking."
She looked at him from the corner of her eye and smiled.
Candy and Albert entered the mansion. She stepped forward and looked around. "Everything is the same way…so many memories…Anthony…Stir...Archie…when I danced with Anthony…his death…" She thought, wincing and lowered her head. "I’m not going to cry. That’s in the past. I should be happy. The important thing is that I saw Albert again."
Albert tapped her shoulder and said, "Candy I have to talk to George. It won’t take long. Why don’t you go to room and change clothes?"
She turned to him and placed her hand over his. "Very well. I’ll see you later."
Candy went upstairs and walked to her old bedroom. She opened the door and smiled. Albert had ordered the room prepared for her. The curtains were opened and the sun was shining. There was a vase with "Candice White" roses on the desk. She stepped closer to smell the roses, closed her eyes, and smiled, thinking, "Albert you’re always so thoughtful."
Moments later she composed herself and went to the closet. "Here’s my riding suit…the one I used the day of Anthony’s accident." She closed her eyes and images of that terrible accident came to her mind…she shook her head. "I have to forget that…I can’t turn back time." Then she took the suit, placed it on the bed and started undressing.
An hour later…
Candy came down and went to the study. Albert was signing some documents with George. He raised his head and smiled. "Candy, you’re ready…I only have to sign this document and then we’ll leave, Ok?"
She smiled. "Ok, I’ll wait for you." She walked up to the portrait of Anthony’s mother and smiled. "She was a very beautiful woman. I wish I had met her."
Albert said, "Well George that’s all. Candy and I are going to the forest, for horseback riding."
George nodded and said, "Very well Sir William, everything is ready according to your instructions."
"Thank you, George." Albert got up and walked up to Candy He offered his arm to her and said smiling, "Shall we go, Mademoiselle?"
She blushed and took his arm. "Ok, Albert."
They rode for a while. They arrived to the river and Albert said, "Candy why don’t we rest for a while?"
She nodded. "All right."
They stopped and stepped down from their horses. Afterwards they sat down on the grass. Candy pulled a flower and started to strip off the petals. Albert laid down and closed his eyes.
"I feel so good with you at my side, Candy."
She smiled and said, "I feel the same way about you Albert. We have lived so many things together, and here we are…like in the beginning, in this beautiful place…so many memories…some beautiful…others so sad…" She sighed and lowered her eyes.
Albert opened his eyes and sat up straight. He placed his hand under her chin, and raised her head. He smiled softly and said, "Candy, I don’t want you to be sad. You look prettier when you smile…"
She blushed and looked into his eyes, thinking, "That phrase…the prince on the hill said it the first time…it’s funny that Albert would say it." She smiled and caressed his cheek. "Albert I promise you that I will not get sad again."
He smiled and moved closer to her. He lowered his eyes to her lips and thought, "Candy…you’re so close to me…if I could only…" He shut his eyes, sighed deeply and moved away from her.
Candy felt strange. She saw in his eyes the same look that Terry had, just before he kissed her in that summer vacation in Scotland. She felt confused for a few moments…she didn’t know what to think of his reaction.
He suddenly got up, offered his hand to her and said smiling, "Candy, I’ll take you for a boat ride."
She saw him with a perplexed look in her face and shook her head. She took his hand and stood up. "Don’t tell me you still have the boat Stair designed."
"Of course! I’ll show you." They walked for a while and found Stair’s boat.
She said "Albert! I can’t believe it. This is wonderful!"
He walked up to the boat and offered his hand to her. "Come here, Candy."
She accepted his help and stepped into the boat, followed by him, and began their journey. Candy smiled and asked him, "Albert, where are we going?"
He crossed his arms in front of him and smiled mischievously. "You’ll find out soon."
She thought for a few moments and said smiling, "We’re going to the country house, aren’t we?"
He nodded and said, "That’s right."
She asked, "Were you able to recover your animals from the London Zoo?"
"Yes. I have them in the country house. And speaking of them…I haven’t seen Pouppé. The last time I saw her was when we left the house."
They believed they were alone in that little boat…when suddenly Pouppé jumped out of her hiding place. Candy screamed and Albert got up unexpectedly, turning the boat, and they fell into the river. They ended up all wet from head to toe.
Candy said laughing, "Albert…what are we going to do? We don’t have another change of clothes."
Albert smiled. "Let’s go to the country house. I’ll start a fire. We’ll take our clothes off and dry them off in front of the fire. Ok?"
She nodded. "Ok, let’s hurry up!" And they swam to the shore.
Albert opened the door of the country house. She entered, took a few steps and stopped. She looked around and smiled. "Oh Albert! Everything is just like the last time I was here."
Albert walked up to her and placed his hand over her shoulder. "Yes Candy, I asked the servants to keep this house in the same condition. Well I’m going to look for some wood for the chimney."
She said, "I’ll look for something to cover ourselves while the clothes get dry."
She went to the bedroom, walked up to the dresser, opened a drawer and found Albert’s clothes. She took out a shirt and a pair of pants. She opened other drawer and took some blankets and towels. Afterwards she went to the living room. Albert had already started the fire and was in the kitchen preparing some tea. Candy went to him and said, "Albert, I found these clothes and some towels. Here …take them."
Albert smiled. "Thanks, Candy. Come on …take off those clothes before you get a cold."
She opened the door of the bedroom and said smiling, "You do the same. I’ll be back in a few minutes."
Candy came out of the bedroom. She had on a white blanket. Albert had taken off his wet clothes. He had a towel around his neck and he was wearing the pants Candy had given him. He was sitting in front of the chimney. She walked up to him and placed her clothes in front of the fire.
"Albert, aren’t you cold? Why haven’t you put on your shirt?"
He turned to her and said, "I’m all right Candy. I’ll put it on later."
She said, "Okay, if you say so. It’s just that I’m so cold!"
He said, "Well come here with me and sit in front of the chimney." She nodded and walked up to him. "Candy would you like some tea?"
Albert reached for a cup and served her. Meanwhile she sat down beside him. Albert gave Candy her cup. "Here Candy."
"Thanks, Albert." She took a sip of tea while Albert threw more wood to the fire. She placed her cup in the floor and stared at the fire in silence. She remembered that rainy afternoon in Scotland when she went to the Grandchester Mansion. She and Terry had sat in front of the chimney and talked. It was too bad Elisa showed up and ruined the moment.
Albert took a sip of tea and then said without looking at her, "I suppose you would prefer Terry here with you instead of me, don’t you?"
Candy came back to reality and turned to him. "Why do you say that Albert?"
He kept looking at the fire and said in a serious tone, "You’re so quiet…I imagine that you’re thinking of him."
She moved closer to him and said, "It’s true. I was remembering when I went to his mansion in Scotland. We sat down in front of the fire and talked."
Albert turned to her and said, "Did you know that Terry returned to the theater?"
She smiled and said, "Really? I’m glad!" Then she lowered her eyes and thought. "It’s great that you went back to the theater, Terry…and to Susana…I hope the two of you will be very happy."
Albert looked into her eyes and said with a worried tone in his voice, "Candy, are you still in love with Terry?"
She smiled. "No Albert…Terry has become a beautiful memory. He’ll always be in my heart, like Anthony. But that’s all in the past."
Albert caressed her cheek and thought, "Candy…if you only knew…how I feel listening to this." He wanted to confess his true feelings…but it wasn’t possible. He had to wait for the right moment. He lowered his head and said, "Candy – it’s already dark. Why don’t you go to sleep to the bedroom? I’ll stay here in the living room. Tomorrow I’ll ask George to take you back to the city."
Candy answered, "I must admit that I’m a bit tired. I’ve had many surprises this day, beginning with my engagement to Neil."
Albert got up. "Candy don’t worry about it. Get some rest. Tomorrow is going to be an important day…for both of us."
She stood up and kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you Albert. Good night."
He smiled. "Good night, Candy."
Candy slept peacefully. It was the first time in a long time after all the stress with Albert’s disappearance and her fights with Neil. She opened her eyes and turned to the window. The sun was shining brightly in the room. She smiled softly and stretched. Afterwards, she got up and noticed that her clothes were on a chair. She moved closer and touched them. They were dry. "Albert brought them, how sweet!" Later she took a shower. After that she got dressed and left the bedroom. Albert was already up, and had breakfast ready. She thought, "Hmmm…it smells good…and I’m so hungry!" He was sitting on the table, reading the newspaper. He felt her presence and raised his head.
"Candy, good morning! Did you sleep well?"
She smiled. "Good morning Albert. Yes I slept fine, thanks. And you?"
He nodded. "Me too. It must be because you’re with me and I feel at ease."
She blushed and said, "Albert…the things you say!"
He smiled and said, "I’ve prepared breakfast for you, please sit down. I’ve already had breakfast. But I’ll accompany you with coffee."
Candy walked up to the table and sat down. "Thank you Albert." She began to eat while he served himself more coffee. Later she said, "Albert, there’s no doubt in my mind. You’re the best cook in the world…I only keep burning the food."
He laughed and said, "Do you remember the time when you were cooking and the pot exploded?"
She nodded. "Of course. Fortunately you saved the situation. I have the feeling that I will never be a good wife."
He smiled and said, "Candy you’re wrong. You will be an excellent wife, because you’re kind and sweet."
She looked at him tenderly and said, "Albert…you’re so sweet!"
"Candy, I’m only telling you the truth." Later he said, "Candy, George will come for you in an hour to take you to the city. I must stay in the villa to attend some business."
Candy looked at him, her eyes filled with hesitation. "But Albert, I thought you were coming home with me to talk to Neil and Aunt Elroy. They said the announcement is going to be at 8pm."
Albert smiled softly. "Don’t worry…I’ll take care of that." His words calmed her down a bit. But what was he planning to do to prevent this bizarre marriage? An hour later they heard the car’s claxon. Albert said, "That’s George. Come on Candy, I’ll take you to the car."
She got up from the table and said, "Albert, I’m scared."
He reached for her hand. "Don’t be afraid Candy. Everything will work out…I promise."
She smiled timidly and nodded. They went outside.
George said, "Good morning, Sir William… Miss Candy."
"Good morning, George." Candy walked up to George, took his hand and said smiling, "George, thank you for bringing me to the villa."
George nodded. "You’re welcome, Miss Candy. I felt it was my obligation to help you."
Albert moved closer and said, "George please take Candy home. I’ll wait here for you."
"Very well, Sir William."
Candy entered the mansion. There was excitement in the air! All the servants were busy with the preparations for the engagement party of Neil and Candy. She winced and thought, "I better go to my room before Aunt Elroy or one of the Legans see me." She went upstairs without incident. Hours later Patty, Annie and Archie arrived. They went to Candy’s room. They knocked on the door and a servant opened. They went inside and saw that Candy was already dressed for the reunion.
Annie said, "Candy we had come for you. Aunt Elroy says that you must go downstairs, the guests have arrived."
Patty said, "You should see Neil! He’s so nervous, he mistreats anyone who comes near him."
Archie shook his head and said, "That’s something very common in Neil. You shouldn’t be surprised. He’s always been pushy."
Annie said, "Candy, are you sure this engagement is the right thing? Remember that Neil has been very mean to you."
Candy smiled and said, "Don’t worry. When the time comes, I’ll tell the guests that I’m not going marry to Neil. Please go to the ballroom. I’ll go later," Annie and Patty looked at each other, surprised by Candy’s words.
Archie smiled and thought, "That’s great! I hope she puts him in his rightful place."
Neil was standing near the door of the ballroom. He was very nervous. He thought, "Candy, what’s taking you so long to come down? I wished this damned event had already passed." He lifted his head and smiled mischievously. "Candy you will be mine at last…I’ll make sure you forget that third rate actor and that drifter that lived with you." He had heard rumors that Uncle William was very ill and would have to leave his post as head of the business. Besides, Aunt Elroy was very old to continue as head of the family. The only real obstacle was Archie, but with his mother and Elisa’s help he would become the head of the Andley family. And with Candy at his side it would be better. He didn’t want to admit it openly, but he was in love with her and was sure that he was going to win her love. Suddenly he noticed Annie, Patty and Archie coming downstairs. He went to the staircase and asked with a somewhat angry tone in his voice "Where’s Candy? Doesn’t she know that the guests have arrived?"
Archie said sarcastically, "She’s coming Neil. Keep your shirt on."
Neil frowned and said, "Go to the ballroom, I’ll wait for Candy."
They turned to him and shook their heads. "If you only knew what’s coming your way Neil."
A few minutes later Candy appeared. Neil saw her and smiled. He thought, "At last! You look so beautiful! Soon Candy…very soon."
Candy came downstairs and glanced at Neil.
"Candy, what took you so long? It’s past 8 o’clock, the guests are waiting."
She pushed him. "Let me go through Neil. I have an announcement."
Neil became angry and went after her. "Candy! What are you going to do?"
She entered the ballroom. It was filled with people. She looked around and saw Aunt Elroy with the Legan family. Elisa and her mother saw her and smiled mischievously. Candy took a deep breath and said out loud, "Ladies and gentlemen …I want to inform you that I, Candice White Andley is NOT engaged to Neil Legan. I’m NOT going to marry him, because I DON’T love him."
Neil looked at her, his eyes filled with hatred, thinking, "CANDY! How dare you humiliate me like this." He walked up to her and grabbed her arm. Candy turned to him, her eyes filled with contempt. Neil was unable to hide his anger and whispered to her, "Candy, what are you talking about? We decided that…"
"Which part of what Candy said did you not understand, Neil?"
Everyone looked at the door…it was Albert. Aunt Elroy said, "But William, what are you doing here? You were supposed to stay in the villa until the announcement."
Neil released Candy and shouted, "And what are YOU doing here? Get out!"
Neil walked up to Aunt Elroy and said, "Aunt Elroy! This is the drifter that lived with Candy in that blasted apartment…the one who had amnesia!"
She shook her head and said, "It can’t be!"
Neil said, "Well Aunt? Why are you waiting to throw him out?"
She said with hesitation "I can’t do it Neil…he’s…"
Albert intervened. "Aunt Elroy,let me…" He moved closer to Candy and said out loud, "Ladies and gentlemen. My name is William Albert Andley."
All the guests were stunned with the news! Most of them thought that Uncle William was a tired old man…not this handsome young man. Mrs. Legan, Elisa and Neil couldn’t believe this. Their plans came tumbling down in a matter of seconds. The Andley fortune would not be for them after all. Neil couldn’t stand this humiliation and ran away. Unfortunately his love for Candy was the only pure and clean feeling he had, but he had been so cruel to her, a relationship between them was impossible.
Aunt Elroy said, "William, why did you come?"
Albert turned to her and said, "I couldn’t just stand there and let you do this to Candy. She can’t get married against her will."
She said, "But I was going to tell you later…"
He shook his head and said angrily, "Yes, when it was too late to save her."
Candy was so surprised. Albert had come to her rescue once more. She was so overwhelmed by emotion that she shut her eyes to hold the tears. Albert looked at her and whispered, "Candy do me a favor…go to the garden and wait for me."
She said, "Very well Albert. Please don’t be long."
Candy went to the garden. The night was cool and quiet. The wind played with her hair. She thought, "We had lot of excitement for a day. Poor Neil, but it was the only way to make him understand that I would never marry him. It’s just that I don’t love him. I can’t love him!"
She sat on a bench, rubbed her forehead and closed her eyes for a few moments…Suddenly she felt a warm hand on her shoulder. She opened her eyes a saw Albert smiling. "Candy, are you feeling Ok?"
She nodded. "Yes, Albert. Thank you for coming. I thought you wouldn’t come in time."
He sat next to her and said, "I promised you that I would take care of this. I couldn’t let Neil get away with this. I’m not willing to lose you."
Candy blushed, thinking, "Albert… you’re always so caring." She looked at the ballroom and said, "Albert after making your announcement you’ll have to take control of the business."
Albert looked at her intently. "That’s true…but sometimes I wished I could escape from this…you know I don’t care about the money and material things. I don’t want to turn into a bitter and mean person like Aunt Elroy."
Candy took his hand and smiled at him. "Albert… that will never happen, because you’re good and fair".
Albert placed his free hand over hers and said, "Candy, do you remember when I bought the car and took you to the park to have lunch?" She nodded. "And do you remember when I said I wanted to share everything with you? Your sadness and your happiness?"
"Yes…I remember," she said hesitantly.
He moved closer, placed his finger under her chin and raised her head to force her to look at him. He said in a gruff voice, "Candy, I can’t keep quiet any longer. I had a very good reason for returning to the United States…that reason was you Candy…I love you…I think I cared for you since the beginning, when I saw you in that hill…so many years ago."
She shook her head. "I don’t understand Albert…the first time we met was in the river, when you rescued me…"
He smiled. "No Candy it was in a summer vacation, 10 years ago. I was staying in the country house, and had gone for a stroll. I was wearing a kilt and I was playing a bagpipe…you were crying and I walked up to you to ask you what was wrong."
Candy felt an avalanche of memories coming toward her…that day when she received the letter from Annie telling her good bye…when she ran to the hill to be alone…to cry…and…she met the prince…who said…you’re much prettier when you smile…the medallion. Then she remembered the conversation they had yesterday…he used the same phrase. She was stunned. She didn’t know what to say. Her eyes filled with tears. "Albert…I…My God!" She trailed off and started crying.
Albert winced, placed his hands on her shoulders and asked, "Candy, why are you crying? Have I offended you?"
She shook her head. "No…Albert…quite the contrary…I’m crying…because I’m happy…now I understand everything."
He said hesitantly, "Candy, what is it that you now understand?"
She said, "Albert…you’re my prince of the hill…my first love. When I met Anthony I thought he was the prince, but the age wasn’t right, he looked so much like you…and why not! He was your nephew. When I saw you again I didn’t recognize you because of the beard and the moustache, but since the beginning I cared a lot for you, maybe my heart was trying to tell me that you were my prince. You were always beside me in the toughest moments. When I saw you in the hospital, I wanted to take care of you in spite of all the obstacles. I didn’t care what people think. Later you helped me get over my breakup with Terry. You were so tender and caring with me. When you recovered your memory and left the apartment…I believed I had lost you forever. But now…" She caressed his cheek and smiled softly, "I see that what I feel for you is love…Albert, please don’t leave me again!" And she placed her arms around him tightly.
Albert closed his eyes and whispered, "Candy…my sweet, Candy." He moved away from her slowly, placed his hand on her cheek and kissed her gently on the lips. She winced…but felt the need to place her arms on his neck…and she did. He put his arms around her waist and pulled her to him…while he continued kissing her. A few minutes went by…she broke the kiss and rested her head in his chest. He took her in his arms and while he rested his chin on her head he said, "Candy, I’ll always be with you. I will not let anyone separate us."
She said, "Albert, my love…"
He straightened up and gave her an ardent kiss. She was overwhelmed by a warm and comfortable feeling…so different from what she felt with Terry… this was deeper. She wanted to feel his love and love him back, and kissed him with the same intensity. Minutes later he broke the kiss and gasping for breath said, "Candy, would you…marry me?"
She smiled softly and looked at him tenderly. "Oh Albert! Yes…I do."
He smiled and took her in his arms and held her tightly, not wanting to let go. "Candy I promise you I’ll always love you and protect you."
She couldn’t hold the tears. "Albert…my prince."
Afterwards, he took out a small box from his pocket. He opened it and said, "Candy, this is for you."
She opened her eyes and saw that it was a diamond ring. "Albert, it’s beautiful!"
He smiled and said, "It belonged to my mother. When she died, my sister Pauna kept it for me. She said that it was going to be for my wife." He took the ring from the box and placed it on her finger.
Candy couldn’t hide her happiness. "Albert, my love." And kissed him on the lips.
He was startled at first, but he didn’t mind. He enjoyed being this close to her, and took her in his arms again, and thought, "Pauna, you were right, that one day I would find the love of my life".
A few minutes later, while Albert was playing with her hair, he said, "Candy, why don’t we leave? I don’t believe the guests are going to mind our absence."
She looked into his eyes and smiled. "I don’t think Aunt Elroy would like that."
He winked at her. "Don’t worry about her. Come with me."
They got up and went to look for George. They entered the kitchen. He was there, sitting on the table reading the newspaper. "Sir William, Miss Candy…what can I do for you?"
Albert smiled and turned to Candy. "George…I need the car keys. Candy and I have something to do."
George gave him the keys and said, "What should I say to Mrs. Elroy if she asks for you?"
Albert said, "Tell her that I’ll call her as soon as possible."
"Very well Sir William."
Albert and Candy went to the car and left. She was so excited. She closed her eyes and smiled. Her dreams finally came true…she met Uncle William...her protector...her encounter with Albert, finding out who was her prince of the hill...those three people so important in her life…and turned out that he was the same person…she would’ve never imagined this in her wildest dreams! But it was true, and he was at her side, and they loved each other.
Albert turned to her and caressed her cheek. She opened her eyes and looked to him.
"Albert, where are we going?"
He smiled. "You’ll find out soon. Please rest. We’ll arrive in a few hours."
She smiled. "Albert, I love you very much."
He caressed her hair and said, "And I love you, too."
They traveled a few hours and arrived at their destination almost at dawn. When the car stopped, Candy woke up and looked through the window. She blinked a few times, straightened up and said, "Albert, we’re in Pony’s home."
Albert stepped out of the car and then opened her door. He offered his hand to her and said, "Yes Candy, we have to talk to Miss Pony and Sister Mary. I want to ask them for your hand."
She winced and her eyes filled with tears. "Oh Albert! You’re so sweet!"
He smiled. "Candy, you promised me you wouldn’t cry anymore."
"I’m sorry I can’t help it." She wiped her tears and stepped out of the car. She went with him to the door. She rang the bell.
Minutes later they heard a voice, "Who can it be at this hour?"
The door opened. It was Sister Mary. She stood there with her mouth open and said, "Candy, it’s you! How nice to see you!" And hugged her tightly.
"Yes Sister Mary, it’s me, but I didn’t come alone, look… Albert came with me."
They heard another voice. "Who is it Sister Mary?"
"Miss Pony, it’s Candy!" Miss Pony came to the door.
"Candy! How nice of you to come!"
Candy hugged her. "Miss Pony, I have missed you so much!"
Sister Mary said, "Miss Pony, Candy came with Albert."
Miss Pony straightened her glasses and tried to hold the tears said, "Nice to meet you Albert…Candy has told us a lot about you."
"Nice to meet you too Miss Pony…Sister Mary. Candy has told me a lot about you too. We have to talk, if it’s possible."
Miss Pony said, "Of course, please come in."
They entered the home. Sister Mary and Candy went to the kitchen to prepare some coffee and biscuits, while Miss Pony and Albert looked at the rest of the house. Minutes later, the four of them went to the office. Albert told them about his life. The reasons for keeping his identity a secret, his trips, his decision to adopt Candy to protect her. And finally the reason they were there. He got up and said, "Miss Pony…Sister Mary, you took care of Candy when she was abandoned. I’m so grateful to you for protecting her. That’s why I believe that you’re the right persons…" He trailed off, walked up to Candy, took her hand and continued. "…to ask for her hand. I hope you accept. It would mean a lot to us. I assure you that I love her very much and that I’ll always protect her."
Candy’s eyes were so bright, her heart was pounding so fast she felt faint. If this was a dream…she didn’t want to wake up. Miss Pony and Sister Mary couldn’t hide their excitement and began to cry. Their Candy wasn’t a little girl anymore. She was 17 years old and soon she was going to marry the man she loved.
Miss Pony said teary eyed, "Albert, you have our blessing. We wish you all the happiness in the world."
Candy said, "Thank you Miss Pony…Sister Mary…thank you."
Albert said smiling, "Yes, thank you for everything. I promise you I’ll make Candy very happy."
She took his arm, looked into his eyes and said, "And I promise to love him and respect him for the rest of my life."
"Just one request Sir William…"Sister Mary said.
"What is it Sister Mary?"
She smiled. "Would it be possible if Candy came out of Pony’s home dressed in white and the marriage ceremony was held in our chapel?"
Candy smiled. "Albert, please say yes. It’s a wonderful idea!"
He smiled and said, "Candy, we’ll get marry anywhere you like, I only want your happiness."
Miss Pony asked, "Have you decided on the date?"
Albert laughed and said, "If it were up to me, I would get marry this very moment. But I don’t know what Candy thinks about this."
She smiled and looked at him, her eyes filled with love. "Albert, it’s up to you, remember that you have to return to the city and take your place in the business."
He frowned. He had forgotten about his new role. "Candy, what if we get marry in a week?"
She blinked. "A week?"
He said, "Yes, I think it is enough time for the preparations. You can ask Annie and Patty to help you. I’ll talk to Archie and ask for his help in the business."
Candy turned to Miss Pony and Sister Mary with a worried look in her face. "What do you think?"
Miss Pony said, "Candy, we’ll be ready. Don’t worry."
Candy turned to him. "Very well Albert. We’ll get marry in a week."
He smiled. "Ok. Now the only thing left for us is to talk to Aunt Elroy."
She bit her lower lip and said, "Is it really necessary? I’m sure she’s going to be against it."
He shook his head and smiled. "Candy, we’re just going to tell her about our marriage, we aren’t going to ask her permission. She can’t get in the way of our happiness."
She sighed deeply and said, "It’s all in God’s hands."
When they got to the mansion, George came out to greet them. "Good afternoon, Sir William…Miss Candy. Mrs. Elroy has asked for you a couple of times. She’s in the study.
Albert said, "Thank you George. Candy let’s go to her."
Candy took his hand and said, "Very well Albert. I hope everything works out fine."
They went to the study and knock on the door. "Come in. It’s open"
Albert raised an eyebrow and said in a serious tone, "Candy, don’t be afraid."
She squeezed his hand and said, "No Albert, I feel safe with you. Don’t worry."
Albert opened the door and they went inside. Aunt Elroy was sitting on the desk. She raised her head and said, "William…Candy. I’m glad you had come back. We have to talk."
He said, "Aunt Elroy, Candy and I have to give you some news."
She raised her hand to stop him. "William let me speak, I have to tell you something very important."
Candy bit her lower lip and thought, "What is she up to?"
Aunt Elroy got up and walked toward them. "William I’ve been deceived all these years. Those who I thought were my allies had betrayed me. They abandoned me the moment they found out I could no longer help them."
Albert said, "Aunt Elroy, are you talking about the Legan family?"
She nodded. "Yes, I’m talking about Elisa, Neil and their mother. Ever since Candy came into our lives, they made me believe that she was evil and greedy, but now I see that I was wrong."
Candy was puzzled, she couldn’t believe that Aunt Elroy was admitting her mistake. She turned to Albert and he shrugged, he didn’t know what to say.
"I suppose you can’t believe that I’m accepting my mistake. But it’s true. Candy, I want you to forgive me for all the bad things I put you through."
Candy shook her head. She felt tears on her eyes. "Aunt you don’t have to…I understand that you were victim of Elisa and her mother’s lies. They hated me from the beginning. Neil joined them, but he tried to change in the end. Unfortunately it was too late."
She turned around and said, "Yes…the last evil thing we did to you was force you to marry Neil. Fortunately you had the courage to face us and William came to prevent this injustice. But I’ll tell one thing…" She turned to Candy. "…Neil really loves you. He told me with tears in his eyes before he left."
Candy gasped. "Don’t tell me that he’s going through with his threat of enlisting."
She shook her head. "No. He left for New York, he said that he’s going to enroll in the university. He wants to change and become a man of good. I hope he makes it."
Albert said, "It’s a good thing Neil has found his path. First chance I have I’ll ask him to help me in the business after graduation."
Aunt Elroy walked up to the desk and sat down. "As for Elisa and her mother, you don’t have to worry Candy. They will not bother you anymore. They had decided to leave Chicago. Elisa’s father is taking them to the west. Apparently there’s a lot business opportunities in that region."
Albert said, "Aunt Elroy I’m glad you finally admitted that Candy is a good person. Our relationship is going to be easier from now on."
She said, "William when you came in you said you were going to give me some news. What is it?"
Albert stood behind Candy and placed his hands on her shoulders. Candy smiled softly and put her hand over Albert’s and said, "Aunt Elroy…Candy and I are in love. We went to Pony’s home to ask for her hand. Miss Pony and Sister Mary approved our marriage. We’re going to get marry in a week. I hope you’re not against it."
She couldn’t hide her amazement. But she looked in their faces that they were sure of themselves and said "William…Candy…I hope you will be very happy. And I hope you can forgive me for all the evil things I’ve done to you. I thought I was doing the right thing, but I was wrong."
Candy said, "Aunt Elroy, we have decided to get marry in the chapel of Pony’s Home."
Aunt Elroy nodded and said, "If that is what you want, there’s no problem. You’re free to make your own decisions. I only hope that you invite me."
Candy went to her and reached for her hands. "Of course you’re invited. You’re very important to us."
Aunt Elroy was touched by her words. "Candy, all this time I thought the worst of you. I didn’t want to accept that you were caring and good."
Albert smiled. He didn’t expect this sudden change in his aunt.
That same day, Candy spoke to Annie and Patty. She told them about Albert, that he was the prince of the hill, that he had confess his love to her, that she found out she was in love with him and that they were going to get married in Pony’s home. They were very surprised by the turn of events but were glad for their friend. After all her suffering, she was going to be happy with the man she loved. They helped with the wedding arrangements, including the dress, the headdress, flowers, invitations and the reception. Albert talked to Archie and asked for his help in the business. He gladly accepted. Even though he was angry at the beginning when he learned that Candy was getting marry to Albert, he had to admit that they belonged to each other. And he was sure that Albert was a good person and would make Candy very happy.
A week later…
Pony’s Home was filled with people. Everyone was happy with the marriage of Candy and Albert. The guests had already taken their places in the chapel. Albert was standing in front of the altar waiting for Candy. He was wearing a kilt. He looked very handsome and couldn’t stop smiling. He couldn’t hide his happiness. He was getting married to his sweet Candy. Suddenly they heard the tolling of the bell. Everyone got up and turned to the door. The priest came out and stood in front of the altar. He gave the signal and the ceremony began. Annie and Patty entered first. Candy had chosen a beautiful dress for them, it was a long gown made of pink satin, with a white ribbon around the waist. Afterwards Candy entered with Archie. He was dressed similarly to Albert. Candy was wearing a white satin gown. She was wearing the cross Miss Pony and Sister Mary gave her the first time she left the home. She was wearing white gloves made of cotton. Her long veil was made of tulle and lace. She was wearing her hair up. She looked radiant. When they got to the altar, Archie kissed her hand and gave her to Albert. Candy smiled softly and took the hand of her fiancé.
They turned to the priest and he began the ceremony…minutes later he said, "…I pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride."
Albert turned to her. He raised her veil and smiled. She smiled softly. Her eyes were bright with excitement. She believed he was going to kiss her forehead…but no…he drew closer and kissed her on the lips, a kiss so sweet filled with all the love he felt for her…and the promise that they would always be together. The kids of Pony’s home started applauding, even though Sister Mary and Miss Pony tried to control them. Albert and Candy broke the kiss, turned to the congregation and laughed.
He said, "I think they’ve agreed with our marriage."
She said, "Yes. They know that we’re going to be very happy."
He said smiling, "Candy…I love you."
She said, "And I love you too."
And they kissed again. Their dreams became true…they had each other…Candy and her prince of the hill.
©(1999) Caroline Garcia