CIRCLES AND TRIANGLES
A Candy Candy Fanfic
Memories seem like so long ago
We have changed but we're still the same
And I'll be happy for you
If you can be happy for me
Circles and triangles…so far from where we have been…
Conceived and Written by: Lady Gato
Webmistress, Candy Candy Nation
Fanfiction Illustrations by: Srta. Pecas
Candy Candy Nation©, 2006
Candy Candy Characters© and Story Kyoko Mizuki and Yumiko Igarishi
This Candy Candy fanfic deals with adult themes, situations and language. If you do not like to envision Candy Candy in this vein AND if you are under 18, this fic may not be for you.
The clock ticked with anxious fear, for it was running out of precious minutes. A somber air had descended into the room, well appointed and cheery in another life, now a silent witness to the struggle for existence it was witnessing. It was yet another version of the drama that had been playing out worldwide since the war’s end, claiming more lives than the actual battles waged on behalf of the empires of man. In this war, the assailed were struck before they knew they were being assaulted, and there was no defense or safe haven to fly to or to escape from.
Under a rich canopy that denoted her status in society, the young lady drew in heavy, labored breaths, feeling her life being suffocated out of her. She coughed up for the hundredth time again, the foamy blood like substance from her lungs dribbling cruelly out of her, gagging her, her broken ribs from coughing too much and too hard over a short period of time jabbing her in torture. Twenty four hours ago she had as full of life as she had ever fathomed, fulfilled as a person and on the brink of becoming affianced to her beau of many years. Now that promise of the adult life she had dreamed of living was vanishing from her; the reality of her mortality settling into her with unyielding alacrity.
A worried hand cleaned her up and tried to soothe her with a gentle touch, but the nurse’s eyes watered with regret and with dashed hope that she could possess the healing hands to cure the malady and to restore health and life to all she ministered to…she had not succumbed to the disease; she thought that she had been able to figure out how to beat the ill’s deathly grasp. But no, she was horribly mistaken, and the mistake was being exacted for with a life of someone she cherished. God was allowing this to happen, why was suffering so inexorably welded into the human existence? Why did spiritual growth have to be wrought from the pain of suffering of the heart and soul? The nurse rued quietly to herself…yet she managed a wan smile when she saw that she was being looked at with love through the distress of the situation.
“You should not be here, you will catch this too and die…” the sickened voice wavered, remembering happier, sunnier shared times…innocent times from a bygone era.
The memories struck too raw, too deep. “It is the least I can do, I feel responsible…it is not fair…it is not fair!!” the nurse wept unconsciously.
“No, don’t feel responsible…I insisted on helping you with your aid to the war wounded...I knew full well the risks…but you have always been brave and thought of others in spite of your own self, and I for once wanted to do the same…” she coughed again, the vile blood from her lungs acrid in her mouth. “I’m dying, I know…my time has come…it was probably meant to be this way, God’s destiny for me…I was always the weak one…”
“Oh, no...please don’t…please don’t….I can not bear to lose you too!” the nurse wailed, her characteristic strength failing her, knowing too well that what had struck was mortal and swift in its thorough delivery of death.
“I only want to ask you, when I’m gone…be there for him…I always knew he loved you best, in spite of his love and fondness for me...nothing would make me happier...I need you both to be happy…” she gasped, feeling the clutch of death strangle the last breaths out of her.
“No, Annie!” the nurse panicked, horrified at the speed of events that she was powerless to curtail, sitting her up to help her breathe, knowing it was pointless…nothing could help her now.
Their eyes locked one last time in a chilling acknowledgement. “Candy…” she breathed on a whisper, her very last, her body releasing her soul from the mortal life she had lived for 21 years.
She had finished her afternoon toilette, her heavy silk duponi dressing gown draping her sensually. She had not decided whether to wear the emerald green or the carmine red dress to the party she would be hosting later that evening. Past her line of sight, the view of Lake Michigan shimmered in the Indian Summer night. For a brief moment she was taken back to another place and time, a memory that she kept buried deep in her heart, but the reverie was set aside when she felt the knowing brush of her husband’s hand on her right breast.
“I love it when I chance upon you like this…” he groaned, nuzzling her at the base of her neck. She could feel her body respond to his ardor. “Archie…we have guests coming soon…” she almost squealed, trying to gamely postpone the inevitable.
“That’s never stopped us…” he declared, picking her up in one fell swoop and carrying the quivering body of his wife to their well appointed bedroom, where shortly the ardent sounds of a couple making love played its ode to the sunset.
Her head was resting on his chest, their breathing now more relaxed, lulled into a short respite after their sensual activity. As it happened many times, after their love games, her mind wandered to the past, to those terrible dark days after Annie’s death…the days that had finally shut the door on her youth and heralded her entry into adulthood.
Candy had been vilified by all except Archie and Albert as the harbinger of Annie’s untimely death. Why had Candy insisted on playing the Florence Nightingale role that did not suit her as the Andrew Heiress? Why had Annie foolishly decided that she too wanted to minister to the poor and the afflicted, when she was only best suited to be the lady of high society that she had been brought up to? No voice had been shriller than Eliza’s, for in her vociferous opinion Candy only wrought death and destruction to those lives she touched. Only Albert could silence them all, and publicly denounced Candy’s detractors as ill intentioned and downright mean. Millions of people the world over were dying of the Spanish Flu, as it was now being called, people who weren’t even directly exposed were dying…it was a global pandemic with no cure, even people in remote villages were falling ill and dying. This chastising helped the situation somewhat, yet in truth both Candy and Archie could not overcome the sudden death of Annie, Candy’s closest semblance to a sister, and Archie’s longtime girlfriend who was to become his fiancée, after so many years.
It was Albert who suggested the trip out west. Albert, ever restless and forever bristling under his role as the Andrew family head, decided that an extended holiday was in order for Candy and Archie, and he would take them to a cabin he had constructed on the shores of Lake Tahoe in California. It was as remote a locale as he could consider, and a place he had already disappeared into several times over the course of the last few years. In fact, he had been secretly hoping that Archie, who had increasingly displayed an interest in the family business, could be the way out for him…he was Andrew blood, he was engaged and involved already and above all, he had the taste for public life and parties that Albert found stifling and objectionable. In the meantime, he had to continue to hope and wait, perhaps fate would play out in his favor.
They traveled on the Andrew private train, under somber pretenses, yet the ever changing scenery unfolding past them slowly drew them out. It took 3 days to get from Chicago to Lake Tahoe, but the long trip was rewarded with the spectacular views of the deep azure waters of the lake flanked by the highest mountains they had ever seen.
There, they finally arrived into the hand hewn log cabin that Albert had built himself a couple of years ago. It was as simple as Archie had ever seen his Uncle, yet Candy knew that the essence of Albert’s gestalt was faithfully captured in the small building.
“Very well, the larder here is stocked so you two can settle in…I’ve left a map on how to get to North Shore Village, which is 2 miles away, in case you need to go into town…” Albert indicated, as George Johnson checked the car’s oil level.
“Where are you going?” Archie asked, perplexed, feeling a little out of place amongst the majestic redwoods and the silence of nature almost oppressively hurting his ears.
“I’m off to Sacramento then on to San Francisco a few days…but I’m sure you two can manage without me…”
“Uncle, you jest, there are no servants...I can’t possibly survive out here!” Archie challenged. Why on earth did his uncle think that he would take a threadbare cabin out in the middle of nowhere over the aristocratic comforts of the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco?
“Come on, Archie, it will be like camping…we can manage!” Candy ribbed him, slightly annoyed by his pedantic air…only too ladylike, delicate Annie could ever put up with him, for sure!
“Camping…” he muttered under his breath, maybe his brother could have done it, but that wasn’t for him. Still, Candy was there and for her, he would do anything she asked.
They had settled into a routine in the cabin, and despite his protests, Archie found that the domesticity with Candy was pleasurable, and many hours were spent on nature walks or playing cards or checkers in the cabin. They found their shared humour amusing and their joint memories recanted with wistful liveliness. Neither was good in the kitchen and neither made an attempt at cooking; a lot of meals were out of tins or eating through the stash of stocked baked goods. In the evenings they would light a fire in the fireplace and Archie would read to Candy from the new books he had brought on the trip with him. There she was at her most relaxed, listening to his voice, refined and modulated. It appeared to her, from the material he was reading, that there seemed to be a collective sense of being lost, of not having safe shores, of no longer knowing where to attach oneself to.
“Why is it, Archie?” she asked, contemplative as she looked into the cedar beams Albert had hewn to make the roof of the cabin.
“They say it was because of the upheaval from the war, Candy…the war upended everything we were brought up to know and the boundaries we were to follow…that way of life will never be again…look at what happened in our very own circle…Anthony died, Stear died…Annie…” his voiced cracked at this.
“Annie…” she mouthed, sadly. There was one other event that he didn’t recount, but she let it go without mention. Since that day she had never sent the letter she wrote to him, the letter she wrote to finally say goodbye, he was no longer a conscious thought for her. He had married the woman whom sacrificed her body and career for him, and her only wish was for them to be happy…as they had promised each other when they broke up. This torrent of tears that now gushed out of her…was it the raw pain over Annie’s loss responsible for this?
“Oh Candy…” Archie said, putting the book down and taking her in his arms. They both wept for a while.
“I used to make fun of her, calling her a crybaby…I was too childish to see that she was the most sensitive, fragile of all of us….” she moaned as Archie stroked her hair. “I didn’t truly realize until the end…I was so happy when she told me she wanted to help me, when I had come back from living at Pony’s Home, to help rehabilitate the soldiers, I didn’t realize she was doing it because she wanted to be like me…I should have told her that she didn’t need to be like me…she was perfect the way she was…”
“I loved her, Candy, as you asked me to…” Archie said, holding her closer. Candy felt a small shudder through her. For the first time in a great while, she found herself relishing the hardness of a man’s body against her. No, it couldn’t be! she thought…this was Archie, her dear Archie, the remaining companion of that unforgettable time in Lakewood, when she had three chevaliers…fussy, hot headed Archie, ready to step in and defend her…darling sweet Archie, dignified in his own bearing of pain…her cousin, but by paper only. She felt an increasing heat in his touch, the sensation becoming more intimate and inviting. She looked up into his eyes and saw for the first time, the meaning of all those looks he had given her throughout the years.
“She asked us to be happy…” he said huskily, validating the moment and the feelings, too real to deny or hide.
They fell into each other and spent the rest of the night discovering the pleasures and healing qualities of the consummation of physical love and unraveling the mysteries of yielding oneself to another in a pyre of passion.
They had been together ever since, and upon Albert’s return from San Francisco, they declared their intention to him. He was beyond surprised, more relieved rather, for the two people he loved most in the world were to be united in marriage, truly in love and passionately enamored of the other. His legal heir and the nephew he now anointed as the head of the Andrew empire allowed him to unyoke himself from the life he had never asked to live. Albert retreated from active Andrew life, figurehead in name only, for Archie now managed the family and all the enterprises. He went to live in his Lake Tahoe cabin, leaving at times to make travels to the Far East, India, Africa and Brazil; only George, Archie and Candy were ever aware of his exact whereabouts.
This turn of events broke Elroy’s spirit, she could never reconcile to the fact that Albert did not want to be head of the family, her age and constitution could not handle the blow to her Andrew psyche. After falling into dementia, she finally passed away a year after the wedding and the announcement of Albert’s “abdication” in favor of his nephew Archibald.
Archie was shrewd businessman, despite his youth and lack of formal education; he had gained the experience from working in the firm. In addition, he had innate street smarts and books smarts from reading about Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Ford. He also astutely realized that he did not have to personally run all the businesses himself; with the help of an eager George Johnson he revamped all the companies, culled out bad managers and installed new executives, mostly experienced in other companies and most definitely from the outside. Many indolent lesser family members who held top positions but did nothing other than draw ludicrous salaries were dismissed; amongst them Marvin Leegan and his spendthrift son, Neil. Archie’s actions strengthened and even broadened the Andrew fortunes, but made him very unpopular with certain circles and family members, who were now on the fringe and forced to face up that they could no longer keep the lifestyles that they had been accustomed to in the lost Edwardian age.
And for one family member, his hate had been fully cemented the day he found out that the woman he was driving himself mad for, the woman who had rejected him, had married his “dear cousin” Archibald in what had been hailed as the society wedding of the year. He seethed with venomous sulking, plotting endlessly but not being able to decide what he would do about it, other than continue to drink the liquor that was no longer legal to consume. It was this happenstance that first brought him into the world that was gripping Chicago in a wave of turf and organized violence that had never been seen before…but this world yielded power and money for those that infiltrated it and gained trust of the leaders and for Neil, he was certain it would somehow, someday it would provide him with the way to obtain his self-warranted revenge on his detested cousin.
Terrence Grantchester took a long draw out of his Gauloise as he turned the page of T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland. Eliot had been kind enough to send him an advance copy, and Terrence had devoured it, sometimes feeling as if some of the long hours he had spent in conversation with the poet had managed to infiltrate the cursives. He had to hand it to T.S., the words echoed soundly in him. How could despair be so eloquently parsed into odes about the ironic revelation of the vacuousness of existence.
The lonely corner on the roof of the New Amsterdam Theatre provided him an unparalled view of Times Square, albeit this was not the reason he spent countless hours there. For him, it was the only spot in his life where he could remain undisturbed for hours at a time. Demands and schedules were the bane of his existence; yet this was oddly juxtaposed with a restless yearning that kept daring him to assuage it. For a while, he thought it was the hungry fire of artistic expansion that required to be stoked with new horizons and environments. Paris was the beacon that was drawing the lost and bereft into her bosom in the wake of the end of the Great War, so for him it had been a natural suggestion to honeymoon there. He had been surprised that his bride had eagerly accepted to go; the confidence of her new prosthetic coupled with the certainty of the marriage had made her a more active partner than what he had experienced up until then. From the start she had been unrelenting in her attempt to draw him in by trotting out the tired recompenses she was demanding from him in lieu of the accident; when he had returned from his ruinous descent into third rate theatres she clearly had shifted her mindset: she had eagerly talked about acting again, getting a prosthesis and making an effort to become mobile.
He had supported her in the rehabilitation as he attempted to regain his mantle of King of Broadway…time passed, then he had his first successful run under Hathaway’s direction: his return was indudably complete. He had curiously found himself no longer resentful of Suzanne Marlowe; he had come to admire her dogged persistence, and no longer felt smothered in her presence. Still, he hesitated to make the final commitment, he could not quite name it, other than the obvious fact that as much as he cared for her, he did not love her.
Yet people all around him had made marriages with equal if not lesser degrees of conviction, and were none the worse, so it seemed.
Then, one morning during breakfast, Suzanne had laid the front page of the New York Times next to his tea.
ANDREW HEIRESS WEDS IN THE
SOCIETY WEDDING OF THE YEAR
“Oh” he had tersely observed the headline, folding it and putting it aside; instead he picked up the international section to read. Truth was, had he been alone, he would have torn it up, in reaction to the rapier knife plunge he had felt in his gut. Seeing who the groom had been had briefly driven him to a place in his mind he’d rather not visit.
“She looked beautiful…” Suzanne commented, her voice honest.
“It appears as much…” he replied, his gaze fixed firmly on the report about the London Theatre scene.
“I wrote her, once, a few months ago…” she admitted, almost nonchalant.
He put his tea cup down and looked at her. “You did?” he asked, almost letting his guard down.
“I did…I told her I was sorry she had to leave New York the way she did…” she offered.
Terrence was still looking at her, and Suzanne wasn’t sure what his eyes were registering. Still, after all this time, she could not get past what she knew was his outer impregnable shell.
“She didn’t write back…” Suzanne finished her grapefruit. “I didn’t expect her to…”
It was as if a nail had been driven into the strongbox of hope he had vainly thought he could continue to carry around. In the wake of this, he knew he had to get away…as far away as he could.
“Suzanne, how would you like to honeymoon in Paris?” he asked, feeling disembodied.
Her eyes had shone their reply. The turning point she had astutely recognized and the response she wished for had played out just as she had intended.
There had been no set return and once in Paris, both had found the scene perfectly suited to the expansion of their artiste personas. Soon, they too became part of the group of writers and artists that were there, trying to find the elusive purpose of life, trying to live on their own terms of existence. He had not been sure what his terms would be, but after discovering that it was possible to physically act out the act of marriage and provide your spouse with the semblance of satisfaction, it was still viable to remain emotionally and spiritually uninvolved with the woman you had taken your martial vows with. There was a degree of happiness and contentment, he acknowledged, derived from the shared existence and their common career; yet he knew that the true communion he had once had the chance at was a foregone conclusion, sealed by the mutual wish they had made for the other on those steps in that stormy New York eve.
indeed there will be time
To wonder, Do I dare? and, Do I dare?
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
For love within a family,
love that's lived in But not looked at,
love within the light of which All else is seen,
love within which
All other love finds speech.
This love is silent
Terrence’s love had been silenced under the weight of duty and the temperance of subjection.
Neil Leegan arrogantly entered
the unassuming trattoria in the south part of Chicago. For all its simple
trappings, it was a gathering point where obscene amounts of money were being
shifted, stealthy networks tapped, profitable blackmails hatched and brutal vendettas
plotted . He was there to meet with the man who was quickly consolidating his
position as the Capo Crimini for the Chicago Outfit, Al Capone.
Capone was leveraging Neil’s undetected usage of the Andrew transportation systems to bring in illegal liquor from neighboring Canada. This key link in the Outfit’s explosive growth as a result of Prohibition had catapulted Neil from the rank of outsider to Giovane D’Honore, which was given to non-Italians who had earned the Outfit’s trust. Despite this, Neil wasn’t satisfied; he hungered to get closer to the higher rungs…several other non Italians had risen in power and prestige, and for Neil, that was the driving force in his quest for vengeance from Archibald Cornwell….he had to have power and prestige from his own, and the type of power and prestige that would be intimidating to the more legitimate, law abiding members of his extended family.
As he made his way toward the back room, where Capone liked to conduct business, he was surprised to see the bob-head of his sister, busy with powdering her nose. She regarded herself narcissistically in her compact mirror. She had long adopted the trappings of the flapper girls, in more ways than one.
“Fancy meeting you here…” he scoffed, smug.
“That’s none of your business…” she snapped in reply, applying her lipstick. “Did you just come from bamey mugging? Or are you still whacking yourself over that loser Stable Girl?” she cattily insinuated.
Neil felt his hackles rise…his sister knew exactly which button would set him off in a frenzied fury. Without allowing her the satisfaction of knowing that she had, he salaciously sneered, “What about you, getting ready to go get balled by that awful Testaverde?” When they effectively had been cut off by Archie’s radical reorganization, their parents had cashed out their properties and retreated to Mexico, in shame. Neil and Eliza remained, they had small trust funds that would allow them to live the rest of their lives without want, yet for two individuals that had been brought up as heirs of a fortune that was never theirs to begin with, they quickly found that their situation was untenable. They had acquired a taste for partying and made the local social circuits…whether it was high society or not. Soon, Neil had made acquaintances in the Chicago Outfit; he was thought of kin of the Andrew family that had direct contact with the figurehead of Archibald Cornwell…and the one that interested the Outfit most was the extensive Andrew Transportation concerns, that included trucking and railroads. It was a huge windfall for the Outfit; in addition, he had proven to the them that he could murder in cold blood on behalf of the Outfit. The Outfit knew a good member when they saw one and rewarded Neil accordingly. Since he would bring his sister to the Outfit parties, and she was found to be quite attractive and temperamental, it wasn’t long before she was being squired around by the capos. Eliza had found this underworld dangerously exciting, and her lovers were lavish with their praise and gifts; she quickly found that she was living at the same if not higher levels than she had been used to. She had astutely found out how to be careful and reveled in her liberated sexuality that had no immediate consequences. Still, her newest lover, Enzo Testaverde, had evoked something more out of her…if she had not known any better, she would have thought that was falling in love with him…unfortunately for her, Enzo was very much married, and married to a hot-headed Sicilian woman that had a lot of respect within the Outfit.
“I’m going to marry Enzo, you’ll see…nothing has ever stopped me before!” Eliza huffed, “Now leave me alone, he’s coming to have dinner with me!”
“Sure, I’ll bet he’s coming to eat…” Neil riposted. He stopped himself, a crease of worry crossing his forehead. Apprehensive, he added “Listen, Eliza…I’d be more careful about saying you want to marry Enzo…his wife’s a signora to be reckoned with…these Italians don’t go around divorcing their wives, you know that…!”
Eliza’s eyes flattened in antipathy at him. “Oh, listen to you! You know what your problem is, dear brother? You are jealous…you are jealous because I was always the smarter one…you are on shaky ground with the Outfit, what happens when dear cousin Archibald finds out what you have been up to!”
“Shut up!” Neil hissed, grabbing her roughly by the shoulders. There was only the bartender there but if he was paying any attention, it wasn’t clear.
“Oh, look at me, I’m so scared!” she sneered sarcastically, “Get lost! I’m a big girl now and can take care of myself…” Eliza brushed him off with disdain.
“Eliza, I’m serious…your big mouth is going to get you in big trouble!”
“My big mouth makes a lot of men happy…now flake off, Enzo is showing up any minute!”
Neil turned and left. He didn’t want to lose any more of his time with his sister. She was right, she was a big girl. He had more important business to tend to.
The bartender finished wiping the zinc top of the bar again. He made some notes in his notepad and opened the trap door to the stock room for a bottle of Chianti…Enzo Testaverde had to have Chianti with his Linguini a la Puttanesca; Lucrezia Testaverde, Enzo’s wife, had been very specific in these instructions to him, among others.
Neil watched with slight disgust as Capone ate, his swarthy face pearled with sweat and fat fingers greasy with garlic butter from the gamberi scampi he was enjoying.
“So, Neil, I hear that things are going well…” he slurped, then wiping his mouth then his brow.
“Yes…we have now extended to Denver and San Francisco, using the railway…”
“Listen, piccolo Giovane, that’s fine and well, but I need more capacity…the Canucks are cranking this booze out faster than we can slip in under Uncle Sam’s nose. I’ve got all these local mayoral races I need to rig so that we can handle the increase…you better tell that cousin of yours he needs to give me more space…he’s making a killing on the cut we are giving him, what’s his God-damn problem? Is really as uptight as you say he is?”
Neil’s mouth went dry…he had lied about his relationship with his cousin; as far as Capone knew, Archibald Cornwell, now one of the richest men in the world, was allowing him to transport bootleg liquor on Andrew owned railways and trucks and profiting handsomely…in truth, Neil was keeping the money that Capone thought was going to Cornwell. Archie knew nothing of this or of the level of involvement he and his sister had with the Chicago Outfit.
He could feel his tie tense against his neck. “Er, yes…he’s as uptight as a broom stick…give me some time, I will make sure he gives it to us…” he gamely bought time.
“I asked you two months ago, you fucking fool, and I’m still waiting…I need that space, capisce? Or am I going to have to have my consigliere talk to his consigliere Johnson…I don’t like the fact that after all this time, I have yet to be given some respect by that pasty-ass dandy of a cousin you have!” Capone heatedly slammed the table. Neil shook in alarmed reaction and acquiesced skittishly, “Yes, Signor Capone…I will...I’ll…”
“PRONTO!” the mobster bellowed, and with that Neil fled, unable to fathom how he was even going to broach the subject with his cousin. For the first time in a long while, he felt in over his head.
Once it was clear Leegan was out of the building, a voice commented to Capone, “I think it’s true what we suspect; that Cornwell doesn’t know what his cousin has been doing…” Capone savored his cassata dessert, outwardly cool. “Should I arrange the meeting with Johnson?” the voice continued.
Capone sighed with satiated satisfaction. “Mmmm…go ahead…but make it on behalf of one of the legit businesses…I’m giving this whelp of a whore one more chance...give him a month…” He lit up his cigar and continued to listen to his consiligere, David Lonstein. Like most consiglieres to the Italian Organized Crime syndicates in the United States, Lonstein was non-italian and Jewish.
“What about his sister? Lucia came into my office yesterday demanding to know who her husband’s mistress was… she was furious!”
“I’ll let Lucia Signora Testaverde deal with that…puttanas are not my concern unless I’m collecting money from them or banging their brains out…and this one is definitely not my type!”
Candice looked up from her desk at the Red Cross. She volunteered once a week to help in whatever was required of her: sometimes it was paperwork, sometimes it was administering blood tests, other times she rolled bandages and made sure the inventories were complete. Her nature would not accept being apart from this world of healing and helping that she had such close affinity to. She was, however, surprised to see the unexpected figures of both George Johnson and her husband.
“Archie?” she asked, quizzically, not understanding what was going on yet intuitively surmising something was terribly amiss.
“Honey…we need you to come with us…” Archie asked, gently, yet she could see trouble creased in his forehead.
“Certainly, Archie…” she replied, wanting to ask why, yet withholding her curiosity until a better moment.
As their Rolls Royce drove away towards their home, Archie finally said, “Candy…there has been a tragedy…”
Candy could feel the hairs in her neck rise, frightened for a moment as to whom it could be; then Archie continued, “Eliza was found dead in Lincoln Park today…
Candy stifled a shocked gasp in astonishment. “Dead?”
“We have some reason to believe it was the Chicago Outfit who did it…” George interjected, gravelly. The body had been found face down in the mud off a walking trail next to Lake Michigan. She had been blindfolded and gagged, hog tied and shot at close range at the base of her skull. George had the unenviable task of identifying the body.
Candy felt her mind whirl is disbelief. “The Outfit? But how…”
“Unfortunately Candy, our cousin has been known to socialize with members of society who had ties to the Outfit…” Archie decided to spare the suspicion that she was the mistress of someone in the organization. Why she was killed however, was unknown, and that was extremely unsettling. The Outfit didn’t go around killing people unless it was to retaliate or to send a message. And for the Andrew family, the latter seemed likelier.
“Oh, dear…we must organize the funeral and contact her parents and…” Candy started, but Archie paused her.
“Candice, we have reason to believe our family is being targeted …” Archie looked at her, dead serious.
Her mouth dried…Chicago had been in a grip of gangster related violence for the past 3 years, increasingly escalating to the point where many of the old wealth families were moving away until the situation got better. Kidnappings, civil corruption, intimidation…the Andrews had been the only family not touched by the aggression…but now…
“We are leaving for New York, now…” Archie announced. Until he knew what exactly was going on, he was putting himself and his wife in safer environs.
Neil bitterly tossed a yellow rose into the lowered casket. He could not believe that no one in the family had come to his sister's service. His parents had not been able to come in time; that he could forgive….what was inexcusable was that SHE did not come…whisked away by that pompous ass of a cousin he had. Yet, what he was most furious about was that his plan to talk to him had been waylaid by his sister’s assassination….he was now going to have to follow his cowardly cousin back East.
I told you to be careful sister…you always thought I was stupid…who’s stupid now? He derisively simpered. . A spring shower started to rain on him, splattering muck on the casket and on his shoes. He decided that he should get moving…he was running out of time himself.
Candy gazed out the tall flood windows that faced Central Park. This was her first time in the famed Andrew House, one of the largest, luxurious and most storied residences in New York City. It was of course, in the proper and aristocratic Upper East Side, and offered fifteen thousand square feet of genteel accommodations, including a solarium, garden and heated pool. Archie was eagerly showing her around, as this was his home base when he had to work out of New York City; which was more frequent than either one would rather like. Archie was conscious of the abrupt nature of their flight from Chicago and wanted to provide Candy with as little of further disruptions in her life as he could.
As usual, Candy had faced this new change with open optimism, despite the sordid cloud of Eliza’s murder. She had written some hasty notes to Pony’s Home, to Tom and to Patricia in Florida to advise them that she and Archie were going to New York City for a season or two. She didn’t want to worry them with the real reason for doing so; she knew the news of Eliza’s murder was going to be well published and didn’t want to add further worry to those who were like family to her. Especially to Miss Pony, whose health was not as strong and whom had already had to suffer through Annie’s untimely passing.
New York City had changed considerably since she had last been there. It was now the world center of the new economy that rose after the end of the Great War. Wall Street was the ground zero for the industrial activities that provided many with jobs, provided some with upward social mobility and for a shrewd group, provided even more wealth to their well established affluence. New York City was more bustling, alive than ever; its musical score the lively jazz it had eagerly borrowed from Chicago. The catchy tunes provided the city with an infusion of vitality it readily consumed in this post war, prohibition era. Yet despite this accessible high energy and money, it was only a temporary panacea to what was really sought at the subliminal level. For in quiet recesses and nocturnal stillness, many forlorn people coming into the City seeking whatever gaiety or change of life still found that despite the distractions and escapes, the City could not offer any true moorings to those who had been cast adrift seeking anchor. Ever changing masks were used to hide true feelings, personal lives were compartmentalized, friendships were cursory at best. Painful pasts and hang-ups were obliquely compensated by the opulent extravagance and liberated decadence that the decade’s exuberance of cash and lessened mores provided. Even those who had never moved in the rarefied circles of the monied sought passage to their newly acquired tastes for the high life. Only those who had been truly grounded before the great upheaval the world war caused on the psyche of humanity retained semblances of their true selves; even then, these individuals found themselves tested and questioned.
“Its so blatantly imposing, Archie, even more so than our Chicago home…” Candy murmured, as she tried to take in her new environs. The staff had been friendly, welcoming and discreet in awaiting their orders from the Cornwells.
Archie continued, “It is supposed to make such a statement Candy; unfortunately New York society is even more formal and caste based than Chicago’s. We are not considered part of the New York Social Register by which one is measured, but our family’s lineage and wealth, philanthropy and displays such as this one give us entrée into the highest levels as equals…otherwise, we would be called Mid-Western outsiders behind our backs….”
Candy tried to hide her grimace…she loathed social posturing and quite frankly could care less about what the doyennes and matriarchs that controlled the New York social scene thought of her. She had eased herself into the comfort of the Andrew wealth and her status as the Andrew heir, yet to her that was no license to presume anything to anybody. Of the two, Archie was the one most comfortable in the circle that the vast and evident Andrew wealth kept them in and the one who bore their status without much forethought or effort. It was no secret that they were considered to be the richest couple in the world; if they were not the richest, then certainly the second or third. That they were extremely comely and affable only added to their allure and charm.
“Are we going to have to entertain much while we are in New York?” Candy asked. She liked hosting parties, but their affairs in Chicago were small and intimate…she knew for a fact that in New York the scale was much larger and inwardly cringed.
“Possibly…I am not sure how long we will be here…we will need to have at least one large party…” Archie replied, sensing his wife's uneasiness at the prospect.
Candy returned to the window and looked out. Twilight was descending over the city, coloring it in warm hues. An imperceptible sigh escaped from her lips. She reminded herself that she had six days left in the novena she had started for Eliza. As much as she knew how much her cousin absolutely loathed her, she could not find any righteous satisfaction in her terrible demise. Archie approached her and tenderly wrapped his arms around his wife and grazed her cheek.
“Candy I promise to make up for this uprooting…I just need our family to be safe, for now…I need to keep you safe…” it sounded as if he was pleading for her forgiveness.
She turned into him, pecking his lips softly. “Of course…I don’t want to complain and make things harder than they have to be….” She graced him with a small inviting smile.
He returned her gesture with a hungry one and the couple decided to officially possess the master bedroom as theirs and to dispel the sober mood.
Over the course of the next couple of weeks, Candy settled into an uneasy routine. As much as she wanted to maintain a semblance of normalcy in her daily cadence, Archie was not comfortable in allowing her to go out of the house unaccompanied. She would have wanted to go work the soup charities in Hell’s Kitchen, but she had to be satisfied with inaugurating one and wholly funding its operations. Sundays entailed going to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral for Mass followed by Sunday brunch at Tavern on the Green in Central Park, after which she and Archie would walk around in after the repast. But during weekdays New York was surfeit with activities that would be safe, and Candy resigned herself to take up painting. She was convinced she had no talent, but as determined as she was, she decided she would give it a chance.
So shortly after Archie would leave for his daily commute to the Andrew Office in Wall Street, she would collect her art satchel and have the driver take her to the Met. She started with simple pencil drawings of figures, human and animal, gaining confidence and fluidity.
She found that enjoyed the activity more than she imagined, and she had to wonder if the absence of creating a life was now being funneled into the desire to create art. Strangely enough, after 5 years of marriage and despite their spirited attempts, Candy had yet to conceive a child. Yet they did not despair, they knew they were young and Candy was all too aware from her nursing knowledge that having a husband that traveled more than either cared for had not helped with the optimal timing. Perhaps now that he did not want to leave her side while they were in New York and was closer to a lot of the necessary meetings he had to attend would they be successful.
Her mind wandered, thinking about a warm dear bundle that she could love and care for. So deep was she in her reverie that she had not realized she had pair of deep blue eyes admiring her.
“Why, it’s Miss Candy?’ the feminine, sophisticated voice asked in happy recognition.
Candy set her pencil down and turned to the voice, pleasantly surprised. Statuesque, dignified and stylish as always, there was the iconic Eleanor Baker.
“Miss Baker…” she joyously gasped, getting up to embrace her and finding that she was being warmly reciprocated.
“I did not know you were in New York?’ Eleanor asked. “The last I heard from you, after you wrote me the letter politely declining to see Hamlet, was that you had married and had settled down in Chicago?”
Candy nodded. “Yes, that much is true, but my husband and I have come to spend some time here in New York…Chicago hasn’t been very safe as of late…” she decided to spare the details for now.
“So I understand…but this is wonderful, I am so very happy to see you…” the maternal warmth was unmistakable “I daresay you may have a talent I was not aware of…” she admired, picking up Candy’s sketch.
Candy felt herself flush. “Oh…I just started, and I’m probably doing it all wrong…I should be taking a class or something…its likely glorified doodling at this point…”
Eleanor gave her a reassuring smile. “Oh no, not at all…but like most art forms, the more your practice the more confident you will become…”
“It is something to help me pass the time…” Candy felt as if she had to justify herself to the great actress.
The older woman touched her face lightly. “Then it is time well spent, child…I am somewhat retired these days, I come here to pass the time myself…I can never be too far from the arts…however, I am loathe to admit, I was on my way out…I am expecting company for dinner and I must go see to it…” she decided not to tell Candy that it was her son and his wife she was expecting for dinner. “But we must simply arrange to see each other very soon, my dear…” Eleanor took a calling card out and gave it to Candy “Let’s do it soon…”
Candy took the card and saw that Eleanor lived very close to them. “Oh, I do not wish to keep you…but here is our address here in New York…may I call you tomorrow?” Candy gave a calling card to Eleanor, who carefully read it and put it in her purse.
“Most certainly, I will be expecting it…” she took Candy in her arms in goodbye.
Candy parted and looked up into the exquisite face. “I’ll have to admit something, Miss Baker…”
“Eleanor…” she gently corrected.
“…Eleanor, that my husband will be very tickled if I could entreat you to meet him…” Candy bashfully admitted.
Eleanor had already seen the picture of Archibald Cornwell in the paper, when they had married. “Oh! But of course! I would be most honored. I will talk to you tomorrow!” She smiled and turned to leave. Candy saw her walk away until she was out of sight, then returned to her sketch.
Archibald Cornwell felt the weight of the day settle uncomfortably on his shoulders. He believed he had aged some years in the last few weeks. Overall business was going better than ever and his stratagem of delegating heavily was working well, proving his detractors wrong. His uncle was disconnected from this world and Archie sometimes wondered who was the more sagacious of the two. He dearly wished that he could take a year off, travel to Europe with Candy…he had heard so much of what was going on in Paris that he felt he was missing out on a movement he should be involved in. It was no surprise to those who knew him best that he harbored artistic sensibilities, but those desires were only channeled now into infrequent piano playing and donating heavily to the Art Institute of Chicago. The constraint of his professional life was such that he had not even been able to take Candy out to Broadway yet. Thankfully, he knew his wife was going to the Met frequently.
Towards the last hour of work that afternoon, George had come in for their daily recap.
“I got a call from an old colleague…there is a proposal to heavily develop movie houses in South Chicago…they are looking to partner with us…”
Archie took his reading glasses off and rubbed the bridge of his nose…he could feel the migraine come on. “I don’t want to have to go to Chicago to meet about this…” he groaned, quickly calculating in his mind that a monopoly of movie houses in working class districts would be the entrée to such ventures in other major metropolitan areas. If they got this formula right, it could be replicated. Supplying the concessionaires with Andrew Food products, it could be a guaranteed money printing enterprise. Movies were cheap entertainment for the masses, and quickly obfuscating live theatre as the distraction of choice for certain rungs of society.
“No, no need to go to Chicago; they will come to us…” George assured, “I can set it up once I do the due diligence, just give me the go ahead…”
Archie assented. “Very well, George, please make the necessary arrangements for the meeting and make sure my schedule is clear…I need to go home, Candy called earlier to say she had lamb chops prepared…” Candy knew her husband’s tastes very well and he looked forward to a quiet evening in her company, and to her warm embraces later on.
“I will, then; and I will make sure it will not be a waste of your time…” George collected his papers. He actually lived in the private entry apartment that Andrew House had, but unless expressly advised, he did not participate in the private family life. He would spend a few more hours at work, then go home.
“You would never do such a thing, George and for that I’m forever grateful…this family would be sorely amiss without your expertise…” Archibald thanked. “I’m going home now…”
“My best to Mrs. Candy…” George bid.
“Of course…have a good evening…”
George watched him leave, a paternal gaze following him and then followed him out to his own office. Archibald was as much as an orphan as Candy, he reckoned. His parents were now on a diplomatic mission to India, and only Albert had seen them in the years since his marriage. He was glad that Archie had found true fulfillment in Mrs. Candy, a marriage to Miss Annie would have been shaky, at best…she too wholly dependent on him for everything, and that would have sapped everything out of him. Then again, Mrs. Candy had that effect on those whom she loved.
Candy came out to receive her husband and he was delighted to see she had dressed up for dinner…that meant they would be dining in the formal dining room, in the warm glow of the chandeliers and drinking wine from the private cellar. Regardless of prohibition, they sneaked a bottle every so often to enjoy in the comfort of their private domain. He would go pull a Rothschild 1898, in honor of her birthday, even though it had quietly passed a couple of weeks ago. In the turmoil of their flight, he had only been able to give her the emerald clasp earrings she was regally wearing tonight.
Her eyes shone giddily, as if she was a cat toying with game. She kissed him as he handed his hat and overcoat to his butler. “You’ll never guess who is over for dinner!” she coyly announced, taking him by the hand and leading him to the formal sitting room.
His mind rushed, wondering who it was, then wondering if Candy had run into her past. He guessed “Terrence Grantchester?" He tasted a sliver of anxiousness in his mouth, but this passed, he knew his wife had long left that amorous deception behind.
“No, silly!” Candy laughed guilelessly, as they entered the sitting room. Archibald saw the lithe figure arise, the warm luminosity of the fireplace making her appear ethereal.
“Archibald Cornwell, pleased to meet you, at last…” Eleanor Baker smiled, extending her hands graciously to him.
Dinner had been a lively one, Archie secretly marveling at how well he got along with the woman he admired, how personable and delightful she was. It had come to a shock to him how well his wife knew her, and the revelation that she was Terry's mother even greater…now he understood better some of the demons that had haunted the mercurial Englishman. Perhaps now that they were in New York, they could be friends. He had quickly apprised that true friends were hard to come by in these times.
“It is a shame that you have retired, Miss Baker, I managed to catch you on the stage a few times before the war…I would have loved to see you act again…” Archie lamented, as the servants cleared the table and prepared to serve dessert.
Eleanor took the final sip of the Rothschild, grateful that the Cornwells had generously shared their secret stash with her. “I’m sorry as well, but right now I am enjoying life to its fullest…I worked very hard with little time off in my youth and I feel as if I need to make up for lost leisure…”
“Thanks to lost time, we were able to meet…” Candy smiled, and the two women exchanged a warmhearted glance.
“But Terrence is having a great run as Hamlet right now, have you been to the theatre since you arrived?” Eleanor asked, motioning the server to stop as the coffee was poured.
The couple shared a guilty look. “No, no we haven’t…I am ashamed to admit, I just haven’t really brought my self up to date with what’s playing on Broadway…our move from Chicago was a bit abrupt, I tend to plan these things more…” Archie ruefully admitted.
“He’s doing Hamlet again?” Candy asked, interested. At the time Eleanor had invited her, Candy had thought long and hard about going to see him…wounds had been too raw still, the pain too recent, the void in her life insurmountable. It had taken a long letter she had written yet failed to mail, to come to a reality she was somewhat prepared to accept, the action of pouring herself into that letter finally earning her a resigned peace with her breakup from Terry. Now, she found herself eager to finally see him act to his full potential.
“Yes, they brought it back. John Barrymore is playing King Claudius so the production has received a lot of publicity…of course, the press has been very enthusiastic about the pairing...they are hailing it as the best production Broadway has ever seen…both Terrence and John have incorporated Freudian undertones and have made it a dark study…they lay human emotions raw, instead of applying Victorian pastiche to it…there is talk of taking it to the big screen…” Eleanor’s obvious maternal pride and artistic satisfaction was evident.
“Then we need to go see this, sooner rather than later…” Archie declared.
“I will be more than honored to ensure that happens…” Eleanor quickly offered, “I get a lifetime of the tickets usually reserved for people in your world…let me arrange for it for this weekend, if that suits you...
Archie and Candy looked at each other excited, they were finally going to be able to enjoy New York Theatre together.
“Is Suzanne playing Ophelia?” Candy inquired, curious.
“No, not this time. Suzanne tends to headline her own shows, she does not want to act with Terrence on the same stage. It is a stratagem that has worked very well, they are currently known as the King and Queen of Broadway...” Eleanor explained, savoring the dark chocolate truffle with her coffee.
“Miss Baker, to you will always be the Queen of Broadway, nobody else can take that place.” Archie stated, impassioned.
“Thy tongue speaketh in honeyed tones, My Lord Cornwelll,” Eleanor playfully said, patting Archie’s hand to his thrilled delight. Then she soberly continued, “Yes, I can see where sometimes a heart can only have one true Queen…or one true love….” She looked at Candy and for a fleeting moment they both were back in the small café in Rocktown, Illinois, hoping that a phoenix would rise once again.
The Sam H. Harris theatre on Broadway had seen the curtain fall and a hushed breath gathered before it exploded in a thunderclap of applause that rained on the actors as they emerged to take their deep bows. It repeated over for a great many minutes, the audience unwilling and perhaps unable to release themselves from the spell cast by Terrence Grantchester’s Hamlet.
“He’s an absolute genius…” Archie admired, once the lights came back on. “To be honest dear, I never saw it when we were at St. Paul’s…I thought this whole acting thing was a fluke, even when I saw him in King Lear all those years ago…I stand very corrected…he’s truly gifted…and Barrymore is no slouch either…who ever thought this paring up should bottle it, because its lightning…”
Candy looked at him, wanting to tell him everything that she knew about Terrence’s calling and passion, but instead she said, “I’m so very glad we came to see him…he was outstanding…” Inwardly, she had felt a sense of immense satisfaction, knowing that he had fulfilled the potential she was so sure he had and had surpassed everything she thought he could ever achieve. To watch him in full display of his gifts was almost magic. He had, as he once had told her, manage to transform himself completely into the character he was interpreting.
“As part of our box seat privilege, we get to meet with the actors privately, would you like to?” Archie tentatively asked, not sure if he was suggesting the right thing…after all, he was only well aware of his wife’s past history with the King of Broadway. Strangely enough, he realized that the thought of his wife meeting her once beau did not bother him…must the confidence of being in a happy marriage he surmised. Besides, Grantchester was happily married himself, to the woman whom had saved his life.
She hesitated, then requested “Could we? I would like to personally congratulate him…you know, Archie…I never really saw him in an entire play…I always felt that I had only had furtive glances and was denied the pleasure of seeing him fully on stage...” she admitted.
Archie caressed his wife’s cheek. Nothing gave him more pleasure than to indulge her. “Then let’s go…” he replied, happy to oblige his wife.
It was yet another round of activity that he would rather dispense with, this greeting of the strata of society that he always felt uncomfortable with. He endured it only because he was too well aware it was vital for the company to acknowledge and thank their patrons, and he could not be so foresighted to understand that many people in the company depended on the steady work provided by the success of the Stratford Troupe. He felt slightly drained; this evening’s performance seemed to have exhorted something more out of him. By the many curtain calls and ovations, he knew it had been a command performance and was sure to have been noticed by the merciless critics that would report on it in upcoming columns. They were still transfixed with the John Barrymore pairing, and both actors had found that they managed to have a friendly rivalry that only exhorted them to do better.
Then, he caught sight of the vision that he had long been denied of. He stood, frozen, knowing that what his eyes were registering was true, but finding himself incapable of believing it, utterly surprised to find her there, for real, in the flesh. She caught his eye and smiled amiably, an unmistakable feeling of pride coloring it, making his reaction all the more unnerving. It was clear she wanted to visit with him. In a stupor yet attempting to maintain his composure, he approached her, taking her in as if she possessed some vital source that he had desperate need for.
“Candice…” he greeted, feeling a hive of awkward nervousness invade him. The genuine smile she had regaled him further threatened to break down his veneer of cool acknowledgement.
“Terrence! You look very well!” she said effusively, the words haunting him.
“As do you…” he replied, admiring the glow she was effortlessly wearing, becoming her fetchingly. “I am most glad you came to the performance…”
“Archie and I wouldn’t miss it for the world…you were brilliant…like I always knew…” her eyes sparkled.
“Did you?’ he asked, his mocking voice sounding years younger, the impetuousness of his reaction surprising him.
“Yes, like I always knew…” she guaranteed. He tried to read her, trying to ascertain if she was feeling the same as he, stymied to only find the type of frank feeling he should be glad to receive, yet realizing it wasn’t the depth of what he was aching for.
The arriving elegant figure slid his arm around her waist and greeted, “Terrence! You were fantastic…you have earned your accolades well!” The couple exchanged a warm, intimate glance as if to reconfirm this praise.
The actor’s sapphire gaze met with the hazel ones that were genuinely greeting him, no semblance of past offences even registering.
“Congratulations, Cornwell…” he sincerely said, extending his hand.
“Congratulations?” Archie asked, momentarily perplexed.
“Yes, well…I guess I never got around to congratulating you on your marriage…” he noted as they shook hands. Cornwell’s was remarkably quite strong.
“Oh! Of course…although it’s been five years, I don’t think we qualify as newly-wed anymore…” Archie mused, curious as to the shift in conversation.
“Well, from the mutual giddiness I’m observing, I would have thought otherwise…” Terrence noted, sounding glib, but Candy noticed the slight inflexion that told her otherwise. She surprised herself in her perceptiveness in picking up on Terrence’s idiosyncrasies, after all this time.
“I guess it is reciprocal, then, congratulations are in order for you and Suzanne Marlowe as well…say, Candy and I would love it if you joined us for dinner tonight at La Cote Basque…” Archie invited.
“We would very much have enjoyed it; unfortunately we do have a commitment at my director’s flat tonight, it is an actor sort of thing, you realize…I’m expected there with Barrymore” Terry excused, actually relieved that he could turn the invitation down. Some producers from London had come in to discuss presenting the Hamlet production there. Terry wasn’t interested, but Barrymore was and he had pledged to vouch for John’s case.
“Oh…well then…here is our card with our local information, we would look forward if you came calling soon with your wife, and perhaps then we can have a lovely evening together…” Archie handed it to Terrence.
“You are a sport, old chap, thank you…I will take you up, she would be very happy to come visit…” Terrence smiled, taking the card and shaking Archibald’s hand.
His gaze fell on hers, which was appreciatively taking him in earnestness. “Milady…” Terrence said, moving over and slightly taking Candy’s right hand with both of his and depositing a kiss. Candy wasn’t sure if her mind was playing with her; it seemed as if he had lingered there, trying to collect through the kid leather of her evening glove the actual feel of her hand or the warmth of her skin. She certainly could not explain why she felt as if her whole life quivered through her with an imperceptible sigh of longing.
They both watched him leave, his bold masculine stride tempered with feline grace and fluidity.
“I thought I would somehow feel the way I used to about him, yet in truth it was as if it was an old friend whom I truly was glad to see again…” Archibald murmured, sincerely.
Candy’s head nodded in reflex, and then she rested it on her husband’s shoulder.
“Yes, indeed…” she affirmed, more to herself than to him.
“You will never guess whom I saw tonight at the reception…” Terry hinted, as he and his wife made their way to Robert Hathaway’s apartment. He felt as if he could not focus his mind.
“Someone important? The Rockefellers?” Suzanne asked, curious, as she primped her hair for the umpteenth time in the reflection of their car’s window.
“No….The Archibald Cornwells…” he stated, uncommitted. He had loosened the noose of his tie and was desperate for a numbing shot of whisky…he knew his driver kept a secret flask in the glove compartment, but upon further thought, decided not to ask for it.
“Oh, and how is she?” Suzanne asked, wondering what Candice White Andrew-Cornwell looked like after all these years. Suzanne never thought of her as someone as beautiful as she was; she could still never explain to herself how Terrence had been so madly besotted with her. Still, she recalled how she looked in the wedding photograph and was able to admit to herself that while still not what she would call extremely comely, she had a charming prettiness to her.
Terrence’s eye of sight was fixed nowhere. “Fine, Suzanne, fine…they make a handsome couple.” he said, matter of fact. He knew his wife was looking for other signs to gauge his true reaction, but he would never consciously give her one. “We have a standing invitation to visit them while they are in New York…would you like to go?”
“Why wouldn’t I?” she asked, surreptitiously.
“I don’t know Suzanne, maybe you are still miffed that she didn’t write a letter in reply to yours…” Terrence put enough sardonic bite in to sting without injuring.
She laughed at her husband’s humor. “Oh, don’t be silly!…of course not…I’d love to go…besides, they are the one of the richest couples in the world…maybe they will help you produce that Ernest Hemingway play you want to do and that Robert has turned you down on…The Sun Also Rises…didn’t you spend hours with Ernest at Brasserie Lipp in Paris talking about staging it?”
Terrence’s eyes regarded her with a hint of affronted disdain. “I’m not one to put a price on my acquaintances!” Truth was, it was one of the reasons why the London proposition had not piqued his interest.
“Dear, your idealism is so passé its pathetic…” Suzanne slightly jabbed, “Also, I didn’t know your ex-beloved only rates as an acquaintance…it seems like I am being generous in calling her friend…”
“It is that idealism that made me make her my ex-beloved many years ago…” he replied in reminder, his voice growing cold.
Suzanne knew when to leave well enough alone with him. “Ah, yes…well, everyone has moved on, haven’t they? And all is well, she's smitten with her dashing husband, and you and I are happily married…let’s just go and have a good time with them, shall we?”
“Whatever you want, Suzanne…” he acquiesced.
Still, his mind was unsettled; feeling the fraud in full for the first time as a result of the truth he had faced earlier…that in the precious few minutes he had been in Candice’s presence, he had felt more alive and complete in that in all the years he had been married…in all the years that had passed since they had parted paths. It was a bitter admission to himself that he had failed, just as he had presaged once when he had vowed that he would never love like his father.
Happily married. Yes, we are, Suzanne…oh yes we are…
 T.S. Eliot