Coming of Age
The sound of shattering glasses followed the scream.
Annie and Archie weren’t particularly startled. They had been watching her for quite some time, her face behind the kitchen window, while she was washing the dishes of their lunch.
“Candy, are you hurt?” Annie sprang to her feet in worry, but her friend’s funny reaction made her burst out laughing. Candy had covered her mouth in terror, was blushing a deep red and looked at the door, like a small child, waiting for Mrs. Pony to come in and scold her for her bad mouth.
“You will never change!” Archie laughed out loud and took Annie’s hand.
“Mmmmm...” Candy stuck out her tongue at him and then with a look of fake smugness raised her head, turned around, walked with a supposed aristocratic style and grabbed a broom. Her antics made the couple laugh even more.
Archie pulled Annie to sit by his side. “Annie, you’ve got to talk to her,” his voice was suddenly serious.
Yes, I have to... Annie’s mood promptly changed as well.
They had been watching her for quite
some time as she was busying herself in the kitchen. She hadn’t allowed anyone to
help her and she urged her friends to stay outside on the courtyard to enjoy the
sunshine. But it was obvious that when she thought that no one was watching her,
she seemed very absent-minded and thoughtful. Annie knew her well enough to
realise that something serious was bothering her--"something she is not
willing to share with me... yet again." Her face darkened even more.
“I don’t know, Archie... Candy doesn’t make a habit of discussing her troubles. She doesn’t want to worry others with her problems,” she murmured with her head down. "There’s no chance she’ll talk to me, especially now that so much has happened..."
“I don’t know... Maybe we shouldn’t show her the newspaper with Terry,” he answered.
She didn’t reply to his thought, so he continued analysing what was on his mind.
“Even so, she won’t avoid hearing the rumours. Terry already stands out as an exceptional up-coming actor, Ut won’t be long until his name is everywhere. It will be good for her to start adjusting to the idea. Look…don’t worry, I’ll talk to her…” I’ll been waiting for an excuse to do that for such a long time…Annie, why do you have to be such a coward? She’s done so much for you.
Archie gave Annie a calming smile. The afternoon breeze was getting more and more chilly, so they decided to get inside the orphanage.
Candy was indeed trying
really hard to concentrate on cleaning up the kitchen. She felt devastated
from the tension of the last couple of days. Neil and all that plot for her to
marry him, Albert being uncle William..
She smiled thinking back on that moment: him sitting relaxed in that luxurious chair and herself begging him desperately to hide immediately before someone caught him in there!
Who could have ever expected that? My dear Albert! How fortunate I am to have you in my life! You’ve saved me so many times, always there in perfect timing! The only thing you weren’t able to do…the single one…was to find a way to get Terry to be with me... It’s all over now. What’s the point of thinking about it?
The kitchen was still in a mess. She had to spend at least one more hour to make it look presentable again, but she couldn’t care less. It was the perfect excuse for her to be alone. She felt so tired from pretending to be cheerful that day. What surprised her was that even though she was always able to switch her mood in order to look happy to others, suddenly that seemed very hard to do. Maybe it was that feeling she had. Things were happening so fast the last couple of weeks, she could hardly catch up. And now, suddenly, everything just... froze. Thinking more about it, she came to this conclusion: That all seemed to be finally in order.
Archie is with Annie, Patty is back in England, Albert is leading the family as the head of the Ardleys. Terry is back at the theatre with Susanna…With Susanna…that was the right thing to do, but still.. Don’t be selfish, Candice White! Someday Terry will be just a tender memory, like Anthony is... Have patience until then! Oh, I so hope that that moment will come soon!
“Chief!!!Chief!!” a dozen cute little faces with blushing cheeks appeared from the open window.
Candy wore her smiling face in a hurry. “Chief here! Company, atteeeeeention!!!”