A Candy Terry New Year's Eve Story
Terence woke up that morning to discover that a heavy snow had fallen during the night, and the landscape around his cottage was literally shrouded in a white blanket. Since he had come to England he had started sleeping well at last. A total change of scenario was apparently what he needed to recover and become again master of himself. After years while he had lived a non-life, imprisoned between, his duties towards the Stratford Company and his obligations towards a woman he didn't love nor liked, the unexpected had happened, almost out of the blue. Susannah had become ill and after one year from the tragic diagnosis, she had died and he had found himself free again but, in a way empty and confused, as if the precarious balance that had governed his life till that moment had gone topsy-turvy. It had been at that time that his insomnia had started. And that had been utterly ridiculous. “Why should I be sleepless now that my major problem has resolved at last?” Had asked himself many times. There was no apparent answer to his question, and he didn’t want to go to the doctor for advice. He had decided to find a solution totally on his own. Then an invitation had come. Again without notice. The prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company had offered him a contract for the winter season, and he, without even giving it a second thought had quit the Stratford and accepted the invitation to join the Shakespeare and, for obvious reasons, he had moved to Stratford upon Avon where the company was based.
Since he had set foot in the cottage in the outskirts, rented for him by the company he had felt reborn. That place bore no bad memories whatsoever. It seemed as if he was someone else there, a new self, and his new life had started taking a new rhythm, cadenced by his new job, long walks in the immediate countryside and horse-riding. For years he hadn’t mount, and he hadn’t thought that he could have missed it so much. The horse, for the first time in his life, was not his, but whenever he wanted he picked it from the local riding ground.They were so kind to keep a special one only for him, a beautiful bay horse, five years old, called Lancelot.
Terence, left the window where he had been admiring the falling snow for a long while and relaxed on his sofa in the cottage living room. The usual cup of tea in his hand, barefoot on the soft carpet, with his pyjamas still on, he was lazily enjoying the morning of the 31st of December in that silent domestic environment. His gaze wandered in the room, taking in the details of a place where very few things belonged to him. The house had come to him completely furnished, except the piano, which be brought from his New York apartment, and two oil paintings, hanging on the living room wall.
One of them represented the image of a small church with an adjacent building. It seemed as if the painter had taken it from a height. The painting showed a lovely landscape. A full bloom nature surrounded the house, in what could have only been a glorious spring day. He looked at it with a strange sense of nostalgia, he remembered very well that place. “Pony’s Home, the place where SHE had grown up”. It was mid-November the day he first saw it, and that day was snowing too. Many years had passed, he was just sixteen back then, but that place had remained engraved in his mind, so much so that he had been able to recognise it at first sight when, during one of his visits to London, he had found the painting at the flea market. Terence moved his eyes from it to the next one.
This, was the portrait of a girl, thirteen or fourteen years old, with a mane of blond curls cascading on her shoulders, and with two iridescent green eyes, so expressive and captivating that he could barely stop looking at them. What he loved the most of the picture was that her stare, like that of the Mona Lisa, seemed to follow him wherever he went in the room. He tenderly remembered her doing the same thing when they were together at school. He knew it, because he had once spotted her doing so, observing him attentively, when she had believed him unaware. But one day he had turned towards her so suddenly that she had barely had the time to divert her eyes, anyway not quickly enough to prevent him from noticing her adoring look.
Candy, when he discovered that painting, among many other dusty daubs, forgotten on that stall, he couldn’t believe his own eyes. He had felt a pang in his heart. That was exactly as he remembered her when he had met her on the ship taking them both to London.
It was definitely her, the one who was smiling to him from that painting, he couldn’t have forgotten those eyes even if he had lived over a hundred years, and.....yes...there they were..... the freckles, another mark of distinction on that pretty little nose, so small to seem flat. He remembered having thought that the person who had painted it must have known her well and must have loved her dearly, in fact there was so much care in it, so much attention to every detail, he could have painted her exactly like this himself, had he been capable to draw. He must have it: ”How much for this?” Had asked to the hawker, but while looking back to the numerous objects scattered on the stall he had also noticed the Pony’s Home's canvas. “No, this can’t be possible, how come that in the same place there are two paintings reproducing both Candy and Pony’s Home? It can’t be a coincidence, can it?” So he had checked closely and noticed that both the paintings bore the painter’s signature.
“Slim. Who could he possibly be? I must ask her!” He thought but immediately chastised himself. “Sure Terry, and when are you thinking of asking her such a question?”
Ten years had passed since he had seen her. Ten years of agony, years lived fearing that the sweet contour of her face could have been lost on his memory, sooner or later, but more than that lived in terror that “his” face would have gradually faded away in “her” mind. “I don’t know about you but, you must know that nothing has changed within me....! I love you still, exactly as I used to, and I always will!”
After Susannah’s death he had decided to get back to Candy, but he didn’t know how. He felt guilty for many things: for having betrayed his promise to her, because he hadn’t been able to love Susannah, for going on loving her instead, for having desired her every night since that damn night in New York when he had let her go, but most of all for having made her suffer so much, because he had been weak and had permitted to the events to take control over his will and over his life, so how could he possibly have the nerve now to go back to her, and ask to be forgiven?
Terence went to the desk next to the fireplace, and took the heavy volume placed upon it. It was volume two of the Shakespeare’s complete works, pressed between the pages there was an envelope, not yet sealed, over it the addressee was none other than Miss Candice White Ardlay, inside it the never sent letter in which he had tried to express his feelings, “Will I ever be able to send this to her?” Thought he, while turning it over and over again in his hands, “I must...or I will never know what had happened to her, how she feels about me....if she still feels anything at all.....but Terry, you must be prepared, the news might not be the one you are hoping for, she might be .....married. Oh God please not this, I cannot take it....I won’t be able to accept it.... to lose not just her but also my dreams of her....of me and her together....” He tried to dispel these gloomy thoughts, and then came to a resolve. “All right then, tomorrow it’s going to be the first day of the year and post offices will be closed so I’ll send it the day after tomorrow, that’s settled!”
It hadn’t stopped snowing since she had disembarked at Southampton. From there Candy had taken a train to Stratford Upon Avon. While travelling, she had been revisiting in her mind the events that had brought her on that train.
Everything had started when she had discovered about Susannah’s death, many months after the tragic event had happened. The obituary in an old newspaper had brought her the news. She could exactly recalled in her mind how she had felt, that time. And the adjective that best described her feelings was, lost. Yes, it actually had been a mixture of feelings and sensations, among which there were pain, and sadness and also rage, but more than anything else she had felt lost. Because in those few lines written in that forgotten newspaper, which absolutely by chance, had ended up in her hands, was held, her destiny. She hadn’t realized it immediately, but later that day, while going on thinking and thinking it over to what had happened, she had convinced herself that maybe this would have signified something important, that is: Terry and she might have had another chance.
She had felt guilty for that:, “how can I be so selfish to think about this possibility, it would be like I feel happy that she is no more, and this is not the case. I am genuinely saddened by her passing. Poor Susannah! ” This was what her good and generous part, which was the overwhelming one, living inside Candy’s heart, had said, and had been going on scolding herself every time the other part, considerably smaller, but nonetheless present, as in any human being, had tried to surface, placing the seed of doubt inside her mind:
“What are you talking about, how can you think, even for one moment, to be selfish? When all you want is to be with the man you love, the man that you loved also when you carelessly gave him up for another woman’s sake? Don’t you ever deserve an inch of happiness?”
The fact was that after all that time since their separation, what had seemed to her the right thing to do back then, had not seemed so right later. She had suffered, so much, but she was prepared to that and as long as she had believed that, that had been the right thing to do for everybody, no doubt had ever made her wavering. Nonetheless everybody else, Annie, Patty, Miss Baker, had seemed convinced that she had made a mistake, a mistake she would have regretted all her life.
“Candy how could you? How could you have left Terry behind? Don’t you love him? You have decided that it was the right thing to do, but are you sure this is the right thing for him?.....What if you had condemned him to a life of sorrow, instead? You know what? .....Had it been Archie I wouldn’t have given him up so easily”. These had been Annie’s words. For the first time, shy and sweet tempered Annie had dared judge her so harshly, in a way she hadn’t expected, straight to the point. At first Candy had felt offended by her reproachful tone. “How could she presume that it had been easy for me to take such an heartbreaking decision!” She had thought. All right, she might have decided in haste, simply because she had thought that to indulge in such a situation could have been even worse, but to leave him had been the most difficult thing she had ever done in all her life. The pain she had felt in her heart, up those stairs, when he had tried to stop her, had been so excruciating to be only compared to that felt when Anthony had died. However after the first moment of incredulity, there were other words, pronounced by her childhood friend, that had started resounding inside her brain. “What if you had condemned him to a life of sorrow?” She had not considered the possibility that Terrence would not have recovered from the initial trauma of their break up. She had been convinced that he would have ended up feeling affection and even love for that pour unfortunate girl, so sweet, so beautiful, so in love with him, to be ready to sacrifice everything for him. “How could he not feel moved by that. It might be difficult at the beginning but later Terry will be content of his honourable decision, and he will find peace and also love with Susannah. Won’t he?” She had continued mulling over in her mind. But the point was precisely that, what if things hadn’t worked as she had imagined, and Terry’s life had been miserable all along?
She didn’t know that Susannah was ill, and was surprised when she had found out, but she was also surprised to discover that Terence had never married her, why? Was this the proof that his gratitude towards her, had never turned into something else like she had predicted? If that was the case, she had made a huge mistake, and her misjudgement had cost her beloved his chance of living a life of happiness by her side.
The most important thing for her was in fact his happiness, more important than her personal happiness. As long as Terry was happy she could have endured her sufferings and would be content.
Terry’s peace of mind and happiness had always been paramount to her since when she had understood how sad and lonely his life had been when he was a boy, deprived of his parents affection, even more difficult than her parentless childhood.
Yet, one thing she had noticed, that after more than one year from Susannah’s death Terry hadn’t made any attempt to get in touch with her again. This could signify only one thing, that he was still mourning her, because he loved her and consequently had forgot about her previous fiancé. This possibility, no matter how much it had corresponded to what she had prayed for his sake, was something she could not accept. Because deep down in her heart she was still so attached to their mutual sentiment, that love they had never openly confessed to each other, but that was so profoundly rooted inside of them, that the simple fact of facing the possibility that he had forgot her was just like ripping her heart apart.
Albert always so wise had tried to console her with his sensible words: “His silence might be simply due to the fact that he is observing the one year mourning period, and anyway don’t you think that he might be confused, as you are, and worried, as you are, that by now you might be over him? This might be the reason that keeps him away, don’t you think?”
“Oh my God Terry, I haven’t reflected on this possibility, I am so in love with you that it never occurred to me that you could have doubts about me, and think that I might have stopped loving you. But if this is the case, none of us will ever do the first step to find out about the other so, because it was I who left you that night in New York, it is I who must do that first step. I might be facing a disappointment, but I don’t care, I must try to speak to you and see if that possibility is still opened for us.”
Candy didn’t know his present address, so she decided to write to the Stratford Company, but they told her that Terence Graham, was not their member anymore, he had moved to England, period. Their laconic answer was probably due to the fact that, for privacy reasons they were not allowed to divulge information of their famous ex member whereabouts.
Seeing her on the verge of despair, Albert had offered to recruit a detective in Britain to find out where he could be, but Candy had already decided to write to Miss Baker. She knew her address because, some years before, Terence’s mother had sent her a letter and a couple of tickets for Terry’s premiere, and on the letter there was the sender’s address. So hoping that Terry’s mother was still living there, Candy had written her a letter.
Dear Ms Baker,
A long time has passed since I heard from you. So many things have happened, and many tears have been shed. Only recently I learnt about Susannah’s death, and I am so sorry for that, but now my priority is Terry. His wellbeing. I am deeply ashamed because I didn’t offered him my condolences. I tried to contact him through the Stratford Company, but they told me he has moved to England, to start a new life, I imagine. Therefore I am writing to ask you if, according to your judgment, which I value so much, because you are his mother, and because you know what has happened between us, he might be happy to see me, so if in your opinion, in this particular and delicate moment of his life my offer of friendship would be well received, let me know his address, and rest assured that my feelings for him have never changed and that I would gladly go to the edge of the world to see him again.
My best regards,
The train was slowly proceeding on the snowy rails, beyond the windows the image of a white countryside was unravelling in front of her eyes. Candy opened her purse and took out an envelope. She opened it and started reading the letter inside it.
My Dear Candice,
I can hardly explain what your letter has signified for me, and how much joy your words have brought to me. Terence has come out of the recent events morally exhausted. His life had not been easy, I should say because of Susannah’s illness and death, and it is undoubtedly, partly due to that, but I am sure, even though he has always refused to speak to me about it, that what he has mostly suffered from is your loss. To be deprived of the light in his life has taken its toll, and he had grown even more close in himself, if that was possible. But he is in good health and I am convinced that the decision he has made to move to England to start a new career with the Shakespeare Company will help him a lot to regain his moral strength and to find himself again.
I believe, no.....I am certain that your presence will be fundamental to his recover for I know that, with you by his side he will be happy again. I have hoped beyond hope that one day you would be able pick it up from where you were forced, by the unfortunate circumstances we all know, to leave.
So my dear, here’s his address.........................................
Candy read and reread his address. She was getting close now, but the closer she got the more nervous she became. She hadn’t seen him for... how many years.. nine...ten? He was not a boy anymore but a man, not yet thirty but a man nonetheless, and she couldn’t figure it out how he might have changed during all this period. Yes she had seen him sometime on a newspaper in a black and white picture, but this could not have prepared her for a face to face with him in the flesh, could it?
The train slowed down announcing its imminent arrival at the station. Candy had decided to travel with just one suitcase. She hadn’t booked a hotel in town, because she was sure that she would be able to find one at her arrival, so she left her suitcase in custody at the station and took a cab directly to the place indicated to her by Ms Baker, a cottage in Stratford on Avon south borders. During the trip she asked the driver for a place in the vicinity where to find a room for a few days and he gave her a couple of names.
He left her right in front of the front garden, apparently the cottage had also one in the back, like more or less all the houses in the neighbourhood. Candy tried the gate, it was opened so she entered and headed to the main door with her heart thumping in her chest and in her temples. There was no name written anywhere, so with an hesitant, trembling hand she took the doorknocker and knocked at a solid wood door. While waiting she adjusted the fur hat on her head, and swallowed, but she realized that her mouth had gone dry. It was very cold outside but her cheeks were utterly burning. Candy waited, but nobody came, and no sound could be heard inside.
“He is not at home!” said a voice with a strong accent. Candy turned and saw a middle aged man watching her form the street. He was about to enter in the next door cottage.
“Is this Mr Graham’s house?” Asked she to the man, who must have been Terence’s neighbour.
“Yes, but I told you, he is not in!”
“Do you know when he will come back?” Asked Candy again, while becoming more agitated.
“I don’t know, I saw him going to the riding ground over there...you can ask them, goodbye Miss” and having said that he went inside, and shut the door.
Candy followed the man’s indications and arrived at the riding ground. There was a beautiful stable with many horses inside, there, another man, who was brushing a beautiful white animal, told her that Mr Graham had come to take Lancelot for a ride just half an hour before, “Mr Graham loves to ride in the snow, in the woods!” he said pointing to the nearby forest, but he couldn’t say how long he would have been out.
Candy didn’t know what to do, at seeing her so uncertain the man offered to take her to the edge of the wood. “There is a nice inn near the place and you can stay there and have a cup of tea while waiting for his return, he must pass right in front of that inn on his way back, because it is a short cut to the stable, so if you place yourself next to a window you won’t miss him, I assure you”.
Candy accepted the offer, and stayed at the place for a while, drinking tea and warming up while waiting, then seeing that it was getting late she decided to take a stroll to the edge of the woods. She couldn’t stay seated any longer anyway. She walked to the beginning of it and entered a little bit in the woods. She moved forward, more than she had wanted, to the point that when she turned back the forest had already closed behind her and she was knee high sunken in the snow. Candy shivered, “I don’t know what has come over me! Look at me I’m drenched and possibly lost in this place where nobody knows me, and he might have already passed from here, and I won’t be able to meet him.”
While she was absorbed in such gloomy thoughts ready to return, hoping to be able to find her way back, she noticed that no trace of hooves were visible in the snow so she understood that he had not come that way yet.
“Oh anyway, I must try to go back. I must find someone to take me to the station to retrieve my suitcase, then I will find a place to stay tonight, and tomorrow morning I will go back to his cottage, hoping to be luckier this time”.
She had barely formulated this thought when she heard a sound, it was the distinctive sound of a horse snorting, and under that, even if muffled by the snow, the sound made by hooves and suddenly a small neigh, and it was then that among the tree she clearly spotted a bay horse, heading directly to her direction, and on horseback a man dressed in a heavy even if impeccable riding costume, clearly designed to be worn in cold weather. Candy moved one difficult step forward. The horseman stopped the animal right in front of her, and dismounted. He looked at her in disbelief, then he turned to the horse and caressed with his gloved hand its neck and cheek as to calm it down, then again he turned to see her, their eyes made contact at last. Terence neared, he was tall and imposing, she felt small and overwhelmed, she wanted to touch him but couldn’t move, nor speak. She had completely dried up, but the joy she felt at seeing him was menacing to kill her, because, she thought: how is it possible that my heart could contain all this happiness?
It was Terrence then who did the first move, he took off his right glove and stretched out his hand to touch her check already wet with tears that were freezing on her soft skin.
His hand was warm, Candy closed her eyes and pressed his hand on his cheek, with hers.
TERRY AND CANDY
Terence could not believe his own eyes. Was it possible, that the person he had most of all desired to see again had now materialized in front of him? Still incredulous he explored her face with his bare hand, caressing her cheek, her chin, her small nose and her dear freckles. He went on for a while staring at all those details as if he wanted to feed on that beloved features. None of them had uttered a single word. Then Terence found the strength to speak to her: “Tell me, is it really you, or are you a spirit of the forest that has decided to make fun of me by taking the likeness of my dear Lady Freckles?” While saying so a gentle smile had appeared on his face.
Candy was enraptured, she couldn’t take her eyes off him, and because her eye sight had been blurred by her tears, she wiped her eyes with her right hand, and went on looking at him, taking in everything of his lovely face, his intense blue eyes, his straight nose and his beautiful mouth that was now showing her the most enchanting smile she had ever seen. He had indeed grown into a man, and he was handsomer as ever. She stayed there dumbfounded, incapable to speak, she could only cry silently but unstoppably.
“So, have you lost your tongue, sweetheart?” asked again Terry. Candy winced and realized that she hadn’t said anything yet. “I’m sorry Terry, yes.....no.....I mean...yes it’s me, it’s really me, Candy” Said she, stumbling into words. Terry burst out laughing, that unmistakable laugh of his. Oh how much she had craved to hear that laugh, again.
Candy joined him and started laughing too, laughing and crying at the same time. Then Terry stopped and became serious again.
“I want to .....Can I?” Now it was him who could not find the words. He was on the point of asking her permission to hug her but then he felt stupid to ask such a thing and did it, instead. He took her in his arms, and Candy felt wrapped in his embrace, and suddenly all her fears, questions and what ifs disappeared, now that she could feel his warmth and his heart beating steadily, nothing else was actually important to her, she encircled his waste with her arms, and then moved her hands up his back, literally clinging to him. She realized that never before had they indulged in such an embrace. Terence, was again the first to speak. With her right ear pressed against him she could hear his voice vibrating also in his chest, or so it seemed to her. “Candy is getting dark, I’d better be taking you home, now”. He gently pushed her away from him to see her eyes again, and she silently nodded with her head, signalling that she had agreed to go home with him.
Terence lifted her in his arms and helped her to mount the horse, then he mounted behind and headed the animal towards the end of the woods, then along the road to the riding ground. She had ridden side-saddle like that before with him, when they were at school, but now Terry was encircling her waste with one arm, in a protective way and she felt thrilled.
At the stable they left Lancelot and on foot they reached the cottage which was not very far from there. Entering the house Candy had immediately the sensation of warmth and intimacy, and she liked it at first sight. “Oh Terry, this is beautiful!” Exclaimed the young woman. “Yes, I agree” said Terry while taking off his jacket and cap and helping Candy taking off her coat too. Candy turned to look at him and smiling reached with her hand for his hair, ruffled and still a little bit long even if definitely shorter if compared to the way he used to wore it ten years before. Terence, took her again in his arms, he wanted desperately to kiss her, but he was afraid she wouldn’t be disposed to accept such an intimate gesture after so many years, so he decided to postpone the kiss for later and took off her fur hat instead. Candy’s hair was gathered up in a bun to fit better under the hat. She was very beautiful even like that but he wanted to see, once again, those unruly curls he loved so much. Candy understood and removed the hairpins, letting her hair down. Terry’s smile rewarded her immediately, he took a lock of hair in his hand and said: “The last time I saw you, you used to wear those funny pigtails...and.. ” but he couldn’t go on because Candy with a pretence of being offended said “So, my flat nose is funny and so are my freckles, now you say that also my pigtails were funny for you.. maybe I shouldn’t have come here!” Candy was pouting and he was finding her absolutely irresistible: “If only you’d let me finish talking....” interrupted Terry and Candy closed her mouth “I would have the opportunity to tell you how I adored your funny pigtails, and how much I missed them, as much as I missed your lovely freckles and your flat little nose” and saying that he softly kissed the point of her nose.
Candy was so happy that she could barely be contained in her own skin.
Having being told that Candy’s suitcase was at the station, and that she hadn’t found a place to sleep yet, Terence said that he would have been more than happy to host her there in his house, which by the way had two spare rooms, as long as she wanted to stay, and he offered to go to the station to retrieve her luggage.
“This will be your room!” Said Terry, showing Candy a lovely bedroom with a four-poster bed and a fireplace, “it has also a bathroom en suite, so make yourself at home!”
“I will light the fire also here and then I’ll go to the station to get your suitcase.”
“Thank you Terry, thank you so much!”
“I think I will have a hot bath because I’m cold for having walked in the snow for a while, but then I can cook dinner if you like?” Asked Candy happy to be able to reciprocate his kindness.
“Of course” Answered Terry a little dubious “Did you improve your cooking or is it still Albert the one who....” But he couldn’t finish what he was saying since Candy had already picked up a couple of cushions and had started throwing them at him. Terry laughing, left her there and headed for the woodshed to get what necessary to light a fire in her room.
Later when Candy came out of the bathroom at last, wrapped in a big bath towel, a crackling fire was already enlightening the room and a pleasant warmth enwrapped her. At the foot of the bed there was her suitcase. Candy smiled pleased. Terry had been so sweet to take care of her with such thoughtfulness. She got changed in a warm wool cloth, she brushed her curls letting them loose on her shoulders and then, left her room for the living room. It was deserted and also there the fire was burning in the fireplace. Candy started exploring it and suddenly she noticed what she had failed to see before. The two paintings. “Oh my God, this cannot be possible!” Said she watching them in surprise.
“Do you know the painter?” Asked Terence, who had appeared, completely chanced for dinner, on the threshold of the room.
“Yes, Slim was an orphan too, who used to be with me at Pony’s Home, very skilled at drawing but.....where did you find these?” she asked.
“In London at a flea market, I was performing there at the Old Vic, and I went at that market to find something to put on the walls here and...., it had been a surprise for me too, you know. I mean... to have you again in front of my eyes......I didn’t have a picture of you....I never had one.....and Pony’s home.....” Terence got close to Candy who was still watching the paintings and even without thinking he embraced her from behind.
When he realized what he had done he thought for an instant to let her go but she, at feeling him so close, relaxed completely, and abandoned herself against his chest, so Terence went on holding her, and rested chin and then his cheek on her head.
“You remembered Pony’s Home, didn’t you?” asked Candy with a broken voice.
“I remember every detail of that place, I went there with the precise intention to impress it on my mind, I explored it thoroughly, the walls, the trees, the voices, the odours, and then I went on Pony’s Hill to see the house from there, from where you used to look at it, I wanted to make it mine!” said Terence while holding Candy still.
“Why....why did you want to make it yours, Terry?” Asked Candy while caressing his arm with her hand.
“Because it was important for you, it was your home, and you have decided to share the memory of a place so dear to you with me.......because you were important for me, ....because I .....loved you, Candy.....and ...” Terence loosened his embrace only to make Candy turn towards him: “Because ...I love you Candy!” said he looking her in the eyes.
“Do you? Still?” Asked Candy with a trembling voice.
“Yes I do, I’ve loved you from the first moment I saw you, and then I went on loving you endlessly till now, and I will go on loving you till the end of my life, even if your feelings have changed, I will always love you!” Terence spoke with firm voice and a serious look but there was tenderness in his eyes. She remembered so well his loving glance, it had always been the same, exactly as now, he was sincere, those clear eyes couldn’t lie, that was the look of a man that had not stopped, not even for a moment, to love the same woman, the woman who was now in front of him, at last. This could only mean that Susannah had been an interval occurred in his life, but not in his heart, there, no interlude had ever occurred. She had not signified anything for him. Realizing that Candy was so happy that she could explode, now it was her turn to confess to him her feelings. But because she had remained for a moment speechless, Terence went on asking her: “Have you changed Candy?”
“I know that many years have passed and you might have found someone, or rather you most certainly have, you are a very special person Candy, I won’t be surprised if you...”
“No, Terry, you couldn’t be more far from the truth” interrupted the young girl.
“I have not changed at all, I too love you Terry, I’ve come all this way from America to tell you! Because I realized that I have never told you clearly, you might have understood it from many different little thing, but it is time for me to say it out loud, this is why I’m here, to tell you that I love you more than ever, more than anyone else, Terry! ” She said this in one breath with the most shining smile on her face. This time were Terence’s eyes that were brighten with tears. He took Candy’s face in his hands and kissed her, pressing his lips hard over hers, and then realizing that this was exactly what she wanted too, he deepened his kiss devouring her mouth, penetrating it with his tongue. Candy surrendered to him completely and lacing her arms around his neck, clinging to him on tiptoe she felt herself literally carried away by the sensations unleashed inside of her.
After a while, when things had calmed down a little bit, they had settled in front of the fire place, watching the fire dancing, creating shadows in the dimly lit room. Outside it was dark, the snow was still falling and they had been talking for a long time now, completely forgetful of the dinner. They didn’t have much hunger, the only thing they need was to be together to express and reveal to each other what, until then, they had kept secret in their hearts . It was in this way that Candy comprehended how stupid and sorrowful had been her decision to live Terry, but she also understood that he had never nurtured any resentment towards her, on the contrary, he was grateful because she had helped him taking the decision which was necessary at that moment and which maybe he couldn’t have taken if she had opposed to it. But abandoning Susannah in that moment, would have destroyed him, he couldn’t have lived with himself knowing that he had turned his back to a person who had saved him. What he regretted the most instead was his weakness which had prevented him from freeing himself before, when he had completely understood that Susannah was after all, a very selfish person who didn’t deserve that much.
“You must know Candy that what makes me suffer most of all is that you have suffered because of me?” Said Terence caressing Candy’s hair while she rested her head on his shoulder. “You have suffered too, Terry, and what happened was not your fault, maybe we were too young and things were too big for us, maybe we would have needed more time to think things over and someone, to talk to, someone older and wiser, I don’t know....” Candy sighed deeply. “You are right my love, but now it is too late for this and you must promise me that we won’t waste our lives mulling over these things and placing the blame of what happened upon ourselves, will you promise me that we will look only to our future together, starting from ....now?” Said Terry checking the clock placed over the mantelpiece. It will have been midnight in a few minutes.
“I promise you Terry, no more regrets, just our future, together” said Candy turning and kissing him on the lips.
“Do you know what day is today Freckles?”
“Yes, the 31st of December.... oh my God, tonight is our anniversary, isn’t it Terry?”
“Precisely, in a few minutes! Wait I must have a bottle somewhere, even if I don’t drink anymore, I think that for the occasion I can indulge in half a glass!”
Terence checked and found a bottle of champagne he had kept even if he didn’t know why.
The clock was striking midnight and Terence opened the bottle with a sudden blow, shooting the cork to the ceiling. The two lovers entwined their arms and drank from their champagne glasses.
“Happy new year Terry” said Candy with a smile.
“Happy new life, my love” replied Terry.