Winds of Change
by Lady M. Harris
"Have a seat, Candy," Albert pointed to the settee by the fireplace.
"I prefer to stand," she replied quietly, frowning into the shadows.
She smoothed her new dress with trembling fingers, again greatly impressed with the rich folds and the elegant material. The dress must have cost a fortune, just based on the exotic material it was made of, not considering the fine workmanship the seamstress must have put into it as well. The new trunks in her newly appointed bedroom in the Audrey townhouse were full to the brim of silks, velvets, cashmere and every other conceivable type of fabrics. Her maid, Danielle had exclaimed delightfully over the beautiful dresses that she pulled from the brass trunks. Candy had been overwhelmed by the generosity and was certainly pleased. The dresses were not the school girl dresses she was used to wearing. Elegant colors such as royal blues, dazzling plums, emerald greens, jewel ruby reds and vibrant yellows that the young women of her age were fond of wearing, but did not dare to wear in front of their mamas. Of course, there were pale, pastel colored dresses included within the trousseau meant for the daytime activities.
Everything that the Audreys touched always had to be the best. Their money was old and very deep in their pockets. Candy feigned with the muted gold material again, it went well with the color of her complexion. She was still unable to make out Albert in the dim library, except for the fire burning the huge fireplace, only the lower part of him was visible. One long, trouser-clad thigh, the lower half of his legs encased in Hasson boots over another in a relaxed repose. In one hand, she could make out a crystal goblet halfway full of red wine.
"Well, then, suit yourself," Albert drawled, standing up to his full height from his reclining position against the end of the fireplace. He lifted the goblet to his lips, sniffing first, then taking a deep swallow, his eyes narrowed on the still form before him.
"Was there a reason you called me away from school?" Candy began, tentatively.
Albert sighed. "There is that matter that you turned eighteen a couple of months ago," he stated.
"What does my age have to do with this?" Candy implored, frowning. She still couldn't see him from where he stood, lounging beside the fireplace. It had been nearly four years since the last time she had seen him in Michigan. The last time she had seen him--those precious, quiet forgotten times, he had thought it prudent for her to finish schooling in London while he took care of matters that concerned the Audrey financials. Those concerns, she learned later through Archie, had taken him to California and Africa. For months at a time, Albert's whereabouts were a complete mystery. Although it concerned her greatly that Albert could not be reached, she herself had her own emotional turmoil to still consider.
Candy, over the years silently followed Terry's acting progress through the newspapers. A couple years later after their breakup, Candy had cried her many tears when Terry and Susanna were married at large, at a cathedral in New York where they made their home. She also knew that Terry's villas were perilously too close for her comfort and was uneasy of running into him or Susanna. Yet, London was too big and her circle of life was limited. She never chanced at glance at him within the city.
Licking her wounds like a hurt puppy, Candy threw herself whole heartily into school, excelling in arts and literature. Her circle of friends grew as well, for who was not drawn to the spunky, selfless and kind-hearted girl they called Candy. Her friends helped to heal her broken heart of rejection caused by Terry's breakup. But, it was the grandfather of time that had a way of gently, cleansing the painful memories until they fluttered away like fallen leaves on an autumn afternoon.
There was also the matter of her looks that many of her friends would kindly point out to her as to her likely hood of securing a future husband. Although, she had been considered pretty during adolescent with a smattering of freckles across her nose, she had matured into an exquisite beauty, far beyond anyone's expectations. Her flawless beauty and eloquent manners were legendary around the area of her school. Her friends pulled many pranks to set her up with boys of their age, which would only cause her to laugh and sigh with good-hearty annoyance. She knew, in her heart that they were only trying to make her forget.
Many of her friends wondered how the infamous Terry would have reacted to the sight of their friend's compelling beauty and maturity. For they knew with certainty, that no man would be able to withstand not wanting her for their own. This was evident by the last couple of years and the many, kindly turned down proposals of marriage offered to Candy.
"Audrey women of your age are normally married with children by this time. Although adopted, I would expect you to conform to those same traditions," he replied, coming out of the shadows to face Candy.
Candy smothered a gasp of surprise, her lovely emerald eyes growing wide as they settled on Albert. She barely recognized him! Gone were the lavishly long, golden locks and the smooth, baby face that she remembered of years ago. In its place, was a hard visage, sculpted and molded from a nature's raw materials. His hair was still too long by society's standards, but devilishly disheveled as if he had just raked his fingers through his dark, golden hair with agitation. Her amazed mind wondered if the women he met were attracted to that face of his. The thought shocked her, and she smothered the thoughts into the deep recesses of her reckoning mind. Hard blue eyes, the color of turbulent oceans on a stormy day stared mercilessness at her. An insolent smile perched about his full lips, mocking her. And when had he acquired such a commanding height and broadness across the shoulders and chest, she asked herself. Her mind whispered that the latter had always been there, except that she did not deem it necessary to notice until now.
It was unnerving to say the least, how her insides quivered with uncertain nervousness. It did not make complete sense to her, although the better part of her mind recklessly recognized her uneasiness. Instantly, her mind sought to make sense of her reasoning, finally settling on the fact that it was because she hadn't seen him in years which caused her to be so surprised over his changed appearance. Yes, that's it, she told herself. Then she remembered his statement.
"What do you mean by that statement?" She blurted out, suddenly.
"Exactly as I said, " he paused, still watching her lovely face, "You've grown into a beautiful woman, Candy," he said the last statement as if to himself. Candy's appearance had surprised him; the surprise was an understatement. He had heard the rumors around her school, in the country and took them seriously. However, he had not been prepared for the vision of loveliness that stood before him in the golden creation that he had purchased from the merchants of China. He had seen many beautiful women in the past, had even been with a few of them, however, none of them even compared to the one before him. He sighed. He was a man after all, and not completely unaffected with the notion of speculation where she was concerned. He made it a point to himself to stay clear of Candy's intoxicating charms.
Yet, he was again confronted with the prospect of marrying this child of beauty to society's ton. He knew he had to secure her position soon. Daily proposals were coming in and he hadn't even had her introduced to the ton as of yet. There was also the rising questions that Candy and him resided within the same townhouse, unchaperoned. He had already hired a Mrs. Jenkins to take care of that problem, but she wasn't due to start for another week.
"It will not take very long for you to settle on a husband of quality," he finished over her gasp of dismay.
"A husb--!" she quipped, angrily. "I have no intention of ever marrying!" she blurted out. The cad only had the nerve to laugh at her declaration! How dare he, she thought with anger coursing through her.
"Really, Candy, have you taken a look in the mirror lately?" he chuckled, insolently. He wondered at his harshness towards her. "Beautiful women were meant to be loved and cherished, do you not agree? What better way than to be married? Isn't that what all young women dream of?"
Before she could chance a retort, he reached over and grabbed her wrist in a steely grip and pulled her over to him. He placed her before him, so that she was forced to stare at her reflection in the large, gold-gilded mirror above the burning fireplace. She could instantly feel the heat of the blazing fire beside her skirts, but a hotter fire burned within her. Her face flushed as his large hands settled on her bare shoulders, the electrifying shock of his hands on her causing her to wonder at him. She ignored the queer tingling that his hands brought forth on her flesh and met his eyes in the mirror, her ire returning full force.
"I know I'm pretty, Albert," she stated, doubtfully, anger still tainting her voice. "At school, they all say that I'm pretty. What difference does it make?"
"It makes all the difference in the world of men. But on the contrary, you are not pretty. That is superficial, like a flesh wound," he chuckled again at her expression of his earlier statement on her prettiness. "You're stunning, Candy," he stated, firmly, believing it himself. "There isn't a man out there who won't want you for himself."
He resisted the urge to run his hands down her arms, wondering if the rest of her skin felt as smooth as silk, as it did now. He let go of her and moved away from her, his senses suddenly filling with her sweet perfume of evening primroses and tantalizing lilies. He sat down in his favorite chair and finished off the rest of his wine, setting his goblet down on the table lamp next to him.
"This is completely mad, Albert!" Candy whirled around to face him. "Are we not in the new century? Arranged marriages?" she scoffed at the last sentence.
"My, my, my," Albert taunted, a half grin playing about his lips as he listened to Candy's outburst. "It seems as if our kind-hearted, self-sacrificing Candy has grown a backbone in the past years!" he grinned wickedly again at her surprised and dismayed expression.
Her hand shot up to cover her softly parted lips as if to take back the hastily spoken words.
"What a fiery, little thing you've grown into, my sweet," he said softly, caressing the last words, his eyes narrowing on her sudden wide eyes. His blue gaze helplessly drawn to her heaving, creamy mounds exposed above the satiny vee of her gown.
Innocent. She was so honestly naive and innocuous. The only words that could come to his mind as he continued to gaze at her. That Terry had taught her nothing about the way the real world was and the men, who ran it, he thought again.
Oh, he knew about Terry. He would not be in the position he was in today as the heir to the Audrey fortune. It was his business to know everything about each individual family member, adopted or not. The young man Terry, who fell in love with her years ago and then left her for another woman he did not love, but felt he, must sacrifice his life for. Albert nearly sneered. He had no patience anymore for the younger generation. Terry had been a fool to let Candy go and now he had the ultimate task of finding another to replace the other. A job he did not relish, but knew he must for the family. Once, long ago, he was a very caring and sweet-hearted young man. Those days were gone too. Just like Terrence Grandchester.
Yet, she had no idea the affect her presence was creating havoc on him at that moment. More was pity that he could not, would not, explore that possibility that was demanding his not-so-innocent, ramshackle thoughts dared to conjure.
"You talk of me--what about you?" Candy demanded, turning the tables on him. His dark eyebrow went up in query. "I mean, you-you' re not the same person I used to know," she began tentatively, then with more conviction. Then she surprised him, suddenly sitting down on the carpeted floor, next to him. She put her hands on his hard thigh, ignoring the look of startled surprise on his face as she laid her warm cheek on his lap.
"Can we not go back to days of before? Those carefree days of warmth and laughter?" She pleaded with him. Her engulfing senses did summersaults as she was assaulted with his close proximity and the musk of his cologne of wood glens and fresh cinnamon. Her long, curly hair, although drawn up in an elegant coiffure style, the trailing length spilled to the floor in like a golden, array of cascading waterfalls. An unruly and forbidden thought jolted through the surface of her mind before she could rightly take the thought back. She wondered briefly about the sinew thigh underneath her fingers, her hands wanting to run its length, and did the rest of it feel the same way? The thunderous roar of her heart was only matched by the man sitting above to her. She did not notice how still he was, until she felt his hands in her hair. She felt his fingers push away the heavy coil of her hair to reveal her neck, briefly grazing the flesh where her neck and pulse beat rapidly with each breath she took. The fingers lightly touched her chin in almost a caress, before lifting her face up to him. She stared into those luminous depths of his, amazed that his eyes seemed so dark and torrential. Her heart hammered away within her chest and she was sure he could hear every loud thud with each passing breath she took.
Like a light feather, he brushed the tips of his fingers over her lower, flushed cheeks. Closely grazing her softly parted lips, noting how they trembled beneath his perusal. "Because those days are gone, Candy. Just like yesterday," he murmured huskily, his fingers moving back and forth in a hypnotizing rhythm against her chin, his burning gaze centered on her lips. "There can be no turning back now--can you not feel the difference?" He asked quietly, his gaze slowly moving from her lips to his lap where her hands clutched at the hard muscle there, her full breast resting against his thigh, innocently.
Candy snatched her hands from his lap. As if she had just been burned by a hot s tove burner, immediately standing up. Her breath exploded from her chest, her green eyes widening with sudden awareness of their current situation. A sardonic smile appeared on his face, understanding what she did not understand and sought to escape.
"I don't understand you, Albert!" She drew in large breaths of air, knowing she was being over dramatic but not caring, as her breath raced away at breakneck speed.
The fiery blue orbs of his eyes, narrowed dangerously, "Then that makes the two of us. Get of out here, Candy--before I do something that we'll both regret later." When he saw her hesitate, he felt his admiration rise, for she was indeed brave, if naive. "Now!" He nearly exploded, knowing he was scaring her.
Candy gasped with hurt and surprise, backing away from him. She whirled away, the tears suddenly rising to the occasion. Glad that her flushed face was hidden from his view, she fumbled for thedoorknob before finally opening it to escape the man from within. She fled to her rooms, heedless of the surprised servants in her way and finally threw herself onto her bed to weep herself to sleep.
Have you learned no humility, Albert, he thought to himself for the hundredth time? You used to have it ingrained within you, patience, love for human kind, honor, and sensibility. He lost those notions somewhere along the way of turning into a real man of the world. Even as you lay nearly dying in the De Boors beach mines, even then you could not care less that Lady Fate was laughing at you, challenging you to defy the odds of surviving. If it were not for Johnson, you'd been dead by now. Good ole, trusty Johnson, the only man he trusted. He sighed, agitated. And that she, Candy-- could make you nearly lose control of yourself. You acted like a schoolboy, he thought again, disgusted with himself. A girl on the verge of womanhood, who should rightly already been a woman in all ways. He rang for the servant for he needed more wine.
The following day dawned bright and warm for a summer day, however it brought no sign of Albert. Danielle had told her that he went to a neighboring town, on the outskirts of London and would not return for a couple days until his business was finished. Candy had sighed in relief, not wanting to face him after the disastrous evening of the night before. She still did not know what to make of Albert or of her strange feelings toward him. She did not want to examine the feelings he aroused in her, preferring to file them for another, more appropriate time. She tried conjuring up an image of Terry, but even that attempt failed to sooth her ache, the image of him blurred and distant.
Danielle had also informed her that Mrs. Jenkins would be arriving by the end of the week as a chaperone. Candy had sighed with general annoyance, but knew that one was unavoidable considering her age and Albert's. A chaperone would be needed despite her disapproval as Danielle had also mentioned that she and Albert would be attending a dinner party at the Valmont's estate the eve of his return. There, they would meet up with Annie and Archie.
For the time being, Candy kept herself busy by exploring the large townhouse and its bustling, surrounding street and by reading in her room. The townhouse was relatively new, but obviously used much by its master as the servants gossiped to her. Similar townhouses of equal prestige and elegance lined the same street. Candy listened closely to the servants' gossip, generally enjoying their light-hearted talk and simple natures where life concerned. It was obvious even to her, how loyal they were to their master. Candy surmised that who not be loyal to the Audreys, for they took care of their own, right down to their servants.
The before day that Albert was scheduled to return, caused Candy's nerves to run on edge. She had to admit to herself that despite their last meeting, she was still looking quite forwarding to seeing him again. She was whole-heartily bored now with exploring the townhouse, but at least the new chaperone kept her somewhat entertained. She genuinely liked the older woman, who was rotund and funny. Yet, she had the funniest nature of falling asleep after pausing from a conversation. It did not over bother her much, for the woman would bounce back into the conversation as if she had never paused. She wondered if Albert knew of the woman's funny habit before he had hired her.
That evening she heard Albert's carriage return to the townhouse, a day ahead of schedule. She watched through the open drapes, as Bronson and Jacobs, Albert's close male servants, help carry in some of the trunks. Albert reached into the carriage and helped a couple of other figures down, obviously female. One she deducted, was a servant, probably the other's maid. She could not make out the other female's features from where she stood, but from the way the woman's hands clung to Albert's greatcoat had her wondering over their relationship. Candy went to the foyer to meet Albert and their new guest with apprehension.
"Candy! This is Lady Winston, Baroness Winston, of the Winston estates. She will be joining us for supper and as well as for our dinner party tomorrow. Lady Winston is on her way to visit her sister farther north of London," Albert introduced Candy to Lady Winston.
Lady Winston was completely forgotten as he stared at Candy, a vision of loveliness standing before him like a wife, patiently waiting for her husband to come home to her arms. It was because of her, he was here a day earlier. The thought struck him painfully in the gut. After concluding his business satisfactorily of securing properties in Texas and California with his lawyers, the idea of bringing along Sophia had been her own devious idea. It was nothing more than excuse for her curiosity to look over his lovely charge. Albert had wanted to laugh, for he knew Sofia's intentions, they were so blatantly obvious. She could not know, that he was already bored with their relationship and their continued association only lingered to fulfill his own curious ends that concerned Candy.
Candy knew instantly that something was going on between Lady Winston and Albert. The way the beautiful woman's frigid, blue eyes swept the length of her told her more than she needed to know. Lady Winston's eyes narrowed on her, a polite smile on her glossy, red lips. Candy could not know how fetchingly lovely she looked at that moment, with her long, riotously, golden curls intricately woven in and out with tiny, seed pearls. Her elegant dress, with a scooped neckline was modest, but never the less drew one eyes to the fine lines of her neck and full, creamy breasts. Her waist was impossibly tiny, having turned many young mens' eyes. The color of her dress dramatically matched the color of her flashing, emerald eyes.
Dinner seemed a little strained for Candy. Mrs. Jenkins was not present at the dinner, having declined their invitation as a horrendous headache bothered her. Candy could not help notice the intimate looks that Lady Sophia gave Albert. Albert however, seemed to have other matters on his mind, preferring to only comment when asked a question and being almost rude to her and Lady Sophia. Candy had little appetite for the scrumptious dinner before her, only picking at the sauteed beef and creamy pasta. Her lowered gaze would periodically pick out the hard profile of Albert's face, unconsciously following the steely planes of his face. Candy's face paled when Lady Sophia mentioned that Terrence Grandchester and his wife, Lady Susanna were in town, attending a close relative's wedding and that they would also be attending the same dinner party tomorrow. Candy's shocked eyes instantly sought Albert's. His face remained hard, his blue gaze shuttered and closed, his thoughts hidden from her. He knew! Candy thought, desperately, knowing instinctively that he had known about her involvement with Terry. She wondered what he thought of her and Terry being together. Why do I care about what he thinks, her mind whispered? Of course you care, her conscious whispered back, you care more than you want to admit.
Candy brushed her unruly curls, feeling drained and tired from the ominously, long dinner. She did not know what to make of Lady Sophia. She wondered if the woman had been testing or goading her into a response of anger over her obvious display for Albert's attention. The woman had obviously wasted her efforts, for Candy did not believe she was witty or as clever as the lady was. Albert, she thought, had his own mind and did as he pleased, preferring to ignore both Lady Sophia and her. She set her brush down on her dresser. Although she was tired, she was still not tired enough to warrant going to bed. She got up and opened the French doors to the terrace, noting the warm, sultry breeze and the stars that winked in dark sky. She sighed, leaning against the railing, knowing she was inappropriately dressed to be outside. The gown she wore was nothing more than a thin, sheath of satiny material of pure white. Two strings of material held up the gown by her bare shoulders and the neckline dipped into a soft vee, lightly scalloped with lace and tiny, pearls. The rest of the length hugged her shapely curves, splitting on both sides of her legs at top of her thighs. Not caring of whom saw her; she threw her long hair over her shoulders, staring out into city, hoping the nightly sounds of the city would soothe her treacherous thoughts.
Then she heard it, a whisper of a sound to the left of her, like the scraping of someone moving. She whirled around and gasped, startled to find a shadowed Albert lounging on his patio chaise in nothing more than his pants, watching her silently. Helplessly, against her will, her gaze was drawn to the wide expanse of his muscled chest and hard stomach. One leg was carelessly crossed under the other, outstretched leg . A small glass was held in his hand, obviously containing a dark, velvet liquid that she recognized as cognac. While his other arm was held negligently underneath his head.
"No other woman could pull off that gown the way do you, Candy," Albert's deep voice quietly floated over the evening air to her. He lifted the glass to his lips, carefully watching her over the rim and sipped, enjoying the smooth, fiery liquid that flowed down his throat.
She gasped, suddenly feeling naked before his appraising eyes. She resisted the urge to clasp her arms over her breasts, suddenly feeling the heat rush to her cheeks, even while his sultry gaze made its loving sweep over her still form. Instead, she blurted out bravely, "Why did you not make your presence known to me?"
He shrugged his shoulders, nearly causing her to stamp her feet with sudden vexation. "I was enjoying the scenery," he replied innocently, a wicked grin on his lips that Candy suddenly had the irrepressibly urge to wipe off.
"Enjoying the scene---!" She echoed, angry. She walked over closer to his side of the terrace, ignoring the flip-flops inside of her stomach as Albert's dark eyebrow arched.
His lips split into a wide grin as his eyes continued to stare with renewed interest at her long, shapely limbs that became exposed to each stride she took.
"I'll have you know that you are no better dressed than me, exposing your chest for the world to see!" She retorted, her gaze still settled on those sinew lines.
He chuckled, the rumble of his deep voice causing her back to tingle with tremors and her knees feeling as weak as a newborn colt.
"That Lady Sophia would probably appreciate the view, but I do not," she lied, throwing her perky nose up into the air for a more dramatic effect and causing more laughter to erupt from the man on the terrace beside her.
"In that case you are right, my dear lovely. For she dearly begged me to come to her chambers tonight," his laughter died to a sardonic drawl, the words hitting her like fire and causing her cheeks to flame red with shock.
"You do not need to air your dirty laundry to me, Albert!" She retorted angrily, as an image of Albert and Lady Sophia locked in a passionate embrace fairly flew across her active imagination. She shuddered.
"Do I detect jealousy?" Albert grinned again, incredulous.
"Of course not! What you do in your bedchamber is your business," she stated, wondering if he was considering going to that suddenly, despicable woman's room tonight.
"Oh, but you are wondering, aren't you, little miss curiosity?" he taunted back, hitting each remark with the truth that her eyes went wide. "You're like an open book, Candy," he said suddenly, softly.
"Oh?" She quipped back defensively, her eyes blazing with heat. "And, just what, pray tell, am I thinking now?" She dared him.
He cocked his head, mocking her again as he pretended with great hesitation. Rising to her tempting challenge. "That you'd like nothing more than for me to come to your room--" he began slowly, huskily, as she sharply drew in her breath. "--and to pull that scrape of material off that detectable body of yours. Take those lovely breasts of yours into my hands and test their weight. I know they'll fill my hands nicely. Watch your pouty mouth part in a moan of desire."
Oh God, oh God, she thought she was going to drown, her insides snapped with sudden flaring heat, the fire blazing brightly against her loins and still he kept on, his hot words searing across her mind's eye. Firing her heightened imagination so that she nearly moaned in response to his enticing words. It made her face those forbidden, hidden, almost forgotten feelings of excitement that she was sure that she had buried years ago when her heart had been broken. Only this time, those disreputable, wild feelings had forced their way to the surface from their dormant sleep to claim their rightful place within her. It was not fair, she screamed silently to her betraying body.
"Lay you down on that pristine bed of yours and suckle those nipples of yours like a newborn--until you cry out, begging for more," he murmured into her silent, rigid face. "Shall I continue?" He asked quietly, the sizzling heat burning deeply within him. Even if he wanted to stop, by God, he should have stopped. He couldn't, he didn't want to, but he continued on, despite all the warning bells going off in his head. "Touch you where no man has ever had the privilege to, and give you pleasure as you never thought possible." He finally finished, his body strung like a taut bow, quivering, waiting for her outburst.
"Y-your c-contemptible!" She cried out, her legs wobbling with such force that she was sure he could hear her knees knocking against each other. It took all her effort to stay standing up and not to swoon in front of him.
"That I am," Albert leaned back against his chaise, slightly relaxing. His blue gaze stayed narrowed on her, knowing she was experiencing that heady desire that rushed through one's veins. It begged, demanded to be satisfied. And although his body screamed for her satisfaction, wanted to break her down into his submission, he could not move. He dared not to move in her direction or he knew he would come to regret his actions later. And he had no time for regrets.
"Shall I satisfy your curiosity?" He challenged her and himself, suddenly tiring of their game.
Candy backed away from the railing, shaking her head in denial. She was not brave enough to answer yes. Oh God, yes, she suddenly wanted him to show her all he had so succulently described to her. Her very own, forbidden thoughts. But she was too much of a coward.
"Ahh--Candy, what the hell have you done to me?" Albert said into the night sky after still staring at the spot where she had stood until she had whirled away from him, sobbing into the night.
Author's Notes: Hi there! This is my first attempt at a Candy Candy fanfiction. Hope you like my beginning. I'm much better at writing a Sailor Moon story. However, writing a sequel for this manga was a challenge I could not pass up. Especially since the manga left so much open on Albert for me to mold . I have to warn you guys, this is very much a lemon (as if you didn't notice)! I do though like to write stories, and this is no exception. I hope that this turns out to be a very good one, worthy of the creator's attention. Yeah right, wishful thinking. Alright, let me know your thoughts, good or bad are comments are welcome, and please visit my site at http://www.ladymharris.com when you get the chance as I will start posting the next chapters as I write them there as well. Just a reminder, I write very slow as you will notice. That's it. Oh and special thanks for Nila for posting my CC fanfiction on her site!!