Candy’s little scream of delight caused Albert to fully snap back from his thoughts.
"You are back!" she exclaimed, her cheeks red from excitement. For some reason, the past year she had been counting the days for this very minute. Without thinking twice, she gave Albert one of her bear hugs, nearly knocking the wind out of his lungs and throwing him off balance.
Composing himself, Albert smiled and looked into her vivid green eyes. Despite all the suffering she went through, from Anthony’s death to having to relinquish Terry, she still kept cheery for the sake of the rest. He had always admired her perseverance and now he found her breathtakingly beautiful. She had blossomed into an exquisite beauty, becoming one of the most sought after girls in Boston’s upper society. Looking deep into her eyes, Albert found his heart racing. Their deepness was drowning him, and before he would do something he will later regret, he forced himself to snap out of it. Unknown to Albert, Candy was deep in her own thoughts too. She had dreamt many nights of his coming back and now her dreams had become a reality. And many nights, frustration had been eating her insides every time she thought of the way Janette Woodlock had pressed her body against him and monopolized him for the dance and the Levine’s ball a year ago. How her blood had boiled due to jealousy and rage that night. He was HER Prince of the Hill, hers alone and no one else’s.
"So how is everything since my absence?" Albert asked in hopes to starting a conversation.
"Oh, it has been a swell year," Candy replied.
"Terry and Susannah had a baby boy. He had written to me before the child was born, telling me that he was going to attempt to live happily for the child’s sake and that I should do the same. His letter brought closure to my life." Candy proceeded to tell him about the letter, leaving out the personal parts. Terry had written that he would never forget her and the till the day he died and beyond, he would love her. However, he realized that they were both leading a destructive life if they continued living in sorrow.
"We are one soul. Our hearts beat at the same pace. Our love might not have had the chance to come to its full bloom in this lifetime, but it will in another life, another time. Love like ours only sleeps. It never dies. I love Susannah, but it doesn’t mean that I love you any less. Each day, my love for you grows bigger and bigger and I plant the seeds of this great love in my heart because I know that one day, I will be able to sow the greatness that will grow from it. Love again and be happy. Until the day we meet again, be sure that my love for you will always be there. Goodbye for now, my Freckled Tarzan, my immortal beloved."
Terry’s letter had made her cry, but out of happiness and closure. He was right. Their love would never die, and it will one day shine at its full glory and never be separated again. From that day on, Candy started to rebuild her life and let the barriers of her heart crumble. She did not expect that it would be Albert who completely demolished them with one blow.
"I’m glad the letter had brought you closure. I think it will be appropriate for me to send them a gift, after all I knew him and I wish him well," Albert said as he took a glass of wine with him to the balcony. "I heard from Aunt Elroy that we will be going to a party tonight at the Woodlocks."
"Yes," Candy said, a little bit annoyed to hear the Janette’s surname. "The Great Aunt wishes to find me a husband tonight. She said that at my age, it should be proper that I be engaged already."
Albert let out a laugh. To Candy it sounded wonderfully melodious. "That is Old Aunt Elroy, always thinking of propriety and society’s rules."
They kept on chatting when a knock at the door broke their conversation. From the door, Aunt Elroy appeared, cold and stoic and in her customary dull and plain dress despite of being the second-in-command in the Andrey family. A look from her told Candy that she wanted to talk to Albert privately, so Candy excused herself and left the library.
"Well, I am glad that you have decided to take into account your responsibilities to the family and the business. Don’t forget, Albert, you are the heir to the Andrey’s fortune and prestigious name, so I expect you to continue to expand both the fortune and the family’s name," were the first things to come out of the old lady’s mouth as soon as Candy left.
"That is the reason why I am here," Albert replied, not the least bothered and with a smile in his lips. He knew this was Aunt Elroy’s way of showing how much she cared. "Are we attending the Woodlocks’ party after all, aunt?"
"Yes, and tonight I mean to find a husband for Candy. Since her debut to the society, Candy has become one of the most sought after girls and I had hinted that tonight, her hand will be available for the taking. I expect you to be there too since all the upper class in Boston’s society will be there too. Not one single important family will be missing. The daughters will be there too."
Albert grew quiet for a minute. Did he have to courage to stop this? If he didn’t, he was going to let the woman of his life go to another man. "I will be there too."
"Good," Aunt Elroy replied and stood up, ready to leave. "Maybe you will find a respectable young lady to marry tonight too."
"Bring me the jewels in the black velvet box. Candy will wear them tonight," Albert said, his back to Aunt Elroy.
"Are you mad? You fully know what wearing those jewels mean! You can’t possibly be serious!"
"I am very serious," Albert said firmly, taking a sip of wine as he looked out the balcony. "I fully know the meaning of those jewels and Candy shall wear them tonight. Is that clear?"
"Crystal," Aunt Elroy said and left after a long and cold pause.
At sunset, Candy knocked on Albert’s library. Aunt Elroy, after knowing of Albert’s intentions, had changed her dress. Instead of wearing the planned luxurious green silk dress, Aunt Elroy had ordered her to wear a simple cream colored dress. It had a daring neckline, offering a modest, but seductive look at Candy’s cleavage and shoulders. The dress had no fancy embroidery or any other decorations except for the silver bows encircling the end of the dress. The Aunt had also put Candy’s golden curls up in an intricate bun instead of putting it up in her customary pigtails. Despite the aunt’s effort, some of Candy’s rebellious curls sprung up like springs. The hairdo, however, worked in Candy’s full advantage as it enhanced her beautiful face and fresh beauty.
"I see Aunt Elroy has changed your dress," Albert commented when he saw her. Despite the woman’s dull and flat dresses, she had impeccable taste. The dress was a perfect complement to the jewels Candy was to wear tonight. Before Candy had a chance to reply, Albert produced a black velvet box with the Andrey’s emblem embroidered in the middle. Candy gasped when she saw the contents inside. Without hesitation, Albert took the necklace out and placed it around Candy’s neck. The necklace covered her chest like a spider web. Thin silver thread held the majestic diamonds and allowed for the intricate design of the necklace. Next, Albert took out two combs and placed them around Candy’s bun, forming a circle of sparkling white diamonds. Lastly, he gave her a pair of diamond stud earrings. Though small and simplistic, the earrings added to the majestic beauty of the necklace and hair combs.
"Albert, I can’t," Candy said when she saw herself in the mirror. She looked like a princess, and Albert, in a black suit, her prince.
"Yes you can, and we better go. We are very late already," he assured her and helped her in her coat.
Aunt Elroy was already waiting in the car. When they arrived to the Woodlock’s lavish mansion, she noticed many of the cars belonging to the crčme de la crčme of Boston’s society. Among the multitude of cars, she saw Archie’s car and also the Leagans’. A frown appeared on her forehead, a gesture that did not go unnoticed by Albert, who felt Candy tighten her clutch on him arm. To comfort her, Albert placed his free hand on hers, oblivious to the shivers that the gesture sent through her. Aunt Elroy was the first to enter the Woodlock mansion, followed by Albert and Candy. Their arrival caused little splash, but the moment Candy took off her coat and appeared with Albert into the light, a gasp spread across the room. All the eyes went to Candy’s head and neck. The diamonds, not at all shy, shone to their full glory like suspended raindrops on Candy’s neck and head. Even Archie and Annie stood frozen, not at the sight, but at the meaning of the situation.
"My lord, you don’t think they are…" Annie said, but did not dare to complete the question. Could it be possible?
"I do not know. Albert must have his motives to put those jewels on Candy," Archie replied.
"Does he know the meaning of the jewels?" Archie once told Annie of the legendary Andrey diamonds. The diamonds were inherited only to the Andrey males who were to become the head of the family, like Albert had. Those diamonds were to be given to the bride or bride to be of the head of the Andreys. Everyone in the Boston society knew of this tradition, but from the looks of it, Annie suspected that Candy had no idea of the meaning of those diamonds.
"Every Andrey male knows of the meaning of those diamonds. Inheriting them means inheriting total control and power over the Andrey fortune. Albert knows the meaning of those diamonds. He has to, since he was predestined to own them."
As Candy and Albert, with Aunt Elroy at the front, made their way across the dance hall, many girls gave Candy looks filled with envy and hatred. How they longed to be in Candy’s shoes at that moment beside the handsome William Albert Andrey and wearing the lavish Andrey diamonds. Elisa was one of them, whose blood was boiling with rage and hate. Damn the stable girl, she thought. The Woodlocks, who were attending other guests when they came in, approached them before they could go to where Archie and Annie were.
"Hello, Elroy, William," Mrs. Woodlock said and made a little bow. She was obviously ignoring Candy, for the orphan had outshone her daughter when they both did their debut. However, not wanting to look bad in front of Albert, she turned to Candy, ready to greet her. The shock of seeing the diamonds stopped her words mid-way up her throat. What was the orphan doing with the exquisite Audrey diamonds? It couldn’t possibly be! They belonged to Janette!
"Hello, Mrs. Woodlock," Elroy replied, noticing Mrs. Woodlock’s shocked expression. His daughter and husband’s later added to the scene. If she weren’t brought up better, Aunt Elroy would have laughed right there and then. Albert, not wanting to deal with them, led Candy towards Archie and Annie, leaving aunt Elroy to deal with them. They were warmly and sincerely greeted this time.
"Dear lord, Candy! You look fantastic!" Annie said with a broad smile.
"Aunt Elroy has great taste." Both girls giggled, while Archie questioned Albert with his eyes. A nod from Albert told Archie all he had to know. He then joined the girls in the conversation along with Albert.
"Ah, Tchaikovsky’s ‘Waltz of the Flowers’!" Albert said when the little orchestra started playing the waltz.
"Shall we, milady?"
"We shall," Candy said brightly and let Albert lead her to the polished dance floor.
"Tell me Albert, why is everyone staring at us?" Candy asked, surprising Albert. "Why are they so shocked in seeing me wear the diamonds? Doesn’t the Audrey family have much more majestic jewels?"
"Of all the jewels we own, these are the least seen," Albert answered while he turned Candy.
"Oh, so everyone thought they were lost! That explains it!"
"It is not that," Albert said quietly.
Candy looked up at him. A frown appeared on her forehead. Her green eyes were questioning, sparkling, while her full lips were lightly but sensually parted. Before he could stop the calamity, his lips brushed her, lightly, sweetly. He felt her shudder and was sure she will push him away, instead she closed her eyes and let him deepen the kiss. Surprised, but delighted, Albert’s hand went to the back of her neck, making her shudder once more, while his other hand remained on her small waist. Instinctively, Candy wrapped her arms around Albert. Desperate for more, to finally be able to kiss those sweet lips, Albert slowly inserted his tongue into Candy’s mouth. Soon, their tongues were doing a dance of passion. All too soon, Albert left Candy’s mouth. He gave her a soft kiss on her cheek before he brought his mouth close to her ears.
"Be mine," Albert said, his voice light and barely audible to Candy. "Be my Princess of the Hill. Wear the Audrey diamonds like my mother did. Be mine."
"I’m all yours," Candy breathed, finally understanding the meaning of the diamonds. "I shall be your princess and you my prince."
And so they stood like that, in the middle of the Woodlock’s dance floor, suspended in their own world and time, arms around each other, and cheek to cheek, without caring that the whole world were looking at them.
© (2001) Lulu
Author notes: I hope you guys liked it. The Audrey diamonds were my own creation. I don’t think the manga nor the anime mentioned anything about them. I decided to write this because I think that Candy and Albert make a wonderful couple, even though I also like Terry and Candy as a couple. I will be writing a story about Terry and Candy soon. Give me time, you Terry lovers. I grew up with Candy Candy, but I do not know how the series ended because they only showed repeats and when they showed the ending, I had left for the USA. A while ago, I discovered how the anime ended and I thought that this would bring some closure. The manga, however, makes me think that Candy and Terry would get together and my wicked word processor and I will make sure of that. Have fun and those of you who can write, please continue with Candy Candy. I also have to thank Nilsy, Elaine,Rosa Carmona, and Lady M. Harris for their stories, which inspired me to write my own. To RC and LMH (if I have such privilege that you are reading this), please continue writing. I can’t wait for Rosa Carmona’s chapters to come and any new stories from Lady M. Harris.