The Past Never Dies
By Mónica González
FIRST PART: HEALING OLD HURTS
Back to RealityThe wind whipped her hair resting casually on her shoulders and back, causing her to see absolutely anything. She lifted her hand and tried unsuccessfully to retire them from her face. "It should have picked up me today," Candy thought with annoyance, taking a cowlick of hair from her mouth. Sighing, she got up and closed the window of the train. "Already, I’m late arriving in Chicago."
Chicago…This city evoked sweet and tragic memories in a heart mistreated with difficulties by the changes of life. With blows as strong as a force from a battleship, Candy still felt the wounds in her more intimate and more personal parts.
She pressed her nose against the window of the boxcar. Her mind flew towards Pony’s Home, to the warmth of maternal arms that consoled her whenever she needed it, to the appeasement of infantile desires. These days of rest had been like a balm for her, like a soft breeze in the hurricane that was her life. But all good things have an end and Candy had to abandon the sweet company of her "mothers" to take the reins of the Andrew family. And this scared her in great way. She was a simple, very educated girl that didn't like big meetings. And now, she will need to put on a front to this wealthy family.
"Excuse me, young lady? Is this seat free?" An old woman distracted the thoughts of Candy.
"Yes, of course that seat is free. You can sit down, if you want it."
"Thank you. If you don’t mind, where do you go?"
"To Chicago," she replied shortly
"I also go there. My youngest grandson just had a boy. What do you think about it? He has just made me great-grandmother!"
"Good, at least I know that Annie and Archie and the twins are waiting for me," Candy smiled as she thought about little Stear and Anthony. She remembered the announcement of Annie´s pregnancy, a couple of months after marrying Archie. It had been a great surprise, but the happiness was bigger when they discovered that not only one, but two babies were born. The small homage that they made naming the infants after two dear friends who had passed away, brought tears of emotion in Candy´s eyes. Stear and Anthony were Candy’s weaknesses ...and Albert. But he was not with her to see them...
She sighed. "Adam is also. It is a luck that I have been able to convince him to work with me. I don't know what I would do without him."
Reaching into the right pocket of her dress, she felt the comforting presence of the small note that Adam had sent her to Mexico. Slowly, she took out it and read it once again.
"Dear Candy, Saint Albert's recently inaugurated hospital director:
You had every reason to leave. Chicago is a wonderful place! I have already traveled to all the places that you recommended I visit in my free time, and I don't get tired of seeing them. There is so much to discover. But don´t believe that I have neglected the mission that has brought me to this city. Every day I go to the hospital to fulfill my day of labor. It is perfectly equipped with all the technical and medical advances that exist up to now. We even have a telephone! I have settled where you have told me, in the building where you inhabited for a time. It is almost empty. We are only two neighbors in total, and my department is exactly beside the one that you had occupied... that by the way, continues to be free.
How are my dear patients? Have their colds improved? Oh, Candy, I hope you are soon here and you can tell me personally! The truth is that I miss those places and the people a lot, but I promise I would help you during these times … you know that I always fulfill my promises.
Doctor Adam E. Martín.
Medical boss of the Hospital Saint Albert, Chicago.
PS: I have found a store that has just opened up near the house that I am sure you will like. It is a pastry shop..."
A pastry shop! Adam knew Candy´s weakness for candies and pastries, and he liked making them when he had occasion to do it. She looked toward the window. "I’m already late arriving..."
"What did you say? Oh, excuse me, I was not listening to you."
"I asked you if you were going to Chicago to see your family."
"Well ...I can say yes. But I am also taking upon myself the.... umm ...let me think... the load of the family business."
"To what…are you dedicated in your family?"
Candy thought carefully before answering. She was not very sure if she was really devoted the Andrew family.
"Banking business…well, I think so," she responded and concluded in silence
"She seems young, almost an adolescent, but she is already in mourning," she thought to herself, glancing at her black dress. This was decorated with a small golden fastener in eagle form with the wings open to the height of the heart. A long coat of the same color rested on her lap, with a pair of skin gloves. A white silk scarf wrapped the youth's throat, making her neck seem high and stylized. On her head was a small plain hat, adorned with three small white feathers.
"How old could she be? I think she can be 21 years old, but she seems almost like a very young girl. She has fine, white skin like porcelain, and I think that when she was a child, she may have had freckles. And she also possesses the greenest eyes that I have seen in my life. It would be really beautiful without that horrible mourning!"
"Is it not wonderful to be able to meet with all your family this time?"
"Yes…"Candy responded then thought, "but less so when your family doesn't love you..."as she looked in the green landscape of the window.
The old noblewoman's wise and tired eyes saw something in Candy’s face that she didn't know to what to attribute to. It was an expression of fear and solitude…fear that the train brought near her destiny and solitude like only a company can overcome. And in the deep recesses of her heart, she felt compassion for that statuette in mourning sitting in front of her in that solitary boxcar.
People turned their heads to the lady descending from the train with only the company of a suitcase. Many wondered for themselves who that lady could be, appearing with a distinguished behavior and a sad semblance that she seemed so lost in the platform that cold afternoon of January. The lady pressed a small crucifix hanging from her neck with one of her hands.
"Mrs. Andrew! Mrs. Andrew!" Candy turned to see who was calling her. She smiled when she saw the masculine figure walking through the multitude.
"George!" Candy said while she waved to him to indicate where she was situated. He quickly came towards her.
"How happy I am to see you again, Madam!" George said sincerely. He had always considered Candy as a great person. Even though he had seen her several times before her departure, he missed her very much. But this time was different. She had returned with the firm intention of staying with them.
"I am also happy to see you, really..."
"I have come to take you to house. I have already given orders so that they can pick up the rest of their baggage. If you please accompany me to the car..."
"Yes, of course."
When they arrived at the vehicle, two waiters had just finished loading Candy’s baggage in the backside of the car. George opened the car door and Candy settled beside the driver. He started the motor and slowly they moved away from the station.
Candy looked around her surroundings with curiosity. She had not visited Chicago for a long time, and the city had hardly changed. Here and there were little markets extended where the farmers of the near towns offered their colorful goods with big voices: positions of flowers, oranges, apples, greens. People crowded together to buy the things necessary to pass a cold time beside the fire. She inhaled the air deeply. The delicious scent of the food stimulated her appetite. She blushed she when she felt her stomach growl. George pretended not hear it, but he smiled.
"Relax, Madam. Very soon we will arrive to the house. All are waiting for you... including Miss Patty."
"Patty! Patty is here!" Candy’s eyes opened wide.
"It is like this, Mrs. Andrew. She had decided to stay awhile among us to study. She wants to be a nurse like you."
"I am very happy for her. I believe that she can end up being a good nurse."
"And what can you tell me about you, Madam? What have you done during this whole time?"
"Well... I have learned many things. I have been studying a lot about the use of artificial prosthesis, and perfecting several models."
George was surprised. "And to what is that due?"
"To the war. This damned war has made many of the soldiers that survive return to their homes without an arm, a hand, a leg, even both! Due to the misfortune of having lost one of their members, they could no longer help their families, and even at the end, they turned out to be a burden for them because they were seen as worthless. I would like to be able to help them somehow, and this is the only way that I knew how."
"But don't think that I have only been devoted to studying! I have also been trying to improve my form in playing the bagpipe..."
"Really, Madam? I still remember the last time that I listened to you," George answered with a mischievous grimace. "And have you been able to improve?"
"I think not," Candy said with a shy smile. "It still continues to sound like a sack of crickets...."
The automobile arrived at the city limits. They took a deviation toward the great Andrew House. In the distance, the high roofs that crowned the house could be sighted.
"I have also learned how to drive my own car..."
"Does that mean that you no longer need me as chauffeur?"
"Oh no, for heaven's sake not! Don't interpret me wrong. I like to feel a little more independent."
The vehicle took a last curve, and suddenly, before them, the great mass of gray stone arose among the grove. It was the Andrew Mansion. Its towers rose proudly toward the sky, challenging the graveness and the step of time. They stopped before the gate.
"We have arrived home, Madam."
For a moment, Candy began to have doubts. Had she decided well in coming, or should she have remained in Mexico to work? Suddenly, in the distance three figures appeared calling her.
"Archie! Annie! Patty!"
Candy jumped out of the car and began to run towards them. After everything, they were her family, and she was home again!
* * * * *
"Candy! I believe that it is my duty to remind you that a lady doesn't fall asleep in the table, during the dinner!"
The rough tone of Aunt Elroy’s voice caused Candy to straighten suddenly in her seat. One of her hands tripped against the carved glass, which fell and cracked into a hundred pieces against the cold marble floor. With shoulders shrinking and a resigned face, she bent over to pick them up.
"But, what are you doing? I have told you a thousand times that we have maids to pick up things off the table and the floor. Girl, you be still!"
As she got up startled, her head hit against the back part of the table. A bad way to wake up, she thought, while rubbing the aching area with her left hand with an infantile expression. A giggle was suffocated from the other end of the table. Archie daintily wiped his mouth clean with a napkin, but his eyes didn't deceive. He loved to see his aunt furious. Annie and Patty looked at one another, trying to contain their laughter.
"I...I am very sorry, aunt. The trip has been long and I am tired."
"You already know, dear aunt, that Candy has never had manners when sitting down at the table. You remember that before the Andrew family adopted her, she slept in the horse´s stable." Iriza pronounced these words with a wicked tone.
To her side sat her husband, Stuart Richardson, who was so in love with his wife that he missed the comments that circulated around Chicago about his wife's slight social life... and of Iriza´s extramarital relationships. Iriza used the men to her whim, managed them, and when she got tired, she abandoned them like old broken toys. And that was just like her: a capricious girl who wanted all the toys that belonged to others. She liked to be the center of attention at all the parties, and liked that the gentlemen became crazy before her charms.
"Dear Izira, I prefer not having manners to... to having strangers in my bed," Candy pronounced slowly, measuring her words, and lifted her face towards her.
The brown eyes of Iriza lit, and her face became black with rage. She didn't pronounce a single word during the rest of the night. Candy looked towards where Neil sat. He seemed to be totally drunk, and he leaned clumsily against the table. "He had not been able to overcome your rejection," they had commented to her. "For these past years, his liking to the drink had grown until it has become what you see now." Poor man!
Aunt Elroy disliked Candy´s presence back at the family house. She had never approved her marriage with Albert, and she had told this to him. A person without a past, coming from an orphanage…she could never be a good influence for the family, and even less so as the wife of the family head and possessor of the Andrew fortune. But Albert had not paid attention to her words, possessed instead with a strange vehemence and an uncontrollable desire to make her the partner for his life. Lucky, they had decided to live some years in Mexico, near a small hospital. At least there, Candy would not be criticized by the rest of the high society in the city. When they had approved of the construction of a beneficent hospital, she had trembled from head toe. Candy had put some very strange ideas in the Albert´s head. A beneficent hospital! A person that administers a fortune like that of the Andrew’s should not worry about the problems of people without money! One should be trying to conserve it and increase the family patrimony even more. Then the accident happened. They had suffered greatly and his death reminded Candy painfully of the first plane crash. As his wife, Albert´s death had made Candy the head of the family. An orphan, a simple orphan! A person who could not even give an heir to the Andrew governed these moments and the destination of the whole family!
But the aunt didn't see beyond her own pain and wounded pride. She had not taken in consideration the abortion that Candy had suffered because of the strong blow, nor the hard moments that she had to live during the funeral. Seeing her dressed in black, and sustaining herself with great difficulty between Patty and Annie, she was only able to increase the hatred and bitterness that she felt towards her.
And now, two years later, she had returned to put to the front, the recently inaugurated hospital. That also meant that it would be placed in the front of the family business. Aunt Elroy looked towards Candy sitting at the other end of the table, smiling at the maiden while she helped to pick up the broken glasses. She was no longer a girl. She was in that moment, a woman with an energetic character, high and slender, a possessor of a strange beauty that made men look and stray…the first looks for pure desire and the second for envy. A kind of innate grace emanated from her. The aunt knew that even dressed in mourning, Candy was able to be the center of attention at all the meetings.
In spite of being married to Albert, she had not been able to learn good manners. She ate like a maid, leaving her plates totally clean, and she didn't dress correctly. "I think that it will be necessary to think of redoing all her wardrobe. A widow of her position should not get dressed this way," she thought, criticizing the simple woolen, black dress that Candy wore.
"With your permission, aunt, I retire to rest. Today had been a very busy day."
She got up without waiting for the servant to retire her from her seat, causing the aunt's face to contract with displeasure. Without waiting for an answer, she left the dining room as quickly as her legs would allow her. When the big doors of the room closed after her, she ran quickly towards the sure walls of her bedroom. There she could cry without noone to bother her.
"Can we come in, Candy?" A shy little voice arose from the other side of the door.
"Yes, of course."
Candy was undoing her suitcase. Archie, Annie and Patty entered the room and they half-closed the door. A roguish look shone in the eyes of the three.
"We want to thank you for the gifts."
"And, there are some that want to see you..."
Archie opened the door, and suddenly in a vortex, the forms of a couple two year-old children entered the room with big screams.
They both rushed at the same time toward her neck, causing all three to fall on the bed.
"Good, this is too much!" Candy said laughing, raising her voice among the screams. "I am also happy see you too!"
The happy agitation didn't end until Maggie, the governess in charge of the children took them away with fits, back to their room. Candy sat down at the border of the bed. "They are incredible," she thought, while they left, their voices carrying in the corridor. Annie and Patty sat down beside her, while Archie took a seat and turned it so that he faced the three women.
"We are very happy to have you here again among us, Candy."
"But, tell us. How was your work there in Mexico?"
"Very good. Lately we have been working in a small town in a mountainous area, called Renacer de la Sierra. It was very necessary to do this and there were few hands to help, but we were able to get ahead."
"What a poetic name for a town!" Patty exclaimed.
"You have been working?" Annie asked.
"Yes... Adam and I."
In that moment, Annie remembered Doctor Martín. She had only seen him a couple of occasions: the first one was during a fleeting visit that they had made to Mexico to see Candy, and the second, at Albert’s funeral. She had been very impressed. Adam was a tall man, the tallest that she has known up to now. He had golden blonde hair, similar to the color of the wheat in a summer day, and large, grizzly blue eyes that always looked with frank curiosity.
With his soft ways and pleasant treatment, he had been Candy’s moral support during the several years, before and after Albert’s death. Dedicated to the same hospital like a marriage, he had been a great friend to both, and a comfort for the girl when she had decided to return for a while to the mountainous area of Mexico. Annie knew that between nurse and doctor, a strong current of sympathy existed.
"And where is Adam now?"
"He did not come with me. Nowadays, he is the medical boss of my hospital. But he had arrived before me two weeks ago to find a house for me to settle in."
Candy noticed the expression of her childhood friends. With the tip of her fingers, she gave a soft pat to Annie´s forehead.
"Annie! I know your look very well. Don't try to play to the matchmaking one with me. You know well enough that Adam and I are very good friends, but nothing else. He is to me like... a brother. Also, I don't have any intention of marrying again."
"Don't say that. You don't know what waits for you in a future. Perhaps one day you will find somebody that..." Archie spoke for first time.
"No, Archie, this is certain. I feel too tired to confront a new relationship." Candy interrupted him.
Archie looked into the deep and liquid eyes of Candy and understood that she said the truth. She had not been able to forget to Albert... as neither could he forget completely the love that he once felt toward her… and it had hidden, as a man of honor that was, in a little dark place of his heart. For a moment he thought if she could also overcome the loss of Terry... Adam could maybe the cure of her wounds.
They said goodbye to her, abandoning the room and leaving Candy alone with her thoughts. She went to the window and she leaned out. Outside, the weak rays of the moon illuminated those lurid statues of the garden, as if they were beings of a nightmare.
"It is certain, I don't want marry again. I have lost Albert and I could not support the pain of being able to lose another person." Of a dark corner of her memory the name of Terry arose. "Térry!" She smiled nervously. "I lost Terry twice…one in London and the other... of the other, it is better to not remember." The memory had been marked in her skin, like an open wound that cost a lot of time for Candy to heal.
Quietly, she took off her clothes, which was sheathed in her nightwear and went to bed. Although the love of Albert had dissipated the memory of Terry finally, Candy wondered in some occasions, which had hurt her more…the loss of Albert or that of Terry. Cruelly, she always reached the same conclusion: both losses hurt her in the same way.
I am Mónica, and I hope that you liked this first chapter of the fanfic that I am writing. During the past years (more than 10, for my desperation), I could not meet the end of our favorite series because in my country only a part of the history was emitted. So my mind thought many different ends that filled the hole that this lack had left. A good day, in Internet, I met with the end that I so much wanted to know, and I found it so extremely sad that I could not avoid to cry. Soon after, I could meet the end from the manga (from the deepest in my heart, thank you, Hitomi-san ) and this end left me something more alleviated... but not enough. Why could not one say openly that Candy was happy with somebody? Do you know who I am thinking about? It is for this reason that I have decided to make this small homage to our particular heroine. I don't have a lot of time to write, but every day I dedicate something of my time so that this history can see the light. I will try to send the files so quick as it is possible so that they are published as soon as possible.
I will include to all the main characters (be patient, they will all appear, but to some it will take time being a main part in the life of Candy again). I also contribute some new characters, fruit of my inventiveness. Today I introduce to you, Doctor Adam E. Martin and Stuart Richardson. What do you say of them?
If you want, you can send me comments, criticisms or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org that will be received simply with pleasure. Or if you want to speak with me, write me.
My eternal gratefulness to Elaine and Nila, for allowing this fanfic to be published in their pages, and to Luz for their support. Arigato!
©(1999) Mónica González