“Just an illusion”
The big majestic Chicago mansion was shining, showing its cold beauty. People would pass in front of it and admire it, tourist would take pictures for souvenirs but its owner didn’t care. He had other things in mind. There was group of men waiting for him in the living room. He walked to them rather quickly from his study where he was reading; try to escape his Aunt Elroy and her blabbering. He was wearing a white shirt with black pants, he smell good. Any women would be flattered or even lucky to have his attention, but his head was elsewhere at the moment. He entered the living and he found Aunt Elroy there waiting for him too.
- Aunt Elroy, you don’t need to be here
- I want to know what happened to her too, she is a member of this family
- Since when do you acknowledge that fact? Said Albert coldly
- Well you adopted her, so I don’t really have the choice, do I ?
- Fine, you can stay! Said Albert coldly.
He sat down in an armchair of the living room facing the men.
- Did you find anything? He asked
- We think we did, said one
- Well I hope this one it’s the real thing! It’s been almost 2 years! I feel like I’m paying you money for nothing!
- Mr. Andrew … we think we found her this time.
- You think?
- Where is she?
- In Mexico…
- Yes, we found her in Mexico?
- Where in Mexico?
- In a mental institution…
- A mental institution? What happened to her?
- They wouldn’t give us too much information, since we weren’t her family…
- I have to go there!
- Yes, here is all the information…
- A mental institution??? Repeated Albert, oh my God! What the hell happened to her? Thank you for your services. You’ll get your final cheque when I bring her home, if of course, it’s her… otherwise you’ll have to continue searching…
- Very well sir, said the man, good bye.
The men left leaving Albert reading the report attentively. Aunt Elroy has a emotionless face. Looks like Candy was going to be found after all. She was hoping Candy would be gone for good.
- Disappointed? Aunt Elroy?
- Maybe it’s another dead end…
- You wish, don’t you…?
- What did that poor girl ever did to you? She’s the sweetest girl in the world…
- You’re grateful to her because
- She took me in, without a hesitation to take care of me… she didn’t care about what people were going to say about her, she risked her reputation to take care of me!!! We lived like brother and sister, not lovers if that’s what you’re wondering!
- I’m going to get ready to go to Mexico and look for her.
- William, why don’t you send George after her?
- I want to see by myself that it’s her… I need to identify her…
- In a mental institution, she’s crazy…
- Well I’ll have to find out by myself, said Albert leaving the room
Aunt Elroy was not happy. Candy couldn’t disappear, she had been gone for two years, but it looks like she was coming back…
“ That damn orphan can’t stay away!!! We’ve had peace ever since she was gone…now she’s going to bring back chaos with her…”
Albert went to his room where he always had a packed suitcase, grabbed it and he was on his way. He got to the hallway and Archie entered the mansion.
- I got a lead on Candy…
- Again? Where?
- In Mexico
- What is she doing in Mexico?
- She a patient in a mental institution…
- What? Oh my God!
- Maybe it’s not her, but I have to make sure by myself…even if it’s another dead end
- I understand
- I trust you to be in charge of things here?
Annie arrived with the driver and lots of boxes from a luxury boutique, A&A; Archie and Annie.
- Uncle? Said Annie, you’re going somewhere? A new lead on Candy?
- Yes, Annie
- Oh my God! I hope this one is legit! Where are you going?
- Mexico, isn’t that where she almost got sold?
- Yes, said Albert
- I pray it’s her this time, said Annie, I miss my sister so much
- We all miss her, said Albert, all right I’m going, I’ll send you a message if it’s really her this time.
- I hope so too, said Archie, bye Uncle
- Good bye….
Albert left with his right hand man. They took the train, the trip lasted a few days and they got to their estate in Mexico. They had to go and freshen up and wait until morning to go see the patient in question.
Albert was in his room after the long trips, in cars and trains, he was exhausted. He took a shower and he went to be thinking about her. He was praying that this time it was really her. How many wild goose chase he’s been on ever since she disappeared? He started thinking…
After the party at the Pony Home, Candy was in a cheerful mood. She was taking care of the children and she was in he element. She was happy at the Pony Home.
- You don’t need me to give you your job back at the hospital in Chicago?
- Albert, I’m fine here with my little brothers and sisters. I love taking care of them…
- Don’t you want to at least come and stay with me at Lakewood?
- You must be tired of seeing me everyday Albert, she said smiling, thank you for worrying about me, but this is my home where I was brought up and I love it here, and I need to stay here with my mothers, I miss them
- I understand that, but don’t forget, I need you too
- Give me a little time Albert she said with a sweet voice… I just need to be a little girl again with moms again…
- Fine Candy, you know where to find me…
So Albert left her at the Pony Home and she seemed happy. He went on a little trip and when he came back he went to the Pony Home and they told them that Candy had left for places unknown.
- What? She didn’t tell you where she went?
- We didn’t even see her, said Miss Pony, she just disappeared one morning.
- Did she leave a note
- Yes, it said, she had some soul searching to do and she might come back when she’s done thinking…
- Which is surprising because she had been feeling under the weather, she had the flu, like most of the children here. We thought she was going to stay in bed and rest, when we didn’t see her that morning but she was gone…
- Don’t worry, she’s going to show up when she’s done
- All right, said Albert sadly, if you say so…
He went back to his life but he was sad. Weeks, months and a year passed! Candy was still not back, nobody knew where she was, or what she was doing. Albert had hired people to look for her when 3 months passed and he still didn’t have any news from her, but the research didn’t pan out. Albert was starting to think that maybe Candy was dead or overseas, so he paid people to look for her in other countries. …
He couldn’t stop thinking about her and dawn found him with his eyes wide open. He took a shower and just went downstairs ready to go. He found George having coffee and some huevos rancheros.
- Have a seat Master William
- I don’t feel like eating
- You need to eat to keep your mind straight… if it’s her, we’re going to find her when we’re done
- Come on sir…
- All right, I might as well eat something and those huevos rancheros look delicious
Albert sat down in the big dinning room and had breakfast with George. He was eating but he didn’t seem to be able to take the food. When he was finally done, he stood up to leave. George had to practically run after him. They had a driver who took them to the insane asylum and he was doing all the talking. Albert could understand Spanish after all the trips he had done in South America. They took them to a room where there was a young woman with blond hair lying on a bed by the window.
- I have to tell you, said the doctor in English, the young lady is living in her own world…
- What do you mean?
- She’s thinking like a 15 year old…
- Where did you find her?
- There was a fire in a local clinic a few months ago… and she was one of the patients… I don’t know what she was doing in that small clinic, but she was practically catatonic… and when she finally started talking again, she sounded like a little girl
The doctor approached her.
- Candita, he said, I have someone here to see you
- Doctor? She said
- Yes, look, you have a visitor
- A visitor?
The young lady sat down on her bed to look at the visitors. Albert and George were looking at Candy like in a dream, finally she was there!!! She looked indeed like she was fifteen only she was just more… voluptuous, her breast was a lot bigger than he remembered…
“Oh my God Albert, is that what you’re looking at?? He thought”
She was so beautiful. Candy looked at them for a while stunned and finally she smiled and stood up from the bed.
- Anthony? She said, my prince! Oh Anthony!
She ran to Albert and hugged him like there was no tomorrow.
- I knew you’d come and take me away from this place! I just knew it!!!! Anthony, I love you so much! Thank you Thank you thank you!
As she was saying those words, she was kissing him everywhere on the face and finally she landed on the lips and just kissed him …
Albert was frozen on the spot to have been call “Anthony” and get such a warm greeting from his adoptive daughter, he couldn’t stop thinking about, having her kissing him like that…he just couldn’t resist, he kissed her back… He was so happy to see her and kissing her like that was one of his biggest dream. They went at it for a while and when they finally stopped, Candy was smiling and hugging him hard.
George was talking to the doctors.
- Anthony? Is that his name?
- That’s the name of his nephew who died, he looked just like him…
- Oh, well it’s better to let her believe that, so you won’t confuse her…and I think your boss is having a rather good time!!
- Indeed, said George
Candy was kissing Albert again.
- Oh Anthony!!! I love you so much, thank you for coming to get me! Where were you? I’ve been waiting for you for 100 years!!! Like the sleeping beauty and you finally came!!!! This is wonderful!!!
- Hello, Candita
- Doctor, she said this is my prince! I told you he would come for me!!!
- You did indeed!!!
- Now I can go home to my castle with my prince!!!!
- Yes, you can, said the doctor, I’m going to get your paper work ready
- Thank you doctor… Anthony? Can I kiss you again?
- Yes, said Albert smiling
They started kissing again, Albert was having a blast. The paper work was finally ready and Candy was wearing a dress from the hospital, and Albert paid the hospital more they he should have had and they didn’t mind giving the hospital gown to Candy. They went to a local boutique and Albert bought the most beautiful dress for his protégée. They took several of them with shoes, sweaters, night gowns… Candy had some brushes and she loved brushing her hair and letting them down. They arrived at the hacienda and the maids took care of Candy, they bathed her dressed her and fed her… Candy was having fun, but she was thinking about “Anthony”, she couldn’t wait to be in his arms again.
George was with Albert in the living room waiting for Candy, so they could leave.
- Master William…
- I know George…. I just can’t resist her…
- You mustn’t take advantage of the situation…she’s not herself
- I know, her calling me “Anthony” is certainly a big clue for me…
- But the doctor did say not to tell her the truth, it might confuse her more…
- So what am I suppose to do? Avoid her? I can’t do that, I’m so happy she’s here, she back
- And infatuated with you!!!
- George, this is not my fault
- Master William…
- I have to make sure she’s fine…I’ll take her to a good doctor… but I won’t lock her up… she’s been locked up enough as it is…
Candy arrived in the living room all dressed up and smiling.
- Yes, said Albert smiling, you look lovely
- You really like it?
- Yes, I do…
- Good, or I would’ve gone and change if you didn’t like it…
- You’re ready to go to Chicago?
- Yes! Will I see Annie my sister? She wouldn’t write me anymore, her mommy doesn’t want people to know she came from an orphanage, that’s what I was crying about when you found me remember?
- Yes, I remember, said Albert
- Can we go see Miss Pony and Sister Maria, they’re probably going to be mad at me for being away for so long…
- They love you, they’ll forgive you
- I hope so
Candy approached them and she went to sit near Albert and went to his arms like it was the most natural thing in the world for her. Albert looked at George and took Candy in his arms.
- I’m so happy you came! We’re going to be together forever, right?
George looked at the scene and shook his head.
The trip back to Chicago was long, but with Candy entertaining it was quite fun. She was on the train, befriending every little children in sight. She would have fun, run with them, then, she would go back to Albert and rest in his arms peacefully. The arrived in Chicago a few days later, it was evening time. Archie had got a phone call from Albert and he was impatient to see Candy again. Aunt Elroy was sulking, Candy was back. Neil and Eliza were also there with their parents. Annie was on hot coals, impatient to see her sister.
- I think I’m going to go crazy
She had her straight blond hair loose on her shoulder. Archie still wore his blond hair almost to his shoulders too. They were both very well dressed with their own creations. When they heard the car, they were all in the hallway waiting. The door opened and they saw a young woman entering and running to Annie to hug her hard.
- ANNIEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!! Oh my GOD!!!!!!!!!! You came to see me!!!!!!!! I’m so happy to see you!!!!!!!!!
Annie was a little stunned but she hugged her sister back
- Candy, said Annie it’s so good to see you too!!!
- Archie, said Candy, hello, are you going to kiss my hand again?
- I’m hugging you that’s what I’m doing!!!! Said Archie laughing
Candy was laughing… then she looked at the others…
- Well I don’t think you guys are happy to see me, she said with no shame, so you can keep your greetings
- How rude! Said Aunt Elroy
- This girl has not manners what-so-ever! Said Sarah
- What else is new? Said Candy smiling
She was smiling and she turned to Albert.
- Anthony? Would you show me to my room, please, I want to change before dinner…
- Sure, said Albert taking her hand
- I’ll see you later! She said leaving with Albert
The others where speechless. Anthony??? George decided to break the silence.
- She’s not in her right mind, he said
- I’ll say! Said Archie, Anthony?
- She’s going to see a doctor for her treatment, but in the mean time you need to let her think that Master William is Master Anthony…
- I told you she was crazy! Said Eliza! I knew it from the beginning!
- Shut up Eliza! Said Archie, she’s sick, don’t make fun of her!!!!
- Anthony? How dare that girl speak the name of my beloved nephew? Said Aunt Elroy! She’s responsible for his death!!!!
- Aunt Elroy, please! Said Archie leaving the room
Annie followed him and they went upstairs together.
Candy was in her room with Albert.
- What a wonderful room Anthony! I love it! Where is yours?
- Right across the hall
- Great! I can sneak into your room and come and kiss you!!!! Thank you so much for saving me!
- You need to change, so we can go downstairs and have dinner…
- All right, but I need you to kiss me first, she said
Albert approached her and kissed her on the lips.
- I’ll be in my room changing, I’ll come and get you to go downstairs.
- All right Anthony, she said
Albert got out of the room and he met Annie and Archie.
- Anthony? Said Archie
- I know…
- You’re taking advantage?
- Well the doctor said to let her live her delusion… the truth might make her catatonic again
- What is the cause of her condition?
- It must be something awful, for her to retract in this world where she’s happy with Anthony…
- An imaginary world Uncle…
- I know…
- She thinks you’re Anthony, said Annie, so…
Albert remained silent.
- Well I can’t reject her when she kisses me! H e said
- Why not? Said Annie, oh Uncle… when she gets better…
- For now, she needs me to pretend…
- But it’s not real! Said Annie, she’s in love with Terry!!!
- She loved Anthony too, said Archie
- I know that but…. Come on guys! Honey! You can’t condone this!!!!
Annie looked at her husband.
- Oh my God! You’d rather see her delusional, than lucid with Terry on her mind!!!! That’s sick!
- Annie, said Archie
- Honey, I know you’d rather see her with your uncle, since you’re not available
- But think about it, when she’s well again…that’s abuse!!!
- I understand what you’re saying Annie, said Albert and it’s nice of you to worry about your sister, but I’ll take care of her…
Annie looked at them and she left to go to her room. Archie looked at Albert
- She’s right, you know, he told Albert
- I know she is, but there’s nothing I can do… she thinks I’m Anthony
- She thinks you’re someone else, Albert, it’s an illusion…
- Well for the moment and until she’s ready to face what made her runaway from the real world, I’m going to be “Anthony” for her, said Albert leaving
Archie looked at him go and he went to his room. Annie was getting ready.
- Hey baby…
- Are you mad at me?
- No, but …it’s just not fair, that she doesn’t know what she’s doing!
- I know…
- But the fact that Terry is no longer in her mind makes you happy… but that’s just it, he is there, hidden and he’s going to come back on her mind
- Terry is married to Susanna Marlowe, Annie…
- If Terry is the cause of her break down…
- We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. For now, let’s enjoy this “happy Candy”…
Annie looked at her husband. He was very happy Candy had “Anthony” on her mind, and not that obnoxious, overrated wannabe King of Broadway.
Candy was seeing everything in pink. She was happy, she was with Anthony and everything was going to be fine.