Never Letting Go
by MsCandyEmma (CandyTerry)
This first chapter was my first attempt at writing my own "What If..." Candy fanfiction! ^_^ I chose to rewrite this scene which occurred the evening before "Romeo and Juliet's" opening night! Candy was visiting Terry at his New York apartment and she was commenting on the poster of Terry and Susanna as "Romeo and Juliet". She got annoyed at him for teasing her when she crossed out Juliet's name from the poster and wrote her own instead.
"Candy, you've got some nerve," Terry told her mockingly.
Infuriated, Candy charged towards him and they toppled together on the floor... just like old times! Those playful days at St. Paul's Academy flashed through their minds, bringing sweet memories of their past together. It seemed like such a long time ago...
She stood up, feeling embarrassed at knocking Terry to the floor. After all, she was there as his guest and they were no longer the irresponsible young students of St. Paul's Academy... or so she thought.
"I'm sorry, Terry," she murmured contritely. Then she added in a more mischievous tone, "But I really did mean it when I wrote Candy and crossed out Juliet! I think I'd make a far better Juliet than Susanna!"
"I'm sure you would!" Terry responded playfully. "But I don't think Juliet had that many freckles!" He laughed as he pointed to her nose which was not only riddled with indelible tiny dots, but was now turning into a bright shade of offended rouge!
"Why you!" Candy growled and raised her fists, pretending to hit him again. "You'll never stop teasing me about my freckles will you? It's just like the first time that we met..." she added thoughtfully.
Terry nodded as he reminisced about that fateful night he first met her on the ship headed towards England. "Yes, I remember." Then in a more serious tone, he added, "I feel very lucky to have met you, Candy."
Candy blushed and turned her eyes away. She never knew how to behave with Terry when he was so serious with her, but at this moment, she wanted to tell him something that's been locked in her heart since he had left England. "I never said this to you, Terry, but you've helped me overcome a lot of my own fears during those days at St. Paul's Academy." She glanced at him with a shy smile. "I just wanted you to know how grateful I am for that."
Terry smiled in return. "You mean the day I forced you to ride the horse during the May festival?"
Candy nodded, her blush never leaving her cheeks as she suddenly recalled their first kiss.
Terry seemed to read her mind. He brought a finger to her lowered chin and gently tilted her face upwards. His sapphire eyes gazed intently into her questioning emerald pools. "I'll never forget that day, Candy. It was the day I first kissed you." His eyes seemed to slowly caress her features until they rested on her softly parted lips.
Candy immediately recognized the intense look in his eyes. It was the same earnest look he gave her just before he kissed her at the May Festival at St. Paul's! Her heart began to race faster in anticipation and her breathing quickened slightly as she inexplicably felt mesmerized under his tender gaze.
"Oh Terry..." she whispered as his face slowly leaned towards her.
A loud knock at the door disturbed the delicate moment, startling Candy, who almost jumped away from him. Terry strode abruptly to the door, annoyed at the intrusion and prepared to combat anyone for the untimely interruption! To his surprise, there was no one standing in the hallway when he opened it.
"Who is it?" Candy asked from behind.
He shook his head, puzzled. "There's no one." As he was about to shut the door, his eye caught an envelope on the floor. When he recognized the Marlowe seal, the pit of his stomach began to turn with dread. Susanna's mother had chosen this inopportune moment to send him a letter. It was her formal and piercing way of reminding him of his binding duty to her daughter. He didn't have to open it to know what it read. Mrs. Marlowe's threats were beginning to be a daily reminder of his overwhelming guilt for being the one who survived the accident.
"Terry?" Candy touched his arm gently, wondering why he was staring at the floor. "What's that? A letter?" She pointed curiously to the envelope laying at the foot of the door.
Her touch brought him back from his deep thoughts and he mentally shook his head, as if to rid himself of the dreaded reality. Silently, Terry bent down to pick up the letter then walked to his drawer at the end of the room. "Oh it's nothing," he said nonchalantly as he placed it on the top drawer.
Candy didn't believe him. She knew him well enough to know when there was something bothering him that he didn't want to share. She gave him a concerned look and said softly, "Is everything alright?"
Terry smiled and began to busy himself with pouring Candy another cup of tea. "Hmmmm......" he began in a teasing tone. "I guess it's too soon to tell."
"What do you mean?"She asked, her eyes widening with confusion.
"You've only been here one night and you're already being a busybody! Do you think I'll survive?" Terry chuckled, continuing to avoid the subject.
Exasperated, Candy shouted, "Terrence G. Grandchester! If I remember correctly, it was YOU who invited ME here! So you'll have to deal with me whether you like it or not!"
Laughing, Terry raised both his hands up in mocking defeat. "Alright! Alright! You win!"
Candy relaxed her composure, but she was still unsatisfied and curious. She crossed her arms and gave him and interrogative glance. "So are you going to tell me what's bothering you then?"
Terry looked at her thoughtfully and hesitated. He was tempted to tell her everything. He didn't want to keep the truth from her and eventually she would have to know. But how would she take the news about Susanna? He didn't want to hurt her and yet, seeing her now almost a year later, he realized what a strong person she truly was. He had always admired her courage and steadfastness. During their school days at St. Paul's Academy, she had vigorously stood up to Sister Grey and the attacks from Eliza and Neal. She had crossed the ocean to start a new life and successfully became a nurse. Now, she was helping Albert with his amnesia with enduring patience and compassion, uncaring about what other people thought of her. He had never felt more proud of her.
"Candy...." he began slowly. He wanted to choose his words carefully, but he couldn't bring himself to say the words.
Sensing his inner struggle, Candy walked towards him and touched his arm. Her eyes shone with tenderness and understanding. "Terry," she said gently. "You can tell me anything."
He covered her hand and held it tightly. "I hope you'll understand," he began, his voice trembling slightly. "I didn't mean for this to happen. I wish things could be different."
Candy nodded quietly, waiting for him to continue. Inwardly, she tried her best to remain calm and not worry, although every fiber in her being was frayed and on the edge.
Terry closed his eyes as he couldn't bear to look at her angelic face. He felt unworthy of the tenderness she was giving him.
"Susanna... Susanna had an accident. She saved me from a spotlight that fell on the stage and now... now she'll never be able to perform again. She'll never be able to walk again, Candy." After saying this, Terry opened his eyes to receive her reaction.
Candy was stunned. She shook her head, confused and dazed upon hearing the news. Finally, she found her voice and squeaked out, "Susanna... Susanna can't walk? Are they sure this is permanent? I've seen many patients rehabilitate after injuries to their leg....."
"Susanna had one leg amputated," Terry interrupted in a deadpan voice. "She lost it due to the accident. It should have been me instead, but she pushed me aside and took the fall. She lost everything because of me. It's all my fault!"
Candy gasped inwardly and stared at him in shock. She was glad that Terry was gripping her hand on his sleeve because she certainly would have fallen to the floor again.
"Oh Terry," she whispered painfully. "You shouldn't blame yourself!"
He shook his head. "Susanna's mother feels the same way I do. It was her that sent the letter tonight."
Candy glanced at the drawer in comprehension. "She's been writing to you?"
He nodded. "She reminds me on a daily basis to visit Susanna at the hospital. But I don't need any reminders from her."
"You feel obligated, don't you?" Candy asked, although she knew what his answer was. "You feel responsible for her because she saved your life and Mrs. Marlowe is only reinforcing this."
Terry looked at her, his eyes filling with unshed tears. "I'm sorry, Candy. I wanted to protect you from this. I never wanted to hurt you."
She looked down sorrowfully and sighed. "There's no need to apologize, Terry. You need to do what you feel is right... no matter who it hurts."
"Candy!" Terry grabbed her shoulders, forcing her to look at him. "You're the last person in the world that I would want to hurt! Do you think if there was any way I could change things..."
Candy tore herself away from his grasp, unable to listen to him as her own eyes sparkled with unshed tears. "I'm not a stranger to hurt and pain! I wish you told me about his before I came to New York. Then I wouldn't have... I wouldn't have..." she stopped, as she began to choke on her tears.
"You wouldn't have come," Terry said quietly, finishing her words for her. "I'm sorry Candy, you're right. But I couldn't tell you sooner because... I needed to see you. Ever since I left England I've regretted leaving you behind. I wished we could have left together and then this... we wouldn't be dealing with all this."
"It's no use looking at the past," Candy said mournfully. "What's done is done. Perhaps I should leave." She turned away to look for her bag.
"Leave?!" Terry was stunned. "You mean leave New York?"
"Is there any reason to stay?" Candy cried out. "Terry you fool. If I stay, it'll just make things harder on you... on us!"
"Candy, don't go," he pleaded.
When Terry's tears began to fall and Candy couldn't bear to see him cry. She turned her back on him, letting her own tears fall privately.
"I must," she said firmly. "My being here will only complicate matters and cause you pain."
"No!" Terry walked towards her and spun her around to face him. "You can never bring me pain. Since I've met you, you've brought nothing but laughter and joy in my life. You also helped me with my mother and brought me a peace I thought I could never have! Because of you, I know what it means to care and love another person. Candy, I... I love you! I love you!"
"Terry!" Was all Candy could say before he brought his lips down upon hers.
Terry held her in his warm embrace so tight that she could hardly breathe. She had longed for another kiss to make up for the last one during the May festival which left them both angry and hurt. But now at last, her dream to feel his lips again was coming true. She was too stunned at first to respond, but the warmth and taste of his lips were beginning to melt her legs, breaking down all her resistance. She gave a soft, little sigh of pleasure then leaned against him while he brought her closer to his embrace. She couldn't think anymore. She didn't want to think! She only wanted to feel his warmth and his strength. Suddenly, the deep, inner yearning for him that was long suppressed began to burst into a glowing flame. Her lips moved tentatively in response to his soft caresses. She wanted to give as well as receive. Her arms crept around his neck, bringing him even closer as she tiptoed on her feet. His arms cradled her waist, arching her towards him. They have never felt closer in their whole life. Nothing mattered but the physical union of their lips and bodies, their hearts and their souls.
He broke the kiss suddenly and buried his face in her neck. "Candy..." he whispered hoarsely. "I've been waiting so long to hold you again."
Candy shut her eyes tightly and listened to the steady beat of his heart. "I've longed for this too," she admitted slowly, as she tried to catch her breath.
"Now I know I can never let you go," Terry said firmly. "I left you back in St. Paul's Academy and separated myself from you. I won't make that same mistake again."
Candy lifted her head, her eyes questioning. "But Susanna..."
Terry shook his head. "Let me worry about that. Yes, I feel responsible for her and I'm grateful to her for saving my life. But I don't love her. I told myself that I won't love the way my father loved my mother. If I let you go, then I'm turning my back on the one person I love the most--that's you, Candy."
Candy gazed at him through a haze of tears. "I love you too, Terry," she cried.
She met his lips halfway this time, returning his passion with her own. So this is what being in love feels like! Candy thought to herself as she released her inhibitions. As their kiss became more ardent, she could feel her heart beating wildly in her chest and she found herself breathing faster, not wanting the passionate moment to end. Though her eyes were closed, she could sense that Terry was feeling the same way too. As their kiss lengthened and deepened, Candy felt overcome with a strange, deeper hunger and suddenly... panic.
She pulled away quickly, breaking the kiss. Terry looked at her, his eyes still drugged with desire and a hint of confusion.
"I'm sorry," Terry began softly, afraid he may have frightened her with his passion.
Candy shook her head and touched his lips with her fingers to silence him. "No, don't be."
They gazed silently into each other's eyes with deep adoration, allowing their heart rates and breathing to return to normal. Terry gathered Candy in his arms and sighed as he rested his chin against the top of her soft, golden curls. He breathed in her sweet scent and smiled. She always smelled like peppermint and roses. "This time, Candy...I'm never letting you go," he said solemnly.
© 1999 MsCandyEmma