by Papirous



The spell

She was late. She was really late.
 
Lucy thought while she opened in haste, the heavy velvet curtains, inside the old mansion. She was flying like a little bee from one room to another by pulling the curtains and opening the large window shutters. The last thing she needed that moment, was to be scolded from the mansion’s housekeeper. Her feet seemed to have grown wings and her nineteen years were pushing her to work with zeal and perseverance.
 

Eight months ago, she had started to work for this huge, almost always empty house. When she saw the ad on her way to university, she didn’t hesitate even for a minute; it was the ideal job to supplement her tuition studies. She was always willing and hardworking, her big flaw however, was delaying her most of the times to be consistent.
 
She was a dreamer. Most of the times, there was something that caught her attention - a passerby on the street, or the clouds that were taking strolls on the sky - and as a result she was always distracted.

Today also happened the same thing.
 "How strange!" She thought, "Every day I'm passing by that rose garden and yet today it seemed to me, especially different." Perhaps because it's May and all the flowers of the garden are in full bloom. Their scent could make you feel dizzy if you stayed near them more than five minutes, but today Lucy couldn’t take her eyes away from them. 

Formerly, she had admired many times all those gorgeous roses, but this day, those white ones had putted a spell on her. They were calling her from afar....As an hypnotized, she went near them and they traveled her...Magic, the roses have spoken, whispered memories and stories which she didn’t know, but she could understand deep in her heart... Lucy… She heard her... name? ... Lucy ...

- ‘’Lucy!’’

As if she awakened abruptly, Lucy jumped up as she saw the mansion’s housekeeper standing behind her back, with her hands on her waist, somewhat annoyed.

-'' Lucy my girl, why were you late again?'' Lucy didn’t manage to answer though, the housekeeper continued hurried and obviously annoyed. '' Do you know what day it is today?!

 

Today, the lady is coming back and everything must be in perfect order. Tomorrow the rest of the family will arrive, also. You should logically have finished the rooms be now and be in the kitchen helping the cook, which she grumbles from dawn.'' 
By that, she made a turn and left the room.

 

"She’s not mean" Lucy thought, "just too formal" - … and old-fashioned! - she said to herself and slipped a giggle.

Here is my home

"Ah! Young people nowadays ..." Dorothy pondered while she closely inspected all the rooms, one by one. From the whole mansion, only two rooms, they hardly ever opened. Of course this time, everything would be different. Inevitably they will be opening them by the end of the month, to remove the furniture and the personal belongings, which had stayed hidden for so many years. The mansion had changed hands. 

She was sad that she had to leave the mansion herself also; after all it was her home. Young girl, with brown vibrant braids she was still, when they sent her in Lakewood as a maid and so many years have passed since then....
 

She didn’t want to leave her home ... didn’t want to leave it even back then, when the lady asked her to accompany her at England. Not as a maid, not even like a housekeeper, but as a friend and company.

- ‘’ Here is my home ‘’ she had said shyly and the lady smiled as usually did, hugged her with tears in her eyes and said, ‘’ Lakewood will always be your home ‘’.

And in that way, happened.

The old lady

The large luxurious car arrived in the front yard of the Ardley mansion, shortly after the noon. The young chauffeur drove near the entrance of the house and without wasting time, he opened the passenger door. Kindly offered his hand to the old lady to come out of the vehicle and she accepted it with a smile, but still somewhat reluctantly.
 

"What a strange woman!" He thought, " she appears not to want my assistance, yet she smiles at me with those penetrating kind green eyes .... which speak for themselves! "And with that thought, he escorted her to the main stairs of the mansion.

-'' Mrs. Candy!'' said in excitement Dorothy and made a slight bow, as her years enable it.

- ‘’Dorothy!'' Candy sang and opened her arms to embrace her old friend.'' For how many more years, do you plan on calling me Mrs. Candy, Dorothy?'' said in a miffed tone.

-'' As many years as it takes and as long as there is still someone from the staff present ......'' she whispered playfully, looking obliquely the young chauffeur.
With that she took Candy by the arm and climbed the stairs together, giggling like schoolgirls.

The summer parlor

The minute Candy stepped her feet in the house, the memories overwhelmed her.... "
Silly Candy! Still you haven’t arrived and you started dreaming!" and with difficulty she restrained a tear.

-'' My dear Dorothy! How much I missed you!''

"Why didn’t you come with me in England? ..... I spent some time when I was so lonely.... though I spent a long time going from one place to another.... what did you owe, to drag you along with me from one place to another? ... Old woman I am and yet I keep on wandering around the world!’’ Candy thought as she putted out her tongue to herself.

-'' I missed you too! How are you, Candy? Everything is ok?''

-'' Yes! Very well I'd say! However, you too look, just fine! I don’t think there is any problem with the house ...; really, how beautifully you decorated it! ‘’Candy said while admiring the wonderful decorations throughout the lobby.

-'' Oh! For the decoration responsible is Mrs. Annie! She personally, supervised it!''.

-'' Annie! Is she here?!'' Candy asked wistfully.

-'' She was, until yesterday afternoon, where she returned to Chicago. She will come back tomorrow along with Mr. Archie''.
"My sweet, my good friend Annie",Candy mused, "…you always want to take care of me."
And that was the truth.
 

All these years, Annie did whatever she could to keep the promise she made to herself – after Candy’s trip to New York, she would never leave Candy alone again, she would help her, to heal her wounds, and as long as it was on Annie’s hand, she will always be there for Candy, to offer anything she could.

-'' The tea will get cold, Candy! I told them, to serve it at the summer lounge.''

"The summer parlor!" Candy’s heart flew.'' Oh! How nice!''
How much she loved that room! It was the only room throughout the mansion, which personally decorate by Anthony’s mother, Rosemary.
 " My dear Anthony…’’. 

The tapestries on the walls, where in pastel peach and blue hues, enveloping the parlor from one corner to another, sinking the visitor into a dreamy sea of clouds- white furniture, elegant and yet so simple - gave a unique intimacy and warmth to the room. Filled with blooming flowers, adorned the magnificent porcelain vases around the parlor and ethereal white curtains were dancing playfully in front of the huge open shutters, welcoming the warm sunlight.....
"How many summer afternoons we spent hanging out in this room ...., and how much more we would have spent if... ". 
A dream-like Candy accepted the cup of tea Dorothy offered her.

- ‘’Candy ...?''

-'' Hmm ...''

-'' Do you want more sugar in your tea?''

-'' E…eh? No Dorothy, it’s as usually taking it, very good, thank you!'' Candy said and came back to present. '' Although, I will not say no, to eat anything right now.... I'm hungry like a wolf!''

-'' Mrs. Candy!'' said Dorothy shocked.

- '' What!? It's not my fault that the food in airplanes is awful! Yuck!'' And she nicked her nose!

-'' I told the cook to prepare your favorite lemon pie, Candy''. Dorothy said supposedly offended.

-'' Mmm! Yummy! Aunt’s Elroy pie!''
 
By that, both of them burst out laughing.

Girls who blush

Candy with Dorothy enjoyed their tea chatting for some time, when Lucy entered hesitantly into the living room.

-'' You must be Lucy, right?!'' Candy said with geniality, looking the young girl which from her embarrassment had become bright red!
 

"My…my! Are there still, girls who blush?" wondered a mischievous Candy, as she remembered the last girl who had been introduced by her grandson- a beautiful independent young woman, though she hasn’t showed many moral inhibitions "Candy! Shame on you! You are mean!" scolded herself, "Girls nowadays, are totally different...." and she sighed softly.

-'' Ye ... yes madam!'' Lucy answered sweetly, less dispirited facing those kind green eyes.

-'' Is there any problem, my child?'' asked troubled the housekeeper.

-'' No! No! It’s nothing wrong Mrs. Dorothy! Well ... I just came to inform you, that Lady’s Candy’s grandson called ...''

-'' Is he on the phone right now?''

- ‘’No, he was in hurry! But he said, that he will come by the afternoon’’.

Said in one single breath the girl, made a short awkward curtsy and left the room.
- ‘’Cute girl ...’’muttered Candy.

-'' Abstract girl!'' grumbled Dorothy.

‘’Whence… I was like that too…still I am…’’

 

Untamed curls

Later on, after she took a brief light lunch and made a short stroll around the rose garden, Candy went to rest in her bedroom. After Aunt Elroy’s passing, Candy had chosen to sleep in another room whenever she was visiting Lakewood. She didn’t want her former bedroom that had many, but not always good memories.
 "So many houses... So many rooms ....pfff ..." she did disapprovingly and solved her beautiful bun, in front of the mirror. There were moments, when she longed for the small bunk beds of the orphanage....

-'' Yes, of course ... when John wasn’t raining his bed!'' Nostalgically said to herself and left her hair spread unruly on her face and shoulders. As many years as they were passed, Candy’s hair were a sea of playful untamed curls. Their color was certainly not the most gold nowadays, but silver like ....The color of the full moon, in the middle of the night sky. She had denied hundreds of times to dye them!
 " Dye them… they say! Not a chance!’’


-'' Candy! Do you know in which decade we are living?! '' She was asked by her friend Karen, at one of their latest meetings in Los Angeles, while they were having lunch.

-'' Of course I know!'' Candy answered stubbornly.

-'' Then you ought to know my dear, that you mustn’t letting your hair in this outrageous state!'' pointed pompously the same old same Karen.

Karen Kreis. Candy would have always wondered, how eventually became friends those two entirely different women. Yes, Candy didn’t match with Karen, the snobbish Oscar actress, or the Hollywood star, but she matched with Karen who adored a genuine Californian orange juice and a long walk along the seashore.

-'' Candy, did you hear me?!''

-'' Pff ....''

-'' Well, I will ensure for the Kennedy’s banquet, next month, to pay a visit together at the hair salon!'' Karen insisted,'' It's time to do something, about this silver bush! Don’t you agree, Candy?! Candy ....

 

...............


"I absolutely, adore these curls!"

"Will you still adore them, when I will grow old?..."

"Then even more .... Especially when… they would become a silver bush!''



................

-'' Even if the President himself requests me, I will never dye them!!'' Said Candy into hers mirror image and she went to lie down.



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Chapter 2