It was cloudy, windy and cold, very cold. Let’s say it was
unusually cold for a winter day in New York. But in spite of the weather
conditions Susannah had accepted Claire’s invitation to go out and see the
city. Claire was an old time friend from school of the former actress and upon
hearing about her horrible accident, she was like a sister to her. If Susannah
wasn’t spending time with Terry, then Claire was with her. As the daughter of a
wealthy family that had known the Marlowe’s for years, Claire had no worries for
money and didn't need to work to make a living. This tight friendship could’ve
changed the moment Susannah got married with Terry – and Claire was willing to
sacrifice it for the happiness of her friend - but seeing the way the
relationship of the newly weds had "evolved" Claire was closer to
Susannahh than ever.
The former actress was always sad and depressed, and the last days had not helped at all to improve her mood. For this reason Claire had insisted that she was going to take her out shopping, and even it wasn’t easy to carry the wheelchair out in the slippery streets, the girl was doing it anyway.
Claire had been wise and had advised Susannah before she tied the knots: ‘don’t do it, you know he doesn’t love you. You’re just an obligation to him’, but Susannah always replied with dreamy eyes ‘time will change that, you’ll see’. But in spite of the time that had passed, one year and a half to be more accurate, things continued the same.
Going out shopping had been a great idea, the girls were talking and chatting, and filling the car that was waiting nearby with new dresses and things with which Susannah wished deep inside, would help her to conquer the heart of her husband.
‘Do you think you can get a chocolate bar for me’ ? Susannah asked to Claire seeing that her favorite store was too crowded and it would be almost impossible to enter with the wheelchair. She could be Susannah Marlowe but with this cold weather people wouldn’t care much for who she is, all they wanted was to go home soon. Claire agreed and while her friend went for the chocolate something called Sussie’s attention.
A rusty, old sign that was hanging from the wall read "Do you want to be lucky with love? Or recover a lost one? Madame Louise can help you" and some esoteric signs were drawn on each side of the sign.
She sighed ‘if only was that easy’ and tried to dismiss the sign but she couldn’t. It just sounded too tempting to let it pass.
Susannah managed to move her wheelchair to the entrance of the place and with some difficulties she entered. It smelled funny, a mixture of incense and something else she just couldn’t describe. A bit scared and with wide eyes passed some black and red curtains, and saw a dark room with candles and too many unknown things to her. In the center she could see a table covered with a red velvet cloth and a deck of cards on a side, and in its center a crystal ball. The strange smell was stronger in there and she started to wonder if she had done the right thing… maybe it was better to leave before somebody sees her?
Suddenly, she felt the grip of a hand on her shoulder and she screamed. When she turned her face to see who had done it, she saw an old lady with long and white hair looking at her.
‘My child don’t be afraid, I’m going to help you,’ she said with a humble voice.
Susannah being Susannah replied ‘I don’t need your help, I was just leaving. Goodbye’ and made and attempt to take the chair out of the place but she was still too scared and nervous and her hands hardly replied to what she wanted to do.
The old woman looked at her face in detail and smiled warmly. ‘Well that’s not what I see. Is the memory of that other woman still so strong in the heart of your husband that it doesn’t allow him to love you?’
Susannah was perplexed and the woman knew she had hit the sore spot.
How could she know about it? Not many people knew about it. ‘I said goodbye.’
‘Listen to me my dear,’ the woman said caressing Susannah’s face with a thin and wrinkled hand ‘I know your husband has never said a word of love to you and I want to help you. See this? I’m going to give it to you. It will only work once so don’t mess with it ok? Here, put it in your clothes and when you’re all alone spill one tear together with a drop of your favorite perfume in it. You will get a better result if that tear is the product of a discussion with him because the emotions are stronger. Shake this little recipient and mix all the contents and when he is not at home, spill it on his pillow and his side of the bed, especially on the mattress. Oh and don’t forget to wear some of your perfume that night.’
Susannah was listening very carefully looking at the little recipient in the woman’s hand. ‘And what effect will it have on him?’
The old woman smiled. ‘You will see.. and once you see it works and I’m not lying you will come back’. After that, the woman left her alone with her thoughts.
A shy smile on Susannah’s face demonstrated that she was going to try it. What the hell? What if it really worked? Not loosing any second, she hid the recipient between her clothes because she didn’t want Claire to find out about it. After that, she helped herself out of the dark room to the street and saw her friend searching for her high and low wth a bar of chocolate in her hand.
‘Where the hell have you been Susannah Marlowe? I was dead worried!’
And making her best face said ‘I’m sorry I got distracted with something. Shall we go?
As there was nothing else to do and it was getting colder the
girls decided to go back to Sussana’s house. Terry wasn’t at home, he was
probably out doing something related to his acting career which absorbed a lot
of his time. The girls enjoyed the five o’clock tea with some of the delicious
things they had bought in the market. Once Claire left and Susannah was all
alone, she removed the recipient from between her clothes and examined it
through the light of the room. It looked like a dark liquid, which also looked
thick. She made a face, this for sure was going to leave an ugly spot on the
expensive sheets and the pillow… how to explain this to Terry later? She didn’t
care about what the maids thought about the spots, but she was sure that Terry
would be asking what had happened to his side of the bed.
But… what if it really worked?
She shook her head and lowered her eyes… ‘She must be a fraud.’
Susannah was about to throw it to the garbage can when something advised her not to do it and instead, she kept it locked in the drawer of her night table. That night, Terry arrived late after performing the lead role in ‘Hamlet’ in a local theatre; so far the play had been running for more than three months with constant sold out. She was already in bed, waiting for her husband and with her heart pounding hard as always.
What followed was the constant routine that Terry had been having for months… this had specifically started one month after they got married. He arrived home and greeted her, then had a bath, dried his hair and after putting on his pj’s and a robe he headed to the well-stocked library they had at home. There he would drink scotch, or brandy and used all that free time to relax himself and think… think about his life and spend time alone. A few hours later he would go back to his room and would get in the bed, when Susannah was already sleeping… or at least that’s what he thought.
A couple of days had passed since that old woman had given her the little
recipient with the mysterious liquid that never left Susannah’s mind. For
starters she didn’t believe in witchcraft, how could something like that help
her in their failed relationship? But after thinking it over and over again she
finally decided to give it a try. She hid the recipient and ringed a silver
bell, few seconds later one of the maids showed up in her room.
‘Tell Terry I want to talk to him,’ Susannah ordered closing the drawer of her night table.
And the maid left the room carrying the message. Some minutes later and not as
fast as the maid I must say, Terry opened the door of the bedroom.
‘Susannah you wanted to talk with me?'
‘Yes,’ she said a bit nervous.
‘Tell me, is there anything I can help you with’ his tone was calmed, relaxed, but never lovely.
She hesitated. “No, I just… wanted to talk with you, know about your day.’
‘I’m sorry Susannah but now I’m very busy reviewing a new script, we can talk later,’ he said politely, and made to leave the room.
She got upset, she was his wife after all! ‘oh yes, and what if I told that I know something about Candy? I’m sure you wouldn’t want to leave the room that fast.”
Terry stopped immediately and turned to face Susannah. ‘Candy? What happened with Candy?’
The former actress folded her arms and got even more upset. ‘I knew it, she’s still more important to you than me!’
Terry approached Susannah, concerned. ‘What do you know about Candy?’ he asked with a serious tone.
She just looked to the other side and played a role she knew damn well how to
play: the victim. ‘Nothing, I just wanted to see find out how important she is
still for you.’
Terry just closed his eyes trying to find the right words. ‘Susannah, you perfectly know what Candy meant in my life.’
She faced him with tears in her eyes ‘you still can’t forget her, can you?’
‘Stop asking the same question over and over again. What matters between you and me is this’ he said showing his wedding ring ‘now I’ll go back to the library to continue working on the new script.’
This time he got out of the room and closed the door behind him. Nothing could be worst for Susannah than to talk about their relationship while looking at him in the eyes.
All she could always see was a cold stare and resignation. And to make it worst the mere mention of just one name was all it took for Terry to leave anything he was doing at the moment aside and put all his attention to the person that had dared to mention that name.
Automatically angry tears fell off her eyes and remembering the words of the old woman, she opened the little recipient and poured a couple of her own tears inside, then took the bottle of her favorite French perfume and added the recommended quantity. Susannah closed the little recipient and shook it, mixing all the ingredients. Little by little the thick liquid changed and it was as thin as the water, changing his dark color until it looked like a soft pink. As it was still early to go to bed, she hid it inside her bra fearing that it would recover its original appearance. After all, nobody would be looking for it there.
She looked at the time and according to her in one more hour Terry would be
arriving home and showing up in their room. She took his pillow and removed the
cover, pouring some of the pink liquid on it and then a little on the mattress
under the sheets, just because she didn’t want to stain the fabric. But to her
surprise the liquid was almost imperceptible to the eye and you could only feel
the smell of her perfume. With some difficulty she managed to arrange his side
of the bed and after that was done, and as the old woman had instructed, she
put on some of her own perfume.
Now all she had to do was wait……
She was so impatient to see the results, she kept on looking at the watch and the minutes were passing by so slowly that it was like a torture.
Finally the time came and she heard the familiar steps of Terry outside their room. She hurried to grab a book to pretend she was reading and opened it in any random page. She also arranged her hair and tried to look pretty for her husband, her heart was beating ohh so fast that she thought it was going to explode any minute. She started reading, not really paying attention to the book she had in front of her… the door suddenly was opened and Terry came in.
‘Good night Susannah,’ he said hanging his coat and filling the room with the smell of the smoke of the cigars that people probably had smoked during the play, and went to the bathroom.
‘Good night Terry, how was the play tonight?’ she asked out loud so he could hear her.
‘Same as usual,’ he just replied.
She was so nervous, she would have to wait so much time until he got into bed and see if the woman was right or not. Minutes later, Terry came out of the bathroom drying his hair with a towel. Susannah looked at him from the corner of her eyes (while she continued pretending she was reading) and saw him moving his nose, like he was smelling something. Was it working?
‘Susannah what’s that smell?’ he asked.
She just smiled, the expectation could easily be seeing in her eyes. ‘Oh it’s my perfume, I just poured a bit on my pillow and the smell filled the room.’
But the man said nothing; he just looked at her and then left to the library. Things hadn’t changed at all. Susannah asked to herself why he didn’t change if he had smelled the perfume and after thinking about it for a while, she convinced herself that the old woman was nothing but a fraud. ‘Thank God I didn’t pay her for this,’ she said putting the book on the night table, turning off the lights and turning to her right side to wait for Terry to come back to the room and fall sleep.
While she tried to convince herself of how stupid she was for believing the words of that woman, a noise called her attention. Slowly the door of her room was opened and then closed. She got scared, it couldn’t be Terry, he had just left the room. ‘Who could it be? A thief maybe?’
But then she heard the familiar sound of a robe falling heavily on a chair and she knew perfectly well that it was Terry’s… then she felt somebody getting into bed with her. That person stayed on his side of the bed for a few minutes before getting closer to her.
‘Good night baby,’ Terry said softly in Susannah’s ear before kissing
her cheek and putting one arm around her, until his palm rested on her stomach.
After this he fell sleep and started snoring.
Susannah was astonished, close to shock! She just couldn’t believe what had just happened; Terry called her ‘baby’, kissed her goodnight and if that wasn’t enough his arm was around her. Just to convince herself that all this was true, she laid her hand on his… how delicious his warmth was and how nice his body felt so close to hers, how many times had she dreamt of this? Thousands. She didn’t want to sleep, she just wanted to stay awake and enjoy this lovely feeling but finally her eyes gave up and she fell sleep.
The next day she woke up alone, Terry was probably at the theater but she didn’t really care because that word ‘baby’ was still in her ears, and she could still feel his warm hand on her stomach. A careless whisper left her lips… Terry. She looked to his now empty side of the bed and smelled the places where she had poured the pink liquid the day before, she could still smell it… maybe tonight things would be as unforgettable as the previous one? A smile adorned her face and wished the time would fly fast until the night came again.
This time she was even more nervous than before, what if Terry did something
more than what he did last night? She couldn’t help but blush at the thought.
When she heard the familiar steps approaching the room she couldn’t hide the excitement. And when the door was opened she looked at her Prince Charming who she was sure would come running to her in slow motion, with open arms saying how much he loved her, the birds would be singing and fireworks would be shinning above them.
But suddenly there was no Prince Charming, no birds and no fireworks. Terry had appeared wearing his glasses meaning he was already at the library working. He had changed his routine, why? And why he wasn’t as lovely as the night before?
‘Susannah you still awake?’ he said entering the room and walking to the closet, where he searched for a folder.
“Yes I… couldn’t really sleep,” she lied.
He opened the folder and looked through the papers. ‘Do you want me to get you some milk?’
‘No, it’s not necessary. And you, are you coming to bed soon?’ she asked wanting to see if he was in the ‘mood’ for at least some cuddling.
His eyes never left the papers he had in front of him, until he found the one he was looking for. ‘No, I’m very busy and just came for this document. I hope you can get to sleep soon, goodnight.’
And by saying that, Terry left the room and closed the door.
Susannah wanted to throw the pillow against the door! ‘Argh why it didn’t work?!!” she asked to herself smelling the pillow again. Suddenly she remembered what the old woman told her ‘It will only work once’.
How frustrated the blonde girl was, she had waited for the night to come during the whole day and now all she got was a huge disappointment. But deep inside, she had made a decision: tomorrow she would go back to the old woman’s store. Bitter and sad, she turned off the light falling sleep almost immediately.
The next morning she told Claire all that happened in that wonderful night and
begged her to take her to see the woman. Obviously Susannah made her swear for
her life that she was not going to tell a soul about all this.
After she told her all the details about how she had managed all those things to happen, Claire got scared. ‘That woman is a witch Susannah, and you are a catholic girl!”
She turned her face to the other side. “No, she’s not a witch. She’s just a good woman that wants to help me and I’m going to see her today even if you don't come with me. … I thought you were my friend.’
Claire was used to Susannah’s tantrums, but she was also her friend and knew she needed her help. ‘Ok I’ll go with you but you have to promise that you won't make any stupid things?'
Susannah smiled. ‘Don’t worry I won’t.’
Claire made the sign of the cross. ‘Oh god, I’m going to burn in hell for this.’
And the girl in the wheelchair just giggled.
There were two reasons why Claire had accepted to go with her. She just
couldn’t remember the last time she had seen Susannah this happy and excited, her
eyes were sparkling and her whole face screamed love and happiness. But also
she was there to stop her from doing anything stupid. If there was one thing
that Claire couldn’t really understand was the obsessive love that she felt for
Terry, but what the hell, it was love after all. When they were outside the
store with the rusted sign above their heads she asked ‘Are you sure you want
to do this?’ and Susannah replied, ‘Now more than ever.’
Just before they crossed the black and red curtains they heard the voice of an old woman. ‘Can we trust her?’ and both girls looked at each other, one more scared than the other.
“Can we trust her?’ the voice asked again and Susannah recognized the person that was speaking and replied affirmatively.
“Then you can come in.”
This time, the old woman was sitting by the table in the same dark room and kept looking at Claire with distrust in her eyes.
Susannah noticed it and explained. ‘She is my best friend, I can totally trust in her.”
The old woman nodded and invited Claire to seat by the table. The friend located the wheelchair in one side, and then sat next to Susannah.
“So, I can see you’re back as I predicted… now tell me, how was it? Did you like his reaction?’ the woman asked with a knowing smile.
‘Well’ Susannah said blushing ‘he told me “baby”, kissed me goodnight and slept with his arm around me.”
But the woman didn’t look too surprised with that, on the contrary. ‘Just that?’
Susannah was perplexed. ‘You think it’s not enough?’
The woman scratched her chin with one long index finger. ‘Mmh his feelings for the other girl are still too strong, and probably there’s still an invisible bond between them. The potion I gave you that day was very strong and the least you should’ve gotten with it was a night full of love, lust and passion.’
Claire made a face. ‘You don’t know him.’
‘My sweet girl of the sad eyes, do you want me to help you?’ the woman said to Susannah, holding her hands and almost ignoring Claire.
Suddenly, there was hope in her eyes. ‘But… what can you do?’
The woman smiled. ‘I can make him to love you.’
‘Yes I can.’
‘And what do you want? Money?’ In that moment Susannah was so glad that she was part of a wealthy family, she could pay the woman any amount she asked.
Instead, the woman didn’t really care for that. ‘Let’s not worry for those things that are not important in this moment. I just need to know if you really want me to help you.’
Susannah was so excited! ‘Yes, of course I want your help!'
And the old woman’s tone of voice became a bit more serious this time. ‘Are you willing to do anything for the love of this man?’
And this time, Claire interrupted them.
'Hold on, hold on… what do you mean by that?’
Once again, the old woman ignored Claire and never broke eye contact with Susannah. ‘My girl, would you do anything for this man?’
And she hesitated. ‘Ehm, anything?’
‘Well,’ the woman said releasing her hands and standing up. ‘If you don’t then I can’t help you.’
'No no don’t go!' said Susannah seeing that her opportunity to be happy was slipping away ‘Yes, I’m willing to do anything for Terry.’
The girls didn’t see it, but the old woman smiled to herself and returned to her seat, trying to inspire all the confidence that Susannah could need in that moment. ‘Alright I’ll help you. But now everything we do or say here has to remain secret. Nobody else can know about it because they wouldn’t understand. Do you agree Claire?’
Finally the woman wasn’t ignoring Claire. .. and she felt a cold feeling in her spine. ‘But…’
This time, Susannah begged her. ‘Please Claire, I desperately need your help!’
And the friend just lifted her shoulders and gave up. ‘Alright, you always end up winning anyway.’
‘Now that we’re clear on that tell me something. Does your husband still own anything that had been given to him by the other woman? A present for example?' the old woman asked.
‘Yes, there’s something,’ Susannah replied.
'Then bring it to me and the fastest the better.'
Susannah nodded. ‘Anything else?’
The old woman smiled at her. ‘That’s it by now.’
‘And he’s going to love just with that?’
Mme. Louise could see how desperate this girl was. ‘Be patient my pretty girl, be patient. Now tell me when can you get me that object?’
‘I can go for it right now, I have nothing to do the rest of the day.’
This time Claire interfered. ‘I can go to your house, it will be faster.’
‘I told you, you always win.’
Mme. Louise was all business now. ‘Then go and bring it to me now… then come back tomorrow at 3 pm.’
Claire got up and while she put on her coat, Susannah asked. ‘Madame, what’s your name?’
‘Louise, as the sign outside says. Now Claire go and get that object for me.’
Both girls left the place and went back to the Grandchester’s.
Once there Susannah made sure that Terry wasn’t home and asked Claire to take her
to the library, and once there she locked the door.
‘What are you going to do?’ Claire whispered.
Susannah moved her chair until she was in front of a small painting, which she
removed revealing a small security box. ‘Terry spends a lot of time out of the
house, and let’s say I’ve been doing some detective work on my own… and since
he likes to spend most of his free time here, I decided to take a look around,
and that’s when I found this.’
Claire tried to open it but she needed the security code to do so. ‘How are you going to open it?’
That’s when Susannah smiled. ‘In the same way I’ve done it before… it took me some time until I figured out the right combination.’ She said turning the round part of the lock a few times to the left, others to the right, until a click indicated that she had been successful.
‘Once again you surprise me.’
‘Come and take a look at all this stuff,’ Susannah said. ‘I think this is Terry’s secret place.’
Little by little she started removing letters, papers and other things until she found the object she was looking for. It was something small with a white handkerchief wrapped around, as if it was there to protect something important.
‘This will work,’ Susannah said.
Claire didn’t understand… maybe the handkerchief had previously belonged to Candy? ‘What is it?’
‘This is the infamous harmonica that airhead gave him during his school years,’ she said removing the handkerchief and showing a extremely polished and bright harmonica. Claire knew the story behind it because Susannah had complained in many occasions that Terry cherished everything that had to do with Candy and their past together more than anything that they had shared during their married life. And how did Susannah knew the story of the harmonica? Because one day out of a sudden she suggested to Terry to stop smoking, and by doing so he remembered what Freckles had done years ago, and he smiled. Susannah was happy to see such reaction from her husband, and asked him a little too sweet the reason for that smile. And Terry being honest as he was when it came to Candy, he told her the story without thinking twice… then when he saw the reaction on her wife’s face knew he had made a mistake. Needless to say Susannah’s mood was the worst for the next two days.
Certainly Claire could see the strain in Susannah’s face in this moment, she wasn’t too happy to be holding that thing in her hands. ‘But Sussie, Terry will notice there if something’s missing, especially if it’s that important to him.’
‘If we put something inside pretending it’s the harmonica, then he won’t notice it,’ she said taking a chocolate bar from her chair and wrapping the handkerchief around it. ‘There, see? He won’t be able to see the difference unless of course, he takes it out to play with it. Hopefully he won’t do it tonight.’
‘Well,’ Susannah said putting everything back inside the box in the order that Terry had left it before. ‘You take this to Mme. Louise and tomorrow you come for me and we’ll go to see her together.’
Claire looked at the bright object in her hands and noticed how well maintained it was, certainly her friend was right. ‘Sussie, are you sure you want to do this?’
Susannah put the painting back on the wall hiding Terry’s secret place and looked at Claire. There it was, the determination she had initially seen at Mme. Louise’s place. ‘Yes, Terry is who I love the most in the world and all I want is his love in return… and since I’ve tried everything and hasn’t worked I guess this is the only way to get to his heart. Now let’s get out of here before somebody suspects anything… and hide that.’
Claire took her friend back to her bedroom and left to deliver the harmonica to Mme. Louise. That night, the old woman began analyzing the object while she also analyzed Susannah. ‘The aura of that girl is dark; she is going to make things easier for me.’
The next day the girls were punctually waiting for the woman. She locked the
entrance door so nobody would interrupt them.
‘Last night I found out a lot of things, my sweet girl,’ she said putting her Tarot cards aside.
‘Yes? Like what?'
‘I found the reason why the potion I gave you the other day didn’t work in the
way it was supposed to. The bond those two keep gets stronger and stronger with
each passing day,’ the old woman confessed.
‘But how can that be, if they haven’t seen each other in a long time?’ Susannah said, getting upset at the thought of Terry double playing with her and having Candy hidden somewhere in the city.
‘My dear, it’s not necessary to be physically together to keep a bond between them. Since the moment they split up their spirits remained together. He avoids you, doesn’t he? That’s the reason why, he’s still in love with her… if I’m not wrong that bond started when they were very young and he’s still too emotionally attached to her and their memories together,’ the woman explained.
Susannah just lowered her eyes. ‘I don’t need to hear what I’ve known for so long.’
The woman held one of Susannah’s hands. ‘Don’t despair my dear, we are going to make it. He’s gonna love as much as he loves her… now I need to hear the whole story between them with all its details.’
And once again Susannah – who was still upset - went through the love story of Terry and Candy, she knew every little detail, places, locations, hours, everything. While she continued talking, the woman took a little recipient and a needle she kept in a drawer and left it on the table. She listened patiently until the whole story was out and tears were running down Susannah’s face.
‘Don’t cry my dear because I know how to solve that. Tell me, are you still willing to do anything for him?’
‘Yes,’ the girl said drying her face with a handkerchief.
With a sweet voice, the woman made a request. ‘Then my pretty girl, I need you to give me a few drops of your blood, it won’t hurt I promise.’
Susannah got a bit scared. ‘My blood? For what?’
‘You don’t trust me? Can’t you remember how good it felt to have his arms around you and having the best dreams ever? Have you ever thought how it would be like to be loved by him in body and soul?’ the woman tempted her.
Susannah didn’t reply, she just blushed. That’s all she’s been thinking about since the day they got married. Slowly, she took the recipient, the needle and pinched her index finger dropping the blood inside the recipient.
‘That would be enough,’ the old woman said taking it from Susannah’s hand.
Claire who had been silent spoke now. ‘What are you going to do with that?’
‘It’s a secret, this was the first step,’ the woman said smiling.
Susannah sucked her finger and wrapped the handkerchief around it. ‘Do you also need Terry’s blood? Because it’s going to be very difficult to get it.’
The woman hid the recipient and looked at her. ‘No, but I need you both to pay attention very carefully now because this is the second step.’
‘Okay,’ they said.
‘I need you to find this girl and bring a curl of her blonde hair, a little of her blood and to get rid of a crucifix she carries constantly with her.’
‘I haven’t finished. You have to make her eat this and convince her to use this liquid as her perfume until she finishes the bottle. From them on it’s going to be all in my hands. Oh and I need a few hairs of yours my dear,’ the woman said handling a scissor to Susannah.
‘Well my hair is easy, but how are we going to get all that?’ she said cutting her hair.
The old woman put the hair in the same place where she put the other recipient and smiled. ‘You have a creative mind my dear, you’ll find the way. Remember the sooner you get me all that, the faster you gonna have Terry saying those words you’ve been dying to hear for so long.’
Claire lifted her eyebrows. ‘In that you are right, she has a lot of imagination.’
Susannah just giggled. ‘Fine, I’ll find a way to do it. Can I have the harmonica back now?’
‘Yes my dear, here it is.’
Before they left, Susannah used her most innocent face and asked the woman. ‘Just by any chance would you have more of the pink liquid you gave me the other day? Can you give me a bit more?
Another smile from the old woman. ‘I’m sorry my dear, I told you it only works once. Now go and think how you gonna get all the ingredients for this work.’
The girls left thinking about the hard task they had ahead. The first thing was to find Candy.
In the meantime, while the girls were taking care of that business
Terry was at the theater reviewing a script. He was a good professional and
when he was at the theater all his attention was always directed to what he was
doing, but lately that had changed. There was something in his mind that
wouldn’t let him work and concentrate properly… he stopped reading and left the
book over the table. With his right hand he removed his glasses, closed his
eyes and with the thumb and index fingers of his left hand he caressed the sore
spot of his nose where the glasses had been laying during the whole day.
The disturbing thought wouldn’t leave his mind… why some days ago he woke up and found himself holding Susannah – and their bodies as close as they could possibly be without reaching intimacy - as if they were a couple in love? He had never done it before and certainly nothing had changed between them, there was certainly no reason to be doing it now.
‘Damn it, what is wrong with me?’ he thought opening his eyes trying to understand the reason of his behavior.
He stared absent minded to the other end of the room when suddenly a shy smile was beginning to form on his lips. ‘Freckles what are you doing now?’ he thought to himself, and with the sweet memory of Candy in his mind, he put his glasses back on and went back to his work.
Many days had passed since the old woman made that list of requirements to
Susannah and Claire. Obviously the former actress wanted to get them all in five
minutes but as the time passed by she noticed how difficult it was going to be.
She hired a private detective to find out if Candy was living in New York; but
after one week of investigations he gave her the news that the nurse was not in
the city and that she had gone back home.
That was practically to be back on the start… to be back home could mean so many things, she could be back in the Andley’s mansion, or maybe that foster house where she had been raised. And what if the detective was wrong and she wasn’t in any of those places? Susannah had to find out but in her conditions any trip would be something difficult and frustrating, besides let’s face it, she would never be able to find a plane that could take her to those places and be back in New York in the same day. Planes could never do that.
Once again Claire was her only hope and she knew it. She volunteered herself to go there and find out everything she could, but she obviously needed some directions as she had no idea where those places were. Did Susannah know? Yes she knew as she had read all the documents and letters that Terry kept in his secret box and in a piece of paper he had written any vital information about Candy he knew and had. And obviously there was the address of Pony’s Home with the directions and how to get there… it hadn’t been easy for him to get there the only one time he visited the place and after he left, he wrote all the directions in a paper. You never knew when this info could be handy again.
Finally Claire had managed to get the courage to travel alone and go to Illinois to search for Candy and get that ‘list of ingredients’… and obviously in the most fashionable way possible. That’s why when she arrived to Pony’s Home she was somehow disgusted and horrified with all the mud, dirt and poorness of the place.
When she knocked on the door she noticed it was barely closed and with her knocks it got opened. She looked around and then opened the door a bit more taking a look inside. The place was totally empty and it looked like nobody had been living there for quite a while. She wondered if she had the right directions, maybe she was somewhere else? But when she looked outside to her left and saw the the sign that read ‘Pony’s Home’ she knew she in the right place. What had happened?
Was it wise to go in the house and find out more, or at least take a look around? She was about to take one step inside the house, when suddenly, she felt somebody touching her shoulder.
‘AAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!’ she screamed and turned around to see who had done it. But the young man that was in front of her was more scared of Claire than she was of him and she could tell by the look in his eyes.
‘How dare you to touch me!’ she said trying to sound upset but her voice gave away how nervous she was.
‘I’m sorry,’ Tom, yes the now grown up and handsome Tom apologized ‘but who are you and what are you doing here? I don’t think I know you.’
‘I was searching for Pony’s Home,’ she explained. ‘I’m looking for Candy.’
Tom heard the name of his childhood friend and smiled. ‘Oh you’re friend of Candy?’
She just had to pretend. ‘Yes, we met at the school in London and since I was around I thought I’d give her a visit.’
‘Then why don’t you come to my house, I’ll invite you a cup of tea and will tell you what happened in this place,’ he said with the good manors that Pony and Sister Mary had taught him.
Tom’s house hadn’t changed at all, except for one little kid that was around
two years old that insisted going around playing he was a cowboy. And not far
from him, his mother and Pony were trying to catch him. Tom got down on his
knees and grabbed the little boy, holding him in his arms ‘come on Tommy, don't
be a bad boy and make life easier for mommy and aunty Pony ok?’ The little kid
with brown hair giggled and kissed his father’s cheek before he put him in the
safe arms of her mother. ‘Thank you honey’ she told him, before she and Pony
left Tom and his guest alone with their cups of tea.
‘I’m sorry for that,’ Tom said removing his cowboy hat, ‘but my son has so much energy that at the end of the day my wife and Pony are totally exhausted.’
Claire smiled gathering information. So that old lady with the warm smile was Pony.
Tom distracted her from her thoughts. ‘So you wanted to see Candy?’
That’s when Claire started pretending. ‘Yes, we met at the school some years ago and she had told me about the hill and Pony’s house. I would love to see her and for this reason following the instructions she once left me I visited the place she told me she’ll be living in but the place was empty.’
‘Pony’s home,’ Tom said with a nostalgic tone of voice while he leant back on his chair.
And he proceeded to tell her the whole story. Some time ago, while Candy was living at the house she found out that Sister Mary received a letter from the Superior Mother of her Catholic Congregation asking her to return to the church as her services as a Sister of God were requested. She tried to do everything she could just to stay at the foster house with Pony and the kids but the Superior Mother was determined to have her back. In tears, she left.
Candy knew she just had to stay and help Pony with the home work and the kids but the woman knew by heart that this was not the place for Candy. The blonde girl was a grown up girl now, with a career and she had the world to see. Pony assured her that she would be fine, and now that she was a professional nurse her task in her life was to take care of those that didn’t have the money or the resources to go to a good hospital. Candy hesitated but seeing Pony’s insistence on the matter, she packed and joined the Red Cross, traveling around the whole country helping those that needed it.
The months passed and Pony didn’t have the energy to do all the job of raising the kids, teaching them, cooking, etc. Pony loved them with her whole heart, but she was old and this was affecting her more than she admitted. Tom who was always there visiting and helping, decided that it was better to do something about it and he welcomed Pony at his house, because after all the woman was a mother to him. The kids had to be relocated in a different foster house and Pony’s House was closed.
After her tour with the Red Cross around the country was over, Candy returned home and found the house in the same state than Claire: empty and dusty and she felt like something had been ripped off her heart. The first thing she thought was that something bad had happened to Pony but then when she found out she was fine she felt better. Still she kept blaming herself for what had happened to the house, if she hadn’t left this would have never happened but Pony was a wise woman and she told her that sooner or later that would have to happen. But there were a lot of moments and episodes that made her proud and happy for her babies, because during her years in charge she and Sister Mary had managed to raise all those kids and turned them into men and women of good. And the best examples were Candy and Annie.
After a long and sincere talk, Pony convinced Candy and managed to take some of that guilt she was feeling on her shoulders and heart. But now Candy had no place to call home, and even Tom was welcoming her at his own place she decided to visit Albert and spend a few days in the Andley mansion. Things didn't change there and she wasn’t welcomed by some of the family members, but this didn’t surprise her. Albert on the other hand received her with open arms and a warm smile, as he usually did.
One night, they shared one of those long and sincere talks they used to have in the past while walking around the garden of the house. As Candy loved to spend time in Anthony’s garden, they ended up there and continued their conversation surrounded by those lovely flowers.
That’s where he told her his plans: his soul was dying there. Being stuck in one place as head of a wealthy family was not what he liked and was planning to tell the family that he was going to resign his position. Candy gave him her total support because that’s the way she felt when they asked her to be a society lady. But she also knew that once an Andley always an Andley, especially in Albert’s case.
What happened then was that when he talked about his decision with the rest of the family they didn’t accept it, and at the end they reached an agreement: Albert could be as free as he wanted as long as he didn’t let the obligations of the family behind. That wasn’t exactly what he had in mind but he knew he couldn’t turn his back to the family, especially if Candy was also a member of it, and he agreed. He made plans and soon traveled to Australia. Before this, Candy promised him she’ll be fine and that she’ll be ok with the rest of the family, that he had nothing to worry about.
Weeks after Albert left, the maid found a letter addressed to him in Candy’s room. Tom said that in that letter Candy was also resigning her Andley name and position in the family, but what Candy didn’t know was that the maid had forgotten the letter in her apron and when it was sent to laundry the water had destroyed the envelope and its contents. Before leaving, she went to the family graveyard and laid a flower on Anthony’s and Stear’s graves. After that she left the city without mentioning to the others where she will be living or how to locate her.
‘And that’s the last thing we knew about her, Pony has been worried and we try to convince her that Candy is be fine,’ Tom said finishing the story and drinking some of his now not-so-hot tea.
Claire was trying to save every little detail in that head of hers so she could tell Susannah later, but things were not going well. If they didn’t know where Candy was who else could know? She bid goodbye to Tom and his family and left knowing in advance that Susannah was not going to be happy with the news.
The part of the story that Tom and the others didn’t know was that Candy was
living in Ohio. She liked the place and was still close to Chicago. Chicago, her memories of the childhood, her friends and most of the things
she loved the most were there, but she knew she had to stay away. Well there
was a very important reason why and this reason started with T. During her stay
at the Andley’s Terry had made an unexpected visit where he confessed her how
it felt like being involved in a marriage with no love and that he had missed
The minute she saw him there looking as gorgeous as always, but looking more adult, listened to his voice and saw into his deep blue eyes she felt a river of mixed emotions running furiously inside of her. On one side how she longed his presence, his jokes, all of him. But on the other she knew it was wrong to feel that way. Candy never knew where she got the strength to convince him that Susannah was the girl for him and that he shouldn’t be in Chicago, but instead in New York with his wife. Terry had strong values as a person and he knew he had to respect Susannah for what she was in his life, but his heart kept telling him he was wrong. The guilt and the rejection of the one he loved made him leave the Andley’s without trying for a second time and how thankful Candy was for that… she knew she wasn’t going to find the strength to ask him to leave again.
The problem was that Terry knew where she was and she definitely didn’t want to go through the same again. With Albert in Australia enjoying his freedom, she decided the best thing would be to walk away and start a new life in a place where nobody knew her. That’s when she packed and left.
Candy didn’t want to see him again, each time she thought of his last visit she felt her stomach tied in knots and her heart felt an unexplainable anguish… he was suffering as much as she was. The difference was that she was dealing with this pain herself, she could never go to his house and confess him this.
As she didn’t have too much money, she rented a humble room in a small building with four floors that was in charge of Miriam, a nice and kind woman. Candy was working with the community doctor in a job that didn’t pay much in money, but satisfied her completely as a professional and person.
This morning Candy woke up feeling very sensitive, and she couldn’t believe
that her whole world had come down literally. And everything started with the
breakup with Terry. Why everything she loved and cherished the most always had
to end in the wrong way? Yes, she was a little depressed this morning but she
knew she wasn’t like that so she tried to cheer up herself and started the day
with a huge smile on her lips. Before leaving to her job, she took a look at
the old pic of Terry she kept in the room – which she cut from the newspaper
some time ago after a successful presentation and he was smiling – and she felt
better. She just knew that each time things were going bad and she needed to
smile all she had to do was to look at that picture.
‘Ok, it’s time to go to work,’ she said putting on her coat and leaving.
After having troubles finding a phone, Claire managed to call
Susannah and told her everything Tom said earlier – and also assure her that she
had searched everywhere, even under the rocks – but there was no sign of Candy.
Susannah was getting desperate, the days were passing by with no results and if they didn’t find Candy all her dreams and illusions of a life full of love with Terry would never happen. What was she going to do? She needed it to find her, one way or another!
And then our dear and bright Sussie had an idea. She guided her wheelchair to the library, locked the door and opened Terry’s security box. She took again the harmonica and hid it between her clothes. After closing the box and unlocking the door, she called her maid requesting the chauffer because she wanted to go to the city in the car.
Yes, the only one that could help her in this was that old woman.
Susannah asked the chauffer to let her on the corner of the block where Madame Louise had her shop and when he was distracted and looking to the opposite direction, Susannah entered the shop.
The woman was surrounded by darkness and strange articles as usual, while she
had a black cat napping on her lap. Susannah explained the situation and asked
if she could help her, and the old woman nodded.
Waking up the cat and getting him on the floor she walked to the door and locked it. Then opened a big rusty chest and grabbed two black candles which she located on each side of the table. Then she walked to a corner of the room where she had different objects and prepared a mix of herbs, once it was ready she went back to the table and put the mix on an ashtray which she located strategically with the candles, forming a triangle. The old woman lit a match and then put it over the mix which started to burn immediately. In the center of the table she placed a very strange deck of cards and on top of it she placed the harmonica.
Susannah was curious, she wanted to ask what was this, what was that, but the old woman was so concentrated on her task that she didn’t want to interrupt. She took a look inside the ashtray that was in front of her and noticed that something red was beneath the mix, but she couldn’t really tell what it was because of the poor light of the place.
‘Now my pretty girl’ the old woman stood in front of the table across Susannah ‘I’m going to need your help. I want you to focus all your energy and thoughts on what we’re going to do, do you understand?’
‘Ehm… ok’ Sussie replied, she had to admit she was a bit nervous.
The woman lit the two black candles. She closed her eyes and laying her hands on top of the flames, she began chanting “your humble servants need your help my lord. A brief appearance of yours will light our way. Master, please come to us those that summon you!”
When she finished her chanting, she opened her eyes and removed her hands from the flames of the candles. Right in that moment the flames of the candles and the mix of herbs seemed to be in sync, moving at the same time and changing its color simultaneously. The color went from the usual color of the fire to a dark black with one or two fire sparkles. The old woman smiled, ‘He is here’.
She sat down looking pleased and took the harmonica from its place, leaving it close to the burning ashtray. She took the deck of cards and began distributing them on the table.
‘You told me her name is Candy White Andley, right? From this set of 8 cards you only have to pick three my girl.’
‘Yes, Candy,’ Susannah said looking at the cards displayed on the table. ‘Any card?’
‘Those that your heart tells you to pick my dear.’
With a shaky hand, Susannah pointed the three cards of her choice.
The old woman turned them and saw the contents. Then she removed those 8 cards and displayed 8 new ones. ‘Good, she is not far. Now choose 3 more cards.’
This time Sussie did it with more confidence.
The old woman just closed her eyes and after a few minutes, she smiled with satisfaction. She removed the other 5 cards and put them together with the rest of the deck, leaving the chosen ones on the table.
‘That’s enough my dear, I know where she is… I saw her. She lives alone and works with a doctor, I’ll show you in a map in which area of Ohio you have to look.’
Susannah was sure the old woman was bluffing, she had to be… how could she find out the right information if she didn’t even took a look at the last cards? And Ohio? What the hell was Candy doing in Ohio?
‘Are you sure? You haven’t even seen those three cards.’
‘I don’t need to do that, but I’ll do it just for you.’
According to the woman she could see through the cards and she had seen Candy, but Susannah obviously didn’t see a thing.
‘My dear, this is the best time to do this work. She is living from the memories of the past, just like your husband. And the best of all is that she is all alone. I'll show you in a map where Claire has to look for her and tell her to hurry.’
The old woman bowed to the burning ashtray, then touched one of the candles saying something in a language that Susannah didn’t understand and the three flames returned to their initial color. The one of the ashtray burned for a few more seconds and then it was off. The contents of it looked as if nothing had happened in spite of all the time it had been burning, but what was strange to Susannah was that the red color she had seen beneath the herbs was gone. She didn’t really care for it anymore, if the old woman was right Claire would be able to find Candy very soon.
With the map under her clothes she left the place and contacted her friend.
Claire had finally arrived to the place that the old woman had
suggested and managed to get a list of all the local doctors and the addresses
of the hospitals and places where they worked. But after four days of searching
with no results, she was getting bored and wanted to give up.
‘That old witch could’ve been a bit more specific,’ Claire complained after scratching one of the last names in the list. There was only one more doctor to check but for what she saw from the distance, it wasn’t worth to check, it just looked like a really poor place and not something worth of Candy’s family.
It was almost 7 pm and she was about to call it a day when she saw a young girl dressed as a nurse, with blonde and curly hair coming out of the place with another woman. ‘Could it be?’ Claire thought, walking as close to them as she could without being noticed.
Few blocks ahead, she heard the other woman saying ‘see you tomorrow Candy’ and she knew she had just found the victim! Finally! She followed her and saw the place where she was living, and wrote down the address.
Now, how to make it all work and get the ingredients that were requested? Claire could almost see Susannah lecturing her ‘I need all this as soon as possible’… Sure, easier said than done.
Well there was one way but it was dangerous, it was already dark and she was there all by herself… was it wise to do it? Maybe there was some other way? Claire thought about it for some good 10 minutes until she finally decided she will do it.
The chauffer of the transportation she took looked at her estranged. ‘Do you really want to go to the lower neighbors of the city?’ The girl looked decent and from a family with money, what could she possibly do in that kind of places?
‘Yes please take me there and wait for me outside because then I want you to take me back to my hotel,’ Claire said.
The look of the houses and buildings had changed dramatically and she didn’t need to be told that they had arrived. Not far from there, she saw a bar and asked the chauffer to take her there. And again instructed him to wait for her.
The moment she crossed the entrance door she thanked god that nobody knew her because she’d be totally embarrassed if somebody asked her later what she was doing in such place. She looked around and felt the eyes of the people there looking at her, it was more than obvious that she didn’t belong to the same social class.
She was walking to the bar when three guys approached her and surrounded her.
‘Hey baby, can I invite you a drink?’ one of the guys – probably the leader of the gang – told her.
‘No th.. thank you,’ she said nervous and now a bit scared.
The guy didn’t take the no very well. ‘What, are you rejecting me? I can ask my friends to convince you.’
‘I’m.. looking for somebody, that’s all,’ Claire replied.
‘Well baby, you found me,’ the man said caressing her cheek.
Claire moved her face to the other side to avoid his touch ‘No, that’s not what I mean… I need somebody to do a job for me.’
‘A work? What kind of job?’
‘I want to send a message to a girl, if you know what I mean’ Claire replied.
The leader looked at her interested. ‘Oh yes? And why?
‘Well I have a boyfriend and she’s been flirting with him, and I want to show her what could happen to her if she insists on the same,’ Claire lied.
‘And what about the money? Is it good?' One of the other guys asked.
‘Very good but only if you don’t mention a word about it,’ she said.
‘Well you found the right people for the job. I’m Bob and you are…’
Claire was feeling more comfortable now she was handling the situation in a good way. ‘My name is not important. And now stay away from me cos you smell of alcohol.’
They went to a corner of the bar to discuss the business. Now that she was with those guys the rest of the people stopped paying attention and didn’t care for her anymore. Claire gave them Candy’s description, the place where they could find her, where she lived and what they were supposed to do.
‘And here’s half of the payment. The other half will be ready tomorrow once the job is done’ she said giving them the money. Bob and the others opened wide eyes to see the big quantity of money she was offering them.
‘Well madame we’ll be there tomorrow’ they said putting the money in their pockets, moment that she used to get out of the bar and went back to her hotel, shaking like a leaf. God she was scared, but finally the stage was set and hopefully her tasks in town would be over soon and she’ll go back to New York.
The next day Candy left the doctor’s office at 7 pm when it was already dark.
She kept walking thinking on the good day she had not paying attention to what
was happening around her. Suddenly when she turned on a corner she bumped into
somebody who fell on the floor. Obviously this somebody was Bob.
‘Oh I’m so sorry sir, I wasn’t really paying attention.’
‘Don’t worry I’m fine,’ Bob said.
While Candy helped him to get on his feet, the other two guys grabbed her from behind and Bob covered her mouth to avoid her to scream and alert somebody. Carefully they took her to a dark alley where they tied her hands and legs, and covered her mouth with a handkerchief. Candy was terrified and was looking at the guys with tears in his eyes. What had she done to deserve this?
Bob looked at her in detail and Candy saw lust in his eyes, which scared her even more. Finally he spoke as he ran one finger through her face. ‘She is so cute that I’d rather be doing other things with her but what the hell.’
Candy tried to set herself free with no success.
‘Now listen to me Blondie, don’t go around stealing other girls’ boyfriends or next time you gonna regret it even more than now’. Now Bob’s voice was serious and almost cruel, and when he finished his sentence he slapped her so hard on the face that she passed out.
The three guys left the place in a hurry and few blocks away they met Claire.
‘Ok, here’s the other half. Now you don’t know me and have never seen me, and disappear from my sight now!’ she demanded.
‘It’s going to be hard to forget such a pretty face, but business is business.
It was a pleasure to do business with you. Goodbye,’ Bob said disappearing with
Claire walked into the alley and saw Candy lying on the floor, with some boxes supporting her back. She made sure she was still passed out and not awake and when she was sure of this, she pinched one of her fingers and squeezed it hard, getting some of her blood in a small recipient. Then she cut a few curls of her hair, and then searched between her clothes, finding the crucifix the old woman had mentioned, and put everything inside her bag. Just in case the witch needed it later, she also took the handkerchief that Candy kept in one of the pockets of her coat. When she had everything, she tried to wake up the girl.
‘Come on, come wake up,’ she said removing the handkerchief from Candy’s mouth.
‘Eh what’s the… please don’t hurt me!’ Candy begged waking up and remembering what had happened earlier.
‘Hurt you? I’d never hurt you, I saw some guys that were here with you and when
they saw me they escaped. I want to help you,’ she said lying.
‘Thank you, I feared the worst,’ Candy said.
‘Don’t worry I’ll help you. Let me untie your arms and legs and I’ll take you home.’
When Candy was back on her feet, she cleaned her uniform and coat and told Claire where she lived. When they arrived their destination, she found out in which room Candy was living.
Once there Candy went to the bathroom to clean her face, noticing that her right cheek was still red for the heavy slap the guy had given her. In the meantime Claire looked around disgusted at the poorness of the place and thankfully, didn’t notice Terry’s pic.
‘You can’t imagine how much I appreciate your help’ Candy said with her usual cheerfulness ‘I was so scared!’
‘It’s ok, I’m just glad I was in the right time and the right place’ Claire said in a sweet way. ‘Look, my granny used to say that there was nothing better to forget the bad and sad moments of life than a good chocolate, want some?’
And Claire took out of her bag a nice chocolate box with bonbons, which she offered to Candy.
‘Your grandmother was a wise woman’ Candy said smiling and choosing one ‘Mmh yummy!’
‘Delicious eh? Why don’t you keep them? I already ate the other half of the box,’ Claire offered.
‘Oh but I can’t accept them, they’re yours,’ Candy said.
But Claire insisted a little more until she twisted Candy’s arm. They continued talking a bit more, until she mentioned it was getting late and she needed to go back home.
‘I can’t believe how late it is,’ Claire said looking at her watch. ‘But I’m glad you’re feeling better now Candy.’
‘I just realized you didn’t tell me your name,’ Candy said walking Claire to the door.
‘It’s Caroline. Oh! By the way do you like perfumes?’ Claire said.
‘Yes, why Caroline?’ Candy asked, curious.
‘Well you’ll see, my boyfriend is in the perfume business and as I think you are a very nice girl who happened to have a bad day, I thought I’d give you this one.’
Claire once again opened her purse and produced a small bottle of perfume with something written in French on the label.
‘I really can’t accept this, must cost a fortune,’ Candy refused to accept the present.
‘Come on, it’s not that expensive… besides he makes very good profits and he’s always giving me perfumes. I have 3 bottles of this one at home.’
Claire was being so nice and so kind, and so convincing that finally Candy accepted. She opened it and smelled it. ‘Mmh it smells great. Thank you Caroline I’ll wear it everyday.’
‘That’s the idea,’ Claire winked at Candy. ‘Why don’t you put on some now? It’s gonna make you feel better. And yes wear it everyday, it’s gonna bring a smile to your face all the time and your boyfriend will love it too.’
Candy laughed. ‘I don’t have a boyfriend, but this might help me. Thank you so much for everything and visit me anytime you want, okie?’
After a friendly hug, Claire left the place and the next morning she headed to New York.
After that incident in the alley the doctor got very concerned about Candy’s safety and offered to take her home everyday. But he was an old man and took him more time to get back to his own house and for this reason, his son started to accompany Candy. Phillip, or Phil, was a 25 years old man who was following his father’s steps in the medicine. The days went by and walking Candy home became an habit and it was normal to see them leaving the doctor’s office after 7 pm together.
Back in the big apple...
‘Sussie, mission accomplished!’
Claire said entering the living room of the Grandchester’s and Susannah made a face of shut up and Claire noticed that Terry was in the room. He was sitting in one of the couches and was reading the newspaper.
‘Oh hi Terry, I didn’t see you,’ she excused herself.
‘Hi Claire,’ he said distracting his attention to the friend of his wife. ‘What mission were you talking about?’
Susannah’s face was about to explode and Claire went all red in 1 second. ‘Oh nothing, it’s just that Sussie asked me to get her a new lipstick and I found it.’
‘I see,’ he said with a tone that let them knew that he wasn’t interested in the subject.
‘Shall we go to my room?’ Susannah said and Claire helped her to get there and
locked the door.
‘Now tell me, how did it go??? What happened??’ Susannah asked impatiently.
‘Well here I have everything,’ Claire said showing a bag ‘but it cost me a lot to get all this… you have no idea! And I’m gonna burn in hell for you Sussie!’
‘Was it hard to find her?’
‘Yes but the worst part was trying to be nice to her. She is so kind and nice that makes me sick,’ Claire said making a face.
‘Tell me about it,’ Susannah said shaking her head. ‘I know that by experience.’
And Claire the gossiper made an appearance. ‘You’d be surprised to know in what conditions she’s currently living.’
But Susannah didn’t want to hear about it. ‘I don’t care, let’s go to see Madame Louise right now!’
This time, her friend complained. ‘Come on have some mercy Sussie. I just arrived to the city and I’m exhausted after doing all that detective job for you. I need to take a rest.’
But she was too impatient. ‘Ok then, come for me this afternoon… I’ve waited for too long and can’t continue waiting!
And Susannah made puppy eyes to her friend. ‘Please?’
‘Ok, ok, I’ll come for you by 4 pm.’
By 4 pm was already snowing but Susannah couldn’t care less. They were on time
in front of the old woman.
‘Mission accomplished,’ Susannah said with a huge smile on her face.
‘Oh that is wonderful my dear, are you sure you didn’t forget anything?’
‘No, here’s everything,’ Claire said all the items out of the bag, ‘the blood, the curls, the crucifix…’
The old woman winced at once. ‘Put that away from my sight!’
‘O.. Ok’ Claire said putting it back in the bag. ‘And also this handkerchief that belonged to her, I thought it might be useful.’
‘Are you ok?’ Susannah said concerned, the old woman looked pale.
‘Yes don’t worry I’m fine. Ohh a hankerchief? Much better. And tell me, did she drink what I gave you? And what about the perfume?
‘Done. She ate the liquid with some chocolates and she must be wearing the perfume from the day I met her.’
‘This is going wonderfully great,’ the old woman said rubbing her hands.
‘And when are we going to have the miracle?’ Susannah asked impatiently.
‘Be patient my pretty girl. Come back at the same time, in four more days. Now it’s time to do my work.’
But Sussie was a spoiled brat and she couldn’t wait anymore. ‘But four days? It’s too much time.’
The old woman smiled warmly at her. ‘It takes some time to do things in the right way, and in the way that would make them last forever so be patient. Oh can you also bring me a handkerchief that belongs to your husband?’
‘Good. And now something important, break that crucifix in little pieces and throw it to the Hudson River as soon as you leave.’
‘I will and now we better leave so you can start your work. You have no idea how thankful I’m for all this,’ Susannah said and they left.
Once the girls were away, the old woman smiled and said ‘I will also be thankful to you on due time my dear, you’ll see.’
While Susannah gave the orders to their chauffer to take them to a place where
they could see the Hudson from a close position, they started to break the
crucifix into a thousand pieces. One it was unrecognizable, Claire pushed
Susannah’s chair and she threw the pieces to the river.
That night while Susannah continued thinking that four days were an eternity, the old woman was getting ready to do her job. The table was gone from the room, the same with the chairs and any other item that was of no use in that moment. She only left a cage with a white dove inside. On the floor she had drawn a pentagram which was surrounded by burning black candles. In the center of it, there was the blood and hair of Susannah and Candy and the same burning herbs of the other day. The old woman was wearing long and black clothes and was holding an inversed cross while she was chanting something in a strange language. She entered the circle and got on her knees locating the inverted cross in front of her. Once inside the ritual began.
‘Malignus sosterabu finari du MANTREK!’ she screamed and in that moment the color of the flames changed like the other day, but this time the flames on the ashtray were larger. The conditions were perfect to do this job: it was winter, two dark auras – Susannah’s and the old woman’s - were aligned under one spell, it was midnight and the moon had disappeared from the sky.
While the old woman continued her chanting, she put in a small dish a good quantity of Susannah’s blood together with her hair. Then she took the little recipient that kept Candy’s blood and began pouring it on Susannah’s, drop by drop, leaving just a little on the little recipient. The woman put her hand over the new dish and moved it, mixing the ingredients without touching them. Few seconds later Susannah’s hair was floating on top of the mix. Once this happened the old woman took Candy’s curls and poured them over Susannah’s hair.
What happened was that Susannah’s hair absorbed Candy’s very fast. Once again the old woman laid her hand over the dish with all this and mixed it without touching the ingredients. When all this was ready, she took the dish and put it in front of her, grabbed the white dove from the cage and killed it with a sharp knife, letting some of its blood to fall on the mix and over the herbs that were still burning. She left the dead dove in front of the inverted cross as a sacrify for the cause and waited some seconds.
Suddenly a really black smoke, as black as the darkest night started to come out of the burning herbs and headed to the dish with the mix. At the mere touch of this the mix boiled fusing all the ingredients and turning into a dark red liquid. A strange wind surrounded the circle and started to raise, taking the dove higher and making it disappear.
‘Thank you my lord,’ the old woman said making a bow to the inverted cross. The flame of the burning herbs was suddenly off and the flames of the black candles recovered their color, and the wind disappeared.
In front of her she had this dish with the mix that seemed to have increased its quantity in the process. The woman took it and moved it, making sure everything was well mixed and proceeded to drink a little of it. From her clothes she produced a crystal pendant and poured some of the liquid inside of it. During the next following days, the old woman poured the rest of Candy’s blood inside the mix until it was all gone.
By the 4th day, at 4 pm Susannah and Claire were entering the old
woman’s place, closing the door behind them for no further interruptions.
‘I can see you’ve learned,’ the woman nodded as Claire locked the door.
Before greeting the woman, the first thing that Susannah said, ‘Madame Louise I can’t take no more… do you have news for me?’
The woman simply smiled and nodded. ‘Yes my dear, everything is ready.’
Claire took a look around just to see if there was something unusual but everything was fine. If she only had known what happened few days ago she wouldn't believe it was the same room and the same woman.
Susannah smiled with hope in her eyes. ‘So you’re saying that Terry is going to change today?'
‘Not so fast, you want him to love you as if you were her right? Well this is
going to be a slow process but you gonna love the results.’
Susannah lowered her head. ‘Well if you say so.’
‘Now,’ said the woman taking a long and shinny flute with the mix she had prepared few days ago. ‘I want you to drink this.’
Both girls talked at the same time. ‘What is it?’
‘Let’s say it’s your ticket to your happiness,’ the woman said smiling warmly. ‘Now go ahead, drink it all.’
The woman looked stranged ‘don’t tell me you are getting cold feet now, my dear, don’t you love him?’
Susannah closed her eyes and took a deep breath, looked at the flute again and took it in her hand. ‘For Terry I’d do anything.’
While Susannah continued drinking, Claire was handing Terry’s handkerchief to the woman, who grinned. ‘Im so glad you remembered this… now my dear child, clean your lips with it’ said the woman handing the handkerchief to Susannah.
She did so and looked at the fabric afterwards, and she wasn’t sure but she thought that the stain in it was blood. She dismissed the thought immediately, it couldn’t be possible.
The woman took the flute from her shaky hand and put it aside. ‘Now give me the handkerchief back’ the woman said and took Candy’s one from the table, put it together with Terry’s and tied them up together. She chanted some words the girls couldn’t understand very well, and then put them inside a paper bag, closing it immediately with a red bow. Susannah and Claire were looking anxiously at the woman.
‘My dear listen to me carefully. This bag has to remain closed and you have to put it inside your mattresses.'
Susannah looked with drama in her eyes. ‘But I can’t do it, it’s impossible for
Claire took her hand and looked at the woman. ‘I’ll do it.’
The woman nodded and took something else from the table; it looked like a shinny thingy. With her long and thin fingers, the woman showed the object to Susannah and Claire, it was a crystal pendant with something that had the same color of the ruby with a silver chain. ‘Now my dear, this is for you, let’s call it your lucky charm. You have to wear it all the time, even if you’re taking a bath. Think that your life depends on it, and only you and Terry can touch it. Is that clear?’
Sussie took it in her hands and put it on immediately. ‘Ok I understand, I have to wear it all the time.’
‘Yes, and it’s very important that nobody else touches it. That includes you Claire,’ the woman said as she noticed the curiosity in the woman’s eyes.
Claire gave her a look and nodded.
Susannah was smiling again. ‘Something else?’
‘No that’s all. Now you just have to wait for the results.’
Claire still didn’t trust the woman, what was that thing of not touching such cheap pendant? She had jewels that were worth thousands of dollars and she wasn’t going to steal something as cheap as that pendant. She whispered in Susannah’s ear. ‘Don’t pay her, what if it doesn’t work?’
But the woman heard her and reassured ‘It’s going to work and don’t worry for the payment, you can pay me whenever you want… but if I were you I’d hurry up to put that paper bag inside the mattress if you want to see fast results.'
‘As you say Madame Louise, thank you very much.’
The girls went back home. Once there they searched for needles, linen and
scissors and locked themselves in the master bedroom. With a lot of effort
Claire managed to lift the mattress and turned it around. In the middle of it
she made a cut and Susannah gave her the paper bag which she located in a space
she made between the springs and foam. Claire was checking the size of it when
they heard a knock on the door. The girls looked at each other horrified… who
could that be?
‘Susannah, can I come in?’ It was Terry.
The blonde girl started shaking and tried to find a convincing excuse. ‘Eh… ehm… Terry I’m busy. Can you come back later?’
‘Ok,’ he replied and they heard his footsteps as he walked away.
When they were sure that he was gone, they remembered to breathe again. ‘Oh my god, that was close!’ Susannah said ‘now let’s hurry up and finish this before he returns.’
Claire hid the paper bag in the chosen place and stitched the fabric, once the work was done they turned the mattress and made the bed again. In less than five minute everything looked extremely normal.
One week had passed since those events. Candy continued working and Phil was
still walking her to her house, he didn’t know it but he was getting very
attached to her. That day wasn’t an exception and as they walked they kept on
talking about different subjects, most of them related to work and medicine.
They were getting close to her place when suddenly, Candy stopped.
Phil turned to see her and got worried when he saw her pale face ‘Candy are you ok?’
‘Yes don’t worry Im fine… just a little dizzy,’ she replied laying one hand over her forehead and closing her eyes.
‘Dizzy? Are you sick?’
That’s all Phil could say before Candy fainted in front of him. Fortunately he was next to her and managed to catch her in his arms. As he continued calling her name he tried to make her react but she didn’t wake up. Phil carried her in his arms and hurried up, until he arrived to her place.
The owner of the house opened the door of Candy’s room and brought
some compresses. Phil laid the girl on the bed checking the temperature of her
body, and he noticed it had descended a little. He asked Miriam to bring some
whisky or brandy and forced Candy to drink it. At the strong taste of the
liquor, she woke up.
‘Do you feel better?’ he asked.
Candy being her usual self tried to smile, she didn’t like to worry others.
‘Well not yet, Im still a bit dizzy but I’m sure I’ll be fine.’
‘I’ll get you some food Candy,’ Miriam said and headed to the kitchen where she prepared something
Phil was too concerned and couldn’t help to show it with his face expression. ‘Tell me the truth; have you been working too much? Have you been sleeping well?’
She rubbed her eyes and tried to focus. ‘Yes I’ve been sleeping well…as a fact I think I usually oversleep,’ she joked. ‘Maybe my sugar levels lowered for a while.’
‘But you aren’t diabetic,’ he said touching the girl’s forehead.
‘I’m not but you know that something like that can happen to normal people,’ she replied.
But Phil wanted to play on the safe side. ‘Well it doesn’t matter; I’ll stay here with you for the night. I still think this is all too weird and want to have you under observation until tomorrow.’
She smiled again. ‘It’s not necessary, I’m already feeling better.’
‘Are you sure?’
She sat on the bed and tried to look her best. ‘Yes I am, and thanks for taking me home.’
Phil made a face. ‘I’m going to be worried at home if I leave you alone.’
‘Don’t be,’ she said smiling again, ‘you know how strong I am.’
In that moment, Miriam came in with a tray full of food. ‘Here’s your dinner Candy.’
The blonde rubbed her hands and made a huge grin. ‘I’m sure the food will take all that dizziness away.’
Phil wasn’t a 100% sure about leaving her alone, but at the end he had to agree. ‘I hope so. Well you win, I’ll go home and if anything happens please call me’
‘Goodnight,’ both women said and the young doctor left the room.
Miriam offered Candy her company but she declined the offer saying she was feeling better already, and that she would take the tray downstairs as soon as she finished.
When Miriam went downstairs, Candy left the tray with food aside and sat on the edge of the bed. Something was troubling her heart but she couldn’t really tell what it was. She searched through her things for her picture of Terry and prayed that this hunch she was feeling wasn’t a bad omen for the ones she loves or her. After that she ate everything and felt sleep.
The next day, Susannah was slowly waking up… suddenly she sneezed and Terry woke
up. She turned and laid on her back with her eyes still closed. ‘Good morning
But he didn’t reply which surprised her, maybe there wasn’t too much communication between them but he would always reply her morning greetings. Susannah opened her eyes and noticed he was looking at her intensely, while his hand reached a lock of her hair and caressed it. It was the first time he ever looked at her in that way.
‘Susannah I had never noticed how beautiful your hair is,’ he said, and after a while he got up from bed.
She was speechless and all she could do was blush and say, ‘Thank you.'
And this happened just when she was starting to loose her faith on what the old woman had told her, and she was so glad that things were beginning to work. 20 minutes later and after that Terry left home, the maids went into the master room and washed and dressed the young actress, leaving her on her wheelchair … but during the whole process they couldn’t help but stare at her which the brat inside her didn’t appreciate but didn’t mention a word, she was too happy inside. When they left she moved the chair near the mirror and took a brush to comb her hair. To her surprise she noticed her hair was not as straight as before, but was starting to have waves and a few curls. It wasn’t much but it was too notorious for her who had used straight hair during her whole life… Yes she was surprised, but if Terry had liked it then it was ok.
The next morning Candy didn’t hear the alarm and woke up late for
work, but she was feeling much better than the previous day. She took a shower
and got dressed and got as fast as she could to work and everybody showed their
concern for the freckled girl. Later Phil came to visit her, and even the girl
was on a really good mood, she was still looking too pale. He insisted on
performing a physical examination and all she could do was agree. Phil felt
much better after the examination as he found nothing wrong with the girl, and
told Candy that she could continue working as usual.
That afternoon Claire made a visit to Susannah. ‘Oh what a great friend you are,
you could’ve told me you were going to the beauty parlor, I also have to do
something with my hair,’ she said after looking the new appearance of the
‘Close the door,’ Susannah said and as soon as that was done she confessed. ‘I haven’t done anything to my hair.’
Claire laughed as she drank her tea. ‘No matter what you say I won’t forgive you for not taking me with you.’
But Susannah made a face and Claire got more serious, and touched the blonde’s hair. ‘But how? How your hair has always been long and straight, this is so weird!’
‘I know it is not normal, but Terry liked it, can you believe it?’ she said smiling.
‘And what are you going to do?’
‘Nothing of course! If he liked it I’m going to leave it just like that… I think this,’ she said pointing at the pendant, ‘it’s starting to work.’
By the time that Candy finished her daily work, Phil was still concerned for
her because no matter how many times she told him she was feeling fine, she was
still looking too pale. Once she got home she told him bye and laid on her bed.
That cold feeling that something was going to happen was still wrapped around
her heart and she was still feeling a bit dizzy.
The days went by and she kept feeling like that, stubbornly she continued insisting that she was fine and blaming the cold weather and thinking that these were the symptoms of the flu.
With every passing day, Susannah’s hair curled more and more and was even taking a different blonde color… it was still blonde but different to hers. How was this change affecting her? She didn’t really care, ever since that morning that she woke up feeling the warm hands of Terry caressing her hair she thought it was all part of the masterplan. Terry wouldn’t say a thing, he wasn’t even surprised with the change, as a fact he liked it… it reminded him the soft hair of another person and how much he loved to caress it.
Exactly one week had passed since Candy’s passing out, and everybody had forgotten about it. The doctor and Candy were constantly busy with patients as winter was always the worst season. That afternoon they were performing a small surgery when Candy’s view got blurry, she started sweating and the dizziness that had been in her head for about a week got stronger in that moment and she fainted right there. The doctor couldn’t hold her or help her because he was in a delicate part of the surgery and for this reason he called out the name of the receptionist, who came running and helped Candy on the floor because she didn’t have the strength to get her up and sent somebody to get Phil who arrived as fast as he could. While his father was finishing the surgery with the help of the receptionist as an improvised nurse, Phil got down and checked Candy: her temperature have lowered more than the last time. He dried the sweat from her face and checked her pulse noticing that it was getting slower. He took her in his arms and put her in another stretcher. Her breathing was normal and constant. He got close to her face and checked her pupils without finding anything unusual.
By that time his father had already finished the surgery and both men performed a full physical examination, they couldn’t understand what was wrong with the girl if everything in her body was fine. With some ammoniac they woke her up, and Candy saw Phil checking his pulse again.
‘I’m sorry I really don’t know what’s happening,’ she said in a really low voice, almost a whisper.
‘Shh don’t talk.’
‘Your blood pressure is too low Candy, what’s going on with you?’ he asked her while he put all his instruments in a briefcase.
‘Low?’ It’s always been very normal,’ she said. ‘Phil I don’t know what’s happening, this is all so strange. What happened with your father and the surgery?’
Phil dried again the forehead of the girl. ‘He finished it, he went home for some books of medicine to see what’s going on with you.’
She closed her eyes, ‘Maybe I’ve been working too much.’
‘Maybe you could take some days off?’
‘And what about your father?'
He put his hand on her cheek to check her temperature. ‘I can help him, but who is going to take care of you?’
‘I can take care of myself,’ she replied touching her head and grimacing at the pain.
Phil moved his head negatively ‘I can see how well you can take care of
yourself you crazy girl, you hit your head on the floor when you fainted,
that’s why it hurts now.’
‘Don’t be ironic,’ she said opening her eyes and smiling.
He held her hand to warm it up. ‘I have an idea, why don’t you go to my house? I could take very good care of you there and I’m sure my father won’t say no.’
‘No, it’s not necessary… I’ll be fine, I’m sure if I sleep for two days I’ll feel much better,’ she said.
‘You’re so stubborn,’ he said showing he was a bit upset for the refusal of the offer. ‘Why don’t you accept my help?’
She tried to find a good excuse. ‘It’s not that, but I have to learn not to depend on the others, and if I have to ask for help each time something happens I will feel that I haven’t grown enough.’
‘Ok, but as soon as my father arrives we’ll take you home.’
Candy only smiled, ‘You win.’
Once the doctor arrived they took Candy home and Miriam helped her to change clothes and put her into bed. She promised to take care of the girl and if something happened during the night she’d call the doctors. That night both men dedicated long hours reading the medicine books not finding answers or previous information of the symptoms that Candy was having.
While Candy fainted, Susannah had fallen sleep on her chair looking at the snow
falling outside her window. Claire had the flu and hadn’t visited her friend
for days, once she recovered she went to see Sussie with some pastries for the
tea. She knocked on the door of the master room and as nobody replied, she got
in. She got scared to see that Susannah’s hair was curlier than the last time.
She approached the chair and woke up her friend. ‘Wake up Sussie, wake up.’
With her eyes still closed, she replied, ‘Mmh, what’s going on?’
‘What happened to your hair?’ she said touching it.
Claire chose her words carefully. ‘Because if anybody saw you from behind would think that you are… well, somebody else.’
Susannah yawned and opened her eyes. ‘Don’t say silly things, I think the flu affected your brain.’
‘Ha ha ha you’re so nice Susannah, I get concerned for you and…’ she was saying but stopped when she looked into the girl’s eyes.
The actress was getting tired of having everybody staring at her. ‘What is it now?’
‘Your eyes… they’re blue, right?’
By now Sussie was starting to worry. ‘Yes, why?’
‘They look different,’ Claire said slowly.
‘They look different, they are a mix between blue and green. Wait, let me get a mirror’ she said getting one from the drawers. ‘Look!’
Susannah looked at them carefully and dismissed her friend’s idea. ‘You are crazy Claire… you know that my eye color changes according to how the day is and now that is clouded they obviously look different. And now I have so much tell you, the other day Terry …’
And she began telling the story on how her life was changing. Claire began to associate the changes in Susannah with the sudden change on Terry and thought there was only one responsible for this. After the tea Claire went alone to see Madame Louise but the store was closed. She took a moment to think more about the situation and then thought that maybe Susannah was right and she was just reading between the lines and left.
That routine of Terry of going to the library after he returned from the
theater at night had disappeared. After taking his bath, he had started going to
bed immediately and talked with Susannah looking at the roof of the room, and she
felt in heaven, he had never been like this with her. This time, something made
him turn his head and looked at his wife in the eyes. They looked so beautiful,
Susannah had blushed; it wasn’t often that Terry would look at her in that way. His eyes were still fixed on her until he felt the weariness of a hard day of work. This time he got close to Susannah and kissed her goodnight on the lips. Then he turned to his side and fell sleep.
Terry closed his eyes and fell sleep in a deep and cozy way. He
saw himself out in the street at night, surrounded by an intense fog, like the
one he had seen in London in several occasions.
He started walking god knows where, probably to a place where he could see something more than just fog. His steps took him to the shores of a lake, which was the place where the fog was less intense. He stood there and something called his attention on the middle of the lake, it seemed like somebody was there and had started walking towards him.
It looked like… he tried to focus to get a better look... was that a woman? Yes it was a woman, and as she continued walking towards him he noticed she was wearing a long and silky white ethereal dress. This woman was walking on the water and at each step, a circle was formed on the water around her. As she was getting closer to him he recognized her and a smile formed on his lips; he tried to walk to her but it was impossible because he couldn't walk on the water on the way she was doing it, and he decided to wait for her feeling joy and longing in his heart.
Candy was there smiling only few steps away from him and wasn't stopping, once she was in front of him he stretched his arms to hold her. But in the moment he touched her, her face _expression changed to one of pain, her eyes had tears and with a tone of voice that reflected this pain she told him 'Please Terry help me!'
He couldn't understand why she was asking for help if she was there with him, and all he could do was wrap his arms around her holding her as tight as he could to comfort her, the longing showing.
He looked at her face sweetly and whispered 'my beloved Candy', before he approached his face to kiss her when suddenly she began to fade in his arms and the last thing he saw of her was her sad face _expression. Terry was astonished and all he could see now was the empty space between his arms. Desperately he looked everywhere searching for her with no luck… when suddenly at a distance he heard her plea again 'Terry help me please. Teeerrryyyyy.'
The young actor woke up extremely anguished and troubled and sat on his bed in the middle of his dark room. His bare chest raised up and down very fast because his breathing was too agitated and he looked at his arms, still feeling that awful sensation of Candy fading away. He looked to his right and saw Susannah sleeping very close to him and this didn't make sense to him and felt an instant rejection to her wife and moved closer to the edge of the bed trying to avoid any contact. He closed his eyes and tried to go back to sleep again but it was impossible, that image was hunting him in the middle of the night.
He got up, put on his robe and went to the library. With a glass of whisky on his hand he looked out of the window at the dark and clouded night and tried to find a coherent meaning to that dream. Candy sounded so desperate that he felt like crying.
'My wishes to see her are that strong that I'm reaching the edges of the insanity?' he asked to himself while he drank his whisky. Morning didn't came as fast as he would've wanted and found him awake. He took a shower and started working on a new script in the library.
Candy was still in her room, two days had passed and every time that Phil went
to visit her Miriam would say that she was sleeping. He was decided to check on
her anyway but remembered her words about sleeping two days in a row and waking
up like new, and decided to wait for the examination. He had searching
everywhere and couldn't find anything related to the sympthoms she had days
By the third day Miriam told him that she was still sleeping and he got suspicious and concerned, this was not normal and extended his concerns to Miriam who agreed with him. She got in the room first and turned on the light, telling him that it was fine to come in. Candy was sleeping to her right side and was totally covered, Phil thought that this was normal since she had been cold during the last days.
Miriam got close to her and removed the covers and sheet from her face to wake her up and turned her, but she was so impressed with what she saw that she dropped the bottle of milk she was carrying on her other hand and screamed!
Susannah extended her hand in her sleep and found nothing but the cold sheets.
She opened her eyes and asked to herself where was Terry. Her stomach reminded
her that it was late and she ringed the bell, calling the maids who performed
the usual morning routine on her. After retiring the breakfast tray they left
her on her chair sitting in front of the mirror because they knew she liked to
comb her hair. Today she had decided to take all her hair in a ponytail with a
beautiful ebony clasp and she looked for it. Then she took the brush in her
hand and looked at her reflection in the mirror and what she saw made her
scream out loud! Two seconds later Terry stomped into the room, alerted by the
scream of his wife who was crying with her hands covering her face.
He was scared, that scream had reminded him of the day when Susannah had saved his life. 'Susannah what's going on? Are you fine?'
But all she could do was continue crying without removing her hands from her face.
After hearing the scream, the maids had also arrived into the room thinking that maybe the 'blonde brat' as they used to call their boss, had fallen from the chair, it had happened before. Terry dismissed them and thanked them for coming to help so fast.
Once they left, he kneeled to her side and asked again. 'Susannah what happened? Why did you scream like that?'
Between her cries she just told him 'Nothing, now please Terry leave me alone, go!'
He just stood up and showed that he was angry with the situation. 'Who can understand you…' and slammed the door on his way out.
Five minutes later she ringed the bell and ordered the maid to get Claire immediately and tell her that she needed to talk to her urgently. In less than 20 minutes Claire had arrived and ran like hell to the master room where she saw her crying with her hands on the vanity and crying her eyes out.
'Susannah please god, tell me what happened to you!!' she said as she entered.
'Lock that damn door, now!!!', the blonde commanded sobbing.
Claire did so. 'Done, now tell me what's happening!'
'Come over here.'
Claire walked to her friend until she was in front of her… slowly, Susannah turned her full of tears face to her friend.
'OH MY GOD!' Claire exclaimed taking one step behind and covering her mouth with her hands.
Susannah's eyes were red with all the crying but that's not what had shocked Claire… in the eyes where she always seen blue, now she could only see a beautiful green tone.
'Can you please explain me what is happening to me?' she said crying again louder this time.
All her friend could was lean down and hold her close. 'But Sussie…'
'Can't you see what I'm starting to look like?' Susannah said with anger in her eyes. '... that stupid of Candy!'
Claire let her go and tried to relax her. 'No, you're just imagining it.'
'No?' she said. 'Take a look at this!'
And Sussie divided her hair and produced to pigtails, one on each side of her head.
Claire hesitated knowing that her friend was right.
'Now you can't say that I don't look like her… put on the freckles and I'm her, damn it!' she said punching her lap.
'Susannah what did you do?' Claire wanted to find out if there was some valid explanation for all this so they could find a solution for the mess.
The blonde was crying again. 'Nothing, nothing… Last night I got into bed like always and now…'
'I'm sure that that stupid witch has something to do with this, I told you we didn't have to hear what she was saying!'
Susannah looked at her friend. 'You really think so?'
'I'm sure of that, let's go to see her immediately.'
Claire washed Susannah's face, grabbed some sunglasses to cover her friend's eyes and got out of there. Terry was looking at the girls with curiosity – just like the rest of the help of the house – without understanding what was happening. Claire ordered her chauffer to take them to a certain address as fast as possible, in spite of the dangers of the road that was covered in snow. Once they arrived to the place Claire guided Susannah to Madame Louise' place and when they entered the store they saw that the place was empty which called their attention. Suddenly, a woman in her late 30's that was passing outside the store approached them.
'Hi, we would like to talk to Madame Louise,' Claire explained.
The woman replied warmly. 'I'm sorry young lady, she's gone and she's never going to return.'
Susannah showed horror on her face. 'What do you mean with that?'
The woman explained. 'She said she had finished her job in this town, you know what those women are like.'
Susannah covered her face. 'I'm lost.'
'Do you know where we can find her?' Claire asked.
'No, she returned the store keys to the owner and left,' the woman said.
Claire looked at her friend. 'Goddamn it Susannah, let's take a look around the city, I'm sure we gonna find her.'
She removed Susannah's chair to outside of the store and left her waiting until she returned with the chauffer. When Claire left, the woman who was still inside the store told Susannah.
'Why are you crying my dear child? Weren't you promised that he will love you as if you were her? Isn't that what you're achieving?'
Susannah realizad this woman was the witch! She tried to turn her chair to talk but she couldn't do it for all the snow that was located on the floor.
When Claire returned Susannah told her what had just happened and when she got into the store she didn't see her there.
'It's empty Susannah, are you sure it was her?'
Claire couldn't understand a thing. 'But… this woman was much younger than the witch.'
They both kept in silence the moment the chauffer and approached, helping Susannah with her chair. Once inside Claire ordered him to take a look around the city where they searched for that mysterious woman.
The girls kept walking but really low. 'What was that thing she said again?'
'She said, "Why are you crying my dear child? Weren't you promised that he will love you as if you were her? Isn't that what you're achieving?"'
'Damn witch… and now what do we do now?'
And all Susannah could do was to realize what had really happened. 'She wasn't interested in helping me… she only used me to make herself look younger', and started crying again.
While both girls took a look around the city with you luck at all,
Phil approached Candy to find out what had surprised Miriam that much… and he
couldn’t believe his eyes. Candy was laying on her bed, deeply sleep and any
person would’ve said that it was the most normal thing in the world. But this
time something was very wrong, her beautiful blonde hair had lost all its color
and softness, and her face was so pale that was starting to show a soft blue
and purple lips. In spite of the initial shock, Phil performed another physical
exam on her.
Candy’s temperature was lower than ever, and her blood pressure was right on the limit of the minimums recommended for a living person. Her face was cold but she was still breathing.
He removed her clothes to see if something else was wrong with her body but everything was fine. Her heart was beating very slowly and Phil massaged it to see if he could get it to work faster and more normal with no luck. He managed to wake her up with some salts, but her eyes were so heavy that everytime she tried to close them again to continue sleeping. Seeing this, Phil slapped her to make her react.
“Candy listen to me, you have to eat something now, you haven’t eaten anything for two days. And you Miriam please bring a lot of food and call my father and ask him to come urgently. And please bring me all the things of this list.’
The woman obeyed the young doctor immediately and while the couple waited for the arrival of the older doctor Candy was starting to eat some of the hot soup that Miriam had prepared for her. Then she took some medicines of Phil’s list and her face color looked a bit more normal than before.
Phil held her hand. ‘My god Candy you scared me to death!’
‘Im feeling better now, thank you’ she said trying to sleep.
He put on a serious face. ‘Now you have to listen to me, I’m going to stay by your side until you get better and 100% recovered. You can scream and shout but I’m going to stay anyway, this is just too serious.’
She tried to lighten up the mood. ‘So doctor, what do I have?’
‘Im going to be honest with you, I have no idea. Do you remember we sent some of your blood simples for further tests? They all showed good results.’
She joked again. ‘That was too honest for a doctor.’
‘You finish your food,’ he said showing her tray. ‘I’ll go and get Miriam so she can watch you out while I go home and get some of my things.’
Candy noticed how worried he was and smiled again trying to comfort him. ‘Thank you Phil.’
‘Don’t mention it and now eat everything’ he said before leaving the room.
On his way out of the house he ran into Miriam and told her his plans. He gave specific instructions for not having other people visiting Candy or entering her room because it would be dangerous. ‘Please don’t mention anything about her hair and as soon as you can remove all the mirrors from her room.’ Miriam nodded and obeyed.
When Claire and Susannah noticed that it would be useless to continue looking for
the woman, they returned home. Susannah was still wearing those dark sunglasses
and continued doing so until Claire left. Once Sussie was in bed she removed
them and waiting for Terry. Once he arrived from the theater he went straight
to the bedroom and saw that Susannah was waiting for him.
‘Are you feeling better?’ he asked her before entering the bathroom.
‘Yes,’ she said in a low voice.
After his shower he hung up his robe and got into bed. He got close to Susannah and made her to lay her head on his shoulder. Needless to say, she was in paradise.
‘Don’t you ever do that again ok? You got me so worried,’ he said oh so tenderly, kissing her forehead.
What else could she say? ‘I won’t’ and a whisper escaped her lips, thinking that any sacrifice was worth if she could continue living this. Not sure if it was right or not, her hand caressed his chest until it rested safely very close to his heart.
‘Can I tell you something? Today was the longest day of my life, it seemed as the play was never going to end. All I wanted was to come home and be with you.’
When he said that, he raised Sussie’s chin and made her look into his eyes. The vision he had dreamed of for such a long time was there right in front of him, so close and so full of love. Susannah saw that his lips were getting closer to her and she shrived… and closed her eyes ready to receive what she had been waiting for so long.
But something made him stop… something was wrong or something was
missing and his heart made him stop. When Susannah noticed that a few seconds
have passed by and his lips were not on hers yet, she opened her eyes again and
saw him leaning his head back on the pillow. Then he turned off the light and
fell sleep almost immediately.
Susannah was so damn frustrated… so much that she wanted to hit him but she knew it wouldn’t change the current situation. Besides sleeping in his arms was a bless and a luxury that she couldn’t say no to.
A week after that, Susannah was getting closer and closer to Terry, but she still couldn’t get a kiss from him. And the warmness of his body, his tender hugs and his heartbeat was making her want that kiss more and more. She was so close to get it… it would only take one second to get it and he would be hers forever. But there was something he wasn’t telling Susannah, and that was that this dream with Candy would never leave him alone, all he had to do was close his eyes and he would see her asking for his help again. The anxiety and anguish he felt the first days was not that intense nowadays, because all he had to do was to look at the blonde in his arms and he thought that everything was fine.
Thanks to all the attention and professional help of Phil, Candy’s condition was still the same… at least it hasn’t gotten worst. He knew that if she stopped taking the medicines something bad was going to happen, and probably she wouldn’t survive. He had talked to several doctor friends and none of them could give him an answer, and certainly they all got very curious with this case. Every time that Phil got out of the bedroom Candy would look at Terry’s picture. This anguish was getting worst and worst.
That night everything happened the same way than the previous nights. Terry was in bed with Susannah in his arms but she couldn’t keep on waiting and while he was admiring her beautiful eyes, she got close to him and kissed him on the lips. Terry felt himself surrounded by a mixture of feelings, love, longing, passion… and replied the kiss. Susannah was caressing his chest without wanting to miss anything, until she suddenly felt Terry laying on top of her.
Back in Madame Louise’s store, the woman was wearing again the
black clothes and was entering the pentagram, surrounded once again by black
candles. This time was not necessary to burn the herbs or invoke the spirits
with strange chanting, the flames on the candles had already changed their
color to black… Susannah was the one making this work. ‘Go on my little child, go
one, finally the night we’ve been waiting for has come,’ the woman said raising
Back in Ohio Candy started to shake and sweat. Phil woke up startled and turned on the light. He saw her moving on the bed, her face reflecting the pain she was into. That soft blue color was starting to show on her skin again and her temperature had gone lower this time.
Terry opened his eyes and all he could see was Candy underneath him enjoying of his tender caresses and kisses, asking him for more love. His lips were kissing the soft skin of Susannah’s neck and his hands were all over her body. Susannah knew what she had to do before he reacted, and tried to speed things up.
The flames on the candles were growing as the young couple approached the moment of union. Candy was feeling worst and there was nothing that could make her react… and Terry was about to consummate his marriage.
The witch screamed out loud. ‘Youth come to me and grant me your beauty!’
But right in that crucial moment, Terry heard the same desperate
voice of his dreams. “Terry please help me,” but this time was even more
desperate and in more pain than in the previous occasions. This made Terry
react and noticing that it wasn’t Candy but Susannah underneath him, he removed
himself violently. She tried to hold him back but she couldn’t, he was too
strong for her.
‘Susannah leave me alone!” he said arranging his pajama.
‘Terry don’t leave me like this! I love you and you love me!!! Let me show you! – said a desperate Susannah, with her hair like a mess and her gown opened on the front.
‘Stop talking nonsense,’ he screamed getting out of the room and slamming the door at once.
‘DAMN IT!’ the witch screamed out and kneeled down on the floor. ‘That girl from hell let him get away!!! Well it doesn’t matter, I still have another chance.’
Instantly Candy relaxed and stopped shaking, and the sweat had also stopped,
but she was still too cold and pale blue. When she fell sleep again, Phil felt
And Terry? He needed to react, to wake up from that drowsiness that was making it hard to breath and got out to the garden that was surrounded by snow. It was cold but it was what he needed to clear up his mind. When things went back to normal he got inside the house and locked himself in the library. Why oh why he was kissing Susannah? In what moment that crazy idea crossed his mind??? He just couldn’t believe what he almost did with Susannah.
‘Candy you have no idea how much I need you,’ he said before falling sleep on the couch, still worried for the desperate tone of voice she had used right in the moment when he and Susannah almost became one.
'For how long you gonna continue complaining for the same thing?
You've been doing so for two days!' Claire said to Susannah, she was usually a
good listener and a very good friend, but when Susannah was telling her the same
store for the 100th times, that did Claire's patience.
Sussie sighed. 'We were so close to do it Claire… you can't understand me cos you've never been in love.'
'And now you wanna whine about me as well? Look, you've achieved a lot more with Terry in just a couple of weeks than ever… think of it as the first try.'
Susannah folded her arms. 'I hope this is not the first of many tries, if you know what I mean… Besides I can't take no more of looking at myself in the mirror, I hate to look like this!'
Claire joked. 'But at least you don't have that damn sweet attitude of her.'
'Not even mention it! I'll never be like that.'
Claire picked up another pastry. 'And what about Terry? How is he?'
'Well yesterday he was a bit strange, but today he's the same Terry of the other day.'
And so the girls continued talking…
But in Ohio things were not fine. Ever since that night, the medicines that
Candy was taking were no longer producing the required effect, and in spite of
all the efforts of Phil and his father they feared that Candy could die in any
minute. Miriam thought it would be better to call the friends and family
because she knew it would be too sad for Candy to die sick and lonely.
So, while she was sleeping Miriam opened up the drawer of Candy's night table and the first thing she saw was Terry's picture. She remembered that during some of the ocassions that she had been taking care of the blonde nurse, that name had slipped from her sleeping lips. Miriam thought he was her boyfriend or somebody very important and dear to her and knew she had to let him know what was happening. Miriam searched in the rest of the contents of the drawer and found a small black book with addresses and few phone numbers, and among them she found three different ones for Terry. They were all for theater companies in New York and even Miriam knew it was going to cost her a fortune to make those calls, she would do it anyway just for Candy. She copied the info and when Phil came to replace her to take care of Candy, she got out and searched for a phone.
The first number didn't answer, but in the second one they told her that Terry would be arriving in one more hour, and Miriam used the time to buy some groceries for lunch. After one hour had passed she called again. She couldn't really understand why those people didn't want to transfer the call or get Terry to talk to her, but finally they understood and believed that it was an urgent matter.
Terry was sitting on the edge of the stage reading some lines of the play when he was told that somebody was calling him from Ohio. He removed his glasses and caressed the upper side of his nose, closing his eyes. 'Ohio… Ohio , I don't know anybody in Ohio,' he said, but the assistant insisted and he went to take the phone anyway.
'This is Grandchester speaking, who is this?' his tone wasn't the nicest, after all he was used to people pretending to be somebody else just to talk to him, especially the girls
'Oh thank god… sir you don't know me but,' a female voice started saying.
And Terry saw the same old pattern repeated, and honestly he didn't have the patience to deal with that. 'I'm sorry madame but I'm too busy at the moment, please tell me if this is a joke otherwise I'll hung up.'
The voice of the female of the voice sounded a bit worried and that called Terry's attention. 'Please sir let me finish what I'm saying. You're girlfriend is very sick and we're fearing the worst,' Miriam tried to be as delicate as possible.
'I see this is a joke, I'm married and don't have girlfriends,' Terry said wanting to hung up immediately.
'That means you're not Candy's boyfriend? I apologize but I thought…'
But the only mention of that name called Terry's attention immediately and interrupted her. 'Candy??'
'Yes Candy White, do you know her?'
'Of course I do, you should've mentioned her before. What's wrong with her?' he asked concerned because he hadn't paid much attention to what the woman had said before.
'Well it's hard to say it but her health condition is very delicate and well… the doctors fear that she may die in any minute,' Miriam said not being able to hold her tears.
Terry felt a cold shiver down his spine and barely talked. 'Candy is going to…die?' he said as slow as possible.
'Yes sir, that's why I was calling you… she had called your name and I thought you were her boyfriend and you had to be here during her last minutes of life.'
'But this can't be true,' he said.
Miriam was getting desperate. 'Please sir don't waste more time, in any minute she can…'
But he interrupted her at once. 'Shut up don't even say it. Give me the address and I'll get there as soon as possible.' Terry took one of the pens from the table and scratched the script he was reading with Candy's address.
'Did you write it well? My name is Miriam, I'll be waiting for you.'
'Thank you for calling me, I'll leave now,' he said not even saying bye and just hanging up.
As soon as he did so he had to sit down, he was too shocked with the news… Candy, his beloved freckled girl about to…. Images of her smiling, hanging from a tree, dressed up as a nurse and running after his train crossed his mind. It took him a few good minutes to recover from the impression and thought what to do. When he was sure of everything he talked with the director of the theater company explaining him the situation.
Fortunately the Director understood the situation and decided that
the actor that replaced Terry on his days off would take over his role until
his return. The Director knew that some people were going to complain for that
because many of them went there just to see Terry, but maybe it would also be
good for business because if they wanted Terry, they’ll get new tickets as soon
as they knew that the star was back. After arranging everything and not
forgetting the script with the address, he got on his car and drove as fast as
he could and went home. Susannah wasn’t there and he wasn’t interested in knowing
about her. In their room he picked up a small suitcase and threw some cloths
in, retrieved some money from the safety box, and left without telling that he
was planning to travel.
Once he arrived to the train station he had to bribe the guy at the ticket booth because all the tickets were sold, and at that moment he honestly didn’t care about the money, he just had to get there as soon as possible. He had to wait to crazy hours until the train left the station. After a trip that wasn’t as long as Terry was thinking it was, he arrived the next day to Ohio and ordered the chauffer of the carriage to go as fast as his horses could, and offered a generous tip if they made it as fast as a thunder. And who could refuse a good tip? The streets of the city were going by as a blurry picture in front of Terry’s eyes, and god the trip on the train had also being a tortured, especially because that night the same dream with Candy in pain visited and tormented his sleep.
Terry thought about it for a second… Was Candy sending him a message through his dreams for so long and he never noticed it? Those words ‘Terry please help me’ never left his head and repeated over and over again. Suddenly he noticed they were slowing down and when he got down the carriage he saw a woman sweeping the street, it was Miriam. She recognized him for the picture she had seen in Candy’s room and before saying hi, he asked for Candy. Miriam calmed him down saying that Candy was sleeping and took him to her room. Before opening the door, she warned him.
‘Please don’t make any comment regarding the way she looks, she doesn’t know it. I know it’s going to be shocking for you, but please try not to show it.’
Terry thought that the woman was exaggerating but who cares, she had been kind enough to call him. When she opened the door, Terry saw a young man sitting on a chair next to Candy’s bed, sleeping.
Miriam, as if she had guessed the question in Terry’s head, she whispered ‘it’s the doctor’, and opened the curtains.
Terry approached Candy and the impression was just too much for him, and he felt like crying… The hair that one day had been blonde and brilliant as the sunrays was now colorless and rough… and the skin that one day had been white and that blushed easily with some of his comments, or his kiss, was now so different….
The suitcase he was carrying fell heavily on the floor and Phil, who didn’t appreciate the noise or the visitor, woke up. ‘Who are you?’ he asked as he looked at Miriam.
‘He is a friend of Candy,’ she replied. ‘I called him.’
Terry was barely able to talk. ‘Doctor, what’s… wrong with … her?
Phil looked at Candy and replied with sadness. ‘I don’t know. One day she was fine and the next she was sick, all the test show good results but…’
Terry interrupted him at once. ‘And what kind of doctor are you that don’t know what’s wrong with a patience?’ He was terribly hurt and shocked with this and directed a stare full of anger and hate to the doctor…
Phil lowered his eyes. ‘I know how you’re feeling… I’ve felt the same way since she got sick.’
‘You know nothing,’ he said still very upset.
Miriam noticed the tension between both men and thought it was better to do something. ‘Come on Phil let’s leave them alone, come have breakfast with me.’
He didn’t like the idea but he was hungry and also didn’t like to be in the same room with Terry, he didn’t like his attitude at all. ‘Fine, but if something happens call me.’
The moment that Phil closed the door, Terry murmured. ‘Yeah sure, third class doctor.’
He kneeled on a side of the bed and held Candy’s hand. It was so cold that his heart missed a beat. Scared, he got his left hand close to her face and caressed it, noticing that it was as cold as her hand… suddenly a terrible thought crossed his mind and more scared than before, he placed his hand under her nose… he was relieved to see she was breathing.
‘What happened to you my beloved Candy?' He repeated over and over while he continued caressing her hair.
Out of the blue, he noticed that her lips were curling in a soft smile, and continued talking to her.
‘Candy do you remember those days at the school? When I used to make fun of you? Back then I never thought that one day you were going to become a part of me and now to see you like this…’ he said and tried to finished the sentence but the sadness and the tears on his eyes didn’t allow him, and he got her hand close to his crying eyes and he leaned his head on the cold hand.
A delicious warmth started to run through her body, and the anguish that had been living in her heart for weeks felt weakened. And little by little, she woke.
‘This warmth… I know it,’ she whispered as she opened her eyes.
‘Candy,’ Terry whispered back looking into her eyes in the sweetest way he could.
‘Terry,’ she said with a smile on her face ‘it’s been a long time.’
He caressed her cheeks. ‘How are you feeling?’
And seeing his state she joked. ‘As if I had fallen down from the grounding room of the school.’
This caused the effect she wanted because it made Terry felt better, and he dried his eyes.
‘You like to worry those that love you, don’t you?’ he joked back.
‘You know me, I like to be the attention spot,’ she replied and they both laughed.
They heard a knock on the door, it was Miriam who was carrying two breakfast trays and left them on the table with the help of Terry. When she left the room, he helped Candy to seat on the bed, putting a cushion on her back. Then he went for the tray with food and warned her ‘you gonna eat all this even if I have to feed you through your ears’ and Candy agreed, smiling. As she was too weak, he prepared a slice of toasted bread with butter and milk and got it close to her mouth, helping to feed her .
From outside the room Miriam and Phil looked at the scene. She was
so curious that had opened the door just a little which was enough for them to
see what was going on for a few seconds, as everything was fine, she closed
'And who's that? He looks familiar, like I've seen him somewhere,' Phil asked upset.
'I'm not sure, but he must be somebody important in New York, all I know is that he works in a theater.'
Phil made an expression of 'who cares' and then asked, 'For how long is he going to stay around?'
Miriam smiled noticing what was happening. 'It seems you are very attached to Candy, am I wrong? She looked at him but he didn't reply. 'Look, when I talked to him on the phone he said he didn't have a girlfriend but as soon as he knew that I was talking about Candy he changed and turned into somebody else. And did you see the change in her? The sparkle in her eyes is back and she's smiling in spite of her state.'
'You are right,' he admitted.
'I think you can go home and get some rest, I guess he's going to stay with her until she's feeling better,' Miriam said.
'But I don't want to go home,' he replied as a spoiled children.
'Go and if there's any problem I'll let you know,' she assured him.
'Come on Phil, she looks so happy… if she's going to leave us in any minute, let her go with that happiness in her heart,' the woman begged seeing that the young doctor really didn't want to leave, but finally after some convincing words and arguments, she won.
'Ok I'll leave. However all my medicines and things will stay here and I'll leave you written instructions and in case that you see any symptoms you'll know what medicine to give her, and please let me know constantly about her state,' he said while writing down in a paper the instructions.
She smiled. 'I will, and now go home.'
One last look inside the bedroom just to be sure and he saw that Candy had eaten all the contents of the tray and Terry was cleaning her lips with a napkin. Miriam also saw that scene and decided to leave the care of Candy in the stranger's hands.
'See? I ate everything,' Candy said making herself comfortable on the bed.
Terry removed the tray and sat again next to her, holding her hand. 'That's good, freckled Tarzan, you have to eat well.'
She yawned. 'Terry I want to sleep.'
He looked at her and smiled. 'Do it. I'll take care of you.'
As soon as she closed her eyes she fell sleep, and Terry tucked her up happy to be there for her.
Back in NY, nobody really wanted to stick out their head inside Susannah's room.
Ever since she found out that Terry had disappeared with no traces behind and
without telling the others where he was going, her mood wasn't the best. First
she had gotten very concerned when he wasn't returning, but then she remembered
the mess in her room and had a hunch. This hunch made her open one of the doors
of the closet and noticed that one of the suitcases was missing.
Claire had been trying to calm her down with no success at all… especially because the hours passed by, it was late at night and Terry wasn't returning. Honestly she was running out of excuses.
And now, while Candy was sleeping and Terry was holding her hand, Susannah felt a sudden dizziness but she thought it was product of all the worry and the hours she hasn't slept that night.
Outside, a heavy storm of rain and wind was lashing the city and Claire decided to spend the night at the Grandchester's and make company to her friend until she had fallen sleep… but Susannah was clearly not going to sleep, she was furious!
Terry turned one more page of the book that he was reading to Candy that night.
She had slept a few hours and then woke up and he decided to keep her
entertained telling her an interesting story full of fantasy. Suddenly he
stopped his reading, he had the sensation that somebody was looking at him.
'What's wrong?' he asked curiously.
Candy had her eyes on him. 'Nothing but… for how long you've been wearing glasses?'
'It's been a while, I have so much to read until late at night that the doctor recommended me to use them, nothing serious,' he replied.
'You look more intellectual, you look…' she said but stopped in the middle of the sentence, not sure if it was right to continue or not.
'I look what?' he asked curious. 'You had friends who wore glasses in the past; it shouldn't be something strange to you.'
'It's not that,' she said and blushed with her confession 'It's that you look… very handsome.'
'Candy,' Terry whispered pleased with her comment and they looked at each other's eyes.
Suddenly she asked. 'Terry, why?'
'Why what? I don't understand.'
'Why are you here? How did you know about me?' she asked.
'Miriam called and said that you were very sick and obviously I couldn't leave you alone in this difficult moment,' he confessed closing the book and putting it on the night table, together with his glasses. Then he kneeled down again by the bed looking at Candy in the eyes.
'I can't believe all the time that has passed, can you?' she said.
'Yeah but it seems that everything still remains the same,' he replied.
Terry held both of her hands and confessed her. 'Candy… I've been dreaming about you during the whole week.'
'Oh yes? I bet you dreamt that I had finally become your slave and polished your shoes, eh?' she joked with a soft voice.
And Terry laughed loud. 'I can't believe you still remember that!' but then his tone changed. 'No, it wasn't that… it was a very disturbing dream.'
'Then don't tell me about it,' she said.
He took one of her hands and laid a sweet kiss on it, feeling the contrast between her cold skin and his warmth one. Candy couldn't help it and her lips released a whisper.
'You had a dream with me, and I've been worried about you since I got sick… something in here,' she said pointing out at her heart, 'told me you were in troubles.'
'I'm fine, we have to worry about you,' he replied.
And suddenly she asked the question she feared the most to ask. 'Do you think I'm going to die?'
'How can you say such silly thing?' he said. 'You'll see that in a couple of days you'll be climbing trees again, you Freckled Tarzan.'
She smiled. 'Two choices, you're either a bad liar or I know how to read you and find the answers inside of you.'
He shook his head and tried to hide a mischievous smile but Candy saw it
anyway. 'It's always been the same; you've always been able to see through me
In spite of his words, she had assumed the reality and that she may leave this world in any minute and she knew she couldn't go without telling him that phrase she had kept locked in her heart for so long… tomorrow could be too late.
She inhaled and tried to find the courage. 'Terry I have something to tell you.'
'Later, you have to rest now,' he said.
'No, later can be too late,' she replied.
'Well then, Im listening.'
'I love you Terry,' she said placing a kiss on her fingertips, which she placed on Terry's lips.
He kissed those fingers one by one and then kept her hand between his and looked sweetly into her eyes.
Terry was speechless, hearing a love confession is something that
always gets you deep inside, even if you already know the feelings of the other
person. The looks and gestures would always give you away, but this time was
different. Terry noticed that Candy knew how deteriorated her health was,
otherwise she would’ve never confessed it. And she continued:
‘I know I did the right thing in the right moment, but it hurts to think of all the wasted time between us just for that. Your absence was killing me slowly and maybe this is the end of that process… I never really thought I’d say this but… I regret it. Would you forgive me for ruining your life?’ she said as one tear started to run down her cheek.
Terry held her hand tighter and supported his forehead in it. ‘Please Candy; don’t punish yourself in this way, please!’
‘Will you forgive me for hitting you in that occasion?’ she said with a smile.
Terry remained in silence for a few minutes; it was so hard to digest each word she was saying. She was talking about love, regret, forgiveness… so heavy was the weight that Candy’s heart had been carrying for so long? So similar to his? He tried to talk but no words came out of his mouth… he perfectly knew what to say, but he was still too affected with her confession.
And Candy? She continued looking at him waiting for an answer, but also understood what he was going through. For this reason she raised herself a bit from the bed and comforted him with her right hand, which caressed and moved his long and brown hair to a side to be able to see his face, because his hair was totally covering it as he was still leaning on her other hand.
Finally he found the little courage he still had on his body and decided to talk. Surprisingly his tone was firm. ‘I see we’ve gone through similar things but I assure you… no I promise you, no matter what I thought of you everyday of my life my beautiful Candy. I’ he said taking a deep breath ‘I also love you, in spite of the distance, the time and the circumstances, I love you more than ever’
His deep blue eyes were letting her see that those words came right from his heart. And he just like her had to tell her how he felt. He had to.
Candy laid her back on the bed again, closing her eyes while that phrase, so used and wasted by so many people sounded in her ears, cherishing her… ‘I love you’ he said and she was feeling like the happiest woman in the world. In that moment she tried to be a bit selfish and not to think in anything else but in Terry and her together in a small and cheap room in Ohio. And why not? She had always thought first of the others, and also helped others to achieve the happiness, most of the times forgetting herself.
‘I love you,’ this time the phrase sounded louder than before, but it wasn’t the echo of the words said previously by Terry, it was him who was repeating them again in her ear. Candy’s earlobe was tickled with Terry’s lips and she laughed like a little girl… maybe not just for the feeling of his lips, but also for happiness and knowing that he also loved her.
By hearing that laughter Terry’s heart felt more relieved… if she was smiling and laughing was because she was feeling better. Slowly he left her earlobe and looked inside her eyes. Her pretty laugh was still coming out of her lips and her eyes were still closed… as if she wanted to keep that moment inside of her and never let it go.
‘Candy open your eyes,’ Terry asked. ‘Don’t be selfish.’
She obeyed and surprised herself with his nearness. Those old sensations came back to her body… how nervous she used to felt at the school when she saw him, the butterflies inside her stomach every time he was close to her… so many things and feelings that she decided not think and analyze them… what for if they were done just to enjoy them.
In that moment of truth and unity they felt surrender to one another, those had been only words but their feelings were the ones doing the talking, the same feelings that had kept this love alive and strong through all this time.
Terry’s face was right in front of hers… her green eyes were sparkling more than ever and he just knew he could spend all his life lost into its depth, but he also wanted to show Candy how much he loved her. Suddenly his eyes went from her eyes to her lips… but there was something that stopped him, that wouldn’t allow him to get closer to her in spite of his protests. Candy noticed and understood the situation. Closing her eyes, her lips and Terry’s met half way through. That invisible barrier disappeared in front of Terry and his lips began to caress the ones of his beloved girl, slowly, enjoying each centimeter of her mouth. She leaned her head over the pillow again without loosing the contact with Terry’s mouth, that mouth that tasted like glory.
‘AAAHHHH,’ Susannah cried out squeezing her chest because of the sudden pain she felt.
Claire was sitting on a chair near the window. ‘What’s wrong?’
‘I feel something here inside, like a stabbing pain,’ Susannah said from her bed.
‘You must be nervous with all this situation, I’ll get you some tea.’ Claire offered.
Little by little, their kiss was getting more and more intense, at first it had
only been the contact between their lips, but the passion between them was
growing without them noticing it. Candy accepted Terry’s offer and opened her
mouth, only thinking about him and the things he was making her feel.
Out of a sudden, a wave of heat, a delicious warmness ran through her body, returning it’s natural warmness while a different kind of heat was growing between them.
‘STOP IT!!’ Susannah said sweating and not being able to stop the pain, her
fingers were bruising the skin of her chest.
Claire was getting nervous. ‘Calm down, you’ll see that Terry will be back in any minute.’
That kiss finished softly. Terry put his mouth on Candy’s right ear repeating
‘I love you, I love you more than ever.’ This time his voice and breathing was
agitated, but that made it sound even more intense in Candy’s ear.
She put her arms around him, getting him close to her body. He had tried to stay separated from her because he didn’t want to make her feel bad or uncomfortable, but she wanted to feel more of him.
‘God I’m so lucky,’ she whispered in his ear.
‘Why you say that?’ he asked looking into her eyes.
‘Because the most important thing to a girl is to know that boy she loves also loves her back. Not many people can thank god for that as I do,’ she said as she continued holding him with one hand and with the other made him rest his head on her shoulder. Once it was there, she caressed his long hair.
‘Can I kiss you again?’
Candy laughed. ‘What? I can’t believe what I’m listening… I honestly don’t recognize you Terry Grandchester… you who used to steal teenager kisses now ask permission to get one?’
He smiled mischievously. ‘It’s all your fault.'
‘Yes, all my senses are mixed up at the moment and for each word you say the less I think I deserve you, as I didn’t do anything in the right moment. Besides I think that if I do something wrong this moment will go away,’ he confessed
‘Don’t be silly, I think we should forget about the shadows of the past and just remember the good moments,’ she whispered in his ear.
‘You still haven’t replied my question,’ he said.
Candy smiled. ‘Do I really have to?’
Terry raised his head to look deep into her eyes again, but something called his attention. Her skin seemed to have recovered its color, as a fact some nice blushing marks were adorning her cheeks.
‘What, did you see a ghost?’ she asked.
‘No, your face… it’s the one of before,’ he said surprised. ‘You’re not pale anymore.’
‘Must be your imagination,’ she said.
The color on her skin didn’t matter anymore, what did matter were her lips that were welcoming him again. After that kiss many other followed and this time he didn’t ask for permission, he just claimed them as his.
‘Claire, open the window!’ Susannah said pointing at the large window of her room.
‘But it’s raining.’
Susannah was desperate. ‘Please Claire I can’t breathe! Open the damn window!’
‘Now put me in my chair,’ the former actress ordered.
‘Please Claire you can’t understand the pain I’m going through, please put me in the chair,’ Susannah begged and she helped her.
‘I kept our Scotland kiss as a big treasure,’ Terry said mixing words and kisses
on the soft neck of the delicate blonde, ‘but I’m sure nothing could ever top
Candy was feeling like she was alive again. Why they had wasted all that time apart? To be honest she didn’t know other lips that weren’t Terry’s and she didn’t need to know others… she just wanted his.
‘Terry,’ she whispered as she leaned her head back in order to grant him a better access so he could continue that trail of kisses.
‘Mmh?' He said without interrupting his labor
And with the sweetest voice he ever heard from her, she said, ‘Love me.’
‘Eh?’ said again not sure if he had heard her right.
She smiled and repeated. ‘Love me.’
He stopped, surprised. Was the girl that once hit him for stealing a kiss now asking for this? He raised his face and looked into her eyes.
‘But Candy you’re sick,’ he said.
‘I promise you won’t get my disease,’ she said with another smile.
He made a face. ‘Don’t be silly, that’s not what I meant and honestly I wouldn’t care if I do.’
She just stayed in silence.
‘But you’re too weak, don’t you think it could be dangerous for your health?’ he said concerned.
‘And since when love can be bad for the health?’ she replied.
Terry knew she was right and even he didn’t want to harm her, he felt the same way. Right now kisses were not enough, they both wanted more, wanted to taste the full flavor of love, not just a part of it.
‘You don’t need to ask me that twice but you have to promise me, if you feel bad you have to tell me and I’ll stop. I don’t want you to get worst,’ he said.
Candy’s eyes were reflecting the happiness of the moment they were sharing… if his kisses felt that good, how could she feel with Terry making love to her? She saw Terry standing up and removing his jacket, his shirt, his shoes, his pants and stayed there with his underwear. He had the body of a grown man, too attractive to be truth.
He sat next to Candy and helped her to seat on the bed. As she was too weak and didn’t want to fall back she put her arms around him, and he started to unbutton her night gown and then slid it up, out of her body.
Candy hugged Terry again while he caressed her. That first contact skin on skin was like the sparkle that set the line of gunpowder on fire. Then he removed the pillows and laid Candy on the bed again. He got under the covers and the sheets and got on top of that delicate body, that at each passing minute asked… no, begged, for more attentions, more love.
He made himself comfortable on top her, trying to avoid her from doing any extra effort or movement that could make her feel bad. Terry took her hands and made her put her arms above her head, and while they kissed, his hands were touching and caressing the inner skin, and his dark hair was also doing the same on her face.
Oh how good it felt, it felt so good! Better than ever.
Susannah was running out of breath. Claire had warned the help and maids to stay
away from the room and if somebody dared to do the contrary would be
immediately fired… she told them that no matter what they heard, they had to
stay in their rooms.
The storm was getting stronger but in spite of that, Susannah guided her chair to the large window which was opened. The wind was messing with her hair and caressing her face too hard.
‘Susannah you gonna get a cold,’ Claire said noticing how cold the room had turned.
‘Leave me alone!!! You have no idea how I feel,’ she complained ‘I need air… damn it my chest!!’
‘I’ll go and get the doctor,’ Claire said standing up but Susannah asked her not to leave her alone and she decided to stay. Damn it, where the hell was Terry?'
As a hungry baby Terry searched for her breasts, savoring them. Little by
little Candy was recovering her energies and answered to Terry’s attention
running her hands around his back, whispering his name.
Terry focused on her mouth again, while with his hands he removed the underwear that separated them.
In the meantime, Miriam had finished the task of putting lots of buckets around
the old house to stop the leaking water. She was tired and before going to her
room she thought it would be good to see how Candy was doing, she took a little
box with medicines and headed to the second floor.
She was only a few steps away from the room when she heard Candy making a sound, like a moan? Miriam hurried up because probably the pains had returned and Candy needed her medicine.
But when she opened the door a strong white light shinning from Candy’s bed blinded her for a moment. Scared she closed the door and heard Terry calling Candy’s name and saying other things in a special way. A way that she as a married woman in love of her husband knew well. She decided to stay away from the room smiling and thinking ‘I knew there was more than friendship between them, but what was that light? Anyway.’
Terry and Candy had started their union and both of them felt in heaven. It was so beautiful, sexy and passionate. She had never imagined that being loved in that way would be so magical and intense, and she made sure to let Terry know her feelings.
Susannah couldn’t handle that pain anymore. She turned the chair giving the back
to the storm that was wetting her clothes and the chair. Suddenly, Claire
‘Susannah, the pendant.’
‘Don’t talk to me about that now,’ she complained.
‘Look at it, it’s shinning.’
Sussie did so and noticed that the pendant had changed its original dark red color to a lighter one, it was clearly shinning as Claire had said. Susannah took it but let it go immediately, it was boiling.
Claire was desperate. ‘Take it off Susannah!!!’
But Susannah was so scared and didn’t know what to do. ‘I can’t! I can’t even touch it!!’
‘Let me help you, Claire said but the second she touched it she had to release it. She felt a sharp pain on the palm of her hand where the pendant had been, she looked at the spot and saw her skin burned.
‘I have to take this out,’ Susannah kept on saying
‘Susannah your hair is looking straight like before!’
‘Damn it what’s happening????’
‘I don’t know, but I’m too scared’ Claire said walking to the drawer to get some cream for her burned hand.
Susannah ripped off a part of her dress and with that she helped herself to remove the pendant, throwing it against the wall. As soon as the pendant was broken a big and dark flame appeared in the middle of Susannah’s bed, the same with the splattered content of the pendant.
Suddenly they heard the voice of the witch around the room while the flames surrounded them. ‘I told you to take care of that pendant as if your life depended on it my child, He doesn’t like to be taken lightly!’
And as soon as the witch finished talking, a big thunder crossed the dark sky and fell on Susannah.
Claire didn’t know what to do, she was crying and screaming, calling out the name of her friend while all the room was on fire. The help heard the thunder and the screams and walked into the room without thinking of the consequences. Horrified by the scene they were watching they took Claire out of the room by force because she didn’t want to leave, and unfortunately they couldn’t do anything for Susannah because the whole room was on fire. Claire and all the people there heard a sad and agonic cry ‘Terryyyy!!!’ before the sound of the rain and the storm filled their ears. Claire tried to release herself to go and help but she couldn’t, and all she could do was cry for her friend.
Terry and Candy reached the highest level of pleasure and union at the same
time and in the middle of a passionate kiss, they also felt that something new
was running through their bodies.
Terry hugged Candy and they turned, changing places so his weight wouldn’t make her feel uncomfortable. They both remained in silence, still surrounded by that sensation, that love and passion they had showed to each other.
Candy was lying on Terry, and in few minutes she fell sleep. He looked down at the bed and saw the covers totally dismissed on the floor. He smiled thinking that the last thing they would’ve thought in the middle of their love making would be the covers. Carefully he put Candy on the bed, took the covers and laying again next to her, he tucked both. He put his arms around her again and in her sleep she made herself comfortable on his body, her face was healthy and she was smiling. He kissed her forehead and also fell sleep.
The next morning Phil arrived earlier than usual to find out about
Candy’s state. Miriam was talking with one of her neighbors right across the
street when she saw him entering the house. She tried to catch him and tell him
that everything was fine, but she wasn’t fast enough.
Phil opened the door of Candy’s room and was speechless to see that scene in front of him. Miriam approached him and tried to close the door but he didn’t allow her to do so, as a matter of fact he pointed inside the room as if he wanted her to look at something.
‘I don’t need to look, I know what’s inside,’ she said in a low voice.
‘It’s not only that but please take a look and tell me I’m not dreaming,’ he said still perplexed.
Curiously she took a look inside, Candy and Terry were sleeping together not caring for what was happening outside the room, but what called Miriam’s attention – as Phil’s – was a very important detail. She nodded, closed the door and then they went downstairs.
Few hours later the couple woke up. Terry opened his eyes and looked at his
beloved Candy, and was as surprised as Miriam and Phil.
‘Candy?’ he whispered caressing her hair.
She didn’t reply, she just ‘mmh?’
‘Your hair… is.. blonde!’ he sounded amazed.
This made Candy wake up immediately and think that maybe during the night he had hit the head with the bed or that he had gotten her disease and he wasn’t thinking straight. ‘You just discovered America.’
He ignored the joke. ‘You don’t understand, it returned to its original color.’
Candy raised her head and looked at him. ‘I don’t understand what you’re saying.’
‘Until yesterday your hair was white and your skin pale and cold, and now…’ he explained.
Candy smiled. ‘I have a vague idea of who cured the temperature of my skin.’
‘Oh yes?’ he said kissing her ‘how are you feeling this morning?’
‘What do you think? After what we lived together during the last hours I feel better than ever, I feel great,’ she said.
Terry hugged closer. ‘It feels so good to wake up with you next to me… I’ve never felt like this before.’
Candy enjoyed the flavor of his arms around her for some time, until she noticed it was morning already. She took a look at her watch ‘I think it’s better if you get up. Phil visits every morning to check me.’
Terry’s face changed the minute the name of the young doctor was mentioned. ‘Mh Phil… I don’t like to see him around you or to perform those physical exams on you.’
‘He’s been taking care of me, he’s my doctor’ she said ‘don’t think bad of him.’
‘Are you sure?’ His tone was still serious.
Candy laughed. ‘Terrence Grandchester Baker, are you telling me you’re jealous?'
He looked a bit uncomfortable with the question and looked to the other side. ‘Me jealous? Of course not… well maybe a little.’
She got close to him and kissed his cheek. ‘Come on silly, get up and take a shower.’
‘Ok Im going.’
He got up and went to the bathroom as Candy’s eyes followed him around the small bedroom, and blushed remembering what they had done the night before and sighed. She really felt good, better than in weeks. She got up and covered herself with a sheet and tried to find a mirror to see if Terry was right or not about her hair but couldn’t find any. ‘How weird, I’m sure I had a couple.’
When he got out of the bathroom he was already dressed and saw her searching for something, slowly and silently he got close and put his arms around her, moving her hair to a side and kissing her left shoulder in a seductive way. ‘You could’ve join me in that shower.’
Candy blushed more than before, enjoying Terry’s lips on her skin and just laughed.
He didn’t stop his attentions as he talked. ‘I have to call to the theater to see how things are because I’m afraid I’m gonna have to return soon… but if it was for me I’ll stay here with you forever.’
‘I understand, in the meantime I’ll go and take a shower, let’s meet downstairs for breakfast?’ she said.
‘And what do you say’ he whispered in her ear as he bit her earlobe ‘if I help you to soap your back?’
‘Terry!’ she said all blushed.
‘Ok ok I understand. See you downstairs then baby,’ he said kissing her neck and then leaving the room.
As soon as he closed the door she smiled… Terry and his suggestions… back in school he knew the places where to declare your love and now he was suggesting soaping your back… Candy would’ve loved to say yes but there were so many emotions inside of her at the moment that she needed a minute alone so she could take a deep breath and get used to that feeling of happiness. Once she was under the shower, she let the water fall softly on her face and thought of Terry… and how everything had improved since his arrival… that anguish, the dizziness, that constant feeling of being extremely cold, everything had suddenly gone. And gone for good.
But suddenly another sad thought filled her mind: Terry would have
to go back to New York soon, to the arms where he belonged… somebody who was
less fortunate than her.
Last night Candy she was about to die and that’s why she said what she said and did what she did but now.. what if she didn’t die? Could she live with that remorse? It surely happened for love but… damn it why there always had to be a but? She decided it was better to finish the shower and face the new day. She searched between her things and couldn’t find her perfume, all she saw in the place where she usually kept it was a black stain and shattered crystals. Not understanding what had happened, she did her hair and went to the dinning room.
In the meantime, Terry was calling to the theater and see if he could stay one or two more days with Candy. When the assistant that took the call asked who was asking for Richard - the Director of the play - and said Terry the person replied ‘oh my god’. And while Terry waited for Richard laughed, ‘my god?’ was I promoted?’, he was in good spirits.
‘Hello Terry?’ a familiar voice talked to him on the other side of the phone, but something sounded wrong in the tone of that voice.
‘Hey Rick, is everything ok?’ he asked ‘I was wondering if I could stay one or two more days away.’
‘You have to come back immediately, something happened,’ the man said.
Now Terry was curious. ‘What happened?’
‘I don’t know how to tell you this, the old man started saying trying to find the better words to give the news. ‘But last night there was a fire at your house and Susannah couldn’t make it.’
Terry just couldn’t believe it. ‘You have to be kidding me.’
‘Would I joke with something like that?’ Richard said.
‘When did it happen?’
‘Last night, for what I’ve heard a thunder fell on the house and well, you can imagine the rest. I’m really sorry for this loss Terry,’ the old man said honestly.
Terry wasn’t in good spirits anymore. ‘Then I guess I do have to go back.’
‘Im sorry for giving you such tragic news in that way.’
‘Don’t worry, it’s fine,’ he said before hanging up.
‘Good morning everybody.’ A radiant and extremely happy Candy walked into the
‘Candy I told you to stay in bed and not to get up,’ Phil left aside the newspaper he was reading – a bit upset to see the girl there – but stood up and walked to her anyway.
She just smiled as if she had just done something bad. ‘I’m sorry but I feel wonderful. Good morning Miriam.’
‘Good morning… god you look incredible,’ the woman replied.
They both looked at Candy up and down paying special attention on the hair, and they confirmed what Terry had told her earlier about the change of color.
‘Right after you finish your breakfast I’ll make a new physical examination to you, ok? I want to make sure that everything is fine,’ Phil said.
‘Sure no problem, can I have some milk please?’ She sat down and her attention was directed to the newspaper next to her. ‘Oh the newspaper, I’ve been away for so long that I have no idea what’s been happening in the world… let’s see,’ she said taking it and starting to read it.
Something ruined her good mood. The headline read ‘New tragedy hits the Grandchester’s in New York: Susannah Marlow dies in tragic fire’. As Candy continued reading the news, bitter teardrops fell from her eyes wetting the newspaper. As she didn’t want the others to be worried for her, she cleaned her eyes and said she was going to her room to get something she had forgotten. Phil sat on the chair previously used by her and noticed the wet paper, especially over a picture of Terry and Susannah. The doctor recognized him immediately and understood why things were not fine.
Candy closed the door of her room and started crying, feeling guilty for what had happened… while she was there with Terry, stealing the love that belonged to somebody else, Susannah was dying a tragic death.
Out of a sudden Terry entered the room. ‘I was told you were here,’ he said from the door.
Candy was giving him her back. ‘Did you call to the theater?’
‘Yes and there’s a problem and have to go back immediately,’ he said trying to make up something.
‘A problem,’ she said trying to make her voice sound as normal as possible.
‘Yes, you know I can’t stay away from the theater for too long and have to leave immediately,’ he said and thought to himself “damn it why can’t I tell her what really happened, just like the first time with Susannah?”
She swallowed hard. ‘Well then go.’
Terry approached her and saw she was crying, and he thought it was for the separation. ‘I don’t want to leave you here.’
She dried her tears. ‘You have to, it’s your obligation,’
‘Please Candy don’t cry, I’ll come back for you,’ he said passing his arms around her waist and she didn’t refused them, she just turned to him and cried on his chest. She knew the truth.
After a while, she let herself go. ‘Terry you have to go.’
‘I’ll come back for you… God it’s so difficult to leave you here and be away from you,’ he said holding her tighter.
This seemed to repeat that painful scene of their breakup, suddenly remembering the reason was the same: Susannah. Slowly she let herself go again and took Terry’s suitcase, putting in it all his belongings. Then she closed it and handed it to him. Before leaving he tried to kiss her but she moved her face avoiding the kiss. Terry gave her a sad look before leaving and not being able to face the truth, he left.
20 minutes later, Phil knocked. ‘I come for your examination.’
He opened the door noticing the change of her mood, and she replied, ‘Can we do it later?’
‘Oh come on Candy, what happened with that shinny smile of this morning? You know it’s important to see how’s your health as all this sudden changes can be dangerous.’
‘Ok,’ she said just looking down at the floor.
Everything in her was full of sadness, and Phil decided just to check her temperature and blood pressure and to leave her alone because he knew she needed her private space at this difficult moment. And she stayed there all alone with her thoughts and that huge weight on her shoulders and conscious.
When Terry returned to New York and arrived to the place where his
house was supposed to be, he saw the big mess the fire had produced. Now there
was nothing left but ashes, burned wood and trash. Now was starting to snow and
little by little the place was covered with a white mantle. He walked around
and found one the gardener who lived in a small room in the back of the garden,
he was the one taking care of the now non existent house. He talked to Terry
and showed him a few things that managed to survive the fire, including his
security box. Also the gardener showed him a few burned things that according
to him had been part of Susannah’s wheelchair, and said that it seems that the
metal of this chair had attracted the thunder that night. He also mentioned
that everybody in the house had heard the screams of pain of Susannah.
Terry got curious. ‘Screams? What was wrong with her?’
The old man dried a tear from his eyes. ‘I don’t know sir, we were not allowed in the room but I know who can tell you more as she wasn’t alone that night.’
‘Who was with her?’
‘Miss Claire. When we saw the fire we entered the master room and had to take her out with the help of two men because she wanted to go and help Mrs. Grandchester. I’m sure she knows what happened before that tragic accident’ the man said.
‘Thank you Gregory, I will talk to her.’
Candy entered the kitchen to talk to Miriam. ‘Ehm, I want to ask you for a
The woman was cooking but stopped when she saw the sad look on Candy’s face. ‘What can I do for you?’
‘Well from now I want to… use a different room of the house.’
‘What’s wrong with yours?’ the woman asked curiously.
‘Nothing, but I don’t want to be in the one I’m using now when he returns,’ Candy said.
‘You mean the long haired young man that visited you?’
Candy just nodded.
‘You don’t want him to find you?’ she asked.
‘No’ she replied looking down at the floor.
Miriam cleaned her hands as she talked. ‘I saw the newspapers and I can imagine what you’re going through. Don’t think I will judge you because I have nothing to do with that and besides I’m thankful to him because I don’t know how but he made the miracle of your recovery. Candy I will help you in whatever you need.’
Candy smiled and hugged the woman, happy to have somebody that supported her.
Terry shook the snow from his clothes and hair before knocking on the door of
Claire’s house, the Collins. The maid opened and announced the visit to
Claire’s mother who hurried to see his visitor and held him tight with tears in
‘Oh my dear Terry, my deepest sympathies… what a horrible thing.’
Surprisingly this woman looked more sad and affected than Terry, but he had to pretend, and he had practice on the field, being married to Susannah had made him a better actor. ‘Thank you… I was told that Claire was with her in those moments and I would like to talk to her, is it possible?’
‘I’m afraid it won’t be,’ the woman said inviting him to sit down.
‘Is she out?’
‘No, when all this happened a few days ago she was acting too strange, and she repeated over and over that she wanted to be taken to the Convent.’
‘To the convent?’ As far as I remember she wasn’t the religious type, she was more of a party girl,’ he said estranged.
‘Believe me, we were as surprised as you are now but she begged us so much that we finally accepted… maybe this whole experience was too much and she needed some inner peace,’ the woman said.
‘That must be’ he agreed ‘can you please give tell me where can I find her?’
‘Yes, she is at Saint Patrick’s, ask for Sister Marianne because she is taking care of my daughter.’
‘I hope you can get over this tragedy soon,’ she wished him before leaving.
Terry looked up at the big and old construction in front of his eyes; the
Convent of Saint Patrick’s had a long history and was very respected among the
community. He asked for Sister Marianne and explained her who he was and the
reason of his visit. The Sister also offered her sympathies and then guided him
through the long and dark halls of the old convent, the echo of their steps
sounded louder than ever. Finally they arrived to the small room where Claire,
who was wearing a black dress, was reading the bible. She looked up and stared
at the Sister, but her eyes were absent. ‘Claire you have a visitor’
Terry entered the room and Claire saw him. The sister had mentioned in advanced that the girl was still too shocked for what she witnessed that day and probably wouldn’t say anything. He noticed that one of her hands was covered with a bandage and thought that she probably got burned with the fire. He sat next to her and took his time before talking.
‘Claire, I know this is going to be hard for you but I have to know what happened,’ he said with a soft voice.
But she remained in silence.
‘Is it true that she was screaming in pain before the fire started?’ he asked again.
Terry noticed that the Sister was right and that she was not going to say a word. He stood up and walked to the door. Before leaving he turned his face to see the girl but found one of the cruelest stares that he had ever received in his life. And he thought his stepmother had been the worst, but right now Claire’s eyes were full of hate and despise and she was letting him. She was blaming him for what happened with Susannah… nothing of this would’ve ever happened if he had tried to understand her feelings at least once.
A cold shiver ran through Terry’s spine and was only able to say ‘bye’ before leaving.
Right in that moment, an old woman wearing dirty rags was passing in front of Terry’s house, stopped for a moment to look at the mess and then continued her way saying ‘it doesn’t matter, it’s just a matter of time before I find another stupid in love willing to do anything, after all those idiots can be found everywhere’.
Candy was now packing her things, Miriam gave her a room that had
been vacant for a while and she wanted to change rooms as soon as possible. She
opened the drawer of the night table to remove the last items when she saw
Terry’s glasses; she had forgotten to put them in his suitcase. Only one look
at them made her remember the sad day and melancholy filled her heart, and
carefully put them with the rest of her things. As soon as everything was
stored in the new room, Phil invited her out to take some fresh air, he said it
would be good for her health after all the time she had spent sick in bed. She
One week after Terry’s return in New York he had done a lot of things. He was selling the land where his house had been built, he knew that Candy would be very sad when she heard the truth and find out that had been the place Susannah had called home. He also prepared Susannah’s funeral and a lot of people attended, except for Claire who continued at the convent. When everybody left, Terry approached the grave and laid a yellow rose on it. ‘Thank you for saving my life, and I’m sorry you never really understood that I only considered you a friend’.
And after saying that, he felt the thin drops of water falling softly on his face, it has started to rain. He closed the front of his coat tighter and walked to his car.
That night at the theater he was trying to concentrate on his tasks before going onstage, but the burden of Susannah, the accident and not being completely honest with Candy didn’t allow him to do so. Also the fact that he had called her often each time she wasn’t available was driving him crazy, and tried to calm down remembering that there wasn’t a phone available in Miriam’s house and maybe that was the reason. That’s why tonight when he called again he asked for Miriam.
‘Miriam? Good night, it’s Terry Grandchester, do you remember me?’
This meant troubles. ‘The young man with long hair, right? Of course I remember you.’
‘I’ve been trying to contact Candy during the whole week but it’s been impossible. Can you please tell me how her health is? What time would be the best to call if I want to talk to her?’ he asked nicely
‘Unfortunately I won’t be able to answer those questions,’ she said.
Terry worried immediately. ‘Why? Is she sick again?’
‘No it’s not that but… the same day you left for New York, she left the house and didn’t say where she was going.’
Terry was surprised, why would she do that? ‘Please tell me what you know; this is very important to me.’
Miriam had seen them together and was totally sure that Terry had done a lot for Candy’s recovery and it wouldn’t be fair on him not to know what was happening, even if this wasn’t her problem. ‘I’m not sure if I should be telling you this, but the last day you were here she read the newspaper.’
Terry was in silence and his mind took him back to that day, and understood that Candy’s tears had been for the news and not for the separation.
‘And now… where is she?’ he asked when he found his tongue.
‘I don’t know, all I can say is that she paid all her expenses and left not telling me anything,’ she lied.
‘I’m taking the next train to Ohio,’ he said.
‘Please Terry don’t do it, it’s going to be a waste of time and money… I’ve been trying to find her with no luck’ she lied again ‘besides if she wanted to disappear in this way must be because she doesn’t want to be found.’
Terry said nothing and remained in silence, and then hung up. He was loosing her; his lack of honesty was once again the reason. Suddenly a knock on the door distracted his thoughts, and Richard’s voice was telling him it was only 10 minutes before going onstage.
Miriam felt very sad for Terry and even she didn’t know the whole story between him and Candy, she noticed in his voice the suffering. For this reason she went back home and went upstairs to talk to Candy; there she told her about the phone conversation word by word but Candy remained in silence, while a couple of tears appeared on her eyes.
At the St. Patrick’s convent, Claire had found a lot of relief, especially from
Sister Marianne. At first she was blaming Terry constantly for what had
happened to the person that had been like a sister to her, and no matter how
much Sister Marianne tried to get the truth out of her mouth, she wouldn’t
succeed. Until one day Claire opened her heart and told her how things had happened,
the things that Susannah and she had done with the witch and to Candy and how it
ended. The Sister looked at her with mercy in her eyes and hugged her, she was
an understanding person who didn’t condemn her for the big mistake because she
knew that the death of Susannah was enough punishment for her conscious and her
soul. She was a good listener, supporting her and helped her to come out of
that self-destructive phase that Claire was going through, but there was one
thing that the Sister had mentioned in a few occasions and Claire kept saying
As the days went by the Sister pushed the subject again, and told to Claire that there was one thing she needed to do to amend her mistake and feel at ease with herself again, and that was to tell the truth to Terry and Candy.
No no no, that’s all that the Sister got… but one month after the fire the Sister succeeded and Claire accepted to talk to Terry.
‘Please don’t be too hard with her, you have to understand that it takes a lot of courage to do what she is about to do,’ the Sister said to Terry, who still couldn’t understand why the nun was telling him that.
He was taken to the same room than one month ago, this time there were two chairs and Claire was sitting on one of them.
‘Don’t forget what I told you’ the sister whispered to Terry’s ear before closing the door.
Claire raised her eyes and in this occasion her stare was different to the one she gave him the last time they saw each other, this one showed remorse and regret. ‘Thank you for coming,’ she said with a very soft voice.
Terry removed his coat and sat on the other chair next to her. ‘I’m very intrigued Claire, can you please tell me what happened that night?’
‘I’m going to tell you more than that.’
‘More?’ he said opening his eyes and looking at her.
Suddenly Claire started crying and covered her face. ‘Please Terry forgive me!!’
This took Terry by surprise. ‘Forgive you? For what?’ he said caressing her head trying to calm her down.
And sobbing, Claire said, ‘For what we did to you and Candy.’
Terry got serious at the mere mention of Candy’s name, now he really wanted to hear the full story. ‘What are you trying to tell me?’
Claire remembered the words of the sister and tried to calm down. She dried her tears but they kept coming and coming… suddenly in the silence of that cold room she began telling the story.
‘If I’m not wrong something bad was happening to Candy lately, right? Maybe she was sick or something like that, right?’
Terry went pale. ‘How do you know that?’
‘Susannah…’ she started talking slowly, ‘had found a different and dangerous way to get your love.’
‘Can you be more specific?’
‘Some lady offered her help and they did a kind of work with the three of you.’
‘That woman was a witch, or at least I think she was, especially after seeing how things happened.’
Terry stood up violently and began shaking Claire by the shoulders while she cried more desperate than before.
‘What did she do?’
‘Please Terry, I didn’t want her to do it… I told her not to, but she insisted,’ she said crying.
He tried to get his composure back and released Claire and looked down at the floor trying to calm himself. He walked to the other side of the room and looked out the window, this time his tone of voice was too serious, almost scary. ‘What did the two of you do?’
‘I don’t know… Susannah went to see the woman by herself while I was away in Ohio running a special errand.’
Terry turned to look at the girl. ‘What were you doing in Ohio??’
‘They needed a few things and I had to go and get them.’
‘That means that you… saw Candy?’ he asked.
‘Yes, I met her.’
Terry shook his head in disbelief thinking that the whole fire experience had turned Claire insane, who could blame her anyway? ‘And you want me to believe that? I think you’re crazy.’
‘Is that what you think? Well then go and ask to any of the persons that worked at your house about the sudden change of appearance of Susannah… you never noticed it, but during the last weeks she was the vivid image of Candy, she was only missing the freckles.'
‘I insist, you’re crazy.’
‘Oh yes? And why do you think you were getting closer to her? Or you don’t remember that you almost had sex with her?’ she said with a daring tone very upset because it was a very difficult confession and he wasn’t taking it seriously.
Terry was embarrassed. ‘How do you know that?’
‘Sussie always told me everything. Now tell me, would you have even tried to kiss her if you were totally conscious of what you were going to do?’
Terry thought about that, she was right. Suddenly he remembered what made him realized of the mistake he was about to make, if it hadn’t been for Candy’s voice he and Susannah… no, he didn’t want to think of that.
‘Now the last proof, do you remember that Sussie was constantly wearing a red pendant?’
‘Yes I never liked it, it was cheap and ugly but never said anything,’ he replied.
‘Well that night,’ she said removing the bandage from her hand ‘Sussie started to feel bad and we noticed that the pendant was shinning red, I tried to help her to remove it but it was boiling hot and I got burned,’ she said showing the palm of her hand. ‘Do you recognize the shape of the burn?’
Terry got close to her, held the hand and examined it carefully… she was right, the burn had the same shape of the pendant, he could even see the silver chain it was attached to on the skin of the young woman. He looked at her and she nodded, indicating that she was telling the truth.
‘Do you believe me now?’ she said noticing the change of attitude in him.
‘I guess so,’ he said releasing her hand.
‘Susannah managed to remove it from her neck and threw it to the wall, but right in that moment the bed started burning and the thunder fell on her… that’s how the fire started.’
‘The bed?’ he asked.
‘Yes inside the mattress I put something that the witch had prepared,’ – she said ‘and I’m sure that’s what got burned. That’s the truth Terry… losing my best friend was the worst thing that could ever happen to me, she was like the sister I never had. Please forgive me,’ she said getting on her knees and holding Terry’s legs, crying on them.
‘Claire I never thought that this could be the truth behind what happened and I appreciate your confession but… forgive you?’ he said hurt, he almost lost Candy because of that stupid nonsense.
‘Please Terry I feel so bad for that that I haven’t been able to sleep well since the fire,’ she begged.
Terry looked into her eyes and saw that she was honest and regretted her participation, besides he knew Susannah well, when she wanted something she would push and push until she got what she wanted or get the others to do what she wanted. Besides Candy was fine and in one way or another, this event got them together again.
‘Please Claire stand up and stop worrying about this,’ he said kneeling in front of her and helping her to get on her feet.
‘Do you forgive me?’ she asked again.
He smiled. ‘Yes after all Susannah was the one who did all this, and you were her best friend, you were obviously going to help her.’
And as Sister Marianne had told her, she felt that a part of that heavy weight of her heart was taken away, and smiled. ‘Thank you, this makes me feel better, now I want to ask you a favor,’ she said handing him a letter. ‘Can you please give this letter to Candy? Here I explain everything and including how happened the accident she had some time ago.’
‘Accident?’ he asked receiving the letter.
‘She knows, ask her about it. Will you give it to her?’
‘If I find her yes I’ll surely do it,’ he said. ‘And Claire please don’t waste your life between these four walls, go out and live your life, I’m sure Susannah would’ve wanted that.’
She dried her face. ‘As soon as I’m in peace again I will. That’s all I had to say Terry, thank you for coming,’ she said hugging him briefly and leaving the room.
He looked at the woman until she was out of his sight, then put the envelope inside one of the pockets of his coat and left. On his way out he thanked Sister Marianne and begged her to take good care of Claire.
Days after hearing that confession and after convincing again the
Director of the play to give him some more days off, Terry traveled to Ohio, willing to find to Candy again.
He arrived at Miriam’s house and told her he wanted to stay in one of the rooms she rented in case that Candy returned. Miriam tried and tried to convince him that a hotel would be best for him, as he would be more comfortable but he insisted. She also knew she couldn’t push the issue too much otherwise he’ll suspect that something was wrong. For this reason she agreed and rented him the last room of the second floor. While Terry was going upstairs to leave his two suitcases and to change before going to look for Candy, Miriam asked to the son of the neighbor to take a message to Candy who was working again with Phil’s father, warning her about Terry’s arrival. When she received the message she got a mixture of emotions, how she wanted to see him but also at the same time the guilt and remorse for Susannah’s death showed their ugly head, and she kept true to her promise to not to see him again but decided to stay with Miriam anyway.
As the days went by this turned into the cat and mouse game, only that the cat didn’t know that his prey was closer than he thought.
That afternoon the doctor decided to close the clinic earlier, it was snowing
heavily and as there were no more patients they thought it’d be the wisest
thing to do for their safety.
Tired after a long and difficult day of work she arrived home and was going upstairs to her room when she suddenly bumped into Terry, who was going out again to look for her in spite of the snow. When she saw him she got all nervous and turned trying to run downstairs but he grabbed her arm, stopping her.
‘Candy why are you running away from me?’ he asked surprised to see her there.
‘Don’t touch me… Terry please let me go,’ she said, almost begging.
He descended one step and held her from behind, and he spoke with a soft voice. ‘But Candy, we have to talk.’
The stairs, the tears, Terry’s arms around her and him asking for a second, no, third chance… this seemed like the repetition of a bad déjà vu.
‘Please let me go, I don’t want to feel guiltier than I already do’ she said trying to release herself from his arms, but she couldn’t.
‘I know why you got sick,’ he said, ‘and I want to tell you.’
‘Since when you’re a doctor?’
Noticing there was no chance, at least not by now; he took Claire’s letter from his pocket and put it in her hand. He trusted the girl and what she had written in the letter, and even he didn’t read it, he knew it would be helpful. ‘Please read this later in your room. No, I didn’t write but I know you gonna find a lot of answers’ he said, and slowly he released her.
Candy didn’t even look at him, she just run upstairs to her room. Once there she threw the letter on her bed, took a suitcase and started packing; no matter how heavy the snow was outside she had to get away from there. God she was so vulnerable to Terry’s presence, eyes, voice, touch and she knew she was not going to be able to avoid him for long if they were living under the same roof. Besides she knew it, God had punished her for what she did with Terry and didn’t want to add more crimes to her list.
Her suitcase wasn’t too big and she thought that maybe it would be better to take with her only the most necessary; she would come back for the rest later. But each time she put something inside the suitcase, her eyes would go to that white envelope lying next on the bed. One thing was sure, the hand that wrote her name on it wasn’t Terry’s, the handwriting looked more feminine. She hesitated, but curiosity was stronger than her and she sat on the bed and started reading the contents.
As her reading continued she couldn’t believe her eyes! She started thinking of all the unusual things that had happened to her lately, like the strange disappearance of the lovely crucifix that reminded her of Pony’s home, the scary attack she suffered weeks ago, that kind girl that helped her, the beginning of her disease. Besides she remembered something that Miriam had mentioned to her about the strange white light she saw in her room when she was with Terry. Candy blushed heavily but Miriam assured her that she didn’t see anything except for that warm light around them. At first Candy thought that Miriam was going crazy but now everything was making more sense.
She started thinking about Sister Mary and remembered that a long time ago, she told her about this kind of things, witchery and witchcraft, and that’s why it was so important to keep that crucifix with her all the time as you never knew when somebody could do something like that to you. Now her thoughts went to Susannah… why did she do it? After all she had Terry, it wasn’t necessary to go to the extreme of playing with the dark side.
‘I’m busy,’ Terry said when somebody knocked on his door close to 8 pm thinking
that the dinner was on. He wasn’t hungry yet and preferred to be alone. But the
person knocked again and he opened.
He suddenly saw his reading glasses, those he thought he had lost somewhere. ‘You forgot this the other day,’ Candy said handing them.
‘Thank you,’ he said and as he took it their fingers touched briefly.
She looked down at the floor and then her other hand showed the letter. ‘Can we talk?’
He just opened the door and let her in. ‘I guess you don’t believe anything that was written in it.’
‘On the contrary I do believe in it, Sister Mary told me once about this and even back then I didn’t believe it I do now. Besides the bottle of perfume that Claire gave me that day was shattered and there was a black stain around it, so maybe she is saying the truth after all.’
‘And?’ his eyes were full of hope.
‘It’s all clear now, you can go back to New York,’ she said.
‘What? Leave? You’re wrong, if I go back I’ll take you with me… I came here for you,’ he said holding her hands.
Candy avoided his eyes, and replied with a soft voice. ‘One thing is to understand what happened and something different is leaving with you Terry. In spite of all the time that passed and you were married, Susannah was suffering because of me.’
He squeezed her hands. ‘But can’t you see that our love saved you? You were going to die and she was the one behind that.’
‘I have a proposition for you. Let’s get married and let’s get out of here… let’s start a brand new life forgetting all this,’ he said.
‘But I can’t.’
‘Why not? Did you marry somebody else while I was away? That Phil maybe?’ he asked with a mischievous smile.
‘Don’t say stupid things.’
‘So? What’s stopping you?’ he pushed again.
‘You know it’s not the right thing to do.’
‘Claire said it, our love was stronger even if we were not together. Are you saying we should say no to a love that was meant to last forever?’
She stayed in silence.
‘Just you and me,’ he added.
‘Terry you have responsibilities in New York, go back to your life,’ she said.
‘My life is here… do you see those two suitcases? I have all my belongings in them and as to my life, I’m holding it in my hands right now,’ he said as his hands went up on her arms and held her close to him.
She understood what he was saying, but there was so much between them! ‘And what about your work? And your house?’
‘I quit, after I found out you were here I had a talk with the Director and well, he had to understand my reasons. And as for my house, I already sold the property,’ he explained.
‘Candy, let’s get married and move to another state of the country, new people, a new place where we can start all over again.’
‘But the best theaters are in New York.’
‘So what? Remember that I wanted to be an actor to perform onstage, not for the fame and fortune. I can it anywhere, and as long as you’re there with me nothing else will matter,’ he smiled.
‘Your answer can only be a yes or a no, I won’t accept anything different than that’ he said ‘and not that I’m saying that I’ll be happy with a no,’ he joked.
‘Miss Freckles what did I just tell you?’ he laughed and then looked into her eyes sweetly, waiting for her answer.
The answer was pretty clear in her mind, but she kept finding more and more excuses and had to think all over again. The idea of a life together and starting from zero in a new place was tempting her… a lot. Together, she and Terry… could it ever be possible?
Yes, she had to give it a try. Why not?
A smile adorned her face now and she nodded.
‘Is that a yes?’ he asked wanting to make sure he wasn’t dreaming
‘Yes Terry, I want to marry you… but promise me, a new place where nobody knows about us, and you and I together.’
‘Anything for you,’ he said lifting the girl in his arms, laughing and spinning together, he was so happy!
A small and humble chapel was the perfect scenario for their wedding; they
didn’t want those usual big formal parties because what was important there was
their love. She was wearing a pink dress that Miriam made for her and Terry was
wearing one of his suits. The oldest priest of the town married them, blessing
the couple and their union and asking to God for his protection and to never
get this couple apart again. With a kiss their commitment was sealed. Then they
thanked the priest and when the ceremony was finished, Terry gave Candy a new
crucifix that would take care of her for the one she lost.
The next day and after spending their first night as husband and wife together, they bid farewell to all those that knew them, and took a train to Nebraska.
Candy really liked their house, and everything was so clean and nice. The
garden was the most beautiful part of the house, everything was perfectly
maintained, and it seemed that the whole pack was in perfect harmony with the
It had been four months ever since they got married and found that new place. Candy was working part time at the hospital and Terry was hired by a small and humble theater company. Honestly the director couldn’t really believe that the famous Terry Grandchester wanted to work for him, but one of the conditions was that they will keep their name in secret. Obviously the director accepted.
Spring had already begun but in their hearts started the day they decided to leave everything behind and be together. That night Candy was waiting at the living room for Terry’s return from work. When she heard the key on the lock she jumped from the couch and went to receive him. ‘Hello my love, how are you?’
‘Now I’m fine,’ he said kissing her.
She smiled. ‘Guess what, I have a present for you!’
‘Oh yes?’ he said holding her tighter and giving her a sexy smile ‘Did you know I can guess what my present are just by touching, can I guess this one?’
‘Oh you naughty Terry Granchester! Actually that’s not what I meant,’ she said laughing out loud. ‘I really have a present for you.’
And she handed him a small packet wrapped in gift paper. He opened, looked at the content and then at her, astonished.
‘Are you sure?’
‘100% sure?’ he asked again.
‘Yes the doctor at the hospital confirmed it. Terry you’re going to be a dad’ she said with a huge smile.
Emotion filled his heart so fast and he was so shocked and happy with the news that he didn’t know what to say, and all he could do was hug her tight and kiss her, while one of his hands was holding a tinny pair of baby slippers.
When he finally remembered how to talk he said. ‘If it’s a girl I hope she has your freckles.’
She laughed. ‘And if it’s a boy I hope he gets your blue eyes, you know how much I love them.’
‘Thank you my love, thank you!’ he said over and over while he kissed her and cherished her hair.
Peaceful, yes this place was so peaceful and she loved it. Terry had been
right; to be away from everybody had been the perfect solution. From time to
time she would receive a letter from Miriam but that was all the contact she
had with her past. Sometimes she missed her friends and teachers, but all she
had to do was Terry sleeping with his arms around her every night to know she
had done the right thing. Especially now that somebody else was going to join
them and bring them more happiness.
During her whole pregnancy they were more united than usual. Terry took good care of her, protecting her and granting all her wishes until the day finally came. At the hospital Terry was walking from one side to the other very worried, until she saw a nurse coming out of the room where Candy was… that nurse was now walking to him holding something in her arms.
‘Congratulations Mr. Grandchester, it’s a boy.’
Terry just couldn’t believe that such a little person was his son… and Candy’s. The nurse told him he could see the baby and his wife later but everything had gone fine.
Finally when he was allowed in the room he saw them together. Candy was tired but a huge smile adorned her face and when Terry was close to her, she handed him their baby. Holding his baby on his arms was the greatest joy and happiness he could ever experiment… his son, HIS baby son! So tinny, so vulnerable… he swore he’d do anything for him, to protecting him and take care of him.
After the birth Candy decided to quit her job because she wanted to give their son all the love and attention that she never got from her parents, and Terry understood her decision remembering his own childhood.
And when some more time passed and they thought that the whole tragedy of New York had been forgotten they decided to return, but before that they made a stop in Illinois to share their happiness with all those people that knew them.
It was a sunny day of summer; well it’s been summer ever since their child
arrived to their lives. The soft New York breeze entered through the thin
curtains of the large window that was half opened. Candy was playing with the
baby on the living room while Terry was on the next room reading a new script
which would be the biggest achievement of his career. But the door between the
library and the living room always remained open and all the laughter and chat
between his wife and his blue-eyed baby son was heard from there… why? Because
couldn’t take his eyes away from the biggest achievement of his life. Suddenly Candy noticed his stare and she looked at his husband, winking and blowing a kiss to him. He took this as an invitation and sat on the carpet next to Candy, held the baby in his arms and kissed his wife.