Life goes on... (by Mallory Quinn)
Chapter 8: “ Big Changes”
In New York, Terrence Grandchester was in the dinning room of his apartment with Susanna Marlowe having almost the same conversation every morning. This time, Terry was cranky that morning.
- Terry, have you heard from your father?
-I did, said Terry
-So, what did he say?
-Well he’s going to be at my mother’s tonight
-Tonight? He’s here?
-He arrived last night…
-Oh my God! Is he coming here?
-He’s going to be at my mother’s…
-Your mother’s? …Eleonor Baker?
-You got it…
-How could you not tell me this? The rumours; you never said anything
-My private life is nobody’s business …
-I’m your fiancée!
-I have not proposed to you yet, for now, you’re my…
-Saviour? For lack of a better term…
-My mother invited us for dinner in honour of my father’s arrival
-Mama and I will be ready…
-I’ll see you later then…
-Terry was now looking forward to that dinner party and to see what his fiancée looked like…
Susanna wanted to impress her future father in law, she had bought a prosthesis so she could stand and walk on her own by Terry’s side. Terry was going to be a duke in the future…the dukedom, the money, she Susanna Marlowe was going to be the duchess of Grandchester one day… She had a beautiful evening gown and her hair was down. Her mother was very elegant too. Terry arrived and they left for his mother’s mansion. A butler opened the door to them and Eleonor walked to them.
-Terry honey! She said hugging him
Mrs. Marlowe looked at the scene stunned.
-“Mom” Did I miss something? She asked her daughter
-She’s his mom…
-You heard me mama!
-Terrence Grandchester is the son of an English duke and Eleonor Baker?
-Oh my God!
-I thought he had no one…
-What’s the difference?
-The difference is, he’s got parents, Susie…I thought he was alone
-Mama, you worry for nothing
-I hope you’re right…
-Terry was talking to his mother, then he turned to the two women.
-Mother, this is Susanna and Mrs. Marlowe. Mrs. Marlowe, Susanna, this is my mother, Eleonor Baker
-I’m pleased to meet you , said Eleonor with a smile
-Pleased to meet you, said Susanna with a smile, I’m one of my biggest fan! You’re Terry’s mother! You’re going to be my mother in law…
-Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, said Eleonor in a whisper
-I beg your pardon? Said Mrs. Marlowe
-I’m glad you could come, said Eleonor louder
-Terry looked at his mother with an amused smirk. They all walked to a big living room and a maid approached them with a tray full of different drinks.
-Terry, said Susanna who was looking at the luxury of Eleonor Baker’s house, where is your father?
-He should be here shortly, said Terry who was talking to his mother
-I thought we would find him here…, said Susanna
-He doesn’t live here, Susanna, he’s got a hotel room, said Terry
-Oh, I thought your father and your mother …, said Susanna
-Well no, they’re not together, said Terry
The door bell was heard and the butler went to open the door. Voices where heard and a man came in the living room. Terry approached him and gave him his right hand. The man took Terry in his arms and hugged him hard.
-My son! I miss you!
Terry was surprised by his father’s reaction, but he hugged him too.
-Father, said Terry, I never thought I’d hear those words out of your mouth
The duke let go of him and hugged Eleonor.
-Ellie! How have you been?
-I’m fine Richard.
-Father, this is Susanna Marlowe and her mother
-Pleased to meet you, said the Marlowe women
-Ladies, said the duke
-Please have a seat Richard, where’s…?
-Foot steps were heard and a young woman entered the room. She has long wavy blond hair, big green eyes; she was wearing a green dress. She was very beautiful. All the eyes were looking at her. Eleonor was the first to react.
-Oh my God! Sophia! She said
-A man entered the room behind the young girl; he had blond hair and a moustache. He was very elegant.
-Fernand! Said Eleonor, oh my God!
-She ran to him and hugged him hard. She had tears in her eyes.
-I can’t believe it’s you! She said, letting go of him
-It’s so good to see you Ellie…, he said
-Is that … Georgie? She asked, you found her!
-Yes, said the young woman smiling
-Oh my God! We thought we lost you for ever!
Eleonor hugged her hard.
-You look so much like your mother, it’s incredible!
Eleonor was crying, while hugging Georgie, who also had tears in her eyes. Eleonor, let go of Georgie and wiped her tears. She turned to Terry.
-Terry, Georgie’s mother and I were friends, when you were a baby, she was expecting Georgie. We used to joke that if she had a girl, you would marry her…
-Yes, said the duke, well you’re wish is granted, Ellie, Terrence is going to marry Sophia’s daughter like you wanted to…
-What? Said Susanna, but, Terry is supposed to marry me!!!!
The duke turned around and looked at Susanna.
-Marlowe, Susanna Marlowe, I saved your son’s life and now he’s going to marry me…
-Who in the world made that decision? Ellie?
-Don’t look at me Richard, Terrence made his own mess, said Eleonor
-A mess? You’re calling my daughter a mess?
The duke of Grandchester turned to Mrs. Marlowe.
-I suppose you’re the one who made that decision?
-I did. My daughter lost her leg saving your son…
-Did my son asked her to save him?
-No, but she did it impulsively…
-Because she was in love with him…
-So if it had been someone else, she wouldn’t have saved him?
-Well…, started Mrs. Marlowe
Susanna was flabbergasted. Terry’s father brought another girl, for Terry? She was going to be the future duchess? Not her…?
-Terry! Said Susanna, don’t you have anything to say?
Terry was looking at Georgie and he forgot about Susanna.
-Terry! You have to marry me!!! Be with me! I saved your life!
-Susanna, you let your mother take your life into her own hands… I’m letting my parents do what they think is right…,said Terry
-But, said Mrs. Marlowe, my little girl…
-Mrs. Marlowe, said the duke, I understand your pain in your daughter’s ordeal, but unfortunately, Terrence is already engaged to Lady Georgie Gerald…ever since she was in her mother’s belly, our two families decided if Sophia had a girl, she was going to marry Terrence
-I can compensate you for what you did for my son… but there will be no wedding between your daughter and my son…
-My family has royal blood… we have to choose our mates carefully…The Geralds are part of the British upper class, can you say the same?
-So you’re refusing my daughter because she’s poor?
-I’m not insulting you, I’m sorry if you don’t understand what I’m saying. Terrence is not free, he’s not a poor orphan boy, he has a family, he has engagements… your daughter cannot be his wife. But I can assure you, she will never beg for money anymore, I’m giving her all the money she would’ve made if her career hadn’t been cut short by her heroic gesture… I see she has a prosthetic leg, she can go back on stage… but my son if off limits!
-But, Mr. Grandchester, said Susanna, I love your son!
-Love is irrelevant in this case. Terrence is already engaged to be married ever since he was in diapers…and Georgie was not even born yet…
-No! Said Susanna, Terry! How come he never told us anything?
-Did you even ask him where his parents were when you were pressuring him, Mrs. Marlowe? Asked Eleonor
-Well, no…I just assumed…
-Well you assumed wrong, said the duke
-Did he even knew he had a fiancée? Said Mrs. Marlowe
-Terry assumed since he came here and I let him be, that he was free… it was only for a little while, to let him experience life and the theatre, said the duke
-And Georgie and her mother were presumed dead for years, her father just found her again, said Eleonor looking at Georgie’s father with fondness
-This is nonsense! Said Mrs. Marlowe, joking around with a pregnant woman, doesn’t make an engagement!
-I made it an engagement, said the duke, the daughter of my good friend and my son…
Terry was amused and looking at Georgie. She’s the fiancée?
-Terry! Said Susanna, how could you do this to me?
-I’m not doing anything, Susanna, my parents are… and I have to obey them…, said Terry smiling at Georgie
Susanna looked at the scene in tears. Terry didn’t care about her at all! This new girl…
-What if you were with Candy? Said Susanna, would you have dumped her too?
-Well thanks to you and your mother, Candy is no longer in my life…, you’re the one getting dumped by my father…
-Terry you have a duty…
-Let’s talk about that duty… I have a duty to marry my fiancée … you see, even the Queen approves of this marriage...
-I don’t care if the pope approves it! Said Susanna
-Miss Marlowe, said the duke. I believe this discussion is closed. My right hand man will come and make the necessary arrangements for your compensations. I can even throw in a suitor if you want…
-What? How dare you? Said Mrs. Marlowe
-No, how dare you take my son and manipulate him into marrying your daughter without even talking to his parents?! Thank God he sent me that letter…Terrence is going to be at the head of a huge estate one day, he needs a good woman, not someone who only wants her way.
-You see Susanna, said Eleonor, had you stayed in your corner humbled, Terry’s father would’ve ordered him to marry you… but since you and your mother used emotional blackmail to manipulate his son… that’s where you lost the duke…
-This is outrageous! Said Mrs. Marlowe, my daughter lost her leg and almost died because of you! You have to be with her!
-So if your daughter had lost her leg saving a child, she would’ve asked the mother to give her the child?
-That’s not the same, said Mrs. Marlowe
-What’s not the same? Asked the duke
-Terry, said Susanna, are you really going to let your father do this to us?
-There is no “us”, or even a “you and I” Susanna… I’m sorry.
-Terry! Please… Terry…
-Ladies, you are dismissed, said the duke
Susanna and her mother had no choice but to leave the mansion. Terry looked at them go… he wasn’t feeling guilty. He had lost Candy over that matter and he assumed that it was a pretty steep price to pay!
-The duke and Eleonor escorted the Marlowe women to the door.
-If you ever need anything, said the duke
-Don’t do us any favours! Said Mrs. Marlowe upset
-I was talking to your daughter, said the duke
-Mama, I told you to leave Terry alone, no, you had to push it! Now I lost him for good
-You never had him! Said her mother, he was a cold bastard with you! Let’s go!
The ladies left talking and arguing. The parents let Terry and Georgie alone in the living room; they went to sit in the dinning room having appetizers
Terry and Georgie were looking at each other.
-Well that was fun! Said Georgie
-You can say that again!
-And I thought my life was complicated!
-Really? Tell me…
-Well, I was found in Australia on my dead mother’s body, by a farmer and his two sons. They raised me. My adoptive father died after getting hurt while saving me, his wound got infected… My adoptive mother blamed me for the death of her husband… I was sad too, she didn’t even hug me… When I turned 14 I fell in love with the governor’s grandson… I came back one evening from seeing him, when I saw my mother. I ran to her to tell her about him all excited, when she yelled at me saying I was not her daughter…
-Why would she do that?
-Because her sons were in love with me and I was in love with someone else, so her sons were going to suffer…
-Oh my God!
-I almost died drowning, one of my brothers saved me… my other brother left town because he couldn’t stand to be near me he love me so much… I left for England to be with the man I loved, but… he was promised to someone else…We ran away to live our lives, but he got sick and I couldn’t pay for the doctor, so after trying to work to get the money, I took him back to his fiancée… my brothers had followed me, one got hooked on drugs by this mean family…I found my real father… my brothers went back to Australia…I came here with my father, to meet my “suitor”
-You don’t mind marrying someone you’ve never met?
-Well after everything that’s happened to me? I’m willing to see if I can make friendship work...
-Yes, because we’re not in love right?
-Right, said Terry, in fact I’m in love with someone else…
-I want to hear about it…
-Nothing special, we met, fell in love, we had plans and it got cancelled with Susanna’s accident… Now we’re broken up…
-You don’t want her back?
-I will always want her back, but … Let’s just say, it’s over with her…she has her life
-Hum hum… in other words; you want to obey your father
-He did get me out of a sticky situation with Susanna…
-So you want to try … this? You and I?
-You remind me of Candy…
-And you remind me of Abel, my…
-Brother…, finished Terry smiling, not bad for a start; we’re on the same page…
-Yes, we are, said Georgie smiling
The parents were eaves dropping on them and they were smiling. Georgie and Terry were at the same place in their life. The duke had brought Georgie at exactly the right moment…To save Terry from a forced marriage… This arranged marriage was up to them. If they refuse it, the parents were going to let them be, not force them.
Terry and Georgie were still talking.
-I’m an actor, do you like the theatre?
-I love it…
-What’s your passion?
-Sewing…I make dresses…
-Wonderful…To work with ones hand is a great gift
-Well I am a true labourer I earn what I eat, get that I wear, said Georgie smiling
-Owe no man hate envy no man’s happiness…, said Terry
They looked at each other and they both said:
Then they burst out laughing.
The parents were smiling;
-They’re hitting it off, said Eleonor, oh my God!
-Isn’t that what we wanted? Said the duke
-Yes, said Fernand Gerald, but I was skeptical, Georgie went through so much when I found her…
-And Terry too…, said Eleonor
-Well I guess they’re perfect for each other, both looking for something new and calm and simple…, said the duke
-I hope this works out for them, said Eleonor
-Ellie, said Fernand, it’s my first time in New York
-I’d love to show you around, said Eleonor smiling
-I’d be delighted…
The duke looked at them. There seems to be a connection between them. Dinner was served. They were all eating at the table, talking and laughing. Terry was very surprised to see how much he enjoyed Georgie’s company. Life really does go on…
Albert arrived at the mansion with a young woman he had met during his numerous trips. Her name was Carolyn Casey. She was a nurse; she was blond with green eyes, almost a dead ringer for Candy! The great aunt was happy to have her nephew back home.
-William! It’s so good to see you!
-How are you Aunt Elroy?
-I’m fine, a little tired
-How’s the family?
-The family in question was there smiling and waiting to hug him. Then came Candy’s turn.
-How are you little one?
-I’m fine Albert, she said smiling
-This is Carolyn
-Hello, said Candy smiling
-Carolyn looked at Candy amazed.
-Oh my God! When you said we looked alike, I never imagine how much!
-And she’s a nurse too…, said Albert smiling
-You’ve got the freckles too… like the Caseys…
-Maybe she is one of yours, said Alistair, since Candy is an orphan…
-Maybe she is…, said Carolyn smiling you like being a nurse?
-Yes, said Candy but I took a leave of absence, after the Spanish flu… I needed a break
-I can understand that, working during an outbreak is very hard…
Carolyn and Candy continued talking and comparing notes. Alistair joined them along with the others.
The Great aunt too Albert to his office and looked at him intensely.
-What? He said
-You couldn’t marry your daughter so you go out and get a replica of her?
-Come on William, she took care of you while you were sick, you lived with her, you must’ve had a thing for her like all the men in this family!!!
-Oh my God! You are in love with her…! Why should you be spared? You adopted her! You almost robbed the cradle!
-Aunt Elroy! That’s enough! We are not having this conversation!
-We need to organize a ball to celebrate your engagement, continue the great aunt, pretending she didn’t hear him. Jared Casey, Carolyn’s father is a big business man…we need some fun in this mansion and the great William Andrew getting engaged is an event! A lot of young women are going to be heart broken…
-I only wanted one woman…. Whispered Albert
-I heard that! Said Aunt Elroy leaving the room
Albert blushed and walked out to go join the other in the living room.
-I have to call my family to come and see you, said Carolyn! It’s just incredible! Even your mimics remind me of members of my family! Albert, I have to take Candy home with me and show her to my family!
-Aunt Elroy wants to have a ball here for our engagement…
-A ball? Wonderful! Said Carolyn, my family is going to come! And you’re going to see them Candy!
-I can’t wait, said Candy smiling
Dinner that evening was in a fun atmosphere. Albert and Carolyn talking about their trips. It was a very interesting evening. Candy felt close to Carolyn who didn’t seem to want to part from her either. Albert and Alistair wanted to spend time with their beloved, but the two ladies seemed to have totally forgot about them. They were going to their bedroom, still talking. Albert was alone with Alistair.
-Well I see you didn’t lose anytime…, said Albert
-I just took advantage of the window of opportunity that was offered to me…
-Hey I’m not the genius of this family for nothing! What about you, what’s up with the look alike?
-I love her…
-What about Candy?
-She’s still a little confused, but I’m patient
-How is your brother taking it?
-He refused to invest in my company…
-That bad, hein? He’ll get over it… he’ll have to
Both men were walking upstairs to their bedrooms talking and laughing.
-So, good night Uncle William, said Alistair, I’ll get you the papers of my company so you can look at them
-I’m going to invest in you, be sure of it! Said Albert, good night!
Alistair got in his bedroom and he was surprised to see:
-What are you doing here?
-I came to say good night, since I’ve kind of neglected you earlier…
-Oh…, said Alistair smiling, that’s very considerate of you
-Candy approached him and put her arms around his neck.
-I’m sorry, but Carolyn is so nice, I feel good with her…
-You have the same job, you look alike…do you think you could be from her family?
-I don’t want to think about that and get my hopes up…but I didn’t come here for chit chat…
-Why did you come here for then…? What can I do for you pretty lady?
-I want some smooches from my favourite inventor…
-I think I can help you out there, pretty lady…
He took her lips, gently, softly, then passionately. They had been kissing regularly. Behaving like friends, but Alistair now had a special attention for her. He would have all his meals and snacks with her, he would give her flowers just to say hello. Candy loved the little attentions, he was so sweet.
They stopped kissing for a while.
-I have something for you, he said
-He let go of her and he went to get something in his drawer and he gave it to her. It was a box. Candy opened it and it played the waltz she danced with Anthony and Terry…
-Oh my God, she said moved to tears, how did you do that? Never mind I wouldn’t get it! It’s beautiful! Thank you so much! I danced this music with Anthony and Terry…
She looked at him.
-Would you dance this one with me? He asked
-Yes, she said smiling
They both danced to the music smiling and laughing.
-I’m going to go now, said Candy
-Thanks for coming
-Thanks for the music box
They kissed again and Candy went back to her room, walking on a cloud. She was feeling light as a feather.
The next morning at breakfast, Aunt Elroy was talking about the guess list for the ball.
-I already have over 200 people, she said
-Already? Said Albert
-Yes… Carolyn, I need you to give me your guess list
-I will, said Carolyn…
-And if any of you want to invite their friends, just give me the list, said Aunt Elroy
The great aunt was in a good mood. Albert was surprised to see her so cheerful asking the other for their list of friends…
The preparations of the Big Bal started. People were getting invitations to the Big Ball.
Eleonor was spending a lot of time with her friend’s widower. They were getting closer but he was not willing to get to the next level.
The day the invitation to the Big Ball arrived, Eleonor was with Earl Gerald and the duke, in the afternoon, having tea.
-Fernand, she said, I’m invited to a Big Ball in Chicago, William Andrew is getting engaged, would you be my date?
-Of course Eleonor, he said smiling, Richard, is that ok with you?
-I’m no longer with Richard, said Eleonor a little upset
-She’s right, said the duke, what you do with Eleonor is none of my concern
-Fernand looked at Eleonor.
-I’m sorry Ellie
-Is that why you were holding back on me, because of Richard? He’s married to another woman!!!!
-He’s my friend…
-What, you have a pact not to date your buddy’s former flames?
-Not a pact, but just common courtesy
Eleonor, left the room red with rage. Fernand followed her. She went upstairs to her bedroom.
-What do you want? She said angry
-Come on… please understand…
-I understand that your wife has been dead for years, she was my best friend, and I miss her as much as you… you think this is easy for me? Falling for her husband? But I want to believe that she would be ok with me and you getting together…Richard left me, took my baby and married another woman! I don’t think he has anything to say about my love life…
-You’re right, he hasn’t …
He approached her and took her in his arms.
-I won’t be holding back on you anymore…
-Too much talking no action…, said Eleonor
He smiled and finally took her lips. They were hungry for each other… Let’s just say, that the duke took his tea alone that afternoon.
Terry, who was now living alone and spending all his free time with Georgie, also got the invitation to the Big Ball. When Georgie arrived he showed her the invitation.
-The Big Ball of Chicago…
-Would you like to come with me?
-Isn’t that where your ex lives?
-Yes… it’s actually her adoptive father who is getting engaged
-So she’s going to be there?
-You do need closure…
Terry smiled at her.
-I guess I do… So you’re coming with me?
-Yes, I will, said Georgie smiling and I’m expecting to dance a lot…
-Then you shall dance a lot, my beautiful lady, I will make sure of that…
Terry hugged her hard. Life was the most unexpected thing ever. Never in a million years would he have thought that he was going to enjoy the fiancée his father had brought for him. Yes, life was full of surprises!