Life goes on... (by Mallory Quinn)
Chapter 9 : “The Lost Sheep”
The Andrew Mansion was crawling with people, working for the big ball, there was a cleaning staff, decorating staff, the catering staff. There were also people from a luxury boutique for the dresses, and hairdressers, make up artist… Albert wanted everything to be perfect. The great aunt just loved organising the ball, it reminder her of the old days when she was young.
Candy and Carolyn were inseparable. They would go shopping together, have lunch together, they did everything together. Carolyn was waiting for her family members to introduce Candy to them.
- They are not going to believe it when they see you…!
- It’s just a coincidence…
This is one big coincidence, said Carolyn, anyway, I like you Candy… by the way, “Candice” is one of my sister’s middle name…
Just a coincidence…, said Candy
- All right, said Carolyn, I’m not saying anything more… My family is coming tonight, they’re going to be stunned to see you
- I can’t wait to see them… I’m going to go see Alistair for lunch, if I don’t go get him, he’s going to starve himself by working non stop…
- All right, I’ll go get Albert then, let’s meet at “Chez Bernard”?
- I’ll see you there…, said Candy smiling.
An hour later, the two couples where having lunch with Joe in tow.
- How’s everything home? Said Albert
- Aunt Elroy is having a blast ordering everybody around, said Candy
- She’s driving me nuts, said Carolyn
- She’s just happy I’m finally getting engaged, said Albert
- Yes, said Alistair, you managed to nail the most eligible bachelor in America
- My father couldn’t believe me when I told him your name! He was like “Are you sure that’s his name? And you met him in Africa???” He thought I needed a social life to meet a great rich man… even though I had no idea Albert was actually William Andrew the Billionaire! Said Carolyn
- He was running away from his responsibilities, said Candy
- It’s about time you came back, said Alistair
- Well, I guess so, said Albert
- Don’t worry honey, said Carolyn, once we have children, we can all travel together …
- I knew I chose the right woman! Said Albert smiling
They continued talking and laughing while having lunch.
Terry was with his parents, Georgie and her father, checking in at the hotel. Terry had his own room. Georgie had a suite with her father. Eleonor, had her own suite, and the duke had his own suite.
- That’s a lot of rooms, said Terry smiling, in a perfect world, I would’ve been in a suite with my mum and dad…
Eleonor and Fernand looked at each other.
- You could’ve taken a room with your mother, said the duke
- I know, said Terry, but I wanted some privacy, since Georgie is with her father, I wanted a place where I could be alone with Georgie
- I don’t think Fernand would’ve disturbed you a lot…, said the duke, that is if he’s even going to spend time in his suite…
- Dad, what are you talking about? Said Terry
Eleonor and Fernand walked away. The duke didn’t reply and also left. Georgie and Terry looked at each other.
- What do you think this is about? Said Terry
- I think my father is doing your mother…
- I beg your pardon?
- I apologise for the familiar language. I should’ve said; I think my father and your mother are engaged in an adult relationship…
Terry looked at her, he smiled. They were on the same page.
- An adult relationship, you mean they’re having sex?
- To put it mildly, said Georgie
- So that was the duke being jealous… I don’t blame him, that Mrs. Grandchester is not a beautiful person, and I’m not only talking about her “inner beauty” or lack there of… I’m still wondering what my father was thinking…
- Kind of what you were thinking when you got stuck with your saviour? She said smiling
- Touché, said Terry smiling
- Terry took her arm and they walked to the elevators, smiling. They didn’t see someone looking at them, while on a business meeting. Archibald Cornwell was looking at the couple with big eyes.
“He’s with another girl that looks like Candy! What happened to poor Susanna Marlowe? How could he treat her like that? And Candy? I knew he was just a lying cheating bastard!” He thought
He knew Terry was invited to the ball; he was going to tell him his way of thinking, when he sees him.
Carolyn was on hot coals waiting for her family to arrive. Candy was as excited as she was. The Caseys were going to stay at the mansion; God knows there was enough rooms for an army. The whole family was there, including the Reagans.
Neil was kind of hiding; because the great aunt was hassling him about the money she gave him to start a business. She had people following Neil’s slow progress. Neil had to do the right thing; he couldn’t embezzle the great aunt’s money. In a way, she was forcing him to be honest and work hard enough to make more money. She was hoping, that Neil would like being honest and continue in that way.
Candy was with Albert in his study.
- Are you nervous? Said Candy
- A little, I’m meeting my future in-laws for the first time…
- Don’t you worry: you’re any father’s perfect candidate: you’re good looking, extremely rich, philanthropist, humanitarian…believe me when I tell you, he’s lucky to have you as a son in law.
- Thank you Candy, he said hugging her
- Now let’s go see the others
- What about you? Aren’t you a little nervous…
- A little?
- Carolyn decided not to tell them, she wanted her family to see you in the flesh…
- Oh… well at least they’ll be able to find out on their own without anybody influencing them…
- Well, when I saw Carolyn the first time, I thought about you…
- We do look alike…
- Now let’s go. I’m hearing some noise outside.
Candy and Albert got out of the study to go to the living room. The whole family was there. He left them there and he went to the door, to greet his future in-laws. He shook Jared Casey’s hand.
- Daddy, said Carolyn, this is my fiancé William Albert Andrew
- I’m pleased to meet you sir, said Albert smiling
- Likewise, said Mr. Casey
- He was in his fifties, but he still looked very young , he had some strings off grey in his hair, but you couldn’t really see it because his hair was blond. And like Carolyn said, he had freckles on his nose he had green eyes. There was something familiar about him.
- This is my mother, said Carolyn smiling
- Are you sure, she’s not your sister? Said Albert kissing her hand, because you’re way too young to be Carolyn’s mother, I’m pleased to meet you
The woman, who also had blond hair, smiled to Albert, she also had green eyes.
- Well you’re not only rich and handsome, you’re a charmer too! She said laughing
Miranda Casey was a very beautiful woman. Carolyn older sister, Sabrina was there too. She was quiet, she had suffered a nervous breakdown years ago and she never fully recovered. She was calm and did not talk much.
- Albert, this is my sister Sabrina, Brinee, this is my fiancé Albert
- Pleased to meet you, she said smiling
- This is my brother, Leo
- Pleased to meet you…
- Likewise, said Leo
- And my other brother Emmanuel…
- Pleased to meet you, he said
- Likewise, said Albert let’s go to the living room to meet the rest of the family…
Meanwhile, Candy had spilled some juice on her dress.
- Oh darn! How clumsy of me! Said Candy, I need to go change my dress
- But Candy, the guests are here
- Well I don’t want them to see me with a stained dress…
- You want me to come with you asked Annie?
- No, I’m going to be fine Annie, I’ll get one of the maids to help me…
Alistair walked her to the living room doors.
- You want me to come with you…
- Alistair, I’m going to be fine…
- I know you Candy… the Caseys in the hallway are giving you the jitters, that’s why you spilled you drink
Candy looked at him and smiled.
- You do know me well , she said, yes, I’m nervous, I’m wishing with all my heart that I’m a member of Carolyn’s family, but it’s such a long shot…
She started walking and he walked with her, they both went upstairs in Candy’s room. Archie looked at them go. Ever since he saw Terry with that woman who looked like Candy, he was glad that Terry was going to come and see Candy and Alistair so close… but he also knew not to underestimate Candy and Terry’s love for each other.
Candy didn’t need a maid anymore; Alistair helped her with undoing the dress. She went to the bathroom to change and she came back in the room and Alistair helped her out with the dress.
- You look beautiful, he said
- Thank you. I’m so nervous…
Alistair hugged her.
- It’s going to be fine, just be yourself… and they’re going to love you whether you’re related to them by blood or not… technically you’re going to become Carolyn’s daughter… you’re going to be related by marriage.
- You’re right, said Candy smiling, thanks for the pep talk and for reading my like a book
He kissed her on the forehead. He took her by the hand and they went downstairs. They walked to the big living room, where everybody had met everybody and were talking while having an aperitif. When Candy and Alistair arrived, everybody stopped talking. Albert looked at them and he smiled.
- Alistair, Candy! There you are!
Carolyn stood up and walked to Candy and took her by the hand.
- Mon, dad, Sabrina, Leo, Emmanuel..., this is Albert’s adoptive daughter, her name is Candy, and she’s a nurse
- Wow, said Carolyn’s mother, pleased to meet you, you look like one of my children…
- I’m very pleased to meet you, said Candy smiling
- Sorry, Alistair, said Carolyn, this is Albert’s nephew, Alistair, he’s Archibald’s brother
- Please to meet you, said Alistair smiling
Candy was smiling and she looked at Sabrina who seemed a little pale.
- Miss Casey? Said Candy, are you all right? You look sick…
Sabrina was starting to hyperventilate. Carolyn got worried.
- Brinee? What’s wrong? Are you all right
- Sabrina, said her mother
- She’s having a panic attack said Candy
Albert approached them.
- Do you need anything? Some water?
Then he turned to the servant:
- Bring us some cold water…
Jared Casey was worried for his daughter.
- What’s the matter Sabrina?
- My head is spinning, she said breathless, oh my God! I never thought this day would come…
- What? Said Carolyn
Sabrina turned to Candy.
- I… need more information, Albert adopted you? How old were you? Were you a baby?
- I was 13, said Candy
- 13, where were you before?
- I grew up in a orphanage, the Pony Home near Lake Michigan
- Michigan… did you by any chance had a doll with you when you were found? A doll wearing a dress that says “Candy” on it?
Candy looked at her like she had just fallen from the sky. Nobody knew about that detail of her life, aside from Miss Pony and Sister Maria. Candy never told anybody about the doll.
- How… how would you know that? With a shaky voice
- Because I made that dress… I gave you my middle name… Candice… My name is Sabrina Candice…
- No one knows about the doll, I’ve never told anybody… only Miss Pony and Sister Maria know about it…
Carolyn was holding her breath…
- Sabrina? Do you have something to tell us?
- You were too young to remember, said Sabrina, I disappeared for a while…
- Disappear? You weren’t in school?
- No, I ran away and I got married with this boy…
- What? Said Carolyn
- Mom and dad didn’t want me to get married so young … so I just… but it didn’t last long, we were struggling, but we were happy…I got pregnant, I had a girl… he was working at this construction site, and there was an accident … I had a nervous breakdown when they told me…I was catatonic for months, I couldn’t take care of my baby, the doctor thought I would never recover. I was transferred to Chicago St. Joan’s hospital… There mom and dad found me and they brought me home… I recovered little by little, then I remembered my baby… I heard that the old lady who took care of her, my neighbour passed away and no one knew what happened to my baby…
- I had research done, said Jared Casey, but there was no trace of my grandchild
- It only made Sabrina’s health worst, said the mother, she almost went crazy when she realised she lost not only her husband, but her child also…
- I eventually got better, but something in me was broken for good…, said Sabrina
She looked at Candy.
- When I left my baby with my neighbour, she was in a basket with the doll I told you about…
Candy was crying, unable to say anything. Alistair held her hand. Candy was grateful he was there with her.
- Your name is Candy, short for Candice?
- Yes, because of the doll that was found with me in my basket… and you couldn’t possibly know about it, unless…, said Candy with tears in her voice
I was the one who put it there, said Sabrina, I believe you’re my long lost daughter Candy
- Oh my God! Said Candy crying some more
Candy let go of Alistair’s hand and she and Sabrina hugged hard.
- Oh my God! Said Sabrina, this is a miracle; I thought I’d lost you for good! I can’t believe it!
Sabrina hugged Candy for the longest time whispering sweet words to her ears. Carolyn and her mother were crying, Annie too. Eliza was sulking; all the attention was on Candy, yet again!
“Damn that stable girl! She always has to be the center of attention” She thought
Archie was sitting not too far from the Reagan and the great aunt .
- Well aunt Sara, Candy turns out to be a Casey… what do you know? Said Archie, who would’ve thought that she came from a rich and influential family…? You thought she was good only for the stables… you treated the help better than you treated Candy, they had their quarters in your mansion!
- Shut up Archie, said Sarah between her teeth
But it was too late… Jared Casey heard him, so did the rest of the family.
- What was that? Said Jared, stables? You had my granddaughter live in the stables?
- She was a thief, said Eliza
- Shut up Eliza, said her father
- A thief? Said Jared
He looked at Candy, who had stopped hugging her mother, but was still in her arms.
- Sweetheart, he said, are you a thief?
- No, said Candy
- If you’re not a thief, said Eliza, how come you had Annie Brighton’s ribbon with you…
- Because I left it for her as a present, said Annie, she didn’t steal it! She saved my life! You and your brother almost killed me that day!
- You weren’t so chatty that day, Annie, said Eliza, in fact you didn’t even spoke up to defend your sister…
- And I will regret it for the rest of my life, said Annie, Candy forgave me
Mrs. Casey spoke up.
- You didn’t adopt Candy, she said, so why was she living with your horses?
- I’m afraid that’s my fault, said Mr. Reagan, I took Candy in, so she could keep my daughter company, but it didn’t quite work out…
- “quite” Said Mrs. Casey, she ended up in the stables, sleeping with the horses! Where were you?
- I travel a lot for my business…, said Mr. Reagan a little ashamed
- Figures, said Jared Casey
- Candy, said Sabrina, how was the orphanage where you grew up?
- The Pony Home? It was great! I was happy there…
- Thank God, said Sabrina
- I had two wonderful mothers, Miss Pony and Sister Maria…
- Raised by a nun and a woman with the heart of gold, said Sabrina, I couldn’t have asked for a better beginning for my little girl…I’m so sorry
- Come on, don’t apologise for being sick…, said Candy, I’m just happy you’re alright
Carolyn approached them.
- I told you you had to be one of us! She said hugging Candy
- And you were right, “aunty Carolyn”, said Candy
- Yes! I’m your aunt! This is so great!
- Why didn’t you say anything? Said Jared
- I didn’t want to influence your thoughts; I wanted you to see for yourself…
Carolyn turned to Albert.
- Oh honey! Thank you so much for adopting my niece and saving her from the house of hell… I love you
- I love you too Carolyn
They hugged. Candy turned to Alistair and they hugged
- I’m so happy for you, he said
- Thank you for your support…, said Candy
Candy hugged her grand parents one at the time.
- You’re the best present we’ve ever had…, said Mrs.Casey
- We’ve looked for you everywhere, but since it was years later, when Sabrina remembered, the trail was kind of cold… had we known from the beginning…
- It’s ok, you’re here now, said Candy, oh my God!
Albert turned to Sabrina.
- So Sabrina, you’re sure a 100% that Candy is your daughter?
- Yes, said Sabrina, there’s not doubt in my mind, before I even heard her name, my heart jumped when she came in the room, the voice of blood, I just knew it…
- And she knows about the doll, said Candy , nobody knows about the doll aside from Miss Pony, Sister Maria and I. Miss Pony wanted to keep some details of the way we’re found secret, just in case one of the parents comes and claims one of the children, the child would know the details… because some children might like another story better and adopt it as their own and cause confusion…in case a parent comes, or if someone is investigating, looking for a child… That’s why I’m sure, because if she knows about the doll, wearing a dress that says “Candy”, she must’ve have been the one who put it there…
- And “Candice” is my middle name, said Sabrina in tears, oh my God! I’m still shock!
The Great Aunt had followed the scene without a word. She turned to Sarah.
- You and your children told me Candy was a thief, that she should go to Mexico to work on our property there as a punishment…
- Aunt Elroy
- You lied to me, my grand nephews were right, they were telling the truth… I didn’t listen to them because I was a little jealous, they suddenly like this girl who came out of nowhere, so I listened to you and your children!
- Mexico? Said Jared
- Yes, said Alistair and she was sold…
- Oh my God ! Said Sabrina
Aunt Elroy approached Candy.
- Candy, I want to apologise for the misunderstanding since our first meeting and for listening to Sarah and her children…
- And, Aunt Elroy, remember when your grand nephews wanted you to take care of Candy and Eliza came to say that she was with some low life? That low life, was me….
- Oh my God…! Said Aunt Elroy
- Yes, you chased me off my own property…, said Albert, and I was the one who hit Neil, when he wanted to hurt that horse, not Candy!
- Yeah Neil, said Archie, you wanted to get Candy in trouble so much, you’d rather be humiliated by letting people believe that Candy hit you , than admit it was a man who hit you…
- Pathetic Neil! Said Alistair
Neil looked down.
- I’m sorry Candy, he said
- I’m sorry Candy, said Aunt Elroy, for everything, despite all that, you took care of me when I was sick…
- And Eliza took the credit, said Alistair
- Aunt Elroy, you were older, but not very wise, said Archie
- I realise that now, please accept my apologies, Candy
- Apologies accepted, Aunt Elroy, said Candy smiling and hugging her
- You’re a good person, Candy, she said
All the eyes were staring at the Reagans. Neil already apologised. Mrs. Reagan was sulking with her daughter.
- Candy, said Mr. Reagan, I’m sorry for not being there enough to look after you…and for letting my family treat you like an animal I should’ve done something…
He looked at his wife.
- I’m sorry Candy…, she said with a little voice
- Did you hear something ? Said Archie
- I certainly didn’t hear a thing, said Alistair
- Someone said something? Said Sabrina
- Sarah, said her husband, louder…
- I’m sorry Candy, she said louder
- Don’t you guys have to kneel to apologise? Dared Archie
- What? Said Sarah
- Well, said Alistair, that’s what you told Candy to do when she was apologising for doing nothing, so Dorothy wouldn’t be fired…
- I am not going to comply to your demands! Said Sarah, Aunt Elroy
- You know what the bible says, “Don’t do to others what you wouldn’t want done to you…”, replied Aunt Elroy, you and your children have put us in a very embarrassing situation with the Caseys, because of the way you treated a poor innocent child, who had done nothing to you… her only crime was the fact that your husband brought her in, you wondered why her, and not another girl, you wondered if she was a product of one of his affairs, so you just treated her worst than you treated your staff… you turned her into a maid, did you even give her a salary like the others? She was working for free, on top of that!
- Sarah, said Albert, your husband had the right idea to help out a child in need, but you had to ruin it and your children…you fuelled their bad behaviour…A mother is supposed to teach the difference between right and wrong to her children, not how to treat people badly…I regret staying away, I should’ve taken those children when there was still time…
- I want to change, said Neil
He walked to Candy and kneeled.
- I apologise for everything I did to you Candy…
Candy was stunned.
- Oh my God, Neil! Stand up! Said Candy, I forgive you, but please stand up, you should kneel in front of God Neil…
Eliza was flabbergasted .
- Neil, you moron, are you kidding me? How could you? That is so humiliating!
- Your turn Eliza, said her father
- No! Never!
- You shouldn’t say “never”, said Albert
- Well I…
- Eliza! Said the Great Aunt, comply!
- But aunt Elroy…
Eliza looked at Candy. This last one wanted to see how far Eliza could be pushed, if she didn’t want Neil to kneel in front of her, having Eliza in that position, was something she was looking forward to…
Eliza looked like all the demons from hell were holding her back not to apologise. She was crying of rage, how could Candy humiliate her like that? She’s going to pay… she finally kneeled and said;
- I apologise, then she stood up and ran out of the room crying
- How dare you treat my children like that! Said Sarah
- Your children just did one of the most important thing in this world, they apologised… something you never thought them…, said Albert, your turn…
- It’s an order! Said Albert upset, you believed your son when he told you Candy hit him… Candy, who was still a child at the time… now Sarah!!!!
Sarah looked around for support, she got none. She had to comply and humiliate herself… She could’ve been nice to Candy, treat her well and give her advice, instead she was mean, called her monkey, and went along with everything her children did to Candy… it was time to pay…There’s nothing for free, everything gets paid eventually. Her actions came to bite her in the butt.
Sarah, who looked worst than her daughter, kneeled and said:
- I apologise for everything, Candy
Candy was astonished by the turn of events, said, feeling a little unreal:
- Apologies accepted…
Sarah stood up and stayed. Eliza had to come back in the living room. Aunt Elroy looked at her:
- Eliza, how rude of you to storm out of here like that… do you have something to say?
- I apologise for running out of here, she said looking down.
Albert smiled and said;
- Well now that everything is fine between our two families, I think dinner is ready
As a matter of fact, Dorothy came with a smile as big as the sun and said:
- Dinner is served, sir…
- Thank you Dorothy, said Albert smiling
Dorothy’s eyes met Candy who winked at her. Dorothy’s smile became bigger. It took the time needed, but the Reagan finally paid for their bad behaviour and it was only the beginning. Jared Casey was not going to let the Reagans get away for mistreating his grand daughter…
Everybody stood up to go to the dinning room…Needless to say that, not a peep was heard, from either one of the Reagans…