Candy Candy Manga is written by Kyoko Mizuki, Yumiko Igarashi.
Avatar is drawn by ELSA using watercolor. Thanks Elsa.
Candy Candy Manga is written by Kyoko Mizuki, Yumiko Igarashi
"I" here is Candy.
-Story starts here-
I was sitting alone in Pony's home reading the card from Albert for the hundredth time.
Happy Birthday, Candy!
I wish I could come. I'm sorry to miss it but I promise to visit you the following weekend.
I thought after he revealed his identity as my prince of the hill, he planned to take me with him. He didn't. We met only through diminishing letters. I felt lonelier than when he left me alone in the apartment, than when I was desperately looking for him in Rockstown+. Not even Pony's home merry atmosphere could shake loneliness away from my heart.
I heard a car coming and stop at the yard. With a hollow heart, I stared blankly at his card...
If only it were Albert, I wished sadly.
I heard someone open the front door and soon I heard Peter, one of the boys here, call me and knock at my door.
"Ms. Candy, there's a man looking for you outside."
Hearing that sentence stopped my heart.
Albert? He made a surprise visit? Argh... Albert is here after all. He just pretended he couldn't come to surprise me.
I flew to the front door, put the sweetest smile in my face which soon died out as soon as I saw who the man was. It's not the one with blonde hair and blue eyes I had been dreaming of, but the one with brown hair and brown eyes. Argh…!
"It's only you!" I slammed the door back close.
Peter watched me with eyes and mouth wide open, dumbstruck.
"Ms. Candy… Ms. Pony and Sr. Lane taught us not to slam door to visitors," said Peter.
I realized I just gave a bad manner lesson which had to be corrected quickly.
"Of course, we shouldn't!" I exclaimed. "I-it was the wind." I stammered looking for an excuse. Reluctantly, I reopened the door back.
"That'd be all Peter, I take care of the guest," I said.
Since Peter kept watching me, I had no option but to invite Neal in.
"Come on in," I said rudely with a sour look.
"Happy birthday, Candy," said Neal. He handed me a bouquet of flowers.
I slumped onto the sofa, put a super bored face and tossed the flower bouquet on the table uncaringly.
"You picked them up yourself?" I sneered. Albert always did, I sighed.
"No, I bought it," replied Neal.
"You are supposed to be in Florida, aren't you?" I bent my head down looking at my finger nails to make it clear that I had no interest in his presence.
"I came to Chicago just for your birthday," said Neal.
Instantly, I lifted up my eyes to look into his. Albert, you should hear this!, I thought involuntarily.
"William doesn't come today?" Neal asked.
I saw him openly look at Albert's card that laid on the table.
I snapped the card and gave him a very angry glare for reading Albert's card.
"He is busy! He has a business empire to manage."
"Me, too," Neal shrugged.
Neal examined my face briefly then pressed on.
"Candy, if you want William, you have to work on it."
I felt a sting in my stomach. I had never thought about that. Right! Perhaps, I had been too passively expecting Albert to dot me.
"How?" I couldn't help to show some interest. I pinched myself for openly showing interest in his advice.
"Make him jealous then he'll chase you harder," recommended Neal.
"Make Albert jealous?" I repeated his words, genuinely interested.
"Aunt Elroy is holding a party tomorrow night."
"Party?" I asked.
"Doubtless aunt tried to look for a potential suitor for him," Neal replied.
True, how come I never thought about this? Maybe that's why he's been "busy"?
"Show up at the party with a handsome man. Flirt with him in front of William," advised Neal.
Great idea! I stared at Neal with an admiring look before I stopped it as soon as I was aware of what I was doing.
"Too bad Terry is not here," I said spontaneously.
"What does Terry get to do with this?" Neal raised his eyebrow.
"A handsome man to flirt with obviously," I said matter-of-factly.
I wrecked my brain hard thinking about which other handsome man I could take to the party.
"Terry is not handsome enough," snapped Neal. "The man has to be provokingly handsome so William felt threatened."
I was silent, trying to think of other possible man to take. More handsome than Terry? No one is other than Albert himself, of course.
Neal cleared his throat.
"Say..., like me?" he said quietly.
I was taken aback. His face looked unusually innocent. I couldn't detect any sign of foul play from his clear honest-looking bronze eyes.
"I am readily available too, we can work on the plan quickly. Timing is the key to success," Neal added without giving me time to object.
Neal is correct. If the party were held tomorrow, we'd not have enough time to take Terry come all the way here.
"Tomorrow… Uhm, what if I can't make myself ready?" I asked worriedly.
"Come with me to Chicago, now. I make you ready in no time," said Neal.
I agreed. I'd do anything to see my handsome prince.
That day I went to Chicago with Neal. Using the Leagans' private valet, hairdresser, tailor, and what not he made me ready for the party the following day…
At the party
"Remember, flirt with me to make him jealous," emphasized Neal before we entered the Ardlay mansion to attend the party.
"I don't think I can do it. I am not that type of…," I protested mildly. Suddenly I felt nervous.
"Just follow what I do," said Neal.
He put his arm on my waist and pressed my body closer to his as we went inside. He didn't release my hand throughout the party and we walked back and forth around Albert who's surrounded by guests including breathless beauties.
"He has so many women around him," I complained.
"I can too," quipped Neal.
Suddenly I realized brunettes, blondes, dark hair, red hair, all kind of hair color girls were trying to make opening to Neal, but he never left me for a second. He danced with me, he sat down with me, and chatted with me throughout the evening.
"But, I choose not to," continued Neal. "I prioritize. I give my attention only to the most important person to me."
Hearing his answer made me suffocate. I felt dizzy suddenly.
"Neal, I-I need to get fresh air," I fumbled.
We walked outside together. His hand which had been holding me suddenly felt as hot as a burner; added to that was my uncustomary in using high heel shoes. In nervousness, I got tripped over and fell.
Right before I thought my face was going to hit the hard marble stair, I felt a strong arm wrapped around my body, lifted me up. And when I opened my eyes, I saw a caring pair of brown eyes in a way I had never seen before.
"Are you alright?"
His bass voice was soft and smooth. His eyes gazed at mine ever softly. I gripped his forearms to balance myself and my fingers felt hard muscles. Heat flushed deep inside my core.
For the first time, I noticed Neal had grown up to a six-foot-plus tall man*, dark, hot, leanly built. My eyes spontaneously wandered to the area around his belt buckle to check how flat his stomach was to confirm my idea and drifted even lower still to around that forbidden area.
"Yes, thank you." I blushed, hurriedly withdrew my body from his.
"William is coming," said Neal in a low voice, cutting my thought which was flushed with improper thought.
I glanced sideways and I saw Albert, too. Finally, my prince had time to meet me.
"What to do now?" I murmured.
"This…," Neal whispered.
Before I could do anything, his mouth had swooped down and pressed to mine.
Instantly, my whole body melted at the touch of his soft warm lips. I kissed before in St. Paul. But this was different. It felt like the kiss from a man not a curious exploring kiss of a teenager. His hug was warm, unreserved, and all out – not the one which seemingly warm only in the outside but in the inside was surrounded by hard impenetrable cold ice.
Neal pulled me closer to kiss me deeper. And I loved it, wanted it… soon I forgot about everything else, even Albert.
… … o O o … …
"Wow!" exclaimed Annie and Patty. They stared at me openmouthedly.
"Neal!" exclaimed Patty.
"Yes, Neal," I said, grinned. "That's how I fell in love with him."
Annie and Patty gasped stared at me with wide eyes.
"What happened after the kiss?" Annie asked.
I could remember nothing. The next thing my brain could function was when we were lying naked in his bed. He hugged me in his arms whispering he love me. My body never felt more blissful and my heart never felt so sure that it'd never be alone again.
"He proposed to me. I accepted," replied Candy, censoring the intimate moment from her two friends.
"That fast?" asked Annie, flabbergasted.
"Not as fast as it could have been." I winked, referring to the failed engagement party.
Soon Neal and I were married. Thus, formally marked the end of my lonely days. He gave me the happy family I had been longing to have ever since… as long as I could remember.
We lived happily ever after.
+Albert left Candy alone in the apartment after neighbor's rumors: Book 10 page 14. Rockstown: Book 10, page 35
*leanly built = slender
Albert didn't come to Candy's bday: idea got from CCFS (I read someone wrote about it in the web).
Thanks for reading.
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