Somewhere in time, there's a turmoil in Ardlay corporation. One of Albert's relatives tried to steal The Ardlay's wealth. Albert was captured. Candy was pulled into the intrigue. She had to do her part right or Albert would be killed.

Dangerous Intrigue

Please read here https://www.fanfiction.net/~kellyelin. It's more updated. Thank you.

CHAPTER 1

Albert had been a good and worthy descendant of the Ardlay. He worked hard and did many good things for the company. But he never gave up his love for his trips. Have not been in a trip for a long time, one day Albert decided to go on a trip again. As usual, he didn't plan on telling anyone about his whereabouts nor leave a contact number for anyone to reach him.

Like his ancestors, Albert believed that the Ardlay enterprise should be based on family values. So, he tried to engage all family members to actively participate in the enterprise. The evaluation is purely made based on their job performance. Albert initially worked closely with Archie. But Archie had been busy recently with his growing family so he chose not to be too active in the corporation. At this moment, he, Annie and their young children were in Europe for vacation. On the contrary his younger nephew, Neal, who was still single worked actively in the company. Since Archie had been loosening his duties, Neal had been working closely with Albert to replace him. So before he left, Albert trusted all the corporation decision making to him.

Albert had been actually working for many years as Sir William, the head of Ardlay enterprise, so he started to have enemies too. The most dangerous one was Larry. Before Albert was announced as Sir William, Larry had been the head of the council who took care of the Ardlay enterprise. He was very dissatisfied when the enterprise was finally handed over to Sir William just because his name wasn't William Ardlay. He still thought it should be his considering how many years of efforts he had spent on the enterprise. In addition, he wanted the money. But of course, no matter how much Larry disliked it, Albert was the legal head of the enterprise. Larry had been making many legal lawsuits to the enterprise which Albert and Neal needed to face over and over again. Just recently, before Albert left for his trip, Larry just lost yet another legal battle against him. He was very angry and started to make personal threats to Albert. Neal had been worried about this case. He persuaded him to allow at least someone to check on him every few days during his trip for security purposes considering how important he was. But he refused. Forever having a free spirit, he ignored Neal's advice and insisted on going alone without any contact to anyone. He wanted to just disappear and enjoyed his privacy. He didn't know that Larry had decided to fight him at all cost. If he couldn't get the enterprise by status he'd just take the wealth and ran away with a new identity.

Albert always liked living as an ordinary person. On that day, carrying a backpack he went to the train station. He even planned to use an economy class. He left early in the morning when there wasn't too much crowd to avoid being identified. As he walked along the empty street, he felt something hit his head hard. It was so hard until he got unconscious. When he woke up, he found himself tied up in a chair. In front of him was Larry.

"Sir William, how do you do?" Larry said with a little smile in his lips. "Finally you're up, I have been waiting for a long time."

"Larry?" said Albert. He had a very big headache, he wondered if he's dreaming.

"Precisely," he said coldly. "And I think you know the reason why I kidnapped you?"

"No," said Albert pretending he didn't know.

"You got another amnesia, didn't you Sir William? My person hit your head a bit too hard, didn't they?" he said cynically. "Then let me remind you. I want to be in control of the Ardlay enterprise."

"Larry, your name is not William Ardlay. I'd give it to you happily if you were a William Ardlay."

"Enough," he shouted impatiently. "Let me tell you my plan, I'll get all your money by force from the fool you left in charge of the company and leave you back in charge of a ruin enterprise with zero money. "

"Don't do that," said Albert. "That enterprise was built using many generations of efforts. We should collaborate for its future instead of destroying it." Albert was trying to make a deal with him.

"Collaboration for the sake of your own pocket and fame while the rest of us left penniless in obscurity." He sneered to him. "Forget it."

Albert made more efforts to persuade him but all hit a dead end. Finally Albert said bluffing, "Neal will block your attempt. Your effort will be ruined and you'll end up in jail. Think about it." Although he said that, deep inside, he's not sure if Neal could do that. He's still young and was on his first time experience to be his replacement. He worked with him for sometimes, but not as the head of the whole enterprise. Besides he wondered if he's willing to risk his life to save him. That's a big expectation to make and what a task to accomplish.

Larry laughed at him. "Even you don't truly believe what you just said, do you? That Legan boy! With a baby like that in charge, I doubt the enterprise will survive for another year, even without my interference."

Albert started to regret he didn't follow Neal's precaution advice. What Larry said was correct, Neal was smart and cunning but he didn't have enough experience to handle an intricate conglomerate like the Ardlay enterprise. It harbored more than pure business operations but also the various intrigues that entangled within it. He should have waited a couple of more years before executing his plan to take one long serious trip.

Larry laughed, totally believed he'd win and left the room, still laughing.

On one evening...

Candy was on the way home from work in the hospital when a car stopped by and pointed a gun to her forcing her to enter the car. Frightened, Candy complied and entered the car. As soon as the door closed, the car moved.

"Where are you taking me?" asked Candy frightened.

"You'll see soon, don't ask," one man replied.

Candy kept asking but no one responded so at the end she just watched and waited anxiously. After a while, they blindfolded her eyes so she couldn't see her whereabouts. She felt the car stopped, and she stepped outside of the car. They opened the blind-cover. It took her a while to adjust to the light. But she recognized she's in one elegant study room. She saw one man sat in front of her. She recognized him.

"Uncle Larry?" asked Candy, surprised.

"Yes, Candy Ardlay. How do you do?" he asked, still sat in his chair. "Do you know why you are here?"

"No," answered Candy curiously.

"I want you to do something for me," he said while sipping a glass of wine. "Do you want some?" he asked coldly offering the wine without looking at her.

"What do you want me to do?" asked Candy ignoring his cold offer. Her heart started to beat hard nervously. This couldn't be good, she sensed that while examining his calm but cold face.

"As you know Sir William is not in the his office. I want you to be closed to his representative, the one who substitutes him, while he's away. You need to follow him closely and make sure he will follow my request trough you."

"Why?"

"I am not here to answer your question. You, however, need to follow my order," he said ignoring her question.

"Who is his representative? I am not good at attracting people, what if I can't make him befriend me?" asked Candy wondering why he asked her to do all this.

"Neal Legan. That fool who once proposed to you. He's totally bewitched by you which I could see during that engagement party and all other family gatherings. You have to be nice to him to make sure he entirely falls under your spell. It won't be hard. I will tell you what I want you to do later."

"What if I refuse?" asked Candy.

"Albert will be dead. He's in my hands."

"I don't believe you," said Candy.

"No? Then listen to his voice." He handed a phone to Candy.

"Hello?" said Candy cautiously anticipation what to hear.

"Candy is that you?" she heard the undisputedly Albert's familiar voice.

"Yes, this is Candy. Albert, how are you doing?" asked Candy starting to panic.

Albert said, "I am fine. Whatever Larry said or make you do, don't listen to him, Candy. Especially don't make Neal follow his order. He's a threat to our family�" at this point Larry put his finger in the phone button to cut the connection. The phone got hung up.

Candy shouted his name again and again in vain, really worried about him. "Albert, ... Albert." But no one answered.

"Do not harm him," she said to Larry with eyes flashed with anger. She's worried about him more than her own safety.

"His well being entirely depends on you. Now go, and get Neal to fall on his knees. He'll have a birthday day party soon. You can use that as an opportunity to start contacting him again. Don't try to mess around with me. Don't tell the police, don't tell Neal, or Sir William will be dead," threatened Larry.

They took Candy back to the car, blindfolded her and put her back where they took her. Candy felt like having a nightmare. She tried to wake up from it. Unfortunately, she couldn't because it was real. She was trying to think how to make out of it. She decided to start by going to Neal's birthday party. She really had been trying to avoid him and really didn't feel like interacting with him. But it seemed there's no option. Oh well, as long as Albert would be fine, Candy thought to herself. That would be her first visit to his birthday party ever. That would be her fist time to talk to him in years too. They met occasionally in family gatherings, but she always tried to avoid him.

So on his birthday, Candy came to join the birthday party. It was held in his parents' residence. So, she meticulously prepared for her dress, jewelry and more since she knew how his mother cared about appearance. Since she's in the job to please them, she'd better behave accordingly. So she arrived at the party. As expected, Mrs. Legan was properly dressed. Although she's a bit allergic to that family, she couldn't help to admire how good she looked. She didn't seem to age at all since the first time she met her. She invited first class girls to come to the party hoping one of them would become her beloved son's bride. Unlike in the past, she treated Candy better too. Time healed wounds, besides Candy had an amiable status now, an Ardlay, Sir William's daughter. Among the crowd she tried to look for Neal which was the purpose of her visit. Finally, she spotted him surrounded by young beauties.

Like mother like son, he also looked stylish. He's grown up, tall and charming just like the rest of the Ardlay boys. It's hard not to admire his good look, even for Candy who used not to like him. He saw her too and was visibly surprised to see her. As soon as he saw Candy, he left everyone and came to her as though attracted by a magnet. Oh no, here we go again, she thought to herself.

With honeyed voice Candy said, "Happy birthday, Neal." She approached to hug him lightly.

In return he hugged her tightly until she almost couldn't breathe. He wanted to kiss her but worried that she'd slap him which would be embarrassing considering he's the center of attention tonight. So he decided to just hug her. She always be a goddess in his heart. As usual, his brown eyes looked straight at her without blinking looked smitten and totally mesmerized by her beauty. In fact, Candy was more than an average beauty. Especially that night where she spent serious effort to look good. He stood so close to her as though ready to kiss her at any time which made her really want to run away. But again she reminded herself of her purpose of visit to save Albert, so instead with an inviting smile and friendliest tone she gave enchanting greetings and chatted with him. He totally fell under her spell. She also suggested him to go back to his guesses, she'd stay longer after the party to have a private chat with him later.

"Oh no, that's okay, let me accompany you," he insisted totally bewitched by her. He's afraid that she'd go home without giving him the opportunity to talk to her.

But Candy insisted and promised she'd stay longer so they could chat privately better later. He asked her to promise one more time, which she did. So he agreed and left to greet his other guests. As soon as he left, she felt so relieved. She really didn't feel too comfortable to be with him. What a task, she thought to herself.

While waiting she paid closed attention on him. He looked to her direction often to check if she really stayed like what she promised and if she chatted with another man. And if she did, his checking frequency went up to see what she actually did with the man until the man left. Both of their eyes met often and Candy bashfully pretended to look to another direction. She couldn't believe the flock of beauties who clearly was after him. But, seeing from the far, she couldn't blame them. He's pretty attractive and really could have a gentleman manner too. He had a good family background, wealth and a good career. After the girls left, Neal came to Candy again. She didn't know that he's been waiting impatiently for those girls to leave so he could be with her. He's so eager to go to her and talk to her. Candy was always the only woman in his heart.

"Candy, thanks so much for coming to my birthday party," he said with smitten eyes that non stopped staring at her.

She tried to avoid his eyes and showed him her birthday gift. She gave him a book about cars. He was very happy to receive it and many times told her how thoughtful she was. Again he stared at her looking totally smitten. She's very nervous with the stare of someone who's ready to kiss her at anytime. He's still the same, she thought. Since her purpose was to attract and to be with him, with the brightest smile she invited him to come to a bake sale event in her hospital which she organized. He looked visibly moved and happy. They did more chatting before Candy left. She hugged him lightly in return he gave her a long and tight hug.

So on that day, he came with Candy to the bake sale event in the hospital where Candy treated him with a high degree of hospitality. Candy baked some bread too and she especially sliced one of hers for him to try with the most inviting smile. After the bake sale, she invited him to such and such event and so on. She kept trying to create activities to be closed to him. He found it weird but since he loved her anyways, he participated actively and used the opportunity to be with the woman he always loved.

After a while, Neal couldn't help to be really suspicious and think how strange it was that she was this friendly. In the past she was so aggressive and full of bitterness to him. She never came to his birthday party and suddenly she appeared with the brightest smile. She always tried to avoid him and now suddenly she tried to be glued to him. What could possibly happen, he wondered. Would it possible that she's hopelessly looking for a boyfriend? He quickly ruled out that possibility since historically, she never lacked of any dates or had any difficulties to attract men. He started to think about other possibilities where he suddenly realized that her sudden appearance and nice behavior to him came about at the same time as when Albert went away on his secret vacation. It could be a coincident, but what if it's not. The thought of what could have happened made him feel very uneasy. Sir William was really famous, rich and important. He always thought it's dangerous that he went alone now that his identity was revealed. So, secretly he hired detectives to follow Candy's every move and at the same time to investigate Albert's whereabouts. He wondered if he overreacted, but worse came to worse Albert would be just angry to him for meddling with his private affair.

After being with him doing so many things together, she started to get used to be around him and started to enjoy that too. Since she didn't do anything to provoke him, he didn't do anything to provoke her either, so both of them had been in friendly terms. In addition, both had missions in their mind. Candy to save Albert, and Neal to understand her odd behavior in addition to of course being genuinely happy to be with her. So with all these things in mind, both were enjoying their times together and visiting many public occasions. At his presence, she noticed his clear-cut and well-bred look brought shouting impressions to anyone on the first encounter. His job and family status clearly helped too. Topped that with his positive and daring personalities. His proud smile, as though not worried what others thought about him, with a touch of modesty and humbleness really captivated the spectacles. He greeted everyone with a smile and a hearty hand shake which made others feel special and made them feel he really meant it. His presence always brought them in the center of attention. In all occasions, he always made it clear that he came to accompany Candy and how important person she was to him. Secretly he's hoping his presence helped to get rid of any potential suitor for Candy, of course he didn't tell her that. However, his presence was indeed her brightest accessory. Even though she's been with him since they were little she never knew this side of him. Well, perhaps his current occupation as a business man helped too, so she thought. Like others, she was not immune to his charm and slowly but surely started to be drawn to him.

One late night, after one the events they attended together, he invited her to come to his home in Chicago down town. They had been doing it regularly, either he or she came to her or his place. Of course, Candy accepted it. Both sat in the sofa and started to chat in friendly terms. Both were genuinely enjoying each other company. After being with her for weeks, his love to her grew uncontrollably. Although his head warned him about the unknown danger she might possess, he just couldn't contain his desire to kiss her anymore. He wondered if this suspicious Candy would allow him to. He started to move closer and closer to Candy. She knew and had a feeling that he's going to kiss her but unlike in the past where she's ready to slap or push him, this time she just couldn't reject it. She wondered if it's because her mission to seduce him or because she started to develop some feeling for him. Regardless what the real reason was, she felt too powerless to reject. She just let him kiss her. She planned to just pretend she enjoyed it, got her goal done and went home in one minute. But once she felt his kiss, the more she started to desire for more. How he could kiss! She started to react and kissed him back which motivated him to do the next move. His hands started to touch her neck and moved lower and lower... How he could caress. His touch was magical. What initially started as a mechanical mission, it become a wave of affection which blew all her senses away. She helplessly enjoyed it and let him devoured her body which she relished and even carved for more. Feeling her response, he carried her to his bed without stopping kissing her. She had the best love making experience, more than she ever imagined. His passion was poignant and clear. Throughout their intimacy he said "I love you, Candy" repeatedly which stimulated her even more. They made love many times again and again that night with stronger and stronger intensity each time.

The following day, she woke up and found herself on top of him. Feeling her movement, he woke up too and stared at her. They smiled at one another. He started to touch her again affectionately. Surprisingly, even after all night long of love making it still aroused her and both were doing it again. After that she just got so exhausted, felt thoroughly satisfied and fell asleep. She could feel he came to caress her hair, told her he loved her, gave her a kiss and whispered good bye because he needed to go to work. When she woke up it was already late morning. She found that he left her a note:

"Good morning, Candy. Be sure to have your brunch before going out today. I already asked the servant to prepare for you. I asked my driver to stand by ready to take you wherever you want. Love, Neal."

It was so sweet, she thought. She remembered the good bye kiss he gave her before going to work and smiled at that. He showered her with love more than anyone had ever done. What started as a mission becoming a serious love connection. Still naked, in his bed, she reflected of what happened that night, how he kept saying he loved her, and all the passion she felt. She started to feel for him the way she hadn't thought about before. She worried what uncle Larry would do to him and wished both him and Albert left unharmed. With that she got up and started the day. She asked the driver to take her home first before going to the hospital. Little she knew that the servants were talking behind her. Seeing the natural beauty of Sir William's daughter and how late she got up, they couldn't help to talk about the hot night she might have spent with their young master.

CHAPTER 2

To Candy's fear that evening again uncle Larry's people took her to meet him. He asked if Neal already fell under her trap. She said, "Yes," felt a bit embarrassed with what happened the previous night.

"Did you tell anyone about me?" he asked with piercing eyes as though trying to catch any slight of dishonesty if there's any in her answer.

"No, I didn't," said Candy truthfully.

Then he gave a phone to her to chat with Albert.

"Albert, are you okay?" asked Candy anxiously.

"Yes, Candy, don't worry about me. Don't drag N..." He meant to say Neal but the phone connection was cut. Again Candy called his name again and again but no one responded.

Then Larry asked Candy to call Neal to arrange a meeting to meet him tomorrow. He made her call him for the plan. So she called him. She tried to sound as natural as possible. She wondered if she's successful considering how terrified her heart actually was.

Meanwhile in Neal's office...

A few minutes before Candy called, one detective contacted Neal.

"Mr. Legan, we followed Candy. She went to one of Lawrence MacCarthy property."

Neal's heart sank to hear that. Larry, he thought. After giving a brief instruction, Neal acknowledged and hung up. The news set up the alarm since none of the detectives could confirm that Albert had ever left Chicago. In addition, Larry and Albert had a very bitter relationship. He wondered what Candy was doing there and if she and Larry knew about Albert's whereabouts.

He was so deep in thinking that he almost jumped in surprise when one of his many phones rang. It's from the private line.

"Neal's here," he answered.

"Neal, it's Candy," he heard Candy's voice from the other line. He was so surprised that he almost called her name out loud. She never called him and now she called from Larry's place? He could catch the unusual nervousness in her voice, too. He immediately called one of his detectives using another one of his many phones. He put one phone on one ear for Candy, and another phone on the other ear to call the detective. Of course he covered the microphone so Candy couldn't hear what he said to the detective.

"Candy's on the phone. Tap the line and find out her location." He wanted to confirm the location if indeed as what reported by the earlier detective.

The detective acknowledged. While he's tapping, Neal tried to remain calm and conducted conversation naturally with Candy. To buy more time, he started to babble and talked about the weather, food and other trivial things. Neal usually didn't talk pointlessly, but since he babbled, Candy babbled back to him so their conversation became longer and longer. When the detectives finished the job, Neal stopped talking too. He promised her he'd come tomorrow and they hung up.

Larry was so impatient waiting for Candy's lengthy babbling with Neal. He was so relieved when it was finally over.

"Such a fool, I can't believe he talked so much nonsense," he said with a disgusted face.

The meeting was settled for the following day. Candy was very frightened. It'd be done outdoor.

The detective confirmed the location as reported by the earlier agent. Neal's heart was heavy wondering what really was happening behind him. How much he wished he could contact Albert to confirm his real status. His heart also hurt realizing the suspicion that had been haunting him. More and more evidence showed that Candy had something behind her sweetness to him instead of a genuine love he's been hoping for. My dear Candy, you knew that I loved you, I hoped one day you'd love me too, he thought sadly about her. Back to his senses, he decided to check what really was inside that Larry's property. He'd take a full responsibility no matter what the outcome would be. He called his secretary and gave her a list of personnel to contact and invite to his meeting. He felt the time had come to execute his plan and to take some serious action.

The following day, the detectives and police officers were hiding around Larry's property. They kept giving update to Neal regularly by phone and told him what they saw. Around the meeting time with Candy, Neal came to join them. When they saw Larry leaving the property, the police stormed in to do some investigation. Neal was waiting outside anxiously. Although it's too late to back off, he non stopped debating his state of action. His heart raced and felt tormented if he did the right thing. What if actually there really nothing happened and all was just his imagination. He had involved so many personnel and if it indeed was for nothing, Albert would definitely kill him after he returned from the trip. What a humiliation he'd bring to the Ardlay enterprise just because of his suspicion to a woman. The same woman that caused the big scandal from that infamous engagement party. Everyone would think he's crazy. Probably, I was crazy, he thought. He felt excruciating nervous pain in his stomach. Each second that passed seemed like hours. The more he waited the more he thought he's hopelessly wrong.

Meanwhile, inside the building, an officer found one locked room. Carefully they knocked and inquired if anyone was inside.

Albert heard someone knocked at the door and the inquiry. He answered "William" without thinking much nor expecting bold rescue mission on the way.

"Sir William, get clear form the door, we will try to open the door from outside by force." He heard someone talking from outside. One officer then hurriedly went outside to inform Neal about the discovery and to call some more personnel to get in to help out.

Albert heard noises at the door for sometime like the sound of wire being put into a key hole, people talking, and more. Finally he saw the door opened. He was startled to find several men who he didn't recognize came entering his room. One man identified themselves as police officers. It was so surreal.

"Sir William, please come with us. We come to rescue you. Mr. Legan was outside to meet you too."

They took Albert outside. After being captured for so long he felt disoriented and not sure what's real or what's fake. He wondered if Larry did more psychological game to him. But finally he saw Neal. He felt really relieved to see him. The moment Neal saw him, he felt totally overjoyed. He felt fantastic that he decided to take the chance to investigate Larry's property. He ran to greet him and hugged him with a relieved smile.

"Albert, it's so good to see you."

Albert hugged him back felt so relieved to be free finally. He had been really worried for the Ardlay enterprise. Both laughed happily like two old friends who had not seen each other for years. "How did you know that I was detained here?" he asked him finally.

"To be honest with you, I didn't know for sure," admitted Neal with a grin. "It's a long story. I'll tell you more in the car. We need to go quickly to meet Candy. We shouldn't let them wait for too long otherwise they might get suspicious." Neal explained.

They left the rest of the operations to the police officers and went for the meeting with Candy. In the car, Neal told him his story and their plan for Larry. Albert also received some medical check up and other precaution measures to make sure all was fine with him.

The officers who went with them all wore ordinary clothes just like regular hikers or outdoor-goers. At the destination, only one car with Neal and one officer in it came first. The officer pretended to be his driver. The officer who accompanied Neal actually was studying the situation before going back to tell the others. Neal came to meet Candy alone. He took a recording device with him to record his conversation with Larry.

Candy had been standing waiting for Neal since the appointed meeting time. She hoped he would never show up. But to her disappointment he did come although he came late. He walked with his ordinary gesture and came to approach her.

"Hi Candy. Sorry I am late, there's something on the road," said Neal cheerfully although nothing happened.

"Neal..." said Candy.

Before she could even speak Larry and one person with a gun appeared.

Seeing them coming with a gun, Neal greeted him with a cold smile, "Uncle Larry."

"Hi Legan, long time not see. How's the Ardlay corporation doing?" he said sneering.

"It's doing just fine. What a surprise to see you here," he said sneering back at him.

Larry laughed cynically. "Brave until the end," he said

"What do you want from me?" he asked calmly ignoring his comment.

"I want the security code to the Ardlay banking system," he said right to the point.

Neal laughed coldly out loud. "And why should I give that to you? And why do you need to drag Candy to here?" he asked back not answering his demand.

"Silence you fool," Larry started to be impatient. "Give me the security code now."

"You are not answering my question why should I answer yours?"

"Isn't it obvious? I want money. Give it to me now or I blow your head off," he said pointing a gun to him. "She's my ransom"

Neal grinned. "I don't have any security code, you know only the true head of the enterprise, Sir William, has it. Not me."

"But he left you in charge while he's out to have fun, didn't he? I know he gave it to you since you momentarily represented him in the company."

"If you know that I am in charge of the company then you should know that I will never give you the code. I'm in charge of it, I am responsible for it, I won't give it to you," he said matter-of-factly.

"You and Sir William never stop causing me trouble." He said with so much hatred in his tone. "This company belongs to me. It's his just because he has the Ardlay name in it. I am as much Ardlay as him."

"Clearly not from your first and last name. That's how the system works, get over it," answered Neal in a tone which annoyed Larry so much.

"You gave the code to me or I'll kill you." Larry started to be impatient.

"Shoot me then," he quipped with a threatening grin. "No way I give in to a lunatic like you."

Larry was so angry, Candy was so scared. She saw Neal's grin before but this time he had a gun pointed to his head, she wondered how come he still could do it. She felt as if a gun sound was going to bang at any moment.

"Neal, be careful," she couldn't help to whisper.

"Maybe I shouldn't shoot you, I should shoot her instead." He waved to his staff to move to Candy. The person held Candy and pointed a gun to her head.

"Let her go," demanded Neal tried hard to look calm and not to look panic seeing his love was in danger. "How low can you be? You're even threatening her!" He said with angered voice.

He laughed cynically, "Give me the code, Legan, or I blow her head off."

Suddenly out of the blue they saw Candy kicked the guy who held her and took the gun from his hand. Candy pointed the gun to Larry and said, "Don't move or I blow your head off. You shoot him, you're dead, I swear to you."

Neal was so surprised and scared with the development. He's so worried that Larry would out smart Candy and shot her. Clearly this was out of his expectation.

"The game is over, uncle Larry," Candy said.

"Really?" he said. He then whistled to call his people. But to his surprise, it's Albert who showed up. He didn't know that while he was talking with Neal, the officers had secretly captured all of his personnel.

"Sir William? How come you are here?" he said surprised. Neal used the opportunity to kick the pistol from his hand and ran to Candy to cover her. The police who had been listening the conversation secretly from behind the bush quickly arrested him.

"You thought I was somewhere in the dungeon, didn't you, Larry?" Albert said coldly. "Thanks to my nephew Neal, I can be here at this moment."

Larry was so upset, the only thing he could was to laugh hysterically. The police took him away. He stopped at Neal's face and hissed like a mad man with eyes wide opened, "You think you win? You think that woman wants you, don't you? All she did was to play her part that I asked her to do." He laughed hysterically.

Albert hugged Candy who's very happy to see him alive. Neal took out the recording device from his pocket and gave it to Albert. Albert nodded to him and went with Larry.

After everyone left, he asked Candy the question that's been haunting him. " Was it true? What you did to me, was it just part of his game?"

Candy felt so miserable with guilt but answered the truth, "It's true..."

Neal was very disappointed. His heart crushed to pieces not matter how much he had prepared and expected to hear what she had just said. He turned around to walk away when she called him back and finished her sentence, "Neal, I started by using you, but I then I fell in love with you. I might have been dishonest to you, but I was under pressure. What happened that night was real. I love you, Neal. I don't lie when I say that I love you."

He slowly turned around and asked her, "Is this a joke or another lie?" He didn't expect to hear this from Candy.

"I love you, Neal. It's true. I honestly love you," said Candy again. Then she added sarcastically, "Otherwise, I'd let you walk away and not bother to call you back, wouldn't I?" She grinned, using his signature style of grin.

Seeing her grin, Neal walked to approach her with happiness shone from his face and she ran to him. Both hugged. "I love you, Candy. This real Candy is better." He kissed her unappeasebly. "After that night, I knew I can't live without you anymore. I want to hug you every night. I want to look at your face every morning before I go to work." He showered her with kisses.

Suddenly Candy wondered how come Albert was here and cut him off. "How did you release Albert?"

So he told his story. How he felt it's weird that suddenly she became obedient and friendly to him, and so on. "The night you called me, I gave lengthy gibberish talk, so we could tap the phone and found out where you made the phone from. I hired detectives and they figured out what happened. We waited outside his home until Larry left where they stormed in to save Albert. That's why I came late," he said smiling proudly to himself.

"Smart!" praised Candy genuinely impressed. "So you knew all along that I was playing on you?"

"I didn't know but I suspected that," corrected him with a grin. "I am not that stupid."

"So what happened that night...?" asked her.

"I knew you're using me. So I might as well use the opportunity," he said with a grin. "But you liked it, didn't you?" he was about to kiss her again but she pushed him this time with an angry face, then walked away. However, Neal could see a blush from her cheek as she walked away. He ran to chase her and knelt down in front of her.

"Candy, please. Now if you look back, don't you think our drama was worthwhile? We saved Albert," he said. "Candy, please marry me. I don't want you as my girlfriend, I don't want you as my date, I want you to be my wife. I have known you since I was little, I think I have known you enough that I am so ready to marry you even now if necessary. Please please marry me," begged Neal.

Candy was looking at him in shocked. She never knew that it'd be this fast. And to propose her after all that happened, that was so Neal.

"Where's the ring?" she teased him.

"I don't have it right now," he said with an embarrassed look realizing that he really didn't have a ring to give her. "But,... Oh, I can't believe this...," he stammered in embarrassment, "I actually didn't plan to propose to you tonight. I was thinking I was going to catch a bad guy... But I promise I'll give it to you at home right away."

Candy laughed. "I was kidding," she said and nodded. She pulled him and both kissed deeply to one another.

"Please don't use me again in the future, it hurts so much. I knew you're using me, but I was too powerless to deny it," he said while busy kissing her.

"Next time, I'll kill myself to avoid you being killed," said Candy full of love.

"No, next time you should tell me and we handle the bad guys together," corrected Neal. "You're so hot when fighting bad guys to defend me. That's how I fell in love with you in the first place, do you know that*?" He kept kissing her.

They heard someone clearing his throat. It's Albert. Albert had expected to see both of them fighting, harassing each other, or teasing one another. To his surprise he found a pair of lovebirds.

"Sorry to interrupt," he said looking at another direction to avoid looking directly at them. "We need to go home. It's getting dark and we're far from home. But first, let me thank you both."

He hugged them. He promised to be more careful next time and followed some step of precaution as suggested by Neal, much to their relieved. On the long way home they told him about the proposal. Neal also asked if he could marry his daughter and Albert couldn't be happier. He found it amusing to see both of them holding hands with so much love. He treasured Neal's commitment and all he did to save him. He'd be a proud father-in-law. He genuinely thanked Candy too for her total dedication to help him as always. Neal's mother was also very happy. It's always her goal to have her beloved son marry a daughter of a rich and high status family. And he got someone with Ardlay's last name. Sir William's daughter.

At home, Neal really gave Candy an exquisite diamond engagement ring, family heritage that had been used for many generations for the first son in the Legan's family. She wore it with so much pride.

They lived happily ever after.

THE END

Note:

* in the manga, Neal was surrounded by bullies and Candy helped him by beating them up. That's how he started to develop some feeling towards her.

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