This minifict is dedicated to Sabrina Cornwell (also known as Sabrina Weasley)...
Candy Candy manga is written by Kyoko Mizuki, Yumiko Igarashi
One year after the manga ended...
Albert, as Sir William, and Candy were attending a conference about health care workers from around the world.
"Ladies and gentleman, we just heard the presentation of Dr. Meredtih Kleypas about her experience as a health worker in Africa," said the announcer at the end of Dr. Kleypas' presentation.
Everyone clapped hands rapturously. Candy too, but she noticed Albert didn't. He stared blankly to the front as if he's not aware of what happened surrounded him. She nudged him.
"Albert... Clap your hands," whispered Candy. As Sir William, she knew that all eyes were at him.
Her nudge alerted him, and right away he clapped as she instructed.
"Something wrong?" asked Candy.
"No... Nothing...," said Albert.
Meredith, thought Albert. Good grief!
At the end of the conference as usual Sir William was surrounded by press and reporters.
Candy watched him from the far. This time, he didn't look like himself. His mind seemed to be far away and wasn't focus as he usually did. She went to the center of the crowd and pulled Albert's hand much to his gratitude.
"Albert, are you alright?" asked Candy. "Is there a problem?"
"I'm fine. Thanks for saving me," said Albert. He heaved a huge sigh, couldn't feel more relieved. "Let me take you home."
He dropped her off at her home and kissed her cheek as usual.
As soon as she entered her house, he talked to George.
"George, ask Dr. Meredith Kleypas to come to my office today if possible, if not then tomorrow, as soon as her schedule permits," said Albert. "Also, pick up Pouppe, bring him to my office."
Helpful as usual, George successfully managed to arrange for Dr. Meredith Kleypas to meet Albert that late afternoon. He also brought Pouppe to Albert's office.
"Dr. Kleypas, thanks for coming with such a short notice," said Albert shaking her hands.
"Sir William, not at all," returned Meredith equally formally.
"Dr. Kleypas, you worked in Africa? I was there too once," said Abert opening the conversation.
After some discussions, which made him sure she's the one he's been looking for, Albert called Poupple. Pouppe ran to Albert and directly sat on his shoulder.
"This is Pouppe, Dr. Kleypas," said Albert, patting Pouppe's head at the same time. "I wonder, do you know him?"
"Pouppe," said Meredith surprised, didn't expect to meet the skunk in Sir William's office. Pouppe jumped to her lap showing he recognized her.
Forgetting all formality, right away she stared at Albert's face... The gentle blue eyes, kind smile, dashing face... Pouppe, but it can't be. His hair was brown? And Sir William...?
"Meredith," said Albert calling her using the first name, softly, "I'm Albert."
"That day, I went to the town to buy you a surprise engagement ring, but my train exploded. Then, I had amnesia..."
"But, how come?" she stared at him, eyes open widely.
"Albert is Sir William. My real hair is blonde," explained Albert. "Meredith, my love to you stays unchanged. I didn't abandon you, I had amnesia. After I got well, I was looking for you. But I lost track of you. You never told me your last name..."
"Albert," she cried tearfully. "Oh Albert! My love!"
She slammed herself to his arms... He welcomed her, kissed her...
One year later... After the wedding ceremony of Meredith and Albert was over and the bride and the groom had left for the honeymoon...
Candy strolled alone along the lake. Albert, her prince of the hill, had married. What seemed like a fairy tale story didn't actually end up like one. She went to Anthony's grave. She stared at it, thinking that he would have been her real prince, if only he were still here. She then walked to Stear's grave nearby and saw Patty kneel down praying.
Candy stood silently until Patty noticed her. She smiled at Candy.
"Candy, I'm going back to Pony's home this evening," said Patty.
Patty had been working as a teacher in Pony's home. She came today just to attend Albert's wedding.
"You won't stay here for a few more days?" asked Candy.
"Teachers don't have time for a holiday," she smiled. "My students are waiting for me tomorrow morning."
"Patty, it's been two years... I know many single doctors, I can introduce you to ..."
"Candy, thank you. But, I never believe he's dead. I'll wait for him to return," she said. She hugged Candy and left.
Candy stared sadly at her back. Her devotion to Stear was more serious than what she thought. Candy stood in front of Stear's tomb thinking about him, wondering if he's actually dead or alive. It's a fact that his body was never found. If only they could know for sure what happened to him. She sighed, then went back to the mansion.
At the gate, she saw Neal. Hurriedly she threw her face and fastened her step.
"Candy wait...," called Neal, chasing her.
She turned around abruptly and hissed, "What do you want?"
"Candy, forgive me."
After all the hardship he made her suffer suddenly he asked for forgiveness! How dared he! How would she know that this wasn't his other awful trap?
"Go away!" she said with hatred and continued walking.
"Candy, give me one minute, please."
"One minute," said Candy looking at her watch.
"In Florida, I couldn't stop thinking about you. I've wronged you. Not a single day pass by which I don't regret my atrocity towards you. Please forgive me. And about the engagement proposal, I proposed to you because I love you, truly love you. I don't lie about that."
She didn't give a response.
"I'll do anything to amend my mistake. I get you the water from the moon..."
"I have no use of the water from the moon," cut Candy.
"Then, let me do something else," begged Neal.
"I don't need anything, especially from you. Request is rejected, you may leave now," said Candy. "Your one minute is over."
"Candy, give me a second chance, please," said Neal still following her.
"Go away, even if we're the only two humans left on earth, I still don't want to see you."
But Neal kept following her.
"Fine, I give you one task," said Candy. "Go find Stear. Bring him back to Patty, alive! If you can do that, I'll forgive you."
-To Be Continued-
Thanks for reading.
Pouppe or Poppi: Albert's pet, the skunk.
Unlike what Candy thought, Neal took the task seriously. He went to George because he knew uncle William had been doing investigation about Stear's whereabouts.
"The most current investigation points to, if Stear were alive, he should be taken to a camp in Rastatt*. If he were still alive, that is," explained George.
"Did William send anyone there to investigate?" asked Neal.
"Not yet. He's still looking for people to recruit. This area is too dangerous, so far no one wants to risk their life that much."
"Could I talk to the investigators?"
"Certainly, Master Neal," replied George politely. "This is an open project, but thus far no one is interested in this case except Sir William himself."
If I don't go, I'll die because she'll never forgive me. If I go, I might find Stear and get her forgiveness. I have to go, thought Neal.
Neal did some independent study by himself then went to meet the investigators. He requested one investigator and one more personnel to take him to the village. He offered them a lot of money. But since the mission was naturally dangerous, they hesitated to accept the project. Neal assured them that he's not totally clueless to the battlefield. He was in the the army reserve for one year. He also agreed that their job was only to take him to the village, they didn't need to go near the camp. After some negotiation, two people, Jay and Peter agreed to take him there.
Without telling his parents, he went to Europe to look for Stear. Jay and Peter accompanied him to go to the village, then he went alone to the camp...
In one solitary cell, one man was sitting staring at the wall, the same like yesterday, the day before, and every single day for the last two years. But, the usually quiet morning was interrupted by people shouting. He heard an interrogation was being performed outside his cell.
"Answer, truthfully. Are you serving the King of England?" barked one soldier.
"The Republic?" barked the soldier again.
"Then who do you serve? Don't lie!"
"The woman I love."
The man-in-the-cell laughed quietly. What an answer!
He heard the soldiers laughed mockingly followed by the sound of beating. Before long, the cell was opened and one man was thrown on the floor.
After the guards left and locked the cell, the man-in-the-cell approached the man-on-the-floor.
"Are you OK, buddy?" the man-in-the-cell asked. "Heavens, I've heard countless of interrogations but no one gave an answer as sentimental as you did."
"I do this, honestly, for her. My beloved woman, my goddess. Even if I died today, at least I die doing something for her."
"Such a passionate man, who's the lucky woman?"
"My beautiful Candy."
"Candy is one lucky lady. I know one woman named Candy, too. She's beautiful."
"My Candy will put all goddesses to shame at her presence. Candy is your lover?"
"No, she's my friend. My lover is Patty."
In a split second the man-on-the-floor sat up and looked up to him. "What's your name?"
Now it's Stear's turn to stand upright. "Neal? Neal Leagan?"
"Yes. Where're your glasses?"
"Broke when my plane fell."
They laughed, hugged and did what good old friends did when they met each other.
"Finally, you're not immune to her charm, are you?" asked Stear.
"No one is, except the dorky uncle William."
Neal told Stear about who uncle William was. He also told Stear about his mission to save him to get Candy's forgiveness.
"Holy! Life is good! Albert! And, who would've thought you become this sentimental." Stear laughed and hugged Neal again. "I'm darn lucky to be alive to witness this."
Stear then turned to be serious. He said with a low voice, "Neal, I know how to escape from here."
These two years, Stear had secretly dug a tunnel. The final step, however, had to be performed with two people. They had to collaborate to ensure that there's no guard around when one dug and to alert the other one should their cell was being checked.
Delightedly, they worked on the escape plan. Now there're two of them, they could dig the tunnel faster. Soon they're ready to escape.
On one dark night with no moon in the sky, they got into the tunnel and escaped. They carefully walked to the nearby village at night. Too bad, in the morning they heard dogs barked and soldiers shouted. Their escape plan was discovered and they were being chased.
"Stear, you go. I stop them," said Neal, turn around to turn himself in.
"No," said Stear. "We go together."
"If I go home without you, she'll never forgive me. I'd rather die here. You must make it alive to tell Candy that I love her," said Neal.
Neal pushed Stear forward and run to block them from Stear when a truck full of hay stopped in front of him.
Someone whispered, "Neal, get inside."
Neal saw Peter and Jay in disguise as farmers driving the truck. Hurriedly he grabbed Stear, pushed him and himself in the stack of hay. The truck moved taking them crossing the border to Switzerland...
"Jay, Peter!" Neal hugged them excitedly. "You're still here."
"We felt ashamed to leave you alone. We are the ones who are soldiers. Private Stear is a hero who served our country, we should save him instead of running away like cowards!"
They then went back to America. Everyone was excited that Stear came back alive. Archie hugged him the longest, delightedly showed him his beloved pregnant wife, Annie. His parents especially came to Chicago to meet their son. Albert, aunt Elroy, everyone thought highly of Neal. Even Candy.
"You're fabulous," said Candy hugging Neal.
"Would you forgive me now?" asked Neal.
She nodded, smiled, then cried happy tears. "Thanks, Neal."
He wiped her tears gently with his fingers.
"Could I kiss you?" asked Neal softly.
"Neal, I'm dating someone."
"I don't care," he whispered. He tipped her chin up so her eyes met his tender gaze. He bent down, slowly brought his lips to meet hers, kissed her deeply...
"Candy, I'll wait for you for the rest of my life. If that's not enough, I'll wait one hundred more years, a thousand more years if necessary."
He then left to take Stear to meet Patty to complete his task.
-To Be Continued-
* The city name is taken from Frank Savicki's story, a prisoner who escaped from the Germans during the World War 1.
The tunnel: Frank Savicki didn't do it, but some of the escaped prisoners of the world war 1 used this method to escape.
Thanks for reading.
Thanks Sabrina, Elsa for the review. This is a short fict. Next one is the last one.
"Hi Patty, this is Neal Leagan," said Neal on the phone, cheerfully. "Guess what? Stear is here!"
"She hung up," said Neal dumbfoundedly. He stared blankly at Stear who laughed heartily.
He never changed, thought Patty. Once a loser, always be a loser.
Neal redialed the phone.
"Patty, don't hang up!" pleaded Neal. "Stear is..."
"You are still the same, aren't you! How dare you to misuse his name to make fun of me," roared Patty in anger.
"No...," said Neal.
Clicked. She hung up again.
Her voice was so loud that Stear could hear every word of it.
"Let me do it," said Stear gleefully, breaking the silence.
But Neal insisted on having his job done. He called again.
"PATTY, STEAR WANTS TO TALK TO YOU!" Neal screamed as loud as he could to make sure Patty heard everything before she hung up.
"Pony's here, how can we help you?" Unexpectedly, a calm woman voice answered from the other end.
"Oh... Ms. Pony... ," said Neal, right away lowering down his voice. "This is Neal Leagan. I need to talk to Patty about some serious matter. This is not a joke."
Witnessing what's happening, Stear giggled quietly.
Ms. Pony promised to have Patty return the call. They hung up and she talked to Patty.
"No, can't be. Must be a prank. Must be another of his dirty joke," said Patty shaken. "We all know how he is."
"Patty dear, time creates wonder. Let him finish what he wants to say. We'll find out," said Ms. Pony, motherly.
Patty followed her advice. She called Neal back.
"This is Patty," said Patty, trembling.
"Patty, this is Neal. Whatever you hear, don't hang up. This is real," persuaded Neal as calm as he could.
"Why you?" she asked suspiciously. She wondered where other more qualified people such as Archie, Annie, Candy, or Albert are.
"Stear will tell you later. He's with me in Chicago. You calm down, take a seat. I give the phone to him," said Neal. He gave the phone to Stear and left the room.
Stear is with Neal? In Chicago?, thought Patty almost collapsed.
The passing seconds seemed like eternity before finally she heard someone said, "Patty?"
"S-stear?" she stammered.
"My love, it's me, Stear."
Her body weakened, lucky she followed Neal's advice to take a seat. Her fingers felt cold, trembled, she almost couldn't afford to hold the phone in her hand.
"How do I know you are really Stear?" asked Patty skeptically.
"Try me!" said Stear.
"Characteristic of your plane?"
"Glasses, her name is Patricia.*"
"Our first dance?"
"St. Paul. 'You look prettier without glasses'** "
"First kiss?" she started to sob.
"London bridge... You're wearing that blue dress with a pink ribbon, silver hair pin..."
Not because he answered all the questions correctly but because the answer was in his voice itself. The gentle, caring voice which he always reserved to her and her only when they're together. No one spoke to her that way and she had never heard him speak that way to anyone else either.
"Stear, ... Candy had taught me how to climb a tree +," Patty sobbed, tearfully. "I practiced that everyday in Pony's hill to show it to you when you come back. I'm good... I'm very good at it now... I'm ready to fly with you to see the sunset."
"My love...," his voice broke too...
Patty was finishing her class busy taking care of her students. One by one, the students left the classroom. When the classroom finally empty, Stear walked towards the door with Neal behind him.
From the big glass window, finally, he saw her.
He had dreamed of a moment like this countless times just to wake up to find it was only a dream whenever he moved closer to her. Nervous, he stopped walking abruptly. But then he felt someone patted his shoulder. He turned around and saw Neal, who had been his loyal friend since he came back, giving a friendly grin of encouragement. This was so unlike in any of his dreams. In addition, his pat didn't seem to wake him up! Encouraged, he continued his step forward...
Quietly, Stear entered the classroom, his cousin followed, stopped at the doorway to let him approach her alone. Stear stood still, looking at her. He felt his heartbeat not only in his chest but everywhere from head to toes. Unbelievable, for two years, they were separated by some unknown far distance in space but now they were merely three meters apart. And strangely, to him it felt like they just met not long ago, could be just last week. Might be because in his cell he replayed their past together, again and again in his mind. Not a single day passed by when he didn't think of her.
Now that he's here, he wondered if she still loved him and wanted him like he did.
Realizing someone was staring at her, Patty lifted her head and saw Stear for the first time in two years.
Instantly, without any hesitation, she shrieked, "Stear!"
"Stear!" she cried one more time much louder than the first with obvious joy, love and anticipation in her voice and face.
It immediately erased all his worries.
And soon, for them, the whole world was reduced to nothing but them, she and him. With outstretched arms, they ran as fast as they could towards one another, crashed their bodies to each other. The two bodies now glued together as one by their entangled indistinguishable arms and locking mouths.
It separated briefly when she whispered, "Love you, Stear. "
And for him to reply, "Love you, Patty. "
The deep love and longing were unmistakably displayed for Neal who witnessed it. His mind automatically swung to Candy and a pang of unpleasant something hit him. He's happy for Stear and Patty, happy that they are back together. It's just that he envied their love. How deep her love to him was. Oh Candy..., he sighed, quietly walked to leave the classroom to not disturb their private moment.
When he's about to disappear from the door, the forever tolerant Stear called him. "Neal."
Stealing one more kiss from his sweetheart's lips, holding her hand tightly Stear came to approach him.
"Patty my love, without Neal, I won't be here."
Patty hugged Neal gratefully.
"I should go back before it gets dark," said Neal excusing himself.
"You won't stay here?" asked Patty generously. "We have guestrooms."
Neal politely declined. He hugged Patty, gave an extra long hug to Stear then he took off.
From then on Stear stayed in Pony's home. Excitedly, he fixed and improved everything that's broken in Pony's home. Ms. Pony, Sr. Lane, and all the children in Pony's home loved him so much. The children especially loved his inventions. They impatiently waited for his new inventions to be ready and enthusiastically waited for their turn to test it.
The loving atmosphere, the noise of the children, their excitements with his inventions, and most of all, Patty's love and support helped him to smoothly adjust life back to the civilized world.
One day, on the soft patch of grass in Pony's hill, Stear got down on his knee to propose to his beloved girl, Patty.
One year later, ... After the wedding ceremony of Patty and Stear was over and the bride and the groom had left for the honeymoon.
"You come alone, Candy?" asked Neal.
"I broke up with Derek," said Candy.
"Marry me, Candy. I can get you water from the moon, but as you said, you have no use of it. I can do all the impossibles to prove my love, but what's the use? Instead, give me one opportunity to show it."
"Yeah, but,..." said Candy.
"No but. Come, visit me in Florida. We start again, in a new place. We've lost the past, but we still have the future."
His tone was kind, his look was earnest.
In one long holiday, Chicago seemed to be deserted. Everyone closed to her was out of town, closest people to her all had married. Candy, then, came to visit Neal. He's right, the new surrounding helped, she was happy there. He gave her the best holiday she had ever had.
Since that time, she often went to visit him in Florida. Soon, Chicago seemed dry. The man was kinder, tenfold more dashing than any of her other friends. Her mind was forever trapped in Florida thinking about the time they spent together, those happy nights when they spent lying on the sandy beach counting the stars, watching the shooting stars, listening to the ocean wave...
And the boiling moments...
Their first was on her third visit, sometimes in the summer. They're aboard a yacht in the middle of the ocean watching stars when, before she realized it, he lay sideways watching her with a loving stare.
Before she realized it, he moved on top of her to kiss her, his hands wandered all over her body. She didn't know why she didn't protest.
She didn't know why she let him slowly unbutton her clothes, remove it as well as other barriers that stood between them.
But, when his mouth finally consumed her hungrily and she heard her own voice screaming in pleasure shouting his name while he buried himself deep inside her, she knew that she had fallen for him more than she's willing to admit...
On Neal's graduation day, Candy made a surprise visit and came to attend his graduation ceremony. He was blown away. Boyishly stared at her with eyes and mouth wide opened didn't believe who he saw.
She laughed and ran to hug him. "Congratulations!" she said.
That night they had a blast in bed continued till the following day. Around sun set, he took her out for a walk around the beach. He put his arms around her as usual. She felt so much love.
Clinging happily to his arms suddenly Candy felt uneasy. It occurred to her that he never asked her to marry him again while in the past he always brought up the subject whenever they met. She started to get nervous, worried that he didn't intend to marry her anymore.
"Neal...," she paused bashfully. "About the thing that you used to ask me in the past..."
"Which one?" asked Neal curiously.
"That thing which I used to not care about...," she paused and continued with a low voice. "Now, I care but you never ask me."
Seeing her response, he could guess what she's referring to. But, yet, he pretended he didn't know, amusingly giving her a hard time just a bit longer.
"Go fishing?" asked Neal playfully.
"No. Not, that one," said Candy softly.
"Hum... buy a puppy?"
"No...," she said, blushing.
"Then what?" asked Neal staring at her innocently.
She's silent, wondering how to bring up the subject best. It was a long silence and she looked more and more uncomfortable. He decided to save her from the torture.
"What about this one?" he whispered gently in her ear.
He released his arms, got down on his knee, took a box of ring out from his pocket.
"Candy, I am so in love with you. I can't live without you. Would you marry me?"
"Oh Neal,... " said Candy, heart flooded with happiness.
"This one?" He grinned.
She nodded, eyes glistened.
"So? What's your answer?"
"Yes! Yes! Yes! I want to marry you!" cried Candy, jumped to his arms. "I love you, Neal!" She was very happy.
He put the ring in her finger, hugged her tenderly which gradually became tighter.
"Candy... Candy... I love you Candy, your body, you soul, your forgiving heart."
One year later, Candy and Neal were married. They lived happily ever after.
Thanks for reading.
* Manga, chapter 9 page 59
** Quoted directly from "Candy Candy" manga by Kyoko Mizuki, Yumiko Igarashi. Chapter 4, page 26.
+ Stear requested that on his "last" letter, manga chapter 9, page 86.
Thanks for Sabrina, Elsa for the colorful reviews... I love reading them!
This minifict is especially written for Sabrina Cornwell (Sabrina Weasley)
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