Rate: Not sure yet...
Disclaimer: Written with love, not for money..
Summary: Yeah! I finally have a clue where this is going! ...
The next day Candace is surprised by how much of Cherry’s possessions are in the attic. She nearly cries over some pictures, she can still link some of Cherry’s dresses to certain occasions or movies and she’s a treasure-chest of memories about Cherry in general. Her stories are entertaining without giving too much of Cherry’s secrets away.
She’s not the frumpy old lady she was at her husband’s house. Here, in Cherry’s house, she seems to relax. She speaks up, she feels free around the two men and she shows a side of herself that she couldn’t show at her own home. She laughs, jokes and makes cheeky remarks that put a smile on Kevin and Scotty’s faces.
Sometimes she can be deadly serious and the next she’s like a kid in a candy-store. Above all, she seems happy that someone wants to listen to her stories. Scotty had brought coffee and cupcakes with him up in the attic and they finally take the time to sit down and go over the pictures that he and Kevin had seen the day before.
“Oh, yes, I remember this picture.” Candace immediately says, when she sees the picture of Derek, Cherry and Bob. “I made it. We had a party at the beach and we’d been drinking a bit too much. Not Derek and Bob though, they never did anything that might give anything away about their relationship.
But Cherry had certainly drank a little too much. I remember her telling everyone who wanted to listen, and even a few who didn't want to hear it, that these were the two men in her life. We all laughed. We thought that she meant that she and Bob, who we believed was just a friend of Derek’s, got along great. We never got what she really meant.”
“Did no one ever suspect? Nothing at all?”
“No. They must have been extremely discrete, because in this community, where we thrive on gossip, there was never one breath of a rumor about them. No one ever raised an eyebrow or thought that something ‘weird’ was going on.”
She makes quotation-marks with her hands at the word ‘weird’ and she looks a bit guilty, as if she might have offended them. But it makes sense to both Kevin and Scotty that, in those days, any belief of a more than friendly relationship between Derek and Bob would have been ‘weird’.
“I guess it helped that neither of them were effeminate or displaying any other signs that people believed to be natural for gay men. Those days we ‘knew’ that gay men liked fashion, wore colorful scarves and were sassy. Preferably have a funny walk or a high-pitched voice…. Sorry… I know it sounds unkind.” Candace apologizes.
Scotty shakes his head that neither he or Kevin is offended. It was just the way things were back then and he knew it to be true.
“No point in making it sound like you guys were more ‘highly evolved’ or more accepting than the rest of America, when you weren’t.”
Candace looks intensely at the picture.
“I wonder…. If I had known then, what I know now, would I have given them a chance? Would I still have talked to them? Would I have found it acceptable? I loved them both so much, they were so sweet, both of them. Would it have mattered to me if I had know then that they were gay?”
“It would have. You wouldn’t have been allowed to accept them. Your friends, your family and your community would have frowned upon them and, by default, on you if you had been their friend.” Kevin answers.
“Yeah, I suppose you’re right.” Candace puts away the picture.
“Can you tell us more about them? I mean, didn’t the staff notice something?” Scotty asks, the question had been on his mind for a while.
“Oh, no. The bedroom that was officially Cherry’s and Derek’s was separated from Bob’s room by a large bathroom.
That bathroom was connected to both bedrooms, so for the staff it seemed as if Derek would go into Cherry’s bedroom, but then he'd go from there to Bob’s bedroom, through the bathroom. Cherry kept her own room clean, saying that the room was her sanctuary and she didn’t want anyone else but Derek in there.
Bob’s story was that he had always taken care of himself and saw no reason to let anyone make up his bed. He kept his room clean. No one asked for further explanations and the maids were already glad that they had two less rooms to clean, because there was enough to do without them.”
“And after Bob and Derek died… What did she do then?” Kevin asks.
“She had both doors to the bedrooms removed and turned them into walls, so the bathroom would have only one entrance rather than three. After Derek’s death, she hardly ever came up to the first floor anymore. Too many memories of Derek there.
Three rooms were made into guestrooms and in one room slept Mrs. Bardi, her housekeeper. Mrs Bardi stayed with her until the end. She left the house after Cherry’s death. I understand that Chad had asked her to stay, so the house would be occupied, but she couldn’t do it. She was too sad about losing Cherry.
Cherry then had a bedroom and a bathroom for herself built downstairs. Those are the ones she shared with her second and third husband.”
“Is that the bedroom we’re sleeping in?”
“Yes.” Candace answers Scotty’s question with a smile.
“I hope she won’t mind.”
“She wouldn’t.” Candace is sure of her answer. She gets off the floor where they’d been eating the cupcakes and drinking coffee and she brushes the crumbs off her pants. “I could spend hours here. She had such an interesting life.”
She opens another box and finds even more pictures.
“Oh, look, there are some of her and Chad Barry.” Candace grins, holding up a picture that has the words 'Christmas 2002' written on the back.
“Oh, he looked so yound.” Kevin had only met Chad in 2006. For some reason he had assumed that Chad must have had a time where he, too, looked too young and was awkward. The picture however makes Kevin realize that even in 2002 Chad had been a beautiful man. He seemed confident, comfortable in his skin and not at all awkward.
“I believe he did some modeling then as well. Though there was rumor that he only got the job because he knew the producer’s wife or something like that.” Candace seems to be speaking more to herself than to Kevin and Scotty. Kevin is momentarily tempted to tell that Chad slept with both the producer and the wife, but then he bites his tongue.
As easily as it seems to Candace to talk about Cherry, he’s not ready to gossip about Chad. He’d hate to break the trust between them.
“I only know he was just supposed to do a few scenes and then disappear, but the viewers instantly fell in love with Dr Philip, so they brought him back. Again and again."
Scotty looks at Kevin, aware that Kevin isn’t telling the whole truth. After all, Chad had given Kevin, Jason and him all the juicy details, one night, when they were having dinner at Chad's place. It surprises Scotty that Kevin is so protective of Chad, especially considering the fact that they had spied so much in Cherry’s life.
Scotty moves a box and something heavy falls on the ground. It’s hunting rifle. He can’t help but step back, not expecting it to just practically drop on his toes.
“Careful! It could still be loaded.” Candace warns. “Cherry was a good shot. And she kept it loaded, next to her bed, in case that someone wanted to hurt her.”
Scotty checks the rifle and finds it’s still loaded. He will leave it to Kevin to take care of that. He’s more experienced with them than Scotty is. Carefully, he places it behind him on a large crate and he continues his search through Cherry’s belongings. He takes the pictures of Chad, that Candace had found earlier and he looks through them.
Speaking of Chad, a look at his watch tells him that, if Chad had succeeded to come to the island as planned, he should be here shortly. It will be such a surprise for Candace to see Chad. With Carlin away to the mainland, Candace is alone tonight as well, so Scotty plans to invite her for dinner tonight, so she and Chad can talk about Cherry.
“I wonder what’s in this?” Kevin says and he picks up a large dark-blue suitcase, which seems to have been hidden behind a stack of boxes.
“More dresses, I presume.” Scotty laughs. “Can you open it or is it locked?”
“No. No lock.”
Kevin puts the suitcase flat on the floor and opens it. He gasps when he sees the content.
“What is it?” Scotty asks, worried that Kevin might have found something terrible.
“Money. Lots of money…. I think, there must thousands of dollars in here.”
Kevin opens the suitcase further, exposing rows of 100-dollar bills, stacked up as high as the suitcase is.
“Actually, there should be a few million dollars in there.” Candace’s voice suddenly sounds harsh and cold.
When Kevin and Scotty turn to her, they see that she’s holding the hunting rifle, ready to shoot. She’s no longer sweet and kind, instead there’s something very threatening about her.
“I’m sorry, boys, I really like you both and I don’t want anyone to get hurt, but I will shoot you if you do anything foolish. And don’t think that because I’m some sweet old lady, that I’m bluffing or that I won’t shoot, because I will. My daddy taught me how to hunt and he taught me well.” Kevin and Scotty slowly raise their hands, realizing that she’s dead serious.
END OF PART 14/??