Candy Kisses

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short, bittersweet, Valentine love story...

Candice discovers that angels really do exist..

Submitted: May 14, 2010

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Submitted: May 14, 2010

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"This is it," Edna, a hospital security guard, said as she stepped out of the elevator. Candice stepped out behind her and looked around.

The third floor of Myers Medical Center was bright, almost too bright. The walls were a pale pink color which blended in nicely with the white tile floors. Nurses scurried down the halls and in and out of rooms, busy with patients.

Candice thanked Edna for showing her the way and then shyly approached the nurse's station. A chubby, middle-aged nurse turned to Candice and smiled.

"Can I assist you with something?" She asked politely.

Candice nodded and explained that it was her first day candy striping and was told to report to the cancer ward on the third floor.

"Oh, yes! You must be Candice, am I right?" The woman stood and extended a hand.

"Yes, that's right," Candice smiled, reaching out to shake the nurse's hand.

"Wonderful. I'm Patricia, but everyone on this floor calls me Patty. This here is Rhonda," Patty motioned to the young, blonde nurse beside her. Rhonda looked up from her paperwork and flashed a quick smile.

"Hello," Candice greeted her.

"Hi," Rhonda said, then looked back down at the papers in front of her.

"Well I suppose I should give you a quick tour of the floor and then get you your list of duties," Patty said, moving out from behind the tall counter in front of the nurse's station.

Patty led the way down the main corridor where the terminal patients resided.

"This is where you'll be doing your volunteer work for the next couple of months," she said. "Now, I want to warn you, this can be a pleasant atmosphere at times but it does have its gloomy days. We have a lot of very sick patients and the majority of them are terminal. We do lose patients and it is very sad, but you have to be strong. Will you be able to handle it?"

Candice nodded. "Yes, I'm sure I can."

"Good. I don't mean to scare you, but I just want you to know now so that you'll be prepared if and when it happens."

Candice understood. She had plenty of experience with a cancer patient. Her mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer only six months before she passed away. The doctors had not been able to catch it early enough and it had already spread to other parts of her body. Candice was by her mother's side until her dying day. Now, she wanted to be by others' sides.

Patty paused in front of one of the rooms and peeked in.

"Come on," she said, "I want you to meet someone."

Candice followed silently behind her as they entered the room. It was the most beautiful hospital room she had ever stepped into. Her eyes gazed over the walls which were, instead of pale pink, painted with beautiful designs. There were flowers and bushes and walking paths. Candice realized it was a giant painting of a garden. She noticed that one wall was only halfway painted and the rest of it the familiar pink color.

A young man's voice startled her and she spun around to see someone sitting in a chair at the window. He seemed to be smiling from ear to ear and Candice couldn't help but blush.

He was strikingly handsome. His eyes were a deep blue color and he wore a black baseball cap tilted to one side on his bald head. Instead of a hospital gown he wore black sweats and a tight fitting white tank top. He was thin and somewhat pale but he didn't look sick.

"Hi there sweetie," Patty said to him, "I brought you a visitor. This here is Candice. I thought you two might get along well," she walked over to the curtains and began to adjust them. The young man stood slowly, still smiling.

"Hi, I'm Angel," he said softly as he looked Candice up and down.

Candice took a deep breath and smiled back at him. He does look like an angel, she thought to herself. "Nice to meet you. I like your walls," she said then quickly laughed, not sure what else to say.

"Thanks, I painted them myself."

"Really?"

"Yeah. I'm not done yet but I will be soon."

"It's beautiful," Candice said, taking another look around the room.

"So are you."

"Thank you."

"You're blushing."

"Sorry."

"Don't be," he laughed.

Patty finished messing with the curtains and turned to them.

"Well, I suppose there's not much left to show you, dear. The day is nearly over and I have a lot of paperwork to finish. I'm going to head back to the station and write up your duties. What I would like you to do for me is help Angel tidy up this room. When you're finished come on up to the station and I'll give you your list. Then you can head on home. Just make sure to be here bright and early tomorrow. Does that sound okay?"

Candice agreed and watched Patty as she exited the room.

"This your first day?" Angel asked.

"Yeah, it is."

"So will I be seeing more of you?"

"I'm sure you will."

"Good."

"Why do you say that?"

"Just because...I like company."

Candice busied herself with folding a couple blankets and organizing a stack of magazines on a table by the window. Angel climbed into his bed and covered himself up. She could feel his eyes following her as she moved around the room.

"Is black your natural hair color?" He asked.

"Yes."

"It's gorgeous."

"Thank you."

"Do I make you uncomfortable?"

Candice paused and turned to him. "No, you don't. Why do you ask?"

"You seem nervous."

"I'm not."

"Well you're not saying much."

"I'm sorry."

"You say that way too much."

"Sorry."

Angel began to laugh as if she had said something hilarious. "Come sit by me...relax."

Candice hesitated. "Won't I get in trouble?"

"No, if the wardens say something I'll say I forced you to," he said with a wink.

Sighing, she walked over to the bed and sat on the edge. "Comfy," she said, bouncing on it a little.

"Glad you like it. Tell me something...what made you want to volunteer here?"

"Well," Candice paused and looked down at her lap. "I like helping people."

"That's it? If I were a volunteer I would never choose this floor." He said.

"Why not?"

"It's too depressing. Watching people die is not my idea of a fun-filled day."

Candice frowned. "It's not about that. I know it seems weird that someone as young as me would devote months of her time somewhere where she doesn't get paid, but to me, money isn't important. Fun isn't important. You don't have to have fun to enjoy what you do. If you're happy then that's all that matters."

Angel laughed, "I still wouldn't choose this place. But to each their own."

"That's right."

"You seem like a smart girl."

"You seem like a funny guy."

"So maybe if you spend your time here with me then you could consider this fun."

"Maybe."

Angel sat up and grabbed Candice's hand. "So, would you like to know why I'm here?"

Candice paused. "Well, I figured.."

"Yes, I have cancer, but would you like to hear the story?"

"Only if you want to tell it."

"I do."

"Then do tell."

Angel closed his eyes as he began his story, as if trying to go back to that place in time.

"I was diagnosed with Leukemia two years ago. It all started with unusual bruises on my body. When I went to the doctor for a routine physical check up he ordered for more testing to be done. My chemo started shortly after that and so on." Angel paused, letting out a sigh. He opened his eyes and looked to the open window. He forced a smile but Candice could see his eyes filling with tears. "Life was so good before this illness. Now, I can't even remember the feeling of being healthy. I went into remission a year ago but that didn't last long. They put me on a list for a bone marrow transplant and this is where I am now."

"But why here? Wouldn't you rather be with family?"

"My family is dead. This is my home, my family now. Patty is like a mother to me, and all the other nurses like sisters."

"Oh, I'm so..."

He cut her off. "Don't be. It's life."

Candice chatted with Angel a bit more and then hurried to the nurse's station to get her list from Patty. Rhonda had already gone home and Patty was sitting alone sorting files. She looked up as Candice approached and reached for a sheet of paper on the counter in front of her.

"Here's your list, dear, is everything okay?"

Candice nodded. "Yes, everything is fine. I'll see you tomorrow."

"Have a good evening," Patty called out as Candice turned and left.

As Candice drove home her mind drifted back to her conversation with Angel. He needed bone marrow to survive and he had already been on the list for almost a year. His health was deteriorating at a somewhat fast speed. She wanted to help him find a donor but she knew that it would be very difficult.

At the same time, Candice couldn't stop thinking about how handsome he was. His smile made her heart beat faster than usual. She felt an instant connection with him when they were introduced. The last thing she needed was to get attached to someone and end up losing him. She shook her head at the terrible thought of Angel dying. It was something that could happen quite soon and that scared her, unless she was able to find him a donor.

When Candice arrived home she settled down to dinner. Afterwards, she sat down to her computer and began to search the internet. She was determined to find something on bone marrow transplants that would be useful for Angel.After hours of unsuccessful searching Candice gave up and went to bed.

The next morning she jumped out of bed and rushed to get ready for her day of volunteer work. She decided to dress especially cute. She wasn't sure exactly why she was dressing up but something made her want to prance around in front of Angel. She finally decided that she had a crush on him. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad to have feelings for a dying man.

Candice admired herself in the bathroom mirror for a few moments and then headed out the door.

When she reached the hospital she found a parking place and then walked inside. Patty greeted her when she reached the third floor.

The first duty of the day was to take breakfast to each person down the corridor that she was assigned to. Afterwards she was allowed a small break before she had to go back and pick up everyone's finished trays. Her plan was to save Angel's for last so that she could spend her break talking to him.

Candice didn't realize how many rooms she had to attend to. A half hour would pass before she was finished delivering food. This went on for weeks and she was able to spend a lot of time with Angel. But it was the day before Valentine's when her feelings caught up with her. She had just finished delivering all of the treys except for his. She grabbed the last tray and made her way to Angel's room. When she walked in she saw that he was busy painting on the half finished wall.

"Breakfast time," she said in a chipper tone.

Angel turned around quickly to face her. "Hello Candy!" He greeted her excitedly. He put his paintbrush down and grabbed the tray from her. He sat on the edge of his bed and began to nibble on the food.

"Candy?"

He laughed and wiped his mouth. "Yes, I like it. You're as sweet as candy and your name is Candice so I figured it would fit perfectly." He flashed her a charming grin and continued to eat.

She smiled, walking over to the chair by the window and sitting down. She stared at Angel with a curious look in her eyes. Angel noticed this look and stopped eating.

"What is it?" He asked.

She shook her head and blinked, snapping out of her daze. "Oh... I was just thinking.."

"About?"

"About how you seem to have so much energy," she blurted out.

Angel sat his tray down and stood up. "Is there something wrong with me being able to get out of bed each morning? Something wrong with me trying to live to see another day?"

"No no, that's not what I meant. I mean, I meant it but not in a bad way. It's amazing to me to see you so full of energy in your condition. I wish my mother would have been that way..." she trailed off and looked away.

Angel sat back down and sighed. "Your mother?"

"She's dead."

"Cancer?"

"Yes."

"So is that part of the reason you volunteer here?"

"It is."

"You're wonderful."

"Am I?"

"Absolutely."

"So are you."

Candice felt the butterflies in her stomach as she smiled at Angel. He smiled back at her and she knew he was feeling the same way.

"Will you stop by here when your shift is over? It gets boring at night and I thought maybe you would like to sit and watch a movie with me."

"Like a date?"

"Clever girl."

"I would love to."

After breakfast was over Candice made her way to every room to pick up the trays and mingle with the patients. Once the day had ended she made her way back to Angel's room. He eyed her as she walked in. He was sitting in his bed anxiously awaiting her.

"Get over here Candycane," he said, patting the open space on the bed next to him. She blushed and climbed onto the bed.

"So what are we watching?"

"Just an old horror flick."

The two sat there in silence as the movie began. Patty came in and smiled with delight at the sight of Candice and Angel. She placed water next to his bed, dimmed the lights and then shut the door behind her. Candice felt her heart jumping in her chest when the lights dimmed. She could feel Angel's warm body next to hers and longed to hold him close. Halfway through the movie she felt his hand slide over hers. They entwined fingers, both breathing nervously. Angel turned to her, his eyes burning into hers. Candice studied every inch of his beautiful face. He reached over with his free hand and stroked her cheek gently.

"You're so breath-taking," he whispered.

"As are you."

"Would you mind if I kissed you?"

"Please do."

He leaned towards her and tilted her chin up. "I've always wanted a candy kiss," his lips were soft and warm causing Candice to let out a little moan.

As they continued to kiss Angel let his hand explore her body. Candice let his hand have its way with her. When the movie ended and it was time for her to go, they sat up, regaining their composure. Angel smoothed Candice's tousled hair and then helped her off the bed.

"I'll miss you," he said, leaning in for another kiss.

"I'll be back tomorrow."

"Tomorrow is Valentine's Day."

"I almost forgot."

"Will you be mine?"

"Of course."

"Promise?"

"I promise."

"Goodnight my Candy Kisses."

"Goodnight my wonderful Angel."

She waved goodbye and walked away. She felt as if she was floating in the clouds.

***

The next morning Candice prepared herself to go see Angel. She had the day off but she had promised him that she would be his valentine.

When she reached the third floor she was greeted by a frantic Patty.

"Oh Candice, honey, it's Angel," she rambled, obviously out of breath.

Candice felt her heart drop into her stomach. "What's going on? What's wrong with him?"

"His immune system dropped this morning. I found him collapsed in his room. He had been up all night finishing his painting, oh, it's so beautiful. He's in his bed now, but he's very ill. I really don't think he's going to make it one more night."

"Can I see him?"

"Yes, of course! He's been asking for you. I don't know what it is you've done to that boy but he seems to be head over heels for you."

"I feel the same way," Candice said, then turned and ran down the long corridor to his room.

"Angel?"

"Candy," came a soft, weak voice.

Candice approached his bedside, grabbing his hand in hers. "I'm here."

"I...I finished the wall..for you...I know how much you loved it.."

"Oh Angel, my sweet, sweet Angel, you should have went to sleep after I left."

"I had to finish it...otherwise I would never have been able to."

"You knew this was coming."

"I did."

Candice couldn't hold back the tears that were welling up in her eyes any longer. She climbed into the bed next to Angel and held him close.

Tears streamed down her face as she kissed his forehead.

"Your kisses...I love them."

"I know you do."

"Look at the wall..."

Candice looked over at the wall that was previously only half painted. Her eyes widened when she saw it. There was a giant heart shaped portrait of herself next to a bed of flowers painted on the wall. Above it, in red, were the words, 'I love my Valentine, Candy Kisses'. She closed her eyes and wept, cradling Angel in her arms. His breathing slowed and his hand gripped hers tightly.

"I do love you, my valentine..." he trailed off, closing his eyes.

"I love you too," she murmured through sobs.

"I'll watch over you.."

"My Angel."

"Yes.."

"My guardian angel."

"Dream of me.."

"I promise you I will."

"I'm glad I met you.."

"Me too."

"Goodbye.. Candy Kisses.."

"Goodbye, sweet Angel."

The room fell silent as Angel took his last breath. Patty watched from the doorway, tears pouring from her eyes. Candice clenched his lifeless body to hers, kissing his lips one last time before letting him drift away...


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