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The Mystery of Elizabeth Drew
Part 16
Author: Mac
Disclaimers in Part 1
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Two days later, Nancy was getting ready to leave the hospital. She was feeling a little better physically, only a slight twinge of pain every once in a while. Emotionally, it was a whole other story.

True, after her dream, she was more at peace with her mother's death than she had been for a long time. No, it wasn't that, it was... God, she didn't even want to think about it! His arms all over her.

*Stop it, Nancy!* she scolded herself.

She jumped when she felt a hand on shoulder. "I'm sorry," Frank said. "I didn't mean to frighten you."

"No, it's okay," she replied.

He looked at her skeptically, but let it slide for now. "Are you ready to get out of here?"

"Am I ever!" Nancy told him, gathering her things. Frank took the small bag from her. "I'm capable of doing that myself."

"I know you are, Nan."

She kissed him on the lips. "If it makes you feel better, I'll let you."

Frank smiled. "You are so beautiful when you give in."

"And you're quite the flatterer today, aren't you?" she asked. Nancy picked up her sweater and turned to face him. "Lets get out of here!"

***********

The drive to Frank's house was remotely silent. Nancy just stared out the front window, oblivious to her surroundings. "Nan," Frank said, glancing over at her. "Nan?"

Nancy blinked her eyes and shook her head. "Huh? Did you say something, Frank?"

"Are you all right?" he asked worriedly.

"I-I'm fine," she replied.

"Why don't I believe you?"

Nancy shrugged and looked out the window again. She didn't want him to know how scared to death she was when Jackson had tried to... She shuddered. *Don't even think about it!* she scolded herself.

Frank parked the car in the driveway and turned to face her. He face was really pale. He took her hand in his. "Nan, you're shaking. Are you sure you're all right?"

"I--" Nancy grabbed Frank and pulled him close to her. She immediately began to cry. "Frank, he tried..."

"I know, honey, I know. Shh, everything will be fine; he's locked up. He can't hurt you anymore."

Nancy nodded, but she wouldn't let go of him. She never wanted to. The only time she ever felt safe was when she was with Frank Hardy. Nancy knew she would spend the rest of her life with him.

"Are you ready to go inside now? Joe set up a small surprise party for you. There are a couple of people there who I know would love to see you."

"I-I think so," Nancy replied. She smiled at Frank as he kissed away her tears. "God, I must look hideous!" she said, pulling down the sun visor.

"Never, Nancy." She gave him a look. "I love you."

"I love you too, Frank. Thank you."

***********

Joe smiled at his work. This was going to be great! "Joseph Hardy, I never thought you could be so smart!"

Joe laughed. "Well, George, I do have a smart father. I'm just glad you were able to come."

"Of course, I was able. My best friend needs me. Besides, I've really missed her and I've only be in California for two weeks."

George's cousin, Bess, joined them. "You two have to try this dip! It's amazing!"

"What happened to your diet, Bess?" George asked.

"So I'll wait a few more days," Bess replied, "taking another bite. This is too good to pass up!"

Gertrude entered the room. "Everyone, quiet down. Nancy's here!"

************

When Nancy first entered the house, she was expecting to see only her father, Mr. Hardy, Aunt Eloise, Gertrude, and Joe. She was very happy to see Uncle Scott, Bess, and George as well.

"Joe, you are too much!" Nancy said with tears in her eyes. She kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you!"

"Watch it, bro! That's my girlfriend!"

Bess and George squealed at that. "Finally!" they exclaimed.

"Oh, Nancy, I'm so glad you're all right!" George told her. "I've missed you so much!"

"Me too, Nan," Bess added.

She hugged them both. "I've missed the both of you as well."

George looked Nancy in the eye. "I have a present for you."

"You didn't have to," Nancy said.

"I know, but I wanted to." Bess held out her hands, pointing at George. "Nancy, I'm moving back to River Heights!"

Nancy's eyes widened. "Really?"

"Yeah," George replied. "My parents said that if I could find an apartment, and, share it with my two best friends, it would be fine."

Bess nodded. "So, what do you think, Nan?"

She grinned from ear to ear. "I think it's a wonderful idea!"