Disclaimer : I do not own the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, but I own Christensen Handel, the setting-Village Hill and the Villagers' Welcome Inn.

- This story happens when Frank and Nancy are approximately 24 years of age.

CHAPTER ONE

Nancy carefully threaded trough the thick crowd along Village River as she carried a four-year-old Christensen Handel in her arms. She was on holiday with her deceased cousin's son at Village Hill. Although the weather on Village Hill was fairly cold, Nancy was sweating profusely in the heat of the afternoon sun and the crowd.

"Nancy, Nancy, please hurry," urged Christensen, getting impatient. "I wanna know why there are so many people here."

Nancy shifted Christensen to rest on her other arm. "Yes, Chris," she said. She was very fond of her nephew and she was now his official guardian. "Chris, now I know why there are so many people here."

"Why? Why?" he asked excitedly, squirming in Nancy's tight grasp. "Ooohh, a man caught a huge fish!"

"Yeah," Nancy said with false excitement. "The fish is a big as you, you know?"

"No," said a bewildered Chris. "I say he's as big as a…a…uhm…a truck – yeah, a truck." He scratched his head a little and had a confused look on his face. "Nancy, I'm hot."

"Do you want an ice-cream?" asked Nancy, pointing to a small ice-cream van by the road.

"Yeah." answered Chris, still scratching his head. "A double-scoop chocolate ice-cream with thick chocolate sauce would be great."

"Then let's go," she said turning around.

Ice-cream on a hot day on Village Hill. A shining sun with a cooling breeze. Frank Hardy had to smile as he counted out the money to pay for his and Joe's ice-cream.

"Isn't this place so wonderful to destress?" asked Joe Hardy.

"And you wanted to go to New York," Frank told his younger brother. "Come on, it's the mid-term break in university. This is the only chance we'll get to really enjoy before we have to face reality – examinations."

"True, true," said Joe, nodding in agreement. "I always thought that you were the study freak of the family."

"Well, when I have the chance to relax, why not take it?" he smiled, handing Joe his ice-cream.

"Do you see what I see?" said Frank all of a sudden.

Joe whipped around. "Huh? See what? If you're talking about that great-looking girl over there…"

"No," interrupted Frank. "It's Nancy."

"Nancy? What's she doing here at Village Hill?" asked Joe, confused.

"What you mean is, who is that kid with her?" corrected Frank.

At that moment, Nancy recognised them. With a huge grin, she strode towards them with the little boy. Joe snuck a look at his brother's face. He could see that Frank was happy to see her. Very happy.

"Nancy Drew!" exclaimed Joe. "What are you doing here? I mean Village Hill – who would ever pick this as their destination for a vacation except for Frank…"

Frank scowled at Joe, who merely grinned. "Glad to see you, Nan," he said, drawing her into a warm hug.

Nancy leaned onto his chest as he squeezed her tightly. He could smell her sweet scent of perfume – a secret blend of hers. He didn't want to let her go, but knowing their unspoken boundaries, he pulled back. "We missed you, a lot," he declared, finally releasing her.

"Me, too," she said. "Where are you guys staying?"

"Villager's Welcome Inn." replied Frank. "Little brother here insisted we stay there after looking at the condition of the other motels."

"Hey, Frank, we're on vacation, right?" said Joe, trying to reason with Frank.

"Yeah, but who's paying?" demanded Frank.

Joe laughed sheepishly while Nancy patted Frank on the shoulder. "Real fussy little kid brother you've got." She laughed, her blue eyes gleaming.

"Who's this cute kid?" asked Joe, bending down to get a closer look at the sandy-haired lad.

"Oh, Frank, Joe, meet Christensen Handel-my cousin's son. I'm Chris's rightful guardian according to the law," said Nancy proudly.

"Phew, raising a kid on your own is no joke," said Frank sympathetically.

"That is why, Nancy needs some man power," said Joe, grinning like a Cheshire cat.

Christensen tugged at Nancy's white jacket. "Nancy, can I have my ice-cream now, please?" He flashed Nancy a cute smile and she couldn't help but laugh.

"Yes, you may have your ice-cream now after such a long interruption," she said.

"Hey!" exclaimed Joe. "Don't you blame us, Drew."

But Nancy just laughed and turned around, tossing her strawberry-blond hair. Joe looked at Frank, who had his eyes fixed on Nancy. It was obvious that the two of them had feelings for one another. Joe grinned to himself as he watched Nancy walk off to the ice-cream vendor. This would be a very interesting vacation, thought Joe.