Author's Notes: This is my first fic in a long time, and my first Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys fic ever. Feedback would be greatly appreciated, and always responded to. Also, I don't really know any other writers so I'd love it if someone would be interested in being my beta. Thanks in advance, and I hope you enjoy!
Father of Mine
Twenty-four year-old Nancy Drew was muttering to herself as she strode across campus, late for her morning Behaviorial Psychology class. It was one of her favorite classes, and she hated missing any of it. But her roommate had decided, yet again, to "borrow" her car to go to pick up her morning coffee. And of course, by the time she returned, there had been no way Nancy could have driven to campus and arrived to class on time. As it was, Nancy didn't even have the time to give her roommate the angry lecture that she had worked out in her head while she was waiting for her to return. Not for the first time, Nancy desperately wished that George and Bess were her roommates, just like when they were all getting their undergraduate degrees. But both girls had immediately jumped into their careers as soon as they had graduated -- George interning in the physical therapy department for a local hospital, and Bess a fashion consultant for a major department store. Nancy sighed inwardly. Despite her roommate woes, she was happy that her two best friends had found careers that were so perfect for them. Now if she could just figure out how to find the perfect roommate!
Her blue eyes flashed with annoyance as she thought of all the other ways her roommate was currently driving her crazy. Not one to care about grades, Janna lived for the night life -- parties, clubbing, and bringing random guys home with her. And although she always apologized profusely to Nancy after she had disturbed her yet again late at night, she continued to keep up with her busy social life. Nancy shook her head resignedly -- she should have known better than to let Bess recommend a roommate for her.
A strong gust of wind blew a strand of Nancy's blond hair into her face, which she pushed back impatiently. She was oblivious to everyone she passed, including the occasional good-looking guy who usually turned to check her out. Unlike Bess, she wasn't boy-crazy, and although she enjoyed looking nice as much as the next girl, she didn't consider herself necessarily striking or the type to catch the attention of every guy she met. As far as she was considered, men were a complication that she didn't need in her life at the moment.
As Nancy continued to hurry to class and think of satisfying methods of torture for her roommate, her cell phone rang. The caller ID said the caller was "Unknown", and she really didn't need anything else delaying her from getting to class. But just as she was about to put the phone away, her innate curiosity got the better of her, and she answered.
"Yes?" Nancy replied, not recognizing the gravelly voice on the other end of her phone.
The voice chuckled, and for no reason whatsoever, the sound sent chills down Nancy's spine.
"Do you know where your father is, Nancy Drew?"
"Who the hell is this?" Nancy demanded angrily, refusing to be baited into giving her father's whereabouts to some random stranger.
"Who I am is not important, Ms. Drew" came the response from the other end. "What's important right now is that you don't know where your father is, but I do. If you ever want to see him alive again, go to the abandoned warehouse at the corner of 15th and 9th in Manhattan by 6 p.m. this evening. Your father will be there, as will I."
Nancy felt her hand shake slightly as the implication of what this man was saying hit her full force -- someone had her father! Before responding, however, she forced herself to calm down. She would not give the caller the satisfaction of knowing that he had rattled her. Instead, she asked calmly, "How do I know this isn't a trap?"
The man chuckled again. "You don't." With those words, he hung up.
Nancy stared at the phone in her hand for a moment in shock, her mind whirling. This is not the time to panic, Drew, she told herself firmly. She dialed her father's office phone, holding her breath as the phone rang and rang. Finally, her father's assistant, Margaret, answered the phone.
"Carson Drew's office, how may I help you?" her friendly voice inquired.
"Margaret, it's Nancy. Could I please speak to my Dad?"
"I'm sorry, Nancy. He got a call about an hour ago and rushed out of here, saying he had something urgent come up."
Nancy's blood chilled at those words, but she forced herself not to overreact. Her father was well-known and highly respected, and many people contacted him for advice or help. It wasn't unusual for him to meet with people at last minute's notice.
"Did he happen to mention anything before he left, Margaret? Who he was meeting, or what it was about?"
"I'm sorry, honey, he didn't. The only thing I noticed was that he looked rather distraught about something, which isn't like him. But before I had a chance to ask him what was wrong, he was already out the door."
The fist around Nancy's heart tightened a little more after hearing that. Her father was a solid rock -- it took a lot for him to ever appear disturbed over anything.
"Thanks for your help, Margaret. I'll try him on his cell phone."
Nancy disconnected and called her father's cell phone next. It immediately went to voicemail.
Truly scared now, Nancy called home next. Their longtime housekeeper, Hannah Gruen, answered the phone on the second ring. Without bothering with even hello, Nancy asked immediately, "Hannah, is Dad there?"
Hannah heard the fear in Nancy's voice instantly. "No dear, he's not here. He hasn't been making it home until late in the evening these days, with the case that he's been working on lately. Now tell me what's wrong."
Nancy shook her head, even though Hannah couldn't see her. She didn't want to worry her until she knew more about what was going on. "It's nothing, Hannah. I just had a question for him, but it can wait. No need to worry."
Hannah's voice became exasperated. "Nancy Drew, I've known you since you were a little girl. If you think you can lie to me just because I'm not there to see you, you've got another think coming. Now tell me what's going on!"
Nancy sighed, deciding to give Hannah some of the truth, if not all, knowing that she would persist if Nancy continued to deny that anything was wrong. "I'm just worried about Dad, Hannah. I got an anonymous tip that he might be in danger, and I just wanted to try to track him down and warn him. I'm sure he's fine, and I'll feel better as soon as I can talk to him."
"I'll let him know to call you as soon as he comes home tonight. Meanwhile, you stay out of trouble, Nancy. And take care of yourself."
Nancy's throat tightened at the concern in Hannah's voice. She hung up without saying goodbye because she didn't quite trust her voice at that moment. Taking a few deep breaths to steady herself, she squared her shoulders and made her next phone call.
"Yes, I'd like to make a reservation on the next flight out to New York City."
Her class forgotten, Nancy ran back towards her car as she finalized her plane reservations on her cell phone. Her apartment was about twenty minutes from campus, but Nancy made it in ten. She ran up the stairs and charged through the door, which Janna had left unlocked. Her roommate gave her a bewildered look as Nancy ran past her to her room.
"Nancy, what on earth is going on! I thought you were worried about being late to class, so what are you doing back home?"
Nancy, busy throwing clothes and toiletries into a backpack, didn't respond. Janna came into her room and laid a tentative hand on her shoulder, noticing that Nancy was shaking slightly.
"Nancy, are you okay?" Janna asked with concern in her voice.
Nancy took a deep breath and stopped from her hasty packing to turn and look at her roommate. She put her hands on Janna's shoulders and held her gaze.
"Janna, I want you to listen to me very carefully. There's a chance that you might be in danger. Is there a friend that you can stay with for a while?"
Janna's eyes filled with confusion.
"What are you talking about, Nancy? Are you in some kind of trouble? And where are you going? Should we call the police?"
Nancy shook her head vehemently. "No cops, Janna! I'm not in trouble, but I think my father may be. I believe that someone may have kidnapped him, possibly to get at me. If that's the case, then whoever it is may know where I live, and may try to get to me here. I don't want to involve the cops because there's no telling what this person may do to my father if he knows that I called the police. The kidnapper told me to go to New York City, and I have to listen to him -- I can't risk my father's life. But I don't want you here alone while I'm gone. Please, don't argue, just trust me and get out of here for a few days."
Janna nodded slowly. "Alright, Nancy, I'll do that. But promise me you'll be careful. I know you're a detective and used to facing dangerous situations, but I don't like the thought of you taking this on alone. Bess told me about some of the scrapes you guys used to get into, but she or George or your friends the Hardys were almost always there with you. Are you sure you can't call one of them to help?"
Nancy was touched by Janna's concern, but shook her head at the suggestion. "There's no time, Janna. I have to be at the warehouse by 6:00 tonight, and as it is, my flight gets me in at 4:00. That's barely enough time to make it to the warehouse in Manhattan traffic. But I am going to ask you for one favor -- I need you to be my check-in contact."
Nancy grabbed a piece of paper from her desk and hastily scribbled an address on it. "This is where I'm going in New York. I'll plan on calling you tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time. If you don't hear from me, go to the police and give them this address and tell them everything that I told you. I've also written down a phone number here -- it's the cell phone for Frank Hardy, one of the friends that you mentioned. He's an agent for the FBI now -- if something happens to me he'll know what to do. Call him as soon as you talk to the police."
With this, Nancy gave Janna a swift hug, grabbed her backpack, and ran out the door.
Now, two hours later, Nancy was sitting on her flight with nothing to do but worry. She was relieved that she had at least convinced Janna to stay with a friend -- despite their differences, Nancy wouldn't want anything to happen to her. And as irresponsible as Janna could be, she knew that she would take her words seriously about going to the police and Frank Hardy if anything happened to Nancy.
Frank Hardy. It had been so long since she had seen him or talked to him. It was a sad testament to the twist and turns of her life that she rarely spoke to one of the few people in the world that she truly trusted with her life, without reservations. He and his brother, Joe Hardy, had joined Nancy on some of the craziest adventures of her life when they were all solving cases as amateur detectives. And although they had all merely been teenagers at the time, they had forged a bond of trust and respect that was unbreakable. But life had intervened, with the detectives putting their love of mysteries on the back-burner to pursue degrees and careers. Frank and Joe had gone on to become Special Agents with the FBI -- Frank specializing in computer forensics, and Joe specializing in just being Joe.
Nancy smiled slightly as she thought of her two friends. When they all first started college, they had kept their promise of staying in touch, getting together over the holidays or summer vacations for trips that invariably involved a mystery or two. But as the three friends became busy with their own lives and began having internships and other commitments during the summers, they lost touch.
And a large part of that was her fault, Nancy admitted to herself with an inward sigh. During her first year of college, Nancy and her then-boyfriend Ned Nickerson had gotten into one of their innumerable arguments about Frank Hardy. Even now, the memories of that awful fight were still vivid in her mind.
"Ned, wait!" Nancy cried as she followed Ned out of the front door of the ski lodge.
Ned whirled on her. "Why, Nancy? So I can stand around and watch you and Frank Hardy go on with each other as if you two are the only people that exist in this world? Thanks, but no thanks. I can think of better ways to spend my Christmas vacation than this."
Nancy grabbed his arm before he could turn away from her again. "Frank and I are friends, Ned. Just friends! You're the man that I love. Why can't you understand that?"
Ned glared down at her but didn't shake her arm off. "So you and Frank are just friends, huh? Then what was Frank talking about just now when he whispered something in your ear about remembering the last time you guys had been in a ski resort together?"
Nancy froze, unable to tear her eyes away from Ned's. "You heard that?" she whispered.
"Yeah, Nancy, I heard. And from the look on your face, I can pretty much guess what he was talking about." He gave her a look of disgust, shook her arm off, and turned around to walk away.
Despair gripped Nancy's heart, and she ran around him to block his path. "Ned, wait! I can explain!"
Ned gave her a dubious look, but stopped.
"Ned, Frank is one of my best friends. I don't know how to explain it to you, except that we share a common bond with our love of mysteries. And one time, we mistook that bond to possibly mean something more. But it didn't, and we both realized our mistake. I told him that you were the love of my life, and he told me that Callie was his. And we agreed to remain friends. That's it!"
Ned didn't look entirely convinced, and Nancy guiltily tried to push what had happened with Frank in Egypt to the back of her mind. That wouldn't help her case now. Finally, Ned spoke.
"Nancy, I can't take any more of this. I realize that mysteries are important to you, and I already share you enough with them. I can't share you with Frank Hardy, too."
Nancy took a deep breath. "What are you saying, Ned?"
"I'm saying that I want you to stay away from Frank Hardy. I know you may consider yourself just friends, and that you have the best intentions where the other is concerned, but you don't see yourselves when you're around each other. I do, and I can't watch it anymore. It's him or me, Nan."
Nancy stared at Ned in shock. "You can't be serious!"
"I am, Nancy. But I don't need an answer now. Think about it. You know where to find me when you're ready."
Ned walked off, and Nancy sank to the steps of the lodge, oblivious to the biting cold.
"Would you like something to drink, miss?"
The flight attendant jolted Nancy out of her reverie, and she straightened in her seat, shaking her head at the woman. Nancy glanced out the window at the blanket of clouds surrounding the plane. She closed her eyes and asked herself, not for the first time, if she had made the right choice that night. Looking back, Nancy didn't recognize the woman that had walked to Ned's room, knocked on the door, stepped into his arms, and told him that she picked him, that he was the only man that she loved. The Nancy Drew that she knew didn't respond to ultimatums, would have rebelled at the thought of someone forcing her to sacrifice a friendship that she treasured deeply. But she had done exactly that, because a small part of her had known that Ned was right.
And so she had slowly shut Frank out of her life. At first, she stopped responding to his phone calls, maintaining only sporadic contact via e-mail. From that, she knew that he and Joe had gone on into the FBI after college. If Frank had noticed that she was avoiding him, he never questioned her. His e-mails were always the same old Frank, full of affection for her and gentle teasing. But eventually, those had stopped as well. Now, it had been almost a year since she had last heard from him. She wondered how he would react if Janna did have to call him tonight. Would he care? Would he wonder why she would have her friend call him when she herself barely spoke to him anymore?
Nancy frowned and shook her doubts away. Of course he would care -- he was Frank. That was who he was, and that was one of the many reasons why she...
No, she wouldn't go there. Sighing, Nancy rested her head against the window and tried to sleep.