Disclaimer: I do not own Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, the characters associated with them, or any pop culture references that I may choose to include.
Author's notes: I am very sorry to say that we have encountered the end of Paging Dr. Death…I know, I know, I'm a bit depressed about it as well. It was so much fun to write all of the Nancy/Frank tension. However do not fret! For a solution to this problem has made itself apparent to me and is flying towards us as we speak. Yes, it's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's Superman! What? It's not Superman? Oh…right. It's Sequel Girl!
Yes, you read correctly, a sequel is being planned for this. Because one is just not enough.
Thank you to everyone who read and reviewed this story. It made me unbelievably happy and it really motivated me to keep writing. Without you, Sequel Girl wouldn't be appearing.
And now, on to the story.
Italics are thoughts.
Nancy winced as static filled her ears. It wasn't harsh, only loud, but it wasn't exactly what she would call expected. She knew that with the quality of equipment that the Agency used, any interruption wasn't a good thing. "Anybody have a source on the interference?" She received no answer to her question, not that she really expected one. "Rice? Brady? Ainsworth?" Even so, she started to go through the agents on the assignment with her, hoping that maybe one of them wasn't experience the same problems. "Shaw? Frank? O'Neil?" When there was still only static, she knew that the static was an extensive problem, not just hers.
With this piece of information, Nancy came to the conclusion that she needed to abort the plans of catching Phillips that night. It wouldn't be safe without being able to contact any other agents. She quickly formed a plan to jump into Shaw's car the next time that he drove by. He could take her back to headquarters, where she would be safe.
As she waited she brought herself to be more alert and heightened her senses. She stood from her position sitting on the stone bench and her eyes shifted around; getting caught off guard by Phillips would be bad, maybe even deadly.
The sound of loud, slapping, hurried footsteps caused her to turn around quickly. She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw the source, but quickly sent a look of reprimand to the approaching figure. "Frank." She spoke quietly in a tone that matched her face. "What are you doing out here?"
"I came out as soon as I heard the interference." Frank explained quickly . "I needed to see what was going on, or if there was something wrong with you."
You and your hero complex, Hardy. Nancy sighed. "Do you see anyone else running out here Frank?" She asked the question rhetorically, but caught him glancing around to check. "This might just be a technical difficulty. You might have just given it away that this was a setup."
Frank rolled his eyes. He had been doing these official spy games since he was eighteen, but he was glad that he had never joined a specific agency. It was always his experience that the agents he worked with never saw the obvious. Now joining their ranks was Nancy. He had thought that she was better than that; she had been better than that. "Oh, come on."
"You honestly believe that these guys know that you work for the Agency, and think that they wouldn't expect for a minute that your going out in public when they want you dead is a setup? Nancy, you've got to be kidding me."
Nancy wasn't ready to give in, despite the strength in Frank's argument. "Whether they expect it or not is not the point. We have to assume that they don't expect it. Besides, the point is we're on assignment, and you only do exactly what you are told when you're on an assignment."
"I was told by O'Neil that I should respond as I saw fit."
"I highly doubt that O'Neil anticipated a situation like--," Nancy was cut off by a loud scream of tires. Both detectives turned to the road to see a plain silver car, windows down, pulling up in front of them, a passenger leaning out and holding a weapon that stared both Frank and Nancy in the eyes.
Nancy stepped slightly in front of Frank and put an arm out as he did the same. They brought each other down to the ground a split second after shots started to be fired. Nancy kept her arm stretched across Frank's back pressing him down as she flattened herself to the pavement. He did the same for her. Some time after the moment when the shots started Nancy heard the static vanish and she hurriedly shouted into her microphone. "Shots fired! Shots fired! Assistance required!" Her message was barely out of her mouth when she heard more footsteps; tilting her head up slightly allowed her to see her fellow agents coming out of the mall, weapons drawn.
Only a few more shots were fired before the tires of the car squealed again as it pulled away. Nancy heard the agents start after it, trying to shoot it out, and she quickly popped up to her knees, Frank's arm falling off of her to the pavement. She was reaching for her own weapon when she realized that he wasn't moving to get up. "Frank? You OK?"
"Just give me a minute." Frank grunted in a strained voice.
Nancy was prepared to do just that, but she noticed the hole in his shirt near the small of his back. A renewed panic coursed through her veins. "Oh my god! Frank, don't move. You were hit!"
"I know. I just need a moment to recover and then we can get going."
"A moment? Frank, you were shot! You can't just move!" Nancy switched into doctor mode without missing a beat, and put her hands down by the bullet hole.
"Nancy--," Frank started to protest just Nancy ripped the shirt open. "I'm wearing a vest."
Nancy's eyes fell on the black Kevlar as he uttered the sentence, and a bright pink flush rose to her cheeks. Oops.
Joe tapped his foot impatiently, sitting at the now familiar folding table. He had been brought back there to wait nearly the second that the static had come over the headsets; in other words he had been forced to leave the moment things had started to go wrong. And he didn't like it one bit. It only seemed to multiply his worries and fears, and caused him to become a bit jittery and paranoid. He had, after all, been waiting for any bit of news for nearly an hour and a half. His head snapped towards the door the moment it started to open. "What's going on?" He asked quickly.
O'Neil didn't close the door behind himself. "Phillips has been arrested."
At this point, Joe could care less about whether or not Phillips was in custody. He wanted to know about his family. "What about Frank and Nancy? Are they all right?"
"They're on their way here now." O'Neil assured.
His words were like a cue. Nancy entered the room, followed by an agent that Joe recognized from early briefings before the mission, supporting a shirtless Frank who had what appeared to be wearing an ace bandage around his torso. Joe leapt to his feet taking over for the blond agent. "What happened?" He asked quickly, helping his brother into the chair that he had been occupying.
"He was shot in the back." Nancy explained. "The vest protected him, he's going to be fine. He's just going to have a bad bruise there for a while and he needs to take it easy for a bit."
Joe nodded, sympathizing with his brother, remembering his own experiences with getting shot while wearing a bulletproof vest. He didn't envy Frank in the slightest. "And where's his shirt?"
The agent who had brought him to the room grinned a bit. "Well, Lifesaver Barbie over here," he gestured to Nancy whose cheeks flushed again at the teasing, "forgot about the vest and got a little overzealous with the shirt in order to treat your brother. Unfortunately the shirt didn't survive."
"That's enough Ainsworth." O'Neil barked. "You're dismissed."
Ainsworth left the room and O'Neil turned to the remaining three, but didn't say anything. After a moment of silence he finally spoke. "Well? Isn't anyone going to explain to Mr. Hardy what happened out there tonight?"
They had been waiting for him, but apparently, he wasn't going to say anything. "Well…" Nancy started. "As it turns out, Shaw was on Phillips' payroll, and he was Tom's source, telling him about me working here. When that didn't exactly work out, he took tonight as an opportunity to redeem himself in Phillips' eyes. He caused the radio interference so Phillips could take me down without anyone stopping him. Thankfully timing has never been one of Shaw's strong suits."
"He started the interference too early, and I ran out there when nothing was happening." Frank took over the storytelling. "Phillips got into Shaw's car at the other side of the mall, drove up to us and started firing. That's when I got shot. The interference timed out and the other agents caught on to what was happening. They came out and managed to shoot out the car, and subdued both Shaw and Phillips."
"Leaving the world safe, for another day." Joe finished in a mock serious tone.
"And on that note I will leave you three. There is a car in the garage waiting to return you to your hotel and your apartment. Feel free to leave when you are ready." O'Neil spoke with a slight air of disdain. "Ms. Drew you will be contacted in a weeks time to discuss your future with us." He turned and left the room.
Nancy turned to the boys. "Let's get out of here. I don't know about the two of you but I definitely need to get some rest."
"I think Frank needs to get a shirt." Joe added.
Nancy sighed. "Right. You two can take care of that one." She and Joe helped the injured man stand.
"I think that you're the one that should be buying it Nancy." Frank spoke going along with all of the teasing that had gone on earlier. "Not only are you the one who ripped the shirt in the first place, but if you hadn't have ripped it, it would still have a bullet hole in it from getting shot by the people who were aiming for you."
"Fine. I'll buy you a shirt the very next time I see one that looks like you."
Nancy stepped into her apartment that the Agency had graciously cleaned and refurnished, and not a moment later the phone rang. She didn't want to answer it, but she did anyways, knowing it could be something important. "Hello?"
"Where have you been? I've been trying to call you all night."
At Bess' voice, Nancy sighed, kicking off her shoes and then going to sink down into her couch. "I was out with the guys." She informed tiredly. She couldn't reveal everything, but that technically was the truth.
"Ooh, Frank and Joe? How are they doing? Are you and Frank getting along yet? And Joe called here last night in a panic. What was that all about?"
"Nothing. He…realized that I had my wallet had fallen out in his daughter's hospital room and he thought I should have it."
"And he couldn't get your address from that?" Bess challenged the lie quickly.
Nancy's mind raced to come up with an excuse. "Bess, I don't keep my driver's license in my wallet I keep it in my car." She lied, yet again. "Speaking of which can you tell George to call me next time you see her? I could use the Mustang."
"Sure." Bess changed her focus, not wanting to get on the topic of cars, when Nancy was still hanging out with two men. And let's face it. Men are much more interesting than cars. "So are you and Frank getting along yet?"
"What do you mean sort of? You either are, or you aren't."
"Well we're actually speaking to each other. Why is this important Bess?"
"So you'd say that there's still a chance for the two of you to get together?"
"I don't know. Why?"
"Because if there's not than I know this great guy who's going to be in the Port Winston area next week and he's dying to meet you--."
"Bess, I'm not going to go on another one of your setups."
"Well you have to start somewhere." Bess admonished. "You're never going to get a man if you never go out with any."
Nancy was starting to get rather fed up with Bess' lectures on her lack of love life. "Well for your information I happen to be having dinner with two men tomorrow night, one of whom will be preparing said dinner."
"And you didn't say anything sooner? Start talking. I need details so I can help you prep. How did you manage to get to guys to agree to go on a date with you at the same time. And one of them cooks? This is too good to be true. I always told you that you had the magic when it came to getting guys, but you never listened to me."
"Bess, it's not exactly a date. It's just Frank and Joe."
Bess' voice fell. "You got me all excited for that?" Of course she quickly rebounded. "Oh well. This is the perfect opportunity for you to get Frank. Is he the one that's cooking?"
"No, Joe is. And I will not be, as you put it, getting Frank."
"Joe cooks? Since when?"
"I don't know. He offered, Frank said it was decent. That's all I needed to know."
"See? You need to get with Frank. You're already taking his advice."
Joe ate his food, watching his brother and Nancy eat in front of him, in the same silence that the two of them had been in all night. So far, it had been a very awkward evening. Conversation sprouted up between, himself and Nancy, or himself and his brother, but every time that the third dining companion got involved in the conversation, things seemed to turn awkward and quickly died. In his opinion, this was all extremely annoying, and was starting to put a damper on the entire evening.. He was ready to get his surprise out that he hoped would lighten the mood significantly, when his cell phone rang. "Sorry guys." He apologized quickly, before pulling the phone out. "Hello…Yeah sure…I'll put the phone on speaker so Frank can say good night too." He pulled the cell phone away from his ear and pressed a button before placing the phone on the table towards the middle. "Camilla wants a bed time story from me." He explained quickly.
"Hi Daddy." The small voice greeted.
"Hi Sweetie." Joe greeted, a smile on his face. "Are you behaving for Grandma and Grandpa?"
"Yes." Camilla answered the question quickly. "We're getting ready for bed. Neither of them know the story that Uncle Frank was telling me though. I want to know what happens."
The smile on Joe's face grew even wider. "I'm sure Uncle Frank would be very happy to tell you what happens." He assured nudging his brother a little with his hand.
Frank sent Joe a glare, but knew that he couldn't exactly refuse his niece. "Of course not."
"What's so good about this?" Nancy leaned towards Joe, speaking in a low whisper.
"Just listen." Joe assured in the same tone. "You'll get a kick out of this."
"So…where in the story was I?" Frank asked, wondering if Camilla would notice if he changed just about everything in the story.
Joe jumped in quickly. "I believe that Sir Fergus and Sir Joshua were about to rescue Princess Natalya from the evil visiting prince."
"Oh…" Frank's cheeks turned a bright red. "Right." He took a deep breath, risking a glance over at Nancy, who had perked up a bit at the familiar name and was now looking on in interest. "Fergus and Joshua stormed the castle where the prince was holding Natalya. They fought with anyone who tried to stop them, and eventually they were able to free Natalya who joined them in the fight to defeat the Prince.
"After the prince had been locked away in the dungeon to await his punishment, Natalya apologized and explained that she had been acting so different because she had started to work for a small, secret group of knights."
"Girls aren't knights Uncle Frank." Camilla cut in quickly.
"They could be if they worked really hard." Frank explained quickly. OK. So that's not exactly true. But she can't grow up believing antiquated gender stereotypes. "She had changed her behavior so much because it was important that nobody knew that she was one of the knights, even the people that were closest to her. If anyone knew then she would be put into great danger.
"When he heard her story, Fergus also apologized, realizing that he had been unfair in his judgment of her new life. They accepted each other's apologies and they were friends again. The end."
There was a short silence before Camilla spoke up again. "That's it?"
"Yeah." Frank confirmed.
"But what about Fergus and Natalya? Don't they hook up?"
"Camilla!" Joe jumped in quickly as he watched a new shade of blush rise to his two companions faces. Obviously, Nancy had figured out Frank's not so subtle story. "Where did you hear that?"
"Aunt Vanessa says it all the time." Camilla answered innocently.
"Well you should know by now that repeating Aunt Vanessa isn't always the best thing." He admonished gently. I know it's inappropriate for her to be asking that but it is funny as hell.
"OK, Daddy." There was a short pause. "But don't Fergus and Natalya--,"
"Get together?" Joe finished the question for his daughter then turned to Frank. "Yeah, Frank. Don't Fergus and Natalya get together?"
"Not this time." Frank by now had his teeth clenched. He did not need this.
"Uncle Frank you need to work on your endings." Camilla informed very matter-of-factly.
"I'll help him out." Joe assured. "Now it's time for you to go to bed. Say goodnight to Uncle Frank."
They said their goodnights and then Joe hung up the phone, putting the three in a silence. Eventually, Nancy broke it. "So…that was a cute story."
"You should have heard it from the very beginning." Joe smirked once more. "You would have loved it."
"I'm sure it's very interesting." She turned to Frank, her embarrassment forgotten, with her eyes twinkling. "Think you could tell it to me Frank?"
Frank didn't say anything, just looked on with a slightly sour expression on his face.
Nancy briefly bit her lip. "Maybe this was a bad topic."
"No. He's just frustrated because his story just got sent back by the editor." Joe glanced down at the empty plates. "Tell you what. I'll get started on doing these dishes and checking on desert, while you two go out to the living room and work on that ending." He winked slightly suggestively.
"I'd really rather not Joe." Frank quickly shot down the idea. "Why don't you let me handle the dishes and you can go relax with Nancy?"
Nancy however, wasn't about to go through another love life lecture with Joe when she had had one not 24 hours before from Bess. "Both of you, go out in the living room. This is my place, I'll do the dishes."
And endure the teasing from my brother? Not a chance. "Nancy, no. I am perfectly capable of doing a couple dishes--,"
"I didn't say anything about your capability Frank. I'm meant that you're guests and you should be relaxing."
"Well maybe I don't want to be relaxing." Frank retorted.
Joe instantly knew what the problem was. It had been Frank's problem the entire time. He inwardly grinned a little; he would get to pull out his surprise after all. He stood from the table as Nancy and Frank continued to bicker, going to the counter where he had left some of the shopping bag's he had brought earlier in the day, and pulling out a box. Then he went back to the table, and let out a short whistle that caused the detective and the doctor to look at him. Joe quickly handed the box to Nancy.
Nancy looked down at box in her hands to see it was a box of strawberry blond hair dye.
"Nance, could you do us all a favor and just dye your hair back?"
And now…a sneak peak.
To celebrate the end of her residency, Dr. Nancy Drew's best friend, Bess Marvin, insists on taking Nancy on a tropical cruise to paradise. Nancy agrees, knowing that it's been far too long since she's had a vacation. But Nancy soon finds that Bess has ulterior motives on bringing her on the cruise, such as finding a man that Nancy could spend some time with. As Nancy tries to avoid her friend's web of blind dates, she stumbles across a murder plot, followed quickly by the victim. When Nancy starts to investigate she finds herself caught in a new web of death threats and danger.
Frank and Joe Hardy are undercover on the ship as tourists. They hope to stop a ring of drug smugglers, who recruit people on the ship to use as mules. The Hardys run into Nancy and Bess the first night of the cruise and let them in on the case nearly immediately. As the investigations continue, the four find themselves becoming more and more entangled in a sinister plot far larger than they had imagined they were getting themselves into, that ends with international terrorism. And it doesn't help the situation when they get separated.
All this and more in…
Cruising to Danger
The first chapter of Cruising to Danger will be available on a computer near you, no later than Friday. Author's honor.