A/N: This is just a taste of the newest story from me...Spion din Romania is almost finished and this is the next yarn I plan to spin. Any feedback would be great, thanks! So, without further ado, I give you...
Brother, Dear Brother
Listen when I say
I will be by your side
Until our final day.
"Brother, Dear Brother"
"Isaac Randal was apprehended today after allegedly kidnapping twenty-one year old Frank Hardy. Mr. Hardy is recuperating and is pressing charges of assault and kidnapping against Randal. Randal is said to be mentally unbalanced, but the Bayport PD is refraining anymore information at this time..."
Frank Hardy sat in the hospital waiting room, absently staring at the cast on his wrist, once in a while his gaze drifting to the bandage wrapping his leg or the television screen blaring the local five o'clock news.
He was waiting to see Callie. She was being discharged today, just a few hours after he had been. He'd been so worried about her after the car crash Randal had caused. Now he only blamed himself, finding it hard not to drown in self pity. The deranged man had been after him, and Callie had almost payed the ultimate price.
"Hey, Frank," Joe spoke softly, so as not to startle his deeply disturbed brother.
Frank blinked, slowly, as if coming out of a trance.
"C'mon," Joe urged in his gentlest voice. He reached out to touch Frank on the shoulder, but the older boy flinched back.
"Hey, hey hey," Joe slowly held his hands out in front of him. "Frank, it's just me. Joe. You're safe here. Randal can't get to you now."
Frank shook his head, wincing as it set off a round of dizziness. His breathing quickened and Frank mumbled something Joe couldn't make it out.
The older brother looked up from lowered lashes at Joe. "He said it's not over," Frank murmured. His brown eyes were haunted.
"Oh god, I think I'm gonna be sick," Frank growled, his face blanching.
Joe worriedly touched his arm again. Frank once again jerked away, swearing under his breath when his sore body protested such a sudden movement.
"Frank, we gotta get you out of here," Joe spoke quietly. He held out his hand, but didn't touch Frank, fearing he might spook him even more.
"And go where?" Frank's voice was hollow…almost as empty as his eyes had become. He shook his head again, this time guardedly. "I have to see Callie."
Joe was starting to get really spooked; his big brother, his hero, his best friend was scaring him.
"Can't go home…can't stay here…" Frank continued, his eyes squeezing shut against the vision of Isaac Randal.
"You're coming home with me," Joe interrupted him.
"Wh-what?" Frank's head shot up, causing another dizzy spell, and Joe was at his side immediately, steadying him.
"Look, I got a nice couch, and the bed's all yours until we can figure something out," he said. "I don't think you should be alone right now Frank."
Frank nodded slowly, knowing his brother was right.
"Frank!" Callie's voice, weak but still bubbly like always, rang out into the quiet hospital waiting room. Allowing some of the day's stress leave his shoulders, Frank wrapped the still sore Callie in his arms, his trembling lips brushing the top of her blonde head.
Vanessa Bender followed not far behind, having stayed with Callie most of the time in the hospital, since Callie's parents had been overseas for the past two months. Joe followed his brother's example.
Watching the couple and holding Vanessa closely, Joe knew this was going to be hard on all of them, but he fervently hoped that he would be able to help Frank get over this whole mess...for good...
Joe Hardy's red, late model pick-up truck pulled into the parking lot at just above the safe speed limit. His year older brother had been sharing an apartment with him for little over seven months. Frank said it was because he missed seeing his younger sibling and wanted to save on rent money.
The younger sibling knew better.
Though Frank wouldn't admit it, Joe knew why he had so abruptly decided to officially move in with him. Less than eight months earlier Frank had been physically and mentally terrorized by a mad man who had been stalking him for an unknown amount of time.
He'd been lucky though. Unlike all of Randal's other victims, Frank had gotten away with a broken wrist, a deep scar on his left calf, multiple bruises and a concussion.
His stalker, Isaac Randal, had been caught, convicted and was serving a life sentence in a heavily guarded mental facility.
But that didn't save Frank Hardy from the perilous mental state he'd been left in. Randal had been obsessed. He wanted to be Frank's friend...like a brother. He'd studied Frank constantly. His likes, dislikes, habits, fears, even his favorite brands of clothing.
He had caused a car accident, resulting in Callie Shaw, Frank's girlfriend to be hospitalized for days. Randal left newspaper clippings of Frank's exploits in the field of criminology as well as his academic achievements at Bayport U in Frank's own mailbox. The psychotic man had even gone as far as to leave death threats in Joe's car and on his apartment door.
After the trial, Frank had decided to take Joe's offer and move in with him. There were too many bad memories at his old place and he felt safer having someone to live with. Frank had been too humiliated to move back in with his parents and he refused to impose on any of his friends, so Joe was his only option.
Not to say Joe was a bad option. It was just, sometimes they had differences in opinion.
"Are you going out tonight?" Joe had been home no more than thirty seconds before Frank started interrogating him about his Friday night plans. Ever since Randal, Frank had been even more protective and worried about his brother. He had to know where he was and how long he'd be there...at all times.
Sighing, Joe opened the only window in the small apartment's front room letting in a warm June breeze. "I might do something with Vanessa later...dinner, a movie maybe."
He watched as Frank started unloading the dishwasher. A small headache formed at the base of his neck. His older brother had become extremely distant over the last months. His grades had slipped, not a lot, but still noticeably. He was working less hours and he'd stopped seeing Callie or Chet and their other friends as often as he used to.
Frank had started reading, a lot. Going through books like they were nothing. Sometimes Joe wondered if Frank liked the characters in the novels more than the real people in his life, or if the mystery genres he favored took his mind off other things.
"You and Callie could come with us," Joe suggested amongst the clanking of dishes and silverware. Frank shrugged, not making eye contact.
"Come on Frank. I know Cal really wants to see you," Joe said. He saw Frank's shoulders tighten. Both brothers knew how hard this ordeal had been on Callie.
She had broken her leg, two ribs, and her collar bone in the brutally planned car crash and was lucky to be alive, considering her little Focus was beyond repair. And then after Frank had been held hostage in his own apartment by Isaac Randal, Callie thought for sure she would never see him again.
Through her time in the hospital and the six hours of emotion wrenching waiting for news on Frank, she and Joe had become extremely close. Both sharing devoted ties with the older Hardy. But now, even eight months later, Joe could still see the strain on the young woman's face whenever she looked at Frank.
"When are you leaving?" Frank wondered, still debating about going on a double date with his over zealous brother.
Joe shrugged, a small smile slipping onto his face. "Probably five o'clock...like usual."
Frank sighed and ran a hand threw his brown hair, a habitual action as of late. "I guess I should call Callie." Joe's grin widened.
"She sounded happy on the phone," Frank said to his brother, grabbing his coat and car keys. He hadn't seen Callie in a couple of weeks and Joe could see the guilt in his eyes. "How is she?"
Joe followed his brother out the door and to the old elevator, pressing the down button. "She's good," he replied quietly. He hadn't seen Callie much either, but considering she was Vanessa's best friend, he felt like he was with her every time he spoke to his girlfriend. "Cal misses you Frank."
He heard a deep sigh as they entered the elevator. "I know Joe."
As the two brothers sauntered casually out to the dusk lit parking lot Joe was thankful they had decided to take Frank's car. He wasn't sure he could handle listening to anymore comments about his horrible choice in used cars. How was he supposed to predict his Chevy would eventually cost more in repairs than it was ever worth?
Frank's silver Mazda was parked two spaces down from the rusty red truck next to a black SUV with tinted windows. Neither brother gave the dark vehicle a second glance as they passed it and Frank unlocked his car.
"You know, I'm glad you decided to come with us..." Frank heard Joe's voice trail off as he started to open the drivers side door. He wasn't paying very much attention to what his brother was mumbling until he heard a loud thump from the other side of the car.
"F-frank--" Joe's shaky voice was abruptly cut off by strong arms around his chest and mouth.
"Let the games begin." An icy, venom filled voice traveled into Joe's ear sending a spasm of fear down his body.
The voice belonged to Isaac Randal.