Summary: Nancy waited for her first guilt-free kiss with Frank Hardy.
AN: I am a huge Frank/Nancy fan, as you will soon see. Four books will be referred to here: Secrets of the Nile (my favorite), Dead on Arrival, The Last Resort, and Double Crossing (first book written). If you're an ND/HB fan and haven't read one of these, I highly recommend going to your library and requesting them immediately.
Disclaimer: I do not own Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys. If I could write a mystery than I would try to write one of the Super Mystery books, which would have Nancy and Frank break-up with Ned and Callie so they could be free to get-together during their next case.
Nancy collapsed on the couch at the end of her first day as a high school graduate. She, Bess and George had spent all day making the rounds of graduation parties. They were gathering at Nancy's house afterwards for a movie marathon.
Nancy was hoping this would distract her from the subject plaguing her mind even more often lately: Frank Hardy. She thought of his smile, the dark curls of his hair, and the depths of his brown eyes. She remembered the feeling of his lips—soft and gentle against hers—on that balcony in Egypt only six months ago.
A few months before she would have felt guilty for reliving these memories, but now that feeling was gone…Ned was gone.
Before their last conversation, Nancy had felt the end coming. Lately it seemed more like she was trying to convince herself that she was in love with Ned instead of just feeling it. She knew that she would always love Ned—he was her first boyfriend—but that was different than being in love with him, wasn't it?
Nancy's heart knew the truth long before her mind would acknowledge it: Frank was everything that Ned could never be if only because Frank was as attracted to mysteries as she was, even if it meant putting their lives in danger. Frank would never try to stop her risk-taking nature because he would never want to change her. And Ned would never really be able to deal with the risks she took with her life.
Shortly after her latest mystery, and their latest argument, Nancy decided that she couldn't do this to herself or Ned any more.
She started by talking about the life-threatening aspect of her career. Ned tried to argue that he could deal with it and be right there beside her, as he had done for some cases.
She tried to explain that she had kept many other near-death experiences from him to avoid more arguments. Of course, the most recent case Nancy worked with the Hardys came to mind first.
Ned interrupted, "And let me guess, Frank Hardy was there to save you."
"Yes, he did that time in the tombs, but it was Joe who diffused the bomb. Anyway, I don't see why it matters how I survived."
"Why don't you just say what this is really about—Frank." Nancy was shocked by his directness. "Maybe you don't see it, but you'd have to be blind to miss the sparks between the two of you. Just say it Nancy. Just end it."
"I'm sorry, Ned. I really am. But I don't think we should be together anymore. It wouldn't be fair to either of us."
Ned had scoffed. "I hope you and Frank are very happy together." He stormed off.
Nancy sighed as she always did at the memory of the break-up. At the time she still hadn't been willing to admit that Frank Hardy was twisted into every reason for the break-up.
Nancy was stirred from her thoughts by a laughter approaching the house. She opened the door to find each of her two best friends pulling a suitcase behind them. "Exactly how many movies did you expect to watch tonight?"
Bess and George exchanged looks as the walked in the house. "You remember how we said that you'd have to wait for the last part of your graduation present?" George asked Nancy.
Bess continued, almost squealing with glee, "We have planned a special graduation vacation to New York City. And we leave tomorrow morning."
"What? How? When?"
"That's our Nancy, always needs to know the answers," laughed George.
"With the help of many others, including your father," continued Bess.
Nancy hugged them. "I'll have to thank Dad at breakfast in the morning."
The next day Nancy stood in the LaGuardia Airport in her nicest sundress. Bess had insisted she wear the dress even though they would be on a plane until almost 4 pm that day. The spaghetti strap, knee-length dress had large curving patches of cerulean on a white background, accentuating her eyes.
As George led the way to their rental car, Nancy once again tried asking exactly where the destination was. And for the tenth time she received their rehearsed answer. "Like I said before," sighed Bess with a smile "a quaint Bed and Breakfast in a suburb of the city. Jeez, who knew it would be so hard to keep a secret from a detective."
Just as Nancy buckled her seat belt in the back seat, Bess twisted around from the front to hand her a scarf. "Go on and cover your eyes. We are very proud that you still don't know where you're going and we want it to be a total surprise when you arrive. Promise no peeking from under the scarf."
Nancy rolled her eyes and somewhat reluctantly took the scarf. "I promise."
One of Nancy's favorite songs, "Someday We'll Know" from the movie "A Walk to Remember" came on the radio, and once again her thoughts strayed to a familiar brown-eyed boy who lived not all that far from the city.
Finally, she voiced the question that had been running through her mind all day, "What do you think about calling the Hardys? They should be in town since Frank is graduating any day now."
Nancy hoped that the question appeared casual, but doubted herself when she could hear the smirk in George's answer. "We should definitely give them a call."
"We're here!" cried Bess.
"That does not mean the blindfold comes off," George quickly added. "Wait till we get you out of the car."
Nancy humphed her disappointment, but still couldn't keep the smile off her face. The build up to this big reveal had her bubbling over in excitement.
Bess and George took their time walking over to her door. Finally, the girls helped her step out of the car. "Ready?" Bess asked.
Nancy's eyes were temporarily blinded by the sunshine. When they focused again, she immediately knew that the surprise vacation was even better than she had hoped for. She found Joe Hardy standing in front of her.
Nancy hardly said hello before Joe enveloped her in a hug. "Hey Nancy, great to see you! But we're running late. Everyone back in the car, I'm driving."
"Wait, where is everyone? Where are we going?"
"All good questions which will be answered shortly," smirked Joe as he guided Nancy back to the car.
On this car ride Nancy wasn't asking questions. She was biting her lip and twirling the ring on her right ring finger. She had started wearing her Rebecca Addison engagement ring from Egypt after the break-up with Ned.
She stared into the square cut diamond and the small sapphires on either side. "This wasn't even a ring I would choose for myself," Nancy thought. "I don't need anything this huge and busy. I need something small and simple, maybe a ring that wouldn't catch on things during a case." But then, she didn't wear it for looks.
They soon pulled into a very crowded parking lot at a high school. An echoing voice from the nearby football field was calling names. Nancy, the girls, plus Joe arrived at the Hardy's group just in time to watch Frank walk across the stage. They were standing near the front of the small ceremony. Frank turned to smile at his family and raise a hand in triumph. The shock of seeing Nancy and her friends was clear on his face, as was a sheer joy present only when his eyes connected with Nancy.
After the ceremony ended, Nancy held her breath as Frank walked straight to the group. His eyes never left hers as people yelled hellos and congratulations.
Frank finally reached the group and was forced to shake hands and hug people to reach Nancy. At last he got his arms around her, holding on much longer than a friendly hug. Nancy used every drop of her will power not to run her fingers through his brown curls.
As they slowly pulled apart, he asked her, "What are you doing here?"
Nancy could hardly stop smiling to answer. "Ask them."
They turned to Bess, George, and Joe. Joe began to bow, "Thank you, thank you. Please, hold your applause."
"I think that what Joe's trying to say is that it was a team effort," said George.
"We've been planning this for over a month with your parents," continued Bess. "And I kept my mouth shut the whole time."
"And we're all proud of you Bess," laughed Joe. "Now, on to the party."
With everyone around them, Nancy had no time to speak with Frank passed hello. Now he was in the shower getting ready for his graduation party that night. Nancy was slicing onions and tomatoes for their barbeque dinner.
Joe was stacking graduation presents on a table close by when Nancy noticed a familiar package sitting on top of the pile. By the time Nancy finished the tomatoes Joe had moved onto his next decorating job. She walked over to the table and saw that the package was the gift she had mailed Frank only days ago.
Nancy grabbed the present and attempted to casually walk back to Frank's bedroom. She set the present on Frank's bed and took a moment to admire his room. It fit his personality completely, from the laptop sitting on a clean desk to the books carefully ordered on shelves.
There had once been a picture of Frank with Callie sitting on his dresser. Nancy saw that it was missing and replaced by a picture someone had taken of Bess Joe, Frank and Nancy in Egypt. She had the same picture in a frame on her own dresser.
Something small caught her eye on the edge of the dresser. It was a gold ring studded with small diamonds; it was the match to her own ring.
Nancy's heart leapt at the meaning behind this. Since his own break-up, had he thought of her? Did he also feel like every little thing was now connected to a memory of them together? And did his breath catch at the thought of seeing her again now that they were both single?
Nancy was at least sure that he thought of their Egypt trip often. If the picture and the ring weren't proof enough there was the graduation present he had given her. In the mail, only a few days ago, she had received a second Cleopatra from him with a note: "Something to remember one of our favorite mysteries by."
Without a sound, Frank had opened the door behind her. He slowly leaned forward and whispered into her ear, "And what are you thinking about?"
Nancy jumped and spun around at the same time. In front of her was a wonderfully bare-chested Frank Hardy, wearing only a towel around his waist. She forced herself to meet his eyes and tried not to wonder away from them. "Please promise not to tell Joe that you snuck up on me; he'll never let me hear the end of it."
"I promise," said Frank.
He moved over to the dresser to pick up some clothes. Nancy noticed that he put the ring on his own right ring finger, seemingly out of habit. "Maybe there is some hope," she thought.
"Is there something I can help you with?" He moved into the walk-in closet to change clothes.
"Oh," Nancy fumbled for words, "I was just bringing you the graduation present I mailed you and thinking about Cleopatra II. I love her by the way. She must have been hard to find."
"I'm just glad that you got it in time." He spoke from inside the closet.
Nancy felt sure that nothing could keep the blush from her cheeks. She sat on his bed and forced herself to keep up the conversation. "So, who is coming to this shindig?"
"Shindig?" His voice came back. Nancy mentally slapped herself. "Well, us, Chet, Iola, Phil, Biff, and Tony; most of our close friends."
Finally, Frank came out dressed in khaki shorts and a polo t-shirt. His hair was still a bit wet. "Now, what did you bring me?"
"You'll have to open it to find out."
Wasting no time, he ripped the wrappings away. "A scrapbook."
She tried not to let the surprise in his voice shake her confidence. She opened the first page for him. "Yes, I got pictures from all of our mysteries together. Here we are on the cruise where George worked as a social director, one of our first mysteries."
She flipped ahead a few pages. "Here's us at Mt. Mirage." She, Frank, and Joe were standing in snow skies at the base of a mountain.
Nancy looked up at Frank while he stared at the picture. She added to herself, "This was our first kiss." She hoped from his silence that he was reliving that moment in the freezing cabin with her.
Frank turned the next few pages and paused again a picture of Frank and Joe dressed as emergency medical technicians standing next to Nancy; an ambulance was in the background. "The last time we stayed with you in River Heights," he said.
"Yes," she smiled. "I'd love for you to come back, anytime; we all would."
"Maybe next time without a mystery to solve," he suggested.
"Maybe, but where would the fun in that be?" Nancy countered.
"You know me too well," he admitted.
"Something I've very proud of," Nancy softly replied as she flipped to the last filled page of the book.
"Egypt," he sighed.
Nancy watched his eyes caress the pages of pictures and stop on her favorite. A picture that made her heart stop when she first saw it.
She and Frank stood on the balcony at sunset. His arm was around her, protecting her from the cool breeze. Only a few moments after this image was captured his lips had met hers.
She unconsciously leaned into him now. His hand slid over to cover hers. "Who?"
"Your brother. I didn't know about it until I asked him to send me pictures for this book."
Nancy's heartbeat pounded in her ears as she breathed in his cologne. He turned to look at her.
"I'm glad he took the picture," he whispered. He reached up and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. His hand lingered on her cheek.
Nancy waited for her first guilt-free kiss with Frank Hardy.
"Knock, knock! Come on Frank, dinner's ready," Bess called as she pushed open the door.
Nancy and Frank pulled apart as they turned to Bess. If she didn't love her friend so much Nancy would have killed her right then.
"Dang it! I really do have the worst timing when it comes to you two."
"Don't worry about it, Bess," laughed Frank. "I'm sure I can grab Nancy later."
Taking a deep breath, Nancy followed Frank and Bess outside to dinner.
Dinner had finished and the adults had left the recent graduates and their friends on the back patio, where an impromptu dance party was now occurring. Some were standing off to the side and talking while others had paired off for some dancing.
Over dinner, Nancy, Bess, and George had been introduced to everyone. Frank and Joe's friends eagerly met the girls they had heard stories about for years.
While Frank was talking with Bess and Iola, Chet came up to Nancy. "Having a good time?"
"An amazing time," Nancy replied.
Chet motioned toward Frank. "So, what are you waiting for?"
Chet laughed. "Just go for it. There's no reason to wait anymore." He moved off to join Frank's group.
Nancy was left wondering at the permission she was just given. Had Frank or even Joe talked to him about her before? Or was the chemistry between her and Frank that obvious? In any case, it seemed that if something did happen she wouldn't be turned about as a Callie-replacement by Frank's friends.
An hour passed quickly and Frank still had not asked her to dance. People were starting to move inside and there was talk of watching a movie.
Eventually Nancy decided she wouldn't wait any longer. A slower song began and she walked up to Frank. He stopped talking to Chet when she placed a hand on his arm. "Dance?"
Frank grinned. "Of course."
She led him out to the center of the patio and wrapped her arms around his neck. His hands rested comfortably on her hips. As they wordlessly began to sway with the music, they didn't notice everyone walking into the house.
"I was beginning to think I wouldn't get a dance with you tonight," Nancy started.
"I guess I was just waiting for the right time."
He drew her in closer and she laid her head on his chest. Once again, the scent of his cologne enveloped her.
"I still can't believe that I'm here…with you," she said.
"It's the best graduation present I could have received." His fingers drew small circles on her back.
"I noticed that you're wearing your ring from Egypt," Nancy said, tilting her head up to look into his eyes.
Frank reached back and captured Nancy's right hand with his left. "I noticed the same thing with you." He softly kissed her hand before bringing it down to hold against her chest.
Nancy decided this was the time for taking a risk. "We've waited a long time for this."
"Yes we have."
She took a deep breath. "I don't think I can wait any longer."
Frank stopped their swaying. He returned his hand to the same cheek it had touched only hours before. His other hand reached up to her neck as her arms wrapped around his back. As they drew closer, Nancy felt one of his hands tangle in her hair. Her eyes slowly shut a moment before their lips connected.
As with every other time, her body seemed to catch on fire. Previous kisses had been soft and gentle, shy even. This kiss quickly became filled with all of the passion that had built between them over years of tension-filled closeness.
And as will all Frank Hardy kisses, she could never be sure how long they had stayed bound to each other.
When they broke apart it wasn't from guilt or to say that they couldn't do this anymore. It was to wordlessly say to each other, "I am yours."
Just beyond the closed doors, Joe, Bess, and George stood congratulating themselves on a perfectly executed plan.
AN: Just my take on how Frank and Nancy should finally get together. I hope that it made you smile.
Thanks to my beta Johnathan for his encouragement and grammar corrections. He was also my only friend who was familiar with the ND and HB stories, which is just ridiculous.