A/N: Those of you readers just joining us, you should take a look at my profile and Introduction to Disaster. It will make things a little less confusing. Also, this story takes place 4 months after the High Stakes case ends, (where Alicia met and started dating one of the stable hands), and a few weeks after the wedding. I'll try and post at least once a week. Also, we see Jean-Claude for a little bit, frome the Christmas special. Thanks! Enjoy!
"Are you sure you don't want me to beat him up for you?" Joe was serious. No one hurt his baby sister, and that was that.
Alicia's eyes were red with tears. She half smiled. "He's not worth it anyways." The two Hardys were in the living room; Joe was sitting on the love seat next to Alicia, who had draped a blanket over her head and was hugging her knees to her chest.
Frank walked in the front door. "Hey, what just happened? I saw Ben leave, and he looked –" Frank saw Alicia curled up, hiding under the blanket, and moved to storm back out the door.
"Frank, please. It was bound to happen sooner or later." Alicia took a shaky breath in. "Ever since he moved to the ranch just to be closer to me, he felt like I was never around. I can't blame him, I wouldn't like me either, running off all the time and solving dangerous cases with two handsome boys." She gave a sort of half laugh at her joke before hiding her face again in her knees. "I feel like I'm going to die… not even 4 months… no wonder he declined my invitation back to Saratoga…"
"We saw him with Chelsea Lorene just down the block," Joe said, catching Frank up on the full story. "I would have slugged him then, but I was more worried about Alicia." He looked at Alicia, afraid to go on any further. She noticed.
"What Joe is trying to phrase in a way that makes it easier for me to here is that they've been 'together' almost the entire time we were 'dating.' Remember when we got back from Saratoga and almost two days later got that bizarre assignment that had us rushing all over New York. That was the day they met." The acidic bitterness in Alicia's voice could eat through steel. "He didn't have to wait for her."
After a long silence, Frank spoke up. "Well, it just goes to show how stupid he is." Alicia looked up, surprised, then put her head back down as if it were too heavy to hold up. "If he didn't realize you were worth the wait, then he isn't good enough for you." He slid his back pack off of his shoulder and pulled out a file. "I have something for my favorite underclassmen." He laughed and waved it in front of Alicia's bent head. When she didn't look up, he added, "It's a new case… You might like it; it's pretty exciting. It may not a mystery, but it's a great way to start a winter break."
Alicia peeked from behind her knees. When she saw the file, she picked up her head, the blanket slid down to around her shoulders, and she snatched the file from Frank greedily. "This is just what I needed!" She said excitedly. "Something to take my mind off of… what's his face," she muttered, already feeling better. While other girls turn to chocolate, Alicia turned to mysteries and adventures.
"Remind me whenever I make her mad to just find a mystery really fast," Joe joked. Frank rolled his eyes. "So what's this one about?" Joe asked Alicia, looking over her shoulder.
"Protection detail, a prince is flying into the JFK tomorrow and heard we were the best. He's attending a show in Cincinnati later and invited us along, so we get a vacation, too." He smiled. "I considered calling Bess and Nancy, since they were also invited –"
"But we all know that's a bad idea. Joe would get jealous and want to keep Bess for himself." She smirked as Joe slugged her. "Then again, if we were all in the same area, a mystery would be bound to find us. Not to mention another opportunity to show you and Nancy how blind you two are." Frank turned red. There were always sparks flying between he and Nancy, but they were just good friends. After all, he was in love with Callie, and she was in love with Ned. As long as they were together, nothing could happen between them.
Frank sighed, and shook his head. "I was going to extend the invite anyways, so don't go all 'Frank and Nancy' on me. It will be fun. I'll invite George, too." Frank left to call River Heights.
Joe stared up at the ceiling and smiled. "The 7 of us in Ohio… what could possibly go wrong?" Alicia glared at him. "What?" he asked innocently.
"Now everything that could go wrong will go wrong. Thanks, Joe!" She smiled, then sighed loudly. Seeing Nancy, Bess, George, and Jean-Claude would give her something to look forward to, but she still felt like crying. Her one and only relationship ended in pieces. Even while Ned and Callie didn't like the fact that Frank and Nancy were always running into danger and spending time with each other, they were still together. Doesn't mean they should be, she thought, smiling, thinking about if they left, Frank and Nancy would be that much closer to getting together. That wouldn't be so bad.
Frank walked back in with a smile on his face. "They are in. We'll meet them in Cincinnati Saturday and be home in time for Christmas."
Alicia smiled before climbing back under her blanket and leaning into Joe's shoulder. "I'm exhausted now. Remind me never to use up that much emotion over one lousy guy ever again."
"Hey Alicia," Joe said, very seriously. Alicia picked her head up and looked at him.
"Don't ever use up that emotion over a lousy guy again." Alicia slugged him in the arm playfully.
Frank, Joe and Alicia loaded up the car Saturday morning to pick up Jean-Claude and head to JFK. Alicia tossed the last bag into the back, and slammed the trunk shut.
"There!" she said triumphantly. "It all fits!"
Frank looked at the back of the car; the trunk was considerably closer to the ground. "Are you sure those aren't over weight? I'm not paying extra for them you know."
"My one suitcase is exactly 50 pounds. Its Joe's carry on filled with junk that I'm worried won't fit on the plane."
Joe acted indignant, "Why, it is not junk! It's junk food! Which is the most important th–"
Joe and Frank whirled around, the light atmosphere growing darker and thicker with tension. Alicia turned around slowly and looked up in to a pair of grey-blue eyes.
Ben's sandy blonde hair blew in the wind softly, and the sad look in his eyes made her heart jump into her throat. She cleared her throat and spoke in what she thought was a strong, uncaring voice.
"Ben. What are you doing here?"
Joe heard Alicia's voice shake with the effort not to cry. He stepped in front of her and pounded his fist threateningly. "Yeah, what are you doing here exactly?"
Frank put a protective hand on Alicia's shoulder and glared at Ben. The Hardy boys saw Ben shrink against the Mental vibes he was receiving. "I was wondering if we could talk."
"Yeah, sure." Alicia waited.
"I meant alone…"
"Well, I'm sorry, I'm very busy. I don't have time to talk anymore. I have more important things to do. If you can't say it here, then you probably won't get the chance. I'll be solving a mysteries too much to even think about you. Or call, or text or just shoot you an email saying how much I care, which, by the way has dwindled greatly. Now if you will excuse me." She strode off to the front door, grabbed he back pack and back to the car door. "Good Bye, Ben." She climbed into the backseat. "Oh, one more thing."
Ben looked up hopefully.
"He's all yours, Joe. Frank."
As Joe and Frank stepped forward, Ben blanched and ran.
A/N: I really like reviews, and I know you all are reading. Please? :) Oh, and if you have any questions, all of these characters are thought out in my mind, so if I write things that need more explaining, please, don't hesitate to ask. Thanks!