We are SO sorry that it has taken this long to post this chapter, but on the up side, it is five pages long. We hope you enjoy, please leave a review, and we'll do our best to get the next chapter up sooner than we did this one. Don't go anywhere, it's just getting started! ~Sassy and Corky
I'm SO sorry that I forgot to put in the line breaks! My bad, guys...XD
The soft knock on Nancy's door caused her to look up. She saw Misty bashfully poke her head inside the room, her hair cascading into her face as she glanced at her feet. Nancy closed the nightstand drawer and straightened up, turning to face Misty, "Was there something that you needed?"
The younger girl hesitated before taking a step further into the room. Her fingers lingered lightly for a moment on the golden doorknob behind her and then swung back to her side. She stood at the foot of the bed, still not speaking. Nancy looked at her curiously. "Is everything okay?" she asked, studying her sister more closely.
Glancing down at her feet, Misty tried to hide the blush that was creeping into her cheeks. In a soft voice she spoke up, "Can I sleep with you tonight? I really don't want to be alone."
"Of course," Nancy smiled, tilting her head toward the bed. "Come help me," she said, waving Misty over.
Misty stood on one side of the large bed while Nancy stood on the other. Together the sisters pulled down the covers and slipped between the sheets, ready to finally rest for the night. They were staying in a small hotel that was pretty fancy despite its size, compliments of Dell Richardson, who had made the reservation for the suit.
As Misty reached for her book that she'd left in the room earlier, Nancy eyed her curiously. "So, what was with you today? Something on your mind?"
"What do you mean?" Misty innocently looked up from the book.
"You know what I mean," Nancy said, "Why were you in such a mood, especially at Waibree's office?" She smiled, "I'll admit, he deserved it, and the look on his face was priceless when you mentioned leaving. But even after we left, you still seemed upset." Nancy shook her finger at Misty, "And don't tell me it was just because of Waibree."
Misty made a face, "His whole attitude irked me. He needed a good fright." She sighed, "I don't know. I just felt…sassy today."
"I'll say," Nancy laughed, "You scared the poor man to death. Don't give me that 'I don't know' card either. I know you better than that, so what's up?"
Misty fidgeted with the corner of her book, not wanting to say anything. She couldn't look at Nancy and that was the dead giveaway. Nancy knew something was wrong now, no more guesses. She gently took the book from the girl that sat beside her, laying it on the nightstand to her right. She cupped Misty's chin in her hand and turned it so that she could peer into her sister's green eyes.
"Don't lie to me, Misty," Nancy whispered, "If you don't want to talk about it, that's okay, but don't lie to me."
Misty swallowed hard. She nodded, looking down again as Nancy released her hold. She took a deep breath, "It's Bithers…"
Confusion spread over Nancy face, "What about him?"
Misty shrugged, "I don't know!" She looked at Nancy, and a flicker of hurt passed through her glazed expression, "It's probably stupid, but it seems like he's been ignoring me for the last few days. I don't know what's wrong. He's not answering my calls or responding to my messages and texts. It's like he's completely disappeared. I just…I…"
Nancy hugged her sister, "He's probably just busy, that's all. Remember, McGinnis sent him to Chicago a few days ago to help there. Dad told me the other day that there was a pretty big case going on and Chief Hansam was running low on men. Bithers is working on his first big case! You should be excited for him."
"I am…I think," Misty said, "I mean, I know he's probably busy, but it's been three days." She looked at Nancy, worry in her eyes, "What if something happened to him?"
Nancy shook her head, "No, he's fine. Don't borrow trouble cause it's not worth it." She turned out her light and laid down facing Misty, "I don't think he's intentionally ignoring you, and I don't think he's hurt. I think he's just caught up in the excitement of the case, and he's probably puzzling over evidence right now, wishing you were at his side to tell him the answers."
Misty smiled, still not entirely convinced, but she lay down, turning out her light too. She had a weird feeling in her gut about the whole thing, but she didn't say anything and instead let sleep overtake her.
Rain pelted the ground mercilessly, drowning everything beneath the dark, stormy sky. A brilliant streak of lightning turned everything within sight a ghostly white, and before it even had the chance to fade, a loud crack of thunder shook the air, slowly dissipating into a long, low rumble.
Frank Hardy stumbled into the tent that Chet had put up for the trio earlier. Rain dripped into his eyes from his hair. He was soaked.
Joe's blue eyes lit up with amusement as a very wet Chet bolted into the tent after the older Hardy, nearly knocking him over, "A little damp out there?"
Frank glared at his dry brother, "You think?" He rolled his eyes while scooting to the back of the tent to make more room for Chet.
"Just sayin," Joe smiled, throwing his hands up in a shrug of defeat, "Now hurry up and change. You're dripping all over the place, and I don't want to sleep in a wet bed."
Frank grumbled, but quickly changed into his dry clothes and slipped beneath a blanket to bring warmth back into his body. Chet only smiled, shaking his head at the brothers before donning his dry pajamas. The three settled in for the night, hoping that the storm would be merciful on their frail tent.
Misty rested her head on the arm of the dark brown sofa in the living room of the suite. With her legs propped against the back of the couch at a sharp angle, the girl almost looked bent in half. She concentrated on licking the chocolate from her fingers as Nancy paced back and forth in front of the coffee table that stood between the girls. The plate on the table held only crumbs of what had been Misty's morning snack. Nancy had one hand on her hip and the other waving arbitrarily in the air as she thought aloud.
"That was good cake," Misty said, watching for Nancy's reaction. The older Drew kept pacing and mumbling to herself. "I like a little chocolate in the morning to wake me up," she said a little too loudly, still watching her sister. "Nancy," Misty tried to get her sister's attention, "Yoo-hoo!" She swung her feet around so that she was sitting on the couch properly. "Nancy!" she tried again, staring directly at her now.
"Huh?" Nancy turned to face Misty, "Did you say something?"
"You haven't eaten anything at all since we got up, and you've been mumbling incoherently for the last thirty minutes," Misty gave Nancy a hard look, "Why don't you relax a little?"
"I'm sorry," Nancy threw her hands into the air, sitting on an arm of one of the three matching recliners. Her stomach growled loudly, bringing a blush to her cheeks, "I guess I am hungry."
"Let me fix you something to eat while you tell me what's on your mind," Misty stood, walking into the small kitchenette behind the couch.
"I just…" Nancy started, still trying to organize her thoughts, "I had a funny feeling about the case and I wasn't sure…I don't know. It was weird. I guess I was just trying to figure it out."
"You think the feeling means something?" Misty asked, pulling a pan down from the cabinet above the stove.
"Well, no," Nancy answered, "Not exactly."
"Then what are you trying to figure out?" Misty turned to face her sister, noting the confused look on her face, "Omelets okay for breakfast?"
Nancy nodded absentmindedly, "Yeah…"
"Nancy, are you okay?" Misty walked over to her sister, placing one hand gently on her arm.
Nancy shook her head to clear it, "Yes, I'm fine. I'm just having a hard time shaking this feeling, but I'm sure it's nothing."
Misty smiled, "Well, you know what I always say: don't borrow trouble. Besides, we just got the information for the case yesterday, and we have done absolutely no investigating yet."
"You're right," Nancy stood, shaking her head as she laughed, "Well, let me help you out with breakfast." The girls fixed their breakfast and decided to explore the town some before they had to meet with Wiabree's boss, Dell Richardson. Ultimately, Richardson had been the one responsible for hiring the girls. Although Wiabree had briefed them yesterday on the basics of the case, Richardson had insisted on giving the detailed file to the girls personally. Despite his demanding schedule, the man wanted to meet the famous Drew sisters whom he had heard so much about. After formal introductions, well wishes, and many thanks, the short meeting ended with the transition of the file into the girls' hands. Bursting at the seams with anticipation, Misty practically skipped to the car ahead of Nancy with the file in hand.
For lunch, they found a quaint little Italian restaurant called Papalenos. "Seat yourselves," the man behind the counter handed them menus, "and when you're ready to order you can come up here." The girls thanked him and settled in a corner booth in the back of the small restaurant.
"What do you want?" Nancy asked, scanning over the menu.
"What looks good?" Misty mumbled, looking at her own menu, "Ooh, you can get your own 'Big Slice' of pizza made just the way you want. We wouldn't have to split a whole pizza, and it looks big enough to be the size of two normal pieces."
"That's a good idea," Nancy nodded, "I was looking at the Alfredo anyway." After another minute of debating over final decisions, Nancy stood up, taking Misty's menu, "I'll order and get the drinks."
Misty looked out the window as she waited, watching as the people walked by. A few of them came into the restaurant, but most of them passed by. It was a little early for lunch. The girls had wanted to avoid the noon-hour rush. She jumped as her phone buzzed loudly against the wooden table.
"Nancy!" Misty lit up with excitement as her sister set down the Root Beer and Dr. Pepper, "Nancy, it's from Bithers!"
Nancy smiled, sitting down across from Misty, "See, I told you everything was okay. What's it say?"
Misty's face fell as she read the text, "I really can't talk right now, but I wanted to say that it was great to hear from you and thanks again for all the encouragement."
Nancy noticed her sister's expression, "What's wrong?" She smiled and shook Misty's arm reassuringly, "He said it was good to hear from you. I told you he wasn't ignoring your messages or your texts. He's just busy with his new case, that's all."
"Nancy," Misty said, "It doesn't make sense."
"What doesn't make sense?" Nancy took a gulp of what she thought was the Dr. Pepper. Misty smiled at Nancy's surprised expression upon drinking her Root Beer instead. "Oops," she coughed, sliding the drink over to Misty, "That one's yours."
"I guess you're right," the younger girl sighed, setting her phone next to the windowsill.
"Right about what?" Nancy asked after swallowing a sip of the correct drink.
"Bithers," Misty said, "I guess…it's just…well, this one thing doesn't quite add up."
"What doesn't?" Nancy put her elbows on the table and then set her chin on top of the bridge she made with her intertwined fingers.
Misty reached for her phone again, rereading the text that her boyfriend had sent her. "He said 'and thanks again for all the encouragement' but this is the first time he's thanked me for the encouragement…and," she cocked her head to the side, then looked up at Nancy, "I don't remember giving him any encouragement besides."
"Misty," Nancy's expression was serious and slightly annoyed, "You're over-thinking this. First of all, whether you realize it or not, you're words are encouraging him. No matter what you send him, just hearing from you is an encouragement to him. Second of all, I'm willing to bet that he's stressed out to the max right now. He more than likely just hasn't realized how little he's talked to you and thought that he had thanked you earlier. "
Misty opened her mouth to protest, saying that he hadn't talked to her at all until just then, but Nancy held up a finger, "Up bup bup, now I want you to relax and stop worrying about him. Obviously he's not dying somewhere and obviously he's really busy." Nancy smiled as the waiter brought their food out. "So!" Nancy clapped her hands against the wooden table, "What d'ya say?"
"Alright," Misty's heart lifted and she smiled genuinely, determined to follow her sister's advice.