A/N: Thanks a million to Shenice, Really Cinderella, Stork Hardy, MarvelAsh, Caranath, ILoveMom, Tigress2929, Layla, Jabba1, leyapearl, and Ealasaid Una for their reviews on the last chapter. You guys rock! And thanks to supernaturalsam, without whom this story would be (much more of) a disorganized mess.
Horrible things happen in this chapter. Enjoy!
Nancy could have sworn her heart literally stopped with fear as she realized that the Network cell phone was no longer in her robe. That phone was her only lifeline to the Network, to Frank, to her real life outside of this nightmare of a honeymoon. How could she have lost it? How could she have let it out of her sight for even a minute?
She tore the bathroom apart furiously, shaking out towels, digging through the wastebasket, checking the pockets of Frank's robe, of the pants she'd been wearing just minutes ago. Finally she was forced to admit that the silver cell phone was nowhere in the bathroom. Had she left it in the plant on the balcony again and just forgotten? Had the maid come in to clean and replaced her robe with a fresh one, not noticing the contents of its pockets?
Or had the double discovered the phone?
She shook the thought out of her head before it could cause her to panic and do something stupid. If Frank II had found the phone, he would have confronted her about it. If he realized she was onto him, he would have tried to kill her by now, wouldn't he? Surely he would have done something, would have somehow acted differently...!
There was always the slim hope that he'd found the phone and didn't realize what it signified. That he didn't recognize the only number dialed or received as a Network line. She had deleted the text messages Gray had sent her, hadn't she? Yes, she had. There was always the chance that he thought it was her personal cell phone.
But it was unlikely.
If Frank II had found it, she didn't see what reason he would have for taking it without letting her know. She swallowed, realizing that she would have to proceed as though she had simply lost the phone. She would just have to look for it later. Finding it missing had shaken her, but there was nothing she could do about it now.
She took a few deep breaths to compose herself before pasting on a smile and opening the bathroom door. One look at Frank II nearly gave her her second heart attack of the hour. He was still sitting in front of his computer, but his gaze wasn't fixed on the screen.
Instead, he was looking at the ornate jewelry box in his hands.
"I got that at the marketplace yesterday." Nancy said, the explanation coming out just a little too loudly. Thankfully, her voice wasn't as shaky as her knees were, or she really would have given him something to be suspicious about. "I thought it was perfect for Bess."
"It's nice." he agreed, placing the box back into her purse. "Sorry, Nan. I was just looking for a pen in your bag..." he trailed off as he got a look at her outfit. "Wow. You look..."
So he didn't know what it was? Nancy somehow managed to get her racing heartbeat and her quivering knees under control enough to step towards him. "I look...?" she repeated with a sultry smile.
"Incredible." he finished, straightening in his chair. "But what are you all dressed up for?"
She sauntered forward, feeling oddly comforted that his attention now seemed to be more on her legs than on the jewelry box or the computer screen. "I thought we could go out." she suggested. "We talked about going out for drinks, maybe find a club with some live music, low lighting..."
He ran his hand through his hair, looking torn. "I don't know, Nan. I mean, I thought I'd spend some time working on decrypting this..."
"We can do that later..." Nancy murmured. "Let's do something fun, Frank. It's our honeymoon."
"How about we go out tomorrow night instead?" he asked. "You know me. If I stop working on this now, I'll be thinking of nothing else all night." He tore his gaze from her and fixed it back on the laptop, typing a few commands into the program.
Nancy made a decision, right then, that she was going to take this as far as she had to. It might have been her misery over losing the phone, or the scare she'd had when she'd seen him holding the jewelry box, or the way every keystroke he typed brought him closer and closer to the deadly discovery that the package was fake... In any case, she couldn't exactly say she was thinking clearly when she made her next move: stepping behind the imposter and kneading his shoulders with her hands.
"Wanna bet?" she whispered into his ear. Then she took the dangerous gamble of reaching out and closing his laptop.
"Nancy..." The double's eyes flashed with anger as the programs he was running shut down, but there were other emotions there as well. "You know, you make a good point."
"About going out?"
"About doing something fun." he answered in a low, husky voice. In one motion he stood and turned, sweeping her into his arms and joining his lips to hers.
Nancy's eyes shut automatically as the kiss deepened. "We'll... we'll never get out if we start doing this." she protested weakly.
"And is that really a problem?" Frank II asked, peeling the wrap off of her shoulders. Goosebumps spread over her skin as his hot mouth explored the newly-exposed flesh.
This is not Frank. This is not Frank. Warning bells were going off in her head, but she shut her eyes tightly and ignored them. "No," she whispered back. "It's really not."
Her sleep was fraught with nightmares of secrets and death, and so it was almost a relief when she startled herself awake, finding herself back in the the familiar hotel suite, morning light streaming through the gauze curtains.
Until she tried to move and realized she couldn't.
She was lying on her back, her arms splayed across the bed. But when she tried to pull them in, she was met only with a jingling sound and the resistance of cold metal against her wrists. She'd come straight out of one nightmare and into another.
She was handcuffed to the bed.
Her eyes closed tightly and she tried to continue feigning sleep as she slowly tested her restraints. They were securely attached to the bedposts, and tight around her wrists, though not painfully so. It didn't help that the events of last night were flooding back to her in a torrent, taunting her. Had her actions been for naught? In trying to distract the double, had she gotten distracted herself?
"Good morning, lover."
She went stock still. The voice was Frank's, but the tone was unfamiliar, hard, cruel.
"As much as I enjoy watching you try not to panic while you're testing those cuffs, you don't need to pretend you're asleep anymore."
All Nancy could think of to do in this situation was bluff. She let her eyes flutter open and cast a panicked glance around the room. "Frank? What... what is this?"
The double was sitting in front of his computer again, leaning back in his chair, looking utterly relaxed. She thought, though, that she detected a hint of frustration lurking in his expression.
She kept her eyes wide and rattled the handcuffs. "Frank! I'm not comfortable with this. Let me go!"
He shook his head. "You're a good actress, Nancy, but not that good. Knock it off with the innocence act. I think we both know what's going on here."
"I don't know what you're talking about..." she pleaded. "You're acting crazy, Frank!"
He stood up and walked towards the bed. "Not so very crazy..." he protested. "It's the only logical course of action when one encounters an enemy spy."
"Handcuffing her to a bed in her underwear?" Nancy challenged sarcastically, giving up on playing dumb. Somewhere, though, she was grateful that he'd left her her bra and underwear; this whole situation would somehow be a hundred times more unbearable if she was still naked. "Somehow I doubt that's official Assassin protocol."
"Clearly, you know nothing about the Assassins." Frank II said with a disarming grin that only served to infuriate her more.
"So enlighten me." Nancy spat.
"No," Frank II said, leaning against the end of the bed, just a few inches too far for her to reach him with a kick. "You enlighten me. You knew I was an Assassin when you went to bed with me last night, didn't you?"
She didn't answer.
Frank II laughed. "That is priceless. Priceless. Little Miss Perfect Nancy Drew, seducing her enemies in the name of international intrigue." he smirked. "It might even have worked, if I hadn't already been on to you." The rage clearly displayed on her face only seemed to amuse him further. "What? Was it not good for you?"
"You're disgusting." she gritted out.
He held up his hands. "You're the one who started it. I would have been perfectly content to spend the night uncovering your government's sensitive military information until you started parading around in that little red dress... Of course, this is a good look on you too." he said, gesturing to her current state.
Nancy scowled. "How did you know I knew who you were?" she demanded, changing the subject.
Frank II shook his head. "Before I answer that... why don't you tell me what the Gray Man told you, when he called you on this?" He dug his hand into his pocket and produced the silver cell phone.
Nancy paled, but raised her chin defiantly. "I asked my question first."
"Darling... that position you're lying in?" Frank II said indulgently, smugly letting his eyes rake over her body. "That is not what we call a position to negotiate."