There was a knock on the door. Nancy cleared her throat and yelled, "I've got it!" to Hannah.
She walked down the stairs, wiping her tears with one hand and, with the other, she was practically hugging the rail.
She realized she looked like a mess, but she didn't care. It wasn't like any news reporter would come to her house and ask her about her breakup. Or was it?
Nancy opened the door and was surprised to see Frank and Joe Hardy standing there. "Frank, Joe, what a surprise to see you here! What are you doing here in River Heights?"
"We were just passing-" Frank started.
"Actually," Joe interrupted, "Bess called about your breakup with Ned because she said that she 'needed' to tell somebody. I felt sorry and told Frank, but he made it a big deal and insisted on coming down here to help you."
"I wouldn't have said anything of that sort if you hadn't said that it was good to hear Bess's voice and that you wanted to see her again," Frank retorted.
"Boys, boys, settle down," Hannah Gruen said, coming to the door with a tray of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. After Nancy's mother died her dad found Hannah, a housekeeper. Hannah was a motherly figure to Nancy since a young age. "Come on in and close the door. It's snowing outside and we'd like at least some warm air in the house." Both boys nodded and Nancy opened the door wide enough for both of them to come in at the same time, they liked to compete a lot.
"Are those chocolate chip cookies?" Joe asked because he was hungry and he wanted to get the tension out of the air .
"Yes. Now go in the family room and talk. I'll make some hot chocolate too," Hannah replied.
Once the boys took their coats off, they walked to the family room with Nancy. Joe sat down on the chair closest to the kitchen while Frank and Nancy sat on the couch closest to the sliding glass window.
"Are you alright? What did Ned do to break up with you and how did he do it? Was he inconsiderate and rude?" Frank asked and then he repeated, "Are you alright?"
"Look," Joe said while taking a mug of hot chocolate and four cookies from Hannah who had just appeared in the room, "Not to sound rude or anything, but I'm not very close with you and your relationship with Ned is really none of my beeswax. But, uh, um..." he tried, stuffing his mouth with a whole cookie, "Can you give me Bess's cell number? I would get it out, but I accidentally deleted her number and I didn't remember it by heart. I just wanna talk to her and stuff."
"Sure," Nancy giggled for the first time that day. "The number's on the notepad by the phone. Just copy it in to your cell phone and you can talk to her."
"Thanks," Joe said, leaving the room and eating, yet, another cookie.
"Nancy, please tell me that you're alright," Frank said, concern lacing every word.
"I wanted to hear you say that, but now I'm not so sure if I really did. I know that you're lying, Nance. I know you that way."
With those very words - smart words - chosen by Frank, a chill went down Nancy's spine. It wasn't one of those chills you get when it's cold and you're wearing a skirt and a tank top and it wasn't the kind of chill you get when something frightening happens. It was the type of chill you get when your boyfriend or girlfriend tells you that they love you; it was a chill that made you realize that you truly cared about someone.
She let it slide though. It just isn't rational, she thought. You and Ned just broke up! You don't need another guy to come along right after a devastating break up. You should wait for at the least a month, if not a year or more.
"Are you cold?" Frank asked in a sweet and caring tone when he saw Nancy shiver.
"No, I'm fine," Nancy replied.
"Why don't you go on up to your bedroom? You should get some rest," he proposed.
Nancy, not wanting to leave Frank's side, came up with an excuse not to go up to her room. "I'll just start crying all over again if I'm alone. I won't be able to fall asleep."
Frank put his arm around Nancy's shoulder and, instead of protesting, she leaned in to him.
This isn't rational, she thought yet again. It isn't right. He's a friend and nothing more, you need to treat him that way.
She looked like she was fighting with the thoughts in her mind, Frank could tell. He knew what it was like, after all, he was a detective too. He had to fight things off in his mind and follow his gut, heart, dreams, mind, or whatever it was that he followed - he honestly wasn't quite sure.
"What's wrong? Are you fighting with yourself?" he asked.
Nancy looked up and pushed herself away from him. She got up and said, "I can't do this." She muttered that to herself three extra times.
"You can't do what?"
"I can't lean against you or hug you or care for you any other way than a friend. You're not my boyfriend and I don't like you that way. That's what I was fighting with myself about."
"Frank got up from the couch. He was hopeful that she just didn't know what to think. That was completely normal after breakups… Right?
She started to walk towards the stairs, as if he had hurt or offended her.
Frank walked after her and, as she climbed the first step, he grabbed her wrist. Again, Nancy felt a chill go down her spine, but she let it slide. It's probably just because it's snowing outside and it's cold, she reasoned. But, in reality, she just couldn't handle her feelings.
Joe came in, completely unnoticed, as Nancy practically yelled, "Can't you see that I want to be alone, up in my room?"
"You may not know what to think, Nance," Frank said, staying calm and tugging on her wrist so she'd turn around to look him in the eyes. She took a step down and was off of the stairs. She looked him in the eyes. "I'm not sure what you think either, but I do know what I think."
He cupped her face in his hands and kissed her on the lips. As soon as he knew it, Nancy started kissing him back and, as she kissed him with as much passion as he kissed her with, she put her hands on his chest.
"Brava! Brava!" Joe said, clapping and smirking as the two pulled away from each other, practically begging for air. "I've always known that Frank wanted to do that, ever since he met you, but I didn't think you would too, Nancy." At that last sentence, Nancy and Frank both turned as red as tomatoes.
"What about Callie though," Nancy asked in a worried tone.
"I'll just have to come out and say it to her. Be truthful with her, ya know? You can't have a relationship without trust. Now, if you'll excuse me," Frank said, "I'm going to go call Callie and tell her what happened. Hopefully she understands."
"But what if she doesn't?" Nancy asked.
"Then she was never a true girlfriend at all. Plus, I can have you," Frank smiled.
"Don't think that just because we kissed it means that I like you."
"Don't be a such a stick in the mud, Nancy," Joe scolded her as Frank called Callie. "You don't want to ruin Bess's hopes of you and Frank being together."
"I believe she's calls it 'fangirling'," Nancy joked. "And Bess never wanted us to get together. She respected that I was with Ned."
"I kid, I kid. Seriously though, wait until I tell her about you two. I'm gonna call her now," Joe said.
He went into the kitchen as Frank came out. "She understands," he said, with less enthusiasm than would be expected.
"What's wrong, Frank? That's great! Aren't you happy that you and Callie are together?"
"I am, but I kinda… wanna be with you more than her. She's great and perfect, but I've had a more intense crush on you than I ever have on her."
"Remember though. Even if you guys broke up, we wouldn't be a couple right away."
"I know, but it'd be easier to wait if Callie and I weren't together. I don't want to be with her and not love her - that just wouldn't be fair."
"Stay with her. Maybe later in life Bess will be able to 'fangirl' over us. I mean, she still can now, but she'd have to wait a long time."
"I hope it isn't that long of a wait," Frank said. "At least not as long as you make it seem like you want to."
"You know what?" Nancy asked nobody in particular. "I might be able to fall asleep if I think of the amazing things that have happened lately."
"Have a great nap, Nan!" Frank called after Nancy as she walked up the stairs.