Author's note : This chapter is based on the O.C . The friendship between Frank and Lina develops here. The next chapter is when Joe really begins to understand Frank's situation is not how it seems to be. If this chapter is a bit borring, please say so. All criticisms are welcome.

Chapter - 2

Frank woke with a start, surprising his mother. He looked around. He was in his own room, in his own bed and his mother was sitting next to him startled.

"Oh! Frank, thank God you're awake." Laura said hugging her son. "I was worried sick." She kissed her son's forehead.

"What happened ?" Frank asked, confused. He remembered running out of school in anger and then he passed out somewhere near an alley, so how did he land up here?

"You passed out on our doorstep, honey." Laura said running her fingers through Frank's hair.

"Our doorstep ?" Frank asked surprised.

"Yes. Don't you remember ?"

Frank let his head rest on the head board of his cot. Frank was sure he had passed out near an alley.

"Is something wrong Frank ?" his mother asked, in concern when Frank dazed out.

"no, mom."

"Should I call your dad ?" Laura asked.

"No"

"You realize he's worried right ?"

Frank didn't answer. He just wanted to retreat back to his own world.

"Frank ?" His mother called again.

"Mom ! I'm fine, just leave me alone."

"You weren't fine few minutes ago Frank." His mother pointed out. "what's wrong Frank ? You can talk to us. If you don't feel comfortable with us, then at least talk to Joe. He's been with you through every thing, son. I don't know why you're pushing your brother away. He's worried about your new behaviour. He just doesn't show it. He's trying to talk upbeat for you Frank. I do hope you wouldn't push your brother away, after every thing you boys have shared. Joe said you fought with him in school. Please Frank..."

Sighing deeply, Laura Hardy , turned off the lights and left Frank to his thoughts.

Frank just got frustrated. Like they knew what he was going through. He wanted to pick something and smash it on someone's head. Oh! God! Why did he have to remember that, I am turning mad he thought. Frank slowly closed his eyes trying to shut everything else except his thoughts. He tried to remember. He felt like he was missing a piece in the puzzle. And suddenly, it was as if some force had turned the wheels in Frank's head. The memories flooded him. The girl, he thought. A girl had brought him here. Frank's first thought was Callie , then he realized Callie could not have had the strength to pull him up like that. It certainly can't be Vanessa either because she was with Joe in practice and also Vanessa would always call Joe if something happened to him. He reached up to the drawer in his night stand table and pulled out the journal and started writing in it. It was a new habit he had developed just like the drugs, only writing accounts of the day was harmless. Usually he would confide in his brother who used to be his best friend, but now since he had no one to talk to, he had decided he would maintain a journal. His first instinct was to turn on the light, but he thought better of it. So, he started writing in the dark, much easier that way. This again was one of the many skills he had practiced over the past six weeks.

...

"Yeah. The doorstep, I know its weird." Joe said to his girlfriend over the cellphone.

"Did you call the doctor ?"

" No, Vanessa. Dad said he'll take care of it. Like, find out what's wrong with Frank first."

"You remember what happened during lunch, right ?"

"Yeah, Van, I do." Joe said, sighing deeply

"Its not a good sign, Joe. He should not daze out like that. Its like he is not aware of the outside world."

"Babe, I totally agree with you. But he's shutting me out. You saw how he acted earlier in the evening."

"Try again. For Callie and all of us. Joe , if there is anyone in this world who can get to Frank, then that's you." Vanessa told her boyfriend.

"Alright. I think he's awake. I heard mom close the door to his room. I'll try talking to him." Joe said.

"Good luck and Good night Joe" Vanessa wished her boyfriend.

"Good night to you too babe" Joe said and hung up.

Joe entered the common bathroom the brothers shared and opened Frank's door.

"Frank" Joe whispered. No answer. Slowly Joe made his way near Frank's bed.

"Frank" Joe whispered again as he slowly tried to wake his brother up.

He's really asleep thought Joe. Joe was about to turn when he accidentally lost his balance and landed hard on the floor. He cautiously sat up, to his surprise Frank was still sleeping. His brother was usually a light sleeper and would wake up to the slightest noise. Joe thanked his stars that Frank was asleep, or he would've hated what was coming. He was about to get up, when, something near Frank's pillow caught his attention; an envelope. Joe gently took it from under the pillow. If Frank knew, he would sure as hell get into trouble, but Joe wanted to risk it.

The envelope was already open, so, Joe didn't need to tear it open. He took out the envelope and with the light of his phone underneath Frank's cot he read.

"My classic brother" Joe muttered. Frank's envelope didn't make sense. It read,

nt kudw ua p suaparwe. U psnur swdwpr. Okwpaw, kwpcw nt dpnukt iyr I'd rgua.

Joe could tell it was a code. He would have to sit and work it out. He quickly went to Frank's desk to take a pencil. It was dark, but Joe could tell where his brother would usually keep a pen stand. To his surprise when Joe felt for it wasn't there. He groped for it but only felt a pile of books. Joe was shocked. Frank never kept his room this untidy. Joe didn't dare use his phone. Frank's table was a mess. Finally, Joe was able to find a pen from underneath the pile of books. He turned around to check if Frank was still sleeping, satisfied he turned back and struggling in the dark, he finally wrote the message in his palm. He placed the envelope back underneath Frank's pillow and went back to his room.

Now to decipher it he thought. Joe spent hours writing the message on paper trying different techniques to decipher it. Finally he got tired. It was three a.m. in the morning. Guess, I'll give it to Phil, he thought. He put his work into his bag, turned off the lights and went to sleep. I'll know what's going on Frank. I'll know why you're behaving weird, he kept thinking and drifted off into a dreamless slumber.

...

The day hadn't started right for Frank. First thing in the morning, he had to endure a question and answer session from his father, the famous private investigator, Fenton Hardy. It had annoyed Frank to a very great extent. He became tetchy soon enough and Joe was finding it quite difficult to concentrate with Frank snapping at him at every turn.

"we'll get there Frank. " Joe assured his brother.

"Get there ? We won't get there at all with you driving. We will be taking the express train to damned heaven." Frank retorted harshly.

God! Joe thought, I am already in hell. I see almost no glory in heaven. It was at that moment, Joe felt that the Gods had been kind to him. Walking further down the road was Lina, the gang's new member. Yesterday, Lina's uncle, had been kind enough to invite them all for dinner. He'd said Lina hardly made friends in China and he was happy to have kind folk for dinner at his house. Lina's aunt Martha was a lean, kind energetic woman, who was overjoyed by the prospect of having her niece like daughter's friends at her house. Frank was the only person who had missed the gathering. Such a shame , thought Joe.

"Hey ! Lina ! Want a lift." Joe called out to her. He actually wanted to shut his brother's mouth, and Lina was his lifeline.

"Oh ! Hello Joe." Lina said pleasantly. "I have a feeling I might reach faster if I walk. So, I'll walk"

She wore the same kind of dress she had worn the previous day with the same hairstyle. Only thing her loose top was light blue.

"You're kidding right. No one can out run a car, Lina" Joe said laughing.

"We shall see." Lina said serenely.

"Lina , seriously, come on, we'll drop you."

" I'll reach faster if I walk." Lina replied again serenely.

"Fine. I'm betting five bucks." Joe said, forgetting how Lina was supposed to be his lifeline. He was energetic about the new challenge. Classic Joe Hardy, never turns down a challenge.

Frank couldn't believe his brother had taken a stupid challenge seriously. He too like Joe didn't believe Lina could outrun a car. But unfortunately, fate had it another way, the Hardys got caught up in an early morning traffic jam. It now didn't seem like Lina had to out run a car, it seemed like the car had to outrun Lina. By the time Joe had parked the car in the van's usual parking spot, Lina had already reached and was talking to Tony, Biff, Callie and Vanessa. Even Frank was surprised. There was no way Lina could've known about a traffic jam.

"How did you do that ?" Joe asked the surprise not leaving his voice.

"Do what, Joe ?"

"The whole, I'll get there faster if I walk thing."

"Seriously, Joe ? " Vanessa asked giving her boyfriend an incredulous look.

"She did it." Joe said pointing at Lina "she told us that she'd reach fast if she walked, while Frank and I drove. We got stuck in the jam and she reached."

Frank had to admit he too was surprised by that.

"intuition, Joe." Lina said serenely "very essential, I believe, for detective work."

"You mean Mr. Intuition told you there was going to be a traffic jam" Joe asked incredulous over the idea.

"intuition does not work like that, Joe. It's a feeling in your gut. An example is, you might have a feeling that someone whom you love is in danger, but you don't know what kind of danger." Lina replied calmly.

Joe instantly knew that kind of feeling. It was a feeling he usually had when Frank was in danger. Suddenly, it was like he was talking to someone who knew how he was feeling. He could feel that warmth from Lina, just like he felt it with rest of the gang.

"I've felt that before." Joe said looking at Frank but Frank didn't seem to be listening at all. But Vanessa gave Joe a knowing look.

Lina couldn't have been more right , Joe thought. He smiled at her and she smiled back; the same serene smile.

...

Frank couldn't believe he had forgotten about his Calculus test. He kept running his fingers through his hair in nervousness , a trait he'd inherited from his father. His paper was half blank. A disastrous record for Frank Hardy. He kept tapping his pencil on the desk in frustration. He looked at his watch in frustration, there were five more minutes for the day's school to end. At that moment something he didn't expect, happened. Lina shoved her paper to his desk. Frank looked at her quizzically but Lina was serenely looking up at the ceiling as if it was an 18th century master piece. Deciding he at least had to get a B , Frank did something he had never done before in his life. He copied answers to a few questions. Halfway through, his conscience started bugging him and he gave up. He quickly passed the paper back to Lina. Thank God! Phil and Tony weren't seeing this, he thought . He gave Lina, a small smile of gratitude. She smiled back at him. Frank noticed she was playing with the box of pins that Callie had given her. Sometimes, Lina did drive him curious. Box of pins; Frank couldn't understand why she had chosen pins. Either way, he decided it wasn't worth the talk. But still he felt Lina mysterious in a different way, he couldn't explain. He felt calm around her. He felt like he didn't have anything to be worried of. It was like all the pain he had for six weeks were melting away. This is crazy, he thought. Soon the bell rang indicating it was the end of school.

...

The history teacher, Old Ms. Doddery was asleep and the class was having a time of their life except Joe, Vanessa, Callie, Biff and Chet who were breaking their heads over Frank's coded letter.

"Maybe, it doesn't mean anything at all." Biff said frustrated.

"That's not possible. I don't think Frank would take the trouble to put it in an envelope and keep it under his pillow if it wasn't important." Joe replied.

"Joe is right." Callie said. "Frank doesn't do anything without importance."

"So, do you guys really think that two lines would convey Frank's present situation ?" Vanessa questioned.

"Nope. I don't think so. It would only give us a hint." Callie answered.

"Joe, what really happened ? You haven't actually told us that." Chet said looking up from his piece of worked out paper.

Joe sighed. His mind was debating on various possibilities. He knew his friends deserved to know. But that would also mean, his brother would turn to Darth Vader for a whole month. Finally, Joe decided he'd rather suffer his brother's wrath than lie to his friends. If Frank doesn't tell the truth, then he would have to, or he would be no different from his brother.

"Ok. So, you guys know Frank went to the exhibition in Kansas right?" Joe asked. They nodded.

"and you guys also know that Frank was supposed to arrive in the evening on June 15th right ?" They nodded again.

"Well, this was what happened. I was running errands for mom, in the morning, on June 15th, and suddenly I received a phone call from mom saying something had happened to Frank. I rushed to Bayport General and crashed right into Con. He was freaking out. He told me that he saw Frank in Walker's street while he was attending to a noise complaint in the neighborhood. He said Frank was weak and had passed out almost immediately. I rushed to Frank's ward , he was unconscious. Dr. Bates told mom that Frank had been tortured by someone. Mom called dad and dad rushed home. He too confirmed Frank to have been tortured and then..." Joe wasn't able to continue.

"Joe, what happened after that ?" Vanessa asked gently.

"He woke up... He woke up and... well, he just got mad at all of us. Guys ! I'm really not ready to talk about what Frank told us." Joe said abruptly.

"Its alright man. We can understand." Biff said comfortingly.

"You can skip that part." Callie said helpfully.

"You won't mind ?" Joe asked.

"Of course not."

"Alright then, Dad tried to get him to talk , but he wouldn't tell a thing about who kidnapped him or what happened or how he landed in Bayport in the morning ."

"That's weird. I thought you said Kansas didn't have a flight to Bayport until 3:00 p.m. How did Frank reach in the morning then ?" Chet asked.

"That's the million dollar question." Joe said snapping his fingers.

"Wait, what if Frank was kidnapped in Kansas and brought here somehow." Callie asked, her brows all furrowed in concern.

"We'll have to be very patient, if we're gonna figure this out." Vanessa said as a matter of fact.

"What else has Frank been doing ?" Biff asked

"Nothing. He just doesn't act as if he is a member of the family. If dad asks him something, he gets mad. He walks out in the night and comes back only in the morning and it drove mom worried sick the first few weeks."

"I'm worried we'll lose him to some sort of stress or trauma or something." Chet said quietly.

"We must give it to Phil, when Frank's not around. Maybe, he'll be able to figure it out." Vanessa said

"And Tony too. We don't know when Tony gets his phenomenal brain wave." Joe added and everyone laughed. It was true, Tony would have brilliant ideas in gaps, maybe while cooking, or while in the shower, or while doing homework, or while climbing a tree. The group's jovial mood ended when the bell rang indicating the end of school.

"Oh! God! We've got practice." Chet groaned when students started filing out of class.

...

Frank popped two more tablets from his pill bottle into his mouth and tucked the bottle back into his pocket. Phil and Lina were in a deep discussion about the answers.

"You okay." Tony asked walking beside him at that moment, and Frank thanked his stars, a moment later, and Tony would've noticed.

"Yeah" Frank replied simply.

"You're coming to watch the practice sessions right ?"

"No choice."

They walked in silence again. Phil and Lina following behind, still discussing.

"how'd you do ?" Tony asked again

Frank froze. He hoped Tony wouldn't have to know what he had done.

"Well" he lied.

"Bravo ! " Tony said patting Frank on the back.

"Guys ! Over here!" Vanessa called out to Frank, Phil, Tony and Lina.

"Phew !" Phil remarked as he slumped down next to Frank and Callie.

Lina and Tony sat in separate chairs in the gym.

Biff, Chet and Joe were doing heavy workout being on the boxing team.

"96..97..98...99...100." Biff finished and allowed Joe a chance with the weights.

"Think you can do it ?" Biff asked teasingly.

Joe smirked and said "piece of cake."

"Get on with it Hardy !" Their coach shouted at him from the other corner of the room.

"Hooper ! Push ups." The coach yelled. "Morton ! You too !"

"But coach..." Chet was about to protest.

"Morton ! If you don't want to get beaten up into tomato sauce by those Barrinston giants, then get on with it !"

The reference to 'tomato sauce' and 'giants' stirred Chet and he started working out on his push ups next to Biff.

"How do you guys even pick those weights ?" Tony asked looking at Joe heaving it.

"50...51...52... Muscle power man ! 53...54..." Joe kept continuing his count.

"Muscle power, please." Phil said uninterested.

"60...61...62...63... All you need is power in your arms, if you have that you win." Joe said and started again.

"Power of the mind." Lina said dreamily.

"Excuse me... 69...70..." Joe said keeping the weights down for a break.

"Power of mind, not arms." Lina said again.

"You're joking. What is the mind gonna do ?" Biff asked still doing his push ups.

"Many things" Lina said.

"Lina, you can't be serious about the whole saintly mind power thing." Joe said and continued his lifting.

"It's true." Lina said again.

"He's right Lina, its not possible if you don't have muscle." Phil said .

"Mind." Lina said again.

"98...99...100... Lina, its ridiculous." Joe said again, as he put the lifts back and got up.

"We've been training for ages." Chet added

"Mind power, always helps." Lina replied.

"alright, if you're preaching so much about mind power, why don't you show us how it can be done. " Joe said back.

"Fine." Lina replied, serenely as before.

Joe nearly lost his balance while standing. He had expected to see some fear in Lina's eyes, but all he saw was serenity. She had accepted his challenge.

"You can't do it." Chet said huffing and puffing.

Lina just stood up from her chair. Stretched herself.

"Lina, what are you doing ?" Callie asked, finally aware that a real deal was going on here.

"Weight lifting." was Lina's simple answer.

"Lina , No!" Vanessa cried. " you'll hurt yourself.

Even Frank seemed to be aware of the situation. Callie gave Joe a death glare for his stupid challenge. Lina lay down ready to pick up the weight when Joe shouted

"Carter's wheels ! What in the name of hell are you doing ?"

Phil and Tony were looking aghast. Lina had lost her mind they thought. Biff and Chet frantically looked around for their coach, but he was no where to be seen.

"Lina stop... It was a joke. I really didn't mean to..." Joe stopped in mid sentence.

"Mighty Jesus ! Freaking thorns ! What in the world ?" A kid exclaimed from the other side of the room.

Joe's jaw dropped to the floor. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. He thought Callie and Vanessa would faint at the sight.

"Oh! My God !" Phil and Biff exclaimed. The entire gym turned silent.

"Oh! God! LINA !" Frank exclaimed again and was surprised with himself.

"What in the bloody hell is going on in here ?" Yelled the coach making entrance at the critical moment.

"HOLY GOATS !" yelled the coach in horror and surprise "BLOODY DENNIS ! WHAT IS SHE DOING ?" yelled the coach and passed out on the spot.

Joe didn't know if he was dreaming, he pinched himself multiple times. Lina had proved her point. He was seeing the girl he had met yesterday do weight lifting without breaking a sweat...

Lina put the weights down and got up. She smiled as if she had received candies for Halloween.

"Did it go well ?" Lina asked calmly.

Joe just looked at her stunned. "How di...di...did...you..do that ?" Joe stammered. Suddenly for him Lina was his role model. Callie and Vanessa stood with the same aghast expression. Phil and Tony were standing there wondering if they must cheer for their new best friend or cry out of joy, because she made it out alive. Biff and Chet were red in the face. Obviously wrecked by the fact that they had to practice all year while a girl had taken the lifts without breaking a sweat. It was like they were standing in front of the Goddess of weight lifting in all her glory. Frank, well , for Frank it was like he had made the discovery of the century. His mind exploded. It was like, finally, he knew what it was like when Einstein discovered the equation of relativity, or when Graham Bell discovered telephone or when Archimedes discovered the Archimedes principle. He had to resist the urge to shout 'Eureka !' or 'Lineka !' Whatever. Frank finally filled the missing puzzle in his mind.

"Power of the mind, Joe." Lina said. " oh! What happened to coach ?" She asked innocently.

"He kind of passed at out, halfway through your stunt. It isn't everyday he gets to see lanky girls do weight lifting." Chet replied awed.

"OK. Show's over people. Someone get coach to the nurse's office." Joe shouted. He knew it would only be a matter of time, before the news starts spreading like wildfire.

"Guys! let's get out of here." Joe said packing up his things. He pulled Lina behind him and the others followed him out to the soccer field.

"How ?" Biff asked Lina once they were away from the gym. It would take next morning for the other boxers to tell their girlfriends and it would spread. Thank God ! It was after school practice.

"Mind." Lina answered.

"You can't just wish for it to happen with your mind, you know ?" Vanessa said.

"It isn't wishing Vanessa, it is willing. You decide you're going to do something, then you put your mind and heart into it."

"But, still how did you do that ?" Phil asked. His mind was probably running through super human possibilities like Batman, Spiderman, superman etc...

"Tell me Joe, how many times have you and Frank had near death experiences. " Lina asked looking up at the sky. Frank kept looking at her like a prey, he was about to pounce on.

"Well, many times."

"and how many times have you saved Frank. ?"

"Well, many times, again."

" tell me, how many people want to do what you do ?"

"I don't know. Many people think its cool, but its not. Its dangerous. I've had to pull myself up many times to save Frank, and Frank has done the same thing many times for me." Joe replied looking at Frank. He remembered all those times when they were together and the cases they had solved. But now it seemed like everything had evaporated.

"That's it ! You build up determination to save your brother. You put your mind and heart to just save him. At that moment you don't care what happens to you. Your entire energy is focused on saving him. At that moment you forget pain. Its also just like concentrating on a book and not being aware of the world around you. You even pass fire in these situations and not know it." Lina replied.

The word 'fire' sent Callie to another world. She knew what Lina was talking about. She remembered a case she had helped Frank on six months back. She had to pull him out of a burning warehouse, when he had been knocked out. Most days she would think about how she had managed to pull him out, when she herself had been injured. She was in the verge of losing consciousness that day, and yet she knew none of the pain until she had saved Frank. She smiled at Lina, she was speaking from her heart. Even Joe and the others were in deep thought. All of them had helped the Hardys on cases. And many times they all had scrapes. It was like they had just discovered a power within them.

" so, all those times Frank, dad and I escaped wasn't luck ?" Joe asked. It was a question that nagged him. When would the Hardy family luck run out ?

Lina shook her head. "It wasn't luck. It was the power of the mind and heart. When you put your mind and heart into something, you succeed. Most of us do it when we're emotional. Some others they do it almost all the time. Just need to practice."

"China, really teaches you the saintly stuff huh ? Never believed in it. Well until now of course." Vanessa said hugging Lina. "You know, we would have been devastated if something had happened to you, on your second day."

Lina just smiled.

"Okay then , let's get going. The boxers are out." Tony pointed out.

They got up to go back to their houses. "you want a ride." Joe asked.

" I love to walk." Was Lina's reply.

"That girl is weird." Joe said laughing and earned a glare from Vanessa. "What ? In a good way. Weird in a good, mysterious way."

"Oh! Joe." Vanessa groaned.

Joe entered the van and looked eexpectantly at Frank.

"I'll walk." Frank said quietly.

"What ?..." Joe was about to protest but received a glare from Frank that silenced him. He knew that look. It was a look that said, going for Darth Vader mode. Joe silently started up the van and left. Frank took after Lina, he was determined to know, why? He soon caught up with her and pulled her aside.

"Stop." he said.

"Oh! Frank ."

"It was you, yesterday." Frank said before Lina could ask him anything. "You pulled me from that alley and left me at my house. I recognize your voice now and after that weight lifting thing, it had to be you."

Frank looked at Lina as if expecting her to say something. When she didn't say anything he continued. "How did you know where my house is ? How did you know where I was ? Why did you save me ? Why did you show me the answer sheet today ?"

Again Lina just looked at him as if she was amused. Frank looked at her expecting her to talk.

"Say something" he shouted shaking her by the shoulders.

"Answer to question no. 1 , Joe told me yesterday , during lunch, when you were spending half your time shut up inside your mind. Answer to question no. 2 You were not well, when you left the school, you were taking the direction to the abandoned warehouse district so I wanted to warn you, they say thugs live there. Answer to question no. 3 , humanity. Answer to question no. 4, drug addiction is common among students like us these days, you must stop." she finished dreamily.

Frank was stunned. There was no way she could've known that.

"You too." Frank said

"Oh! Me , no. Certainly not. Never have done before." Lina said walking. Frank rushed to catch up with her.

"How did you know ?" Frank asked harshly.

"You were, getting angry easily."

"I am short tempered."

"You are not." Lina said.

"How can you tell ?" Frank asked her again.

"People talk about different tthings. Officer Riley talked about you and Joe, said you were the logical and calm one. He told us that yesterday when he came to help aunty with the faucet

Frank had turned red. He couldn't understand how this could happen. He felt like he wanted to strangle Lina.

"I won't tell anyone though." Lina said as if reading Frank's thoughts.

"Why won't you ?" Frank asked back.

"Its your decision to talk to your family. Your brother and friends are worried. I might be new, so I may not have the right to get worried. But what you're doing is not worth it."

Frank felt like he had been hit with a rock. Did Lina know something about him ? He kept thinking. His thoughts were interrupted when she spoke again.

"Think about it, Callie loves you deeply. She is patient, funny and pretty. She is worried and wants to know whatever is troubling you because she loves you. Its rare to find such perfect relationships in such a world of chaos. Then comes Joe, your best friend, brother, life saver, another half..." Lina trailed off as if reminiscing how it would be if she had a brother.

"Its extremely rare to find two brothers who care for each other. Its a silver lining , a golden opportunity, given by life to enjoy the company of a brother. Joe understands you because if you are hurt then he is hurt, if you shut him out, then its like absence. Like he doesn't have an arm or something."

Frank suddenly felt the warmth. Of course, how could you do this to your brother Frank ? He kept asking himself and remembered the darkness within him. No. No. No. Joe hates you, he thought. Frank thought about his other friends. They all were Joe's friends first, he was introduced to them later. Will they understand the misery. No. They wouldn't, the small voice told him.

He looked at Lina, she seemed calm as always.

"How are you so calm ?" Frank asked.

"Meditation. It helps." Lina said smiling at Frank.

Frank didn't know what got over him, he just blurted it out.

"Will you teach me ?"

"Whenever you feel really confused, yeah !" Lina said.

"Friends then." Frank said and held out his hand.

"I thought we already were. Friends anyway." Lina said and shook Frank's hand. Frank could feel a sense of calm. Something he hasn't had since the past six weeks. He'd made a best friend for the first time. Even with Phil, it was Phil who had come to him first. Same went for Tony. The only times he actually spoke for himself was to tell Callie he loved her, and now for the first time in ages, he had made a new friend.

"This is me." Lina said when they came close to Walker's street.

"Bye! Frank, take care." She said hugging him.

"Bye Lina." He said back. It was an all too familiar feeling, the feeling he had when Joe hugged him or to put it in other words, the feeling of true friendship.

Frank walked on thinking about what Lina had told him. He knew he was feeling traumatized, but he didn't want Joe or the others to see it. He knew Lina hadn't just guessed it because of his temper. He felt a mystery lying beyond his new best friend. What it was, he didn't know.

Frank didn't notice the shadows lurking behind him.

"That girl ! Is she...?" The first man asked.

"I'm not sure, I only handled the other kid." The second man answered.

"Well then, in that case, where is that boy going ? I thought that boy was supposed to be in a mental health faculty." the first man said again.

"You idiot ! That's Frank Hardy, not the other boy." Snapped the second man.

"What happened to the other boy ?" asked the first man.

"The other one, it was almost six years ago, put up a fight, that one. Went to the extent of driving the boss mad. Courageous one. Fought like life and death. Anyway boss drove the kid insane somehow, and now that one's in an asylum."

"So who's this kid ?" asked the first man.

"Son of Fenton Hardy. Not much of a fight. But clever. Escaped from the boss last time." replied the second man. "Every one fall prey to the boss. This Hardy kid too is breaking. Kid is already using drugs. Same like the other boy."

"How old was the other boy ?" asked the first man.

"Two years younger than this one. Sixteen years old. Now that boy is twenty one ." Replied the second man "quit talking now, we have to plant the message."