Chapter 30

Nancy woke early Sunday morning. She had not slept well. Her dreams had been haunted by images of Frank – and that kiss – the one on the beach. That kiss had set off fireworks. It had jumbled her mind and heart.

Frank, Frank, Frank, she thought as she tugged on a pair of running shorts. Do you have any idea what you do to me? How your very presence sends my heart racing like a silly school girl?

She slipped a t-shirt over her head. Yes, he probably did.

She gave her hair a quick brush and thought about the kisses in the elevator and Frank's reaction. A smile broke over her face and lit her eyes. There was no doubt Frank had liked those. He'd barely been able to walk when the doors opened. She'd had to literally pull him out of the elevator.

But the real question on Nancy's mind this morning was – was this the beginning of a passionate love affair or the makings of true love? She wouldn't mind the first, but she wanted the latter. And there lay her dilemma.

Nancy needed time, and solitude, to ponder those questions. She grabbed her sunglasses, room keycard and slipped out the door. A long quiet walk on the beach would give her time to sort through her thoughts and feelings.

Ten minutes later she was trudging through the sand, hands buried in the pockets of her lightweight sweatjacket, and no closer to an answer to her questions. She stopped, kicked at the sand and gazed upon the cresting sun. Goodness, this place was gorgeous. She gazed at the glittering sea. She'd leave here with some great memories. Thinking of them brought a contented grin and a sense of warmth and happiness.

Nancy turned toward the hotel and made her way to the terrace of the Puahlua Bar and Grill. Perhaps a cup of coffee would clear her mind, help her think straight, if that was even possible where Frank Hardy was concerned. He'd won her heart. He'd invaded her dreams and he took up a good portion of her waking thoughts. No man had ever had that power over her before and it was a little disconcerting to say the least. On second thought, Nancy decided. It was disconcerting in a very nice way … a pleasant, stimulating way.

Being around Frank certainly kept her on her toes … mentally and physically … and well, in a lot of other ways she didn't want to think about right now.

She was at the terrace and had spotted Kate Mansville sitting alone at a table, a coffee cup in her hand. Nancy started to turn away thinking Kate probably wanted to be alone, but Kate saw her and motioned for Nancy to join her.

"It's a beautiful morning, isn't it?" Kate said as Nancy took a seat across from her.

"It certainly is. I couldn't resist a morning stroll. It's our last day. Our flight leaves in a few hours."

"Barbara, Paula, and I are staying a few more days then we're headed home, too." Kate sipped her coffee.

A waiter appeared and Nancy ordered coffee. Then she asked, "So, how are you really doing?" She knew the wives' anger had carried them along yesterday, all three women had been riding high on it, but today they might see things in a different light.

Kate let out a heavy sigh. "Good question. It hasn't been easy, the past two days, absorbing all that's happened. But I have learned two things from all this. One, you never know what life is going to throw at you and two, I wouldn't change a thing."

Kate's eyes held an apology as they met Nancy's. "I loved him. I still do." She peered at her coffee. "I don't regret marrying John. I don't love what he did, but I still love him." Her eyes came up and met Nancy's. "Can you understand that?"

Nancy nodded. She thought she could understand Kate's feelings. Emotions weren't like a light switch. People couldn't just turn them on and off when it suited them.

"Love .. true love," Kate said, "those feelings run deep, Nancy. Deeper than anything you've ever felt before. True love rattles you to the very core of your being. It takes over your mind and body and keeps you awake at night. You ask yourself if this wonderful feeling is for real." She took her napkin and dabbed her eyes. "I can't stop loving him. Eighteen years. We had some lovely times together. Actually, we had a lot of lovely times. Oh my, did we ever. You can't just forget that, pretend it didn't happen." She dabbed eyes again. "We had a lot of fun together and I think he loved me the same way I loved him."

The waiter placed a steaming cup of coffee in front of Nancy and, sensing the women's mood, quietly left.

Nancy patted the older woman's arm. "I think he did, too." Nancy felt John Mansville had, and probably still, loved his wife.

Kate sipped her coffee and stared at the rising sun, a fiery, orange ball creeping above the ocean.

Nancy added cream to her coffee and thought about what Kate had said about true love. It seemed Kate had perfectly described how Nancy felt about Frank. Thoughts of him were currently interfering with her sleep and he'd definitely rattled her heart.

Kate spoke, breaking the silence that had enveloped the women, "That Detective, Detective Lau, stopped by last night to see me. He said he had John evaluated by a psychiatrist."

"Oh?" Nancy sipped her coffee and shot Kate a curious glance.

"Yes. Lau says the psychiatrist believes John suffered a psychotic break with reality. Don't get me wrong. That doesn't excuse John from what he did, especially to you. It's just … it's just that it gives me more to think about, more things to consider if you know what I mean."

"It's a lot to take in I'm sure," Nancy said amicably.

"Yes, it is. Initially, I thought about getting a divorce. I even talked to John's lawyer about it last night. He recommended against it, for John's sake. Actually, he asked me not to file for divorce in the immediate future. He's afraid it could push John completely over the edge." She lifted a delicate shoulder. "I don't know. I think in the final analysis it's not important. According to Lau, John's looking at 20 to 25 years for Chase's murder. I certainly don't have to make a decision in the next few weeks or months."

No, she certainly doesn't, Nancy thought and her thoughts turned to Frank. Where would they be in 20 to 25 years?

# # # #

The plane sped down the runway and gracefully lifted into the air. Nancy watched the ground fall away. Higher and higher the plane climbed. The ocean came into view and filled the small window.

Good-bye, Hawaii. I hope to visit you again. Nancy gazed long and lingeringly at the tranquil sea. Finally, she turned to Frank on her right. He'd been watching the view, too.

He smiled and slipped a hand into hers. Laced his fingers with hers. "We'll have to come back some time when we don't have a case to solve."

Nancy smiled. "I was thinking the same thing."

"Great minds think alike," Frank said.

Nancy chuckled. "Okay, and what am I thinking now?"

Frank's lips met hers, proving without a shadow of a doubt that great minds do indeed think alike.


A/N: Thank you to all the wonderful people who left a review. Those are always nice to receive. A special thank you to Smithy for asking me to repost this story. It's kinda made me want to write another story in this universe. :) However, I have another story here that I must finish first (Murder by the Sea). I plan to spend the next few months completed the final chapters for that story.

Take care everyone!