Almost One Year Later

Frank opened his eyes, a gentle breeze ruffling his hair. He looked to see the other half of the bed empty and the balcony doors open, the curtains blowing gently in the wind. The clock on the other side of the bed read 10:34 and Frank couldn't believe he slept so late. Getting out of bed, he went over to the dresser and pulled out a plain blue t-shirt. Frank stopped when he saw it lying at the bottom of the drawer. After pulling the shirt over his head, he took out the small box and opened it. He remembered the conversation he had with Carson Drew just a few days before, the item inside the small box the topic. Frank smiled, thinking of how his life had changed over the course of two years.

Laughter could be heard from outside, breaking his train of thought. He turned to see two people, one short, one tall, playing on the beach beyond. Walking to the balcony, he watched as his one-year-old daughter try unsuccessfully pack sand into a bucket. Nancy giggled as the bucket was dumped onto the pile of sand by Katey.

"Yay!" Nancy clapped, smiling. Katey clapped with her, gurgling loudly. Although they were at a distance from the house, Frank still could imagine their facial expressions.

His smiled broadened as he remembered the last time he stood at the window and watched Nancy from a distance. Nearly two years before, when he woke from the infection that nearly killed him Frank remembered the sadness he saw in Nancy's face then as compared to the happiness shown now. She had been by his side the whole time but after an argument with James, Nancy went out to the beach for time away from the others. As he watched her then, it was in that moment in which Frank truly fell in love with Nancy. Her beauty radiated even in her time of sadness and just as he felt then, Frank knew it was time to say something once more.

Nancy sat on the beach, watching Katey play in the sand. She smiled at her little girl, whose sunhat shifted into her eyes causing her head to angle up to see her mother. Suddenly, Nancy got the strange feeling they were being watched and looked about her in search of the stalker. Seeing no one, she looked back at the house, the second floor balcony doors still open though no one was there.

"Wonder when Daddy's going to wake up," Nancy replied, looking back at Katey. The two had woken up early and had breakfast together while Nancy let Frank sleep in. Although the nightmare of running from Powers for over a year was no longer an issue, Frank still continued to have trouble sleeping at times. Whenever she noticed he was sound asleep, Nancy left him to sleep as long as he could while she cared for Katey.

Nancy turned back to the house and sighed. Although they were happy, she still felt that something was missing. Their family was supportive of them, taking a step back to allow the three to get used to being home again. It helped at first but soon after Christmas, Nancy and Frank felt they needed to get away for a little while.

Within a week after Joe and Vanessa's wedding the month before, the threesome said their goodbyes and promised to be back by the Memorial Day Party. Their vacation was slowly coming to an end and Nancy felt more anxious to return home than ever before. She had something to tell Frank and this time, she wasn't going to hold back.

Frank walked out of the house toward Nancy and Katey. His girlfriend sat on the beach as if lost in her own world while the toddler continued playing in the sand. Katey's bright blue eyes lit up as she saw him and toddled her way toward him as best she could. Nancy saw the girl rush by and turned around to see Frank, her smile radiating as he approached her.

"Hey, Katey!" Frank stooped and scooped up the child, planting a loud kiss on her cheek. She giggled, trying to pull away. "Whatcha making?"

Katey answered him in a babble all her own and he took in as if he understood her completely.

"You don't say!" Frank laughed.

"Took you long enough!" Nancy smiled, her arms folded in front of her.

"Oh, you know me, Nan," Frank answered, walking toward her with Katey still in his arms. "I have to get my beauty sleep and make an entrance."

Nancy laughed and shook her head. She wrapped her arms around him and stood on her toes to give him a kiss on the lips.

"I have to tell you something."

"There's something I want to talk about."

They both spoke at the same time and laughed together, apparently thinking on the same wavelength.

"You first," they both replied together. The couple went into a fit of laughter once again, with Katey joining in though she had no clue why.

"Alright, I'll start," Frank decided.

"Why do you get to go first?" Nancy pouted and folded her arms again.

"Do you want to go then?"

"Na," she burst out laughing. "I was just giving you a hard time."

"Okay," Frank laughed. "Stay right there. I need to confer with Katey for a moment."

He walked away, leaving Nancy with a confused look on her face. Minutes later, Frank set Katey back down and urged her to go back to her mother. She noticed something clutched in Katey's hand and picked up the child the moment she was in arms reach.

"What have you got there?" Nancy asked, looking at the object in Katey's hand. As if in response to her mother's question, the tiny hand opened revealing a small velvet box. Nancy's jaw dropped slightly and looked back to Frank who was now standing before her, a small smile on his face. "When did you…"

"Let me speak, Nan." Frank took a deep breath before continuing. "I wanted to wait for the right moment but it never seemed right…until now. I was watching you and Katey from the balcony, remembering when I watched you two years ago. I knew then I needed to say something to you and I did….eventually. Just like then, I have something I have to say. Our lives have changed so much over the past two years and there's nothing more that I want than to spend the rest of my life with you, Nancy Drew. You and I complete each other. We are each other's 'other half.' So…"

"Stop." Nancy replied, placing her finger on his lips. "Just stop. You talk too much, Frank Hardy."

As she lowered her finger, Frank took her around the waist and kissed her passionately, knowing her answer already. Katey looked innocently at her parents, the box still clutched in her hand.

"I need an answer, Nan," Frank said softly as he pulled back.

"Do you really?" she giggled. "I thought you already figured it out."

"I guess I figured right, huh?" Frank laughed, leaning his forehead against hers. After taking the small velvet box from Katey, he opened it in front of Nancy revealing a ring studded in diamonds with one pink diamond in the middle. She looked at the ring speechless, her fingers running across the row of diamonds. As her hand shook, Frank slowly slid the ring onto her finger and kissed her once more. "Now, what is it you wanted to tell me?"

Author's Note:

Well, that's it, folks! I hope that you enjoyed the story! I had a lot of fun writing it and enjoyed all of your comments throughout the whole journey. Thanks to everyone who read the story and also to those who left reviews. I loved hearing what you had to say! Keep an eye out for me in the future! There may be a story coming soon! Til next time!