"All hail the conquering hero!" sang Helen Corning the instant she walked in the door. Nancy Drew lifted her head back and laughed.
"Don't tease me, Helen!"
"Oh come on Nance! You sent a family of crooks to jail and recovered Josiah Crowley's will! Who's not to be impressed by it?" Helen leaned forward. "I do believe a certain Hardy is really impressed."
Nancy blushed slightly. "Helen, knock it off! The others are going to be here . . ."
"Nancy, Helen! Hi!" The newcomer was Emily Crandall, Helen's second cousin and a friend of both girls. She was flanked by their newest friends, Ida and Isabel, nicknamed Izzy, Topham. Nancy had helped them retrieve what was rightfully theirs from a family of imposters and thieves and they couldn't stop singing her praises.
"Good timing," Nancy muttered under her breath. She waved and said more loudly, "Glad you could make it!" The girls were meeting Nancy at her house for a sleepover. She hugged each of them as they entered the house followed by a sniff-down by Togo, Nancy's new puppy. Nancy noted with pleasure how good he was acting as she introduced the girls to him, but attributed it to him being excited about meeting new people than anything else.
"Us, miss this, are you kidding? Not for the world!" exclaimed Ida as she flipped her dark, curly hair.
Izzy laughed as she bent down and patted Togo for a bit. "Ida wouldn't stop talking about it!"
"And why not? We get to spend the night with our brand new friends and the wonderful Nancy Drew!"
Nancy waved her hand. "Oh come on, I had loads of help, you know that!"
"Plus, we might get to see pictures of these pen pals of yours," said Ida, giving a sly wink.
Nancy glanced at Helen. "You told them?"
Izzy scoffed. "Girl, she didn't have to. We can see it all over your face when you talk about them, even now."
Nancy put her hands on her face. "Oh man, I thought I was better at keeping things secret!"
"Apparently not everything," said Izzy. The girls burst out laughing.
"Oh alright, let's head up to my room and I'll tell you about all of my pen pals."
"Oh, there are more?" asked Ida as the girls grabbed their backpacks and followed Nancy to her room.
Helen let out a sad sigh. "Yeah, it's just . . . well, two of them had to deal with the same tragedy you four have had, though, both parents in a plane crash." They gasped and expressed condolences.
Nancy nodded. "Yeah, they're going through a lot. They told me they would contact me once they got their heads above the water. That was about a year ago."
Emily sighed as a tear fell from her eye. "Yeah, I can totally relate."
Ida wrapped an arm around her. "Of course you can. I just hope they have wonderful friends and family helping them through this and no imposters. Especially incompetent imposters. What kind of imposter is incompetent?"
Emily chuckled. "The really bad kind." The girls laughed.
"Oh, your room is so cute!" said Ida when Nancy led them into her room.
"And it's bigger than I thought it would be," said Emily.
Nancy beamed. "Thanks! Though it's nowhere near as big as your rooms at Riverview."
Emily chuckled. "I don't think there are many rooms in River Heights as big as our rooms. There's more room there than I know what to do with!"
"But other than that, you're adjusting well to the new arrangements?" The girls set down their bags.
Emily nodded enthusiastically. "Oh yes! Judy's just having a blast with all the space!" Not long after Nancy uncovered the will for Josiah Crowley than Richard Topham invited Emily, her guardian Jane Willoughby, and the Turners to live with them at Riverview Manor. The Turners and Jane would continue working at Lilac Inn, but they wouldn't have to worry about little Judy, who had just about everyone wrapped around her little finger.
Nancy smiled widely. "That's fantastic! Oh, I'm so glad to hear everything is going well!"
"And why shouldn't it? You and your family helped us a lot!" said Ida.
"Speaking of," said Helen, "your uncle's already gone?"
Nancy nodded. "Yeah, another case."
"Just like the Hardys?" asked Helen.
Nancy nodded, excited. "Yeah, can't wait to start on my second one too!"
"But you just solved a mystery!" said Ida. "Don't you want a bit more of a break?" Emily and Helen laughed.
"You just don't know Nancy that well," said Emily.
"Oh no, she's not happy unless she's working on a puzzle. And now that she's solved her first real mystery, she's going to want more," explained Helen.
Izzy chuckled. "Looks like there's still a lot to learn."
"Speaking of learning," said Ida, "may we learn more about these handsome pen pals of yours?"
Nancy laughed. "Oh my word, you're as bad as Bess." But she obliged, bringing out the pictures and told them everything about Frank and Joe Hardy. She also told them the little bit that she knew about their friends.
"Man, we should have moved to Bayport," said Ida.
"We haven't started school yet, knucklehead, there's bound to be some cute guys there."
"Speaking of, we're good friends with some, we can invite them over and introduce you," said Helen.
"Oh, that would be great!" said Ida.
Izzy chuckled. "Well, you just made her day."
"My day was made when Nancy showed us pictures of some handsome young men." She glanced at Nancy. "Girl, you know some cuties!"
"I know, right?" said Helen. "Maybe they know other cuties and she can convince them to introduce us to them one of these days."
Nancy blushed in spite of herself. "Well, that's all up if we have a chance at meeting them."
"Oh speaking of!" exclaimed Helen. "I have some news about my pen pal, Katherine Kovna!"
The girls looked at her expectantly. "Really?"
Helen nodded. "She's from this tiny country in Europe called Centrovia, well, that's the English way of saying it. I can't quite pronounce the actual name properly, but hopefully by the time she's left I will be able to!"
"But what's the news?" asked Emily.
Helen's eyes sparkled. "She and her family are coming for a visit in a couple of weeks!" The girls gasped.
"That's wonderful, Helen!" exclaimed Nancy.
Helen bobbed her head with excitement. "Isn't it? Oh, I can't wait to see her for real! Well, the plan is that Katherine, her younger sister, and her mother are going to come out here first, her father and her uncle will be coming a couple of days afterwards. Apparently they had to finish up a few business matters before coming out here."
Nancy nodded. "That's understandable."
Ida clasped her hands. "Oh, but this is wonderful! We'll be getting to meet real Europeans! And some cute guys! This is going to be the best summer ever!" The girls laughed.
"You know, maybe they can stay at Lilac Inn!" exclaimed Emily. "Or, did you already have other plans?"
"Actually, we don't. I think they'll like it!" said Helen.
Izzy stood up. "Well then, guess we had better make some plans then, huh? We need to come up with a list of things to do and show them around in River Heights!" She grinned at Ida. "A good way for us to get acquainted with the town ourselves."
"You are absolutely right," said Emily. "This is going to be so much fun!"
Nancy turned to Helen. "What do you think we should show them in particular?"
"Well . . ." They were interrupted by two things, Togo's sudden burst of barking and Helen's phone ringing.
"Now who could that be?" asked Emily as Helen went to answer it. Nancy went downstairs to check on Togo and found he was barking with excitement. She gasped and smiled.
"Dad! You're home early!" she said when her father walked in. She greeted him with a warm hug as Togo walked around them, wagging his tail.
He looked at her with a smile. "Yeah, had to take work home, so I figured on getting back early." He bent down and petted Togo.
"May I ask why?" asked Nancy slowly, watching his face closely for any cues to see if it was bad or not.
Carson noticed her scrutinizing look and huffed. "Well," he began, but then paused and glanced up the stairs. "Emily and Helen are here, right?"
Nancy nodded. "Yes."
Carson looked at his daughter. "Well, their grandmothers asked me to take on their case."
Nancy glanced between the stairs and her father, surprised. "Their grandmothers asked you to take on their case?"
Carson nodded. "And I'm going to need your help. I have another case I have to concentrate on as well."
"I'd be happy to help in any way I can!"
Carson smiled. "Great! I'll tell you more later." He glanced around the house. "Now, where did Hannah run off to?"
Nancy laughed. "You're just now noticing she's gone?"
He eyed her. "I'm just now getting to it."
Nancy grinned. "She went out to get a few surprises for dessert."
"Ah, " he said before four pairs of feet came dashing down the stairs.
"Oh, Mr. Drew, thank goodness you're here!" exclaimed Helen. She had a phone to her ear and a worried expression on her face.
"Helen, what's wrong?" asked Nancy as Carson quickly pulled out his phone. His eyes bulged before pocketing it and turning to Helen.
"Helen, give me the phone," he said. Heen handed over to him. "Hello, Miss Flora? No, I'm sorry, I was just talking to Nancy." He nodded. "Yes, I know, I was going to look at your paperwork and get back to you on that." He walked towards his office. "As a matter of fact, let me pull it out real quick and I can tell you."
Nancy turned to Helen. "What was that all about?"
Helen bit her lip. "I-I don't know. They just called me and asked me if your dad was here. They've been trying to get a hold of him for the past few minutes!" The five glanced at Carson's office door.
"Do you think everything is alright?" asked Emily.
Nancy shrugged. "I don't know, I don't even know what's going on." She glanced at Emily and Helen. "Do you know?"
Helen's eyes widened. "No! This is the first time I've heard that they were in need of help!"
"I wonder why they wouldn't let us know?" said Emily.
Nancy put a reassuring arm around her. "Maybe because they didn't want you to worry, what with everything that was going on with Josiah's will."
"Well you've found it," said Ida, "maybe they'll tell you now what's going on."
"I hope so," said Emily.
"Nancy!" The five jumped at Carson's call.
"Coming!" said Nancy as she walked into the office. The others followed, pausing at the office door.
He nodded at them. "You can come in too, I think it's time their family knew." Emily and Helen immediately went to sit in the chairs facing Carson's desk. Carson handed Helen's phone back to her.
"Oh, if it's money issues, I can help!" said Emily.
Carson held up his hand. "Allow me to explain exactly what it is that's going on, then I'll let you decide exactly what you think you can do to help." He folded his hands and cleared his throat. "For the past week, Mrs. Flora Turnbull and Mrs. Rosemary Hayes have been pestered by a man named Nathan Gomber about selling their property to his bosses, some land developers. I've found out they were interested in Lilac Inn as well, but business is booming so they're leaving it alone. He's staying there, in fact, and the Turners and Jane have given me all they know about him."
Emily's mouth dropped. "They what?"
"And so he's taken to trying to bully Grandma and Aunt Flora out of their house?" asked Helen, her voice rising to an almost shrill screech.
Carson raised both his hands. "I wouldn't have used that word, but after what's been happening . . . "
"Oh Mr. Drew, please tell us!" begged Emily.
He let out a huff. "Apparently now Twin Elms seems to be haunted."
Emily blanched. "Wh-what do you m-mean by it's haunted?"
"Seems to be," said Carson, putting extra emphasis on the words. "Things have moved around inexplicably, strange sounds can be heard, and . . . here's the kicker, jewelry has gone missing." The girls blinked at him as the corners of his mouth twitched.
"Just jewelry?" asked Nancy. Carson nodded.
"Wait, what?" exclaimed Ida. She glanced at Emily. "What is it with your ghosts nowadays? Can't even get a real one? Lame!" They laughed, the joke breaking the tension.
"Oh man, I hate laughing at this while your grandmothers seem to be just done with it, but yes, a 'ghost' has been stealing jewelry." Carson stopped laughing and sighed. "But that's just the other half, one that maybe you girls can take care of given your most recent success."
"You mean Nancy's most recent success?" said Helen with a proud smile at her friend.
Carson laughed. "You all definitely had a hand in it, so you deserve some praise. But yes, if you can handle that angle, I'll take care of Gomber and the developers. For the most part, anyway. Gomber has apparently gone over to Twin Elms to talk to them about it a couple of times, reason with them, as he put it."
"What?" blurted both Emily and Helen.
"What's this Gomber like?" asked Nancy.
"Pretty ruthless, mean-spirited, and petty if you ask me."
"What does he look like?"
"Well, he's hard to miss, he's about my height, a receding hairline, sandy blond hair, brown eyes, a jade earring on his left ear, and a spider tattooed on his left wrist. He does act pretty suspiciously for someone who works for land developers, but I guess that's to be expected if they're desperate to get what they want."
"What exactly do these land developers want the land for?" asked Emily.
Carson shrugged. "Apartment complexes from what I've gathered."
"But why at Twin Elms?" asked Helen. "That's one of the furthest places from town!"
"That's what I'm looking into. I can't find much about them or their plans outside of that Nathan Gomber works for them and someone by the name of Willie Wharton owns the company. That's all I've found so far, but I'll keep digging."
"You know," said Nancy slowly, "they could be a fake company."
Carson nodded. "That had crossed my mind, yes. But so far it's acting like a real company, and I have to proceed as if it is until we have proof it's not."
"If it is a scam, it sounds pretty well planned," said Izzy.
"But what exactly would they get out of it if it is a scam?" asked Ida.
Carson shrugged. "They buy homes cheap and sell them to the highest bidder before disappearing with the money, at least that's what I figured it would be. But again, until we have solid proof stating otherwise, they could get away with it."
Nancy crossed her arms. "Well, I guess I know what we're going to be discussing tonight. And it sounds like we're going to have to have all our wits about us if we're going to find any loopholes or clues as to what's really going on with Nathan Gomber, Willie Wharton, and Twin Elms."
(Welcome to the next part of my Nancy Drew rewrite! I'm excited for you to read this version of a classic Nancy Drew mystery. I've added more characters, and there's a hint to the next mystery, ooh la la. ;) And, after watching this week's episode of the CW's fanfiction of Nancy Drew, I'm more pumped than ever to keep this rolling. I'm on a roll already and have the main premise of the third book planned. Anyways, this week's episode had some great moments . . . and obviously some not so great moments. Again, their weakest link is the supernatural. I cannot take them seriously, especially when ghosts seem to have far more power than they actually do. And Lucy Sable is the only one who looks like Samara from the Ring, everyone else somehow manages to look like a ghost. Again, nothing about Tiffany Hudson, who sent our heroes down this path in the first place. Are we even about solving Tiffany's murder anymore, or is it just about stuffing in as much ghostly bad writing as possible? The real ghostwriters of Nancy Drew do a much better job than this. Good grief. This wasn't a bad episode, it was just a meh, almost forgettable, filler episode. And it felt like we weren't getting anywhere with the mystery, on any mystery. So simply put, it was boring, though I was kinda happy to see something that seemed to resemble real ghosts for once . . . for a little while. I'm just surprised that people find this a good adaptation, yeah it's entertaining at times, but I guess I'm not all about the scare factor or the over-the-top drama, especially if the story isn't that great. But, I'm willing to stick it out now that I've gotten this far and got at least two really good episodes and an almost great one out of the whole deal. Though, I'm not thinking that's a really good turnover. Well, next week is the next chapter for Nancy Drew, and the week after that, we're back to the Hardys. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy!)