Well, this is it! The end. I hope it came out okay. I was having a hard time writing this (thank you slight case of writer's block) which is why I didn't get it out as quickly as I would have liked. It is a little long but there was so much I needed to get off my chest before the next story began. Out of all of my stories though, I think this one in my favorite by far. Anyway, I'm still glad that the story is done and now we can move on. I have such wonderful goodies coming your way with the others but first I'm going to take a short breather to make sure the next one is the way I'd like it to be. As evident in previous stories, you never know what I have in store! Haha! Thanks to everyone who has left a review for this story and to those who have read as well. I appreciate all the kind words and support that you all have given. I hope that you enjoy the end of Beach Undercover and if you will, please leave a review to let me know what you think. Until next time, have a great week and God bless! Stay well, my friends!
"Did Senator Hawkley tell you why he wanted to see you?" Nancy asked her father. They were in the back of a sedan on their way toward the Hawkley's residence to attend a dinner party in honor of Parker's rescue.
"No, but more than likely it has something to do with the pirate case," Carson answered. "I'm just surprised he wanted us to come earlier than the rest of the guests. This is going to be quite an evening."
"I hope I'm not underdressed," she muttered looking down at her dark navy gown.
"I don't think so, sweetheart," he said lovingly. He wore a black tuxedo though he pepped it up a little with a bright red bow tie. "The invitation said black tie and you are definitely going to turn heads this evening. Are Bess and George still coming later on?"
"Yes. George was a little put back by all the hubbub that we received from the senator but Bess was more than willing to come and dress her up. You know Bess. She loves a good party." Nancy quickly grabbed her side when a sharp pain ripped through her. Carson looked concerned but didn't say anything until her hand moved away.
"Yeah, every so often. You would think that after two months the pain would be gone by now." She sighed as she looked out the window. "I thought I would be back to normal."
"Nancy," Carson took her hands in his own, "you were shot. You're lucky to be alive. Just take it easy for me, okay? The stitches may be gone but your body is still healing. If you have to sit out the night of dancing then do so. I'm sure any guy would understand."
"You mean Parker and Frank?" Nancy raised an eyebrow.
"Hey, I'm just saying," he held up his hands in defense. "I wouldn't want to be in your shoes though."
"Okay," he laughed. "I just want you to be happy, honey. That's all."
"I am happy," she smiled. "I like what I do. I just hope whoever I am with understands that I don't want to give it up right away just for good looks and a stable life."
Nancy looked out the window as the Hawkley mansion came into view. She hated being the center of attention but she knew it was going to be unavoidable considering who will be at this party. Of course she knew Parker was going to be there since it was his parents who were throwing the event. As for Frank, and Joe for that matter, who's to say they would come. Her heart seemed to flutter at the thought of both Parker and Frank but who she chose was still up in the air. She didn't get to thank either one of them for they left Florida before she woke up. It was the first thing she asked her father as to where they were. Granted, Nancy was disappointed when she heard the news but her hopes rose when Parker started sending flowers to her on a weekly basis and then called her after she arrived home three weeks after the case was closed. Frank, on the other hand, had been very quiet though he did send her a couple of emails to ask how she was doing before stopping all communication once his finals began. She understood but she missed the emails anyway and she wondered why he didn't send any more back once finals were over.
Senator Hawkley wanted to thank everyone who saved his son from the pirates so they invited all who were involved in the apprehension of Martin Davenport. It included Special Agent Jim Taylor and several members of the Coast Guard. Only Carson and Nancy were asked to arrive early while the rest of the guests would arrive an hour later. George and Bess would be arriving later as well.
The car pulled up to the stately manor in suburban New York and stopped under the stone awning. An attendant opened the car door and took Nancy's hand to help her out of the car. She was about to turn around but stopped when she heard her name. Parker walked out of the front door waving to her. Nancy caught her breath. He was handsomely dressed in a tuxedo with a deep maroon silk tie, his hair gelled though not slicked back. The smile he had for her made his eyes gleam with excitement and when he came up to her, he brought her into a hug, kissing her on the cheek.
"You look gorgeous," Parker said ecstatically taking her in. The dark navy trumpet gown was stunning on her, hugging her curves then flaring out just above her knees. The off-the-shoulder gown had a Queen Anne neckline that accentuated her delicate shoulders and neck. Her hair was pulled back into a chignon that rested at the back of her head while simple but elegant jewelry adorned her ears and wrist.
Parker turned his attention to Carson and shook hands with the lawyer, welcoming them both to the home. "I'm so glad you guys were able to come this evening."
"Well, thank you for the invitation," Carson smiled. "Your parents were pretty convincing to get us here."
"Yeah, they are," the young man laughed embarrassed. "I just wish they didn't have a party in the first place. That's all it is anymore. I seem to be partied out after what happened in Florida. But enough about that. They're waiting for us inside."
He held his elbow out for Nancy in which she took and he escorted her inside the manor while Carson walked beside them, eyeing the couple with interest. The foyer was large and decorated with flowers and blue hues. Several servants and wait staff bustled around putting finishing touches on the house.
"Carson!" called a voice. The trio turned to see a man walking toward them from the back of the house. He was dressed in a dark tuxedo with a white bow tie and exuded a presence of authority and dignity as he walked. Nancy knew he was Senator Hawkley not just from knowing his photo but also the fact that he was a older version of Parker though his temples were graying and there were crow's feet forming at the corners of his green eyes.
"Winston, good to see you!" Carson smiled extending his hand out to shake the senator's hand. "Thank you for inviting us!"
"Well, it's the least we could do to thank you and the Hardys for rescuing Parker," the senator replied. Parker looked away embarrassed. "And of course, putting away a very nasty group of pirates. How are you doing now that you're off the case?"
"I have to admit, I was surprised that I was taken off," he responded, "but then again I wasn't because of what happened with Nancy. Speaking of which." Carson turned toward her and introduced her to the senator.
"Nice to meet you, sir," she said nervously holding out her hand.
"Why Carson, she's lovely," Hawkley smiled and Nancy blushed. "No wonder you've been hiding her."
"Oh stop that, Winston," scolded a woman. She came up behind her husband and playfully slapped his arm, greeting the Drews with a kind smile. Patricia Hawkley was the epitome of a senator's wife in beauty and brains. She had a kind face that was aging well and rose to just below Nancy's height. With grey blue eyes that were hawk like yet mesmerizing, the woman was definitely intimidating. Nancy felt as if she were under a microscope as Mrs. Hawkley eyed her with interest. The woman seemed to approve and took the girl by the hand. "Nancy, dear, let us leave these three to their constant barrage of boring talk. This way we can get to know one another."
"Okay," she replied. Nancy turned around to look at Parker, her eyes pleading for help though she knew he couldn't help her. When Patricia Hawkley spoke, people obeyed.
The moment the two women were gone, Winston motioned for Carson to enter the study nearby. Parker reluctantly followed though he continued to watch his mother and Nancy up until the moment he closed the door. Carson and the senator were already deep in conversation by the time he came in, each of them holding a snifter of brandy.
"I'm sorry, Carson," Winston apologized, "but I was the one who requested you to be removed from the case."
"You? But why?"
"Because I planned on recusing myself from the whole thing anyway after Parker was kidnapped," he explained. "I couldn't see myself being able to think clearly let alone objectively and I wondered the same about you. If I overstepped my bounds, please let me know."
"No," Carson shook his head. "You're fine. I should have done it myself but Nancy was in the hospital for so long. She was in longer than expected because the doctor's were worried when she didn't wake up after stopping the medication."
"Is she okay now?"
"I think so though I do wonder sometimes." He thought for a moment about the pain she was still experiencing but didn't say anything about it. "I…I think it scared her and after what I heard about what he did to her, I'm not surprised. It didn't seem to deter her though from continuing to do what she loves to do. Right now, she's taking it easy until she's healed completely and when she decides to go back to work, I'll support her in any way I can. That Davenport was a truly messed up human being. His daughter too."
"Is it true about him?" Parker asked finally speaking. "About what happened to Davenport?"
"Sadly, yes," Carson answered grimly. "One of the bullets shattered his spine. He'll no longer be a threat physically but he'll also no longer be able to walk. He's paralyzed from the waist down and is still in the hospital though all his mental faculties are still evident, unfortunately. The man is conniving and despicable in every way. I still haven't told Fenton about Davenport. I'm not sure how he'll take it since he was the one who pulled the trigger. I also haven't told him about Melody. I was planning on doing so while I was in town."
"That's up to you, Carson," Winston stated. "I'm sure the news will be taken better than you think. I've read about Fenton Hardy and he sounds like a good and honest man. And Parker has told me a lot about Frank and Joe. I'm looking forward to meeting them all this evening."
"What's going on with Melody anyway?" Parker asked curiously.
Carson looked over at the young man and sighed deeply. "Davenport made a deal with the new US Attorney in charge of the case. He gave up names and businesses he dealt with over the years in exchange for a lighter sentence for his daughter. If it were up to me, it never would have been on the table but the new attorney wanted the bigger fish and took Davenport's bait. Because of it, Melody was charged as a minor instead of an adult like I suggested. She'll get out when she turns 21 in five years."
"But what about what she did to Frank?" the young man said angrily. "Hell, she was like that to me at first. She's crazy about him. Literally. Does this attorney honestly think she's going to easily get over him?"
"I know exactly what you mean, Parker," Carson replied grimly. "As I said, I suggested full prison time for her as an adult. She knew what she was doing but they didn't see it that way. I'm sure that Frank would appreciate your concern though. That's what being a true friend is all about. I know it's going to be hard on them especially when she gets out but I have been told that Melody will be seeing a therapist over the course of her sentence. Hopefully by the time she's ready to be released, that obsession will be gone. We won't know that until later down the road. In the meantime, I will personally be monitoring that whole situation even though I am no longer on the case. It's the least I could do for Fenton and Frank. Don't worry, Parker. Everything will be handled accordingly."
A knock came at the door and Mrs. Hawkley walked in alone without waiting for a response. "Darling, our guests are beginning to arrive," she stated sweetly. She went over to her husband and took the snifter out of his hand. "You know what the doctor told you about your brandy."
"I know, Pat," he sighed.
"Carson, I must say, your daughter is a delight," she lauded, turning toward the lawyer. "She's so polite and lovely."
"Thank you, Patricia," Carson blushed. "She gets it from her mother. If you'll excuse me, I'd like to see if the Hardys have arrived yet."
"They haven't but I'm sure they'll be here soon," Mrs. Hawkley smiled. "Nancy is out on the patio with her friends though."
The group exited the study with Parker seeking out Nancy while Carson went to look for the Hardys. The Hawkleys left as well, mingling with the guests as they arrived. They all soon found themselves outside, enjoying the late spring air.
Fifteen minutes later, the Hardys pulled into the driveway leading up to the mansion with Fenton driving the family SUV.
"Woah," Joe commented looking up at the manor ahead of them. "This is where the Hawkleys live?"
"Yes, and you better be on your best behavior, young man!" Laura ordered from the front seat. "No funny business…from either of you!"
Frank nodded silently while Joe continued to complain. "But did we have to wear these monkey suits?" He pulled at his bowtie as if it were choking him. "I already had to wear this thing for prom a few weeks ago!"
"And you look just as handsome now as you did then," she replied roughly. "It's called a 'black tie event' for a reason, Joe. Now, put a smile on and quit your complaining! This night is all about you guys and you should feel honored that the senator wanted to give you his appreciation."
"Yeah, he could have just sent a check," he mumbled folding his arms in front of him.
"I got it. I'll behave." Joe looked over at his brother who was quietly looking out the window toward the mansion towering over them. "What's with you, Frank? You're awfully quiet."
"I'm just thinking, that's all."
"Yeah, I know what you're thinking." Frank looked over at him just as Joe waggled his eyebrows. The older brother rolled his eyes and shook his head as the car came to a stop and the door opened.
The four Hardys exited the vehicle and stared at the open front door where a woman stood with a clipboard and security was heavy.
"Do you think she's here?" Joe asked softly as they went through security. "I mean, I would think that she would be, don't you?"
"I don't know," Frank stated curtly. He was thinking about Nancy but he was secretly hoping she wasn't there so that he wouldn't make a fool out of himself in front of her. "The last time I sent her an email was right before finals and she didn't say anything about this then."
"That was almost three weeks ago!" his brother hissed. "Why haven't you talked to her since then? I'm sure she'd like to hear from you and more than likely you would have known she was here."
"Don't you think I don't know that?" he retorted. "I'm nervous enough as it is! The last time we saw her, she almost died. I wouldn't mind seeing her again just to make sure she's okay. She did say she was taking it easy so she might not even be here."
"Yeah, right," Joe laughed. "Her father is good friends with the Hawkleys, remember? I'm sure Parker has cozied up to her while you were busy studying."
"Shut up, Joe," Frank muttered as the pair finally walked into the foyer of the massive house. People were everywhere which was surprising considering there weren't that many people involved in the whole case.
"I'm just making sure you're okay, big brother," Joe continued. The brothers noticed that their parents were ahead of them, heading toward the back of the house. They followed though they kept their distance so they could talk. "I'm telling you, if you don't let her know how you feel, Parker will and by then it will be too late. You'll lose that chance with her."
"And what makes you the expert? Don't you have your own issues with girls"
"Not like you. Besides, did you hear the way he talked about her?" Joe pointed out. "Plus he left her flowers at the hospital, he's good looking, and he's rich."
"Like Nancy is a gold digger," Frank said doubtfully. He looked up to see their parents walk outside onto a patio. "Besides, Parker is a nice guy. It's Nancy's decision and I will respect it no matter what happens. I really wish you would just stay out of my business, Joe."
"I can worry, you know."
When the brothers went out onto the patio, they were surprised to see the expanse of grounds behind the house. There were a set of stone steps leading down into the garden where a large dance floor and DJ station were set up.
"This is so cool!" Joe whooped. He scanned the grounds as he came to a stop at a landing overlooking the garden.
A blonde girl caught his eye, her smile infectious her eyes gleaming with excitement as she looked up from her place next to the dance floor. When she noticed him watching her, she waved at him, her fingers waggling. He couldn't keep his eyes off of her in her hot pink party dress with a sweetheart neckline and spaghetti straps. The bodice shimmered with faux gems while the dress itself came to just above her knees. She leaned over to her friend and spoke in her ear, her eyes never leaving Joe. Her friend turned around and the brothers' mouths both dropped open in shock.
"Is this party going to pep up a little?" Bess complained looking around the dance floor. "I'm surprised no one has asked me to dance."
"You're wearing a hot pink dress in a sea of muted colors, Bess," George retorted. "I'm sure someone will ask you eventually but this is a party of refinement not a prom. Thank God I didn't take your advice on the dress you thought I should wear."
"Hey, that was beautiful on you!" her cousin pouted. "You would have looked stunning in it."
"Yeah, and I would have felt awkward with the gaudy color of it," she spat. "It was neon green, Bess. I would have stood out like a sore thumb while looking like a lime at the same time. At least Nancy helped me with this one and I'm happy for it even though I still feel crappy in it."
"You look beautiful, babe," a voice replied behind them. Aiden Hutchinson, George's boyfriend, came up with three cups of punch and handed the girls their drinks. He kissed George on the cheek and she blushed. "Did I miss anything?"
"Only Nancy being swept out onto the dance floor by Parker," Bess pointed. The three watched as Nancy and Parker danced on the floor, both of them enjoying their time together. "Parker's a really good dancer. They're a good looking couple, too if you ask me."
"I guess," George shrugged.
Bess gave her a curious look. "Are you…are you trying to set her up with someone else, my ever reserved cousin? That is my job."
"I'm not trying to do anything," she defended. "I just want Nancy to be happy and make sure she chooses someone who is like her not just likes her. Besides, she would have to get used to this all the time. Who would want that?"
"Uh, hello? Me!"
"Are you talking about the ones you've been telling me about for the past few weeks?" Aiden asked with a smirk. "I'm a little jealous from everything you've said, George. Who is this guy? Do you have a secret crush on him or something?"
George looked at her boyfriend and smiled sweetly. She leaned in and kissed him on the lips taking him by surprise. "I only have eyes for you, Aiden."
"Well, I don't know about you but I know I see something I like." Bess smiled and waved flirtatiously at someone behind them. "Finally some guys our own age!"
George and Aiden turned to see Frank and Joe standing above them, their mouths open slightly in shock. The three walked over to the stone steps and waited for the brothers to meet them at the bottom.
"George!" Joe cried, hugging the girl tightly. He took a step back and admired the dark haired beauty. Her hair was pulled back and she wore a simple but elegant dark green sheath dress that came to just below her knees with a slit that rode high on her thigh. "Looking good. You haven't looked this good since that party we went to in Florida."
"If I remember correctly, Joe," she smirked, "I was wearing something a little less than this. This I can handle." She heard her cousin clear her throat and laughed. "Joe, Frank, this is my cousin, Bess and Aiden, my boyfriend."
Joe took Bess' hand and kissed it. The girl giggled sheepishly. Frank rolled his eyes as he shook Aiden's hand then Bess' once Joe was done trying to swoon her.
"It's so nice to finally meet you two," Bess said enthusiastically. "Nancy and George have told me so much about you since they got home from that trip to Florida. I really wish I hadn't missed it."
"You were in that relationship that 'meant the world to you,' remember?" George reported. "If I do recall, I had to come home early to help you get through that one."
"Don't remind me, George," she sniffled. "Biff was an idiot to begin with and I still don't understand why I didn't see it coming."
"You were talking about us, George? Really?" Joe replied changing the subject. He looked at her, his eyebrow arced. Then he looked over at Frank who rolled his eyes again. "I hope it was nothing but good things, Bess."
"Of course," she nodded her head. Bess leaned over and whispered in George's ear. "These two are better looking than you gave credit for. No wonder Nancy's having a hard time choosing!"
"Hello, Frank, Joe." The group turned to see Nancy smiling behind them, her face flushed from dancing. "It's nice to see you again."
Frank was speechless. She was just as beautiful as she was the day he met her and he couldn't take his eyes off of her. The gown she wore distinguished her delicate features and showed to him that she wasn't the girl he thought she was. Joe cleared his throat while Bess hid a smile behind her hand. She whispered again into George's ear and her cousin nodded.
"Uh, yeah," Frank finally spoke, his voice to the brink of cracking. "I see you're doing well."
"I feel…okay," she said vaguely. Nancy stared at him for a few seconds, her blue eyes searching. "You okay?"
"I'm fine. Never been better," he smiled. Frank looked at his brother who smirked and the older Hardy shook his head. He knew he was never going to hear the end of it. "I'm just…glad you're all right. That's all."
"Well, now that that's over," Joe piped in. He leaned in and gave Nancy the hug that Frank forgot to give. "Good to see you, Nancy."
"Good to see you too, Joe," she said. When they parted, Nancy looked up at Frank briefly before nervously glancing away, a move that was noticed by the others in the group. "I never got the chance to thank the both of you for saving my life. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you."
"Ah, you're welcome," the younger Hardy said exaggeratedly, "but I had nothing to do with it. That was all Lancelot here."
Joe clapped Frank on the back and he bumped into Nancy nearly knocking her over. He wrapped his arm around her back before she fell over and he caught of glimpse of relief in her blue eyes. Frank held on to her for a brief moment then apologized as he righted her.
"It's okay, Frank," she smiled sheepishly, trying to hide the deep blush that came over her face. Nancy blew out a sigh. This was going to be harder than she thought.
"Hey, guys!" cried Parker coming up behind Nancy. He held out a drink for her then shook hands with the Hardy brothers. "Good of you to make it."
"Parker." Joe glanced at Frank with a mischievous grin. "Nice to see you. Dude, this is an awesome house!"
"Meh," the young man waved dismissively. "It's my parents' house. I find it confining and boring half the time. I have a place in the city if you're ever interested in visiting. How are you two doing?"
"Good," Frank nodded as cheerfully as he could. Although he liked Parker, he still couldn't get over the awkward feeling he felt with Nancy two feet away. This was going to be a long night but he was definitely going to make the best of it.
A week later and 1200 miles away…
"Authorities are suspecting that the victim is the latest in a series of murders that have been occurring all around the country," the reporter said on the TV. A guard sat at a desk eating a sandwich as he watched the newscast. "The young woman who was found was kidnapped three days ago on the morning of what was to be her wedding day. Federal investigators have been called to the scene in order to assess if this is indeed the work of the serial killer now nicknamed 'The Bridal Killer.' There is currently no motive or reason as to why these women are being targeted."
"Anything good on the news?" asked another guard coming up to the window.
"Nah, just something about that serial killer," he replied then took another bite out of his sandwich. "Good thing my kids are little at the moment or I'd be worried. Especially with kids like that crazy one down the hall. I'd hate to be object of her obsession. When's the doc coming to get her again?"
"Tomorrow, I think," the other guard stated. "I'll be glad when she's gone too. She gives me the creeps."
A little ways down the hall, a girl sat cross legged in a small room, rocking in place. Her hair was a tangled mess and her once pretty features seemed to have molded into a crazed look. She stared at the wall, humming a nondescript melody to herself. She could hear the TV down the hall and smiled when the guards talked about her. She wanted to scare people but most of all she wanted revenge on the people who almost killed her beloved father. Then she was going to take what she always wanted.
"Look out, Frank," Melody whispered. "I'm coming for you."