Frank gazed at the vision sitting across from him. Nancy was beautiful. The off-the-shoulder blue dress hugged her every curve and the color brought out the sparkle in her eyes. Her strawberry blonde hair fell gently on her bare shoulders perfectly framing her face. Everything about Nancy made his heart beat faster and he felt complete with her.
"You're doing it again," she said breaking his thoughts. Although she wasn't looking at him, Nancy sensed his eyes on her.
"Doing what?" he laughed nervously taking his eyes off her to look down at the plate of food in front of him. It was chicken parmesan and it smelled delicious. It was the only that could take his mind off of Nancy at the moment. Frank took a bite and looked innocently at her. "What?"
"Nothing," Nancy giggled returning to her plate of shrimp alfredo. She chewed a few bites then narrowed her eyes at Frank as if scrutinizing him. "You know I caught you."
"Okay, you did," he conceded, smirking, "but how can I not stare? You're the most beautiful girl here and I'm the luckiest guy."
Nancy turned a deep shade of pink and bashfully looked away. Frank knew how to make her feel special. She couldn't help staring at him at times that evening. He was handsome with the charcoal grey suit with the red tie he wore. Even though it was their first official date, they both wanted to go on the town that night and dress up for the occasion. It was the first time in a week that they were able to do anything alone without prying eyes watching them. They chose a nice Italian restaurant in Little Italy but hadn't really decided what they would do afterward before heading back to where Nancy was staying with her father.
"Well, then," she smiled looking back at him. "I must be just as lucky."
Frank smiled at her before returning to his meal. The two ate in silence for a few minutes before either spoke again, their conversation switching to Wyvern Manor and the events that happened the week before.
"Do you think he's really gone?" Nancy asked nervously.
"Oh, um, yeah, I think so." Frank went back to eating. He really didn't like the topic but he knew that eventually they both had to get it off their chests and out of their minds. The experience itself was something he never wanted to go through again. "I feel bad for Daniel though."
"Well, he dropped everything to come to this house only to find out that it's haunted by a psychopath hell bent on immortality," he explained. "Now he has to deal with the house and more than likely spend his inheritance getting rid of it. Did your dad say anything about Daniel or his case?"
"Nothing gets past you does it?" Nancy smirked. "He just got back this morning."
"And I know you asked him the same question the moment you got the chance," he pointed out knowingly.
"I guess we're both guilty of wanting to know what's going on," she laughed. "He said that he's handing over Daniel's case to his old law firm. Jackson Daily is taking it on pro-bono for now since they need to figure out the whole inheritance and find a way to make sure that Daniel is indeed Elizabeth's descendant. Then they have to find the rest of the descendants of those who Donovan swindled money out of. I don't think it's going to be cut and dry either but Mr. Daily is a phenomenal lawyer and is probably the next best thing to help with the case. And with Bess staying behind to help, it should go pretty well for them all. Especially with the way Bess can organize things."
"I still can't believe that she stayed behind," Frank shook his head. "I thought she didn't want to stay at the manor any longer than she had to."
"You know Bess, Frank," Nancy shrugged. "I think she likes Daniel a little and besides, she really wanted to help. Dad said that the law firm was going to pay her for her services as well which will help her with her resume. She sometimes helps Dad out in his office so it's no surprise. Besides, Bess isn't staying at the manor. She only goes there during the day to help then leaves to stay in town in the evening. Daniel is doing the same thing along with anyone else who decided to help. I guess no one really wants to be at the manor anymore in the evening. I think Daniel is really leaning toward demolishing the place which is a shame but good at the same time."
"And who could blame him? I wouldn't want the place either." Frank chewed his food for a few minutes before he asked the question that had been on his mind all evening. "Have you…uh, had any more dreams?"
Nancy slowly chewed her food as she looked down at her plate. She was wondering when Frank would ask the question. She looked up at him and smiled slightly. "No," she shook her head. "Not for a few days. I was up a lot not wanting to go to bed because I was worried about another dream but last night I finally fell asleep and had the best night I've had in weeks. Even Elizabeth's memories have faded."
"Jonathan's too," Frank nodded, licking his lips. "I haven't had any memories in a few days. I think it was only temporary."
"Thank goodness for that!" she cried. "I was not about to live through all that over and over again. I mean, don't get me wrong, if it hadn't been for Elizabeth and Jonathan, we wouldn't be here enjoying our time together. They were amazing people but I'd like to live my own life, not relive someone else's."
"You got that right but we definitely owe them a lot." Frank paused briefly to take a drink of water. "Don't you think it's weird that they looked exactly like us though?"
"Yeah, it was weird but we really didn't see them," Nancy stated. "Well, except for Elizabeth. I saw her in a few dreams and it took me by surprise. Only your dad, Joe, and Bess saw them along with the police who were there. Honestly, I…I think that, and please don't call me crazy on this one, but I think that they were our former lives."
"I don't think you're crazy, Nan," he shook his head. "I wondered the same thing but I don't believe in reincarnation."
"Me neither. It was just a thought. That's all." She sighed. "I asked Dad if we had any family members from the area and he said that he'd have to look into it but he didn't believe so."
"Isn't your aunt from upstate New York though?"
"Yeah, but she wasn't born there…at least I don't think so." Nancy exchanged a cautious glance with Frank and the two burst out laughing. "It's…it's just a coincidence, that's all."
"You're right," he replied. He shook his head and took a deep breath. "Well, Bess and Daniel, huh? I did not see that one coming."
"Yeah, right," she scoffed though grateful for the change in subject. "There's no way you didn't see that one coming. And they're not dating yet, Frank but I wouldn't be surprised if she invited him to Parker and Candace's wedding in June."
"Oh, that's right!" he cried out. "I forgot all about that! I don't know what shocked me more, them getting married or Parker asking me to be his best man."
"Wait," Nancy stopped, looking up at him. "Parker asked you to be his best man?"
"Yeah, I don't know why but he did." Frank warily raised an eyebrow. "Why?"
Her eyes were wide in surprise when she spoke again. "Because Candace asked me to be her maid of honor."
"Seriously?" He looked at her incredulously. "Were they planning this the whole time or something? This is only our first date so how would they have known we would get together?"
"Wait, you didn't think we'd get together?" Frank bit his lip and quickly looked away. Nancy's mouth dropped open in shock. "I didn't expect that."
"I…I didn't think you wanted to be with me after Parker," he said nervously. "You two seemed perfect together and it hurt a little to see you with him. I was giving you space after the breakup and since you really didn't show any interest right away, I thought it was a moot point to ask you."
"Wow," she laughed taking him by surprise. "You really are dense sometimes." Nancy took his hand and squeezed it tenderly, leaning in towards him. "Just so you know, I wanted you in the first place but you kept your mouth shut. I dated Parker because he was sweet but he wasn't you, Frank. I wanted…you and only you. It just took me a while to realize it. The thought of you keeps me going every day and I don't think I could go on without you being by my side."
Frank looked at her and knew he felt the same way about her. She completed him in every way. He knew in that moment he wanted to be with her for the rest of his life. Frank looked down at his plate, no longer hungry for the food.
"You ready to get out of here?" he suddenly asked.
"Absolutely," she laughed.
Frank paid for their meal and a half hour later, the two were walking the streets of New York City, their hands clasped tightly. The Basilica of St. Patrick's Cathedral loomed ahead of them, its beauty shining brightly among the Christmas lights and people walking around it. Neither of them wanted their time together to end but they knew they had to return to their lives sooner or later. Nancy was going home with her father the next day but Frank intended to spend every moment he could with her.
"I wish you didn't have to leave," Frank replied sadly. They stopped in front of a store that had several TVs for sale in the front window. The evening news was on, the reporter standing in front of what looked like a crime scene. Frank pulled Nancy close, gazing into her clear blue eyes. "Do you really have to go?"
"Yeah, I do, Frank," she smiled sadly. "I don't want to leave either but I have to get back home. I'll be back though. I promise. Nothing can keep me away from you anymore."
"I just wish my life wasn't broadcasted to the world by a loud mouth," he grumbled. "You saw what he did when we got home."
"Yeah, but I think Vanessa smacked Joe a little to knock some sense into him," Nancy giggled. "He needs to lay off you anyway. I noticed it when we first met that he was kind of…"
"Stuck on himself?"
"No, I was thinking more along the lines of being a dick."
"Well, it's the truth!" she cried. "I love you both but man, how does your mom tolerate it?"
"She doesn't normally but it's mostly Aunt Gertrude that usually gets on his case. She can't stand sometimes."
"Don't be so hard on him though, Frank," Nancy replied. "He gets on my nerves too, you know but I think he does it because he loves you. Joe looks up to you. Just keep that in mind when he's a pain in the ass. There are times that I wish I had a sibling whom I could be close to but it wasn't in the cards for me or Dad."
Frank could see in her eyes the hurt she still felt for her mother even after all these years. He didn't remember Mrs. Drew very much but he did know she was a kind woman and strong just like her daughter. He shuddered to think what he'd do if he lost his mother.
"Nancy, I'm sorry about your mom," he said softly.
"Don't be, Frank," she smiled sadly. "There's nothing that anyone could have done to stop what happened. I just wish I could have gotten to know her a little more."
Nancy sniffled, quickly wiping her cheek where a tear escaped. Her heart broke every time she thought of her mother and she knew she was ruining the moment they were sharing. Still she always wondered what it would have been like if her mother hadn't died.
Frank cupped her chin and tilted her head up to him. She saw the compassion he felt for her in his eyes and knew he would always be there for her when she needed him the most. Frank leaned in and the two kissed in the middle of the sidewalk, the newscast continuing to play behind them. Neither of them cared if people stopped and stared but there was one whom they should have paid attention to.
Across the street stood a man who stopped in his tracks the moment he saw them. He grimaced as he watched the couple kiss but thought it ironic that the newscast behind them was talking about a serial killer. The man growled. It was two more lovers he couldn't stand the sight of but he didn't care who they were. The obvious affection the two had for one another was what made him angry.
Love. That was one luxury he despised most of all though he had at one point experienced it. And it turned him into what he was that night. He pulled out his phone and snapped a few photos of the couple. They looked familiar but he couldn't place them in that moment. The man vowed to find out who they were when he returned home. He knew he couldn't get all of the lovers of the world but he was willing to do anything to get his point across.
Moments later he entered his temporary residence and hooked up his phone to the laptop sitting on the table. Images of the couple invaded the screen, their smiling faces mocking him. A newspaper sat open next to him and he glanced at it when he saw an article that popped out at him for attention. A happy couple smiled, their arms wrapped around each other announcing their engagement and the man knew he found his next victim. He returned to the screen and used facial recognition software he illegally had and soon found out who the other couple was. He smiled seeing the connection. They could prove to be very useful in the near future with acquiring his next victim. The man took the newspaper and held it up to the screen, smiling broadly. This was going to make the bang that he wanted. A high-profile prey that was sure to get everyone to notice him: a senator's son was getting married and the Bridal Killer was ready to take on his biggest query yet.
Well, this is it. The end…well, for now that is. Now you know what's coming in the next story but not for a little while. Expect some wild twists and turns for the coming story though it will be Hardy-centric (Nancy will be in it though!). That's just a little hint of what's to come. I am sad that this story is ending but it is inevitable. I have really enjoyed writing it especially since it's my first time at writing a ghost story. I'm glad that you all enjoyed it and I thank you for the never-ending support that you've showed by reading or leaving a review! A special thanks goes out to everyone who left reviews: katnissta, MargaretA66, Rose12, Candylou, max2013, ndfan101, Jilsen, EvergreenDreamweaver, Smithy, Elizabeth Joan-hdndgirl, novembershowers, Kalubatta6, Drumboy100, ElleGreenWood, HNB FJRAY, Barb, and BMSH (if I missed you, I'm sorry!). Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I am truly humbled by your kind words and continued support! I wouldn't be writing if it hadn't been for all of you and those who read as well! While you are waiting for the next story though, I have a few suggestions of other fanfics that are out there. Jilsen, Elizabeth Joan-hbndgirl, FranklyNancy96, and Aurora Mandeville all have really amazing stories out there that are current. Check out any of them or just go searching through the fanfic in the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew section. There are some truly great stories that I've come across over the years. These are just to name a few. Wattpad and Archive of Our Own also have some great works that aren't on this site.
I noticed some of you really hated how Joe was written and I can assure you he will be different in the near future. I didn't realize how much of a jerk I was writing him as but Vanessa will be his stabilizer. It's why I added her in during All's Faire. Since she wasn't in this story, he kind of reverted back to being that way. The epilogue actually was slightly different but I realized that I was writing Frank to be a real pushover so it was changed a little bit. I'm going to try not to let that happen again. He's one of my favorites to write and he just seemed a little weak at times. So expect some growth in the coming story and yes, Parker and Candace were engaged BEFORE this story. I just didn't add it in until the end. I hope that everyone enjoyed this final addition to The Ghosts of Wyvern Manor and as always, if you will, please leave a review to let me know what you think! Until next time everyone, have a wonderful and blessed Labor Day and God bless. May the force be with you.