Disclaimer: I do not own the Hardy Boys. I make no money from this story. I only lose time and sleep over it.

Yeah, I know. What am I doing posting another story when I haven't finished the first one? I have no answer for that. Call me crazy. I won't disagree. I am working on the other story for those who are interested. I think I just needed to try something different.

This is a short story. It explains what happened between Frank and Callie (in my universe anyway). There's also a bit of a mystery. The mystery starts in Chapter Two.

Chapter One

The moon slipped behind a cloud. A cold wind sent a shiver down my neck. I turned up my coat collar and dug my hands into my pockets. The ocean sucked back a wave and the sand sifted beneath my boots.

This beach held special memories for me. I had my first kiss here from a bright eyed blonde who tasted of raspberries. I remembered reckless nights laying here with her – kissing, touching, wondering how far we'd go.

The last time I'd set foot on this beach I'd come to say good-bye. That kiss had turned into a commitment, one I was happy to make, and now I had a wife to support. I was off to join the Army.

Back then, I was different. I was twenty-two and ready to take on the world. I was all gung-ho and itching to prove myself. Life soon kicked me in the gut, took me down a notch, and showed me I wasn't nearly as ready as I thought.

The Army opened my eyes to the real world, the one where hate and evil live, the one without love or compassion. I soon realized how sheltered my life had been.

I looked out over the ocean and into the night. The tide came rolling in, coming to claim me. I stood there a moment. The sound of the waves comforted me. I had memories to sort out. Some memories I needed to make peace with.

In the Army, I'd worked hard, made it into the Criminal Investigation Division (CID). As a teenager, I'd worked for my dad in his PI business mostly doing small jobs. I was well acquainted with investigations and tracking criminals.

I found being a Special Agent in the Army suited me. I loved the job and wanted to make the Army a career.

I'd married the love of my life, that bright eyed blonde. Callie. She was beautiful. I know that sounds cliché, but it was true. She had stunning legs and huge blue eyes that took my breath away.

Most guys in high school were happy if she gave them a smile. Not me. I wanted more than a smile and I was determined to get it. I devised a plan.

Callie never missed a baseball game. I'd always see her sitting in the stands with her friend Kelsey a slim brunette who giggled too much. One day, I gathered my courage and made a bet with Callie. If I hit the winning homerun in the next game, she'd give me a kiss.

She laughed, setting off butterflies in my stomach, and agreed. Her eyes said she didn't believe I could do it. Her smile said she found the bet enticing.

I wasn't sure if I could deliver the goods. I thought maybe I'd reached too far. I pushed that thought away and concentrated on the reward – a kiss. My kiss.

I'd set up an enormous challenge for myself – not just a homerun, but the winning homerun.

I was the team's starting pitcher, so I had to convince Coach Hayes I couldn't start the game. I sure as hell planned on finishing it though.

I feed coach a story about being queasy. I said the cafeteria food hadn't set well with me that day.

Coach was crushed. I pleaded my case, said I'd taken some medicine and it was working, I just needed a little more time. I could play later in the game.

Coach bought the story.

I sat on the bench biding my time.

By the sixth inning we were losing badly. Craig Stoll, who'd started in my place, was running out of gas. His pitches were getting wider and wilder. He'd hit two batters and walked a third.

You could feel the frustration in the stands. The home crowd was quiet.

I nudged Coach, told him I was feeling better and would like a shot on the mound.

"You sure, Hardy?" Desperation shone in Coach's eyes. Bases were loaded with only one out.

"I can do it. Stomach's feeling better. I got this, just give me a chance." I had my game face on, eager and serious. Exactly what Coach Hayes needed to see.

I was on fire that night. I shut down their hitters. By the bottom of the ninth, we'd tied the score.

We were down to our last at bats. This was it. I had to put up or shut up.

I walked to the plate. We had two outs. I couldn't afford to screw this up.

My brother, Joe, stood on second base. He'd crushed a curveball deep into center field for a stand-up double. All I had to do was hit a single. Joe would score easily from second and we'd win the game.

Only one problem, I'd bet Callie a homerun. No homerun, no kiss. And I wanted that kiss. My kiss. I'd been thinking about it all night and working my tail off to get it.

One thing about me, I don't give up easily. Failing or losing are never options.

I stepped up to the plate. The pitcher went into his wind up. The ball came in high.

Ball one.

I stepped out of the box and swung the bat a few times to keep loose.

The next pitch was perfect. Nerves and adrenaline had me swinging early. I missed the ball by a mile.

Third pitch was high again and I laid off. Coach nodded his approval, but looked worried. I could see sweat beads on his forehead.

The crowd was quiet. Joe stepped off second base getting ready to run.

I stepped out of the batter's box, swung the bat, and looked for Callie. I found her halfway up in the bleachers. She smiled down at me and blew me a kiss. I knew she was teasing me, but it was great motivation.

I'll show her.

I was going to blast that ball into space. I was that pumped.

I widened my stance, dug in, and focused on the pitcher. What would he throw? If it were me, I'd throw a change up.

Sure enough, he did and I was ready for it. I dumped all my pent up energy into the swing. I felt the bat meet the ball and heard a satisfying crack!

The ball rocketed to left field as I bolted to first. The left fielder sprinted toward the fence, arm outstretched, glove reaching skyward. He jumped at the right moment and I held my breath. Time slowed to a snail's pace. My heart stopped.

The ball sailed over his glove and over the fence. Time restarted. So did my heart.

The crowd erupted. People shot to their feet. Their fists pumped the air. Shouts and screams rang out as I rounded second base.

Joe slid across home plate scoring the winning run. He didn't need to slide, but then Joe rarely missed a chance to get his uniform dirty.

As I jogged around third I searched the stands for Callie. I found her, wide-eyed and shaking her head. She had a big open mouthed smile that said this was the most incredible thing she'd ever seen.

After the game, I shrugged off my teammates slaps and bowed out of the victory party. I claimed my stomach was acting up again. Must be all the excitement of our win I said.

Truth was, I had other things on my mind.

After the crowd thinned and all the gear was packed, I met Callie at the bottom of the bleachers. Kelsey was with her. I ignored Kelsey. Callie was all I saw.

"I believe you owe me something," I said. My voice came out a little hard and a bit bold, but I couldn't help it. I was still hyped from the homerun.

Callie took my boldness in good stride. She smiled and tried to act shy, but I could see beneath the act. She had wanted this, too.

"I guess I do." She tilted her head and brushed her bangs out of her eyes. "When do you want to collect?"

I tried to tame the smile breaking across my face and failed. "Forty-five minutes. Meet me at the big rock on the beach, the one by the three pine trees."

She nodded. A coy grin played at the corners of her lips. Kelsey giggled and smacked Callie lightly on the shoulder. They both fell into a fit of giggles then ran to Callie's car.

At the car Callie turned, cupped her hands around her mouth, and yelled, "Forty-five minutes, Hardy. Don't be late."

Late? Oh baby, if anything, I'd be early.

As it turned out, I was very early and that kiss … well, it lasted a long, long time. Once we started we couldn't stop.

I liked everything about Callie. The taste of her lips, the way the moonlight shimmered on her hair, and the feel of her honey-brown skin. I liked the way she looked at me, too, like I was the only man in the world. Like I was the only man for her.

Something in me changed that night. Some primal need or desire took over. I can't explain it, but I wanted her by my side forever. I wanted to protect her for the rest of her life.

It would take years for me to realize that I wasn't the right man for Callie.

Problem was, she figured it out way before I did.