DISCLAIMER: I don't own Nancy Drew. She was created once upon a time by Carolyn Keene and lots of other people who aren't me. No copyright infringement is implied/meant/deliberate in any way, shape or form, and no money is changing hands/no profit is being made, etc.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Harkens back to the Nancy Drew of old, so don't be too shocked by the strong language. There's lots of "gosh darns" and "golly gees" to be had by all.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the
By Del Robertson
"George Fayne! I need to talk to you. Now!" Nancy stormed into the house, slamming the door behind her. "I know it was you!" she continued to yell as she searched the house for her elusive friend.
"Uh-oh." George had been staying with Nancy for the past week while her home was painted. Being the tomboyishly cute one, she knew she wasn't the perfect house guest like her cousin, the slightly plump, clothes horse Bess Marvin. Why, if Bess had been staying with Nancy, she would have come home to an immaculately decorated home every night. As it was, it was all George could do to make up the bed every morning. "Nan!" She exclaimed as Nancy stalked into the den.
"Don't Nan me!" The titan-haired sleuth waggled a finger at George. "I know what you did!"
George's face blanched. "Uh - I can explain?"
"Oh, you better believe you'll explain!" Nancy continued on her tirade, pacing the floor of the den. "Did you think I wouldn't figure it out?"
"Um - no?" George's voice rose an octave, trying to guess the answer to Nancy's question.
"Exactly!" She folded both arms across her chest, glaring at George. "You didn't stop to think your plan through, did you? If you had, you would have realized that I'd have this case solved and wrapped up in time for a delightful dinner of roast beef smothered in tomatoes and mushrooms with mashed potatoes and natural gravy, complete with broccoli spears in cheese sauce, followed by a three-layer chocolate marble cake prepared by my trusty housekeeper, Hannah Greun, who's taken care of me ever since my own mother tragically died when I was three years old!"
Those were the only words George had time to say as Nancy resumed her pacing, elaborating on her denouement of the situation. "Of course, when the flowers arrived this morning - "
"Flowers." Nancy nodded her head in confirmation. "A lovely bouquet of red roses, their petals barely beginning to open, surrounded by baby's breath in a delightful glass vase." Really! She's been caught; is she going to continue to feign innocence? "Anyway, a man in a uniform arrived at my front door, while you were conveniently out for your morning jog, I might add, to ask for my signature for a delivery. Being exceptionally wary after that case with the mail bomber I cracked last month, I was naturally cautious about accepting a package. To my relief, it wasn't a package at all, but the dozen roses I described to you earlier."
"The deliveryman's name was Ted. I've seen him around River Heights and the surrounding area, delivering floral arrangements and packages from a nondescript white van. Since I was familiar with the driver, I immediately ruled out the possibility that it was sent by Ruth Wilkins." She frowned at George's helpless shrug, elaborated farther. "Ruth Wilkins. The sweet, elderly woman who was sending flowers to her rivals in the River Heights Gardening Society. When each of the members sniffed the lovely bouquets, they inhaled a powerfully poisonous mixture of rat poison and arsenic."
"Uh-huh." George sat in a nearby chair, sensing this might take a while.
"Anyway, after I accepted the flowers and Ted left, I realized there was no card holder. Ergo, no card holder meant no card!" Nancy smiled broadly at her own deduction. "Now, some people might have let it go at that, merely accepting flowers from a secret admirer on Valentine's Day and all that."
"But, not Nancy Drew?" guessed George.
"Exactly. I tracked Ted down in my trusty blue convertible, being mindful of the speed limit and dangerous hairpin turns. You know how recklessly people tend to drive in River Heights!" Golly gee, I've been ran off the road more times than I can count, realized Nancy. "He was at the River Heights Diner, flirting with your cousin, Bess Marvin, who although works in a greasy spoon restaurant, is on a never-ending diet in that constant search to find that perfect someone. So, while he was preoccupied with Bess and her muffins, I crept into the back of his van."
"It wasn't locked?" George asked.
"No lock can withstand my trusty bobby pin!" Nancy smiled triumphantly, pulling the bobby pin from her hair, holding it up for emphasis. "After I snuck into the back of the truck, I searched it until I found the missing envelope and card. It being a rainy day and Ted being in and out of his truck on a schedule, I'm sure he didn't realize he had trampled on the white envelope with his mud-caked boots. When I opened the envelope, I was shocked at the handwritten note."
"What did it say?" George leaned forward in her chair, suddenly interested.
"I've watched you from afar, always near, but never noticed. We've been friends for so long - but I've loved you even longer. I've never had the courage to tell you. Until today. Say you'll be mine. Signed - "
"Signed by who?" George prompted.
"That's just it! The moisture and mud from the bottom of Ted's boot smeared the ink, making the signature illegible!" Nancy's eyes sparkled at this latest development in her plotline.
"Oh." George's upright posture instantly slumped at the disappointing letdown.
"However - "
That made George instantly perk up again.
" - I was able to make out part of the name: The letters "F" and "Y" were all I had to go on." Nancy resumed her pacing. "I reread the card, trying to figure out who I know that could have sent it. Then, it dawned on me: Fenton Hardy!"
"Fenton Hardy?" George asked, perplexed. "As in the Fenton Hardy that works for the government?"
"Exactly! I rushed out of the van, jumped in my car and drove - as fast as I safely could without breaking the law - to Bayport to look up Fenton Hardy. When I reached his office, he was being held at gunpoint by some dangerous looking men. I immediately called the police. When they arrived, it was revealed that Mr. Hardy had recently outbid a crime syndicate boss at a local auction for a fine piece of artwork, a porcelain doll from the fifteenth century! At least, that's what Mr. Hardy thought he had bid on. Turns out, the doll was worthless. A mobster had broken out the back of the doll and hidden blueprints to the Bayport National Bank inside, then pieced it back together with glue and covered the resulting patchwork with the doll's dress. Unfortunately, the mobster died before he could turn the doll over to his bosses - and his property was seized by the government upon his death - and all his belongings went to auction!"
"Golly, Nancy! You broke up a dangerous mob organization!"
"That's right, George. And, Mr. Hardy was very grateful. But, as it turns out, he's not the one that sent the card. Which, I'm kind of glad about, him being so much older than me and all." Nancy paused as she thought about that for a moment. Shaking her head at the disturbing mental image that created, she continued. "However, he examined the card and was convinced that his son, Frank Hardy, had sent it."
"F - Y. Frank Hardy. Of course!" George was getting excited now, following the trail of clues with Nancy.
"Naturally, I drove the short distance to Frank's house. When I arrived, the lights were out and the doors were locked. However, his van was parked in the drive. I was positive he was there, so I crept around the perimeter of the house." Nancy's eyes suddenly grew wide. "That's when I heard it!"
"What?" George prompted, moving closer to the edge of her chair.
"Spooky sounds! Moaning, I was sure of it!"
"What did you do?"
"Again, the trusty bobby pin! I picked the lock on the back door, crept inside the house. I tracked the sounds upstairs to one of the bedrooms. My first thought was that one of the mobster's that had held Fenton Hardy hostage earlier had dispatched some of his henchmen to take care of his sons, as well."
"Jeepers!" George's eyes went wide as she covered her mouth with both hands.
"Well, I armed myself with a vase from the hallway and charged in, ready to smash it over the heads of whomever was terrorizing Frank!"
"Then what happened?" urged George.
Nancy's expression lost some of its excitement. "Well, as it turns out, there was no foul play involved in the Hardy household. Seems that all that moaning was coming from Joe - even laying facedown on the bed and the pillowcase clutched tightly between his teeth. And, when I saw Frank in his tighty-whities, I immediately realized he hadn't sent the flowers and card."
"You mean - "
"I immediately ruled him out as a suspect." Nancy nodded. "By the way, did you know Frank and Joe aren't really brothers?"
"Well, thank goodness for that!"
"Anyway, after a rather awkward and embarrassing reunion, I explained why I was there. Joe ran the card underneath his microscope and found a very unique watermark. They helped me track the watermark to a single company that produces invitations, stationery, and floral cards. The Hardy Boys convinced the owner to provide us with a list of everyone who's bought floral cards from him within the past few months. From that list, we were able to narrow down our search. Apparently, the majority of the company's clients are located in Canada. Working under the assumption that my secret admirer ordered the flowers locally, I was able to deduce that the flowers had come from Every Rose Has A Thorn floral shop located in downtown River Heights!"
"So, you went to the floral shop," guessed George.
"Naturally. The owner was out to lunch, so I - "
" - used your trusty bobby pin. Again." By now, George knew where this was going.
"Right. It was easy enough to verify the flowers and card came from there. Then, I searched the counter until I found the receipt log for the floral shop. Luckily, the manager still prefers to handwrite the details of his orders on a pad of receipts. It was a simple matter to match the message to the correct receipt. After all, it was a pretty unique message."
"So, you were able to read out of the receipt log who signed the card?"
"Yes, I was." Nancy knelt down in front of the chair George was seated in, clasped both her hands in her own. "It was then that I realized that the "F" and "Y" were actually Forever Yours. George." Nancy reached up, cupped George's cheek. "It's okay, George. All those years bottling up your feelings, hiding in the shadows, wishing you could tell me what you feel. You can tell me now, George."
"Yes," Nancy smiled. "It's okay, I feel the same way."
"You do?" George's voice went up an octave.
"Yes, I do." Nancy leaned in, capturing George's lips. She planted a light kiss before sitting back on her heels, smiling at George. "I'm so glad you sent those roses, George. And, I'm really glad I was able to solve the Mystery of the Secret Admirer."
"Okay, that's the last one for today," Ted came into the flower shop, tossing his manifest onto the counter.
The owner glanced up. "You've still got one more, don't you?"
"Nah. Everything's done. Truck's empty."
"You followed the manifest exactly?"
"Yeah." The driver shrugged. "Don't get me wrong; there were a lot of deliveries today and the paper got a little rain soaked, but I delivered everything you sent me with."
"Hmmm." The owner took the manifest, surveying the list. "That's odd."
"What?" asked Ted, peering over the other man's shoulder.
"This crackpot named George said he ordered some roses for a Bree Van De Kamp over on Wisteria Lane and they never arrived. He's pitching a real fit about it, too." He scratched his head, perplexed. "But, everything's been signed for." His eyes narrowed as he searched the page, locating the Wisteria Lane address. "Here it is," he said, pointing to the appropriate address and signature. He suddenly frowned. "Say, Ted - Who's Nancy Drew?"
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