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The Disappeared - Part 1

Author: glasheen25
Fandom: Nancy Drew
Pairing/Characters:Nancy/Ned
Series: post - Nancy Drew files
Word Count: 2388
Rating:R
Prompt: Nancy is asked to help find a person or a couple who disappeared on Poveglia Island. She's called in because the island is off-limits and whoever called Nancy in doesn't want to get the person who disappeared in trouble. As soon as Nancy and Ned get there, very strange things start happening.



The words on the page all starting to blend together in one indistinguishable blur, Nancy tossed aside the book in frustration. Finals were killing her. She hadn’t slept in almost two days and any food other than noodles and chips was a long distant memory. Coffee was the only thing that was sustaining Nancy at that moment and even the effects of the caffeine were starting to wane. One more hour, Nancy promised herself, looking at the clock determinedly. One more hour of trying to devour her notes on forensic psychology and then she was going to grab some much needed sleep before the exam began at nine o’ clock in the morning.

Rubbing her blue eyes blearily, Nancy reached for her notes and with a sigh started reading through the highlighted sections. Jotting a note in the margin of the page, Nancy took a sip from her cup of coffee when the ringing of her cell phone startled her. Ned, she decided happily, rummaging in her bag for her cell, suddenly yearning to hear her boyfriend’s warm voice. Seeing the unfamiliar number highlighted on the screen, Nancy’s stomach plummeted in disappointment. Nancy had been certain that that call had been Ned. After all, it was almost midnight and she couldn’t imagine who else would try to reach her at that late time.

Unless it was about a case.

Nancy perked up at that prospect. College had severely limited the time she had to spend on cases but with finals almost over and the long summer looming, Nancy hoped that would all change.

“Hello,” Nancy answered the call hesitantly, collapsing onto her bed and waiting for a response.

“I’m so sorry for calling you at this late hour but I desperately need your help.”

The voice was female and Nancy approximated the woman to be in her late forties to early fifties.

“That’s okay,” Nancy spoke reassuringly, reaching for a pen and paper to jot a few notes down. “Would you mind starting by telling me your name and what it is exactly you need me to do.”

“My name is Cynthia West and I need you to investigate the disappearance of my daughter. Claire went on a trip to Venice two weeks ago and neither myself nor my husband have heard from her since.”

Cynthia West sounded very distressed and Nancy feared the woman was going to break into tears as she described how happy and excited Claire was to be heading to Italy for the first time.

“Did Claire make the trip on her own?” Nancy asked curiously, suddenly wide awake, her exhaustion miraculously vanished.

“Yes, she went to stay with her best friend, Macy who was spending a semester studying art over in Venice. They’re so close, the two girls, couldn’t bear spending time apart, so when Macy decided to go to study in Italy, we promised Claire we would pay for her to go visit. I wish, I had never said that now,”

The woman’s voice trailed off then and Nancy sensed she was on the verge of breaking.

“I have my last final tomorrow but I could meet you after that,” Nancy replied, inwardly wondering if she wasn’t mad. Nancy hadn’t slept properly in days and she wouldn’t be a bit surprised if she ended up falling asleep in the middle of meeting with Cynthia West. Still, the woman sounded desperate and Nancy didn’t want to keep her waiting any longer than necessary.

“I live on Cedar’s Road in Highgate,” Cynthia informed her shakily. “Would it be possible for you to come and meet me there. To be honest, I don’t feel up to leaving the house at the moment.”

Highgate was a famously expensive part of Chicago to live in. The houses were sprawling mansions, cloaked behind high gates and carefully maintained gardens. The West family were evidently wealthy, Nancy immediately decided, wondering if that fact had anything to do with Claire’s disappearance. Maybe her captors were hoping to earn a ransom for the West daughter.

“How about three o’ clock?” Nancy asked, scribbling down the woman’s address on a piece of paper after she hurriedly agreed to the time.

--
Walking out of the exam hall, Nancy couldn’t help a smile widening across her face as she considered the prospect of an entire summer free from lectures and studying. Bess and George had finished their exams two days ago and Nancy now relished the thought of being able to indulge in some relaxed time with her two friends. The weather had been glorious for weeks now but Nancy had hardly had the opportunity to appreciate it, having spent the previous days holed up in either her dorm room or the library studying.

Pulling out her cell, Nancy quickly dialed Ned’s number and smiled as she heard her boyfriend’s familiar voice come over the phone.

“How did it go?”

“It went fine,” Nancy replied dismissively, a warm feeling spreading throughout her stomach at the thought of seeing her boyfriend that evening. “I’m just glad it’s over. When do you think you’ll be able to get down here tonight?”

“Impatient aren’t we,” Ned teased and Nancy just laughed. “I have a few things to do here first but how about I leave Emerson at five and I should get to you at about eight?”

“Perfect,” Nancy beamed, already mentally deciding what she was going to wear.

The pair exchanging a few more teasing words, Nancy lingered on the line a few more minutes with Ned before she finally brought herself to end the call.

Nancy starting college had brought a lot of changes to their relationship. For one, she wasn’t as free to just head off to Emerson on a moment’s notice and spend a few days with her boyfriend. To compensate for this, Nancy and Ned made a special effort to clear their schedules and ensure that they spent at least one weekend out of every month with one another.

Glancing at her watch, Nancy saw that she now had only two hours before she had to meet Cynthia West.

Time for a nap, Nancy decided, excitement about the prospect of a new case and nervousness about the exam hampering every attempt she had made the previous night to catch a few hours sleep.

Because when Ned finally got down from Emerson, sleep she knew, would be the furthest thing from either of their minds.

--

Nancy was in an impossibly good mood as she drove through the tree-lined streets of High Gate, her eyes peeled for sign of Cedar Road. Her exams over and the summer free of the demands of college, Nancy couldn’t wait to hear the details of the case with Cynthia West. Even better, Claire West had gone missing in Venice and if Nancy could convince the woman that she needed a partner, Ned and Nancy might even score a romantic holiday in Italy into the bargain.

Turning onto Cedar Road, Nancy pulled in front of the imposing gates that fronted the West house.

“Nancy Drew here,” she spoke into the intercom, her eyes widening a little as the gates slowly creaked open and the house finally came into view.

The West house was an impressive Georgian building, painted white and surrounded by magnificent gardens brimming with all manner of colorful blooms. Behind the house was what appeared to be a walled garden, the branches of fruit trees stretching gracefully into the sky and aglow with the pink and white of the summer blossom.

A woman who Nancy presumed to be Cynthia West was waiting for her in the doorway, her blonde hair styled carefully. Despite her immaculate appearance however, there was no disguising the exhaustion on the woman’s face. Concealer did nothing to hide the dark shadows smudged underneath her eyes and her face was swollen and red as though she had just been crying.

“I’m Cynthia West,” the woman greeted her warmly, extending a hand to Nancy and ushering her into the house. “Thank you so much for coming to meet me. It means a lot,”

Unsurprisingly, the interior of the West house was similarly as stunning, the rooms decorated in soft creams and golds. Gesturing at Nancy to take a seat on the sofa in the living room, Cynthia West offered to get Nancy a glass of iced tea, which Nancy politely refused.

“Could you tell me a little about your daughter, Ms. West?” Nancy began, crossing her long legs and waiting expectantly for the woman to begin. “Has she ever gone missing like this before?”

“Oh, no,” Cynthia replied forcibly, taking a seat beside Nancy. “Claire was a good girl. Very sensible. Never gave us any trouble. You know, she was valedictorian the year she graduated from high school.”

“And what about Macy?” Nancy continued, digesting the information she had just learned about Claire West. “Did she ever get in any trouble?”

“No, no. Macy was a lovely girl. Claire and her had been best friends since kindergarten. At least they had been until Claire starting going out with Jason last year. The girls grew apart for a while but over the last few months, they became firm friends again, Claire spending almost all her free time with Macy.”

Accepting some photographs of Claire from Cynthia West, Nancy started to put a face to the girl her mother spoke so highly of. With her long dark hair and big brown eyes, Claire was a beauty. In most of the photographs she was pictured in with friends and it was evident that the girl was popular, Claire smiling brightly and surrounded by her equally stunning high school classmates.

“Is Macy in this picture?” Nancy asked curious, eager to visualize the girl who Claire had been staying with when she disappeared.

“No,” the woman replied after a pause, letting her eyes run over the picture. “You know, I don’t think Macy attended that school trip to New York.”

“Nancy, can you help me?” Ms. West finally interjected as Nancy put down the pile of photographs and sat back in the sofa. “I need to get my daughter back and at this minute, you’re the only person who can help me.”

--

Wearing a new blue sundress and with her hair freshly washed, Nancy glanced at her reflection in the mirror with satisfaction. After days of holing herself up in her room, wearing the same track pants and her hair scraped back into a ponytail, it felt good to get dressed up and look a little like herself again.

“Ned,” Nancy cried, seeing her boyfriend’s car pull into the car lot before jumping enthusiastically into his outstretched arms. “It’s so good to see you. How have you been doing?”

“Better now I’m with you,” Ned smiled, bringing his lips to his girlfriend’s and kissing her deeply. “You wouldn’t believe the traffic. I thought, I’d never get here.”

“Well, you’re here now and that’s what counts,” Nancy smiled, giving Ned one last kiss before he released her and placed her gently on the ground “I knew you would be starving after the long drive so I’ve booked a table in that Thai place for dinner. Although, we’d better get going if we are going to make the reservation. We’re already almost five minutes late.”

“You know me so well,” Ned teased, pressing his lips to Nancy’s one more, before enclosing her in an affectionate hug. “Any plans for dessert?”

“You’ll have to see.” Nancy shrugged evasively, though a teasing smile played on her lips.

The restaurant was quietly bustling, couples chatting softly at tables as they tucked into their steaming plates of food. The air was filled with the delicious aromas of the cooking food drifting in from the kitchen and Nancy’s stomach started to rumble in anticipation as she glanced through the menu.

“Would you like me to get you some drinks?” a dark-haired waitress asked them, her pen poised in her hand as she waited for an answer.

“We’ll have a bottle of the Champagne, please,” Ned answered, as Nancy looked at him in surprise. “We’re celebrating.” he added, with an indulgent smile as the waitress walked back towards the bar to get them their drinks.

“You’re just trying to get me drunk,” Nancy smiled accusingly, a smile spreading across her face as the waitress opened their bottle of Champagne with a pop.

“Like I need to.” Ned replied jokingly, which earned him a swift kick under the table from his girlfriend.

Taking a delicate sip from their tall flutes of the golden liquid, the pair talked easily for a few minutes before Nancy decided to broach the subject of Claire West.

“Please don’t tell me you said you’d take this case, Nancy,” Ned demanded warily, knowing full well that she had. “I was really looking forward to spending some time with you this summer. It’s been hard this year, with you so far away and me so busy with classes and everything.”

“It’s not so bad, Ned.” Nancy spoke reassuringly, taking another sip from her flute of Champagne before reaching across the table to take Ned’s hand. “Claire West went missing in Venice, so we’re getting an all expenses paid trip to Italy out of this. With your help, I can wrap up this case in a couple of days and then you and I can enjoy romantic Venice together. It will be amazing. You should see the hotel she has booked for us,” Nancy added enticingly and she could see Ned’s resolve was already starting to wane.

“When do we leave?” was Ned’s reply and Nancy had to restrain herself from squealing excitedly in response.
--

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
ndnickerson
May. 16th, 2011 12:41 am (UTC)
oooooooooh, yes. can't wait to see where this goes. (and cute nancy/ned reunion times! hooray!)
glasheen25
May. 22nd, 2011 02:51 pm (UTC)
Yay:) Glad you enjoyed it!!!

The prompt gives me a very Shutter Island/The Wicker Man vibe and I'm kind of excited to see where it goes.
ndnickerson
May. 22nd, 2011 04:07 pm (UTC)
and oh, shutter island is so deliciously creepy. :)
killingstreak
May. 17th, 2011 02:39 am (UTC)
Loved it! <3 Now you're just leaving me hanging :b
glasheen25
May. 22nd, 2011 02:51 pm (UTC)
Yay!!! Glad you enjoyed it:)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )