Title: The Case of the Vandalized Vacation Home
Feedback address: email@example.com
Date in Calendar: 23 December 2004
Fandom: Nancy Drew
Characters/Pairings: Nancy Drew, Bess Marvin, George Fayne, N/B/G
Summary: Someone's vandalized Bess Marvin's family vacation home in Vermont. Nancy goes to help Bess and George figure it all out before Christmas - and to help them "keep warm."
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC04
Disclaimer: They don't belong to me.
Note: Nothing graphic, sorry. It just didn't seem to fit the story, given that it's Nancy Drew and all. Beta'd by the lovely faile02. This is my first attempt at writing Nancy Drew fic, written for the 2004 FemSlash Advent Calendar.
Wordcount: 2,834 words
"Nancy!" Bess Marvin's voice over the phone lines sounded frantic. Nancy sighed and sat down to talk to her. It wasn't as if Bess was helpless, so something must be truly frightening her.
"Yes, Bess. What's wrong?" Nancy almost chuckled at Bess' huge sigh of relief.
"Things are an absolute mess here, Nancy. Someone broke a window in the living room and the downstairs bedroom is full of leaves because a window is broken there too! It's horrible." Bess sounded close to despair. "George had to go get the rake out of the shed and now the carpet's a mess, there are little bits of leaves everywhere."
"Well if George is there with you, I'm sure you'll have things cleaned up in no time. Do you still want me to come up there for Christmas?" Nancy's father was working on a big case and unfortunately would be all the way out in California until January, and Hannah Gruen, the Drew's housekeeper had already left to go spend the holidays with her nephew. Nancy had been planning on joining Bess and George in Bess' parents' vacation house in Vermont for Christmas Eve and day, but maybe now the trip would have to be canceled.
"Of course we do, that's one of the reasons I called, Nancy. There've been some strange things going on around here. Creepy noises at night, and all these broken windows, something's not right, Nancy. I know you can help us figure it out." Bess sighed in relief and Nancy chuckled.
"I'm sure it's really nothing, Bess. Who would want that old house anyhow? It's not like your family has anything special there." Nancy pointed out. Bess, however, insisted that something was going on and Nancy eventually agreed to leave that afternoon. After all, it wasn't as though she had anything else to do around the house. All her holiday shopping was done and she could bake Christmas cookies just as easily up in Vermont as she could in River Heights. In fact it would likely be a lot more fun to make cookies with George and Bess than on her own. After hanging up the phone, Nancy packed up her car and locked up the house, planning to be at Bess's house by mid-evening.
"Nancy!" George came racing out of the house and down the recently-shoveled path to the driveway. The snow around the house wasn't too deep, but Nancy could tell there was a layer of ice underneath it and winced as Bass skidded to a halt by the car. "I'm so glad you're here."
Nancy got out of her car and looked around. "George," she said, "everything looks fine here. What's wrong now?"
"Nothing new, it's just such a relief. Bess should calm down a bit now." George carefully backed away from the car and opened the back door to help Nancy with her bags. She had just slammed the car door closed with one foot when Bess came out the door.
"Oh thank goodness you shoveled, George." Bess said, coming out to take a bag from George's shoulder. "And the weather man just said there's another snow storm due in tonight. I told you, George, they kept saying it would pass us by but I just knew..." Bess continued to babble about the coming snow and how much they'd had already and wasn't it a good thing that they had plenty of firewood, while she and George brought Nancy's bags in.
Nancy had stopped midway up the front path to look around the front yard. All of the front windows were covered in plastic tarps, tightly taped against the cold outside. There were footprints that looked like they'd been made by boots along the house probably George and Bess covering the damaged panes. Nancy looked up and saw that two windows on the second floor were broken as well, though they appeared to be covered from the inside. Nancy walked around the side of the house, following a pair of footprints. They were bigger than those around the front, and went all around the house before disappearing into the woods.
"Nancy? Nancy! Where'd you go off to?" Nancy heard Bess calling and went back around to the front of the house. "Oh Nancy, you shouldn't go wandering around. This morning, just after you called, I could have sworn I saw someone going into the woods, but George said I was imagining things."
"Well, there are some footprints..." Nancy began, then stopped, seeing Bess' face pale. "It'll be fine, Bess. I'm here now, we'll go inside, stoke up that fire I'm sure you've got going, and bake some cookies."
Nodding, but not looking much reassured, Bess headed back to the door. Nancy followed, still thinking about those footprints going into the woods. There were prints under every window, Bess and George must have gone all around the house, but those bigger prints just seemed to come from nowhere.
Inside the house, Bess and George had obviously been spending their time in the living room, where a fire was burning merrily in the fireplace. Christmas carols were playing on the stereo and the television was on but muted, showing a weatherman pointing at several large storms with little dancing snowflakes superimposed on the screen. Bess gestured to the TV and sighed.
"Like I said, a storm's going to hit us, one or the other - or both maybe. Good thing Mom and Dad decided not to come up for the holidays, they'd never get through now." She turned and went into the kitchen with a bag of groceries that Nancy had brought; all the necessary ingredients for shortbread, gingerbread cake, and chocolate hazelnut macaroons.
Nancy and George joined Bess in the kitchen and soon the smell of buttery shortbread filled the house. They'd brought a portable CD player into the kitchen and danced around each other as they mixed dough, beat eggs and sifted flour. Soon, all three young women were covered in cookie dough and cake batter.
When the macaroons were in the oven and the shortbread and gingerbread were cooling on racks by the stove, Nancy looked at Bess and George and laughed. "Bess, did you know you've got flour in your hair? And George, I think you have more cocoa powder on your sweatshirt than we put in the macaroons."
Bess ran a hand through her hair and giggled while George looked down at her shirt and tried to dust it off. "It's hopeless." George muttered. "I'm going to go change. You should too, Nancy, you look like you got a stick of butter all over your arms."
"I think I need a shower." Bess mumbled. Nancy nodded, wiping at her hands and forearms with a dishtowel.
"Me too. Mind if I use the upstairs bathroom?" Nancy asked, tossing the towel to the counter.
"Go ahead, I'll use the one down here." Bess said, waving Nancy out of the kitchen.
Nancy went upstairs and found her bags in a spacious room with a huge four-poster bed and a fireplace. There was a bathroom down the hall so she got out clean clothes and showered as quickly as she could. George would probably get the cookies out of the oven, so Nancy took a little longer in the shower than usual, making sure that her hair was clean of flour and her skin unbuttered.
When she got out of the shower, the smell of cocoa and nuts was overpowering so Nancy rushed downstairs to grab a cookie from the batch. George and Bess were already in the kitchen, happily munching away on pieces of shortbread and sipping hot chocolate. Both of them had changed and apparently both had showered as well.
"I didn't think I'd showered that long." Nancy joked, taking a piece of shortbread for herself.
"We're quick." George replied, grinning at her as Bess shrugged and nibbled on her cookie.
Later in the evening, after all three had foregone dinner in favor of more cookies and hot cocoa, Nancy found herself yawning and losing track of the book she was reading. Bess was watching the weather channel, which was now claiming that all of Vermont would be experiencing near-blizzard conditions for the next 14-16 hours. George had already gone up to bed, citing exhaustion from all the shoveling she'd done, and would likely be doing the next day.
"That's it, I'm for bed. You should go too, Bess. Otherwise you'll just scare yourself silly staying down here with the wind blowing so hard on the windows." The wrapping on the windows was holding steady, though it didn't do much for insulation and the fire had been the only thing keeping the room warm. But the wind was howling and shrieking outside, and whatever had been going on, with the footprints in the snow and the broken windows, Bess would surely be happier upstairs.
"I know. George and I are in the room next to yours." Bess told Nancy as she checked to make sure that the fire was out, then turned off the television and headed upstairs.
Once in her room, Nancy looked out at the snow falling down outside. It wasn't falling so much as whipping past the window almost horizontally. Nancy shivered and changed into her pajamas before climbing into bed, glad that she had brought her warmest flannels.
It couldn't have been more than an hour after she climbed into bed when Nancy awoke to a tapping sound. At first she wasn't sure what it was, but as her mind caught up with her body, Nancy realized someone was knocking at her door. Once out of bed she noticed just how cold it had gotten in the house and glanced over at the fireplace. It couldn't hurt to make a small fire in the grate, not if it was this cold inside.
At the door Bess and George huddled together in bathrobes and pajamas, shivering in the cold air of the hallway.
"Nancy? The wrapping on the window in our room blew off, there's snow all over the room and it's freezing." Bess' teeth chattered as she spoke and Nancy quickly stepped aside to let them in.
"Of course you can come in, I'll light a fire and we can all stay in here." Bess and George gratefully entered the room, closing the door firmly behind them and climbing onto the bed while Nancy got a fire going.
"I can't believe it's so cold. I've got four blankets on my bed and my feet were still freezing." Bess said, curling up under Nancy's comforter and sighing. George nodded and did the same as Nancy came back to the bed to join them.
"Well, three of us in the bed plus the fire in the fire place should keep us nice and toasty." Nancy grinned and shoved at Bess to move over. The fire wasn't big, but it was enough to cast a warm glow over the room and bright enough that Nancy could see Bess beside her and George on the far side of the bed. The other two were whispering and seemed to be shoving at each other.
"What are you two doing?" Nancy inquired.
"Bess is stealing all the blankets!" George protested, yanking on the covers. Bess yanked back and Nancy found her side uncovered. Within moments there was a full-fledged war on for control of the quilts, ending with all three young women tangled together in a knot of limbs and sheets.
"At least we're warm." Nancy sighed, freeing herself only to find that she'd somehow managed to maneuver into the middle of the bed, with George on one side and Bess on the other. "Hey, do you want to shift back?" She asked Bess, poking her shoulder. Bess' answer was to turn onto her side and drape an arm across Nancy, effectively pinning her in place when George leaned over and kissed her.
Nancy wasn't quite sure just what George expected, but judging from some earlier suspicions, the kiss, and the presence of Bess' hand under Nancy's pajama top, she was definitely sure what their intentions were. Therefore, whatever Bess and George had expected, what they got was a very enthusiastic response, Nancy working her own hand inside the oversized shirt that George had worn to bed.
George backed off quickly and stared at Nancy. "Oh! Ah, Nancy?"
Nancy grinned at George. "What, are my hands too cold?" A giggle from her other side made Nancy turn over. Bess was laughing, a blush just visible on her cheeks.
"You knew all along!" Bess accused once she was able to stop giggling.
"Well, not all along. You're a very good actress, Bess Marvin, until I showered I still wasn't sure what you two were up to." Nancy admitted. Bess and George glanced at each other across Nancy. George rolled her eyes.
"I told you, Bess. We shouldn't have showered together." George muttered, causing Bess to blush again and Nancy to laugh.
"I'm surprised that you got the cookies out before they burned." Nancy told them as they both lay down again on either side of her.
Bess' blush deepened. "It wasn't easy."
While George and Bess had apparently relaxed, they seemed reluctant to resume their earlier activities, so Nancy took matters into her own hands, turning to kiss George again, then twisting around to do the same for Bess.
"Really, if you two wanted to get me in bed, why didn't you just ask? Seems like a lot of work really." Nancy laughed at the stunned expressions on their faces.
There was a long pause, with the crackling and popping of the fire and the rushing of the wind outside the only sounds in the room. Finally, George and Bess both started to speak at once, then each tried to let the other go before George gestured to Bess to speak.
"So - you don't mind?" Bess asked. George looked eagerly at Nancy and nodded.
"Are you kidding?" Nancy asked. "You really think I keep Ned around for anything more than appearances and some brute strength?" Nancy proved her point by pulling Bess towards her once more for a deep kiss that tasted of the cookies they'd baked and the peppermint liquor that Bess had snuck into her hot chocolate when she had thought no one was looking.
Later, when they'd shed their nightclothes and lay together, quite warm despite not wearing a stitch of clothing between them, Nancy heard George murmur to Bess that it had been a good idea after all and she owed Bess a massage. Nancy fell asleep grinning.
"So did the covering on your window really blow off during the night?" Nancy asked Bess and George the next morning over coffee and pancakes.
Bess frowned. "Actually, yes, it's freezing in there now." George nodded and sat down with the last of the pancakes on her plate. Shivering in sympathy, Nancy sipped her coffee and thought on the night before. Keeping the covers on had eventually proven unnecessary, what with the fire and their exertions. Nancy could still feel George's firm grasp on her sides, and the curves of Bess' hips and breasts under her hands.
"So what tipped you off, Nancy?" George wondered aloud. "I mean, I told Bess it was useless to try and fool you, you're too good, but what was it?"
Nancy smiled and explained herself. "I truly did think something was wrong when Bess called, but then I called the police here before I left River Heights and asked if they'd looked into the vandalism. They told me they'd already talked to you and that one of your neighbors had a nephew staying with them who'd admitted to breaking the windows."
Bess groaned. "I should have known you'd call the police. Oh well."
"I've thought you two were fooling around together since Bess stopped talking about boys all the time, but I still had no idea why you were lying about the windows until yesterday evening." Nancy shrugged and reached over to pat Bess on the shoulder. "So don't feel too bad."
"What about the footprints?" Bess asked. "I know you saw them, you followed them right up to the woods."
"Well, they only go into the woods, not out, but they don't seem to come from anywhere, then I saw a pair of big old boots in the pantry when we needed more flour last night." Nancy said, pointing to the pantry door with her coffee mug. "And when you gave me the only room with a fireplace - then came knocking late at night..."
George shook her head and laughed. "All that work for nothing, and we still have to recover that window in the bedroom."
"Well, until you do, I suppose you'll just have to stay in my room. After all, we're here through Christmas, and that's another two nights." Nancy nodded seriously and managed to keep a straight face until George rolled her eyes and Bess started to laugh.