WHAT YOU SEE….
Isn’t Always What You Get.
by Ann ♥♪HB♪♥
Later that evening, Detective Diamond stopped by the hotel where new friends of his were staying. The Hardys each shook his hand as he entered the suite.
“That was quite a plan.”
Fenton, no longer dressed as a police officer, and very much alive, smiled proudly as he looked over at his youngest. “Yeah, and thankfully it worked.”
Joe grinned, his blue eyes twinkling. His hair was drying, but blond again. “Yeah, and Frank did excellent as a stand-in for Sam, who ended up not being able to get here in time.”
Frank, no longer with auburn hair, grinned back as his dad patted him on the shoulder. “Dad needed to do the more physical part of getting shot and falling to the floor, as well as knocking out that guard. My part was easy. I just had to scare the guy with words.”
“Words are powerful,” Detective Diamond noted.
“Yep, they can help or they can hurt, depending on how they are used,” Joe said. “Frank’s words helped my idea work.”
Frank was quiet as he listened to the other men talk. He was thinking about the note from his brother he’d found right before leaving the hospital; it had fallen and drifted under a table. He grinned as he thought of the words.
Frank, Hope you are ok. Gotta leave for a few.
Signed, your adorable, endearing, eager, lovable little brother – me!
He knew his brother had written that note for him then risked his life to protect him. Looking over at Joe, he knew he would have done the same thing. Just maybe a little different plan.
A few days after they got back to Bayport, they had a celebration with food and friends at the Hardy home.
“Nice to be back,” Joe grinned as he hugged Iola. He bent to kiss her tenderly for several moments. She sighed happily afterwards. A smile still on his face, Joe stepped around and pushed the wooden swing Iola was sitting on. She giggled in delight as the wind rushed past her. The tall oak tree it was sturdily attached to gave a nice canopy of leaves to block some of the hot August afternoon sun.
“That was really close, wasn’t it?” Iola asked after a few minutes of enjoying the swinging. She knew that Joe, Frank, and Fenton had survived several close calls while dealing with that mob boss. She almost shivered even though it was warm. The other night she had cried tears of joy when she sent yet another prayer of thanks. Today, and every day, she would focus on how wonderful it was that everyone was okay.
“It got interesting more than once,” Joe stated with a chuckle.
“You’re incorrigible,” she teased, turning and give him a mock-reproving look.
“Thank you!” He laughed and pushed the swing again. He told her again how impressed he was with her bike race and the money she’d raised for stopping hunger.
“There shouldn’t be anyone hungry and that money will help keep several people from being hungry. That’s what I want. It was totally worth the effort.”
Joe nodded, listening to her voice and her thoughtful words, glad she was his girl. It was good to be home. This was one of the many reasons he took such chances. To make the world a little safer with stopping jerks like Jimmy and his goons from hurting others. Joe glanced around at his family and friends enjoying the day, his heart thankful. His brother was healing and going to be okay.
Frank and Callie sat on a hammock watching Fenton and Laura, along with Phil, Biff, Tony and their girlfriends, play Frisbee nearby. Chet had been playing also, but now he was busy grilling up plenty of hot dogs, burgers, and baked potatoes. His girlfriend, Sarah, listened patiently as he told her what he’d learned from all the cooking shows he’d been studying that featured grilling techniques. He’d asked Fenton and Laura if he could take care of the grill for the celebration, and they’d agreed. As it flamed up a little higher than he’d intended when he lit the charcoal, he hoped he didn’t cause them to regret that.
“And that’s how much not to put on,” he joked with his girl, who smiled and agreed. “I know you thought that was too much, but thank you for being so classy as to not say ‘I told you so’.” He smiled at her.
“Nope, I won’t. I’d rather say, ‘Maybe next time, you’ll listen to me’,” Sarah told him, her eyes twinkling in humor.
He nodded, as if contemplating that, then finally said, “Yes, that would probably be wise.” He followed that by giving her a big wink and a grin.
“Definitely!” she teased.
“But wait until you eat these, you’ll love ’em,” Chet promised as he finished preparations to begin the art of grilling.
As they watched the Frisbee game from the hammock, using it as a large swing with their legs dangling over the side, Frank and Callie talked quietly.
“So how’re you feeling?” Callie asked, her brown eyes regarding her boyfriend seriously.
“Better.” Frank looked over at Callie and gave her a reassuring smile. His injuries were healing, but he knew he’d have to take it somewhat easy for a little while anyway.
“It was really difficult not being there,” Callie said quietly as she looked over at the game.
Frank reached over and gently clasped her hand. “I know. But hospitals aren’t any fun, and I was ready to be out of there before I even got there. Besides, your prayers were needed and those you can send wherever you are.”
She was quiet a moment so he reached over and lifted her chin ever-so-gently towards him. As he’d suspected, tears glistened in her eyes. He gazed into them for long moments, waiting patiently for her to talk when she needed to.
“I’m so thankful you’re okay, Frank.” Her eyes soaked in the comfort he was sending her. “I was more than a little scared.”
“Thank you for caring so much.” He carefully slid his arm around her, mindful of his injuries, and hugged her.
They stayed like that until Chet yelled for everyone to come eat the best hot dogs, burgers, and baked potatoes ever. According to him. And from all of the compliments and seconds everyone had, apparently they were pretty awesome. As they ate, conversation returned to what took place while Joe went undercover as Frank.
“I can just picture you going into that restaurant and talking to that gangster,” Iola stated. “That took guts.”
“Don’t encourage him, Iola,” Callie teased. “Although, I’m afraid I can picture it, too.”
“‘Afraid’?” Joe asked.
“Yep. I don’t really want to think that you’d do that, but, it’s really not surprising,” Callie commented.
“It was the going in there without anyone near enough knowing what was going on and being ready for backup,” Frank said, not for the first time, giving his little brother another reminder. You couldn’t give Joe too many reminders about being careful.
“I know. I’ll be more-” Joe stopped as everyone seemed to anticipate what he was going to say and leaned forward to hear that one word,”careful?”
“Yes,” Fenton agreed. “Without the question mark, though.” He smiled at his youngest son. Then his expression was serious. “When you called and asked for that info and told me about what was going on, that was when you should have told me exactly what your plan was and when you planned to initiate it.” He raised his eyebrows.
“I was afraid you’d want me to wait,” Joe said. “And I needed to stall him from doing anything deadly. I was trying to get some time. Plus, I’d have to code it all and that takes time.”
“Backup is worth the time to get,” Frank told him.
“I know.” Joe looked over at the grill, not just wanting to change the subject, but also he was still hungry. “Any potatoes left, Chet?”
Chet grinned. “Not bad, huh? Yep, there are still a few left.”
Later that night, as Laura and Fenton were leaving the kitchen, she smiled up at her husband.
“The boys are safe and asleep. That’s very nice,” Laura stated.
“Very nice.” Fenton echoed with a smile. He reached out his hand and she took it. Later, husband and wife would sleep very well.
Somewhere, working on giving information to the authorities about his associates, and on his way to becoming a part of WITSEC, the witness protection program, Jimmy sat thinking about his life. He was a slob. He knew it. Everyone knew it. Did he have any hope of ever not being a slob? Seems like he’d been born to be a jerk. Yet, he wasn’t all really happy with that. He’d seen happy people, truly happy people, and he didn’t have that.
Those two brothers he’d heard about, Frank and Joe Hardy, they were lucky. They cared more about doing right than getting rich and having power. Jimmy wondered if he could ever be like that. After all, he was a slob….What was that thing the brothers had said in that article? Something about prayer. Jimmy knew what praying was, after all, although he was a slob, he wasn’t totally clueless.
Jimmy sighed again, looking out at the scenery going by as he was being transported to somewhere, he didn’t know. He remembered what the brothers had said about prayer. Prayer from the heart is a powerful weapon. Well, even Jimmy had a heart, he was pretty sure, although he didn’t act like it sometimes. Prayer, huh? It couldn’t hurt. In fact, that could be the best thing he’d ever done. He wasn’t sure what to say, so he just started asking for help. Not to escape, but to….what? He couldn’t put it into words exactly. Then it hit him, he asked for help about seeing what was true and right.
He knew he was heard.
Never the End!