It Comes Back At You


Chapter 12


Later that evening, after several visitors had come and gone, only the Beldens and the Bob-Whites remained.  Trixie found Dan sulking alone in the dining room, leaning against the picture window, hands shoved deep into his pockets, staring out at nothing in particular.  “So, what dire thoughts are you thinking?” she asked casually.

Dan looked broodingly away from her piercing gaze.  “Just wondering how your life would have been different if I’d never come here.”

“That’s easy,” she said breezily.  “Bobby would have been killed by the catamount, and I would have been killed by Blinky, Pedro and Big Tony in New York.  Next question.”

Laughing cynically, Dan shook his head.  “You make it sound so easy.  But your life is in jeopardy because of me.”

Trixie snorted.  “And how many times have you people been in danger because of me?”

“It’s not the same,” Dan protested.

Trixie stood in front of him, hands on hips, staring up into his face with angry eyes.  “Why not?  What makes it okay for you he-men to risk your lives for my sake, but not okay for me or anyone else to do the same for you?”

He broke away from her angry gaze and stared at the ground for a long time.  His eyes were moist as he whispered hoarsely, “I’m not worth it.”

The brilliant blue fire blazed brighter.  “How dare you!” she spat at him.  “How dare you belittle my choice of friends like that?  How dare you dishonor the worth of a Bob-White?  If you think, even for one brief moment, that I will let anyone talk about one of my brothers like that, you’re just plain crazy.  Get over it, Daniel!  Wake up, and realize that you are my friend, my brother; I love you; and I would lay down my life for you.  You’re worth that much, at the very least!”

The troubled former street-kid heard the words of the all-American family girl, and they shook him to his core.  The Belden family was the ideal of troubled teens everywhere.  For Trixie Belden to put him on par with her own brothers was the greatest gift he could ever imagine.  His heart swelled. 

Reaching out to hug her, he whispered in a choked voice, “So this is what it’s like to be your brother?”

“Not at all,” she replied, squeezing him tightly.  “If you were really my brother we’d fight more.  Instead, you get all the love without all the bitter rivalry.”

Dan laughed, and the smile brightened his deep black eyes.  “How is it that the craziest person I know is the one who keeps me sane?”

She shrugged and grinned.  “You pull me down from my flights of fancy; I pull you up from your bouts of depression,” she said lightly.  “We have a perfect balance.”

He dropped a kiss on her forehead.  “I love you, Trix.  I’d be lost without you.”

“Then don’t go anywhere,” she said mock-sternly.  Softly, she added, “I hate it when people leave me.”

He saw a flash of something in her eyes, but it was gone before he could decide what it was.  He wondered if she was talking about Brian or Jim.  Before he could ask she smiled and kissed his cheek.  “Besides, I’m going to need all the help I can get.”

Dan’s eyes narrowed suspiciously.  “Just what do you think you’re going to do?”

Trixie batted her eyes innocently.  “Why, nothing, really.”

He wasn’t buying the innocent act at all.  “Tell me, Miss Belden,” he ordered sternly.  “If you choose not to cooperate, I have ways of making you talk.”

She grinned and moved away.  “You wouldn’t dare,” she challenged.

He reached out to tickle her, and she dodged.  Soon they were involved in an all-out chase from one end of the house to the other, laughing and playing like the kids they were, their troubles momentarily forgotten.




The Bob-Whites had eventually settled in the living to watch a movie, and had fallen asleep where they lay.  In the dead of night, Dan woke with a feeling of something being terribly wrong.  He sat up and looked around the room, searching for anything out of place.  Then he realized something important was missing.

“Guys, wake up!” he called.  “Trixie’s gone!”

“Dan, get real.  She probably just went to the bathroom,” Di mumbled.

Brian looked up at him from his sprawled location and said, “She’ll kill you for being overprotective, you know.”

Mart snorted, “I guess that must be the voice of experience speaking.”  This earned a round of laughter from the others.

“This is Trixie we’re talking about,” Jim sighed.  “We should probably try to find her.”

“I’ll check the bathroom,” Honey groaned as she rose slowly from her chair.

Fifteen minutes later, the entire house was in a state of panic.  They couldn’t find her anywhere.

Peter pinched the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger.  “Please tell me she wouldn’t have gone off on her own to try and hunt him down,” he moaned.

Mart snorted, “I thought you didn’t like us to lie to you.”

“Shut up, Mart!” Brian growled.

“Call the police.  I’m going to check the clubhouse,” Dan ordered as he hurried out the door.

“Not alone, you’re not!” Jim called, grabbing a flashlight and rushing after him.

They were a good distance from the house before Jim caught up with Dan.  Dan scowled and muttered nearly under his breath, “I don’t need a damned babysitter.”

Jim frowned fiercely.  “I shouldn’t have to explain to you why you shouldn’t go out here alone.  Even Bobby could explain it to you.  You want revenge on two people, one with a penchant for getting in trouble, one with a penchant for rescuing her.  How do you get them both in one fell swoop?  It’s a no-brainer.”

“I don’t care if I get hurt.”

“Yeah, well, we do!” Jim yelled.  Glancing sideways at his friend, he shrugged and continued, “Besides, if I let you go out here alone and you get hurt, she’ll beat me to a bloody pulp.  I’m more afraid of Trixie than Luke.”

Dan suddenly burst out laughing, just as Jim had intended.  He stopped and turned to the redhead, reaching out his hand.  “Thanks, man.”

Jim grasped the extended forearm in a manly embrace.  “That’s what friends are for.  I thought you learned that a long time ago, but obviously you needed a refresher course.”

“Apparently so,” Dan nodded.  Then he turned and continued toward the clubhouse.  “Shamus, on the other hand, needs a good swift kick in the ass.”

Jim grinned and followed along.  “Get in line, Danny boy, get in line.”



Trixie huddled in a dark corner of the clubhouse, pondering her next move.  She had been sitting by the living room window, listening to the sounds of the house sleeping around her, when she spotted Luke out in her mother’s front garden.  He had been spying on the house with binoculars, and rigging up some contraption.  She had quietly slipped out of the house and followed him.

Luke had finished his work and headed for the clubhouse.  She had waited outside and watched while he went in.  He went in and out quickly, grabbing a backpack he had apparently left inside, before heading off into the woods.  Rather than trying to track him through the woods in the dark, Trixie had gone into the clubhouse to look for clues to his movements.

Inside, she had found one of their scrapbooks spread open on the table.  There was a knife stabbed through a picture of Trixie, and fake blood dripped everywhere.  The young detective pulled a flashlight from her pocket and examined the book more closely.  She realized the blood was carefully placed: there were drops on every picture of Trixie and on every picture of Dan, but nowhere else.

She had no idea how long she sat there, knees pulled up to her chest, thinking.  She was startled from her reverie by the sound of footsteps outside the clubhouse.  Is he coming back?

Then she heard Jim whistle, bob-white, bob, bob-white.  Heaving a sigh of relief, she answered the whistle as she unfolded herself from her huddle.

Dan came storming in.  “Are you crazy?  What if Luke had found you here?”

Trixie folded her arms across her chest and glared at him.  “First of all, I followed him here.  Second of all, he took off into the woods.  Contrary to popular opinion, I am not stupid enough to follow him through the woods in the dead of night.”

“Then why didn’t you just come back to the house, instead of sitting here in the dark and scaring us half to death?” he yelled.

Jim was standing by the table, looking at the scrapbook.  He cleared his throat.  “Um, Dan, this might answer your question.”

Dan turned around and demanded angrily, “What will?”

Jim gestured toward the book, and Dan moved over to examine it more closely by the light of Jim’s flashlight.

“I hate to say ‘I told you so,’” Jim announced, “but I told you so.”

Dan’s shoulders sagged.

Trixie stepped between them and looped an arm through each of theirs.  “Let’s go find out what he was rigging up in Moms’ flowerbed.”

Dan groaned.  “Sometimes, Trix, you are more trouble than you are worth.”

Jim snorted.  Sometimes?”

“Alright, wise guys.  Just come help me look for clues.”

Feigning shock, Dan exclaimed, “Oh, my God! Trixie wants to look for clues!  What is this world coming to?”

Laughing at his friend’s antics, Jim responded, “It’s returning to the natural order of things, I would say.”

Grinning brightly at both boys, Trixie said, “Well, what are we waiting for?”



The contraption in the flowerbed turned out to be a spring-loaded catapult armed with a grenade.  It was set with a timer to go off at seven a.m.  Molinson was livid – not only had the night guard failed to spot Luke, he had failed to notice Trixie leave.  And if it weren’t for Trixie, her room would have been blown up in the morning.

After staring Trixie down for a full ten minutes, Molinson huffed in exasperation.  “Detective Belden, instead of yelling at you, I’m tempted to let you loose and tell you to call me when you’ve solved this problem.  Clearly, you’re more competent than my staff.”

Trixie’s jaw hit the floor.  Most of the others were equally surprised.  Dan winked at Mart and turned to Molinson.  “Goodness, Sergeant.  This time you actually said it to her face.  Those compliments just keep getting easier and easier for you, don’t they?”

The sergeant glared at him and said abruptly, “Shut up, smartass.”

Mart laughed out loud.  “We knew you liked her!”

“Go get some sleep, all of you!” Molinson growled.  “I’ll be back in the morning, promptly at seven, to see what he does when his little bomb doesn’t go off.  Good night!”



By seven o’clock, Crabapple Farm was again crawling with police and parents.  All residents of the Manor House were there, as well as Mr. Maypenny, Mr. and Mrs. Lynch, and Mrs. Vanderpoel.  Poor Mrs. Vanderpoel had needed to get away from the raging argument between Spider and Tad over whether Tad was going to school that Monday morning, or to the Farm to be with the Bob-Whites.  Spider was adamant that he go to school, and Tad was extremely unhappy.

Helen Belden decided to make breakfast for everyone, and was busy in the kitchen.  Trixie knew there weren’t enough eggs, and no one had been out to gather fresh ones that morning.  With as many people as there were all over the yard and garden, it never occurred to Trixie that the barn was a bad place to go alone.

Just as Trixie reached for the egg basket, she felt someone behind her.  Before she had time to react, one calloused, dirty hand clamped down on her mouth and another pressed a gun to her temple.  Luke pulled her roughly against him, and placed his unshaven face right next to hers.

“I’ve waited a long time for this,” he hissed, his hot breath blowing right in her ear.

Trixie went rigid with fear.  She couldn’t scream, she couldn’t move, she couldn’t think.  Tears welled up in her eyes.  Oh, no, she thought.  There is no way this creep is going to make me cry!  The anger that rose to the surface calmed her fear and helped her to start thinking of a way out of this mess.

Luke released the hand from Trixie’s mouth to grab her in a chokehold and drag her toward the back of the barn.  Finding the seclusion of an old stall, he shoved her down roughly.  He knelt beside her and leered at her.  His black jeans and black t-shirt hugged his figure, muscles rippling – clearly he was much stronger than she was.  He plopped down beside her and fondled her, making her skin crawl.

Luke held the gun to Trixie’s throat, and his mouth to her ear.  “You know you’re going to pay for what you did to me, right, snooper?”

“You know you aren’t getting out of this, right, stupid?” she replied sassily.

He whacked her hard in the face with the muzzle of the gun.  Her mouth and nose were bleeding, but she refused to cry.  In fact, now she was downright pissed off.

He jerked her head back and shoved the gun against her windpipe.  “You will die long before I get caught, you know,” he promised her.

“No, I don’t know,“ she responded, further infuriating him.

His eyes blazed with a crazed fury.  Luke leaned his face closer to hers, purposely rubbing his body against hers.  “I am going to have so much fun making you pay, you little bitch,” he sneered.

At this point, Trixie figured she had little to lose.  She did not want to think about what things he would do to her if she didn’t get herself out of here.  His hands were busy grabbing her hair and holding the gun.  He was lying against her right arm and leg, but her left arm and leg were free. 

She thought about her chances of actually getting away from him, and knew they were slim to none.  She thought about letting him have his way with her, and decided she’d rather die.

She simultaneously directed her knee towards his groin and her hand towards the gun.  Her knee connected hard, and her hand went to shove the gun away from her and towards Luke.

In that instant, the gun went off.



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