"dad, i solved it!"

   growing up the daughter of a detective meant that some school plays had her mother beaming up at her in the front row with an empty seat next to her, or it was the redhead teaching her freckle-faced daughter to ride a bike, and her mother driving her unusually calm daughter to the emergency room after she had fallen and broken her fall with her wrist. spending winter break in a cast was better than sweating away in the summer, and for christmas she had gotten the brand new installment of the where in the world is carmen sandiego? computer game, and spent a solid month clicking away, solving the puzzles within the game and squealing with delight when she had finally completed the mission.

   being a detective was always something betty was interested in, that went without a doubt. she wanted to be just like her father, who had made a name for himself within the prescint. jim vaughn had given betty her first notebook, small and lined with faint blue lines, one that she still has tucked away in her vanity. whenever she needs inspiration after a particularly rough case she flips through the pages.

   nancy drew was the vintage heroine in betty's life, the one that gave her the innocent mysteries of her early years. nancy was independent and clever, and started the wheels turning, that becoming a detective at age sixteen was totally possible. next came harriet the spy, who was the tween detective betty needed in her life. nancy drew was becoming a little far-fetched, and who could believe that a girl would continually just happen upon the right evidence? harriet understood what betty was going through, and what she needed to do. she gave her confidence, and made her straighten her spine just a little bit more.

   it took her investigations to a whole new extreme. detective vaughn was busier than ever, it seemed, and betty 'took over' the investigations around the house: she figured out in less than a day where the leaking noise was coming from and did her best to wrench it back into a non-dripping state, she found the tabby cat of the little old lady next door chasing mice in her backyard.. but the case that took the longest was the hint of perfume that was not her mother's lingering on his jacket. ten-year-old betty didn't imagine any kind of foul play coming from the man she idolized the most. she had a notebook, one that she wrote down all of her theories and possible suspects, and scribbled that "dad must have gotten mom an early christmas present" and left it alone.

   it wasn't until she was fifteen that the pieces of her unsolvable case, when she caught her dad on the phone talking in hushed voices with a feminine voice, and instead of being upset, betty turned fierce and steely. "you're telling mom." she was unforgiving in her tone, and her blood pumped in her ears as loud as can be. "i don't give a shit what your excuse is. you're telling mom." and she left the room, devastated that the man she had looked up to her entire life, her hero, was nothing more than human. that was the most terrible blow of them all.

   it took two years, a couples retreat and following vacation to the beach house in south carolina for things to be right. jim stepped down from his position at the boston police department to put his family first. she knew her dad was a human, but she also knew that lying would never be tolerated with her from that point on.