Archive | January 2014

Bad Fall – Part 34

Bad FallMarka and Frank have a heart to heart after dinner. She tells him about her disastrous relationships and he tells her about the day his best friend died. She compliments his fashion sense, telling him he always looks like he walked off the pages of a magazine.

“In this?”

“You totally look like a Calvin Klein model in that.”

He smirked, nodding his thanks. “Thank you. Honest truth, I don’t know how I do it. I look at a suit and shirts and I know what goes together. I see a rack of ties, I can pick the perfect one every time. Same with handkerchiefs.”

“That’s something I wanted to ask you. Why don’t your tie and handkerchief ever match exactly?”

“I remember once hearing someone talk about men’s fashion. I can’t even remember who or when. One thing he stressed was that the tie and handkerchief should never match, but coordinate. Matched sets can look cheap.”

“Really? Well, it works.”

Marka could tell by his expression that he didn’t want to talk anymore. His dark eyes softened, turning a liquid brown. He moved closer, reaching for her. Leaning into the circle of his arms seemed the most natural thing in the world.

He picked up a small remote and started music playing. Marka hadn’t noticed the iPod and speakers on top of the TV. The soft guitar music surrounded them. A smile tugged at her lips when she recognized the song.

Frank held her, savoring her scent, nuzzling her neck. He tantalized her by kissing her everywhere but on the lips. His nibbled her neck, ears and every inch of her face. Taking a deep breath, he smiled at her before planting a long, seductive kiss on her eager mouth.

Marka’s lips tingled. She trembled against him, sighing as he kissed her. A spark lit in her belly, blooming and flaring like a forest fire. She hungered for him like she never had before. His touch, his kisses made her crazy. No man she’d ever known had that effect on her. Her first, the man she thought she loved, had never done much more than warm her. She had sex with him because that’s what couples did. She never desired him. He always initiated everything.

But Frank. . . . He was addictive. She could imagine herself wanting him, thinking of him, desiring him. . . . What held her back? She knew the answer to that without putting it in words. She was afraid of getting hurt. She’d made the mistake of following her heart and desires more than a couple times. She tried to learn from her mistakes, but she failed again and again. She didn’t want to make the same error in judgement because she didn’t want to lose him.

Franks kisses intensified, his hands cupping her breasts as he kissed her. His mouth left hers and the warm roughness of his tongue teased her throat. Dropping to the crest of her shoulder, he lingered there as his fingers worked under her shirt toward her breasts.

Marka’s nipples were rock hard, rasping against her soft shirt. Her breath came in short, sharp gasps. Arching her back, she brought her breasts closer to his mouth, inviting him to take them in his mouth. He didn’t need further prompting.

She ran one hand under his shirt, feeling his rock hard belly. The other dropped lower, massaging the firm, hot, throbbing member in his pants. It felt good to touch him. It made her feel powerful, knowing that she could make him crazy by refusing or give in and take what she wanted. Holding that kind of decision was a heady aphrodisiac.

Before she knew it, her top was up under her arms, her breasts bared to his luscious, inquisitive mouth and strong hands. His jeans were off. His hands went down the back of her pants, his shirt was over his head and gone.
The loveseat wasn’t big enough for a man his size to be comfortable, so he laid her on the floor, ravishing her with his kisses. By some surprising coincidence, she found his penis in her hand as he yanked her pants off. Her top went next and they were naked on the floor.

Frank paused a moment, admiring her body. “You’re so beautiful,” he breathed as his mouth found its way to the most sensitive places.
Pounding at the door startled them both. Marka screamed, Frank cursed. The knocking continued, a voice added to the confusion.

“Frank, open up. It’s Kenny. I’ve got James with me. Come on, man. Put your pants back on and open up.”

Marka cowered on the floor until Frank gave her a hand up. He found her clothing and helped her dress before putting his boxers and jeans on. He left his T-shirt on the floor, several feet from where they’d been lying. Flushed and flustered, Marka went to the bathroom to fix her hair and makeup.

Frank answered the door red faced and angry. “This better be damned important.”

“Remember that dead guy at the bottom of the cliff? You recollect him, right?”

“Yeah. So?” They followed him into the living room. He took the chair, leaving them to squeeze onto the loveseat.

“So, I thought you’d call, man,” Kenny said almost angrily.

“After my office and car got trashed and some guy got himself dead at my house, I went out and had a couple drinks. I came back and slept it off. We just had dinner.” He held out his hands with a what’s next gesture.

© Dellani Oakes

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Bad Fall – Part 33

Bad FallFrank knows it’s too soon for Marka to go to bed with him, but he can’t help wanting it to happen — soon. Over dinner, he tells her about the death of his best friend, his sister’s husband. Marka counters with a story of her own.

He nodded, conceding her point.

“The guy I told you about. . . .”

“The jerk who dumped you for some dumb, redneck bitch.”

“How did you even get that idea? I never told you.”

“Only a dumb redneck bitch would do something like that. What I can’t figure, is why a man who had you would want anyone else.”

Marka looked like she was going to cry. Instead, she forced a smile, thanking him. “She was. I guess he was pretty much trash too. But I was young and thought I was in love. So, a few months later, I met this other guy. Rock star wanna be.”

He rolled his eyes, rocking back on the couch. “Oh, I know where this is going.”

“I agreed to be the manager of the band. I was smart, a good talker, excellent organizer—I said yes.”

“Let me guess, they skyrocketed to fame and he dumped you?”

“You’re half right. He dumped me for a groupie. I don’t think they’ll ever be really famous, but they’re pretty popular in Florida.”

“My turn again?” He nodded, answering his own question. “When I was in school, there was this girl. . . .”

“Isn’t there always?”

He made a rude noise. “Yeah, well. . . . This one was different. She was a senior and I was a sophomore. She asked me to prom.”

“Wow, does that actually happen?”

“Not often, but I guess I caught her eye. I was a jock, like I said. Filled out by that time, looked pretty good. You know how lots of kids spend the time after prom.”

“Getting laid.” She nodded. “Yeah, lots of babies are born nine months after.”

“Every guy hopes he’ll get lucky. Every girl’s deciding if she’s gonna give it up. So, I was hoping like the rest.”

“Especially since she was older.”

“And experienced. Only we get to the hotel and I find out this chick’s way kinky. She was wacko. Wanted it rough. Keep in mind, homeboy never done nothin’ before. I was ready to give up and go home, but she drugged me. Gave me something like a Viagra cocktail. Did me for hours on end. I finally crashed. She had the decency to call 911, then ran away.”

“How horrible!”

“Of course, no one believed me when I said I’d been assaulted. Rape is something that happens to girls.”

“Evil bitch.”

“Yeah. I lived like a monk for over a year. Finally, got drunk at a party and a very sweet, soft and alluring girl convinced me to take her to bed. Much better experience.”

“That was nice of her.”

“I thought so.”

“That’s not the one that broke your heart.”

“No. Neither of them.” His lips snapped shut and he looked ready to run. “Your turn.”

“Are you ever going to tell me about her?”

His eyes flooded with tears. “Maybe. But it’s the kind of thing I have to build up to. Tequila would help.” He tried to laugh, but it was a raw, painful sound.

“My first guy, he really tried to make it nice. We’d dated awhile and I finally decided to give it up.”

“Prom night?”

She laughed, nodding. “Exactly. I was a junior, he was a senior. . . . I liked to fool myself into thinking I was his first too, but I know I wasn’t. It was okay. He lacked imagination and he was a lot more interested in his needs than he was mine.”

“Lots of guys are. Selfish pricks.”

“Exactly. The rock star was much better. Had my first orgasm with him at the wheel.”

“Prom king didn’t give you orgasms?”


“Damn. I guarantee, that won’t be a problem. Unlimited supply, all you have to do is ask.”

She giggled, tossing her hair over her shoulder. “Thank you. I’ll be sure to let you know when I’m ready for delivery.”

“Did you ever pick a good guy?”

“Almost. I came very close. Unfortunately, I dragged my feet long enough, he wasn’t interested.”

“That bites. I like to hope no one ever thought that about me.”

“I can’t imagine anyone thinking you were a loser. You’ve got so much going for you. Great body, good looking, intelligent, capable, impeccable fashion sense. . . . How did you get so good at that? You always look like you walked off the page of a magazine.”

“In this?”

His feet were still bare. His jeans were frayed at the bottom, faded in all the right places. His T-shirt showed off his physique to perfection. His brown hair was tousled, his long black lashes gave him a sleepy look.

© Dellani Oakes

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Bad Fall – Part 32

Bad FallFrank wakes with the same thought he had when he went to bed — making love to Marka. Despite her reticence to get involved so soon, Marka can’t help being greatly attracted to Frank. While she’s trying to serve dinner, he makes his intentions quite clear.

She giggled, wiggling her derriere at him as she lifted the tray. Frank groaned and put on his shirt. He tried to distract himself. He was willing to forgo food forever for one night with her.

“Quit staring at my ass and help me lift this out of the oven,” she commanded.

Doing as she asked, he took the proffered oven mitts and pulled the pan of lasagna out of the oven. It bubbled invitingly. The aroma overwhelmed him and he almost dropped it. Setting it carefully on the stove top, he stepped back as she cut huge slabs of it and shoveled them onto plates.
Frank cut the garlic bread and found silverware. They balanced their plates on their knees as they sat together on the loveseat.

“This is delicious,” he said with his mouth full. “It tastes almost as good as you too.”

She smirked. “Thanks. I’m glad you like it. It’s made with ground turkey.”

“No kidding? Can’t tell the difference.”

They ate in silence for a few minutes, savoring the food.

“So tell me, Frank, how is it you seem to know everyone, but you’ve only been here about three years?”

He laughed, wiping his mouth with his hand. “I grew up here. When I left the Army, I was at loose ends. Jen’s husband was dead, my dad was sick, so my mom suggested I come home. I started working here part time in the accounting office. From there, I moved to purchasing. Got this job a few months ago.”

“How’s your dad?”

“He’s doing well, thanks. Heart cath and a pacemaker, he’s got another thirty years in him.”

“And your sister?”

“She’s alive. . . .” He got very quiet.

“You said he served with you?”

“Yeah. I was his commanding officer. That’s how they met—through me. He didn’t have any family, so I brought him home every break we got. Clay met Jen and pow, instant connection. They e-mailed each other, talked on the phone. . . . He took her on cyber dates. They’d go someplace and get a cup of coffee and talk over Skype. He married her six months later. They were together three years.”

“Before he died?”

“Before I got him killed.”

“You can’t blame yourself, Frank. It’s war.”

“I was his commander. I put him on that detail. The convoy got attacked. I mean, you expect that, okay? Nothing’s a milk run in a war zone. I had my best men on it and they all died. It was my fault.”

“Were you there?”

He scoffed, taking a sip of his iced tea. “I was ordered to stay on base. I knew something was wrong when we lost radio contact. I sent a chopper to check on them and rode in it myself. We found them. The road had been mined. We’d checked for that, but we missed it. I still, to this day, don’t know how we did. I’ve had a knot of self-loathing in my chest since it happened. It never stops, never goes away.” He stopped eating, hanging his head. “The C.O. said I wasn’t to blame. They wanted to give me a medal for my actions. I told them to give it to the men who died that day.”

Marka set their food aside. “You can’t keep beating yourself up about that.”

“It was my fault, Marka. I got my own brother-in-law killed. He didn’t even see his youngest son born. My sister’s twenty-five and a widow.”

“She’s young. She can marry again.”

He nodded. “And her boys will grow up never knowing their father.”

“Then you’ll have to tell them about him when they get older. That’s your job as their uncle, and his friend.”

“Thanks.” He looked up at her with a half smile. “That knot in my chest loosened up a little.”

“Eat your dinner.” She handed him his plate. “So, you’re one of the fighting Trojans, huh?”

He chuckled, nodding. “Yeah. I did the whole jock bit. Basketball, baseball, football, golf.”

“Golf? You play golf?” Her tone was disbelieving.

“Yeah, I even have the funny pants to prove it.”

“How about the shoes with fringe?”

“Got them too.”

“You do not look like a golfer.”

“And you don’t look like a shrink.”

“Valid point. What do I look like?”

“The woman I could fall in love with.” This time, he took their plates, putting them in the kitchen.

When he came back, she was sitting nervously on the couch. He sat next to her, so close, she could feel the heat of his body.

“I know you don’t want to do anything yet and I get that. It’s killing me. . . . So, if I can’t make love to you, let’s talk. I’m sure you’ve got all kinds of questions.”

“You do too.”

“Yeah. So, who goes first?”

“You’ve just made a huge revelation. I guess it’s my turn.”

© Dellani Oakes

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Bad Fall – Part 31

Bad FallFrank goes to his room to sleep it off. He tries to forget that his office has been trashed, his car vandalized and that there’s a dead man at the bottom of his cliff, the victim of another dangerous fall.

She giggled as he planted his face against her belly, holding her close. “You went to bed and woke up with the same thought.”

“It’s a good thought. Best I’ve had in ages.” His voice was muffled by her clothing. “In fact, it’s such a good idea, it’s been on my mind since we met.”

“You’re such a guy!” She shoved him playfully away.

Frank flopped on his bed, arms spreadeagled. “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

“Isn’t it?”

“Not from my perspective. As a guy, I can think about sex a hundred times a day if I want. I can fantasize about a dozen different women—or one—very special one. I can even speak about sex on occasion, because I’m a guy—we can’t help it. We’ve got testosterone out the nads, making us horny bastards. But you know what?”

His hand grasped hers, pulling her to the bed. She sat when her knees gave. Frank sat up, putting his arms around her.

“That same stuff, all those things that women pretend disgusts them, makes them weak.” His lips brushed her ear, his breath hot on her skin, smelling faintly of bourbon. “And eventually, if we play it right, the one, perfect woman—says yes. . . .”

His lips familiarized themselves with her neck, lips and ears. His hands rambled over her body, eventually settling just under her breasts, the tips of his fingers teasing the very outer aspect of her firm, round flesh.

Marka shivered, moaning slightly as he feasted on her neck and ears. His hands moved slowly upward, unashamed, confident.

“Say yes,” he whispered. “Please, say yes.”

“I brought you dinner,” she said, trying hard to think straight.

“I don’t want dinner. I’m starving. . . .”

“Then you need to eat.”

“I’m not hungry for food.” His mouth on hers prevented an answer.

Marka knew she had to stop him before they went too far. As much as she wanted to be with him, she didn’t want it under these circumstances. She wanted it to be perfect, planned, not the churlish humping that was likely to take place if she let him have his way.

With a concerted effort, she pushed him away. The groan that rumbled in his chest rivaled most zombie movies. It was more like the roar of a super tornado.

“I’m sorry,” she replied. “Not like this. When it’s right, and you haven’t been drinking.”

He rubbed his face vigorously, yawning loudly. “You’re right. God, I hate that you’re right!”

“Let it happen,” she said gently. “Don’t force it. It’s a sure thing. The timing’s not right yet.”

“I need a quick shower and a change of clothing. This suit’s gonna need the cleaner’s.”

“I’ll set out dinner while you get cleaned up.”

He noticed she wasn’t wearing the same outfit she’d had on earlier. She’d changed into plum colored yoga pants and a form fitting, long sleeved, black T-shirt. A matching plum sweater hung from her shoulders, the sleeves shoved up to her elbows. If he didn’t miss his bet, she wasn’t wearing a bra. Indulging himself for a moment, he let his eyes rest on her full, round breasts before digging his jeans and shirt out of the bag along with clean boxers.

“Be right out,” he mumbled as he passed her in the doorway.

The hot water stung his face, effectively waking him. He bathed quickly and dressed in his favorite jeans. He’d had them for years and they fit just right, not too snug, well faded on the knees, ass and zipper. They were comforting, like an old friend.

He draped his T-shirt over his shoulder as he padded barefoot into the foyer. Marka was in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on their meal. She didn’t hear him approach. He put his hands around her waist, kissing her neck. She jumped, squeaking in surprise as he continued to kiss her. Frank turned her to face him, pulling her chest to his.

Marka ran her hands up his bare back, breathing in his scent. There was something about freshly bathed man that made her dizzy with desire. Even the most annoying man became almost irresistible when he just came out of the shower. The fact that Frank was muscular and good looking, as well as the nicest man she’d ever met, made it that much headier a brew. Her knees and her resolve weakened as he continued to kiss her.

Too soon, he moved away from her, inhaling deeply. “Something smells almost as good as you do. What is that?”

“Homemade lasagna. I put it together this afternoon with the help of my Alzheimer’s group. We made two, one for them to share and a smaller one for us.”

“Cool. . . . Thought we were doing teriyaki pork?”

“Changed my mind. I’ve got garlic bread in the oven, also made with their help. It’s best with Chianti. . . .”

“Another time.”

“Desert’s a surprise.”

“There’s only one thing I want for desert,” he replied as she bent over to pull the garlic bread out of the oven. “And it’s not much of a surprise.”

© Dellani Oakes

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Bad Fall – Part 30

Bad FallKnowing that Frank needs a break, Marka tells him to take the rest of the day off, then promptly drives him to a bar for a drink.

Marka put her head on his shoulder and her arm around his waist. He leaned against her like a child.

“We’ll get through this,” she said calmly. “You’ve been through worse.”

“But I knew how to cope! They shoot, I shoot back! I’m trained for that!”

“And there are people trained to handle this. Let the police do their jobs. Meanwhile, talk to me. I promise, I’m a good sounding board. I don’t judge or condemn. I listen and guide you to a solution. I’m not going to give you a lot of psychobabble, that’s not how I work.”

“So, you won’t sit there telling me I’ve repressed memories of the war or that I need coping mechanisms to help me. Or any of that shit?”

“None of that shit. I think your coping mechanisms are fine. You’re not hysterical, you’re not drinking yourself into oblivion. You’re calm, enjoying a great sandwich and a cold drink.”

“Which does contain alcohol.”

“True, but you haven’t hammered back a case of beer or a fifth of tequila. You could get up and walk a straight line to the door.”

“I can do more than that,” he conceded, gesturing with his glass. “As a matter of fact, I could still shoot straight, ride a bike. . . .” He eyed her past his drink, holding the glass to his forehead. “I could take you home and make sweet love to you all night and never run out of ideas.”

His voice dropped into a husky, melted chocolate range that made Marka shiver with anticipation.

“You could, but I have to get back to work.”

“Damn. I already had planned how I was going to entice you with kisses and make you weak until you succumbed to my manly charm.” He burped.

“Some charm, Romeo.”

“I’m patient. I can wait.”

“I need to get back for my group session. Come on. Let’s get you to bed.”

“I think I’m supposed to say that to you—then join you there.”

“Can I know you more than a couple days first?”

“Sure. I just get more adorable.”

He stood, staggering slightly. The bartender helped her get him out to her car. When she leaned in to fasten his seat belt, he touched her cheek, brushing her hair back.

“I’ve wanted you since I saw you on TV,” he confessed. His lips brushed hers.

A trail of sparks fluttered down Marka’s spine making her shiver. His kiss held promises of his skill. She had no doubt that he could make love to her all night and never run out of ideas.

“That’s the sweetest thing any man ever said to me.”

“I thought my telling you were beautiful was the sweetest thing.”

“It was—until now. Let’s get you home.”

“I can’t go home. My home is a war zone with a dead guy at the bottom of the cliff.”

“Back to your room,” she amended. “No one’s died there yet.”

“You don’t know that. Someone could’ve died there.”

“Let’s not dwell on that, shall we?”

“We shall not,” he replied regally.

He lapsed into silence, only rousing when they got back to the front door. By some miracle, Jeff and two of the orderlies got him out of Marka’s car. She pulled away and headed to the parking lot as they half carried him to the elevator.

“She’s nice,” Frank said as the orderly on his left hit the ‘up’ button.

“Yes, she is,” Jeff admitted.

“She’s pretty and she smells great too,” Frank continued.

The other men laughed. Part of him knew he was acting foolishly, but that guy was under the influence of alcohol. The coherent fellow, the one with the big mouth, extolled Marka’s virtues the entire way to his room.

The orderlies took off his shoes and jacket before laying him on the bed. Jeff shut the drapes and closed the door behind them. Frank lay there a couple minutes with the room spinning, until he fell asleep.

The sound of his front door opening woke him. He tried to sit up, but felt like he had a bag of wet sand on his head. Groaning, he rolled to one side and nearly fell off the bed. Someone rushed in, stopping the downward spiral, steadying him. He smelled sunshine and flowers.

“Hey, Marka.”

“Hey, yourself. Feeling better?”

“Should I? What time is it?”

“A little after five. Kim faxed a copy of the police report and photos of the damage.”

“Oh, yeah. I was supposed to call my insurance guy.”

“Taken care of. Kim found the paperwork in the glove compartment and I called for you. I pretended to be your personal assistant.”

“Too bad you didn’t pretend to be my wife, then I could join your delusion and take you to bed.”

© Dellani Oakes

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Bad Fall – Part 29

Bad FallDespite all that’s happened, Frank finds he can laugh at something Marka said. He can’t help wondering how bad things are going to get before they get better.

“Thank you. Didn’t think I had a laugh left in me.”

“Frank!” Kim called from by his vehicle.

“Yes?” He stood up, walking briskly over.

“I hope you didn’t have anything important in here. Someone jimmied the lock.”

“No. Don’t tell me they did something to the interior? Those seats are leather.”

“Doesn’t look like it. I’ve called a tow truck to come get it. You wanna call your insurance guy? I can give you a copy of my report and send the pictures to your phone.”

“Thanks, Kim. Meanwhile, I’m without wheels.”

“Call Daniel. He’ll set you up. Your insurance covers a rental, doesn’t it?”

“Yes. God, it’s gonna go through the roof after this. I hope the house is okay.”

His phone rang. Tensing, he looked at the ID. It was Kenny. Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath and answered.

“Is it good news or bad news?”

“Everything looks good from the outside. I called my brother to meet me out here. We’re going around the outside now.”

“Be careful at the back. That slope gets treacherous and it’s slick.”

“We’re good. Don’t worry. I haven’t lived here my entire life not to know how to go around. . . .. Oh fuck!” Distant yelling followed.

“What? Ken? Hello?”

Frank could hear chatter, but it wasn’t directed at him. The phone went dead.

“Something’s happening at my house. Kim, James went out with Kenny. I was talking to Kenny, he yelped and then hung up on me.”

Radio chatter started on her shoulder. Kim picked it up, identifying herself. She listened carefully to the excited voice on the other end.

“I’m on my way. ETA ten minutes.” She put her things away. “I’ll send you a copy of the report. Gotta go.”

“What? What did they find?”

“Someone who didn’t know his ass from his elbow is at the bottom of your ravine. Looks like he was trying to sneak into your house and slipped.”

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Do you need me?”

“No. If we have to get in, Ken’s got a key, right?”

“Yeah, always. Do it if you have to, Kim.”

“Gotta go, Frankie.” She planted a quick kiss on his cheek.

He waited for her to take her seat and closed her door for her. She took off with her lights flashing. The siren started about a block away.

Frank stalked over to the smokers. “Someone give me a smoke.”

“You quit, Frank,” one of the men said as he dug a Marlboro out of the pack.

“I just started again. I need a drink.”

Marka walked over to him, putting her hand on his shoulder. “Call Jeff. You’re taking the rest of the day off. Come on. There’s a bar around here somewhere, right?” She asked the smokers.

“There’s Curly’s on Main,” the Marlboro man replied. “Five blocks up, first left after the stop light.”

“Thanks. Come on, Frank.” She grabbed his arm, steering him toward her car.

Marka ended up calling Jeff herself. He had no objection to Frank taking the day, especially after he heard about the incident at his house. News of the car vandalism had already trickled to his office.

“You’ll still be back for your session?”

“Yes. I might be a tiny bit late. I’ll call when we’re on our way. I may need help getting him up to his room.”

Jeff chuckled. “I’ll meet you personally and have a couple big guys with me. We’ll take care of it.”

“Thank you.” She hung up.

Frank walked beside her like a zombie. He sat on the bar stool only because she pushed him onto it. The bartender knew what whiskey he liked to drink and poured him a double at Marka’s request. She told him what had happened.

“This round’s free,” he told her. “Damn! Poor guy! To think all the times I wanted to be him. . . .” He wandered off, leaving them alone at the bar. He came back a few minutes later with thick sandwiches and sweet potato fries on the side.

“On the house. Frank’s a good customer and a friend. Take care of him.”

“That’s my intention,” she replied with a smile. “Thanks.”

He saluted and wandered off again.

Marka persuaded Frank to eat after he’d finished half his drink. Once he ate, he looked better, but his hands were shaking, his eyes slightly wild.

“I’ve seen bodies torn apart by bombs, others shot to pieces. . . . My friends blown out of the sky by missiles. . . . When I was in the Army, I had people shooting at me. I had one guy attack me with a knife and a broken bottle. He jumped me from an alley. I’ve been shot, stabbed, sliced, half drowned. . . Friends die in my arms and I killed the mother fuckers that did it. And I can’t get my mind around the fact I walked away from all that to come home and have all this shit happen. Nothing I’ve experienced has prepared me for this.”
© Dellani Oakes

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Bad Fall – Part 28

Bad FallFrank isn’t having a good day. His office was vandalized and now someone has trashed his car! Can Penwarren really be so vindictive that he’s trying to ruin Frank’s life? Or is something else going on?

“God dammit!” He bellowed. “I have to call the cops again! I’m turning into a one man crime wave!” Yelling and cursing, he checked his car to see if there was any other damage. Someone had taken a key to both sides and smashed his headlights.

“I swear to God, when I find the person responsible, I’m gonna shoot him in the head. Why is this happening to me, Marka? I’m a nice guy. I’ve been behaving myself. Jeez, I haven’t even had sex in months!” He yelled the last louder than he’d intended. The people at the smoking gazebo looked up. He waved them off irritably.

“I know you didn’t intend to share that bit.”

“Yeah, well. . . . FUCK!” He kicked his tire and whipped out his phone. After he dialed, he put his head on his hand, rubbing his nose. “This is Frank Atherton—again. . . . Someone trashed my car. I just found it when I was heading to lunch. Thanks.” He hung up. “Insurance company’s gonna love me, huh?”

“It could be worse, Frank. Look at the bright side.”

“Which is?”

“They didn’t do a Carrie Underwood.”

Frank shuddered. Suddenly, he had the urge to cry. Several of the smokers came over to where they stood. All of them saw the damage to his car and commiserated.

“That’s rotten luck,” Kenny said. “Did you call it in?”

“Yeah. First my office, now this. My house! I need to have someone go check my house.”

“I’ll go,” Kenny said. “It’s locked up, right?”

“I know this is a small town, but I lock everything. Thanks, Ken.”

“No problem, buddy. You’d do the same for me.”

They did a complicated handshake, ending in a man hung.

“I’ll call when I get there.”

“Thanks. If I don’t answer, it’s cause I’m talking to the cops.”

“No problem. Good luck.”

“I’m gonna need it. This is unbelievable,” he told Marka. “Whatever Ralph Penwarren brought me, I want it to go away.”

“You think all this is connected with him?”

“Don’t you? It’s a little too coincidental to be anything else. Unless you’ve got bad luck following you? You’re the only two things different in my life. Honestly, I’d love to blame this on him, cause you’re a whole lot more my type than he is.”

Marka giggled, kissing his cheek. “I sure hope so. From all accounts, he isn’t nice, nor is he a big spender.”

“Tight wad, tight ass. . . .”

The police car pulled up. Kim got out.

“You again? Do I need to haul you in to keep you under protection?’

“I’d much rather not, unless you allow for conjugal visits?”

“That only applies to prisoners.”

“Then I’m not going. Not that I’ve got any conjugals to visit over. . . .” He sighed. “I’m gonna go sit down over there. If you need me, yell.” He walked over to a park bench and sat down under a tree.

Marka joined him. She couldn’t suppress a giggle. “Conjugals to visit over?”

“Okay, I sound like an idiot.”

“No, you sound like a man who’s had way too much stress the last few days. Wish I could help.”

“You could,” he murmured, brushing her hair from her cheek.

His dark eyes glittered with golden sparkles deep within. Marka’s breath caught in her throat as she got lost in those eyes.

“Anytime, all you do is say the word,” he whispered.

She nodded, not taking her eyes from his. He mesmerized her with his voice and gaze, making her weak. She wanted to throw herself at him and let him cushion the fall with his body and his king sized bed.

Forcing herself to breathe, she smiled. “Soon. Give me a little more time, Frank.”

“You’ve got all the time you want. I’m a patient man.”

“With a brick of C-4 in his pants,” she whispered, grinning.

“That ain’t C-4, darlin’. That’s all Frankie.” He chuckled seductively, deep in his chest.

She bit her lip, holding back the gasp of anticipation that comment elicited. “You sure know how to sweep a girl off her feet.”

“Yeah? Damn, I’m good.” He put his arms across the back of the bench, his legs stretched in front of him.

“Offer her toilet paper, buy her breakfast, show her a crime scene. . . .”

His laugh caught him by surprise. He was feeling about as low as it was possible to go on such a beautiful day, but she made him forget for a moment. He picked up her hand, lacing his fingers with hers before bringing it to his lips.

© Dellani Oakes

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Bad Fall – Part 27

Bad FallFrank greets the police. While they go over his office, he makes a call to find out about Ralph Penwarren.

“Oh, my God, he’s not…?”

“No. But I know she’ll want an update. I just spoke to the hospital.”

“Go right on in. Holler if you need me.”

“I’ll do that. Thanks.” He walked into Mabel’s room, tapping the door as he walked in.

“Frankie!” She held out her hands to him.

“I got an update on Ralph,” he said, sitting on the edge of her bed.


“He’s pretty banged up, Mabel, but he’s alive. They have him in the ICU. He’s in guarded condition.”

“What does that mean?” Tears formed in her eyes.

Frank took her hands in his, holding them gently. “It means that he’s alive and he’s holding his own. He’s in good hands, closely watched and cared for. It’s better than serious or critical, Mabel. You have to believe that he’s going to be okay.”

She lay back on her pillows, tears squeezing out from between her lashes. “He was always such a difficult boy. He took his mother’s death so hard. His father was a harsh man. Not cruel, but not sympathetic. He never understood Ralph. By the time I got him, he was already such a brat, I had my hands full. He didn’t like me much, but I tried. I do love him, Frankie. But I don’t like him much. He grew up hard and selfish—just plain mean.”

“Some people are like that, Mabel. No matter what you do.”
“He took his brother’s death hard too. My son was the only one who really made a difference in Ralph’s life. He doted on that boy. His name was Frankie too. He looked a lot like you, you know. All big, dark eyes in his little face.” She sniffled. “He loved his big brother. Ralph fell apart when Frankie was killed.”

Frank patted her hands, kissing her arthritis gnarled knuckles. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know.”

“He likes you, you know.”

“Me? You’re kidding. Mabel, he totally hates my guts.”

“You remind him of his brother. He was just your age when he died. You look so much like him, it’s positively uncanny. I think a little bit of Ralphie wanted you to be Frankie. You understand, don’t you?”

“Yeah. I do. I’m gonna go by later and try to see him. I’ll let you know how he’s doing, okay?”

“Thank you, sweetheart. Come see me anytime. And bring that darling girl with you. She’s such a comfort.” She sighed, her eyes closing. Her even breathing told Frank she was asleep.

Frank wandered back to his office to see how the police were doing. The forensics technician had finally finished. She’d bagged his papers and furniture as evidence and the maintenance men carried it out to her van.

“Can I go in now?” Frank asked her.

“Everything that was important is out. Your external drive is here.” She pointed to it. “I can go with you to lock it up.”

“Thanks. I’m surprised they didn’t take it.”

“Some folks aren’t too bright.”

“I’d say so.” He chuckled.

“You should probably check it later to make sure nothing’s been tampered with.”

“I will. We’ve got the techs changing the passwords.”


They took the equipment to the bank and the manager locked it in a box for him. Frank returned to his office. Sitting on a borrowed chair, he looked to see what was left of his possessions. The inside of the desk hadn’t really been touched. However, everything else was trashed.

Marka tapped on his door. “You okay?”

“At loose ends. I can’t do anything until the techs finish with the passwords and make sure nothing’s been hacked. I need to call my mom and get a couple more pictures. This is going to really upset her.”

“Ask your dad or your sister instead.”

“Jen will freak more than my mom. Dad’s a good idea. Later, though.”

“What do you think they wanted?”

“I think that they think Penwarren gave me something. He didn’t. He couldn’t talk, he was barely breathing. Both arms broken, he’s gonna hand me something?”

Marka smiled, shaking her head. “Let’s get some lunch. I’m starving and I think you need to get away from here.”

“I do. Okay, I have an idea. When’s your next appointment?”


“Great.” He poked his head into Jeff’s office. “I’m showing Dr. Ventimiglia around. We’re taking a long lunch.”

“Go for it, kid. There’s nothing you can do around here until later.”

Frank saluted their boss and led Marka to his car to find that someone had slashed all four tires.

© Dellani Oakes
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Bad Fall – Part 26

Bad FallFrank arrives at his office to find it vandalized. His belongings are smashed, his computer is missing and someone peed on his chair.

Frank closed Marka’s door and followed Jeff to his office. His boss shut the door, inviting him to sit.

“What the hell did you do?”

“It’s not a woman,” Frank snapped.

“I wasn’t gonna ask that, Frank.”

“Sorry, Jeff. I’ve had everyone else ask me that today. I swear, I don’t know. The one person I can think of is Penwarren and he’s in the hospital.”

“How is he?”

“Haven’t heard. I was gonna call over there when I found the mess.”

“Use my phone. I’m worried about him.”

“You’re worried about a lawsuit. “Yes, sir.” He dialed the hospital and asked for information about Ralph Penwarren.

“His condition is guarded. He’s alive, that’s about all we can say. Two broken arms, a broken leg. There was damage to his spleen, spine and neck. He looked like he’d been in a major car crash.”

“He fell four stories.”

“And lived?”

“Yeah, I was shocked.”

“Your friend is holding his own, Mr. Atherton.”

“Thank you.” He hung up and reported to his boss. “I need to go give Mabel an update.”

“You do that. Listen, did you have anything important on that computer?”

“No, sir. All my files are kept on a flashdrive and I backup everything to an external hard drive, which is still in my office. It was the first thing I checked after I noticed the tower was missing.”

“Good. Because our residents’ financial records. . . .”

“I don’t save any of that information, Jeff. I access what I need from the mainframe and purge it afterwards. The most the thief will get is a list of my favorite websites. I don’t save anything on it. The flashdrive’s on my keyring.” He held up his keys, showing his boss the quarter sized metal and plastic 32 gig drive.

“That’s a load off my mind!”

“Once I talk to Mabel, I do need to secure my various accounts and change passwords just to be safe. For the most part, I don’t save things like that even at home.”

“Do you have that stuff written down anywhere?”

Frank shook his head, tapping his temple. “Got it up here. One thing I learned in the military is you don’t leave a trail unless you want someone to track you. Same applies to files and accounts. If it’s not written down, then it can’t be traced back to you. My passwords are alphanumeric and random. I don’t use birthdays, important dates or the name of my first dog.”

“Smart man.”

“Paranoid is far more accurate.”

Jeff nodded. “Go talk to Mabel.”

“I will. First I need to tell Kim to secure that external drive for me. If it doesn’t have to be kept as evidence, we need to lock it up.”

“Gotcha covered.” He tapped his safe with his toes. “We can pop it in here.”

“I was going to take it to the vault.”

“Oh. Okay.”

“See you later, Jeff.”

“Take it easy, Frank. Don’t panic over this. It’s not your fault.”

“Thanks.” I know that, dipshit. “Gonna go talk to Mabel now.”

Jeff nodded, dismissing him. Frank took his time, thinking over the events of the last couple of days. Marka made the point that things went to hell when he met her, but that wasn’t true. They went to hell when he encountered Ralph Penwarren. The only balance he had in the midst of all this mayhem, was her. Just thinking of her made him smile.

Had he ever felt like this about a woman before? He didn’t think so. Not even his first love, and certainly not the girl who stole his virginity when he was sixteen. Funny that he should think of that experience. Not his favorite memory and one he’d tried rather hard to forget. What she did to him really amounted to rape, although he’d eventually been an active participant. It wasn’t easy for a teenaged boy to say no to a girl who was determined to bed him.

Staff members greeted him as he walked to the nursing home. He had to pass most of the offices to get there, as well as the gift shop, cafeteria and dining room. Everybody said hello and many of them asked about his girlfriend. All of them seemed to know that she’d fixed him dinner and most of them knew he’d kissed her. More than one alluded to his spending the night. All those rumors he squelched, but knew he wasn’t believed.

The day shift supervisor greeted him as he walked up to the nursing desk. “Hiya, Frank!”

“Is Mabel awake?”

“She sure is!”

“I need to speak to her about her son.”

© Dellani Oakes

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