While Frank and Marka are getting to know each other better, Kenny and his brother arrive, giving Frank an update on the man who broke into his house. They tell him they suspect that the man worked for some sort of clandestine agency — work that Frank, himself, did.
Marka was there. She held him, kept him strong. Her scent surrounded him and he breathed in, gulping the air like a drowning man. The tears didn’t start right away. He had that much dignity. The men left before that started. As soon as the door closed behind them, they began. He clung to Marka, weeping like a child.
She sat on his lap, holding him, letting him cry. She didn’t speak, didn’t try to make him stop. Her hands smoothed his hair, her bosom cradled his head, her arms secured him, anchoring him to her reality so he couldn’t get lost in his memories.
Eventually, she led him to the bedroom. Lighting the bedside lamp, she turned down the covers and slipped his jeans off. She made him get in bed, wrapping herself around him. He curled up on his side, his head on her chest, clinging to her as the tears stopped. Instead of speaking, she sang to him. He was fascinated by the number of songs she knew. It took a little while to realize she was singing with the songs on his iPod. She knew them all as well as he did.
Finally, more exhausted than he could ever remember being, he fell asleep. He woke once around 4:00 to go to the bathroom. Marka was curled on her right side, facing the door. When he went back to bed, he cuddled up behind her, his arm draped around her protectively, as if she were the vulnerable one. He clicked off the lamp and went back to sleep.
Marka must have set the alarm, because it went off at the usual time. Groaning, Frank rolled over on his back. He was alone in the bed, but he heard someone in the shower. She was singing as she bathed. He recognized Jesus’ Jackson’s “Running on Sunshine.
For a few minutes, he was tormented by the image of her naked body with the water running over it, gathering in her navel, dripping from her pubic hair. He remembered the silkiness of that same hair and the taste of her breasts. Groaning, he tried to purge the memory, but he couldn’t. Almost making love to her had made abundantly clear what he was missing. The water stopped, but the singing continued.
She came out of the bathroom with her hair up in a towel, dressed in the same clothing she’d had on last night. Still singing, she went to the kitchen.
Frank got up quietly, sneaking to the bathroom so he could hide the fact that he really wanted to take her back to bed. He needed a shower. He needed Marka. He needed his life to get back to normal.
The room phone rang.
“I’ll get it,” Marka called from the kitchen. “Hello? Oh, hi, Jeff. He just woke up. Kenny and James told us last night. He’ll be there. Yes, I’ll tell him. Thanks for calling.”
He came out of the bathroom dressed in his jeans. Marka met him with a kiss and a cup of coffee.
“That was Jeff. He called to tell you about going into Mabel’s place. He also wanted to make sure you were doing okay. He’s worried about you, Frank.”
“I’m not a baby,” he said rather petulantly. “No one has to worry about me.”
She smiled, winding her fingers in his hair. “Is it okay if I do? I like taking care of you.”
“That I don’t mind. . . .” He set the coffee down, stepping closer. “Thank you. For everything. I’m sorry we got interrupted.”
“It would’ve been epic,” she said with a grin.
Frank thought about that a moment, pursing his lips, his eyes up to the left, considering. “Yeah. I think epic covers it. Coffee, shower, food. I’m starving!”
“We don’t have time to eat out this morning.”
“I was thinking of the cafeteria.”
“I’ve got bagels at my place.”
“Not in the mood for a bagel. I need a meal. If I can’t have sex, I need massive amounts of food.” He gulped down his coffee. “If you’ll excuse me, I need to bathe.”
“I need to go get dressed.”
“I’ll meet you in the sitting room when you’re ready.”
“You could come down to the room. . . .”
“If I do that, we’ll be late as hell to work.” He held her hips close to his, rubbing against her.
“I’ll meet you in the sitting room.” She gave him a quick kiss and ducked out the door before he could take it any further.
“People are so gonna talk!” he said as the door closed.
He enjoyed a leisurely shower, indulging in some wanton self-abuse. If he was going to act like a gentleman the entire day, he needed the relief. He pictured Marka in his mind, exciting himself more than he’d ever thought possible. Her scent, her taste, the texture of her skin, her hair, her lips. . . .
Feeling marginally better, he looked at his suit selection and wondered if the trashing of his home had included his closet. He has a small fortune in suits that he’d collected over the last few years. He chose a golden, raw silk suit, pairing it with a spicy mustard shirt and a pale yellow tie with tiny, dark red flowers scattered across it. The handkerchief matched the flowers exactly. He puffed it carefully, stuffing it into the breast pocket. Satisfied with his appearance, he headed to the sitting room.
© Dellani Oakes