Marka and Frank had a fantastic night. The following morning, the night staff finds out that they’ve finally been together. Frank is stunned when Marka rates his performance as “Twelve”. Their joy lasts until they get to their offices. Jeff is waiting to talk to them and he doesn’t look happy.
“Frank, listen to me. I have no problem what you two do in private. I’d kind of prefer you not do that around here.”
“My house is a crime scene and Marta’s isn’t ready yet. What are we supposed to do? Go to a seedy motel? We didn’t bother anyone, did we?”
“Er, no. Not that I’ve heard.”
“So, basically, you’re embarrassed by the fact we had sex on the premises?”
“Not that, exactly.” Jeff got evasive.
“No, it’s that, exactly.”
“Look, don’t you have more self-control?” Jeff leaned toward him, speaking in harsh, low tones.
“A lot more than you give me credit for.”
“It just sort of happened,” Marka interjected. “Haven’t you ever been so attracted to someone you couldn’t keep your hands off her?”
“Not since I was fifteen!”
“Oh, come on, Jeff. Admit, there are still times Maggie gets you revved,”
Frank said, referring to Mrs. Norton, Jeff’s wife. She was still quite attractive for a woman in her late fifties.
Jeff flushed an angry red. “That’s not the point! And we’re not discussing me.”
“What is the point, Jeff?” Marka asked quietly. “Are we breaking any rules?”
“So what’s the problem?”
Jeff didn’t say anything.
“It embarrasses you that two people you know and work with are having sex. Right?”
Jeff looked uncomfortable. He shrugged around, fidgeting. Frank laughed at him. Jeff glowered angrily.
“Oh, come on, Jeff! What are you, my mother?” He continued to laugh, punching his boss in the shoulder. “Why is this such a big deal? Because we’re not married?”
“No. But everyone’s talking about it. Doesn’t that bother you? They know?”
“Other people have sex, Jeff. You, the maintenance men, the cooks—residents. You not gonna look at them either?”
“Have there been complaints?” Marka asked.
“No, of course not.”
“So, it’s just the knowing that has you bent outta shape?” Frank said. “You’re being an idiot, Jeff. Really, this is no big deal. We’re not breaking any rules, we’re not bothering anyone.”
“People can’t concentrate! This is crazy! You’re all they talk about!”
“Want me to make an announcement? Send a memo? I’m not sure what you want from us, Jeff.”
“I don’t know. I felt like I had to say something.”
“The novelty will wear off soon enough. There’s been plenty of speculation, now it’s a fact, confirmed by night shift this morning. They can get over it now.”
Jeff sighed, nodding. “I suppose.”
“I’ve got a group,” Marka said, glancing at her watch. “See you guys later.” She kissed Frank quickly and went to her office to gather her things before heading to the assisted living complex.
“Ask me,” Frank said. “You’re dying to.”
“Oh, I couldn’t.”
“Why not? The women already grilled Marka. In front of me, no less.”
“I don’t need to ask you anything. I can see by your face it was good.”
Frank looked smug. “Better than just good. Fantastic. Decidedly a twelve.”
Jeff laughed at him. “Goddamn, you’re a pain in my ass. You’re so proud of yourself, you hardly fit in your suit. I’m happy for you. Now get to work, you slacker.”
“Can I get in my office?”
“Yes, in fact I’ve got a crew set to clean it this morning. I just got the okay from Jerry.”
“They find anything?”
Jeff shrugged. “DNA didn’t match any samples they had on file. It wasn’t Penwarren. They were able to compare to his blood.”
“Well damn, there goes that theory!”
“I know, right? Weird as hell.”
“I feel like I’m living under a black cloud. It’s crazy as hell. I’ll get my stuff out and they can clear out the crap. You know, maybe we should switch offices between me and Marka. I don’t mind the cold and I imagine she’s miserable.”
“You can ask her and take care of that.”
Frank got boxes from the purchasing department and cleared out his office. He was done stacking them in the corner of a storage closet when the crew arrived to clean his office. They took out the damaged furniture and pulled up the carpet and padding. Once that was accomplished, one stayed while the others hauled the trash away. He scrubbed the floor with heavy duty cleaner and set up a fan to help it dry. He opened windows and turned on the exhaust fan to air it out.
© Dellani Oakes