“He’s being watched from a distance. They can’t exactly approach the ex and tell her, can they?”
“No. But it’s good to know he’s okay. There’s no telling what Liz would do if she figured that out.”
“Let’s hope she doesn’t.”
“I messed up,” Frank murmured. His throat constricted and he knew he was either going to cry or vomit. He gestured for the dishpan.
Marka held it for him. He didn’t vomit. He hurt inside and out. He felt violated, like Liz had somehow raped his psyche. He couldn’t describe it any other way. She’d done something to him worse than any torture. He knew she’d given him some sort of directive and left him alive long enough to fulfill it. If they didn’t find her and stop her, he’d be dead in a matter of days.
Frank clung to Marka, chest heaving as dry sobs shook him. “I can’t do this,” he gasped at last. “She did something—in my head. Marka, she did something awful. I don’t know what, but I can feel it, in here.” He pointed to his head, between his eyes. “Can you find out what she did?”
“I don’t know. The doctor has ordered MRIs for later today. Maybe that will show something.”
“Not if she mind fucked me. Marka, I know she’s been in my head, doing something unspeakable. I need you to hypnotize me, see what she’s done.”
“Frank, I can’t do that. I have no idea where to start. I don’t know her method. I could set off something and kill you.”
He squinted at her. “Can you do that? Well, not you, specifically. Can that be done?”
“Yes,” she answered quietly. “There’s so much we don’t know about the mind. But there’s been research, so top secret that only men Shay’s level and above would see it.”
“Or possibly his confidential aide.”
“Is that who Liz is?”
“Yes, Elizabeth Tynan. We all trusted her completely. Why not? She’s Shay’s assistant. She’s got high clearance too because she works so closely with him. I trusted her implicitly. I’ve been in her bed, for god’s sake!”
“Having sex with someone doesn’t mean you know them.”
“I know. But. . . .”
“But you hope that when there’s been a relationship, it meant something to the other person too.
Marka took Frank’s hand, kissing his fingers. “You need to get some sleep.”
“I’ve been asleep. I’m sick of sleeping.”
“I know, but it’s the best way to heal. They are being very cautious with pain meds. They still don’t know everything Liz gave you. Some of it’s top secret and experimental.”
“Trust Liz to drug me with something unidentifiable.”
Marka kissed him. She climbed onto the bed, cuddling up with him until he slept. Several hours later, her phone buzzed in her pocket. Answering it, she walked out of Frank’s room.
“Marka, Arnold here.”
“How’s Frank? Has he woken yet?”
“Yes. He’s in good spirits, but he knows she did something to him. He suspects she left directives for him to carry out later. She hopes he’ll lead her to whatever it is she wants.”
“Does he know what she wants?” Shay didn’t seem surprised that she knew the situation.
“Not entirely, no. Her behavior is erratic, but focused. She’s a very determined woman.”
“Agreed. I blame myself. I should have seen how ambitious and ruthless she is. What I can’t figure is her motivation.”
“Money, power? She doesn’t strike me as the kind of woman who would do this for love.”
“Hardly. But how do you know?” He chuckled slightly.
“Get real, Arnold. I had Liz’s file in front of me as soon as I found out who she is. There’s a very eye opening psych profile included. It was done when they were evaluating her for her current position. Have you read it?”
“I didn’t know about it. How did you?”
“I’m not surprised. It’s buried. It took Cherry and Brad quite awhile to find it.”
“You’re using my staff to find things for you now?”
He sounded so incredulous, Marka had to laugh.
“Of course. You wanted my help.”
“Fair enough. What does the profile say?”
Marka closed her eyes, focusing on the page in her mind. “Driven, determined, very likely a sociopath. She’s brilliant, has narcissistic tendencies, and is angry because men consider her more as a sex object than a clever woman. She’s not overly fond of you, Arnold. She wants your job.”
“I’m not giving it up.”
“Trust me, if she focused on it completely, she’d have it in a heartbeat. She’s completely ruthless. The psychologist doing the evaluation was terrified of her.”
“Why the hell was she allowed to get where she is?”
© Dellani Oakes