Frank wakes, finding himself cold and alone. He’s been drugged and beaten but simply the fact he is still alive, gives him hope he didn’t break . Bruised and disoriented, Frank finds one hand is free. He undoes his straps and finds clothing to keep him warm, praying that help will arrive.
Was it his imagination or did he hear someone in the living room. Fearing he was hallucinating, he tried to respond, but his vocal cords refused to cooperate. He groaned.
“Frank?” The voice sounded closer. It was familiar, comforting. “Oh, my God! Clark, Arnold! I found him!”
Voices jumbled, all talking at once. Hands groped him, prodding sore spots, making him curse. The poking stopped and he smelled a fresh, feminine scent. It reminded him of sugar cookies.
More loud voices followed. Glaring lights made his eyes water. He tried to turn his head away, but someone held him. He tried to jerk away, fight them off. Soft hands caressed him, holding him firmly.
“It’s okay, Frank. I’m here.” The comforting voice returned.
He felt pressure on his fingers and he knew she was with him. Movement. Doors thudding. The scream of a siren made him wince. The pressure on his fingers continued as he relaxed under heated blankets. Warm lips pressed his forehead, finding the one spot that didn’t hurt like bloody hell.
“Can you give him anything for pain?” The soft, gentle voice asked.
“We have to find out what they gave him first,” a louder, more annoying voice said. “Your friend said he’d probably been drugged. I promise, as soon as possible.”
“We’re almost there, Frank. Hang in there, sweetheart.”
“Marka,” he mumbled, finally able to put a name with the voice. “Love you. . . .”
“I love you too. Don’t try to talk. I’m here, darling. I’m not leaving.”
“Dr. Ventimiglia, you’ll have to wait out here,” the harsh voice said.
“I’m not leaving him. I’ll stay out of the way, but I’m not leaving his side.”
“Ma’am, that’s against hospital policy.”
“This man has a top security clearance. I’m here to make sure he doesn’t say anything that no one else is supposed to hear.”
“I thought you said you were his fiancée?” The voice held suspicion.
“I’m that too. We work together. If you don’t believe me, ask the older man with the nasty disposition. He’s got a higher clearance than God.”
Frank tried to chuckle. The paramedic didn’t stand a chance against Marka. As they lifted his gurney from the ambulance, he grabbed at her hand. Her face drew close.
“It’s Liz,” he muttered before his hand was jerked away from hers.
The gurney clattered over the threshold of the emergency room door. Many things happened at once. Frank lost track of Marka in the flurry of activity. He was lifted from the ambulance gurney to another bed. He tried to make sense of it all, but it was too much for him. Instead, he allowed himself the luxury of unconsciousness.
When he woke some time later, it was daylight. The position of the sun told him it was early morning. The room was bright, the drapes open, but the light came in at an angle. Frank heard water running in the bathroom. He tried to speak, but his voice didn’t want to work.
Marka came out a moment later. Her eyes brightened when she saw Frank was awake. Her lips touched lightly on his and she smiled, smoothing his hair.
“I hope you don’t feel as horrible as you look.”
Frank’s laugh was dry and crusty. Marka handed him a glass of ice water—the only good thing about hospitals. They always had fresh, super cold water in the rooms. Frank drank steadily for several seconds, until the icy water hit a sensitive spot. He gasped, choking slightly. Marka pulled the cup away, gazing at him with concern. Her warm hand took his wrist, feeling his pulse.
“I’m fine,” he gasped.
“Shh. Who’s the doctor here?”
He couldn’t speak, so he pointed to her. Her hand left his wrist, caressing his forehead.
“Why didn’t you tell me where you were going? Did you know it wasn’t Clark who called? Who’s Liz?”
“One at a time,” he rasped. “Did you tell Shay—about Liz?”
“Yes. He wouldn’t tell me a thing. He was furious, though. He kept saying he’d been a fool and he should have suspected the Ice Queen was up to something.”
“No. He and Clark are out looking for Liz and Phil. Some other spooks came in to protect you. I made them stay in the hall. Pissed off the nurses. They’re in the way, I suppose.” She shrugged. Her manner changed abruptly and Frank could see her transition from girlfriend to doctor. “What did she do, Frank? How did she. . . ?”
“Torture me? I honestly don’t know. Drugs, for sure. It felt like it was sizzling in my veins. I remember screaming—lots of screaming. After she got me with the syringe at the door, I don’t remember anything specific. I don’t know what I told her.”
“If you’d given the psychotic deviant what she wanted, you’d be dead.”
Frank nodded, sipping more water. “I figured.”
“So, she still hasn’t found what she wants. Do you think she’ll track down your things?”
“Don’t know. Depends on how resourceful she is. My family?”
“Shay has that under control. Your folks, sister and the boys are well protected.”
© Dellani Oakes