Marka doesn’t feel quite right when Frank heads out to meet up with Clark. To distract herself, she does a load of laundry, but gets a creepy surprise when she encounters Matthew and his girlfriend in one of the lounges in the dark. She makes arrangements to meet up with him after his shift, but then she gets a call from Shay. Frank isn’t with Clark, he’s gone missing.
“We’re on break. Everyone’s asleep. We sometimes meet up here for a little sexy time. Usually, it’s pretty private.”
“It’s in the middle of a lounge!” Marka tried not to shout.
“But everyone’s in bed. Chill, Doc. It’s okay.”
“It’s not okay! You scared me to death! You do know what’s been happening, right? You know about Ralph Penwarren and Frank’s house and office—and his car?”
“Yeah. So? It doesn’t affect the rest of us, right?”
Marka paused. She supposed he had a point. So far, there had been no other trouble. Suppose there was no danger for anyone else? Suppose this strictly concerned Frank? Even so, it wasn’t safe. If the bad guys encountered someone else while they searched for Frank, what would happen to them?
“It’s not a good idea, Matt. I won’t say anything, but someone else is bound to find out. I’d hate to see you kids lose your jobs.”
The redhead nudged Matthew, trying to smile. She was a pretty young woman with a round, almost childish face. Marka had to wonder how young she was.
“I have to check my laundry. How much longer is your break?”
Matthew checked his watch. “We’ve got ten minutes. We get off a eleven. Why?”
“Come by the room when you get off. We’ll have coffee and chat.”
“Will Frank be down with that?”
“He’s busy.” She snapped her lips shut, worried she’d say too much.
“With the Men in Black?” Matthew smirked.
“They aren’t in black,” Marka replied, acknowledging the fact they were government men.
Matthew waved a hand as if that wasn’t important.
“I’m gonna go back on shift,” his girlfriend said quietly. “See you later, Mattie.”
“Bye, Babe.” His goodbye kiss was more than a little friendly. One hand caressed her ass as the other brushed the curve of her breast.
“See you later, Doctor Ventimiglia,” the girl said shyly before walking away.
“Bye. . . .” Marka didn’t know the young woman’s name.
“Rebecca,” Matthew supplied gently, a fond smile tugging his lips.
“Rebecca. Nice to meet you.”
The young woman smiled and hurried off.
Matthew walked with Marka and stayed with her while she put her laundry in the dryer. He headed down the hall with her as she went back to her room.
“It’s gonna be okay, Doc. Frank’s a tough guy. He can handle anything that comes at him.”
“I hope so, Matthew. Do be careful.”
He smiled, tipping his chin. “Don’t worry about me, Doc. I’m golden.”
Impulsively, Marka hugged him. Tentatively, Matthew returned her embrace. Marka wanted to cry.
“Be careful,” she whispered. “Be very careful.”
“I told you, Doc. I’m go. . . .”
“Frank thought that once, too,” she said quietly.
Puzzled, Matthew left her, hurrying toward the elevator so he could clock back in on shift.
Marka closed the door behind her, leaning on it. She couldn’t shake the feeling of apprehension that still held her in its grip. Unaccountably worried about Frank, she dug her phone out of her pocket and dialed. His voicemail picked up. She left a message and put her phone away. The room phone rang a moment later, startling her.
“It’s Shay,” the Colonel said in a clipped tone. “Frank’s not picking up. Can I speak to him?”
“He’s not here. He got a call from Clark half an hour ago. He wanted to meet.”
“From Clark? You’re sure?”
“Yes. I could hear his voice over the phone.”
“Clark is here with me.”
Marka gasped. She couldn’t speak.
“Marka? Marka!” Colonel Shay’s voice finally made an impression.
“I’m here. Frank’s in trouble.”
“Wheels are already in motion. I’m coming for you.”
“Matthew. . . .”
“Is he involved?”
“No, he’s coming by in a little while.”
“The kid who was with Frank when he found Penwarren?”
“Cancel. We’re coming for you.”
“Who has him?”
“I’ll tell you when I see you. Dress warm, it’s starting to snow.”
© Dellani Oakes