“I’m Doctor Frampton. He’s doing fine. He’ll need to be here overnight so we can keep an eye on him, but he’s doing amazingly well. We’ve been looking for him since he walked out a few hours ago. The police have been searching everywhere.”
“Can we see him?” Paula asked.
“Yes, a couple at a time. You’re his parents?”
Tom and Paula nodded.
“And this is his fiancée.”
“Is one of you Jimmy?”
“I am,” James stepped forward.
“He’s been asking for you and Mark?”
“Marka,” James corrected. “His fiancée.”
“Oh!” The young woman giggled.
“Let his parents go in first,” Marka said.
“You and Polly go,” Tom said. “Jimmy and I can wait.”
The women followed the doctor into the cubicle where Frank lay. He was still pale, but the dark circles had receded. His face no longer looked drawn and his color had improved. He had an IV in his arm as well as a blood pressure cuff and a pulse rate monitor on his finger. His smile was a little dimmer than usual, but the dark brown eyes sparkled when he saw his mother and Marka.
Paula dashed to his bed, flinging herself across his chest. “You come home after nearly getting yourself blown to bits and I think I don’t have to worry anymore. And here you are, all messed up again. What am I going to do with you?” She hugged him fiercely.
“You’re gonna have to let up on me, Mom. You’re gonna kill me,” Frank gasped.
Paula let him go, laughing at herself. “See what you’re like when you’re a mother.”
“Yeah, that’ll happen one day.”
Frank’s sarcastic tone wasn’t lost on his mother. She swatted at him, tapping his arm.
“You know what I mean. Oh, Frankie!” She burst into tears.
Marka let his mother monopolize him for a few minutes. He’d been her son longer than he’d been Marka’s boyfriend. Every part of her hungered to touch him, but she wasn’t going to deny his mother’s need for assurance.
“I’m going to let Marka have you now. I need to call Mabel. She was beside herself when she found out you were hurt. It was on this very day that Frank died.”
“I love you, Mom.”
“I love you too. Don’t scare me like this again!”
“I’ll do my best.”
“I’ll send your father and Jimmy back when Marka’s done.” She kissed her son and Marka before she left.
Frank held out his hands to Marka. She came to him much more gently than his mother. Scooting over, Frank made room for her before folding her in his embrace. He kissed her hard and deep for a long time before letting go.
“Do you remember anything that happened?” Marka gasped.
“Most of it, sadly. What the hell did you give me, by the way?”
Marka blushed, ducking her head. “A triple dose of Benadryl. I didn’t have anything else handy, but you were so distraught, I wanted you to have a chance to calm down before you encountered Liz.”
“Nice forgery job on the journals.”
“You knew they weren’t real?”
“Sort of. I knew they didn’t look exactly right, but they fulfilled the directive. She told me to bring her the journals. She didn’t say they were mine. Those weren’t technically mine, but they were journals.”
“Even drugged out, you found the loophole.”
He laughed, shaking his head. “It was funny—well, not funny, but interesting. The whole time she worked me over, I zoned out. I didn’t focus on her or what she was doing to me, I kept thinking of you. I thought about how much I need you and want to make love to you. I reminded myself of how you taste and what your breath feels like on my skin. I wrapped you around me like a cloak and held on. I know it sounds like a chick flick, Marka. But you saved me.”
She kissed him so hard, it hurt. He wiggled a little, letting her know to ease up. A nurse stuck her head around the curtain, reddening when she saw them.
“Sorry! I wondered why his pulse spiked. Don’t mind me.”
“I’d better go,” Marka said. “I know your dad and James are anxious to see you.”
“Come back later. Hey, can she spend the night?” He asked the nurse.
“Sure. I’ll let them know at the desk. They’re making your room assignment now.”
Marka gave him a gentle kiss and left. James and Tom walked rapidly into the cubicle when she came out. They didn’t stay long, but they were both smiling when they came out.
“The doctor said he should be good to go tomorrow,” James told them.
“But where will he go home? His house isn’t fit to live in. Marka’s in a crime scene. Tom, should we take him to our place?”
© Dellani Oakes