Frank finds himself smitten with Dr. Marka Ventimiglia. He enjoys her sense of humor, which is somewhat quirky, like his own. When he makes the remark about being the talk of the town tomorrow, she quips, “I hate to think what the talk would be like if we were naked.” This makes Frank laugh & admit she merely said what he was already thinking.
“But you’re too much of a gentleman to say it. Sometimes my mouth works faster than my off switch.”
“No, you just beat me to it.”
“You won’t get in trouble, will you?”
“Only with myself.”
She was clearly puzzled.
“I handle things like that. Actually, it’s flattering.”
“Yeah.” He scratched his head, one hand in his pocket. “Found in a room with a pretty woman like you— Sorry, now I need my off switch.”
“Could be worse things.”
“Yeah, we could’ve been naked.”
Marka raised an eyebrow, pursing her lips as she passed him. Her eyes raked his long, lean body, lingering on his dimples. “I can think of worse things than that.” Winking provocatively, she left.
Frank’s laugh followed her down the hall and was eventually muffled when his door swung shut.
Marka wandered down the hall to her room. The layout of the buildings still confused her somewhat. There were lavishly decorated sitting rooms at the hub of each building. The hallways continued in three or four directions from that center hub. Her room was west of the hub, his was to the east. The elevator was on the northeast corner of the sitting room. A corridor ran past it leading to the front building where the offices were located. A short stairway separated this building from that one.
She found her room and unlocked the door. She replaced the empty toilet paper roll with a full one, the other went in the cabinet.
This room was an exact copy of the one Frank Atherton was in, except reversed. His bathroom and bedroom were to the left, hers to the right. The furniture was different, she had a couch and two chairs, a small dining table and a free standing TV on a low entertainment center. Frank’s TV was a console. She had two small end tables, each with a porcelain lamp. The bedroom had one lamp on the bedside table and a floor lamp connected to the switch.
Bored, but not ready for bed, she clicked on the TV and flipped stations until she found something remotely worth watching. The phone rang loudly, making her jump. She stifled a scream.
“Hi, it’s Frank Atherton. Hope I didn’t catch you at a bad time.”
“No, not at all. Trying to find something to entertain myself. If I go to bed this early, I’ll be up at four.”
He chuckled. Marka pictured his dimples and the flash of white teeth.
“Yeah, I know what you mean. You want to meet for breakfast in the morning? The cafeteria’s pretty good.”
“Yes, that would be great. I don’t have any food yet.”
“Great. Know where it is?”
She giggled. “No clue.”
“I’ll come get you in the morning.”
“You don’t know what room I’m in.”
“Your phone number is your room number.”
Marka laughed at herself. “Oh. What time?”
“I have to be in the office by nine. So, is eight too early?”
“Eight’s perfect. I’ll be ready. Thank you.”
“Anytime. If you need me, just whistle.”
He paused, clearly out of things to say, but not wanting to hang up. “Well. It was nice meeting you, Dr. Ventimiglia.”
“Marka, please, Mr. Atherton.”
“Only if you’ll call me Frank.”
He hung up. Frank ran fingers through his hair, making it stand on end as he paced. Nearly hyperventilating, he leaned over, putting his hands on his knees. Panting slightly, he took deep breaths to get his heart to slow down.
“It’s just breakfast, Frankie. You can do this! You’ve been out with women before! Get a grip!”
Feeling like a kid, he walked the room, verbally castigating himself for being a pussy. He’d faced death dozens of times, but the idea of having breakfast with a real woman—a woman his age, a pretty woman, a woman he’d eventually like to date more and take to bed. . . .
Well, that was getting ahead of the game somewhat, but it had been a long time. So long, he couldn’t clearly remember the last time he’d had sex.
© Dellani Oakes