Frank is talking with the police at the scene where he found Penwarren. The detective in charge is Kathy’s father, Jerry. He casually asks Frank if he has an alibi for the time of the fall. Frank mentions Marka and moments later, Jerry spots her outside.
Jerry followed him to the door. Frank let them out. He introduced Marka.
“Frank tells me you can vouch for his whereabouts when Penwarren fell?”
Marka glanced at Frank, shock registering in her face. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing serious, Marka,” Frank assured her. “He’s just doing his job.”
“Frank and I had dinner.”
“We talked—we kissed. Then Charlie called and said Penwarren had disappeared.”
Jerry jotted down some notes. “Thank you. And after the call, what did you do?”
“I cleaned up. What, am I a suspect now? Frank—”
“I’m sorry, Miss Ventimiglia.”
“Doctor,” she corrected angrily. “Doctor Ventimiglia. I never met the injured man, Detective. Write that in your little book too.” She spun on her heel and stormed off.
“Thanks, Jerry. Way to make me look good with my new woman.”
“Sorry, Frank. Doing the job. It’s dirty, but it’s mine.”
“I understand. Unfortunately, I don’t think the lady does.”
“Unless she has something to hide.”
“Jerry, get real. How would Kathy react if we asked her the same question?”
“No better. What sucks is, I’m gonna have to ask her.”
“Then you’d better bring your steel long johns.”
“She had more motive to hurt him than just about anyone,” Jerry replied.
“I don’t think she’d push a man over a balcony cause he made her scrub the floor. If she was going to kill him, it would make sense to try at the time, not twenty-four hours later.”
“Good point. I think our best lead is that watch. Do you know if Penwarren has any financial problems?”
“Not a clue. My records are of Mabel’s money, not his. But the reason she fell is because he refused to move her to assisted living, saying it cost too much. She had a sinking spell and collapsed on the tile in her kitchen. She’s osteoporotic and shattered her hip.”
“So, he could have problems. I’ll look into it.”
“If you’ll excuse me. I need to check on Marka.”
“Apologize for me?”
“You’ll have to do that yourself. Me, I’m gonna calm her down and then get my ass to bed—my bed, alone. Unfortunately.”
“Good night, Frank. Thanks for your help. You did good, kid.”
He headed up to Marka’s room. He could hear her banging cabinets and suspected she was crying. He tapped at the door.
“I gave at the office!” She yelled. The door opened anyway. “Sorry. I thought maybe you were that cop again.”
“He apologized for having to ask you that. He really was just doing his job, Marka.”
“I know, but that was the most offensive question I’ve ever been asked. Of course I can’t account for my actions after you left. And he implied that we’d done more than just kiss!”
“Unfortunately, that’s going to happen. And after we kissed in the nursing home. . . .”
“But it was so good. . . .”
“Yeah. Better than good. Fantastic.”
“It makes me wonder what—other things—would be like.”
He moved closer, taking her in his arms. “You can find that out anytime you want.” He tipped her head up with his finger under her chin. “No pushing, no pressure. We take this as slow or as fast as you want.”
Marka smiled, her mouth trying not to turn down at the corners. To keep her from crying, he lowered his lips to hers, kissing her softly. She opened her mouth and he dove in deeper, setting her insides on fire. No man had ever made her feel like he did. Frank was special, wonderful, amazing. Just the sound of his voice made her shiver with delight.
Frank kissed her one last time. Taking a step back, he held her a moment longer, rubbing her arms. “I really need to go.”
Marka nodded, not wanting him to.
“If I stay, we know how this will end. You’re not that kind of woman and I’m not that kind of guy.”
“Too bad,” she whispered.
“Yeah. Well, I want you to still like me in the morning. Want to do breakfast again?”
“Yes. I’ll cook for you.”
“Let’s eat in the cafeteria.”
“You sure? I don’t mind cooking.”
“Do you really think I should be seen coming out of your room in the morning?”
She giggled, shaking her head. “Valid point. Okay.”
© Dellani Oakes