Archive by Author | dellanioakes

Bad Fall – Part 56

Bad FallDuring the visit from Colonel Shay, they view a video showing the woman who trashed Frank’s car. He recognizes her as the woman he calls the Prom Date from Hell. What he didn’t know was that during their time together, she got pregnant and had his son. Shay and the others contend that they don’t believe that the vandalizing of his office and home are related.

“That makes them all the more fun to play with,” Frank mused, pulling on his lip. “So. . . .”

“What’s the plan?” Marka asked calmly, gazing at each of the men in turn.

“I’d like to find out why Britt was trashing my car. Get that out of the way, I can concentrate on the rest,” Frank said quietly. “I’d like to know what makes her go nuts on me now. I’d love to put the bitch in jail, but she’s got a kid—my kid. You’re sure he’s mine?” He appealed to Clark.

The older man nodded, hands deep in his pockets.

“Do I want to know how you know?”

“Not really. Suffice to say you’re due a few Father’s Day cards.”

“How does that make you feel, Frank?” Marka asked, touching his arm gently.

“Don’t know. How should it make me feel?”

“Confused. Angry. Sad?” she suggested.

He shrugged. “Numb. That’s all. I can’t think about this right now. I need. . . I need to find her, find out. . . .” He headed for the door.

Shay’s voice stopped him. “Frank. It’s nearly midnight. You can’t go hammering on that girl’s door in the middle of the night.”

Frank sat heavily on the floor, his legs giving out on him completely. His strength and energy were gone. Overwhelmed by foreign emotions, he sat with his head on his hands, trying not to cry.

“Why is this happening? What did I do?” He sighed heavily, shaking his head. “Aside from killing people. . . .”

“You were in a war, Frank,” Marka said.

“I still killed them. I have their blood on my hands.”

“A soldier follows orders,” Shay began.

“That only goes so far, Arnold. I can try to sooth my conscience with that platitude all I want. The fact is, I broke God’s law. Were it not wartime, I’d be a mass murderer.”

No one pointed out the obvious. If it hadn’t been a war, Frank wouldn’t have killed anyone.

“Damn near every soldier is,” Shay replied, lips pinched. “We don’t like it, but that’s the nature of what we do. We’re trained to kill.”

“And some of us are better at it than others. That’s where this is heading, right?”

“You’re one of the best,” Shay replied rather harshly.

“Is it okay if I don’t take that as a compliment?”

“Statement of fact. You’re damn good at what you do. . . .”

Did. I was good at killing. And I’m not proud of it. Now, I’m good at this.”

“Son, you’ve been good at anything you ever turned your hand to.”

“Save the fatherly tone, Colonel. I’m not your son. . . .”

“I’d be mighty proud to have a son like you.” Shay paused, exhaling slowly. “I think we’d better be going.”

The men filed past Frank. Clark was last, he stopped to help Frank stand.

“We’ll figure this out,” he said. It was the kindest thing he’d said and he sounded like he meant it. “Dr. Ventimiglia, despite all this. . . . Well, it’s been a pleasure meeting you, ma’am. I apologize.” He took her hand, bringing it to his lips.

“Tomorrow will be better, ” Marka said. “We’ll be seeing you, I take it?”

The men nodded.

“We’ll keep it on the down low,” Phil said with a sly wink.

Marka saw them out. The room seemed empty and quiet without them. Frank stood in the middle of the room, unmoving. He hardly blinked and his breathing was shallow. Marka did a quick assessment. Deciding he was fine, just preoccupied, she took his hand and led him to the couch. Instead of sitting down, he took her in his arms, kissing her deeply. After many minutes, he sighed.

“God, I want you! And I’m suddenly so tired, I can hardly keep my eyes open.”

“Then you need to go to bed.”

“I don’t want to. I want to make love to you all night. I want to dive into you repeatedly until you scream my name, I want to. . . .”

“Shh,” Marka whispered. “I know. I want that too.”

“I was hoping. . . .”

“I know. It hasn’t been the right time yet. It will be. I need to go. . . .”

“Stay with me. Even if we don’t make love, just stay.”

“Frank. . . .”

“Please. I feel like I’m falling into this endless pit. The only light I see at the top is your smile. I can’t do this without you.”

He looked and sounded so desperate, she relented.

“I do need to get some things.”

“I’ve got a better idea. I’ll bring some things and we’ll go to your place.”

“You’re sure? You don’t care what people think?”

“Baby, they all ready think we’re fooling around. If bothers you. . . .”

“No. What bothers me is they think we’re having a lot more fun than we’re actually having.”

He laughed softly. “Yeah, well. . . .”

“Soon,” she promised, touching his cheek. “Get your stuff.”

© Dellani Oakes

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Sea of Destiny – Part 22 by Dellani Oakes

Sea of Destiny – Part 22 by Dellani Oakes.

Kyle feels foolish after Carmelita teases him about being a lustful male. He endures a lot of ribbing from her, but it’s a bit much on his male ego at the moment. Fortunately, Emily understands and isn’t deterred by his behavior.

Bad Fall – Part 55

Bad FallShay, Clark and Phillip come to visit. Clark shows them a video of the car being vandalized. Frank sees the woman who trashed his car and has a flash of recognition.

“Oh, my God,” he gasped. “It can’t be! Why would she trash my car now? Shit!”

He nearly dropped the computer. Clark grabbed it before it fell. Frank paced, running his hand through his hair. He mumbled a few moments.

“Make her a brunette, take fifteen years off. . . . But why now? That’s what I can’t figure.”

“Who is she?” Marka pressed, halting him mid-pace. “Talk to me, Frank. Who is that woman?”

“You remember. The one I told you about? Prom Date from Hell? That’s her!”

“Really?” Marka studied the picture. “That’s what you were into? Cheap blondes?”

“She was a brunette naturally,” he said quietly. “And she was hot as hell!”

“Not bad looking now,” Phil interjected.

Clark glared at him. “How would she know where you work?”

“It’s a small town. We grew up here. She left shortly after graduation, but I guess she came back. By that time, I would’ve been in college. Haven’t seen her since.”

“What’d she do to you, Frank?” Shay asked.

Frank’s eyes widened. It had been hard enough telling Marka that story. Could he tell these men too? The fear when it happened, the residual effects that put him in the hospital. The concern he had that he’d never again be a normal man, be able to perform, father a child. . . . It had taken years to put that behind him. Suddenly, here it was again.

“You don’t have to talk about it,” Marka said, putting a calming hand on his arm. “They can read about it in your dossier.”

Clark cleared his throat. They looked at him.

“Some of them already have,” Marka replied, pursing her lips. “Do you know everything about us?”

“Just about. Don’t know your favorite movie, book or song,” he told Marka in all seriousness.

“Because I don’t have one. But I bet you know what kind of music I like and my idea of the perfect date?”

Clark chuckled, the first sign of a sense of humor they’d seen. “Long walk on the beach, drinks at sunset, making love under the stars. . . ..” he teased.

Marka laughed, shoving him. “Maybe when I was fifteen!”

“I can be relied on not to tell. Arnold, I don’t think there’s any need for Frank to go into this. The question is, as he says, why now?”

“Could she want something from you? Money, maybe? But why?” Phil asked.

Clark cleared his throat, holding up a finger. “I think I can answer that one.”He stared at the floor, thinking before he spoke. “You’re right about her leaving town after she graduated,” he said to Frank. “Did you ever suspect why?”

“Not really. Lots of people do. Hell, I did myself.”

“She left to go live with her aunt in Cleveland. She was pregnant—with your child, Frank.”

“What?” He yelled far louder than he intended. Fortunately, most of the rooms around them were empty. “What are you talking about?”

“That little debacle she put you through. . . . She got pregnant. She gave birth to your son January 25 the following year. She moved back here last year to live with her parents after she lost her job. She’s been working at a car rental place at the airport for the last few months.”

“I’ve got a son?” His knees buckled. Fortunately, he was near the TV and fell back into it. “I’ve got a son. . . .” He rubbed his face with his hands, trying to force reality to sink in. “This is unbelievable. So, why’s she suddenly trashing my car? If I’d known about him, I could have helped. I would have stepped up. God, this adds a whole new level to dead beat dads, huh? So, is he okay? Did she keep him?”

Clark nodded. “He goes to the high school. Smart kid. Doesn’t favor you much, except the eyes.”

“I suppose you’ve got a whole dossier on the two of them,” Frank said with certainty.

Clark didn’t deny or confirm anything.

“So, we may not know what her problem is, but at least we know the car isn’t related to this other stuff,” Marka said calmly, taking Frank’s hand.

“The idea of an angry stalker isn’t too comforting, but at least we know about her,” Frank mused. “But figuring out her motive isn’t really as important as this other stuff.”

“What if there are three different story lines,” Marka said, nibbling her lower lip.

The men looked skeptical.

“Look.” She ticked off the points on her fingers. “We have Psycho-Barbie doing a Carrie Underwood. You know that’s what she planned,” she said as an aside. “Only the sirens stopped her. Second, we have a trashed office and house with a dead guy at the bottom of the ravine. Last, we have Ralph and the Tiffany ring. Yes, they might be related, but something other than Penwarren brought this to us.

“We don’t know that the house and office are connected. They could be separate incidents as well,” Clark postulated.

“That’s not comforting,” Frank said bitterly. “That means there’s one more psycho out to get me.”

“Make no mistake, the people who broke into your house aren’t psycho,” Phil said.

© Dellani Oakes

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Bad Fall – Part 54

Bad FallMore surprises await Frank once Shay arrives. Not only has he found out that he’s Mable’s great-grandson, he also discovers that Shay’s team has had him under surveillance. Not only that, their cameras recorded the vandalizing of his car. Not Ralph Penwarren or some unnamed, faceless “spook”, but a tall, attractive, very angry blonde.

“And you know this why?”

“I’ve been watching you,” Clark replied defiantly. “I’m head of the surveillance team.”

“And you didn’t catch the guy at my house?”

“Our job was to watch you, not your house. My team and I have been keeping an eye on you for the last three years.”

“How did I not know that?”

“We’re very good, Frank. We blend,” Phil said with a smirk.

“Right. . . .”

“If I told you who my people are, you’d be stunned. I’m the silent, unknown watcher who sits outside in all kinds of weather. Rain or shine, snow, sleet or fog. . . .” Clark continued.

Frank laughed, shaking his head. “You’d be noticed.”

“True, so mostly I sit in the blue house on the edge of the property and watch from there.”

“Wait a second. What?” His laughter increased. “I had this flash of that little, modular home chock full of super spy equipment.”

Clark didn’t laugh, neither did the others. Frank sobered, suspecting he’d hit the truth.

“Why move now?” He asked quietly.

“Because you were starting to remember bits and pieces. And you’ve done some research. Why do you think your passwords still work? Not cause we’re careless,” Phil said in a smug tone.

“I’ll be going now,” Marka said from the foyer.

Frank leaped across the room, taking her gently by the arms. “Please stay. I’m so sorry. I overreacted. That’s the problem with doing what we do.” He gestured to include the other men. “You get so paranoid, you see conspiracy everywhere. I believe you. Can you forgive me?” He took her hands, gazing deeply into her eyes.

“Can you trust me, Frank?”

“Yes. Completely.”

“Because I have to know you’ll trust me, or I can’t help you.”

“I don’t just want your help,” he whispered. “Surely you know that?”

“If you don’t trust me—completely—just like you say, this can’t go any further.”

Frank sighed, nodding. Forgetting that they had an audience, he took her face in his hands, kissing her compellingly.

“I trust you, Marka. And I’m wild about you. That’s all I’ve got. . . .”

“That’s enough.”

Their kiss lasted longer this time. A soft clearing of the throat caused them to break apart. Frank to turn around. Shay stood by the chair.

“One or two more things, Frank. First, we’re continuing our surveillance. If nothing else, we can keep an eye on you both. Second, the woman.”

“What woman?” Marka asked.

“The blonde who trashed his car,” Phil replied.

“What are you talking about? I thought that was Ralph?” she appealed to Frank for clarification.

“Clark saw some woman trash it,” he explained, shrugging.

“Know any stunning, tall, blonde women about your age who hold a grudge?”

“Not really. I mean, I know some attractive blonde women about my age, but not any that hold a particular grudge. I’m a pretty nice guy. I don’t go out of my way to piss people off.”

“No disgruntled employees? Ex-lovers? Old girlfriends?” Clark continued.

“My ex-lovers were rarely violent,” Frank said. “Amicable breakups. Maybe a little disappointed. . . .” He shrugged, grinning when Marka poked him.

“Being honest. I aim to please.”

“Otherwise we don’t get laid,” Phil, who was only a little older than he, intoned, offering his knuckles.

“Damn Skippy.” Frank tapped knuckles with the Major.

Shay and Clark, both of whom wore wedding bands, looked at the antics of the younger men with amused smiles.

“I did get a couple pictures,” Clark said in a more sober voice. “Can I borrow your laptop?”

“Sure. Knock yourself out.” Frank gestured toward the computer which was on the floor beside Shay.

Shay handed the computer to Clark. The Major whipped out a flashdrive and plugged it in after the computer booted. The shots he showed Frank were of a woman about 5’9″ dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt who was swinging a hammer at his headlights. Her blonde hair was pulled up in a ponytail. Some pictures were from a distance, the others were up close with a very sophisticated telephoto lens.

“You couldn’t go out and stop the bitch?” He complained. “Shit, Clark! That’s my ride, man.”

“There was a lot going on, Frank. You noticed the date/ time stamp. It was around the time all hell was breaking loose inside. She heard the ambulance coming and took off.”

“Does she look familiar?” Shay asked.

Frank squinted at a closeup, frowning as he concentrated. There was something familiar about her features. He couldn’t place it. Suddenly,

recognition dawned. © Dellani Oakes


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Bad Fall – Part 53

Bad Fall

The arrival of his former commanding officer, Colonel Arnold Shay, hasn’t made Frank very happy. He’s particularly annoyed when Shay brings in two younger men who are obviously much more than they appear. Marka sees far more than Shay and his officers are happy about.

“Wasn’t a guess. It’s the only thing that makes sense. I think there’s a traitor in your ranks. And you think Frank knows who it is.”

“Frank does know,” Phil said.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Do you think for a second that I’d have let this drop if I knew who killed Clay and the others?”

“Do you think it’s any accident that a specialist in memory disorders, who worked with the military and has clearance only slightly lower than God, came to work here?” Clark asked nastily.

Frank’s dark eyes bored into Marka’s. “What’s he talking about?”

“Figure it out, Frank. Put the pieces together. You think this is a coincidence?” Clark continued.

“Colonel, he doesn’t know that he doesn’t remember,” Marka said to Shay.

“His mother told me tonight. . . .”

“Wait! You knew about me? All along?” Frank fought the urge to run.

Marka wouldn’t meet his accusing glare.

“This—all this—was for them? Him?” He pointed to Shay. “So, you didn’t just pull his name out of thin air?”

“I didn’t know Colonel Shay by name. I was asked to evaluate you, yes. But the job I’m doing here is real. That’s what I applied for and came for, Frank. You have to believe me.”

“Oh, because you’ve been so open and honest with me.”

Marka bit the inside of her cheek. Forcing back tears, she swallowed. “I haven’t lied to you.”

“Was going to bed with me part of the job description? Your evaluative process? Or is that just gravy? Do you do that with all your clients?”

Marka burst into tears and ran out of the room. She slammed the bathroom door. They could hear her weeping.

“She’s never met me, Frank,” Colonel Shay told him. “When we found out she was coming here, we asked her to. . . .”

“What? Get to know me? See if I’m stable?”

“No,” Clark said. “We asked her to see if she could find out what really happened that day. Don’t you remember anything? You were suspicious. Once you recovered. . . .”

“Recovered? I wasn’t injured.”

“Frank, you damn near died,” Shay said. “You left the hospital and went AWOL for three days. We found you wandering around in your hospital pajamas and you could barely remember your own name. It took weeks before you could remember the incident at all. When you did, it was totally different from the official version.”

“Maybe the official version was wrong.”

“Film crew documented it. We know what went down. It wasn’t your fault,” Phil said gently. “Before you disappeared, you told Colonel Shay you knew who did it. You wanted to find proof before you made an accusation. Then you went missing. When you came back, nothing.”

“We think you were drugged, brainwashed,” Shay said. “We asked Dr. Ventimiglia to evaluate you as a favor. She wasn’t on some sneaky, secret mission. Based on what I’ve seen, her interest in you is genuine. If you haven’t completely screwed it up, that is.”

Frank closed his eyes. Taking a deep breath, he pressed down the air with both hands. “I’m confused. What’s going on? What’s Marka’s part in this?”

“She was hired here to do just what she says, to work with Alzheimer’s patients. We sent her a letter and asked her to give us an assessment, to find out what she could, and help you remember. Whatever happened is buried deeply, Frank. We thought the lady could shake it loose.”

“Why is this so important?”

“We suspect that whoever had a part in this is going to move against you,” Clark replied. “From the looks of things, he’s already tried.”

“The red flag thing.”

“Exactly. He worked with whoever did this.”

“Whose name you don’t know.”


“Who wants me dead?”

“He wants to make sure his secret is safe.”

“So, what’s he looking for?” Frank demanded.

“Evidence. Do you remember or not? Did you leave yourself any clues?”

“Great. So, he searches my office and house, trashes my car. . . .”

“The car wasn’t part of it,” Phil interjected.

“You think my uncle did that?”

“Uncle? What are you talking about?” Shay asked.

“Ralph Penwarren. You think that he trashed my car?”

“No. Wait, he’s your uncle?” Phil was confused.

“Great-uncle. My dad is his step-mom’s grandson.”

“This has nothing to do with them. And he didn’t do your car,” Clark replied.

“It was some chick. Kinda hot. Tall, blonde. . . .”

© Dellani Oakes

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Bad Fall – Part 52

Bad FallFrank and Marka almost make it. They’re SO CLOSE! Until there’s a knock at the door and his former commanding officer, Colonel Shay, appears accompanied by two junior officers. Their presences isn’t at all welcome, which Frank makes readily apparent.

“We talked about this extensively, Arnold. I’m not coming back.”

“Not even if your country needs you?” Lieutenant-Colonel Anonymous said.

“Sir, my country needs all the help it can get, but I gave already. Got the scars to prove it. Now, what’s so goddamn important you scope me out in the middle of the night and interrupt my private time with my lady?”

Shay stood, offering Marka his chair. She smiled, but stood near Frank, taking his arm. The Colonel sat once more, frowning slightly.

“You’ve become of interest. . . .”

“To whom?” Frank demanded. “And why am I just finding this out?”

“We’ve had you under surveillance. . . .” The Major interjected. Shay shot him a look and he clammed up.

“And you didn’t think it was important to tell me this, Arnold? Thanks. I love being unwitting bait.”

“That’s an ugly accusation,” Shay replied, sipping his coffee.

“But an accurate one. Who’s interested in me and why?”

“I really can’t tell you that. . . .”

“Look,” Frank said, stepping forward aggressively. “My life’s in shambles at the moment. My office, my car and my home have been violated. Someone died. . . .”

“Who was that, by the way?” Marka asked.

The three officers gave her a gimlet eye expecting her to be quiet. She didn’t let it stop her. “Frank has a right to know who’s coming after him. He has a right to know why someone broke into his house. And don’t you think it matters to someone—other than us, how that a man died?”

“Miss Ventimiglia,” Lieutenant-Colonel began.

“Doctor,” she interrupted. “I worked hard for my title, just as you worked hard for yours. I expect to be treated with respect and addressed appropriately.”

“I think we got off on the wrong foot,” Colonel Shay said calmly.

“Do you think so?” Frank said with a grin. “And here I thought we were all getting along so well. Enough with the cloak and dagger shit, Arnold! Just tell me plain.”

“With all due respect,” the Major began. “We don’t know the lady’s clearance.”

The Lieutenant-Colonel flashed him a look that could have meant anything. Marka interpreted it as saying that he did know and the other guy needed to shut up.

“He knows,” she nodded at the Lieutenant-Colonel. “You know I’ve worked with the State Department and Veteran’s Administration. Part of my research for my doctorate pertained to memory loss in soldiers who’d experienced physical or emotional trauma. In fact, it’s possible that my clearance exceeds yours,” she said pointedly to the Major.

The Lieutenant-Colonel smiled. “Good guess. It doesn’t exceed mine.”

“I wouldn’t expect it to since I’m guessing that the uniform and the rank are bogus. I think you outrank everyone in this room—or, if you don’t outrank Shay, you’re in a line of work where you know about all there is to know.”

He shifted uncomfortably under her scrutiny.

Marka continued. “You don’t like me. You think I’m dangerous and I hit way to close to the truth. Did you think because I’m a girl I wasn’t smart enough to suss you out?” She rolled her eyes. “Would you guys get a new shtick, please? This one’s old and says very little about the progressive attitude of the modern Army.”

She took her coffee cup to the kitchen and put it in the sink. The men stared at one another. Frank was less shocked than the others, but not much.

Marka continued to surprise him. That she’d caught the Lieutenant-Colonel and Shay by surprise as well, pleased him.

“Well?” Shay addressed the Lieutenant-Colonel. “Clark, this is crazy. We’re dancing in circles. Be straight with them.”

The Lieutenant-Colonel reddened. Lips pursed, he stood abruptly. “Fine. You’re wrong, Doctor, I don’t outrank Colonel Shay.”

“But you do out-spook him,” Marka said with a decisive nod. “Thought so.”

“Out-spook?” The Major was still trying to catch up.

“Get on board, would you, Phil? Jesus, it’s like talking to a stump,” Clark snapped.

“No need to be insulting,” Phil rejoined. “Just tell them, already. This is ridiculous. We’ve been here ten minutes and all we’ve succeeded in doing is piss each other off.” He stood, advancing with his hand extended to Marka. “Doctor Ventimiglia, I’m Major Phillip. Lieutenant-Colonel Clark and I work with Colonel Shay. Frank was part of our team, though we never met directly.”

“Who mined the road?” Marka asked, taking the Major’s hand.

“Excuse me?”

“Don’t be coy. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Does all this have anything to do with the death of Frank’s brother-in-law?”

Phil blinked at her, wide eyed.

“Can we start over?” Frank said. “Like at the beginning without the hedging?”

“Good idea,” Shay said. “He’s Phil, he’s Clark. Now that we all know who we are, let’s talk about this. Marka, good guess. This does have to do with that incident.”

© Dellani Oakes

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Bad Fall – Part 51

Bad FallMany apologies, my friends. I’ve been so busy editing my third sci-fi novel, I didn’t realize this had run out! Without further delay, here is part 51 of Bad Fall.

Frank and Marka have just gotten home from visiting his parents. It was a fun visit, but Marka’s mother calls, creating a bit of a stir. Her premonition prompted Marka to tell Frank to call someone named Shay. It’s not a very welcome announcement. Colonel Arnold Shay was Frank’s commanding officer.

Tired of being cramped on the couch, Frank carried her to the bedroom. He set her down, removing her shoes. His hands caressed her feet and ankles, moving up under the leg of her pants. He set the shoes reverently on the table near the bed.

Marka giggled at that. “Do you always set a woman’s shoes on the table when you make love?”

“Only the really sexy ones. . . . . shoes that is.”

“My shoes turn you on?”

He glanced at them, shrugging. “Not really. But I find your breasts intoxicating.” To emphasize that, he kissed both of them—repeatedly. “And this, magic. . . .” His hand slid between her legs.

Marka was hot and wet. He could feel it through her clothing. Enough playing around, he wanted her too much. He finished undressing her and himself in record time.

“Condom?” She asked as he finished.

“Um. . . .” He had to think about that one. This wasn’t his bedroom at home, which was well stocked. Did he have any? “Yes!”

He unzipped his shaving kit. He remembered having packed a few in there when they went by his place—just in case—to be prepared. He was just about to rip it open with his teeth when someone knocked on the door.

“God dammit!” Frank yelled. “Can’t you leave me alone for five fucking minutes?”

“I dunno, kid. Haven’t tried. Put your pants back on and open up before I open it for you.”

“Colonel Shay?” He headed to the door.

“Frank!” Marka tossed him his jeans.

He shut the bedroom door behind him rather more loudly than he should have. “Coming!” Well, I would’ve been in about an hour. . . .

Frank opened the door to find his former commanding officer in the hallway with two other officers.

“I wasn’t expecting you until tomorrow,” Frank said ungraciously.

Shay pushed passed him. “Tell your lady friend to join us.”

“What makes you think I’ve got a lady here?”

“Cause nothing puts that tone in a man’s voice except coitus interruptus.”

The other men laughed. Frank blushed slightly.

“I’ll see if she’s dressed.”

“Put your nickers on, son. That denim’ll rub ‘em raw—state they’re in.”

“Be out in a few,” Frank said. “You can fix coffee.” He pointed to the kitchen, nodding at the lowest ranking officer, who happened to be a Major.

The other man smirked, moving toward the kitchen. He banged a few cupboards and clattered about for several minutes as Frank tapped on the bedroom door.

Marka was dressed and putting on her shoes when Frank walked in. He dropped his pants and put on his boxers. Marka watched him dress with longing. She tried to speak, but his naked body was very distracting.

“Come meet the guys,” Frank said, holding out his hand.

Marka ran fingers through her tousled hair. Frank kissed her one last time.
“I’m so sorry.”

“Me too.”

They walked to the living room hand in hand. The coffee finished brewing. Marka found cups as the men stared at one another. Frank leaned against the console TV arms and ankles crossed.

“We’d be more comfortable in the sitting room,” he said.

“I hardly think we want to do that,” Shay said, frowning slightly. “Why aren’t you home?”

Frank told him the one minute version of the last few days. Shay nodded, accepting a cup of coffee from Marka with a distracted smile.

“This must be Dr. Ventimiglia.”

“And you know about me—why?”

“Frank mentioned you in passing,” Shay said evasively.

“Right. I suppose you know all about me now. My research and education?

My proclivity for red and my cup size?”

Shay chuckled while the other men looked uncomfortable.

“Thirty-eight C,” she told the Lieutenant-Colonel as she handed him his coffee.

“Dossier said it was thirty-eight and a half,” the Lieutenant-Colonel replied.

Marka flashed him a curious look. He was right, dammit. Smart ass. “You did look me up! You bastard!” She threw a napkin at him.

“Doing my job, Doctor. Nothing more.”

“Where’s Liz? You and she are usually joined at the hip,” Frank asked Shay about his assistant.

“She’s on vacation. She had some personal business to take care of in Florida,” Shay replied.

“Pity. She can always be counted on the jazz things up. Are you going to introduce us, Colonel?” Frank asked.

“My companions would prefer to remain anonymous,” Shay replied.

Frank eyed him critically, arms still crossed defensively, eyes wary. “Not sure I feel like chatting with Major and Lieutenant-Colonel Anonymous. I’m not in the game anymore.”

“I can activate you anytime I want, Francis. You’ve got some skills I badly need.”

© Dellani Oakes

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Bad Fall – Part 50

Bad Fall

Heat Warning – Steamy. Scene may not be appropriate for readers under 17.

Marka decides to take Frank home. She senses he’s increasingly uncomfortable around his parents. They will push for answers where she won’t. Once they get back to Sheltering Oaks, he opens up a little more. They try to make sense of the incidents – especially the break-in at his house. That was the main thing concerning Colonel Shay.

“What are they after?”

“I really can’t discuss this. If Shay wants you to know, he’ll tell you.”

“You know what I think?”

“That I’m dead sexy?” His eyes softened, the worry lines disappearing.

She smacked him playfully. “Besides that. I don’t think that the car and the office thing are related. I mean, you’ve tossed some guy’s office, why trash his car? Isn’t it more important to go search his home? And they didn’t come up to your room.”

“Maybe they didn’t know I was there.”

“If someone is well enough connected to gain access here after hours, how would they not be able to find that out? I think Ralph did your car.”

“He was in the hospital.”

“He could have done it the night before. We didn’t leave again after dinner. We were inside the whole time. He could have snuck out, done that and gone back in.”

“We still don’t know who he met or why.” Frank frowned, pinching his lower lip with his index finger and thumb.

“Maybe he encountered someone snooping around. That stairway leads to his room, but yours isn’t far away. Someone not fully familiar with the layout could mix up his hallway for yours,” Marka speculated.

“So, you don’t think Ralph was after Mabel’s ring?”

“No, I fully believe the fat bastard wanted her ring. I did a quick search earlier today. A ring like that, new, from Tiffany’s, is $710,000! Can you imagine how much more that’s worth now that it’s over seventy years old and one of its kind? A substantial fortune.”

“How could you fence a stone like that?”

“You take it to a very good gem cutter and have it cut into smaller stones. I bet if we checked with Jerry’s father, he could tell us more.”

“Could be right. Wow, some uncle, huh?” Frank sighed.

“He’s no kin to you. He’s your great-grandmother’s stepson. There’s no tie unless you want it.” Her tone was nearly as sharp as his mother’s.

“Good point.”

“Do you think that the dead man trashed your office and searched your house? Or do you think the office was Ralph?”

He brushed her hair from her face with the tips of his fingers. Leaning forward, he kissed her.

“I guess it doesn’t matter,” she mumbled against his lips. “It doesn’t have to be related. . . .”

“Marka,” he whispered. “Shh. . . .”

“We need to figure. . . .”

“It’ll keep,” he whispered huskily.

“But. . . .”



“Shut up and kiss me.”

Kissing Frank was the easiest thing she’d ever done. His mouth covered hers, his lips warm and soft. His cologne blended with cigarette smoke, beer and desire, making her dizzy. Strong arms held her close as he made love to her with his mouth. Weak, trembling, Marka sighed as his hands removed her jacket and slid under the edge of her blouse.

Frank inhaled slowly, savoring her scent as his hands moved to her breast. Encased in satin and lace, the nipple stood out, waiting for him. His thumb brushed it gently. It firmed under his touch. He unbuttoned her blouse slowly, fumbling slightly with the small, slick buttons.

Marka swatted his clumsy hand aside, laughing as she took over. “It isn’t that hard,” she mumbled against his lips.

“Yes it is. See?” He took her hand, massaging his groin.

Not only was it hard, Marka discovered, it pulsed under her fingers, inviting her to partake of all he had to offer. She gasped with delight. Frank chuckled, redoubling his efforts to get her blouse off.

Marka undid the last button and placed his fingers on her left breast. Moaning in chorus, they moved closer, kissing passionately.

“Is this really gonna happen?” Frank asked, his voice a low growl.

“It better,” Marka countered. “Oh, God!”

His hot lips moved to her throat, nipping and kissing. His tongue joined the fun, licking the indentation beneath her ear as his fingers fumbled against the bra catch.

“Do I have to do everything for you?” She giggled, undoing the hook for him.

“Cut me some slack, it’s been awhile. And women’s clothing has always been confusing.”

“Please tell me you don’t have that much trouble with everything, or I’m gonna regret this.”

“I promise, I’ve got the moves where it counts.”

Frank slipped off the bra, following the downward movement with his lips.

“Remember those multiple orgasms you promised?”

“Mm hmm. . . . Unlimited supply. All you have to do is ask.”

 “I’m asking,” she whispered.

“Cool. . . .”

© Dellani Oakes

Bad Fall – Part 49

Bad FallAfter talking to Colonel Shay, Frank tells Marka and his parents that his former commander was trying to reach him, but won’t give them details. His mother presses for details and he gives the standard, “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill her.” He’s not laughing afterward.

Paula tried to laugh that off, but the glitter in his dark eyes showed them he wasn’t being flippant.

“In a nutshell, I’m going to have out of town visitors. My house is a crime scene. . . .” He signed, sinking slowly to his chair. “This is unbelievable. Completely unprecedented.”

“They can stay here,” his mother offered. “We have lots of room.”

Frank chuckled. “No, Mom. This isn’t a slumber party. Let’s eat, shall we? I’m starving. The burgers smell fantastic.”

He tried to act bright and chipper, but it wasn’t easy to pull off. They all knew he was hiding something big, but he wouldn’t tell. He couldn’t.

Frank made every effort to act normally during the meal. He forced himself to smile, laugh and interact with Marka and his parents. Dark images played at the back of his mind, haunting him. Maybe it was the alcohol, or the fact he’d smoked more in the last thirty minutes than he had in three months. Perhaps, combined with stress and fatigue, his mind really was playing tricks on him.

Marka cut the evening short, sensing that Frank needed to get away. She claimed she had to get up for an early meeting and had him out the door before 10:00. Frank was subdued on the drive home. He gave her directions absently, nearly missing a couple of turns. Fortunately, she recognized the neighborhood and turned in the front gates, parking in her designated spot.

Turning off the car, she faced him. Before she could say a word, his hands were on her face, pulling her to him. He devoured her mouth, his hands searching her body with an urgency she’d never seen in him before. He stopped just as suddenly, clasping the back of her neck, his forehead pressed against hers. He tried to speak, but he couldn’t. His breath came in sharp gasps as he fought the panic rising in him.

“Let’s get you to your room,” she said softly.

Frank nodded weakly. Marka opened his door and he practically fell out of the car into her arms. He got his feet under him and walked to the front door under his own power. When they got in the elevator, he leaned against the wall with one arm, head lowered. The door closed and he kissed her again. The burning ache was back. His loins hurt from wanting her. He thought he’d explode if he couldn’t have her—all of her—immediately.

Afraid he’d hurt her, he backed off, easing his grip on her. He continued to kiss her, but toned down his actions so he wasn’t mauling her like an animal. The doors opened on their floor. Luckily, no one was there. They walked to his room, not seeing another soul, and he let them in. Shoving the door shut, he took her face in his hands again, kissing her with passion greater than any he’d ever felt.

“I need you, Marka. I have—I want. . . . Please!” His voice broke, his tone pleading.

He was disgusted with himself. He’d never begged a woman for sex, even when he was at hormonal teenager.

“Before we explore that territory, you’re going to tell me what the hell is going on. I’m in this too. You might not be willing to tell your parents, but you’ll tell me. And don’t give me any shit about having to shoot me.”

Groaning, he rubbed his face with his hands. “I need coffee.”

She set up the pot while he leaned against the wall. Hands folded as if in prayer, he leaned on his joined fists, one foot forward, supporting himself.

“I did a lot of bad things on the job,” he said, sounding as if he were talking to himself. “The more I try to forget, the more it comes back to haunt me.”

Marka said nothing. She finished setting up the coffee and led him to the living room. They sat on the loveseat together. He put his arms around her, holding her close.

“You can tell me. I won’t judge.”

“I can’t. I want to. . . .”

“Did you kill people?”

“It was a war, baby. Of course I did.”

“I meant. Without provocation.”

“If you want to know if I assassinated someone, I can’t answer that directly.”

“That’s a yes. More than one?”

He shifted uncomfortably. “A soldier follows orders. He worries about the morality of it later.”

“Does this have anything to do with what’s happening here? Did it get Ralph hurt?”

“It hasn’t anything to do with Ralph. That’s a separate incident. It has to do with the break-ins.”

“Your car?”

“Figuring that’s peevishness because it wasn’t in my office.”

“Professional soldiers get peevish?” She found that hard to believe.

He chuckled, shaking his head. “Roll with me here, babe. I’m feeling this out as I go.”

“Meaning you aren’t sure it’s a professional.”

“Let’s get that coffee.”

They served themselves and sat down on the loveseat once more.

“Shay wasn’t specific. It was an unsecured line on a cellphone. Easy as fuck to tap into. He did say that the body that was found wasn’t one of ours—his. He’s looking into it. Those red flags went up on his end too. That’s why he’s been trying to reach me. He was worried when he couldn’t find me at home.”

© Dellani Oakes