Scene setting: Detective Frank Malone’s apartment.
co-written with Chor.
Razorbackwriter: The silence of the morning was broken by a strange yelp that came from Frank’s bedroom Rousing slightly at the sound, Frank pushed off the blanket that he had used after spending a night on the couch, and stood up – stretching slightly as he had a bit of a sore back. The rustling from in his room would have to be Isa waking up. Raking back his disheveled hair, Frank started for the bedroom door, only stopping to knock lightly.
Knowing she had been put to bed in her own clothes, Frank knew that she would probably want to shower and change. “There is a box of clothes in the closet, left behind by my ex wife, if you are looking for something to change into.”
Not wanting to disturb Isa further he added; “I’ll start breakfast, alright?”
Frank continued to stretch his arms and then roll his shoulders as he headed into the kitchen. Opening the fridge, he leaned on the door and sighed at the contents. A carton of milk, a block of cheese that had probably seen better days, and of course left over curry. Isa probably didn’t want another curry, especially for breakfast. Thinking the worst of the situation, Frank then spotted a box of corn flakes in the cupboard and pulled that out, placing it on the counter. It wasn’t going to be much of a breakfast, but it was better than nothing.
Chor: Isa was actually startled by Frank’s voice, momentarily running through mazes inside her head.
“Morning,” she called back, her normally dark and chocolatey voice creaking as it usually does just after she wakes up. Isolde, still groggy, barely comprehended anything the man said, but did latch onto one phrase. Ex wife. The guilt that had started earlier to build inside her began to melt away. She’d seen the photo of Frank’s son, but didn’t know anything about a wife and honestly hoped she hadn’t just slept in another woman’s bed. Whatever sad, scary wall Frank had built up after Rory’s death is likely what drove her away. Isa knew what that could be like. She no longer had the friends she’d kept from school and even Khalil has distanced himself since Claura’s disappearance.
The rest of Frank’s statement came later, when she’d thought long and hard about last night. Changing sounded fabulous, but a shower sounded infinitely better. Isolde, hoping Frank would not mind, tiptoed in her disheveled state to his bathroom and began to run the water. She was always a scalding hot shower kind of girl. Disrobed save for her undergarments, Isolde turned to find that there was not a single towel in the bathroom. Oy vey. Too tired to really think it through, she pulled her unbuttoned top on haphazardly and went out of the room.
“There’s no towels in there,” she said, pointing back to his restroom. The water could be heard running and she looked straight at him, as if she didn’t even notice she was barely clothed. It wasn’t that Isa was immodest, she just didn’t consider clothing to be of much import. This is the body science gave her and though she may mistreat it, she is not ashamed of it. All of the symbols running lines over her body could be seen now as she waited for him to direct her to where she might find a linen closet of sorts…or if he just had a towel somewhere. Her gently malnourished body was not fit, but soft in the places where she still held weight. She didn’t do much exercise, but possessed a petite waist, enough breast to keep people believing she truly was a woman, and child-bearing hips to follow.
Razorbackwriter: Ever seen a startled deer? Or a possum that had been struck by the headlights of an oncoming truck? Well, if you can imagine that, then that was very much the look of surprise that was on Frank’s face when he turned – box of cereal in hand to see Isa in…well…next to nothing. She spoke….she did. Something about towels. It wasn’t registering in Frank’s mind cause at this moment he was too busy oogling at Isa.“Uhmmm…what?”
The sound of the shower running in the background was a clue. A big clue. Frank was supposed to be a detective and yet here he was completely and utterly lost. A few blinks and a rub of his right eye with a closed fist, he finally understood what Isa was trying to convey. There were no towels in the bathroom.
“Towels? Towels…yes, I have towels.” Was he dumb? Frank sure appeared to be that way. Not bothering to look at what he was doing, he let go of the box of cereal that SHOULD have landed on the counter, but instead hit the floor – sending cornflakes flying.
Frank hurried to get to the linen cupboard where he kept a few towels and sheets, pulling the door open so hard he hit himself with it. Again, all due to seeing Isa in a state of undress. ~BANG~ “Owww!” Frank staggered back a bit, clutching the door with one hand. Now with a red welt on his temple, he stepped back and quickly found a couple of towels. Presenting them to Isa whilst trying to keep his eyes up to hers, instead of going lower….where most men seem to like to look.
“They’re clean, I swear.” Yes, they were clean. He only used two towels himself, one was either on the floor, the other in the hamper. These were guest towels. You could tell they were practically new, since he rarely had guests. The next question was obvious. “Need a toothbrush?” Frank was a little sheepish. You’d think he had never had a woman in his apartment before. Truth was, he hadn’t entertained anyone, cept Tommy for the football.
“There is a spare under the vanity.”
At this point, his eyes did betray him as they went to the strange markings that ran up and down her body, and being Frank, he had to ask. “Uhm..what are those marks? Are they some kind of tattoo?”
Isolde’s brows furrowed in utter confusion when Frank started mumbling and bustling about. He was acting so very strange, as if he’s never even seen a woman naked. Unless his song was born via immaculate conception, she highly doubted that to be the truth. The cornflake box fell to the ground with a crack! and Isa jumped a bit. There was cereal littering the floor and Isa bit her lip for just a moment, imagining that was their breakfast. It was quite alright, though. There was plenty to eat in this city.
“Yes, towels,” Isa repeated, following him to the closet and watching while he took out the linens she required. They were clean, as he stated, and she gladly took them into her arms. A toothbrush sounded wondrous at the moment, though she hoped he wasn’t suggesting because of her rancid garlic morning breath. That was the only regret from the night previous. It was a good change, however, to find that he respected her. While many a male would take advantage of her state, Frank- it seemed- forced himself to lock onto her eyes. She hadn’t noticed him injure himself, but she saw the redness spreading on his temple. The smallest amount of skin had broken and only a drop of blood had surfaced and immediately dried.
Isolde set her towels at the edge of the sink and opened the medicine cabinet. In it she grabbed the ripped, dirty, and fraying box of butterfly strips and pulled one out. There was the tiniest bit of alcohol in the brown bottle on the topmost shelf and she poured it onto a cottonswab and made her way back to Frank.
“I’m sure you know this is going to sting,” she whispered, touching it to his temple. This really wasn’t even necessary. She didn’t like to see him hurt, though, and practicing medicine is about all she does know how to do. With the blood cleaned from his head, she adhered the strip to his temple and used her index finger to gently ensure it stuck. Then, to the fridge, where inside she found a half-full tray of ice cubes and twisted them in two layers of paper towels. It would do as a make-shift ice pack, she supposed. Depositing this item into his hand, she took his hand in hers and dragged it up to his head and held it there only a moment before she went to stand in the middle of the kitchen, scouring the room like a hawk for something. But what?
“Aha,” Isolde spoke with a successful grin. The short broom and accompanying dust pan lay in the corner of the room. She bent to retrieve them, then once she’d found herself at the scene of the cereal mess, she bent again to sweep the flakes with the small brush. It was a quick job and when she was done she deposited the last remnants of the corn flake box into the trash and wiped her hands. Time for a shower. He asked about her markings and Isolde was prepared to tell him, but first she needed to make herself presentable.
“Tell you in a minute.”
Isolde padded lightly back to the bathroom then and closed the door, hopping immediately in the hot shower.
Razorbackwriter: It wasn’t the fact that Frank had never seen a woman naked before. He had…many times. The thing was he was not expecting to see Isa parade around in a near naked state. Usually a woman would be more at ease to walk around in just their smalls if they had been intimate. That was not the case. Truth was, Frank respected Isa a great deal and was not the kind of guy to put the hard word on, or take advantage of a lady. Call him old fashioned, or just a guy with high morals; Frank was not your average bloke. This was the reason for his bizarre antics. The dropping of the cereal, the banging of his head on the cupboard door. Had it been Tommy, well things would have been a hell of a lot different.
The pain of hitting his head was subdued by the rise of embarrassment that he was feeling at being such a klutz in Isa’s company. But what surprised him more than anything was how Isa set to fix the damage he had done. Not just to himself but also the mess in the kitchen. He hesitantly touched the sore spot on his temple and saw the small amount of blood that had come from a cut. Frank mumbled that it was nothing, but that didn’t stop Isa from wanting to nurse him – by dabbing his wound with alcohol, then applying the butterfly strips. Just after that, she then fixed an ice pack, which had Frank wonder just how bad he donged himself. “Really…I’m fine.” Course, she knew better and the relief that Frank felt from the pressure of the cold pack was evident by the expression on his face. Having her guide his hand with the ice pack up to his head brought a small smile. If you can’t beat them, join them, the saying goes and Frank went with the programme.
His question however about the strange markings on her sides was answered with a simple statement that she would tell him in a minute, before disappearing into the bathroom and closing the door behind her.
Frank just stood there with his hand pressing the ice pack to his temple. What just happened?
Breakfast was now in the dustbin since he had dropped the box of cereal on the floor. There was nothing else in his fridge that could be considered the makings of a good and healthy breakfast, so Frank decided as soon as Isa was dressed, that he would take her to a decent cafe instead. There was an abundance of places to take her and all in walking distance. Besides, he made a lousy cup of coffee.
The lump on his temple was starting to shrink, thanks to the ice trick and he soon set the ice pack in the sink. Frank reached for a cloth and wiped the damp spot on his head, before taking in the fact he needed to get dressed himself. His hair was a mess and his clothes slept in.
Walking back to the lounge, he noticed his cell phone was flashing on the coffee table. Reaching to pick it up, he saw there were a couple of messages….and one was from Tommy. Playing it back, Frank grimaced. Obviously Tommy was worried about what Frank was doing, or going to do. Course, Isa had saved him from that. Frank thought for a moment. It was still a bit early, and he wasn’t sure if he should message Tommy back or not. God knows what he had gotten up to the night before.