Paul felt the countertop beside the door press into his lower back as he edged his way toward it. He didn't know what the hell had come over Maurine – he had never seen her like that, but she was like a crazed animal, screaming at him and swinging at him. It was enough to make his blood boil. But then, she always had that innate ability to make him crazy. Most of his interactions with her over the course of the last three or four years involved fantasies of him pulling out all his hair.
His fists clenched at his sides and he felt the hot, red waves of anger spread across his cheeks and ears. A vibration trembled through his bloodstream and his teeth bore down on themselves as he struggled to retain control of his anger. He hadn't come there to stir up trouble, but Maurine always had to needle him, to stir the pot, and now she had pushed him to the boiling point, “Look, Mo. I didn't come here --”
“That's NOT my name, genius! You've known me for a dozen years and you still don't know how much I hate to be called 'Mo.' I suppose you never will.”
“Come on. It's no big deal.”
She moved in on him again, well inside his personal space, so that her forehead was an inch from his chin, and looked up at him threateningly. Her teeth were locked closed and her hot, French Vanilla-scented breath warmed his throat, “It is a big deal, you asshole! It's a big deal to me! But then, you never gave a shit about what was important to me, did you?”
The tension was thick in the room, the kitchen rife with the aura of animosity. Maurine never meant to let her temper get the better of her, but that damn man always found a way to get under her skin. And anyway, yelling at him was good for him; he needed somebody to put him in his place on occasion, and it made her realize she was stronger than she thought.
But the wave of emotion had swelled and was gone. She took a step away from Paul and remained quiet for a minute or two while he digested her words. When next she spoke, her voice had softened but still contained a hard edge to it – like concrete on her larynx, “Get out, Paul. I swear to God, before I call the cops.”