Without thinking, he snatched her finger in one of his big hands. There was a lingering thought somewhere in the back of his head, saying break it, but he let his anger vent through his mouth instead, “ You think you're something with that finger of yours, dontcha? Always pointing it at somebody, like you're some kind of big shot, huh?!”
He wiggled it enough to hurt – not enough to break – but the implication was there, and tears began streaming in earnest from her frightened eyes. She quietly begged him not to hurt her – especially with Anne just down the hall, “Please, Paul. Please... just let me go.”
He hadn't even heard her. He leaned in and growled, “Well, you're not a big shot at all, are ya Mo?”
Paul gave her finger a mighty crank, and she cried out and twisted her arm along with it so it didn't break. Now the fear turned to terror inside her. Paul was so much bigger than she, had eight inches on her, and must have outweighed her by close to a hundred pounds. He had total control of her body at the moment, yet was losing control of his temper. A temper she had witnessed him losing frequently over the years. The only way she saw out of this with just a broken finger was to try to talk him down.
Because once he lost his temper, Maurine feared he would put her in the hospital.
“I'm not a big shot, Paul. Not at all. I'm s-sorry if I gave you that impression. I swear.”
Paul had her hand all twisted as he held it up. Maurine had sagged to the floor, onto her knees, and her head was down. Her hair hung over her face and obscured it, but Paul could see her shoulders convulsing with sobs. He loved being able to turn the tables on her. The feeling of power was euphoric. He had half a mind to kick her solidly in the stomach, just to teach her a lesson, but all at once he saw their reflection in one of the cabinets on the other side of the kitchen: a large man holding this scrawny arm of his ex-wife in his huge working hands, calloused and rough, while she hung precariously to the floor with her shoulder at an odd angle. It would take nothing to snap her arm in any number of places, and the heat of his anger urged him to do so.
But that image of him on the glass made him look like a raging psychopath, and suddenly he let Maurine's wrist go and she slunk to his feet. His imagination knew the delicious damage his steel toes could do to her, but there was enough of his rational mind still in control, and he knew he needed to get the hell out before he did something stupid.
“Uh,” he walked to the back door, still slightly ajar, “I'm sorry. Just forget about this, okay?”
He made it to the door, opened fully, then turned to address her once again. And despite the fury which roiled in his veins toward her, he did something he never imagined he would ever do to her.
He apologized, “I'm sorry.”
He turned to leave, but his big, clunky boots slipped on the crappy old back steps and he went down like a ton of bricks, hitting every dilapidated step on the way down until he hit the cracked concrete at the bottom.