Marcus grabbed me by the arm and unceremoniously hauled me out the door and into the parking lot, spilling my latte in the process. “We’re going to my office and discuss this.”
“The hell we are. You wanted to talk out here, we’ll talk out here. In front of God and everybody.”
Marcus continued to pull me by the arm. “How dare you go spreading rumors about me and getting me in trouble with the executive committee?” he hissed. “You know that I was perfectly justified in doing what I did. I was following instructions.”
Huh? Instructions? I turned the decibels back up. “You had instructions? From whom?”
Marcus still had hold of my arm, and he shook it so hard that I dropped my latte, splashing his trousers. An elderly lady walking by looked at us curiously. “Let go of me,” I said loudly, trying to pull away. The elderly lady reached into her purse and took out her cell phone. Marcus noticed.
“From Dr. Allen and Mr. Montgomery, that’s who. Please keep your voice down. Can’t we go to my office and discuss this?”
“Not on your Nelly. Are you telling me it was Jack and Monty who told you to get rid of Mitzi and me, and Lucille too?”
“Yes, it was.”
“Will they back you up on that if I ask them?”
“Of course they will.”
“Did they tell you to sexually harass us as well?” If that were actually the case, it would certainly explain why Monty had done nothing about it.
Marcus opened his mouth, but nothing came out.
“If I ask to read the minutes of the meeting, will I find it there?”
“That’s enough!” Marcus grabbed me by both upper arms and shook me, hard. “Now you listen to me!” he hissed through gritted teeth. “I’m just doing my job. Now you shut your mouth, and keep it shut, or I will make your life a living hell. And you know I can do it, too.”
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, but that man had a strong grip. He was hurting me, but I knew the bruises he’d leave on my arms would make a dandy photograph to introduce into evidence when we ended up in court. I looked him straight in the eye and endeavored to show no pain. He gripped me even harder.
“Unhand me, sir! Unlike your wife, I will press charges.”
He let go of me as if he’d been burnt. “And just what do you mean by that, Doctor?”
“My husband and I were at your next-door neighbor’s house Saturday night, with a bunch of lawyers and their wives. It was one of them who called the police.”
He stepped back into my personal space. I tried not to recoil, but it wasn’t easy. The man looked ready to kill someone, and that someone was me. “Now you listen to me. That is none of your business, and I resent you dragging my personal life into this discussion. How would you like it if I did that to you?”
I shrugged and tried to cross my arms. It hurt. My hands felt numb from the pain radiating down into them. He must have done more damage than I thought. I gave up. “Knock yourself out. I don’t beat up on my family.”
The Pacific-blue eyes narrowed. The perfect teeth were clenched. His face was millimeters from mine and slightly blurred. Damn, was I already getting presbyopic? “My private life is just that: private. You interfere, and by God, you’ll wish you hadn’t.”
I stepped back. “Dear me, that sounded like a threat.” The elderly lady was across the street now, but still in earshot, unless she was deaf. “You threatened me!” I accused. “You hurt me!”
The elderly lady, now talking on her phone, turned around and looked at us. Obviously she wasn’t deaf.
Marcus glared her and turned back to me. “Do we understand each other, Doctor?”
I palpated my arms gingerly, wincing. “You understand this: what you just did to me is not part of your private life. Like I said, I’m not your wife, and that was assault and battery, and I can and will press charges.”