Some Tops are big on Rules, and some have almost none at all. The Surgeon, for instance, only had a few for me: I wasn’t allowed to swear in his presence, I couldn’t wear pants (shorts were okay in the summertime sometimes, though–he loved my legs), and I had to ask his permission before I changed my appearance in any significant way, which meant no radical hairdo changes. Oh, and he made me quit smoking almost immediately, which was actually one of the better things he ever did for me.
This one–Mr. Toast-for-Dinner, Esq.– was a big Rules guy, which didn’t bother me at all. I like rules and thrive in structured environments, which is one reason I generally loved academia so much. I’m also, believe it or not, generally a people-pleaser and don’t have any problems with authority I find uncorrupt and legitimate.
Well, one of his rules was that I wasn’t allowed to wear clothing in the house unless we had company over, or a repair person or the cleaning service was visiting. The first thing I’d do when I got back to his place (if he was home or coming home) would be to go to my room and undress and either hang my clothes back up or put them in the hamper to be laundered.
One day, he called me ahead to let me know that a few of his colleagues were coming back with him to discuss some of the cases they were working on. I put on a nice conservative dress, refreshed my makeup and hairdo, and, when everyone arrived, I tried to play charming and unobtrusive hostess: keep a low-wattage smile on my face, get everyone refreshments, and otherwise remain attentive but as unobtrusive as possible.
I was clearing the coffee tables and loading up the dishwasher when they left three hours later. I was also, I must admit, playing on my phone.
“Margo,” he looked up from the papers he was going over with a neon yellow highlighter.
I looked down at myself, confused, and asked him if there was something wrong with it. It was navy blue with a high neck and the hem was an inch above my knee. Attractive, but not sexy–the sort of thing you could wear in a somewhat formal office environment.
“Why are you still wearing it?” He put his papers down and rose to his feet suddenly.
I looked at the clock. Yeah, company had been gone for almost 40 minutes.
“Sorry. I’ll go to my room and take it off,” I said.
He started to walk towards me pretty aggressively, and, instinctively, I started to back up.
“Why did you forget?” He didn’t scream, but his voice sounded angry.
“I was distracted! I just forgot! I’ll go take it off right now!”
Then I turned my back on him and started running down the hallway, to my room.
It could have ended there…but something happened. He overreacted. All of a sudden, I heard him start running after me.
I guess I overreacted too, because I freaked out. I mean, I’m not used to men chasing me down, at least in the literal sense. I got scared. I panicked.
I ran straight past my bedroom to the end of the hall, ran into the bedroom there, closed the door, and locked it behind me.
I’d picked the worst possible room in the house to run to (but of course, I wasn’t thinking). Every other bedroom had a heavy steelwood door with a deadbolt lock. As it turned out, I’d just locked myself inside the bedroom that was used for guests who visited with children: it had two twin beds for kids, a crib…and the door was a light, cheap piece of shit you could buy at Home Depot. The lock was one of those twist ones in the doorknob.
He was at the door not two seconds behind me, and I saw him rattling the doorknob.
“Margo, unlock the door,” he said.
“No! Why the hell are you chasing me? I said I’d take the dress off!”
The doorknob rattled, more violently this time.
“Open the door!”
“No! You’re scaring me!”
He hit it. Hard. I jumped.
“I won’t allow you to hide from me,” he said.
(In retrospect, that is what really set him off: the fact that I tried to lock him out. If I hadn’t done that, he probably would have just ripped my clothes off and given me a spanking and forgotten about it once I was demonstrably contrite.)
“Go away!” I yelled, backing away from the door.
There was a long pause…
….and then a huge thud against the door. HUGE.
Another pause. Then, the thud.
I recognized what it was almost immediately: he was backing up, getting in a few running steps, and launching himself shoulder-first into the door.
He was banging the door down.
I almost had a complete panic attack, because I’ve had men bang down doors to get to me twice in my life, and both times resulted in hideous experiences once they got in.
He hit it again. And again. And again.
How am I going to handle this…?
When he hit it again, he broke the flimsy lock and the door burst open. He stepped inside and stood there, looking at me. His hair was disheveled and half of his shirt had come untucked.
“What the hell are you doing?” I asked, crossing my arms over my chest. I tried to sound as composed as possible, which was difficult with all the adrenaline pumping through me.
“Why did you lock the door?” he yelled. It was–is–the only time I’d heard him scream.
“Because you’re acting like a crazy person!”
He stood there, blinking, like that hadn’t occurred to him.
I pointed at the broken door. “You just broke down the door in your own home chasing after a terrified girl half your age! You broke your own property!”
It was true: he’d completely lost control of the situation, which was what I was trying to impress on him, because he was a control-freak.
“You look ridiculous!” I reiterated.
He looked at me, turned at the waist and looked back at the door, and then came back to me.
Then he turned around and walked out without a word. He went to his bedroom and closed the door.
I ran back to my room (no long on the door), got my guns and my purse, bolted for another bedroom and locked myself inside. I slept there overnight and didn’t leave until I heard him go to work in the morning.
We completely ignored each other for two days. When I was in the house, I stayed in that bedroom with a deadbolt lock and didn’t come out. It had a private bathroom and when he was at work I stocked up on snacks and water, so I didn’t have to leave when he was home.
After two days, he slipped a card underneath my door. It was a polite request that I join him for dinner. I sent him a text message saying that I would attend.
He cooked dinner and rapped gently on my door to let me know it was ready. I’d deliberately worn the same dress I was wearing when he threw his temper tantrum.
“I apologize. My behavior was very impulsive and out of character for me. It won’t happen again. I’m ashamed of myself,” he said at the table.
I don’t think that last part is true–I don’t think this man has any use for shame–but he kept his word about the rest of it: no doors have been broken down since.