"You are hurting my arm," she protested in the absent tone that she used to comment on the ambient lighting in her lab.
"I believe the proper term is 'ask me if I care'," the blond man snapped back.
He didn't release her but he did alter the angle he held her arm as she led him down the corridor.
"I still don't see what you are so mad about," the woman protested, arranging her long white coat.
"My wife is weeping her eyes out in our apartment because of what you did!" He snarled, his pale Germanic face flushing red. "I have tried everything to sooth her but nothing works. I thought-" he pulled her to a stop and glared down at her. "I had thought that our differences were between us!"
The woman stiffened and glared up at him. "I would never take my issues with your behavior out on your sweet wife." She said fiercely.
"Ah yes," he muttered. "Your American honor. Then why?"
"Look," the woman sighed and shook her head. "I know very well that you don't trust my judgment, let alone my honesty. Let's just get to the lounge. and find an expert you trust on the matter."
"What aspect of the matter?" He demanded.
"Why literature of course," she explained.
He huffed but took the lead, dragging her along the corridor and through the irising doors. There was a brief stir in the officers and enlisted men sitting around the common area. They didn't react much but they did keep a wary eye on the man manhandling the smaller woman. The two approached a man sitting in a large, overstuffed chair reading a sheaf of printouts.
"Heir Muller?" The woman asked.
The old man looked up and smiled uncertainly at her through his wire rim glasses.
"Could you explain to him," she gestured at the man still holding her arm, "about women and sad books?"
"Ah, Fraulein," the man chuckled and eye them speculatively. "Did you give Frau Wagner a good sad book?"
"I did," she confessed.
"Was there perhaps," the old man asked steepling his fingers under his chin, "a dog in this book?"
"There was," the woman admitted.
"And did?" He leaned forward and stared at her intently. "Did the dog die?"
"He did," She said.
"May I take this to mean," the man holding her arm said slowly. "That there was no verifiable malice in the gifting of the book to my wife?"
"Ah my boy," the old man said with true sadness in his face and voice. "You education was sadly negligent."
"Hey," one of the watching soldiers spoke up as the man released the woman's arm. "You didn't seriously give Frau Wagner a copy of "Old Yeller"?"
"Yup," The woman confirmed flexing her arm.
"Man my little sisters cried for days after we read that in school," he said. His face brightened. "Can I borrow it next?"
"You people are all mad," the blond man snapped.