Friday, November 23, 2012

Hot Chips and Sand 41-45 First Draft Comparison

Hot Chips and Sand
Copyright © 2012 Mary Hughes
All rights reserved

            The answer came, twoTwo days later, when she walked throughpaused outside the heavy oak door of the conference room doors.. Time to meet Sir Silverhair. She pushed through, closed the doors,it and turned, and.
And had an attack of dejadéjà vu the size of Mount McKinley. Or the size of the man opposite, the man listening to Phil, but staringwhose blue eyes were cutting through the length of the entire room to stare at her. Staring at her,His eyes burned with the same fire as thoughif she were wearing that same bit of lace as the last time they had met. Then heHer cheeks heated[MH1] .
He smiled slightly, and she knew he had seen her remember it, and she flushed dark redher whole face went up in flames. Stupid redhead’s complexion.
She turned to the conference table, blindly putting her materials down on the glossy cherry surface, trying to collect herself. She thought she heard Phil move toward her, glanced up, grateful for the distraction, and stopped cold.
He certainly was not half-naked this time. Just about where Phil’s eyes would be, she met with a gold collar bar framed with brilliant diamonds[MH2] . Mesmerized by his appearance, she eyed hisa subdued gray silk tie and , a perfect foil for his pristine hand‑tailoredwhite shirt. His dark suit was also obviously tailored, fitting his large frame perfectly. No padding; she remembered the breadth of those shoulders and power of that chest.
Steady down, girl. Vickie took a deep breath, to try to steady down. She —and stopped mid‑inhale, rattled. The enjoyment she had gotten from burying her face in his naked shoulder that night had nothing on how with a rattle. Naked, he smelled now.of skin and sweat and a hint of spice. Civilization did nothing to tame that, only adding a faint layer of expensive cologne and the rich smell of good cloth.[MH3]  Bottle it up and sell it as instant aphrodisiac.
He pulled out the chair next to hers. The sight of his well‑manicured nails and slender, artistic fingers, slender but strong, startled her, incongruent with her memory of him as they seemed. Now why. Why hadn’t she noticed those unusual hands before?
Dimly, she was aware of Phil introducing them.
 “Vickie Johnston, may I present the founder and CEO of the Hawkesclyffe Computer Company and inventor of the HCC300 chip, Sir Humphrey Hawkesclyffe.”
Her hand flew to her throat. This was Humphrey Hawkesclyffe? She was shocked.How could a Humphrey? Hawkes— be a Cliff—? Hawkesclyffe…oh, no—CLIFF!. Not Cliff. Clyffe.
            “Yes“We’ve met,” he said dryly, “we’ve met. . “Ms. Johnston.” He held out his hand, the one she’d been staring at all this time.
Automatically, she took it and received her third shock in as many minutes. She had replayed. Somewhere along the way she’d dismissed the impact of his kiss, but had finally dismissed itbody, his touch, as an overactive imagination, a tired woman, and a warm man. Now, fully rested, in the very unromantic setting of the conference room, he was still a warm man, and his handshake sent tingles up her spine and, warm, wonderful shivers down to her…Vickie looked up, belly, and started her blue eyes wide. He was staring at her quite strangelyheart racing.
Which was totally unprofessional.
Shaking herself, she forced a reply. “It’s good to see you again, Mr. Hawkesclyffe, under improved circumstances.”
“It depends on your perspective, Ms. Johnston. I found our last encounter rather—stimulating.” His lips twitched.
            Phil watched the interchange without comment, but Vickie thought she could see his“Stimulating?” Phil’s eyes gleam. ‘gleamed. “How so?”
Why, the little hustler, she thought, ‘Phil. He thinks he hashe’s got a lever now to getmake me to take the account. “I’m sure Mr. Hawkesclyffe is exaggerating.” She smiled sweetly at Hawkesclyffe. “Indeed, Mr. Hawkesclyffe. the big man. “I was under the impression you found itour meeting rather routine.”
 “Please, Ms. Johnston. I told you last time we met—call me Cliff.”
Sweet circuits on a stick. Phil looked like a dog in a proctologist’s office. This would never do. Phil looked like he did when the Giants had played the Bills in the Superbowl, and he’d bet on the Giants. “I’m sorry, Mr. Hawkesclyffe. You would have to call me Vickie before I could possibly…”[MH4] 
“Of course, Vickie. Does that stand for Victoria?”
How did this infuriating man stay one step ahead of her? She sat quickly. “Phil, don’t you want to take Mr. Hawkesclyffe—er, Cliff—over to meet Jerry?”
“Your president?” Cliff slid smoothly into the chair next to hers. “We’ve met.” Phil smiled, nodded and walked away, to Vickie’s severe discomfort. .“Jerry Fitzwater is already aware of how I feel about you.”
Vickie fumed. Someone was so getting a decimal point moved on his paycheck.
“Jerry Fitzwater is already aware of how I feel about you.”  This took Vickie completely by surprise.
Vickie’s attention swung back to Cliff. Even though he had delivered that searing kiss, he had otherwise treated her like a sack of potatoes. Could he…? “How do you feel about meanything like she felt? “Which is?”
“You are the oneperson for thisthe job. I will have no other.”
            Oh. TheNaturally, the job. Vickie tried not to look disappointed. “What a fine compliment Mr.—ah—Cliff.” Well, what did she expect? Kulinahr had told her flatly, he that Cliff was a businessman.
            Thinking about Kulinahr, and how. How sad and tired he hadhe’d looked at their last meeting, she felt the. She had a sudden urge to take Cliff by the shoulders and give him a good shaking. If she could reach his shoulders. If she could shake a truck.
            Instead, she replied with an attempted haughtiness, “But She scowled at him. “I don’t think our president is aware of how I feel about you.”
            “No,” Cliff replied, eyeingeyed the man they were discussing,. “I’m afraid he is.” He
Then he turned to her, and she received the full impact of his penetrating gaze. Vickie felt and her  blood heatheated faster than sugar in a microwave. ‘Cool off, Vickie.She had to resist an urge to fan herself. Damn it, Sir Humphrey is after your brain, not your body.’  “He is prepared to  “Oh really?”
“Yes. Jerry said he’ll double your salary as a bonus if you take thisthe job.”
            Damn the man. And damn the job. Oh, how had he made her hate a job she normally loved? And how had he convinced Fitzwater, whoShe blinked at him. How had he managed that? Fitzwater had been known to cut his own kid’s allowance for not trimming the grass around the garden after mowing two acres of lawn, to doubleyet Cliff talked him into doubling her…double?
            “I am also prepared to “I’ll  add a hefty bonus upon completion of thisthe project, if that’s not enough. And I’m a bit more generous than your president.” He smiled slightly.
            Vickie found [MH5] Good Gates, what that smile did to her curiosity piqued.innards should have been illegal. It certainly was incendiary. She shifted in her chair to get her blouse to loosen up, swallowed a couple times, and said, “Why? I’m good, but for that kind of money, so are a lot of other people, for that kind of money.”
“It takes some time to explain, and I’m afraid the meeting is about to begin. I would prefer to discuss this later—perhaps over dinner?”
            Dinner?“D…dinner?” An intimate dinner with Cliff hadthe big hero might have been one of her most enticing fantasies duringin the past fewlast couple weeks. She was sorely tempted. But no, she had to remember Kulinahr. And her own fragility where this man was concerned.That Cliff was a businessman, not a hero. “Thank you, Cliff, but I…”—”
“Great. I’ll pick you up about six. We’ll go to Birmingham’s.” He turned his attention toRusterman’s.”
“Okay, let’s get started.” Jerry, who was now standing behind rapped on the podium on oneat the end of the table, leaving Vickie gaping.
            . “Ladies and gentlemen. Please. Can , can everyone sit down so we can begin this meeting?”
Mel thought he was brilliant. In reality his domain was Mel dot huh? Sitting between Mel and Cliff was like being between the sun and Pluto,’ she thought wryly.
Jerry Fitzwater rapped for attention on the podium.. “Ladies and gentlemen. Today begins an historic occasion, and an historic collaboration…”
Vickie tuned out Fitzwater’s droning. She could not, however, tune out the warm scent of the man next to her. How had he done it? How had he, against her wishes, cornered her into going out with him? She sighed. All right. Truthfully, it wasn’t against her wishes. But it was against her best interests. Getting involved with a man like Cliff, who could leave an impression on her after an instant that blotted out anyyears of other men, but who would never consider her anything but good business…no, that was trouble she didn’t need.
A brilliant thought occurred to her. She’d just say no. Now, while he couldn’t argue without disrupting the meeting. She nerved herself andto say no. Going to say no, going to do it now…she turned toward him, to whisper her regrets that she couldn’t make dinner that evening, and.
And nearly fell ininto his lapempty chair as he rose to take the podium. Three strides accompanied by enthusiastic applause (most enthusiastic from Tess and Joy, Vickie noticed) brought him to the head of the table, a position which seemed to be made just for him. He removed the podium from the table and stood comfortably surveying the group. Then he spoke.
“An historic occasion.? Perhaps. With the speed that new information and knowledge is coming to us, however, I willI’ll settle for being on the cutting edge of technology. Or, as some prefer, the bleeding edge.”
He stopped and, one by one, met the eyes of each person around the table. Vickie could see his His penetrating gaze assessingseemed to assess everything: their reactions, their mood, even their expectations, evaluating their reactions.
He reached her and the blue of his eyes blazed. She squirmed in her chair. He smiled slightly and went on.

 [MH1]A closer POV means getting inside Vickie's skin.

 [MH2]Dude. We so used to have collar bars.

 [MH3]Originally I imply she's smelling good stuff "burying her face in his naked shoulder". But doesn't actually showing what she's smelling have more zing?

 [MH4]ellipses (...) are for trailing off. em-dash (long dash) is for interrupted speech.

 [MH5]Filter word. Generally not needed.

 [MH6]The sound and smell of Mel is so much more satisfying than just being told she's sitting next to him.

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