Friday, January 11, 2013

Hot Chips and Sand 76-80 Second Draft Comparison

Hot Chips and Sand
Copyright © 2013 Mary Hughes
All rights reserved

She got lost in love with Ron, who runs out on you,her thoughts and you find out you can’t have both loveended up running late. She burst out of her apartment and business.  Now you are attracted bywas halfway to the underground garage before she remembered she’d left her car at the side of the freeway. Her precious racing sedan. She hadn’t thought of it once after Cliff roared into her life.
Somehow her car was waiting for her in her usual spot. She jerked around, looking for him, so fast her hair flew in silky spirals. But no sexy coupe zoomed past.
Still, she was skittish entering the Fitzwater building. But no big, half-naked man jumped out of any doorways to kiss her. A message on her phone let her know Jerry had called a meeting of the employees assigned to Hawkesclyffe’s project. She made Tess go in ahead of her but there wasn’t even a suit-coated super businessman laying in wait.
Jerry announced to the team that they’d be working onsite at Hawkesclyffe’s facilities in (**), that rooms would be provided for them, and find out you can have lovemakingthat they had the rest of the week off to get ready and businesspack. Which, since it was (*Friday*), wasn’t much, but still not both love and business.  Terrific.’.
As sheVickie packed for her new assignment, though, she slowly started to [MH1] regainregained her enthusiasm. She loved a challenge, and this would certainly be one.  Since herBut co‑workers would be there, she felt confident she would not with her. She wouldn’t make a complete fool out of herself; she. She could always count on Tess for support, and Phil, who had handled many large projects before, could give her guidance.

            ‘Growth opportunity, Vickie. Think of all the new things you can try. Think of all the times you said I can do it better.’.”  Now’s your chance.

            She Monday morning she was out the doordragging her suitcases and halfwaylaptop bag to the garage before she remembered where her car was.  She was about to return to her flat to give Tess a call when she saw her parking space was empty—just as a gun‑metal gray Mercedes purred up to the curb. into her spot. Even though the car was not familiar, she felt a prickle of recognition on her neck.  It was, of course, Cliff.

            “Since I had retrieved your keys along with your purse yesterday evening,It was Cliff. Naturally.
He got out as she stomped up, longer and leggier than she remembered. He nodded without smiling. “Good morning.”
She missed his smile. “Where’s my car?”
“All right, skipping the pleasantries. I had one of my people drivetake your car to corporate headquarters so I can drive you there myself. It will give me the opportunity to brief you about the company on the way up.”

            He opened“But how did you get the keys?”
He shrugged.  “I borrowed them when I retrieved your purse the other night.”
“No.” She set down her laptop and released her suitcases to plant fists on hips. “I had my keys after dinner. That’s how I got inside.”
“I didn’t borrow them for long.” He popped the trunk of thehis car and turned, grinning.  “I grabbed one of her cases. “Just long enough to make an impression. I keep the materials handy.” He hefted the case into his trunk.
She frowned. “Where’s your other car?”
“The coupe?” He grabbed the other case and her laptop and stowed them. “I thought you might want to takebe bringing more than a box of tissues with you.” As he loaded her suitcases, she thought of the red sports car he had driven last night.  Did it even have a trunk?  Where did it go?  ‘And where does he keep getting these cars from?’.”
Vickie waitedgot into the passenger seat, a little petulant, while Cliff loaded the car.  He He was so damned cheerful. nonchalant. Like last(*Thursday*) [MH2] night had never happened.  At least he had the grace to be a little upset last night.  Today he acted like he didn’t evenLike he didn’t care.  ‘I might as well be office furniture,’ she thought.

            ‘Oh ho, that’s the rub, isn’t it,’ she chided herself.  ‘He doesn’t care about you for yourself.  All he wants you for is yourher at all, or if he did, only wanted her for her mind.
You’d rather he wanted you for your body No,’ she thought, ‘?
No. I’d rather he just wanted me, period.

            She shook her head, thinking that allWait, what?
She burrowed her behind into the buttery leather of the seat as if she could hide from her own shocking thoughts. Damn it, the seat couldn’t protect her. All the Rons and Kulinahrs and Fahrrads in the world couldn’t insulate her from her screwed-up feelings for this man. She knew business affairs were trouble, she knew he might be acting against her most basic principles by working with that old‑line Stalinist throwback Fahrrad, and yet she would have invited him to her room last night.  What was the matter with her?  What was she thinking about, where was her head?.
And yet she wanted him. Wanted him to want her.
What the fuck was the matter with her?
Cliff was standing by the open passenger’s door, just waiting. slid into the driver’s seat and cocked his head at her. “Are you ready?”
She scowled at him. Didn’t he ever get impatient? Even amidst the hot turmoil of Middle Yemen he had been the ultimate in cool. Didn’t he ever lose that cool, even a little?
Had he even warmed up even last night?  His kisses had madewhen he kissed her? Her head swimwas swimming, but come to be honestthink, she still didn’t know if he hadhe’d been more interested in her or his brassboard.

            ‘C’mon, Vickie,’ she chided herself.  ‘How can youWell, how could she compare to the lovely woman at the restaurant, suave and sophisticated and rich?  What kindThis man was a genius, head of match do you think you’d really make with this corporate head?’  She slid into the luxurious car, trying to feel like she belonged, and failing miserablyhis own company, and titled besides. She was a failed manager.

            As Which answered her question of what he was more interested in. “I’m ready.”
Cliff started the car and drove, Cliff smoothly off. He kept up a constant monologue on the state of affairs at Hawkesclyffe Computer Company. Who she would meet, what their background was, how she might deal with them. He also gave her some information on the company itself, how it had started, where it was going. The only thing he didn’t talk about in connection with the companyHawkesclyffe Computer was himself.
It was somewhat after lunch time when she finally broke in. “You’ve told me how to work with your people. But how do I work with you?”
That started him on another monologue about how he wouldn’t be there, business trips you knowand all, and about how the company had facilities in fourteen foreign countries and then excruciating detail about each of those operations. Not including Middle Yemen, she noticed hopefully. Maybe Kulinahr had been wrong.
Then he went on about the project. Apparently the whole thing was being designed around a security system. A large and very smart security system.  ‘Strange,’ thought Vickie, ‘they’re everywhere I look.
Vickie’s stomach twinged. The world seemsseemed to be going mad for security systems.

            Cliff discussed encrypting algorithms, encoding and decoding logic and got into a long‑winded tirade on the state of national security.  He also explained the difficulties of connecting up so many different types of security devices, and how a person in research finally came up with a variation on interchangeable cabling to solve the problem.

            Vickie felt a twinge in her stomach.  Well, might as well find out for sure.  Kulinahr might be right, too.  “You know, that’s very “Huh. That’s interesting. Col. Fahrrad was also interested inwanted a computer‑based defense system, for his country. Middle Yemen, you know. I don’t suppose that this project has anything to do with Middle Yemen?”

            “No, rightHe shook his head. “Right now we’re planning the system around a network of national banks.  .”
She relaxed.
Then he added, “Although I’m trying to push through a deal with Fahrrad. It would be to both our advantages to have the computer chip manufacturing plant in Middle Yemen.”

            It was true, then.  “Oh?  Do you think that’sShe shut suddenly stinging eyes. “Is that wise?”  She couldn’t quite ? The country isn’t stable.” She clenched her fists to keep her voice from shaking.

            “Why, do“Its stable enough. Do you have a problem with that?”

            It was bestShe pressed her lips together to answer him obliquely.  She felt very angry, and when she was angry she sometimes did stupid things.  Like fightingkeep from blurting something that would get her fired, lose the account, or just piss him off enough to leave her by the side of the road. Fighting with her new boss on the first day of a project.  Definitely, definitely on the corporate no-no list. “You are aware that heFahrrad came to our companyFitzwater first, to write the system for him?”
“Of course.  FahrradHe needs the new hardware, though.  NoneFitzwater doesn’t do that, and none of the present systems currently on the market will handle his needs.” He seemed to be aware of her discomfortpaused, and triedwent on more gently, as if trying to reassure her.  “This will“Vickie, this project would benefit the people of Middle Yemen with new and . New jobs, better‑paying jobs, injecting. Injecting some badly‑needed capital into…”—”
“That bastard?” She cut him off, corporate no‑no number two. “Are you kid ding?  That bastard? kidding? He’ll take the money and run, don’t doubt it. And furthermore…”—”

            “…furthermore“Furthermore,” Cliff raised his voice slightly and added that powerful edge to it, “he is oura potential client, and I don’t think you’re particularly in a position to criticize.”
“You don’t think I’m in a position to…?” Her voice went higher in defensive anger. “Well, maybe you forgot how he abducted me. Maybe you forgot what he was going to do with me. I think that puts me in a pretty good position to criticize plenty.”
Victoria, calm down.  This is business we’re talking about, not a personal vendetta.  I don’t care if you call him a broken‑balled bastard as long as you don’t do it to his face.  ButThis is business we’re talking about, not a personal vendetta, and you don’t know enough about the situation to criticize my decisions.”

            “Don’t you care about the people involved at all?  She gaped at him. “Don’t you realize this man thinks Joe Stalin is the last of the real men and that Brezhnev was a pale imitation? Why did you help Kulinahr if you’re only going to stab him in the back by working with Fahrrad?  Why?”

            “Vickie, that’s enough.  “Enough.” His face shut down. “My personal concerns are my own. There are many more people who depend on my business acumen than just me. We won’t talk any more about it.”

            ‘She snapped her eyes straight at the front windshield. Oh, we won’t, huh? Just wait until we get to your offices, where my car is. We’ll see how much there is to say when I can drive out of here.

            ‘BeforeAfter which he fires me first.’

            Vickie bit back that thought, but on its heels came another.   ‘I wonder if he’llmight give theher job to Mel Pinlow.

 [MH1]Upon reflection, I found her packing and leaving the very next day hard to believe. I felt this was more reasonable. I'll obviously have to smooth out the timeline before publishing this.

 [MH2]I added this to make it fit with my new timeline. But because I really don't remember what timeline I originally had (remember, this is the first story I wrote and I didn't have all the tools I have now) I'm not sure it will work with the rest. Since I didn't want to reread the sucker from the beginning right now, I put in a personal placeholder (*. That tells me this is something I really have to triple check before the story's ready.

No comments:

Post a Comment