Hot Chips and Sand
Copyright © 2013 Mary Hughes
All rights reserved
love with Ron, who runs out on you, and you find out you can’t have both love and business. Now you are attracted by Cliff
find out you can have lovemaking and business, but still not both love and business. Terrific.’
she packed for her new assignment, though, she slowly started to [MH1] regain her enthusiasm. She loved a challenge, and this would certainly be one. Since her co‑workers would be there , she felt confident she would not make a complete fool out of herself ; she could always count on Tess for support, and Phil, who had handled many large projects before, could give her guidance.
I had one of my people
drive your car to corporate headquarters . It will give me the opportunity to brief you about the company on the way up.”
the trunk of
the car and turned, grinning. “I
thought you might
want to take 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?’
waited, a little petulant, while Cliff loaded the car. He was so damned cheerful. Like last [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 even care . ‘I might as well be office furniture,’ she thought.
You’d rather he wanted you for your body
. No,’ she thought, ‘
I’d rather he just wanted me, period.
the Rons and Kulinahrs and Fahrrads in the world couldn’t insulate her from her 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?
was standing by the open passenger’s door, just waiting.
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 warmed up
even last night? His kisses had made her head swim, but to be honest, she didn’t know if he had been interested in her or his brassboard.
, Cliff 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 company 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 know, 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.
seems to be going mad for security systems. ’
Although I’m trying to push through a deal with Fahrrad. It would be to both our advantages to have the computer manufacturing plant in Middle Yemen.”
Fahrrad needs the new hardware, though. None of the present systems will handle his needs.” He seemed to be aware of her discomfort, and tried to reassure her. “This will benefit the people of Middle Yemen with new and better‑paying jobs, injecting some badly‑needed capital into …”
She cut him off, corporate no‑no number two. “Are you
kid ding? That bastard? He’ll take the money and run, don’t doubt it. And furthermore …”
“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.”
, calm down. Victoria 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. But you don’t know enough about the situation to criticize my decisions.”
[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.