Friday, March 8, 2013

Hot Chips and Sand 111-115 Draft Comparison

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

When she finally quit coughing, and he quit laughing, she turnedlifted her feet and spun on her butt, turning[MH1]  her back on him. “You’re dangerous. First you try to drown me, then you laugh. What if I needed CPR? You’d be laughing too hard.”
“CPR is for when your heart stops. You mean mouth‑to‑mouth.” Gentle fingers pulled at her shoulder.

            No.  Vickie was certain he still only meant She resisted. Was this business with her. or pleasure? With Cliff the line was blurred but he had corporate gamesmanship down to a science.  She might even believeActing as if he actually cared about her just like she cared about him.  Butbut she knew better. Hadn’t John said Cliff avoided the love‑sicklovesick women?

            Well, if he wanted Yeah. Lovesick my ass.
Damn him for bringing her out here, showing her a lovely time, making her want things he couldn’t ultimately give.
Although maybe it wasn’t strictly his fault. He’d done this to help her relax, but maybe not to get her to relax her guard; maybe he was simply trying to help her be a better manager.
Still, ultimately, this was about business,. So she would give him business. Without turning, she raised her voice and injected her best professional whine, courtesy of, channeled Mel Pinlow.

            , and whined, “Why didn’t you answer my letters while you were traveling?”

            It put him off only a moment.  “I was busy.  You didn’t really need me, you know.” .” He dropped his hand from her shoulder. He leaned forward again and she could feel his breath tickle her ear. “You didn’t really need me, you know.”
She pulled away. “I saw Kulinahr while you were gone. Do you know that of all his so‑called friends, only one person has the guts to help him? After all the good he’s done for his country, he only has one ally? That’s criminal.”
“It’s not all that unusual, Vickie. Before he was a head of state. Now, he’s only a person.” He began caressing her neck when she turned sharply.
She spun[MH2]  to face him. Only a person? Since when has that become such a lowly occupation?” Acid tinged her voice.
“I didn’t say that. I merely meant…”—”
“What? That heads of state, no matter how ruthless, are more important that individuals? Isn’t that how we got Stalin and all hisPol Pot [MH3] and their ilk?”
Cliff’s tone went cool. “If we are to discuss this instead of relaxing, kindly do not interrupt me. Especially do not assume to divine my meaning. Unless you can read minds?”

            A pause.  “I get the feeling there’s an underlying issue here, and I’d rather discuss that than play games.  “This isn’t about Kulinahr, is it?” He paused. “What’s really on your mind?”
She poked her forehead. “Can’t you tell?”

            He sighed[MH5] .  “No.  I’m no mind‑reader, either, and I’m sorry aboutfor that mind-reading crack. Can we get into this later? Vickie, look.  It’sit’s been a long two months, and I’d rather make love to you than fight.  Can’t we go into this later?”.”
Make love…?  Vickie was startled.  Before she could even start to make sense of that, her body was revvingrevved up, indicating very loudly its desire to fully cooperate.  Make love to her.  Like on that steamy night in Middle Yemen, his big body, bare‑chested and hot, pressing her into the mattress, his mouth sweet and questing.

            Angry and frightened at this sudden response out of her control[MH6] ,Good grief, when had he gotten a direct line into Vickie clamped down. central? She hadtried to clamp it down. To remember that it was just business.
Her body didn’t care.
He knelt before her on the blanket and nuzzled her hair and her neck. His warm breath, the gentle nudging caress of his cheek triggered an equally warm response in her chest and lower. Her breasts tightened, became full. His big palm caressed down her arm, then forward to cup her breast gently. She expelled a soft sigh and lifted her chin to give him better access to her neck. He nibbled the smooth skin there.
His other hand joined in to knead her breasts in tandem. And then he gently, deliberately, plucked her nipples.
Arousal zinged through her, sharp sudden need. She lifted her hands to reach for him in turn.
Damn it, Ron then. Ron used to do this, too.  Even seduce her even though he wasn’t especially interested, he would. He’d take her to bed to shut her up. He called it making love, too. Only it wasn’t love‑making. It was using her.

            Vickie was certain that Cliff, too, was using her body against her.
But, oh, how he used it.

            She felt him nuzzle her hair  and the warm response heat her middle.  His big palm moved around her side, cupping her breast gently.  Vickie expelled a soft sigh, lifting her head back, exposing her neck to him.  He began nibbling the soft skin there.

            The warmth in her middle was stoking fast, and moving down. Cliff was now kissingkissed her ear, then her cheek, then \the corner of her mouth.  Vickie already felt dizzyDizzy and hot; she, Vicky knew she wouldshe’d be lost shouldif he open histook her mouth onto hers. with his.
Desperate to regain her control, Vickie did the first thing she could think of that would distract him. She tookgroped for her half‑full glass of wine, found it, and threwchucked it over her shoulder.

            Vickie knew she had gotten him, because she felt Cliff releasereleased her and heard him with a torrent of sputtering. She gathered her courage and what was left of her control and turned toward himopened her eyes, attempting to smile sweetly. His hair, face and shirt were wet with wine.
She expected him to be angry.  She hoped he would be angry, that cold anger that might let her regain her footing in the emotional in whirlwind he caused.  She expected to be chopped into pieces small enough for Vickie‑salad sandwiches. She hoped he would be angry, a cold anger to give her footing in her emotional Cliff-driven whirlwind.
But Cliff was just staring at her, his face completely blank. She was confused for a moment, until she got a good look at his eyes. She could practically see his fine mind working, so in tensely were his eyes glowingsynapses intensely firing[MH7] .
Panic set in. No matter how well she had covered her emotions, that well‑oiled intellect of his would figure it out, if she let it.  She had forgotten his keen mind.  She had to distract him, quickly. Immediate distraction was in order. Again, she did the first thing she thought of.  It was a monumental Freudian slip.
She placed her palm behind his neck and pulled. Thank you Freud[MH8] .
He hesitated, so she opened her lips and, closed her eyes, and bumped lips.
He reacted like a starving man. His mouth closed on hers, hard. His hand came up against her back, and supported her as he leaned against her, bearing her down onto the blanket. Then he was covering her with his body, as he had that hot night in Middle Yemen, and his lips were making magic against hers.
She moaned, instantly reignited, and arched up against him, forgetting the reason she had tempted him in the first place. Now, there was only response, response to the hard, powerful body above, commanding her to yield, commanding her to open herself to him. His hand wrapped in her hair, pulling to turn her head. Her lips parted and he thrust his tongue deeply into her mouth.

            Vickie She opened; she wanted more.  She had beenShe’d wondered too long wondering if he even remembered she existed to ignore this solid proof. Deep within her the realization it dawned that it whether he cared no longer mattered to her that he didn’t care.  She would gladly. She’d take what he offered her, even if it was only the illusion of love. glad for the physical connection. She wrapped her arms around as much as she could of him, and held on to his swelling biceps like she would never let him go.

            As long as she kept it professional, he would not ever go.

            Like Ron, but maybe the mistake she’d made there was wanting more. Ron was disappointed, had left her, because she couldn’t keep the corporate mask up over her embittered feelings.
She had a redhead’s temperament, not just with anger. She wore her heart on her sleeve too. Keeping her feelings covered was hard.
But John had said straight out that Cliff would leave if she acted like those love‑sickavoided lovesick women.  AllSo she had to do was to pretend that she didn’t really care, that her heart was invulnerable.
Yes, that was it. All she had to do was pretend that he loved her, and pretend that she didn’t love him.
Oh, God. Did she really love him?
Vickie didn’t realize she was crying until he sat her up, away from him. Without his body pressed into hers, even the sun felt cold.
“What…what’s wrong?” she asked, grinding her fist into her eyes. But she knew. She was showing her weakness, showing it was impossible for her to fit into his high‑powered life style.
Showing the tiny bleeding heart on her sleeve.

 [MH1]turned is a fairly bland, inactive word. Especially if the action says volumes about the character/lovers' interactions, make it count.
 [MH2]An example of replacing an adverbed-up bland verb with an actiony verb
 [MH3]This needs updating.
 [MH4]When I first started writing I was throwing characters at each other and letting their inner selves emerge. Sometimes that made them less than sympathetic. Conflict is good, but it must be escalated naturally not by the characters having a hair-trigger sarcasm gland.
 [MH5]Going into writing, I had some generic character tells. Now, they work, which is why I use them. But it does get excessive. Sigh, smile, nod are things any character can do and they mean something to every reader. But I try to give my main characters a bit more individuality these days.
 [MH6]Again, sudden over-the-top response.
 [MH7]This isn't exactly right but I was editing late :)
 [MH8]Dickens can get away with it, but always be suspicious of sentences that start "It was" or "There was". Usually that signals an opportunity to liven things up.

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