Friday, April 19, 2013

Hot Chips and Sand 141-145 Draft Comparison

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

            She started forward, and was amazed to see the parkway curve into a driveway, and at the end of the drive stood the most beautiful home she had ever seen.


            It was twoTwo stories tall in most places, although it was only one story tall in some, and three in others.  OneA corner tower stood five stories high, and was crowned by an observatory of some sort. Cliff indicated[M1]  she should park by the pointed toward what looked like a garage, a cursory examination of which revealed but it had at least six doors.  ‘So that’sAt least now she knew where all the different cars comecame from.


            The entrance was on a slant, up a set of She parked in front of a sweeping set of stairs. They mounted the steps together, taking them slowly. Vickie stood back as Cliff unlocked the solid cedar door. It was massive. He swung it open, silently, and allowed her to cross the sill first.

It was like crossing into a different country, a different time. The cut stone floor was covered with intricately woven carpets, and chandeliers lit the huge front hall and what she could see of the room beyond. A full suit of armor stood in one corner. On the walls hung oil portraits, several of men and women wearingin clothes from earlier centuries. “My mother’s,” said Cliff, leading her throughVickie down the hall.


            VickieShe followed him throughpast several rooms in various styles, stopping finally finding herself in a very modern kitchen. Cliff indicated[M2]  she should sitpulled out a chair at thea small breakfast table.  for four[M3] . As she seated herselfsat, he poured two glasses of milk and set them on the table. He dug out a large cake knife.  from a drawer and a couple plates from a cupboard. Setting those thingsthem on the table, he busied himself a moment, then came backwent through a door and returned with a couple of plates and a large metal cake carrier. He placed the latter reverentlyWith a flourish, he set it in front of her, and, with a flourish, drew off the covertop.

The cake revealed was well worth the fanfare.  LightA wedge had already been taken and she saw light, high layers were separated by half an inch of frosting. The rich smell of chocolate wafted through the kitchen. Vickie sniffed appreciatively. Cliff cut them each a big wedge, seated himself, and waited.

Sensing he wanted her reaction, she sampled a small, moist corner of the cake. It was delicious, and she said so. “Your Hannah is a culinary genius.”

“Better than the brownies?” he teased.

“I don’t know.” She made a face.  “I don’t know.  We’ll see how much of this I actually get to eat.”

He laughed. “Actually quite a bit. Hannah made two.”

“Were you really ever a skinny little kid?”

She was just bantering, but he sobered immediately. “It was rather painful.”

He was silent after that, but Vickie was terribly curious. found she wanted to know him better[M4] . “John said you didn’t take up weight training until after college,” she prompted..”

He stirred and met her gaze squarely. “That’s somewhat misleading. I started college at sixteen, and skipped through a bachelors and masters in three years. Being a bit unsocial,” he curled his lip here, “of a loner[M5] , I didn’t have much else to do.”

Vickie’s eyes dropped to study her cake crumbs. “I guess you had some lost time to make up for after that.”

He didn’t pretend to misunderstand her. “I had a lot of offers of companionship, once I had increased my body mass by fifty percent. But some of the women who were now offering were those whose rejections had been the cruelest.”

Vickie frowned. She was beginning to see a very different Cliff, one more like herself than she’d ever realized.             “Yeah, I know what you mean.  All “Used to be all I had to do was say some thing vaguely intelligent to scare off a prospective date.  It always seemed to me boys were more interested in bodies than minds.”

He looked up from his second piece of cake. “You know, I think that’s the first thing you’ve said about yourself that I haven’t had to drag out of you?”

She paused, thoughtful. . “I guess you’ve always seemed so…professional and perfect to me. It’s hard to be yourone’s own bungling self with someone who always does things just right.”

“Oh, Vickie, I’m far from perfect. I try very hard to do things right, but you’d be amazed at how many screw‑ups I’ve had. It’s just that I always come back and try again, and again, until I do get it right.”

“I knew it. You’re stubborn.”

“I prefer ‘tenacious.’“tenacious’.”

They laughed together at that. Cliff served her a second piece of cake, and helped himself to his fourth. a third. Vickie cut into hers, and chewed slowly, considering. He wanted her to be more open. What could she reveal without revealing her heart? Job? No, he knew about that. School? No, he knew that from the background investigation. Family? She thought about that for a while. Her family seemed nothing like his. Father dead in childhood, mother soon after, probably neither of them understanding the technical streak in their son, perhaps not under standing their bookish son at all.

“You know, Cliff, maybe the reason I don’t talk about myself is there’s nothing much to say. I mean, our family made the Cleavers look like neighborhood trend‑setterstrendsetters.”

Cliff’s face lit up. “Ah, a personal anecdote. So yours was the typical American family? Two‑point‑four children? Dog? Station wagon? T.V.?”


            “Oh, the“The works.  Although mom did go back to work afterMom was even stay-at-home, until my brother got intowas in high school. Then she went back to work. I guess that was daring.”

“What did she do?”

Vickie laughed. “Crossing‑guard. She just retired last year. Dad retired three years ago. They go traveling a lot together now.”


            “You know, that’s“That’s how I’d like to do it. Raise the children in a secure, loving home, then send them out into the world and live it up.”

“You’re silly! It takes two decades to raise children. How much living it up do you think you’re going to do at…er…”

Cliff quickly cut her off. “Fifty. I’ll only be fifty.”

“Hey, me too.”

“I know. We were born the same year.”

Vickie made an exasperated noise.  “That’s why I don’t need to tell you anything about myself. I don’t need to. You already know it all.”

“Not everything. You said your family was traditional. Are you?”


            “Oh, I think it’s important to give kids a safe home, too. And everyone needs love.” She winced mentally at that. “But I think my parents are doing it the right way. You don’t marry your family—you marry each other.”

“So when you’re fifty, you’re going to be painting the town red, too.”

“Either that, or I’ll go back to school. I’ve always been interested in psychology.”

“Why didn’t you go into that before?”

“Well, I had to make a living.” She smiled. “My parents weren’t going to support me forever. And besides, they had my brother to pay for. I guess boys are more expensive than girls, with their cars and everything.” She looked sidelong at him, wondering if he was aware that having six cars was unusual.

Cliff squared his shoulders. “Some boys pay for their own cars and everything.” everything’.” He drank milk, then considered her. “Had you ever thought of marrying some rich guy and doing what you want to do now?  Instead of waiting, I mean.”?”



            “Oh, I don’t know.  I guess I just think a person should put his or her fair share into a marriage. If I marry a rich guy, it shouldn’t be to do what I want, it should be to do what we want.”

“Well, you make enough money now to pull your own weight, and then some. Had you ever thought about taking a trophy husband?”

“You mean marry somebody for their looks?”

“Or because they’re good in bed. Or both.”

“Forget it. What happens if I lose my job? Or he meets someone who makes more than I do? That’s a relationship that spells disaster.”

Cliff shook his head. “You’d be surprised at how many men can’t see that clearly.”

“Not really. To be honest with you, most men I’ve known haven’t been able to see beyond the end of their…sexual organ.”

“Ah‑hah! A misanthrope. You don’t want to marry at all.”

Vickie shook her head vehemently. “Of course I want to marry. If it’s the right person.”[M6] 



 [M1]I found a lot of Cliff indicating in this section.
 [M3]So I changed this to a more active description of the kitchen.
 [M4]The reason she is terribly curious about him is because she's falling in love and wants to know him better. There are times when implied meaning is okay but this isnt' one of them.
 [M5]Loner is more socially acceptable :)
 [M6]I'm not sure about this conversation. This is where a beta reader is important, to give feedback with how this comes off--cute or stupid.

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