Friday, April 26, 2013

Hot Chips and Sand 146-150 Draft Comparison

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


            Cliff pushed his plate aside and gestured with his fork. “All right, Victoria Johnston. You don’t want to marry for money. You don’t want to marry for sex. You don’t want to marry just for children. Yet you do want to marry. For what?”

For what indeed? For love?

Yes, love would be her reason to marry. But not love like Ron meant it. Not love that stopped at the bedroom and was forbidden outside the home.

Her life stretched beyond that.  For noNo matter the corporate games she had learned to play, no matter how much she masked her feelings, they were there, at home, at work, going outdating.

Vickie wanted a man to love in the bedroom, yes, and at home. But that was only part of her life. She wanted a man to love at play, and at work, and all the in‑between times, too.


            And for the first time, she thought Cliff might just be that man.


            “I think it’s important want to marry someone youI can spend yourmy entire life with.”  Still uncertain, she only said, “Someone to be a. A friend.”

“Well, I’d want it all. I would marry someone who was not only my friend, but someone I loved, too.”


            Vickie’s heart cried out.  Someone I loved. That resonated so strongly when he said it. She knew in that moment thatwondered if this man was the right one, the one she wouldcould love forever.[M1] 

But was she the right woman for him?

Her voice sounded a little strange when she finally spoke, but she kept her words emotionless. “Well, of course Cliff. . Everybody wants to have the perfect mate. But not many of us find perfection.”

“No, Vickie.” that’s not it.” He put his fork down and leaned forward, in tent. intent. “Perfection isn’t what I’m after.  LoveI want love, which is a very human emotion, and human means far from perfect. You can’t program love, after all. That would take the wonder, the delight out of it.  No, I’m not looking for Ms. Perfect, or even Ms. Right. I’m looking for someone who’s as human as I am, but who’s willing to make mistakes and try again. And someone who…would try to love me in return, and keep trying, for the rest of our lives.”

She looked up, nearly drowning in the depths of his eyes. I love you, she wanted to say. But what if she did? Was he really asking for her commitment? Or was he just stating his own preference? making conversation? How could he ask for a commitment like that from her without making his own commitment?

If he wanted her to put herself on the line like that, why didn’t he show her, somehow, how he felt about her?

Will he treat me like Ron?

She played it safe. “I think we all look for people to love us.”  ‘How trite, Vickie.’ Trite. She looked away.[M2] 

He sighed, and sat back. “That’s true. But I guess it’s easier to take than to give.”

She winced. “No question about that.”

They sat, silent, until the hall clock struck a rather jarjarring ring ring. . Vickie looked up.

“Is it really one in the morning?”

“I’m afraid so.”

            “Gosh, Cliff, [M3] I’d better be getting home. I promised you I’d have that tracker module written, and, to be honest, I haven’t even started it yet!” She jumped up, dumpingdumped her dishes in the dishwasher and raced to the door.

Cliff didn’t catch up to her until she got to her car. “Vickie.”

She turned, her breath catching in her throat.  Would heHoping for a kiss her?.

He stood there for a long moment, seeming at war with him self. Finally he shook his head. “Be careful.” He opened her door and waited until she was inside to click it shut. Then he stood back and watched as she pulled away. He was still watching when she drove out of sight.




            * * * * *

The phone rang again. The man opened one eye and blearily took in the time. Two o’clock, as in a.m. He picked up the receiver, grunting as his muscles stretched.


“It’s me.”

The man grunted again. “What’s the matter?”

“I just got word from our primary contact. The subject is getting antsy about his protection, and wants us to move in the new protection grid as soon as possible.”

It was not good news. “Are we ready?”


“Can we delay, then?”

“Not with the project almost complete. I’m sure the subject is aware of that. His timing is too perfect.”

The man rolled onto his back and ran one hand through rumpled hair. “Could we sabotage the project, then, to set it back?”

There was a long silence at the other end, and the man knew. “You still haven’t told her.”


“You’ll have to.”

“In time. Now is not the right time.”

“Why not?”

There was a short silence from the other man. “She is beginning to trust me. When I’m sure of her reaction, then I’ll tell her.”

“I think you’re making a mistake.”

A sigh, sounding empty and alone over the phone. “Maybe. You might be right. But I can’t take the chance.”

The man shook his head to himself as he hung up. Organization was going too slowly, information was not being passed along. About the only thing going on track was the project they did not want to complete.

He sighed, and got up to make some tea and think up some solutions to their problems. He did not get back to sleep that night.


 [M1]She doesn't have to know she's in love or be completely in love at this point--in fact it's more believable if she still has doubts.
 [M2]The asides sound a little forced to me now.
 [M3]Since editing Beauty Bites, I've been very aware of the number of times I use names unnecessarily in dialogue...

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