Friday, May 24, 2013

Hot Chips and Sand 171-175 Draft Comparison

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

Chapter 11Eleven


            SheVicki woke a short time later to Cliff’s gentle kiss.  VickieShe roused lazily, her eyes staying shut as she enjoyed the heat and silky feel.

The mouth open but her eyes not.  Then Cliff withdrew. left hers. “Hey, Vickie, I’m hungry. And this floor is getting hard.”

Vickie sighed. “You’re a man of creature comforts, aren’t you Mr. Hawkesclyffe,”?” Grudgingly, she said, openingopened her eyes. When she saw his playful grin and naked chest, she lost her reluctance.

“I do, indeed.” He chuckled.  “And you’re“You’re one comfortable creature.” He skittered away when she took a swat at him.

She laughed. “I’ve never seen you move like that.”


            “Oh, I’m well-versed in all the latest forms of movement. You know, sidewaysSideways, backward, forward, in, out…”—”

“I thought you said you were hungry,” she.” She blushed. “That’s what you said, blushing..”


            “Ravenous. “Yes, I’m ravenous. Shall we go out to eat? I’ll pay.”

“Well, since you eat all my food anyway, I suppose that’s only fair.  Just kidding,” she said when his .”

His face fell pitifully.

Kidding. You only eat most of it.”

The grin returned. “I guess I do. Okay, then. Let’s go!”

“Let’s get dressed first, shall we?

They went to a local 24 hour restaurant. Cliff ordered the biggest meal on the menu, and Vickie did, too, stating.

Vickie handed the waiter her menu. “Double it. I’ll have everything he’s having.” When both men stared at her she said, “The best defense is a good offense.” They also ordered bread sticks and mozzarella balls as appetizers, and malted milks with the appetizers. Cliff demolished half the bread sticks and cheese balls in one minute. Vickie timed it.

She raised teasing brows. “You’re losing your competitive speed,” she teased..”

“Can’t help it, eating with you. Now, maybe if you challenged me more…”—”

“What, by hiding my food? By making it harder to identify?”

“How about by distracting me?” He waggled both brows.

Vickie blushed. Why could she only think of one way of distracting him?  “Besides, “I would, but that only makes you ravenous afterward.” She blushed harder.


            NowBut Cliff colored.  Good, she had reddened too. Yay, she’d finally gotten him.  Served him right, Only fair with the way he hadcould wrap her wrapped around his little finger…or other parts of his anatomy. She blushed again.


            He started in on the rest of the He grabbed another two bread sticks.  “Well, let’s“Shall we change the subject. ? So, how. How many kids do you want?”

“Wait.” Her jaw slacked, and for a moment, she couldn’t answer. “What?”

“Kids. You know, children. How many are you going to have?”


            Oh.  You, not we. “I don’t know. A lot depends on my spouse. Kids take two parents, you know.”

“I know.”

She blushed again. How did they get back on that topic? “I mean to raise. Two parents to raise kids. I figure by myself, I could handle one. Maybe if my spouse likes to work with kids, we could have two or three.”

“And a dog.”

“And a house with a white picket fence. But I’d need the husband first. I don’t think I’d enjoy taking care of all of that by myself. It’s enough to get themy dishes done every week.”

“Every week! You dust muffin. My dishes get done daily.”

“Yeah? How?”

He shrugged. “I use paper plates.”

“Ah.” She looked at him, considering. thought he had a housekeeper, but maybe Hannah was strictly a cook. But even if then she’d thought he’d have a maid, or live-in companion. He really was quite complex. “How many kids do you want?”


            “Oh,” he said innocently, “I guess I could handle one by myself, too.  ,” he said, suspiciously innocent-sounding echoing her words. “Being an only child, though, I’d make a lot of mistakes.  I guess it would be better I’d like to getbe married, so my spouse could help me out. Then I could have two. I guess I could even handle three. Especially if we kept Hannah on to cook.”

“I guess.” She suddenly felt very uncomfortable with the whole conversation. “It’s supposed to rain tomorrow,” she said, abruptly changing the topic., you know.”

He sighed almost inaudibly. “Cold front moving through, I expect.”

Was that aimed at her? Luckily, their soup and salad arrived then, and Cliff was momentarily distracted. When he surfaced, Vickie was ready for him.

“Did you notice Tess today? She was walking around like she was on cloud nine. Didn’t hear a word I said.”

“Oh, yes, I’d mentioned our little talk to John. I expect he asked her out.”

Spoilsport. What good was an exciting secret if someone knew it already? “Why didn’t you tell me?” she complained.

“Sorry. I figuredthought Tess would tell you.”

She stabbed her cherry tomato, irritated. “Tess was about as coherent as brain‑damaged BASIC,” she said, just a bit irked.


            “That’s funny. . The only thing that came out of her mouth was “Singin’ in the Rain”. I have no idea what key she was in.”

“I thought being in love was supposed to make you energetic.”

“Only for certain things.”  Oh, howHow had she gotten on that topic again?

“Speaking of which, how about we go to my place after this? Much better showers.”

“Is the mat any softer?”

He laughed.  “Now brace“Brace yourself, Vickie. . I have a real, live bed.”

“I bet it’s a water bed, you being a handsome bachelor, and all.”

“Nope. Just a plain old bed. I had to argue forever with Mum just to get upgrade my little twin to a queen size.”


            “But after your mother passed away?”


            “There was no need.  I told you, mostThe waiter cleared their salads and there was a silence. Vicky could only think of one question. She tried to be delicate. “And later?” After his mother passed away.

“I don’t care what kind of reputation I have, Vicky. I’m not a playboy. Most women wereare just interested in this body.  Later, they were interested in or the money as well. . I don’t need that. I don’t want that. And I certainly don’t bring that home.”


            How did you get so good with so little practice, she wanted to ask.  Instead, she said, “What do you need?”

“Someone to love me.”

There it was again. Only this time, she knew he at least returned her interest, if not her love. . She opened her mouth to say it. I could be that person.

The waitress zoomed up—and dropped Cliff’s hot plate in his lap.  He jumped up, astonished.  Then he yelped as theHe leaped to his feet, yelping as scalding gravy seeped through his pants leg. The waitress, embarrassed, tried to blot the gravy patted his slacks with a napkin, but to blot the gravy. Cliff pushed her away. He closed his eyes, then, moments later said calmly, “everything’sEverything’s fine.  I think we’d.”

“But sir, your slacks—”

“Please, don’t trouble yourself. We’d like our check now.”

The manager, at rushed to the table by this time,without being called. He apologized profusely.  “Your meal“You and your wife’s meal is on the house, sir.”

As Vickie helped a wounded Cliff back to the car (they had taken the red sports car today) she suddenly realized what the manager had said. Your wife. It had sounded so natural, she had hardly noticed at the time.  ‘Grow up Vickie.  It’s not natural unless you have a ring on your finger.’

She glanced at her left hand, wondering what a ring would look like there.

“You’ll have to drive.” He handed her the keys, his lips thinned and clamped together.

She was immediately concerned. “I thought you were okay!”

“No. I’m in pain.”

“Oh, Cliff, we should have gotten that leg in cold water, right away.”

“It’s all right. We’re close to home. I have some first aid things there. You remember the way, right?”

She thought, ‘how could I forget anything do to with you?’

But she just said, “Of course,” and climbed into the driver’s seat. Cliff eased himself into the passenger side as Vickie attempted to start the damn beast.

She flooded the engine, so she had to push the accelerator pedal to the floor. Then it started, roaring to life so suddenly she pulled her foot immediately off the accelerator. The engine coughed and died. Cliff muttered something about really being in pain now, but merely smiled at her when she looked at him. A thin smile, but she wasn’t going to be picky while she was fighting with this miserable machine. They would have taken her car, but she had been floating in the afterglow of…the engine hummed into life.

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