Copyright © 2013 Mary Hughes
All rights reserved
“Vickie, I feel like I’m arguing against
the unknown. What’s
really bothering you?”
“I have some professional pride, you know
, and a hell of a lot more professional
responsibility than you do. Just because
you think you can back whoever you want, that you don’t have any
responsibility. Well you may not, but
I am not going to Middle Yemen.”
become unreadable, his big body stiff. “I’m
sorry you don’t trust me, but maybe you don’t know me that well. I thought
after this weekend perhaps you might.”
He [M3] turned back to the door. “Although I
still don’t think you’ve told me what’s really on your mind .” He opened the door. “Nonetheless, I
go to Middle Yemen. Good bye, Vickie.” He turned
,” she screamed . “You’re not leaving me again.”
She grabbed her purse and pushed furiously against
his broad chest. He backed off , but under his own
“What do you mean?”
“You know what I mean. I told you. When I first told you I wouldn’t work on a project for Fahrrad, and you didn’t care, you didn’t care what he’d done to me, you only cared about your profit margin. So you left, and had your secretary lie to me. Rather than talk it over,
rather than honoring my feelings, [M5] you left.” Her voice faltered. “Just like Ron.” And then a
whisper. “I told you.”
His fingers slid under her chin but she jerked away.
“No, you can’t get me
that way again. I know better now,
Mr. Hawkesclyffe. If
reason with her, talk to
her body.” Her voice became strident;
she couldn’t help it.
“Did Ron treat you that way?” he asked hesitantly.
She forced a laugh.
I should have known nobody would want me for me. Why would anyone actually care about me when
they could have my mind and call it professional and have my body and call it
love.” [M6] She shrugged. “Go
to Middle Yemen , then. But this time I’m
leaving too. If you don’t have to be responsible, neither do I.”
He held his hands out in a pleading gesture. “Be responsible for what?”
answered as if
she hadn’t heard. “Don’t worry about
firing me. I quit.”
cold. “You want me to believe that, too? Hey, Ron told me he
every day. He sent me a dozen roses
for every birthday and every Valentine’s Day. It’s the easy way out, Cliff, just like running
out. Only this time, I’m leaving you.”
her purse and strode out, dignity carrying her as far as her car. She unlocked
the door ,
got in, and collapsed ,
crying. He wasn’t coming. She had been right, he hadn’t meant it, he didn’t want
to work things out , he
care about her.
She got back to her apartment, exhausted. She cried a little, but nothing felt right. She made herself a cup of tea, and when the phone rang, she jumped a mile.
It was just a phone
What was wrong
? It couldn’t be how she had handled Cliff. She should be exultant over that.
At last, she had seen through a man before he could hurt her too much , before he
hurt her irreparably. She had even walked out on him for a
change. No, that couldn’t
I set out to do.’
have to go back.
She wouldn’t go to Middle Yemen, of course, but she would finish her task at Hawkesclyffe Computers. She
picked up the phone and dialed. The
of town on business. Can I connect you
to his personal assistant?”
She picked up the phone again, reluctantly redialing.
“Vickie, glad to hear from you.” His voice was a bit strained.
“Look, I don’t want to go into detail. Is Cliff
he left me a few instructions
and slammed out of here. He’s half‑way to Middle
Yemen if he’s still going at the same rate . And,” he hesitated , “he
about you quitting?”
“Yeah, well, I said it’s a long story. But
I’m not quitting. I don’t quit a job before it’s finished.”
“Sure. You’re in charge.”
Right. I’m in charge. She hung up the phone after saying
good bye to John.
`The Hawkesclyffe Computer Company
announced in a surprise move today that they will no longer be doing business
in Middle Yemen. Would the president of the firm please return at once to the
United States .’ Sure she
was in charge.
first thing that
the HCC300 is delivered, John.”
It was supposed to be a catharsis; instead it felt flat.
“But Cliff is expecting to talk with you when he gets back.
He’s very impressed
with your work here, and I know he’d like you to stay.”
had to go, Vickie.”
“Look, I understand
what you’re thinking.” He spread his hands in a gesture of appeal. “But there are
things you should know about.”[M10]
“Like how much profit he’ll make?” Vickie arched an eyebrow.
[M2]I have to work against going from the starting argument to the conclusion without putting the steps in between. Cause, then effect. So important.
[M3]I also continue to expand my repertoire of ways to show what a character is feeling, rather than coming right out and saying it.
[M5]I know what she means, but there's a backload of issues on that one statement. I think it's easier to follow this way. Besides, in a real argument between adults, it's best to say "when you do [specific thing], I feel [sad/mad/glad/afraid/hurt]." When I write, I try not to have the characters too unhealthy.
[M8]She wants him to work things out but when he runs after her to do so, she speeds away? While I sympathize with a character who has that much fear, that's not where Vickie is. She'd have worked it out and bang, that would have been end of story. Better to have her drive away without seeing him. That way the reader knows Cliff's the real deal, even if Vickie's not so sure yet.
[M10]Dunno if its me or getting up to early to edit, but this seemed to need a lot of work. Point of view shifted subtly between Vicky and John, and a lot of wordy exchanges saying what I meant but not really showing it.