Copyright © 2013 Mary Hughes
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her intentions first thing that
leaving once 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.”
“Like how much profit he’ll make?” Vickie arched an eyebrow.
nervously. “Look, I
all that. Business is business, after
all. And I know that the DALE chip is
best produced from the mix of sand, heat and minerals in Middle Yemen. That still doesn’t
alter the fact that Cliff is dealing with Fahrrad , after what happened to me, after what happened to Kulinahr .”
had since learned the whole
story from Tess, so there was no point in being secretive. “Cliff knows what we went through; he was
, Vickie. When Cliff left, he had something else he was up to, something he wouldn’t tell me anything about.
On my honor,
I don’t know what, but it may change your mind .
Cliff is an honorable man, no matter what you may think. Will you agree to wait until he gets back before you leave? Hear him out, listen to his side of the story
? He’s due back soon. You don’t have to leave as long as you’re on
the payroll, after all.”
Within two weeks the project would be by and large complete, even the modifications adapting it from bank security system to national defense network, needing only to be tied up and delivered. Vickie mechanically went through the motions, holding meetings here, negotiating contracts there. To most outward appearances, she was at the top of her form.
could read the numbness behind the warm, crisp exterior. She said as much during a sundae break.
it seems ages since we’ve been able to talk together, just the two of us.”
“Yeah, it has been a while. You know how it is, working for a certified genius like Cliff. Never a dull moment. Always on the go.”
Vickie closed her eyes. “Pretty nice, yeah.”
John and I, well, he asked me out a
week ago. We
had a terrific time , but
frankly, I’m also worried. You know how office politics are. I’d hate for the harpies to make a mess of us.
I know you’ve thought a lot about this, after
Ron and all. How do you
suggest I play this one? And don’t tell me not to get involved; I’ve got a
feeling this one’s for keeps.”
pain back. At least someone was happy . She tried not to be a wet blanket, for the
sake of her friend. “Aha, so that’s what
it is. I
knew there was something up! Says right here in the rules ‘Tess does not buy
sundaes unless there’s an ulterior motive.’ So, how serious is it?” [M4]
“Serious enough to have me start looking into joint housekeeping.”
Ron and I used
to have was
bringing our disagreements
into the office. You know, a
fight we started on Sunday very
often made its way into Monday’s memo and Tuesday’s meeting , although disguised
as a business problem. I thought at the time that the solution was to
completely separate my business and personal life.”[M5]
“I remember. You said you’d never date a co‑worker again.”
Vickie smiled in spite of herself.
saying anyone who can throw a tantrum can be
Toscanini[M6] . No, I think a professional is someone who takes all the circumstances they can
know into account and does their
possible under those circumstances. A
professional, if they’re not feeling well, tells the client ‘I’ve got a
cold, I feel miserable, but what can I do for you.’
You’ve got to sell the steak
along with the sizzle. Dress for success is the sizzle; a moron in a Brooks Brother’s suit will soon be
found out for what they are. I
guess the bottom line here is you do your job
like you’ve always done it, some times better .”
Vickie shrugged. “The only difference is you drive home together.”
“But what about the rumor‑mongers? I don’t want people saying nasty things about John and me, especially if we have to work with them.”
Tess nodded, then looked shrewdly at her friend.
“I think you’re right, Vickie. But I wonder if it’s really honest on your
part. This is quite a turn around from
what you used to say. What about
Vickie blushed. “What
broke your engagement and ran out on you, you swore a mighty
oath you would never indulge in an office romance ever again. Now you’re saying
it can be done. What changed your mind?”
I broke down crying in front of him. I thought I was history, but
that night he told me
some of the same things I’m telling you now. And I started thinking about them.”
She shook her head. “I don’t know how a man who is so smart can be so dumb.”
mean you and Cliff are…both of you…”
“I’m sorry.” Tess turned back to her sundae.
[M2]Vickie making John's point for him doesn't make sense. John making the point while Vickie sticks to her guns does.
[M4]As originally written, it was more an information dump in dialog format. I tried to make it more like two people with separate agendas. This whole couple chapters will take more work.