Monday, August 04, 2008

rottnest romance #16

Second-last instalment of Chapter 2. Surely the sharp implements are about to come out as the heated argument between Larissa and Nick gets ugly. I'll give her $20 if she upturns the table on him and glasses him.
"Let's try and discuss this in a civil manner," she suggested.

"That's fine by me," he shrugged.

"Can I ask what steps you've taken to ensure your development has as little impact as possible on the environment of Parakeet Bay?"

He inspected his glass as he twirled it in his fingers. Eventually he replied: "Of course, the tender called for considerations to be given to the environment of the area."

"Which sounds like you've only given lip service to the matter."

He raised an eyebrow at her. "Since you're such an expert on the area, what should I be concerned about when I proceed with the development?"

She wondered if he was sincerely interested. Against her better instincts she decided to give him an answer.

"Parakeet Bay is a particularly sensitive area in regard to sand dune erosion. In fact most of Rottnest is. More people in the Bay might lead to that problem becoming irreperable."

He looked pleased at hearing that. "You'll be delighted to hear the sand dunes will be fenced off."

“What do you mean?” she asked, puzzled.

“My cottages will be behind the dunes, and paths will lead down to the beach – the dunes will be protected by fencing.”

She shook her head. “It’s not good enough. The very fact you’re building something there will lead to erosion. Even if the dunes get that protection.”

“Oh for heaven’s sake,” he spluttered, finally moved to sudden anger by her observation. “It’s going to be a residential area. I can’t help it if people are going to want to walk down to the beach.” His dark eyes glittered at her.

“You can’t help it, or you don’t care?”

“This is ridiculous,” he rumbled. “You slant things in such a way that suggest I’m a heartless destroyer only interested in making money from damaging the environment.”

“You said it, not me,” she shot back. “Why else would you be doing it, if not for the money?”

But at the same time, she wondered if what he had just said was true. Was she so obsessed with picking holes in his argument she wouldn’t give him a fair hearing? No – that wasn’t right. Even if there was an element of truth in that, then it also applied to him. He wasn’t interested in conducting a reasonable discussion. He was merely concerned with pushing on with his grand design – nothing else was as important.

“That’s what business is about, Larissa – discovering the needs or services people want, and then providing them while making a living from it. I’m surprised you’re not aware of this by now,” he added with a sneer.

“There’s no need to be condescending,” she retorted.

“Isn’t it true?” he pressed, determined to make his point. “Isn’t that what you do in your business with your sister?”

“Yes, but I wouldn’t…”

“So there you go…”

“The similarity on…”

“You’re just the same as me.”

“Will you let me finish!” It came out much louder than she expected, and again heads turned in her direction from nearby tables. She glowered at him, and struggled to keep her voice at a normal level.

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