My Love Betrayed

My Love Betrayed by April Lynn Kihlstrom Read Free Book Online

Book: My Love Betrayed by April Lynn Kihlstrom Read Free Book Online
Authors: April Lynn Kihlstrom

regarded me with disapproval and Charles added
impatiently, “Someone has to take his place and
Miss Steffee is perfectly qualified!”
    “Si, senor.”
    Charles ignored the sarcasm. “Good. See you
later, Ellen. Good luck.”
    I nodded. Well, he had warned me. I turned to
Carlos. “Well, I guess we’d better get started. Can
you fill me in? Tell me what’s already been done?”
    Carlos’s English deteriorated rapidly, and I was
very glad I had asked Rick so many questions. The
early work had gone well and they were currently
debugging the software. Since I had worked with
Rick in Chicago fairly frequently, I was able to
follow his printouts with relative ease, a big
advantage. Most computer programmers have
their own way of writing programs. Reading one
can be like trying to decipher someone’s handwrit ing. Some programs are nearly illegible. But, as I
said, I’d worked with Rick before.

    We all ignored each other while I sifted through
the stacks of printouts and the two brief reports
that Rick had left behind. I hadn’t gotten far by
lunchtime, but it was far enough for me to have
some idea of where things stood. I decided it was
time to do something about improving the
atmosphere of the office. “Well, where do we have
lunch?” I asked Carlos.
    I have to admit he gave in gracefully. And, when
our group was seated in the small cafe he had
chosen, Carlos asked, “So, you made progress this
morning?”
    “Some,” I admitted. “But I’m also confused by a
few of Rick’s choices-”
    “Rick?” Carlos asked politely. “You knew
Senor Kemmler well?”
    I looked around at the raised eyebrows.
Something odd was going on. Hadn’t Rick ever
mentioned me? Perhaps not. In any case, better
tread warily, I thought. These guys didn’t look
very pleased. “Rick and I worked together in
Chicago,” I explained.
    “I see.” A pause, then: “Senor Whitford did not
explain why Senor Kemmler is not coming to
work.”
    I pretended to study the menu in my hands. “I
understand there is some trouble with the police.”
    “Ah,” Carlos clucked sympathetically. “How
fortunate for Senor Whitford, and the company,
of course, that you happen to be here, senorita.”
    I couldn’t possibly miss the insinuation and I turned an angry red. Carefully keeping my voice
even, I said, “That insult is beneath contempt,
senor. I am a qualified computer programmer.
That is the only reason I am here. I suggest we
discuss the work.”

    “But we are on the lunch break!” Carlos
protested.
    I noticed the amusement on the other faces and,
smiling sweetly, I said firmly, “A business lunch,
senor.
    I spent the next hour or so quizzing the men. I
was pleasantly surprised to find how wrong Rick
had been. Admittedly, it took a bit of pushing and
prodding and veiled insults to get them to open up,
but when they did, I found them bright, observant,
and well-informed. In fact, I discovered that
Carlos had a degree in computer science from the
University of California at Berkeley!
    I looked at him, my jaw hanging open. “Then
why on earth did they send for someone from the
States?” I demanded. “Why didn’t they let you
head the project?”
    “Me?” Carlos smiled stupidly. “I am only an
ignorant Mexicano. How could you expect such a
thing? It is an Americano company.”
    I stared at him grimly. “That’s not funny!”
    “No, senorita,” he agreed soberly, “it is not.
When they hired me and told me about the
computer they were bringing, I thought, Now I
will have a good job. Now I will be important.
Now I can be married. Instead, this Rick comes
and I find myself an office boy, fetching coffee,
translating for the others, and having even the simplest things explained to me. Senor Kemmler
never even asked whether any of us had ever seen a
computer before.”

    Appalled, I sat in silence. Finally, I asked, “Why
didn’t you tell him?”
    Carlos straightened

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