Incident in San Francisco (Chapter 6, page 1 of 8)

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Chapter 6

It was almost 6 o'clock before Laura was able to fire off the e-mail note to Quality Assurance to tell them that the report modification was ready for their testing. Her testing, as always, had been so thorough that she was sure that they would be able to approve it and move it into production. However, she did notify them that she'd be in San Francisco for the next three days, but would religiously check her voice mail and e-mail every day to follow up on any problems.

Laura had no way of knowing that events in San Francisco would keep her from following through on that promise.

After the e-mail note had been dispatched she quickly brought up each hidden window on her PC screen and closed them down until the final option to shut down or restart was presented. She clicked on the option to lock the computer, but not shut down. Like most PC users, Laura had read all the arguments pro and con about the merits of turning the power off versus leaving the machine in a quiescent state when not in use. Her nature rebelled against leaving an electrical appliance turned on overnight, or in this case, for five days. She had finally been swayed by the argument that shutting down and restarting the computer caused the circuit boards and solder to expand and contract, and electronic equipment was now so energy-efficient that the power wasted was negligible. However, unlike most users who left their machines on permanently, she did not use a screen saver which continuously displayed some kind of random design or picture on the screen. To Laura's mind, setting the monitor to display a totally black screen when not in use was much more sensible. Besides, Laura had spent too many hours working on a computer to get any enjoyment out of doing playful things with one.

Her already-neat desk was made immaculate when she whisked the last stack of papers into a top drawer. From the bottom left drawer she pulled out a pair of comfortable, yet stylish, low black walking shoes. An identical pair in brown remained in the drawer. In the winter, these would be replaced by serviceable, yet stylish, walking boots, again matching pairs in black and brown. She also took out a small string bag which was used to carry her office shoes, if she was using a purse which wasn't roomy enough. If she had a large handbag, the string bag went inside one shoe, and the shoes went into the handbag.

With a practiced gesture, Laura reached around behind to slip the shoe off the slim foot at the end of the slender leg which had been bent back and up at the knee, a very nice knee which was several inches below the hem of the straight black skirt. At a little over five and a half feet tall, Laura had legs which were long enough to allow wearing skirts a few inches above the knee without the skirts appearing too short for the office. They were also very good legs, and while she had no desire to attract unwanted male attention, she also had no intention of hiding her body under long, bulky clothes. She might be facing 30 in the very near future, but she had a figure which was more than a match for that of any of the little eighteen-year-old clerks who flitted about the building. Her taste in office clothes tended toward suits, but suits so well tailored that the jackets accentuated rather than hid the curves of her body, both the outward curves of chest and hips and the inward curve of the waist. Skirts were either straight, as today's, or occasionally flared, a flare which caused the hem to flip as she walked briskly to some destination.

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