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Final Bearing

Final Bearing



Sandy Holmes’ nose was practically touching the VW’s foggy windshield. She furiously wiped at the glass with the back of her hand and squinted into the wet darkness, struggling to make out the street signs as they slipped by. The address she was looking for should be right around the next corner if she had her directions right.

Damn the Seattle traffic! Why was every-damn-body out on this Friday night? And why wouldn’t the jerk with the blinding, bright headlights behind her just go on around?

Okay, so the Lake Washington area was unfamiliar territory. But she owed it to herself to finally break some barriers, to explore some new ground, and tonight, by God, was the night. The computer-programming job over in Bellevue was all right, she supposed. But since the day she had been assigned her cubical and issued her desktop box and her own copy of the company employee manual, work had soaked up every drop of what little life she had. Fun was a trip to an all night grocery for salad-in-a-bag and a quart of pistachio ice cream.

Forget about it!

The rain had dwindled now to little more than an aggravating mist. Seattle sunshine. Sandy snorted in spite of herself. What did the Seattle Chamber of Commerce say? About the same annual rainfall per year here as they had in Washington, D.C.? Yes, but D.C. got theirs in occasional gulps. Seattle’s precipitation was insistent, constant, and seemingly never-ending. A fitting metaphor, she often thought, for her job.

The roadway stretching out in front of her glistened black beneath the streetlights. Sandy tried not to envy the happy couples that walked hand in hand up and down the sidewalk, oblivious to the weather. They were likely heading for the cozy little restaurants that lined the street and backed up to Lake Washington. Lights and fancy neon flickered invitingly in their windows and she was sure she would smell grilled fish and alder wood smoke if she cranked down the Bug’s window. Those were happy aromas, associated with dates and friends and a life. She left the windows up.

Sandy was glad, though, that Linda Farragut convinced her to give up an evening, to slip off work early for a change and enjoy herself. Linda was the only one at CedarTech who seemed to be any fun at all. She had told her about this party so it had to be worth the drive. And not a second too soon. Sandy’s social life was for shit. It had been so ever since she graduated head of her class from Iowa City Community College. “Number one nerd!” the yearbook had dubbed her beneath a horrid photo from back when she wore black-rimmed glasses and her hair in a tight, prim bun. So be it. The associate degree in computer science was supposed to be her ticket to success in high-techdom. So far, though, it had been nothing but a drag.

“Stock options! Stock options!” the screen saver on the computer monitor in her cubicle shrieked at her all day, a constant reminder of why she did what she did.

Now it was finally time for this nerd to let her hair down. The hormones had been hemmed up for too long. Nobody knew her here. Linda had even begged off at the last minute. Sandy would be as anonymous as she had ever been in her life.

There it was! Lake Street. She made the turn abruptly with no signal and the guy with the bright headlights angrily blew his horn at her. At least his high beams were gone from her mirror and she could see much more clearly as she searched for the house.

Now, what was it? Two blocks up, large brick on the left.

OK, that’s it. Cars in the drive and parked up and down both sides of the street. There was obviously a party there. Good to have a VW. Slide it right in there in that half-a-parking-space, behind the Lexus. She felt her heart beat a notch faster. Time to party.

Maybe there would be a nice guy there that Mom would like. Better still, maybe one she would absolutely hate.

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