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Tick. The second hand moved in what seemed like slow motion while workers awaited envisioned freedom at five oclock. It was 4:59 and fifty-one seconds on a Friday afternoon. Poorly-concealed cell phones quickly shifted from vibrate to personalized ringtones. Tick. Prepared with their various wares for the weekend, associates anxiously watched, transfixed, till a promised escape. Envious supervisors requiring overtime peered out their doors pretending they wouldnt prefer to be inside a bar or pulling into their driveways at home. Cheerily gulping the last of her flat, lukewarm orange soda, curly-haired Kelly arose from her cubicle. Nearly in


unison, her fellow employees followed suit a few seconds before release would become official. Yet, their premature migration was close enough. No executives risked reprimanding the flock and being branded a despicable dictator or demanding douche. Fleeting glances of disapproval escorted begrudged exits and gaiety from the room. Chatter and laughter had eluded attack again. Ill see ya, guys, Kelly gaily announced, straggling slightly behind the group. Grumbles and lackluster smiles from all those tethered to desks whisked her away. Neither simmering hostilities nor nimble negativity could dampen Kellys light. Looking forward to another fabulous date with Vince later that night, she was feeling particularly perky. Kelly was fairly certain her boyfriend of three years would soon be knee-bound in the act of proposing. Theyd compared diamond rings. Plus, that day was their anniversary. Shed endured growing pains and taken brief breaks in stride. Two years, two months and twelve days her sister had seared into her memory deducting requested time for Vince to find himself and no longer suffer from her suffocation. Weekly dates and phone calls had interfered with his efforts to heartily play the field. And hed nearly felt guilty which he thought was hardly fair. He was a grown man! At least, thats what his mommy said.

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