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A nervous young woman went to the police station and made a complaint. An old policeman comforted her. Then she relaxed a little, but still "was wrapped tight and ticking ..."

What does "ticking" mean here? and what does "this one" refer to?

Single White Female

“My name is Allison Jones, and I live at One Seventy-two West Seventy-fourth Street.”

He smiled. “And you sound like a very nice and well-prepared twelve-year-old reciting in front of the class. Relax, Miss Jones. Like the PR ads say, your police department cares. This old cop does, anyway.”

“Not so old,” she said, smiling back as the tension loosened its grip on her. The set of her shoulders changed beneath the blue coat, became less squared and then slumped wearily. But the rigid cast of her jaw and mouth remained grim. She was wrapped tight and ticking, this one.

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    The thought of a ticking time bomb comes to mind. A time bomb that is ticking may be outwardly peaceful, but ready to explode any second. Thus this woman, outwardly calm, was hiding something inside, some emotions or come shocking information. Jan 30 '19 at 8:07
  • @CowperKettle, understand immediately. 👍
    – Zhang
    Jan 30 '19 at 8:15
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    @CowperKettle- I think that "this one" at the end of the passage may refer to the unpronounced word "time bomb" (wrapped up and activated)=She was (like) a time bomb, wrapped up tightly and set into motion.
    – Victor B.
    Jan 31 '19 at 14:38
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The thought of a ticking time bomb comes to mind. A time bomb that is ticking may be outwardly peaceful, but ready to explode any second. Thus this woman, outwardly calm, was hiding something inside, some emotions or come shocking information.

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  • If it was not that I can't accept an answer soon after posting, I would immediately accept this one.
    – Zhang
    Jan 30 '19 at 8:18

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