THRILLER

Love Obsession E4

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EPISODE 4 – BREAKUP

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Separation

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Before driving away, Heather sends a text message to Ryan, confirming their Monday morning gym appointment.

Heather “Sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable. I’m looking forward to our morning routine.

He does not reply. But she is content that her productive stalking revealed that no other woman visited Ryan.

When Ryan shows up at the gym on Monday with earbuds to tune out any distractions, Heather is there waiting, but much more chill. She just waves from afar and does not sneak up on him as in the past. In fact, she does not bother him during his entire workout.

She does join him at the juice bar. “Are you comfortable with the space I gave you this morning?”

“Yes, I appreciate it,” Ryan responds.

“Are you still going to help me hang my picture this weekend?”

“I don’t plan on it. But I’ll take a look at my schedule.”

“Okay. See you on Wednesday.”

When Ryan leaves, he receives a calendar alert inviting him to ‘Picture hanging’ on Saturday at 1 PM, with Otis college as the location.

Fearing she may be driving Ryan away into someone else’s arms, Heather continues covert surveillance. In addition to her smartphone and charger, she packs a pro camera with telephoto lens, monocular, thermos of coffee, beef jerky, protein bars, crackers, a liter of water, and a Pibella FUD to saturate a tree.

Heather’s main concern is the prevention of a visit from Ryan’s ex or any rebound female. So she sends a couple of light texts per day to reveal a little more about herself.

On Monday…

Heather It was good seeing you at the gym. I’m not just a model, you know. I was on the swim team in high school. We won national championships.

Hours later…

Heather Something else about me, but you must share too. Two years ago, I was over 200 pounds. Now I’m under 160. Want to know how much today?”

Ryan sends no reply. Heather only watches the bathroom video feed with no audio, when the GPS on Ryan’s phone indicates he’s home. The angle provides a view from his chest up when standing. The lens gets blurred by fog when he showers.

On Tuesday, she tries to break through Ryan’s resistance with humorous texts…

Heather What do you call a cow who paints horses? A moo-neigh!

Heather Knock, knock…

Ryan Who’s there?

She is happy to get a reply but doesn’t have a funny response, so she sends the photo of him standing next to her drawing in the gallery with the message:

Heather The woman worth this?

Ryan I am still paying for the art. You can keep it. See you in the morning.

The text exchange gives her hope that his anger is subsiding. The next morning at the gym, she meets him at the treadmill next to his and asks, “Is this one available?”

“Go ahead,” he says before inserting his earbuds. She duplicates his speed and incline without surpassing him. Panting during his cool-down stride, he removes his earbuds and asks, “How much…? Your weight… from the text message… how much did you lose?”

“Down to 154 pounds this week. My goal is 130.”

“Excellent, you should eat less pizza,” he jokes.

“And more delicious ramen pho.”

At the pool, Ryan realizes that he had been competing with an athlete. “I guess there is no way I had any chance of outdoing you with laps in this large pool. How many can you do?”

“Dozens, probably. I don’t go for exhaustion. I swim for speed.”

“I know you will win but I’ll try to put up a challenge for five laps.”

Pulling down her goggles she says, “I’ve seen you swim. I’ll spot you two laps and join your third to keep it interesting.”

“You’re on!” Ryan shouts, conserving energy for the third lap.

When Heather dives in, she slices through the water like a hot knife through butter. On their fifth lap, she is closing the gap while he is losing speed. When she catches up, she slows to his pace so they end with a tie.

“Whew! You’re good. You could have won. Why’d you slow down?”

“I didn’t come to show you up in front of these spectators. It was a good workout, though.”

“I appreciate you not totally humiliating me. Let’s hit the showers and meet up at the juice bar.”

While sipping a green smoothie, Ryan remarks, “You’ve made outstanding progress in weight loss. You handle yourself like a true athlete with the cardio, weights, and competition. As a suggestion, perhaps you can focus on muscle toning for the last 10 or 15 pounds you want to lose.”

Heather replies, “Thank you. So I’ll switch to more repetitions of lighter weights.”

“Exactly.”

“My rippling muscles should result in some nice art class drawings. You should come some time.”

“I’m not a student, and can’t imagine spectators are allowed.”

“You’re an artist. Just tell them you want to audit the class. Come with me, I’ll get you in this Thursday.”

Dating

“I’ll have to take time off from work. When does class begin?”

“I am modeling a few classes. The latest class is in the afternoon from 2 to 3 o’clock. You can pick me up from home at 1:30, or 13:30 military time.”

“Okay, I’ll do that.”

“What color are you wearing to the gym on Friday?”

“Pick one and text me later. I’m heading to work now.”

“Okay, see you when you pick me up tomorrow.”

On Thursday at the college, the instructor allows Ryan to join. While Heather prepares in another room, the instructor tells the class that the medium for the day is colored pastel. Heather drops her robe and students maintain straight faces as she strikes a pose.

“This is the first of three poses. Begin!” the instructor shouts. She then slowly walks among the twenty young artists without critiquing them.

After the class, Heather exits to dress herself. The instructor commends Ryan on his technique. “Next week we will mold clay busts for an hour. You are welcome to return.”

Continued

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