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I couldn’t refuse when he was this close, his warm breath tickling my skin. It was like I was in heat and couldn’t resist the stupid. God I could never be an animal, losing total control anytime the chance to breed wagged itself in my face. I needed to get my shit together and quick. This whole escapade needed to end, and I needed to go back to the real world. Monday was fast approaching and I didn’t have time to leave this open ended. I pulled my face from his proximity and stood up.
“No. No dates. I’m not indulging in this psychotic play you’ve created to amuse yourself. You had your fun. Now get out.”
To my shock, he didn’t argue, but stood to leave.
“Fine, Kate. But when you walk home from another date feeling sorry for yourself and thinking about how pointless your life is, don’t look for me over your shoulder. I know what I’ve done and I wanted to help you the only way I know how. I can’t help if you don’t want me to.”
He shrugged blankly and walked out the door. I locked it in haste, walking wide eyed into the kitchen.
And Kate lived happily ever after because no one should let a crazy stalker into their lives. It’s unnatural and unhealthy no matter how hot they look.
At least that was what I needed to keep telling myself because heaven help me, I actually felt sad that he didn’t try to fight me. The sense of abandonment started creeping back and feelings started to happen. I looked in my empty fridge before I remembered I didn’t have any food. I sat on the couch and browsed Netflix, erasing life with my ice cream. Just like every weekend, I would just submerge so deeply into my binge-worthy TV that I would forget whatever disappointment had taken place. This was my talent, my expertise. You’re so good at pretending you’ve forgotten who you actually are.
“Damn it,” I muttered, powering off Netflix.
I couldn’t even do that. I stood up. I walked to my room and changed into real clothes. I grabbed my keys and my purse. For the first time in over a year, I felt the need to go grocery shopping. I mean, I couldn’t sit on the couch and allow myself to fantasize about a murderer, and how could I eat my repressed feelings when I’d already finished my ice cream? I reminded myself it was time to get back to reality like the adult I was. Dee would be shocked to hear about my grown up accomplishment come Monday.
I looked at my cell phone as I walked, thumbing through endless Facebook posts of weddings, babies, and happy couples. At thirty, I was way behind my circle of friends and their agendas. I smirked and scrolled bitterly, waiting for a small animal to improve my mood, or someone else’s injury to make me laugh. When nothing succeeded in curing my bitchy attitude, I shoved my phone in my back pocket and walked through the automatic doors of the local store and grabbed a cart. I walked up and down the crunchy mom catering aisles.
“Sugar free, fat free, no flavor, gluten absent, hemp milk infused bullshit,” I muttered under my breath.
I guess my carb loving, ice cream addicted thighs were taking Round One of cleaning myself up. I grabbed some coconut milk ice cream and a gluten free frozen pizza. Baby steps. Why did he have to ruin what was going so well for me? Why did he have to rip me out of my denial? I was good with robotic. I was good with using people. He didn’t have a right to try and make me better. He was a horrible person. I reached into my pocket and pulled out my phone, throwing a box of granola into the cart. I tapped the search engine on Facebook and hovered over the keyboard. Did I really want to know more about him? He probably had a perfect life, and I’d only get mad at all the other countless girls he had probably tricked into sleeping with him. I put my phone back in my pocket.
“Organic whole milk, eight hundred dollars.” Let’s put that in the cart too and pretend the organic part will make the rest of it less fattening. Wasn’t it trendy to be thicker now? I was good, golden, just what the boys wanted. Maybe I’d even let the next one have a second date with this new enthusiasm for life. I internally rolled my eyes like the sarcastic bitch I was.
I checked out with my fancy new groceries and walked home. Sweat quickly beaded at my temples as I tried not to act like the bags were one hundred pounds. I was a strong, independent female who definitely didn’t need a chiseled, fox eyed man to help her carry them up the stairs. I looked over my shoulder. Eli stuck to his word, he was not hovering anywhere. Grand! I still couldn’t believe that had happened. What a freaking cluster my life had become. I opened the door and wasted no time in dumping my findings in their appropriate spot. Except the ice cream. The ice cream came with me to the couch.
The fifth season of some vampire love show droned on Netflix as I sucked on my spoon, once again hovering over the keyboard of my phone.
I typed in his first name and waited for any fingernail sized photo to look familiar. Fourth from the top. Tap.
Up popped good old Eli’s Facebook page complete with headshot profile photo and inspirational quote in the background. I laughed to myself. What a stereotypical wanna-be. I scrolled cautiously downward, unsurprised that all his visible friends were beautiful women. He hadn’t changed his occupation from theater production to stupid waiter at a crappy Italian joint. I guess I wouldn’t either if I were him. It felt good to know that he possessed the ability to feel shame.
The most recent post was from years ago, linked to an Instagram account. I was in it now, so I might as well go deep into my own cyber stalking. I was getting semi-even with his devious scheming.
A dark satisfaction curled my lips as i squinted at more recent photos. I scrolled slowly, trying to grasp what kind of life he was granted after ruining mine and ending Luke’s.
“Cancer, cure cancer, cancer, positive life quote, food pic, reading a book pic,” I mumbled.
Car crash. Our car crash. Two years ago. I clicked to enlarge it and read the comment below.
“Worst day of my life, and not just because I ruined my dream car…” I read out loud.
There was more, but it wasn’t loading and I couldn’t click it open. I thumbed around trying to refresh the photo. Red heart. Shit. I was caught liking his photo. From two years ago. I shrugged uncomfortably and committed, tapping the box to add a comment. I had to own it.
Okay. Dinner. Saturday night.
I typed the worst commitment I could possibly ever make. I tossed my phone on the table and stared out the windows behind my television. What the hell was going to happen now?