Start of possible romance ebook

Heidi, a 27-year-old fitness trainer, loved the rain, even though it made her feel lonelier than usual. Loneliness was a bittersweet emotion for Heidi: she was desperate to be loved and to love in return, but she loved the freedom to fantasize about her dream life, her dream home, her dream man, career.
 She lived in a small town in Michigan called Interlochen. It was about 20 minutes from Traverse City, where she worked. She rented a cabin from an old woman named Cindy, who was short, heavy, and a two pack a day smoker. She had a habit of stopping by the cabin with garbage bags full of half-eaten food: chips, Oreos, half-eaten casseroles, tubes of sausages.
 “I can’t eat this stuff.” Cindy said, gasping for air as she plopped the bags down in Heidi’s doorway. “Ever since my Barry died I can’t stop eating! Oh he was such a wonderful man, Heidi. He’d have loved you! He loved brunettes, and the way you wear it? All long and wavy? Oh, he was such a flirt, and a real smooth talker, you know? But loyal til the end, I tell ya. Anyway, you gotta get this garbage out of my face. I’m almost 300 lbs now! Can you believe it?” She shook her head, ashamed.
 “Look, Cindy,” Heidi said, “I’ll take that off your hands but you really need to quit smoking and get some exercise. I can make a program for you if you want?”
           “Exercise? I got bad ankles. Nah. And if I quit smoking I’ll gain even more weight! Face it, my goose is cooked.”
           “Well, why don’t you try a program like Weight Watchers? I’ve heard great things.”
 “Weight Watchers. Yeah, okay.” Cindy nodded, adjusting to the idea. “Can you fill out the paperwork for me?”
           “There’s no paperwork. You register online. Which I’d be happy to do for you, since I know you don’t have a computer.”
           “Thanks doll! Oh!” She clapped her hands in excitement. “My Zachary is coming to visit this weekend. I want you two to meet. Oh, you’d make such a beautiful couple!
 “Zach? Isn’t he a heroin addict?”
 “He’s in recovery. Takes that new medication..sub..something.
 “Yeah. That’s the one. So you’ll meet him? Come over for dinner Saturday night.”
 “Fine.” Heidi sighed with resignation. “Can I bring anything?”
           “Just your beautiful self, dear. Seven o’clock. And wear that dress, the one with the ruffles?” Cindy yelled as she waddled away to her minivan.

        The following day, August 9th, was the anniversary of her father’s death. He’d died six years ago in a car accident. Heidi was gutted when she found out, sliding down the kitchen cabinets, she grabbed a chair and flung it across the room.
 “Whoa, whoa, whoa,” her boyfriend, Ricky, came into the kitchen and crouched beside her.
 “Babe, what happened? Breathe, baby, breathe.”

Heidi tried to speak through the tears. “Dad,” she sniffled “He’s dead.” she blurted and continued crying.
 “Oh Heidi, I’m so sorry. But…he was kind of an asshole.” Rick said timidly.
 “What?” Heidi's face turned red. She stood up, grabbed a knife, and slowly walked toward him. “An asshole? An asshole!” she screamed.
 “Okay, let’s calm down,” his voice shook.
 “You know, he never thought you were good enough for me.” Heidi menaced. “With your gambling and your drinking and your stupid fucking job at the E-Z Mart!” Heidi collapsed and began crying again. “Get out, Ricky. Now! And don’t ever come back.”
          “But my–” Ricky started.
 “Out! She screamed. He scampered out the front door.
 That was the end of Ricky.

 That day she woke, kissed the picture of her Dad that stood at her bedside table, and said to the photo, “I miss you Dad.” She got ready, had some toast and coffee and left with Cindy’s bag of food to take to the food pantry.
 “Hey Heidi”  said Jeremy, the food pantry manager. “More Cindy stuff?
 “Yup. Can you use it?” Heidi sighed.
 “Oh I’m sure we can do something with it.” He grabbed the bag out of her hands.
 “Somethin’ wrong?”
 “Oh, it's the anniversary of my father’s death.” Heidi fidgeted with her hands.
 “I’m sorry, dear.” Jeremy gave her a hug.
 “Thanks. Oh, so guess what? Cindy’s trying to set me up with her son.”
 “Oh yeah? Should be interesting.” Jeremy said as he riffled through the bag of Cindy’s  leftovers.
 “You’re tellin’ me. He’s a former heroin addict.” Heidi told him, raising her eyebrows. “See ya next time, Jeremy!” she shouted as she headed out the door to work.

Saturday night rolled around. Heidi dressed herself in a black strapless dress and pink heels. Nervous, she poured herself a glass of Pinot Grigio before leaving. When she arrived Cindy came to the door. “What happened to the dress? Well, you look gorgeous anyway, doll. Zach’s making the salad. Come say hi!” Heidi followed Cindy into the kitchen.
 “Zach, Heidi. Heidi, Zach.” Cindy said, pushing us closer.
 Heidi was struck by how handsome he was–tall with blonde wavy hair brushed to one side, biceps bulging beneath his white button down shirt.

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