Lucy’s friend Amir recently broke up with Julie, his partner of 10 years with whom he has two kids.
To read the story from the beginning, click here
Lucy and Amir have always enjoyed a healthy but entirely platonic mutual appreciation, but over the last few months the tone of his texts has turned increasingly flirty. While Lucy rather enjoys this (who wouldn’t enjoy being complimented by an attractive man?) she doesn’t know if he’s actually interested in her, or if he’s just flirting because he’s newly-single and wants an ego boost.
She hopes it’s the former. Amir is smoking hot. Not to mention being talented, clever and funny, and one of her most brilliant friends. Definitely husband material.
Recently, Amir took his kids on holiday. Just before he went away, he sent Lucy a maddeningly cryptic request.
Then he fucked off to France without so much as a peep for two bastarding weeks, leaving Lucy in a totally loopy turmoil of confusion and mystery.
WTF did he mean? Was that his way of asking her out on a date? Does he fancy her? Does he LIKE her? Is he shagging lithe bronzed French girls while on holiday? (ooh la la). Will he ever mention the topic again?
She tries to put him out of her mind by going on other dates and drinking a LOT of wine. She also spends a frustrated Sunday trying to distract herself by composing a lengthy post for a work-related blog she writes (not this one, just FYI). But nothing works.
Two weeks drag by, and then just as Lucy’s about to call a doctor to get treatment for the RSI she’s developed from constantly checking her phone, he texts:
Since he hasn’t messaged her for two weeks, the correct thing to do would be to wait at least a day or two before replying.
Or even a couple of hours would do.
She manages two.
Amir can always be relied upon for an ego boost. It’s one of his many qualities.
He wants a ‘visual’? Lucy wonders if she should pretend she’s busy casually rubbing scented body butter into her freshly-waxed legs, dressed only in a skimpy silk nightie.
She’s pretty sure Amir would be far less impressed to know that she’s actually wearing slightly bobbly stretch jersey PJs, and that her legs would probably give him stubble rash.
Before she has time to reply, another message pings.
Lucy’s pulse quickens. He’s never told her he misses her before. WTF is going on?!
She wants to find out more, but really bloody hates text tennis. If you’re having a conversation back and forth, and neither of you is busy, you should just pick up the fucking phone and speak in person like normal people. Or at least, like people who can remember a time before texting was invented.
She wonders whether in the future they’ll start selling phones without a call function. Wouldn’t be bloody surprised. They probably already do. Fuck I’m old.
He calls her immediately. Fortunately just a phonecall, not FaceTime video. Amir definitely doesn’t need to see make-up-free, pyjama-clad Lucy. At least, not yet.
“Hey!” She can hear the smile in his voice.
“Well hello there! How was your holiday?”
“It was good! Well, a bit weird, but good.”
“Julie came too, for a bit, and for a while it was like we were a family again. Except we’re not any more.”
Could he be having regrets? If so, Lucy needs to stay well clear. Happily, since he’s ‘just a mate’, there’s one easy way to find out.
“Are you having regrets?”
“Actually no. There was this one moment when we were all together in the pool, me and her and the kids, and we were having a really nice time, and I did get this little pang… but it passed. And she left shortly afterwards and actually I felt quite relieved, like the pressure was off.”
Lucy gives herself a quiet little high five. Game on.
He asks her about work, and Brighton, and dating. They’re mates, so it’s entirely legit for Lucy to tell him all about the hundreds of men who are vying for her attention, the multiple matches she gets each day, the fuckboys who are pursuing her just for sex and the charming one she’s going on a second date with tomorrow night.
Can’t hurt that this sort of information might make him jealous, of course. And subtly let him know exactly how he needs to behave if he wants to stand a chance with her. Start the training early.
They end up chatting for an exceedingly pleasant hour before Lucy decides she ought to call it a night. Partly because it’s late, but mostly because she has a vague idea that this might be one of The Rules for catching a man. Something about how you should always end the conversation first to keep him wanting more?
Lucy doesn’t actually know much about The Rules and is pretty sure they’re complete outdated wank, but she can’t help wondering if there may be just a teensy element of sense to them.
And this time, she’s determined to do this right. If Amir is interested, like properly interested, he needs to come to her.
It seems to work. A day later, he texts to find out how her date went. Lucy tells him it went well, the guy was attractive, and she’s wondering whether she might have sex with him – since it’s been a while since she had any action. Is this oversharing?
All this flirting and hint dropping is flattering and entertaining, but Lucy wishes Amir would just man the fuck up and ask for an actual date.
He doesn’t, but they do agree to meet for a drink. Still keeping up the pretence that this is all entirely normal and the dynamic of their friendship has not changed in the slightest.
And since they are both British, they will probably carry like this until either one of them dies, or they both get smashed enough for the attraction to overpower the Britishness. Which would have to be pretty fucking smashed.
Amir says he has to work on Saturday morning but will be free by around 2pm. So they arrange to meet mid-afternoon and see where the day takes them. Neither makes plans for the evening. An all-day hang out, with no specific plans, just enjoying each other’s company (aka getting smashed). No one says the word ‘date’.
No one mentions the possibility of them getting wasted and falling into bed together. No one has even thought of that. That’s definitely not what either of them is hoping for. Absolutely no chance of that whatsoever. Nope, none.
None at all.
Lucy spends the week in hot anticipation. But then, on Friday, a bombshell.
Amir texts her: his working Saturday has been extended and he now has to be away all day, and possibly into the evening too.
Somewhat awkwardly, Lucy actually has a lunch date on Sunday.
She decides not to tell Amir this. It’s one thing for him to know she’s dating, but quite another for him to think she’s a total fucking whore.
But after all this build-up she badly wants to see him. The obvious solution would be just to cancel Lunch Date Guy and see Amir on Sunday instead. But again, there are The Rules. She mustn’t be too available. She must be mysterious and elusive and hard to get.
Lucy is none of those things, but she’s damn well going to give it a bloody good go. If this whole thing fucks up, it will NOT be her fault.
Mysterious and unavailable Lucy tells Amir she’s not free on Sunday. His only option is to make sure he gets out of work early enough on Saturday to see her that evening as originally planned. But Lucy knows full well that when it comes to work, Amir can be as flaky as a teenage lad with a severe case of eczema.
And she’s damned if she’s going to get dressed up and then wait around at home for him all evening like some fucking Cinderella dreaming of her prince. That would be Not Cool.
So she calls another friend and arranges to go for an early evening drink, before hopefully heading off to meet Amir. Should he decide to fucking rock up.
On Saturday afternoon she spends at least two hours trying to establish that tricky balance between perfect hair and makeup and looking like you’ve not made any kind of effort. Happily, since Lucy’s hair is rather unruly, and she’s still doing her makeup the way she taught herself when she was about fourteen (before YouTube tutorials were invented), the lack-of-effort look is relatively easy to achieve.
Lucy has a decent enough time drinking wine with the friend and a bunch of other randoms, but she can’t stop checking her phone for any word from Amir.
But there is silence. As predicted, flaky as fuck.
She stays out with the randoms for as long as she can be bothered, and then heads home. Just as she gets back, her phone beeps.
Crikey. That WAS a long day. And from the typos in his text it looks like it may have nearly broken him. So Lucy can’t be angry. Anyway, she had a nice enough evening, unlike poor, overworked Amir.
He doesn’t reply. On Sunday morning Lucy gets up, goes to the gym, and spends a pleasant half hour on the treadmill fantasising a scene in which she and Amir meet up and without any further ado he just walks straight up to her and kisses her.
And maybe he’s got some sort of sixth sense, because when she finishes her run she finds this on her phone:
Bit keen! But the repeated missed calls don’t freak her out in the slightest. If anything, they make her heart beat a little faster. Or maybe that’s just the running.
She calls him back. Amir apologises profusely for standing her up, and asks if there is any chance she’s free to meet him that day instead.
The temptation to bin her date with Lunch Date Guy is nearly overwhelming. But she reminds herself: Don’t. Be. Too. Available.
Also, it’s not cool to bin people on the date of the date. Guys have done that to her before and it’s properly shite behaviour. She won’t be that person, no matter how hot her better offer.
So they agree to meet for dinner that evening instead.
The Lunch Date passes in a blur. Lucy barely even notices the guy – she’s far too preoccupied with what might be about to happen that evening.
(To find out what happened, click here)