Mr No-Relationship, Part 12 – Firefighting

If you’ve been regularly following this story, you’ll know that Lucy’s in Kenya, where she met, and fell head over heels for, a charismatic Australian named Brad.

And everything was unicorns and rainbows and skipping hand-in-hand through meadows of wildflowers until last weekend, when she and Brad had a disagreement about drink-driving, which turned into a massive screaming fight, and just like that the whole glittering house of cards has come crashing down in a fiery shitstorm of blood-soaked misery and destruction.

Ok, maybe that’s a little melodramatic, but it was bad.  Really fucking bad.  And if you don’t believe me, you can catch up here, or start from the top here.

Aftermath

All week Brad barely messages her, and Lucy’s distraught.  Anna, who is now rapidly becoming her lifeline, checks up on her.

You may well wonder why Lucy does not simply call Brad out for being a cunt and dump his sorry arse.  But feelings aren’t rational.  Lucy’s spent the last two weeks dismantling her walls brick by brick, allowing herself to trust him, and to picture a future with him, perhaps not long term, but certainly at least three months of holiday romantic bliss.  And once you’ve allowed hope into your life, it’s incredibly difficult to let it go.

What Lucy simply cannot comprehend is how Brad can have managed such an eye-watering U-turn in such a short amount of time.  Just a few days ago he was telling his mum about her and asking her not to date other people.  And now, in less time than it takes a Tinder veteran to fire off a dick pic, he’s done a complete about-face, accusing her of being too intense, and telling her he never wanted a relationship. It doesn’t make any sense! 

What makes the whole thing so much worse is that in spite of her doubts, Lucy had allowed herself to believe that this might be her time.  She’d thought that, finally, there was light at the end of the tunnel, but instead it turned out to be an oncoming train.  And now she’s been mown down by it and is lying dazed and bleeding by the side of the track, unable to comprehend what’s just happened.

Firefighting

Brad spends the week texting her sporadically, pointless crap about his day or his ongoing search for an apartment.  Meanwhile Lucy ties herself up in knots that would make a bondage fetishist weep for joy, ferociously overthinking the content and timing of every reply, trying to figure out exactly what form of words, and what length of silence will help get things back to the way they were, while at the same time also trying to present a cool and casual front that completely hides the obsessive crazy that’s beginning to seep out from every pore.

The tactics seem to work, because he finally agrees to meet her for dinner on Friday evening. This is definitely progress, but it presents Lucy with a new dilemma. Until now, their routine has been that when Lucy’s travelled into the city centre to spend the evening with Brad, she’s always taken an overnight bag and stayed at his hotel.

But now what?

Should she take a bag or not? Is this thing over, or was the argument just a blip? If she takes a bag she could look presumptuous or too keen when she should be playing it cool… but if she doesn’t and things are back to normal, she might have to schlep all the way home afterwards when what she really wants to do is stay over and have makeup sex.

Again, she texts Anna for advice.

Of course even though Anna’s advice is absolutely sound, Lucy’s a prize-winning expert in never taking the good advice, so she takes the overnight bag. Which of course Brad spots the second she arrives at the restaurant.

“What did you bring that for?”
Fuck.
“Well…” she stammers. “I thought I should be prepared, just in case.”

Mayday! Mayday! Abort!

He looks decidedly unimpressed, but kisses her on the cheek anyway and sits back down.
“So, how’s your week been?” he asks awkwardly.

Lucy’s week has, of course, been utter shite. She’s spent every waking moment cultivating nuclear-level angst about the argument, re-analysing every word and every second of the previous weekend, and missing Brad like a body part that’s been amputated. Now that he’s in front of her again, all she wants to do is wrap herself up in him and never let him go, but of course she can’t tell him any of that.

“Yeah, it was ok thanks,” she manages, lamely. “I sorted out the photos from last weekend, do you want to see?”

She makes a point of showing him pictures from their loved-up weekend in Lake Naivasha, back when everything was rosy and the dream was still intact. Maybe seeing them looking so perfect will remind him of how great they are together?

Can’t blame a girl for trying, right?

It doesn’t appear to work. Brad continues to be a grumpy fucker, complaining about his job, the traffic, and his mate who had the cheek to organise an engagement party that Brad can’t go to. When the waiter comes, he orders a bottle of wine without consulting Lucy, and where once she found this cute (He knows what I like! He’s confident and takes charge!), now it feels controlling. This is definitely a man who’s used to getting his own way, and doesn’t like to be challenged.

Brad winces and rubs the back of his neck. “Man! My neck is fucked!”
“Aches and pains?” Lucy tries a flirtatious tease. “You must be getting old!”

“No, I think it’s because I used to get wasted all the time, and now I don’t so much. Back then I was fine. So clearly I need to get drunk more.”

He’s sort of joking, except he isn’t.  And Lucy knows full well that a hard-living party animal who likes to stay out all night smoking and getting wasted is definitely not for her.  The problem is, although there are red flags popping up all over the place like wasps at a picnic, she’s already fallen for him.  Her head knows he’s a bad ‘un, but her heart simply won’t listen.  She fancies him like fuck, but why does she always seem to pick the wrong guys?

Analysis

As the wine flows the atmosphere starts to thaw, but Lucy still feels a huge brick of anxiety in her solar plexus. Brad’s showing no sign of wanting to discuss or even acknowledge what happened at the weekend, which means Lucy’s going to have to bring it up. But how, and when?

They finish dinner, and the waitress brings over the bill.  It’s now or never.  But first, an emergency nervous wee – it wouldn’t do at all to have to break for one mid-conversation.  She runs to the loo, her heart a lead block, her brain nervously running through what she wants to say.

When she gets back, Brad wants to go outside for a cigarette. It’s like he knows what’s coming, and is trying to procrastinate. “Is that allowed?” he asks, passive aggressively.

“You’re a free agent, you don’t need my permission!” she exclaims.
“It’s only my second of the day, you know.”
What does he want, a fucking medal?

When he returns, she takes a deep breath and just dives in.

“I think we should talk about what happened last weekend…”

“It was really shitty,” he says. “I didn’t get involved with you to get into situations like that. I only ever wanted to have fun, and instead I ended up feeling terrible because I hurt you, and you were really upset.”

“Of course I was upset!  You shouted at me, and it felt like you weren’t respecting my views at all.  I’ve never been shouted at like that before, never!  But actually I’m more upset about how it’s been handled since. Disagreements will happen, of course, it’s how you deal with them that matters. I tried to clear the air, but you wouldn’t talk to me, instead you shot me down like I’m one of your kids!”

Lucy’s like the captain of a sinking ship: she can see the boat is going down, and she’s frantically bailing for all she’s worth as the water sloshes in over the side.

“Well I told you, I didn’t want to discuss it. You didn’t listen to me then and you’re not fucking listening to me now! This has got too intense and I don’t like it.  I’ve had so much shit from my previous relationships, and all I want now is to have fun, not be in shitty situations like we’re in right now.”

The water’s pouring in now, and Lucy’s drowning. All she can do is try to find some way to stay afloat.

“Well then maybe we should just call it quits, because if you just want to have fun, then it sounds like you’re not ready to be in a relationship, even a short-term one.”

“I like you and I want to keep seeing you,” he says, his temper clearly rising again. “But no, I don’t want to be in a relationship.”

“I’m not sure I really see the difference here,” Lucy tells him. “I’m only here for three months, so it shouldn’t get too serious, but if we are going to see each other all the time and not see other people, then yes, that’s a relationship, whether you like the word or not.”

“I’ve told you, this is too serious and I don’t want that. I can’t deal with getting hurt again. We need to dial it back.”

Lucy’s now trying to salvage what she can from the wreckage.  She’s desperate to cling onto something, anything, so if what he wants is someone to ‘have fun’ with, maybe she will just have to settle for that.

“Well that’s fine,” she concedes, trying to pretend like this was what she had in mind all along. “Of course we can just have fun, but I do need you to tell me what’s going on, you need to communicate with me, you can’t just disappear like you have all week.”

“Okay,” Brad agrees, “But no planning.”

No fucking planning? Who the fuck does he think she is? Some pathetic little girl who’ll be at his beck and call any time he fancies a shag? No cunting chance in hell is she going put up with that kind of bullshit.

She tells him so. Though without quite so much swearing.

“If you want to see me, you’re going to have to book me in. Otherwise I will make plans with other people and we will never see each other. If you’re not ok with that, then I suggest we just call the whole thing off.”

“But I don’t want to do that,” he mutters in a small voice.
“OK then,” she smiles.

It feels like a pyrrhic victory, but at least they seem to have reached a deal.  Lucy seals it by leaning in and kissing him.  He kisses her back, and immediately the blood rises to all her important places.

Fuck! Why is he such a twat? And why does he have this ridiculous effect on me?

Hidden Talents

They go on to a late night bar for more drinking and, hopefully, making up. Lucy’s aim now is to help him forget all about the argument by reminding him how much fun she is, so she drinks three cocktails and flirts as though her life depends on it. A song comes on and Brad starts singing along, and it turns out he has an incredible voice, exactly like Brad Roberts from the Crash Test Dummies, which Lucy finds desperately sexy. They get drunk and flirt and he chain smokes, which Lucy puts up with because everything is going well and he has his hand on her thigh. And in the taxi back to his hotel at 3 am he falls asleep with his head in her lap, and she strokes his hair and feels hopelessly smitten, and hopelessly lost.

She knows now that he’s trouble, that he’s not The One after all, and her heart grieves for the hope that she’s lost, for the death of that fleeting moment where she allowed herself to believe that maybe she’d found her person, all the way out here in Africa, and would never be lonely again. She knows that was bullshit, and yet somehow she seems to have agreed to carry on regardless, on his terms now, in spite of him being an man-child who can’t have an adult disagreement without turning into an angry shouting cunt.

Whether she can cope with ‘casual’ though, without getting hurt, is another question entirely.

Brunch Date

Lucy wakes at 9.30. They’re due to meet Anna and the rest of the gang for brunch at 12, but Brad is dead to the world. In the hope of waking him gently and getting some morning sex, she snuggles into him, but he didn’t even brush his teeth last night and he stinks of rancid stale fags, so she rolls away again.

He grumbles but doesn’t open his eyes, and moves over to cuddle her, but the stench makes her gag, so she pushes him away.

“You smell gross,” she tells him. She could possibly have said it slightly more gently, but Lucy’s never been one to mince her words. She hopes he’ll get up and brush his teeth and then come back to bed and fuck her, but he just goes back to sleep.

By 10.30 he still hasn’t moved, so she gives up and has a shower, passive aggressively bashing and clanging so that he’ll get the message. That doesn’t work either.

They end up being half an hour late for lunch and now Lucy’s pissed off again. Normally she’d stay Sunday night at his and travel to work with him on Monday morning, but this time she decides to bring her bag with her, in case she decides to go home.

Keeping it casual, right? Isn’t that the new rule?

In the taxi he grabs her hand and places it on his crotch. He’s got a hard-on the size of a prize-winning cucumber at the county fair.  “Fuck I’m horny,” he says.

Lucy is furious.  She’s literally spent the whole morning trying to get him to fuck her, and now this?! What. A. Cunt.

“Well why didn’t you say so earlier?”
“I was sleepy”
“Oh, well we’ll just have to make up for it later then…” she says with a wink. Maybe she will be going back to his after all. Hopefully straight after lunch.

But as usual she ends up disappointed.  Lunch turns into a full afternoon drinking session, which turns into more drinks back at Anna’s house, and Lucy’s forced to trail along after Brad as he gets more and more pissed.  She really doesn’t want to be a party pooper, but she’s tired and a bit hung over, and all she really wants to do is go back to Brad’s hotel for a nap and that sex that she’s been promised.  It doesn’t help that drunk Brad is incredibly flirty and affectionate, which gives her hope, but every time she suggests making a move, he bats her away with a “What’s the rush?”

Lucy’s starting to get tired of all his drinking and smoking, so she decides to pull away.  He wanted casual, right?  But of course Brad doesn’t like this one bit.  When she moves away to talk to other people, he complains that she’s ignoring him.  She talks about her plans for future weekend trips, and is careful to say ‘I’ instead of ‘we’, and he gets huffy. “Oh so you’re making plans without me now, are you?’ he grumbles.

Yes, yes I fucking am, you total cunt.  You told me you didn’t want to make plans. Which is it to be?!

Eventually she’s had enough. She’s tired and fucked off and he’s being a total dick, so she decides to go home.  She hopes that by telling him she’s leaving, he’ll finally get the message and offer to come with her, but he’s too busy being the life and soul of this particular party to care.  He merely walks her to the taxi, gives her a cigaretty kiss, and tells her to text him when she gets back safely.

She decides not to bother.

Next time: Showdown.

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21 Comments

  1. 29th September 2018 / 9:34 am

    Bloody hell, this guy. Lucy, start to finish, it pained me to read this. Sorry you had to go through all that 🙁

    • Lucy
      Author
      29th September 2018 / 10:40 am

      Thanks lovely. And sorry! I didn’t mean to cause you any pain!

  2. Lindsay
    29th September 2018 / 10:51 am

    All the angry face emojis! 😡😠 I know you’re in it, so you don’t see it (or didn’t at the time), but Jesus, this dude is a prize tosser. And it genuinely sucks to say that because it doesn’t feel like you’re writing about the same person from the previous 2 weeks! I read that almost constantly shouting ‘Nooooooooo’ at the screen, which I guess with hindsight you’ve possibly done yourself now, but there were so many outs you could have taken just in that short space of time this post covered, I wish you’d had a guardian angel or been in the headspace to Just. Say. No. I’m sure all of your regular readers, like me, feel quite protective of you after following this particular story and it really pained me to read how poorly he treated you. He’s a child (what self-respecting adult man sends messages through his friend?!) and has no business playing with your heart like that. 😠 (I hope I won’t need to eat my words when he suddenly returns to ‘normal’ in future posts!) I’m so sorry he’s turned out not to be what you expected or hoped for – that mask slipped pretty quickly, which may be something you’re grateful for when looking back at it with 20:20 hindsight vision eventually. Huge hugs!

    • Lucy
      Author
      30th September 2018 / 8:40 pm

      Ahh, thanks lovely, you are too bloody sweet! And no, don’t worry, he won’t be coming back. Not unless he has a complete personality transplant first! I’m really very touched that you feel so protective of me, thank you so much for your support and for continuing to read, comment and share. Of course looking back I should have had more self-respect and walked away much sooner, but it’s really hard to admit defeat when you thought you’d found the thing you’ve been looking for… you want to keep holding onto it if you possibly can, even if all the evidence suggests it’s not what you thought it was!

      • Lindsay
        30th September 2018 / 8:57 pm

        Oh absolutely, I know that all too well unfortunately 😕 I guess that’s why it was hard to read because I think we’ve all done it to ourselves and can’t recognise it at the time, but can easily spot it when someone else is falling victim to the same thing. I’m glad to hear he’s not coming back, he doesn’t deserve you!

  3. Jodie
    29th September 2018 / 12:40 pm

    Why are these men like this!?? It’s so frustrating. They are completely oblivious to how you feel. Just because you want a bit of respect automatically turns you into some sort of bunny boiler in their eyes. What an idiot. I totally know how you feel about dismantling the wall only to realize you should have made it even bloody thicker!

    • Lucy
      Author
      30th September 2018 / 8:37 pm

      I have no idea! I can only imagine what he must have been like in his past relationships – and I’d love to have a word with his ex to find out her side of the story… I bet she’s only ‘psycho’ because he made her so!

  4. 29th September 2018 / 3:18 pm

    UGH THIS GUY. How did you not kick him in the teeth?

    • Lucy
      Author
      30th September 2018 / 8:36 pm

      Because I was blinded by charisma and wishing, and because I don’t like to cause a fuss…

  5. Sarah
    29th September 2018 / 4:46 pm

    Oh darling I love reading your blog, you were absolutely me 10yrs ago. I do hope you kick this douche into touch. He’s out there somewhere honey x

    • Lucy
      Author
      30th September 2018 / 8:35 pm

      Ah thank you so much for your very kind words, Sarah. I do hope he’s out there, but I fear I may have missed him…

  6. Stephanie
    30th September 2018 / 9:30 am

    I hope you are well and truly out of this by the time we read the account. Absolutely a different man than the one 2 weeks prior…as I said before emotional whiplash, the only way to describe the feeling. I recently experienced the 180 degree turn myself. Not fun. Hang in there!

    • Lucy
      Author
      30th September 2018 / 8:34 pm

      Thanks, Stephanie! And yes, it’s really weird how people’s behaviour can change so dramatically. That’s why I wanted to tell the story in detail, blow by blow, as it were, to show every stage of the transformation from messaging to excitement to loved-up to about-turn. Hopefully some of it resonated and sorry you went through it too.

  7. Hollie
    30th September 2018 / 4:14 pm

    Thanks for reminding me why I’m happy not to be dating a smoker 🤮

    • Lucy
      Author
      30th September 2018 / 8:33 pm

      Yes, it’s so rank, isn’t it!

  8. stephen McDonald
    30th September 2018 / 9:07 pm

    Childish Aussie smoker -Ahhhh!
    You deserve so much better.
    Dare I say, you need to expect better from the start?

    • Lucy
      Author
      5th October 2018 / 8:26 pm

      Thanks Stephen! To be fair, it was great at the start! He was super keen and responsive and treated me like royalty! So I’m not sure how I was supposed to know… until it was too late….

  9. Barbara Iwowo
    1st October 2018 / 6:45 pm

    4 weeks doth not maketh a relationship !!!!

    • Lucy
      Author
      5th October 2018 / 8:28 pm

      I’ve known people get attached in far less. The Ex and I were an item (and I met all his friends) on the 4th date. We were together nearly 6 years. One of my best friends met a guy on a 2-week holiday. By the end of the holiday she changed her flights to stay longer. They’re now married with 2 kids. It happens.

  10. Jodie
    4th October 2018 / 4:39 pm

    This was difficult to read Lucy …. you are a million times better than this … but at the same time it’s refreshing to know that such a similar situation can happen to all women and I’m not alone in this dating head fuck of a game

    • Lucy
      Author
      5th October 2018 / 8:30 pm

      Thank you Jodie – though I’m sorry it was difficult to read. I wanted to share it in detail because I think it’s useful to see step by step how you can get into a situation like this – and if it helps anyone else to spot the warning signs or feel less alone then my work here is done!

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Names and some minor details have been changed to protect the innocent. And sometimes the guilty.
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