Lucy’s been talking to Ben, who slid into her DMs on Twitter and miraculously turned out not to be a creepy stalker at all, but actually a charming, intelligent, thoughtful, sensitive, and all-round lovely guy.
Before she knew it, and in spite of her better judgement, Lucy found herself not only handing over her phone number and revealing her true identity to Ben, but also texting him constantly, chatting on the phone, and even – horrors! – developing feelings for the guy. A guy she’s never even met!
But as always there’s a fly in the ointment. While Ben’s been chatting to Lucy on Twitter, he’s also been on a few dates with Another Woman. It’s 2018, after all, and this is What People Do.
But it’s OK, because Ben’s assured Lucy that although he and The Other Girl have already been on four dates, he isn’t really feeling it, so it’s probably going to fizzle out soon, and then he and Lucy can meet up and fall wildly in love and live Happily Ever After without anything standing in their way.
After just one last date with The Other Girl. Because it’s already in the diary and it’d be rude to cancel.
So off he goes on his date, and Lucy spends a nervous evening waiting, and then an even more nervous morning and afternoon the next day when she doesn’t hear from him at all. And she knows something is up because until this point he’s been texting her promptly at 9 am every single day without fail, so to not hear from him all day is Deeply Fucking Suspicious.
Finally at 6.30 pm he messages her a cheery hello, and Lucy asks the question she’s been bursting with all day…
Of course Lucy had known this was coming. If the date had gone badly Ben would’ve been up and texting her first thing in the morning as usual.
But he wasn’t. Instead, he took The Other Girl out to meet his friends, and then took her back to his, and the reason why he didn’t message until 6.30 pm is because he was otherwise engaged. All. Fucking. Day.
(Or in other words: Fucking. All. Day.)
FML, thinks Lucy, for the 35,945th time this year.
But of course she can’t say that to Ben. There’s nothing she can do. The guy didn’t do anything wrong. All he did was be sweet and lovely and cause her to catch feelings for him, but he was always decent and honest with her, and they’ve never even met, so what else can she expect?
She simply has to suck it up and be nice about it.
Lucy does her best to be philosophical about the situation. Of course she’s sad and disappointed, but if she and Ben were Meant To Be, fate would not have put The Other Girl in the way. And if they ARE Meant To Be, then she just has to remain friends with Ben and bide her time; The Other Girl will disappear eventually and then they can meet up and fall wildly in love and live Happily Ever After without anything standing in their way.
But later, when Ben doesn’t text her for the whole of the rest of the day, nor the next morning, she starts to miss him horribly. And the realisation that he’s not messaging because he is now focussed on someone else, and that she’s lost out on something potentially amazing because she wasn’t ballsy enough to grab it while she had the chance, starts to rise up in her and gnaw at her insides like a big sad hungry thing with sharp teeth, until she caves and texts him.
Suddenly all her feelings come to the fore: the disappointment, the exhaustion of online dating, the feeling of heartache and nausea after getting her hopes up yet again, only to have them crushed, yet again…
And even though she knows Ben didn’t really do anything wrong, she can’t help but be cross anyway, partly with him, and also partly with the way life keeps chucking shit at her every time things seem to be looking up.
Of course, because Ben is a nice guy, he takes her anger on the chin, and is genuinely apologetic and lovely, which of course somehow makes the fact that she has lost out even worse.
Lucy is crying now, big fat tears of disappointment and exhaustion, made worse by the fact that Ben is still being so lovely, and she has lost him, and some other random girl, who isn’t even all that sparky and fun (by his account) has won.
Yes indeed, thinks Lucy. Fuck the universe. Fuck men. Fuck everything. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
And that, as they say, is that. For now, at least.
Will things work out between Ben and The Other Girl? If they don’t, will Lucy have met someone else by then? Will Lucy and Ben still be friends? Will they ever meet?
UPDATE: 6 months later, Ben resurfaces. To find out what happened, go to Part 5 – Revival.
Next week: Lucy meets Josh, the Geography Teacher.