Lucy has a second date with Cain, the Kenyan guy she met on Hinge, but she’s really not sure about him at all.
On one hand, he’s handsome and chatty, with astounding catlike eyes and a certain naughty spark about him. And they had quite a lot in common. But on the other, he was rather pushy. He clearly liked Lucy, which is obviously super flattering and proves he has excellent taste, but his overbearing keenness did make her feel a more than little uncomfortable. So she’s undecided, and obviously if you’re not sure about a thing you should do more research. Which is exactly what she’s going to do.
To read more about all of that, go to Part 1 – Discomfort.
If you’ve read Part 1 (and if not, why not, there’s a link just above FFS!), you’ll remember that at the end of the first date Lucy ran away when they got to the tube station, because (a) Cain’s keenness was making her twitchy and (b) she was afraid he might try to kiss her. She thought she’d been super casual and subtle about her swift exit, but apparently she wasn’t quite as convincing as she thought, because in the run up to Date Two he challenges her about it.
So what should she say? ‘Fess up and tell him he made her uncomfortable? She could, but while Lucy favours open communication and honesty, criticising Cain so early on could put undue pressure on him and make things awkward on their second date. She needs him to be himself, after all. So she tries to style it out.
OK, this is a bit much. He’s asked the question, and she gave him an answer. That should’ve been the end of it. But clearly Cain’s pushy tendencies have got the better of him, because he wants more. A second time, Lucy tries to bat him away.
Well he’s clearly not stupid, because that’s pretty much exactly what happened. But obviously Lucy’s not going to admit that, so for the third (and hopefully final) time she replies, this time with a snippet of honesty that will hopefully get him to back the fuck down.
Thank Christ for that. But Cain putting pressure on her like that has left her with an uneasy sense in the pit of her stomach that makes her doubt whether she should see him again at all. But it’s too late to cancel now; she’s going to have to go through with it, and try to see his persistence as a positive thing. At least it means he’s not afraid of clear communication, and that’s gotta be good, right?
And so Lucy’s already feeling decidedly unsure about whether this date is even a good idea when she arrives at the pub Cain has chosen in Chiswick (which, by the way, turns out to be a bit of a shithole, so minus another 15 points) to find that he’s not there.
A message lands, telling her he’s running late. No apology, no idea of when he’s going to show, just a message letting her know he’s late but on his way. Grrr.
So she waits.
And waits, getting increasingly pissed off.
And when he finally arrives, half an hour late, he doesn’t even fucking say sorry. He merely gives her a kiss on the cheek, looks around the pub, and says, “Oh no, this isn’t even the place I was thinking of! I got the wrong one! We should move to the one I meant to suggest!” FFS!
For Lucy, who by now is incandescent with rage, this is almost the final straw. She’s on the verge of just tell him to go fuck himself but she’s gagging for a drink, and after making her wait so long the least Cain can do is buy her one. So she allows him to lead her up the road to another – admittedly nicer – pub, where in revenge she orders the most expensive glass of wine on the menu. £10 for a large glass of your finest rosé, don’t mind if I do. Well he fucking owes her, doesn’t he?
The pub is quite busy but there’s space in the garden at one of the picnic tables, which is round with four bench seats, each fixed firmly to the frame. Lucy sits down, but rather than taking the space directly opposite, as a polite person would do, Cain parks himself next to her so that they’re seated face to face across the corner of the table, their knees almost touching, uncomfortably close. His extreme proximity makes her scalp itch and all the hairs on her arms stand on end: her spidey senses warning her this is not a good place to be. She tries desperately to reclaim some personal space by sitting as far back on her bench as she possibly can, crossing her legs and arms in what any casual observer would instantly spot as the body language of someone under threat, but Cain doesn’t seem to notice and leans in closer.
Fuck, thinks Lucy, seeing with perfect clarity now that what was making her uncomfortable last time was not her teenage insecurity around boys who like her, but the fact that Cain is creepy AF. Fuck. I should never have come.
But she’s here now, so she’s just going to have to make the best of it. She’s got through awkward dates before, she can do it again.
“So why were you late?” she asks, offering him the chance to apologise.
“I was looking after my kids, and their mum was late to collect them,” he replies, not taking it.
He shows her a photo of the aforementioned spawn: two girls, playing football.
“Oh God, children and football, my two least favourite things!” Lucy jokes, except not really.
“Don’t you want kids?”
“No,” she tells him decisively, even though it’s not actually as simple as that. For the right guy, if she fell in love, maybe she would, but Lucy already knows without a shadow of a doubt that Cain is not the right guy so there’s no point in going there. Far better now to make a point of highlighting all their incompatibilities, so that when she makes her excuses and leaves she can blame it on that and not the fact that, as is becoming abundantly clear, Cain is an arse.
“When you have your own kids,” Cain says with a patronising smirk, “you will learn that it’s the best feeling in the world. There really is nothing like it.” And Lucy has to restrain herself from punching him in his smug face. She no longer gives a fuck about his pretty eyes.
“You say that, but people seem to spend their lives shouting at their kids, complaining about how tired they are, and trying to get away from them. I’m sure sometimes they can be lovely too, but the amount of times they are not lovely makes me wonder if it’s really worth it.”
“When you have kids, you will understand.”
“Well I won’t be doing that,” Lucy replies, gripping the edges of the bench until her knuckles turn white, “and I’m sure I’ll be just fine.”
Cain sips his pint. “It’s funny,” he muses, leaning so close that Lucy can see every pore in his skin, “I feel so relaxed talking about anything with you, I don’t think there is anything you could say that would make me feel uncomfortable.”
You know what’s REALLY funny tho? thinks Lucy, recoiling even further back in her seat. How hideously uncomfortable I am, and how two people can be in the exact same situation and yet having completely different fucking experiences.
She wonders if she should just tell him she writes a dating blog and is going to be analysing his every move online in a few weeks’ time. Would that make him uncomfortable? The man is so fucking brazen he’d probably enjoy it, TBF.
Cain brings the subject back round to the way she ran away at the end of the first date. She left too soon, he tells her, which felt a bit rude.
By now Lucy’s a bit fucking tired of having to justify her actions to a man she barely knows. “I was uncomfortable,” she tells him. “It’s hard to know what people expect at the end of a first date.”
“Obviously you are beautiful,” he says cheesily, “but I wouldn’t have kissed you if you didn’t want me to. I can read body language, y’know: if you lean in and the other person doesn’t lean back then you don’t do it!”
Lucy, whose arms and legs are now so tightly crossed she’s afraid she may never walk again, wonders if Cain is deliberately messing with her, or just monumentally stupid. The man can clearly read body language about as well as she can read Hebrew.
He gets up to go to the bathroom, and as a passes her he pauses and puts his hand on her shoulder. “I like you a lot, you know,” he says.
Lucy’s skin crawls off her back and onto the floor. Tar congeals in her stomach. She turns away from him and tries to shrug him off. “Ha ha,” she laughs falsely, “just go to the loo.”
“Are you overwhelmed?” he asks in a voice of syrupy concern. “You know, if the way you’ve been doing things hasn’t been working out for you, maybe you need to think about changing.”
He still has his hand on Lucy’s shoulder, and by now her entire epidermis has left the building.
She forcefully wrenches her shoulder out from under his grip. “I just think you need to dial it back a bit,” she tells him in desperation.
Without Cain’s oppressive presence inches away from her face she feels as though a huge weight has been lifted off her. Should she just run away while he’s in the bathroom? That’d just be too rude. Leave after one drink? She’d like to, but she’s not sure she can face telling him she’s leaving so soon, and she’s really not sure how he’d react. Maybe it’d be safer to have another one, but drink it quickly. If he’d just back the fuck off a bit, everything would be OK.
“Another drink?” he asks when he returns.
“My round!” she yells, and flees to the bar just to get away.
She orders wine for him and a spritzer for herself (well no point in wasting money or alcohol on this, and she can drink a spritzer more quickly) and then stands at the bar for a while, enjoying the brief moment of peace and firing off desperate tweets. When she returns he looks at her pointedly.
“You were gone so long I didn’t think you were coming back!”
“I’d never do that, it’s so rude!” she replies, wishing like crazy that she had.
Over the second glass of wine the conversation turns to dating.
“So why is a beautiful woman like you single?” he inquires, touching her lightly on the arm.
Lucy feels more nauseous than that time she accidentally put off milk in her tea, and tries to think of ways get rid of him.
“One issue,” she tells him, “is that most single guys my age have kids now, and I’d prefer to find someone child-free.”
Cain tells her he thinks there are far worse crimes than having kids. “I would be suspicious of anyone who hasn’t been in a long-term relationship, like these people who have only ever had relationships lasting a few months, and have been on 200 online dates.”
Excellent, another way to put him off! “I’ve probably been on about 500 online dates in my time, so…” she says proudly.
He looks shocked. “What?! How is that possible?!”
Lucy, who is long past caring what the fuck this man thinks of her, and who can therefore be completely honest, tells him pointedly that in her experience the good men are always taken and the ones who are left are single for a reason. And then she adds that if a guy is single and interested in her there’s probably something wrong with him.
“Why do you think somebody who is interested in you has something wrong with him?” Cain asks, leaning in close again. “Do you not think there’s a reason to be interested in you? You’re a beautiful woman, and you’re clearly intelligent and interesting, and I think you are amazing.”
And he leans in even closer and presses his knee against hers, and Lucy’s skin, which she had picked up and put back on, starts making its way floorwards yet again, and the stress of the situation causes tears to start pricking at the corners of her eyes. She slides back as far as she can go, but her seat is nailed to the table and won’t move, so she’s trapped. She wonders how this must look to a casual observer, with Cain practically on top of her now, and Lucy cringing so far into herself that she’s about to tumble off the back of the bench.
“It’s not that I think an interested guy has something wrong with him,” she tells him, her voice shrill with anxiety, “just that I find it a bit uncomfortable if someone comes on too strong. Look for example at how close you’re sitting to me, and look, I’m nearly falling off my seat. Doesn’t that tell you something?”
Cain immediately pulls away and sits back, and with a bit more space to breathe, Lucy immediately feels better, but it’s not enough. She needs to GTFO. Fast.
She looks at her glass, still half full, and wonders if she can find a way to knock it over convincingly so she won’t have to finish it. Nope, she’s cackhanded as fuck, there’s no way she’d be able to make that look like an accident.
Instead, she shivers theatrically. “Brr! It’s getting cold!”
Immediately Cain stands up, removes his jacket, and offers it to her. Shit, that backfired. She doesn’t want his fucking jacket, she just wants to go home!
“I’m fine thank you,” she says politely. “I’m not that cold.”
“Please wear it.”
“Wear it if it’s the last thing you do. Please,” he insists.
“No thank you.”
“Please, wear it,” he says more forcefully this time.
“Honestly,” Lucy says firmly, “I’m not that cold!”
“But you said you were!”
“Please,” Lucy begs in desperation. “I said I’m fine. Would you just BACK OFF?!”
Finally he gets the message, and stands up. “I’m not going to finish my drink,” he tells her and Lucy’s so fucking relieved it’s all she can do to keep from doing a little dance of joy.
Outside the pub, Lucy’s praying with every fibre of her being that she’ll be able to get away with a brief and painless goodbye. She knows Cain’s finally twigged that this date has not gone well: his mood has darkened, and he looks pissed off. But they’re both still trying to act like nothing has happened, everything is cool, they’ve both had a lovely time, and they might even see each other again (ha!).
“Which way are you going?” he asks.
Oh HELL NO, she thinks, there’s no fucking way she’s walking anywhere with him now. She just needs to get away. A-fucking-SAP.
Lucy tries to judge where Cain might be going so she can pretend she needs to go the other way. Odds are he’ll be heading for the tube station, right?
“Erm…” she says. “I think I’ll get the bus, which goes from down there.” She points in the opposite direction.
But Cain’s already onto her. “No, you can come this way. There’s a bus stop outside the tube station.”
Oh Fuck. He’s right.
So she’s forced to walk with him back to the tube station.
“So, he asks as they walk, “am I going to be like one of your guys that you go on eight dates with and then decide it’s not happening?”
Are you fucking kidding me?! Inside Lucy’s screaming for dear life. What the actual fuck is wrong with this man. How much clearer does she need to be that she’s NOT INTERESTED IN HIM?! There won’t be even one more date, LET ALONE EIGHT!
When they reach the station she gets her phone out and looks at the bus checker app. The next one isn’t for 15 minutes. Fuck. What if he decides he wants to wait with her?
The idea is more horrifying than that time she bumped into her boss’s boss in the sauna at the gym.
“Actually,” she tells him brightly, “I think I’ll walk home. It’s not far.”
“Are you going to walk just so you can get away from me?”
Yes, Cain, well done, yes I am. For a man who’s been so spectacularly clueless the entire evening, it seems a miracle that he’s suddenly had this flash of brilliance.
She tries to laugh his comment off. “No! It’s really not that far and I haven’t done any exercise today. I’m happy to walk! Ok, it’s been fun, see ya, bye!” She pecks him smartly on the cheek and pegs it as fast as she can go without actually breaking in to a run.
As she marches briskly home, venting her relief into powering her legs forwards towards the blessed safety of home, her phone pings.
Translation: you didn’t fancy me, and now my fragile ego is bruised. I’m going to react bitterly to this by being a dickhead and blaming you. However, even though you have rejected me and hurt my huge ego, I’d still be up for a shag if you happen to change your mind…
Lucy debates giving him a piece of her mind, but decides he’s really not worth it. So she settles for a polite goodbye. Hopefully he’ll leave her alone now.
If Cain wants to have the final word, and to make himself feel better by patronising her one last time, then she’s happy to let him. She’s too busy laughing with relief at the lucky escape she’s had.
NEXT TIME: Lucy has another date with Charlie.
Liked this? Pin it and help more readers find Lucy Goes Dating!