Hello, Goodbye

The Plumber had agreed to be my date for Big Sis & Broken's wedding, but I saw less and less of him. Then he would call and flirt with me, and I would get confused all over again. Gotta love the mind games.

One afternoon, both The Mechanic and The Plumber were in the office to hand in their paperwork. We discussed the company's upcoming "Family Day", thought it might be fun, and all agreed to go together. We decided to make it a weekend thing, and do some drinking and fishing as well.

The Mechanic gave me a ride up to Innisfil for the event, where they had carnival games and food in a community centre. The Plumber had agreed to meet up with us there, and I remember seeing more than a few raised eyebrows when I showed up with The Mechanic, alone.

We wandered around, and met the families of many of the guys I worked with. Hid from our boss (he was reminiscent of Michael Scott from The Office, if that gives you any idea). Ate some food. No Plumber.

Later in the afternoon, everyone headed over to Sunset Speedway to watch some races. It was actually pretty fun, and there's a picture floating around somewhere of The Mechanic and I standing beside a school bus (yes, school bus racing. Yes, Redneck). No Plumber.

We called The Plumber a couple times, but he wasn't answering his phone. After watching a really stupid teenager smash his own car into the wall during a race (he wasn't hurt, but the car was a write-off), The Mechanic and I decided to head back to his house for the night.

The house was cute, but I remember the living room being this awful shade of burnt orange, and I made fun of him for it. We grabbed some drinks and sat around, talking. We had hung out before, but never just the two of us, and it dawned on me that The Mechanic was a really nice guy. I wondered why I always went for the assholes, and never even noticed the nice guys that were right in front of me?

A few drinks later, The Mechanic dropped a bomb: he told me he was attracted to me. In my head, I freaked out. In my head, I ran. I changed the subject. He called me on it. I said nothing, and he backed off. Just like I have walls now, I had walls then. If they crumbled, that meant I could hurt again.

The next afternoon, The Mechanic and I headed over to The Plumber's place to do a little fishing in the lake. The Plumber wasn't around, so we took the canoe out and drifted around, catching the occasional rock bass. As the sun went down and we paddled in, The Plumber was standing on the shore, waving at us. They dragged the canoe in, and then we all sat down for a couple beers (them) and Smirnoff Twisters (me). Shockingly, the Plumber was aloof and indifferent towards me. I was still all mixed up and backwards inside.

Over the next few days, I discussed my thoughts and feelings with Big Sis and my close friends. They all seemed to agree that I gravitated to the assholes because I was afraid to let a guy treat me well. The assholes allowed me to keep my walls up, and being single was my safety net. They said I needed to take a chance with a good guy, and that good guy was The Mechanic.

A week later, I was invited up to a cottage that my friend, Crystal, had rented. There was limited space in the cottage, but I was welcome to camp outside and bring someone with me, so I decided to ask The Mechanic. I knew that spending some time with him would be the only way to sort out my feelings.

The cottage was amazing. The Mechanic and I set up the tent, and then I went for a paddleboat ride with Crystal's sister. We barbequed some burgers for dinner and gathered on the dock for drinks and music. This was when I noticed that the more drinks The Mechanic had, the more he started talking over other people, and not really listening to anyone else. I could tell it was getting on some people's nerves, so I dragged him out onto the lake for some fishing. He caught nothing and I caught fish after fish. He was not happy. It got dark pretty quickly and we just drifted on the water and smoked and talked. Well, I tried to talk and he would interrupt me. He mentioned that he needed to be single for awhile (it hadn't been long since his breakup with his live-in girlfriend), but wouldn't pass up a great opportunity that may be right in front of him. Subtle.

Back at the cottage, a huge bonfire was blazing. Hello alcohol and s'mores! I drank five of those Smirnoff Twisters, and went from zero to hammered in no time at all. The Mechanic put back a few Coronas and decided to go for a swim. Since no one else was enthusiastic about the idea, he went alone.

Returning from his swim, The Mechanic stood in front of the fire with a towel wrapped around him, complaining about how cold he was. I told him to go put on some clothes. He ignored me and continued to whine. I started to realize that his invitation had been a really bad idea.

Crystal called me down to the dock, and our conversation went as follows:

Crystal: Um, Redhead, how's it going?
Redhead: I...uhm...I don't know. I just...I don't know.
Crystal: Well let me be the first to say, that guy is NOT for you! He's so annoying!
Redhead: Omigod, THANK YOU. Everyone has been pushing this and I'm just not feeling it.
Crystal: And besides, everyone thinks he's GAY!

I dropped to the dock and rolled around, laughing hysterically. There had been something about The Mechanic that I couldn't quite put a finger on, and Crystal had hit the nail on the head: gay tendencies. Big time.

Back at the bonfire, I decided that the only way to handle the situation was to drink my ass off. This was when Crystal appeared with half a bottle of Wild Vines, which somehow led to Crystal and I dancing on the dock. When the world started to spin out of control, I knew it was time for bed, and I crawled into the tent, muttering incoherently about the evils of alcohol. When The Mechanic came to crash with me for the night, I suddenly had this intense case of claustrophobia. Was he going to try something? I really didn't want to find out, so I feigned a full bladder and stumbled out of the tent in my pj's.

"You're going to get sucked into drinking games!" he yelled after me, as I ran up the hill.

I opened the door to the cottage and everyone looked up. There was a moment of silence and then everyone cheered. They made space for me at the table and I sat down for round two. Sadly, it didn't take long for The Mechanic to follow me up to the cottage, but no one seemed to notice/care when he walked through the door.

He joined us at the table, and the more he drank, the more obnoxious he became. No matter what was going on, he was always talking loudly over everyone, and had absolutely zero respect for the limits of others, i.e., enforced a "no water" rule. He followed me around like an annoying little puppy, and I felt incredibly smothered. Later, Crystal and I played back the video she took, and discovered that The Mechanic had been fixing the dice so the women would get drunker. Classy.

If he had planned to try something with me, I guess all bets were off when I locked myself in the bathroom to pray to the porcelain gods. My plan all along, I swear ;)

Packing up the next morning, I was miserable and severely hungover. He wanted to go out in the canoe before we left, so I told him to go flip it over while I put my bag in the truck. He whined about how heavy the canoe was, so I marched over to it, lifted it, and flipped it over (onto my knee, which ended up bruised for about a month, but that's beside the point).

"There, the girl flipped the canoe for the big, strong mechanic. Don't be such a pussy," I told him, joking, but not really.

After the canoe ride, The Mechanic went for one more swim before we headed out. I made it clear on the drive home that I wanted to have a shower and crash when I got to my apartment, but he followed me upstairs and hung around for two more hours.

The Mechanic became The Stalker. He called the office four or five times a day, and would get cranky if Big Sis answered instead of me. Then he would show up at the office around five o'clock, when he knew I was heading home. One of these nights, I was typing away at my computer, barely listening to The Mechanic, who was standing inside the door and trying to have a conversation with me.

"So I told The Plumber that I should be going to the wedding with you, not him," he said.

I whipped around in my chair, "You told him WHAT?"

"Well, I've spent more time with you and I have fun with you. I think I should go."

"I asked The Plumber to go with me, NOT you. I'm not going back on that," I said, with clenched teeth.

"Well, actually, The Plumber brought it up, not me. Either way, he'll be talking to you, I'm sure," he told me.

I yanked my coat off the chair and threw my purse over my shoulder. "I have to go now," I muttered at him as I stormed out of the office.

Outside, I called The Plumber and let him have it. He tried to tease me about The Mechanic, but I cut him off and told him to stop fueling the fucking fire. I was not and never would be interested in The Mechanic; we were just friends. I told The Plumber that if he didn't want to go to the wedding with me, then he should let me know and I would find someone that would gladly be my date. Someone of MY choosing, not theirs. The Plumber backed down, apologized profusely, and told me he still wanted to be my date.

Fucking guys.

Over the next few weeks, both The Plumber and The Mechanic would call me, usually when drunk. The Plumber generally wanted a booty call (denied), and The Mechanic wanted to "talk". I took call screening to a whole new level.

Next up: The Wedding. Now THAT'S a good story...

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