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Restoring Lauren

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Chapter 1


“Please Lauren, please…don’t let me lose the love of my life,” says Tommy as dramatically as always. He is my best friend, an amazing and talented artist who is crazy in love with an upcoming fashion designer Carlos. We’ve known Carlos for years now. He is originally from Spain and he had come to London one summer to learn English. Tommy and I met with him in a bar where he was with the rest of his friends who also come here to learn the language.

Tommy and Carlos instantly hit it off and when he left, they continued their friendship on Facebook. Tommy was always jealous of seeing Carlos in photos with guys in clubs and so one day he made his way to Spain to tell Carlos that he is in love with him. Long story, but they ended up coming back together and they now both live here, while Carlos is chasing his dream of becoming a fashion designer.

“I can’t go to Australia for 9 months while he’s in Rome …how am I supposed to meet him when being miles away, please help me,” he says while wiping tears from his eyes. I know he’s really in love with him and so is Carlos. They are actually really cute together, but he is definitely exaggerating right now acting as if he is about to faint.

“What am I supposed to do ?…I wasn’t the one who chose Australia for you …you can’t let Annabelle down; she gave you a good recommendation and I’m sure she pushed your application forward because she likes you.” I tell him to try and calm him down. Not that he needs her help to get chosen for the job … he is an amazing restorer, has a really good eye for detail, besides being a very talented artist as well. I get inspired while doing my job just by looking at him working every day.

We became friends during our first year in university where we both were attending the course for restoration of arts. We clicked instantly as we both had the same passion for art, fashion, and tattoos. We became so close that we even decided to get tattooed together. We both have a full sleeve of tattoos which we are very happy with, and Tommy has a few other small ones on his chest and back. I stopped at that as I still can’t decide what to do next.

“Are you listening to me?” Tommy says with his eyes red from crying “Why would you want to go to Florence anyway ...it will only bring you back bad memories."

“Not all bad,” I say, trying to convince myself more than him. My family is from Florence …my dad s side of the family. There I have a grandma, Nonna Maria, which I absolutely love, two aunties, Zia Teresa and Zia Laura who are my dad’s sisters, their husbands Giorgio and Antonio, and my cousins Mirco, Luca, Giuseppe, and Mara.

I go there every summer and try to spend three or four weeks and sometimes they come over to us in London. It is always nice to see them …I wish they lived in London too maybe we could meet more often, but then again, I do not mind going to Florence. It is so beautiful there, there’s art all around. I, being so artistic, fall in love with every street I walk into. I go in churches and basilicas and just sit there and look at the beautiful architecture and painting. I can never get enough. So yes it’s great that I was chosen to go on a student exchange in Florence, first because I love that city and second cause I would get the opportunity to spend more time with my family but then again, just like Tommy said, it’s not all good, I would probably end up seeing Andrea. The guy who I thought would actually be the one.

We met on a summer afternoon when I was in Florence, he lives there. I was sitting on a bench in a piazza reading a book enjoying the sun on my skin when all of a sudden, this very attractive guy comes in front of me giving me what looked like a sketch. I took it although I hesitated at first, but when I looked at it, I realized that it was a drawing of me. Made with just a piece of charcoal on a thorn piece of paper. I couldn’t stop looking at it. Although you could tell that it was done quickly, even because I had only been sitting there for ten minutes or so, it captured all of my features and you could definitely see the resemblance. My pixie short hair, my pointed nose with freckles, and my almond-shaped eyes. It was so simple but yet so beautiful. I looked up to look at the guy who was standing before me and I saw this very attractive Italian god, tall dark, and handsome.

We started talking and instantly hit it off. We both had a passion for art. He was a street artist, but he could have done this as a full-time job and got paid lots of money for it. He was truly gifted, and with me being an art restorer and love painting too, although I don’t do it much, we instantly clicked. It also helped that I could speak Italian fluently as he didn’t know a word in English.

We started seeing each other every day while I was there and bit by bit we started falling in love with each other. I only had three weeks left in Florence when I met him, but those three weeks were the most amazing three weeks of my life. We had lots of sex…amazing sex and we just got lost in each other until I had to come back to London. We tried having a long-distance relationship. Sometimes I flew out, even if for just a weekend and sometimes he came to London himself. We kept going on like this for 2 whole years when one day…missing him like crazy, I decided to surprise him and I bought a ticket to be able to go next to him only for 1 day and 1 night, but I was so desperate to see him and so in love that I thought its better than nothing.

Only that when I got to his apartment and I knocked at his door a girl opened, wearing nothing but one of his t-shirts. He then came out with a bare chest and a towel around his waist. As you can imagine I stormed off and when he came running after me, he had the decency to tell me that he can’t stay without sex when we are apart. And so, I walked out of his life there and then and haven’t looked back ever since. Although I can’t deny that I still love him a bit. I know I shouldn’t but it’s only been 6 months since it happened and I haven’t dated anyone since.

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