“The thing about being catapulted into a whole new life–or at least, shoved up so hard against someone else’s life that you might as well have your face pressed against their window–is that it forces you to rethink your idea of who you are. Or how you might seem to other people.”
― Jojo Moyes, Me Before You
Once Upon A Time…
…there were Serena and Mauro. Let’s encounter our heroes exactly where we’ve left them in my previous post. In Italy, moved in together, deeply, passionately in love. Serena was “catapultated into a whole new life“…to find out, by chance, or by Providence, that her Italian beloved one, wasn’t only hers…. And legally speaking, wasn’t hers at all.
Those of you who follow Serena’s and Mauro’s love story from the very beginning (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) know that what initially was thought as the Italian holiday has already changed the course of Serena’s life. However, for those of you who are more shrewd ones, it might be crystal clear by now, that this initially perfect love story is actually to change Serena’s entire life and alter the girl’s destiny. As well as her character, her inner world, her life view… It will take some time, but she’ll come out of her Italian love story a brand-new person. For better, and for worse. But let time do its job…
So before proceeding with the story, I’ve decided to uncover some of Serena’s secrets. Both, to make her character more transparent, intuitive and easier to understand, and her whole personality more vivid and real. Seems the right thing to do, since Serena is a real girl. Just like you and me.
Moreover, those who are close to both of us, say that Serena and me we are as if the same person. Others, instead, retain we are completely different and hardly have anything in common. As for me, I just know we are somehow connected. The thing is I know her since I was a little girl. And hence I always have and always will bear her inside my heart. As for her, I know I’m always on her mind. We are connected, and it’s actually doesn’t matter how different or similar we might ever be.
Furthermore, like all real girls, Serena is one of a kind. A pearl among girls. As we all are. No matter whether she appears extraordinary or just that ordinary to other no-less-ordinary people, yet she is who she is: Serena Vandenrich.
And by the time her Italian love story began, this young lady had a skeleton in her closet…a few, actually. Or at least she used to think so.
In her closet…
First skeleton in her closet or a secret of being “an emotional freak”
A girl that didn’t believe in love
By the age of 24 Serena had never fallen in love before. Before the moment she met Mauro. As for this girl “before meeting Mauro”, Serena didn’t believe that real romantic long-lasting love actually existed. Not because she was sceptic, hard-hearted, too shy or puritan. Nor because Prince Charming and Cinderella living together “happily-ever-after” was the old fairy tale out-of-date and out-of-fashion. Neither she was frigid, or homosexual. Yet, the brightest feeling for opposite sex Serena had ever experienced in her whole life was pure and futile infatuation. With its expiration date of about three months. Or less.
Take her last (by that time) and her only boyfriend, for example. Eric.
Serena was secretly attracted to Eric since she was a kid. He was two years older. Initially, Miss Vandenrich liked him so much she could hardly brief. Serena thought that Eric had the most beautiful green eyes in the entire world. Every time she looking into them, Serena felt as if she was swimming in the Baltic Sea. (Except that she never loved particularly to swim in the Baltic Sea since she found it was too cold and too cloudy.) On the other hand, Serena thought Eric’s skin was a little pale and his lips were too tight.
He was a great kisser though! The first time Eric kissed her, our girl felt as if she’s about to touch the sky. One month later, when Eric said he loved her and he’d love to make love with her, Serena freaked out and muttered something like “must wait“. (Wait what?)
After two more years of their relationship, yet they hadn’t make love to each other. Serena’s hesitation was rather simple: “Why make love if you don’t feel like being in love? I could have sex instead, but since it’s my first time I feel I’d rather wait” So Serena repeatedly explained to Eric that with “must wait” she meant “wait until I will love you as much as you do. Either way, we are engaged”. Not that easy explanation to accept, either way.
A boyfriend or a best friend?
To further complicate matters, one more year later Serena could hardly remember why on earth she was officially engaged to Eric. Well, he was – and still is! – a good-looking, extremely tall and well-bred guy. Too well-bred maybe. Eric had a nice character, though resulting spineless time of the time. And for what regarded Serena, most of the time. Yet, he was fun and Serena enjoyed his company as much as the life itself.
Eric was teaching her to drive a car. And that was the most exciting thing Serena had experienced by that moment! She was waiting for each new day to come. To share her emotions with her best friend. Needless to say, their emotions were so different…
To be or not to be: that is a question…
Still, Serena felt that the long-lasting frienship and a kind of fraternal love she felt for Eric wasn’t enough for being his girlfriend. It wouldn’t be enough for being a girlfriend of anyone… Yet, Eric was the guy Serena ever liked most. He was the only guy in the whole Universe she cared about so much and enjoyed to pass the time with. Serena would love to love him. So, she was a bit freaked out…she didn’t know what she wanted. Therefore, she was starting seriously to think of herself as some kind of the Universe error. Or that she had an error in her female DNA code.
Everyone thought Serena and Eric would make a perfect couple. Moreover, Serena’s and Eric’s families and parents were close friends from the times the world was created. (Did I mention the guys knew each other since they were kids?) Logically, Serena and Eric had a lot of friends in common. So when the two of them started dating it was normal to everyone around to assume that soon they’ll get married. Eric was seeing their story that way. And Eric was waiting. So when after four years of apparently staying together (our girl was 23 by then), Serena said she actually couldn’t make it, everyone was shocked…and highly disappointed. Crap.
That’s to explain that:
- Serena felt herself guilty for breaking her best friend’s heart and for not being able to fall in love with the only guy she would love to, on entire Planet.
- Beloved daughter and loving child, Serena felt terribly guilty for upsetting and disappointing her parents, their friends, and actually everyone, without any obvious reason.
- Moreover, she felt herself as some kind of “emotional freak”.
Second skeleton in her closet or a secret of being a 24-year-old virgin
Serena was a complete Newbie to everything what regarded guys, dating guys, flirting with guys and having sex. Truth, she had been practicing kissing time of the time, but only at the earliest stages of dating since pretty soon our girl was getting bored. Both form the guy himself, and his way of kissing.
Like I said, by the age of 24 in the diary of Serena’s life was the only one long-lasting relationship story. The one which wasn’t though nor love neither sex story.
That’s to explain that:
- in the field of overwhelming and long-lasting human emotions Serena was a complete alien.
- moreover, by the age of 24 Serena felt somewhat ashamed of still being a virgin, but she would rather die of curiosity then have just sex.
Third skeleton in her closet or a secret of brain power
Serena really loved studying. At the University, Miss Vandenrich was the brightest student at our course. She was just excellent. Serena was enabled to write and publish articles in the field of cyber- and psycho-linguistics in our University’s Scientific Research magazine.
However, our girl never vaunted for being intelligent. On the contrary, I recall, Serena felt somewhat frustrated of being more attracted to science than to men. Besides, it is a well known fact that guys are attracted to dumb girls instead of smart ones. Refined Marilyn Monroe had rendered that idea conventional.
Yet, in all modesty, deep inside Serena knew she had more memory, analytical and research skills than most of the people. Have you ever heard that we use only 15% of our brain potential? Exactly.
That’s to explain that:
- Serena had high career ambitions.
- Her only true love was a love to learn and explore; the thrill and the adrenaline were rushing through her veins each time she was to spot something new. This was also a kind of addiction giving her the sense of perfect freedom together with that of possessing supernatural brain power.
- Serena was experiencing the greatest sense of happiness in the moments when her mind was expanding its horizons. No wonder she was addicted to studies.
- Young lady was well aware some of the students (and sadly some University professors as well) considered her snobbish, or worse upstart. Did she care? Actually, our girl preferred to be seen as a snob rather then to reveal her secret and admit she had a higher brain power.
Fourth skeleton in her closet or a secret of nine scars and crooked teeth
Serena never thought of herself as of being beautiful. She knew guys were attracted to her, but she also knew that normally they would give up on her pretty fast. It was no secret, after all, that she preferred dusty books and old libraries to easy compliments and non-stop parting.
At the age of 19, Miss Vandenrich had a huge car accident, she had barely survived. And by the moment when the scariest records were over, nine tiny scars remained in various places of her young body. They weren’t ugly, but she needed time to get along with them.
Besides, she felt as if she weighted just a few kilograms more than she would love to. Where she’d spotted them, is another secret itself. No one would said she needed to lose weight, still Serena was convinced that without these 3/4 kgs she’d look much better. Yet, she loved her mother’s home-made food a lot to reject it for diet. So, she was keeping the “Kgs” and enjoying her life.
Moreover, Serena’s teeth were kind of crooked. Her father insisted on adjusting them since his girl was 13, but no way could Ms. Vandenrich psych herself up to having braces in her mouth. To further complicate matters, since her beloved younger brother had the same teeth issue, they used to provide each other with moral support. The siblings somehow managed to convince themselves that “crooked teeth actually give their faces character”. How they did that, remains a secret.
That’s to explain that:
- Serena never vaunted her beauty, since she never found she actually was beautiful. Until one day…