Beginning of August 2017, Lauren had switched off from holiday mode and was preparing to move house with her mum. Admitting within myself i had concerns that her house move would have an impact on our relationship because we wouldn’t have the alone time we had when she was living in Hednesford. I never told her of my concerns, I’d just things as they were and let it be. Funnily enough, Lauren with in with her mum coincided with me helping my brother out by homing him temporarily for what tuned out to be the rest of 2017 + January 2018.
Looking bad, i would my relation with Lauren’s mum, Lindsey, was neutral. I wanted all of her family to like me and i always tried to nice to everyone. I only met Lauren’s dad twice as her mum and dad don’t live together so barely got to know him well enough. They weren’t even married. Lindsey never really made much conversation with me and certainly far less than Lauren’s Nan, Margaret. Lauren really adores Margaret. She is closer to Margaret than she is to Lindsey. This was certainly the case before moving home and perhaps as well as a money saving move, this was perhaps one of the factors in order to have a Mother/daughter relationship.
Lauren’s behavior and attitude did start to change when she was turning her attention to the house move which is only natural. It didn’t really take it’s toll on me until when she had fully moved in but was asking me to assemble furniture for her at the end of the month. I got pretty tired of working myself to the point of getting a headache and not having much food and drink that i had to go home at the end of the night. I didn’t lash out or complain or wasn’t even angry, just needed the rest.
The next day while i was karting at Whilton Mill, i got a apologetic text from her saying she was sorry for how she was treating that month and also said i was her world. I adored that she did that. I was told her that it was okay and i wasn’t unhappy at her, and of course said that i loved her so much too.
We went to the Lichfield Food Festival on the last Sunday of August together. I would start to refer to this point as where i start to plant the seed of my descent from grace with relations with Lauren. I didn’t notice particularly at the time but there was a moment where i told her to “shut up” which was pointed out to me by her a month later in St. Ives. I can’t remember why i told her to shut up. A few factors may have been how busy the food festival was combined her sarcastic attitude at times and with the weather being really hot too. But it’s no excuse to say that to Lauren and i would come to regret it eventually.
Come September 2017, we had planned to go to St. Ives at the end of the month for a long weekend with her Nan and granddad. I would be on driving duties. They were all very excited and i was quite open minded about it all. We set off very early in the morning of Friday 22nd September at 4am to reach down in St.Ives by 9am. The weekend got off to a great start. I had a phone call from Continental with a job offer of working onsite at Bentley. It was a no brainer for me and to this day i’m still in that job role now. We celebrated that night over a nice meal. This was potentially the start of putting all the jigsaw pieces into place.
The next day was spent with just myself and Lauren. The morning was spent at St. Austell brewery followed by going to the Eden project in the afternoon. It was only when we were coming back from the Eden project i started to notice Lauren being more guarded with her emotions. Again i didn’t think much of it at the time. That evening, we had dinner together booked at the Porthmeor Beach Café and Tapas restaurant. I rang up the place before and requested that a rose was put there on arrival for Lauren. She said thank you but i got the impression she was a little surprised by the gesture, as in i didn’t need to give her a rose. Maybe this was a sign that i was trying too hard. That my anxiety had set in in fear of losing her. We had a heart to heart over that night’s meal where she did mention she did get upset when i told her to shut up. Among other things, i opened up how i struggled with emotions and my childhood struggles too and eventually burst into a tears which i never saw coming actually. I thought that would be the end of the struggles now that the air was cleared but what i didn’t see was how my anxiety would eventually snowball into something bigger. I put it down to my time spent in St.Ives as the catalyst.
Sunday 24th September, most of the day was spent wandering the center of St. Ives with Lauren and her family. By the afternoon, Margaret had allowed us to spend the afternoon to ourselves until we reconvened for dinner that evening. Lauren had put up another guard on herself with her emotions and given the fact we had the heart to heart the night before, her emotional front was confusing me. I asked her if she was alright, clearly she looked like someone had kidnapped her cats. She just responded with a “I’m fine” minimal response without telling me if anything was up or what was on her mind. That’s when i started to worry inside. Was it me? Did i do something wrong? Would she open up to me like she did before when we were getting to know each other? All of a sudden this was in my head and i couldn’t get it out. It affected my behavior for the rest of the weekend including on the way back to Cannock.
I was meant to have stayed over with Lauren on the Monday night i dropped everybody back but i decided to go home due to my anxiety being that bad. It clouded my judgement. I texted her goodnight and also asked if anything was mattering her. I did get a reply back saying that i was an idiot around when she was with her nan and grandad and that it wasn’t about me. I felt trapped in this and couldn’t explain how i felt. The best thing i could have done and did was to leave her alone for a few days and let it cool off. I would see Lauren again on September 30th where i would pick her up to go and see my friends Rich & Laura at their house. I had a quick chat with Lauren apologizing for how i was that weekend but advised to say that she shouldn’t have her guard up. I wasn’t trying to change her but i felt as her boyfriend i wanted to be the one she could and has opened up to before. I dropped her back that night. To show her how much she meant to me, i got her some flowers as further to say that i was sorry and we ended the night with a very long passionate kiss. How i would love to have that feeling back in my life again.
Unfortunately the anxiety was still building up in the background. I didn’t really notice this through October but came to realize come November time. Looking back on it, i wished that i could have dealt with my anxiety better because there was nothing wrong with Lauren. I still had clouded judgement in my mind and nearly came to the boil when Lauren went a little berserk as to what teaspoon should be used for making each of our coffees with. I always offered to make coffee for everybody when i go round to her house. I just used the teaspoon that was left on the side to make all the coffees with even though i had mine with sugar. Lauren went a bit OTT over this and when she started to shout, i just walked out the kitchen. Mixed with my anxiety, i got fed up. I wanted to go away and get a holiday but thinking of going on my own. I told Lauren about me looking for a holiday to get away and then followed by asking why she was so controlling over that situation among others. Another heart to heart set in. This time i seemed to made her realize that she was in the wrong. She really wasn’t but what i wasn’t feeling was the natural epic love that we had going from the point we met up until she went on holiday in July.
Truth was, we didn’t get enough quality time together alone as we had before she moved. A proving case being made when we had a city break together in Bristol over the weekend of 25th/26th November. To a point, she was still quite guarded and private, particularly when it came to clothes shopping. She would want to be on her own and not have me on her coat tails following her around. Don’t think that was personal against me but it didn’t really make the day much fun. The evening would be better as we would spend it going around the Christmas market and then back to the hotel bar late at night.
By November time, i had changed into my new role working at Crewe so where changes going in my own life that i had to get adjusted to. Mostly the travel initially followed by temporary accommodation renting in the week only. I must admit that all of this was taking it’s toll on me and wasn’t helping my anxiety issues. This carried on into December not helped by the fact that i had arranged to be away from Friday night (in Liverpool with work colleagues) and Saturday night (in Sheffield with friends). It was the night in Sheffield where i had attracted an older lady where we had been briefly chatting and we had a smooch on the lips. I should clarify this wasn’t a snog or a passionate kiss that i have with Lauren. This was more of a peck. And then later followed by dancing with another girl. Like with the situation in the last chapter involving Tina, i didn’t really want to keep these stories as secret so i did openly admit to Lauren that this happened on the night but nothing came out of it. She was a little peeved but she was thankful for my honesty. I took her word for it but this was a situation i could of done without. That weekend did certainly affect my anxiety even more and it was far worse than what it had been at St. Ives.
The low point of my anxiety would be at Christmas time. I had arranged to do us our own special Christmas meal but on 23rd December as we would be having actual Christmas day dinner round her Nan’s house. I made us both a 3 course meal - Baked Camembert for Starters, Lobster for mains and Chocolate Cherry Christmas pudding for desert. All of this would be served alongside French white wine which i got on the way back from Le Mans. There was a lot of effort went into that evening and i wanted to make sure Lauren was enjoying herself. The whole night seemed rushed and i didn’t get a sense that she was taking of this in. As soon as we had finished pudding, she wanted to sit down and watch a movie and barely engage in any conversation whatsoever. This was far different from the valentine’s meal we had earlier on in the year. That night couldn’t be replicated but I don’t Lauren wanted to try. I ended up having the majority of the white wine between us but would prove to be the tipping point of my anxiety. I fell asleep briefly watching Cars 3 that Lauren had picked and knowing that i wasn’t enjoying the night that i had wanted to, i got a little tipsy and unfortunately threw up in my toilet. I got really angry that i picked up my electric toothbrush and threw against my bathroom window, smashing the inside glass. It now got to the point where my anxiety was controlling me and not the other way around.
Among this period of anxiety affected my use of social media. I had deleted my Instagram and Twitter before but that was down to me not seeing the point of using it. Facebook, however, was a real contributor to this. And it was Lauren’s post about coming through depression which i found annoying and depressing myself. I had to hide away from it.
By Christmas itself, the damage was done. Our first Christmas together wasn’t as magical as i would have hoped for and i think i’d let Lauren down too. We weren’t as close as we could have been but i did give her the opportunity to let her see her family and friends which she was thankful to me for. But given the situation again, i should of perhaps been a bit more greedy and made myself more of a priority to her. Even on new year’s eve, i wouldn’t spend it with Lauren. I thought i was doing the right thing by letting her spend it with her mum and leaving her alone. I’d spent the night with Rich and his family. Given the situation, i should have been with Lauren.
On the upisde, our Christmas presents to each other were pretty awesome. My main present to her was 2x tickets to British MotoGP Grand Prix at Silverstone. The intention of being me and her going as she never been to a motorbike race before. Her present to me was a Nikon D3300 camera which was meant to be intended to be used at motorsport events. Little did i know what was about to come around the corner.