A Perfect Stranger

When Lara meets a mysterious stranger in the park, they get to talking and she feels drawn to him. What happens when she finds out who he really is?

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15. Reunions

 

“If we could only turn back time”

 

My eyes immediately flicked to the only other person in the room, who stood hunched over a bench top, staring into a mirror.  Seeing me in the reflection he whirled around. Still pale and wide eyed he took three long strides towards me, stopping a bare metre short. He spoke my name in a hoarse whisper that sent trembles through my body. I closed my eyes tightly, the image of him burned into my mind as my hands clenched into fists by my side while I tried to contain my emotions. I heard him step closer until I could feel his warmth radiating towards me, hear his breath, smell his scent. My eyes prickled and a tear rolled out from under one closed lid. I gasped and flinched violently as familiar warm hands reached up to cup my face, the rough pad of one thumb wiping the tear away. I kept as still as I could, unable to let myself simply fall apart. “Lara, look at me. Open your eyes, please,” he whispered, but I remained unchanged. “Lara, please just look at me!” a husky voice pleaded. I stayed motionless as he grew more desperate. “Hit me, scream, yell, whatever. Just please, do something!” he begged. I could feel his breath growing ragged, warm against my face. The familiar smell sent my mind into a frenzied overdrive of painful, deeply buried memories. Feuding internally about what to do, my shock at what happened next wiped all coherent thought from my brain. I felt his body push into me, sending me thudding backwards into the closed door and leaving me pinned between cold wood and warm flesh. Lips crushed onto mine, a hand snaking behind my head and pulling me forcefully into the kiss. “I should probably hit him,” I thought. My hand reached up, but instead of slapping him, it snaked its way behind his head and buried itself in his hair while the other hand went to rest on his chest. I was kissing him back. Kissing him back with equal fervour and the same desperation, all my anger dissipating with the touch, yearning for him like a drowning man years for air. Tears rolled freely and silently down my face, and my chest was tight  from a mixture of crying and lack of oxygen. I felt his chest heaving under my hand and my eyes snapped open to see a reflection of my tears rolling down his face. I pulled back, speechless. His eyes snapped open and saw me staring. Letting his hands drop from my face he quickly turned away, stepping hurriedly over to where I first saw him, looking down at the floor. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that. I just wanted to get you to react, do something. I got carried away. Although I don’t suppose it’s possible to hate me more that you already do,” he rambled. I flinched at the self-disgust evident in his voice, walking over to him and laying a hesitant hand on his shoulder. He flinched out from under my touch. I took a step after him, laying my hand on his shoulder again. “Louis, turn around.” For the first time in four months I allowed myself to think that name, hear it, say it, “Louis, please.” Slowly he stood straight and turned to face me. “I don’t hate you,” I told him quietly, voice pained.

“How could you not?” Louis spat vehemently, “After everything I did to you?”

“I could never hate you, because hating you means regretting everything we had, hating you means I didn’t love you anymore. And how,” I whispered, reaching up with trembling fingers to brush the tears from his cheek, “How could I ever stop loving you?” It was the truth. For so long I had told myself that I hated Louis, despised him, because it was so much easier than the truth. I never stopped loving him, not for a second. Fresh tears rolled down my face, a sob escaping my mouth. And like that I was in his arms again, clinging to him with the desperation of the last few months, as if holding him tighter could make up for all the time we were apart. I cried, but finally I did not cry alone. Louis’ arms pulled me close, carrying me until I found myself pinned roughly against a wall, legs wrapped tightly around his waist and sobbing into his neck. He voice in my ear cracked as it soothed me, the same words over and over again. Words I had been dying to hear, “I’m sorry, I love you, I'm sorry, I love you.” We stayed like that until we had both cried ourselves out, before I reluctantly slid to the floor, staying as close to Louis as possible. “Stay with me tonight?” he asked hesitantly, face earnest, “We still need to talk.”

I nodded and leant into him, taking deep soothing breaths of his familiar smell, “I’ll stay.”

 

We walked outside together, still entwined as much as possible. I knew I should but I couldn’t make myself let go. Letting go entailed too many painful memories, too much heartache. The boys sat on a half wall with their backs to us, Harry’s arm slung comfortingly over a fretting Jayne’s shoulders. The five carried out conversation in low voices, waiting mine and Louis’ return. We walked towards them, the sound of our footsteps making everybody turn. We stopped a few paces short of the group, letting their gazes wash over us. There was a fire still simmering in Niall’s eyes, caution in that of the others. And perhaps I was imagining it, but I saw the tiniest hint of relief.

 

After a while, Liam broke the silence. “Are you two…?” he trailed off.

I looked up at Louis as he spoke, “We have a lot to work out and I have even more to apologise for. It’s going to take some time.” I gave him a gentle squeeze, leaning my head against his side.

Looking back at my friends I gave them all a gentle smile, “Louis and I are gonna do some talking tonight.” Jayne caught my eye and I could tell she was burning to talk to me privately. Reluctantly, oh so reluctantly I slipped out of Louis arms. “But first, Jayne and I have some taking to do,” I said, stepping back the way we came as my friend hopped to her feet and walked towards me. Looping my arm through hers, I led her inside the door to give us a little privacy. The moment it closed on us she spun to face me, “Spill. How many times did you hit him and what did you scream at him”

I smiled gently, “It didn’t go quite the way I imagined.”

“Well what happened then?”

“We, kissed.”

“You what?! Kissed, as in snogged as in lips on lips?”

“Yeah. it just kind of happened and then neither of us wanted to stop.”

“Jesus Christ Lara. Then what?”

“We talked a bit and then we cried together.”

“I don’t suppose he was crying because you’d kicked him in the balls?”

I smiled down at my fiery friend, “No it wasn’t.”

“I knew it was too much to ask. So what’s the game plan from here?”

“I’m going to stay with him tonight or however long it takes and we’re going to work things out.” I’ll have to call home though.”

“Oh don’t worry about that,” Jayne said nonchalantly, “They aren’t expecting you home for at least a week.”

I frowned, “What, why?”

“Well I figured there were two possible outcomes of today. One, you’d talk and want a decent amount of time to do so or two, I’d been spending the next week keeping you from doing anything stupid.”

“What about Fimmy and my other stuff?”

“Dealt with.”

I engulfed my short friend in a massive hug. “What would I ever do without you?” I marvelled.

“I really don’t know,” she grinned, “Now come on, you’ve got talking to do.”

“I suppose I do.”

 

Louis and I sat on the huge bed, silently facing each other. The room was eerily quiet, the boys having booked an entire floor in a separate hotel for me and Louis, away from the screaming fans. After a while the silence became unbearable. The word rolled off my tongue before I had properly formulated the thought. “Why?” A single word laced with a hurt and bitterness I tried to repress.

Louis looked up from hands that fiddled restlessly with the bedding. He sighed wearily, “I don’t know. Because I was stupid. I had my reasons at the time but looking back now none of them make any sense. I thought you didn’t feel the same, that what we had wasn’t love. That you just had some fickle crush on your famous idol who happened to fall into your life. I came up with so many reasons why we might not work, and eventually I convinced myself that we really wouldn’t. I was a coward Lara. I couldn’t face you, so I ran. I was so stupid. I owe you so many apologies.” He looked back down.

I flinched, but this time not for myself. There was a self-loathing in his voice that stung. I scooted over to him, laying one of my hands over his, “You don’t owe me anything.”

Louis sighed and fell back onto the bed, closing his eyes, “Yes I do.”

I lay down beside him, tracing patterns on his unresponsive hand. “Why are you doing this to yourself Louis?”

He was silent for a while. “Because I don’t deserve you.”

My heart lurched painfully in my chest. “Don’t be ridiculous Louis,” I murmured, squeezing his hand.

“I’m not. After everything I’ve done to you, and yet here you are. I’m pathetic, you deserve someone much better.”

I propped myself up on one elbow so I was looking down at Louis. He turned his face away, eyes  closed. I shook my head in disbelief, “Louis you’re being ridiculous. This isn’t about what I deserve.” I looked down at his face, studying his familiar features and saw the pain in them that wrenched at my heart. I had not expected this, to be the one comforting and reasoning with Louis, it was going to be the other way around. But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. I hadn't come today out of anger or for revenge, I had come to get Louis back. The vital piece of my puzzle that had been missing was replaced and it was all I needed. But the piece missing from Louis was torn into a million tiny pieces by his own doing and it was going to take effort to gather them all up and put them back together properly. “Louis this in not about what I deserve. This is about what I want. And I. Want. You.” I pulled his face gently back towards mine and leant in, placing a soft kiss on his lips. His eyelids twitched and if anything his expression grew more pained. I sighed, “Louis please. Don’t be like this. Don’t do this to me!”

Like a flash I was pinned to the bed, Louis’ face centimetres from mine and crystal blue eyes smouldering with an intensity that robbed me of breath. I closed my eyes blissfully as his lips met mine in a hesitant kiss. All to soon he broke away.  I gazed up at him, brows knitted slightly. “Don’t,” I told him

He looked down at me, “Don’t what?”

“Don’t hold back on me like that. How many times do I have to say it? I want you Louis, I want you now.” I held his gaze as he studied me intently for an age, watching his internal struggle play out in his eyes. And then, from one moment to the next, his expression went from a cautious doubt to a reckless abandon that brought his lips crashing back down onto mine. Our hands roamed each other’s bodies, rediscovering what they thought they had lost. Our breathing grew harsh, bodies pressed firmly together and legs entwined as we made up for four months of separation as best we could. My hands wandered down, slipping under the hem of his shirt and slowly tugging it up. My actions took him by surprise and he pulled back for a moment, staring at me before he relented and allowed me to shimmy the shirt up and over his head. My eyes greedily drank in the sight of his lightly toned body, fingers discarding the shirt to run possessively over Louis. I traced the delicate lines of his abs and pecs and making him shiver. “You’re beautiful,” I murmured, my eyes flickering back up to meet his. “Lou,” I breathed, the old nickname rolling off my tongue and carrying all the emotion I felt. He sighed and closed his eyes and for the first time in four months a smile flickered across his face. “I love you Lou,” I whispered, pulling his head back down into reach.  His eyes flashed open, nose touching mine and his sweet smell washing over me, “I love you too Lara.” His movement became slow and deliberate as he gradually closed the space between us, blue eyes focused on my lips until they finally met in a slow languid kiss. I sighed blissfully into it, each moment healing all the wrongs. I gasped as his tongue swept gently across my top lip and back across my bottom before vanishing, Louis catching my lower lip between his and sucking softly. I groaned in disappointment as he pulled away opening my eyes to glare at him. A hint of his mischievous sparkle shone in his eyes and I realised what he was doing. He was teasing me! Finally his mouth met mine, firmer this time, more insistent. I yielded, kissing back hungrily as I wrapped my hands in his hair and pulled him close, four months of longing rushing to the surface all at once. I delighted in the feel of him against me. Louis overwhelmed my senses. He was everything I could feel, everything I could hear, see, touch, smell. We broke apart breathlessly and I smiled, my first genuine smile in a long time. “I missed you,” I told Louis who still hovered above me.

“I’m sor-,” he began.

“Shh,” I cut him off before he could finish the word. “I don’t need your apology Louis, so stop. You have nothing to apologise for anymore. I have you back and that’s all that matters.” He fell to the bed beside me, staring up at the ceiling. I could tell he wasn’t going to let it go tonight or anytime soon so I let the subject drop.  I shuffled closer to him, pillowing my head on his outstretched arm. His chest rose and fell in a deep sigh that I mirrored. Sitting up I went to pull my shirt over my head but a firm grip on my wrists stopped me. I gave Louis a confused glance as he moved towards me, eyes widening and heart racing as he slowly pushed me back down onto the bed, warm hands slipping under my shirt and achingly slowly sliding it up and pulling it over my head. He tossed it decisively to the floor. Never breaking eye contact with me, Louis journeyed down placing gentle open mouthed kisses down my sternum and onto my stomach. I bit back a moan, scrunching a fitful of the covers as he made his way back up. “Tease,” I managed to breathe out.

“Mmm,” Louis hummed, lips gliding delicately across my jaw.

“Stop,” I murmured reluctantly, “Let me get me jeans off. I don’t really want to sleep in them.” I felt him grin before he eased off me, watching me as I got off the bed and quickly slid off the offending pair of jeans, leaving me in only bra and underwear. I flushed, extremely self-conscious, feeling Louis eyes on my as acutely as if he was touching me. I glanced up involuntarily as I heard a rustle of fabric, to see Louis standing on the other side of the bed looking down as he unbuttoned his chinos and pulled them off. My chest ached as I tried not to stare at him, climbing back onto the bed. I lay on my side, giving in to the urge to watch him as he went and flicked the light off, dimming the room to a dusky hue. I struggled to keep my breathing steady as he returned, sliding onto the bed and wrapping his arms around me. I tucked myself as close as I could, nestling my face into the crook of his neck and inhaling deeply. I fell asleep to the feel of his fingers drawing shapes on the bare skin of my back.

 

My dearest Movellas readers, be grateful. Because so many of you commented, liked and favourites, you’re getting the next chapter now. The other lot can wait! Keep up the great work. Follow me on Twitter of you want :P @RealSeren_Finch. <3 and xxx’s

                -Serendipity

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