Fragile *Complete*

When Alex set out to find her long lost brother, she never guessed he'd be famous. But can she get him to remember her, that tiny blank in his childhood memory? Or will his life prove too much of a distraction?

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19. Reunited

When I woke up, the rain had stopped and the sun had come out. I groaned when the pain hit me. I realized my mistake when I heard a group of footsteps stop. One pair started to walk towards me. With every step I backed further against the wall. A head peeked around the side of the dumpster and I screamed.

"Hey! Hey, it's okay! I'm not going to hurt you!" I'd heard that voice before, but I couldn't quite place it. I hadn't heard anyone's voice in over a year. "Are you alright," the man asked me. I whimpered. "Come help me move this, boys." He wedged himself between the dumpster and the wall and pushed, while the others pulled. I let my hair fall over my face, hiding my identity. What if my father had friends or family who would come after me? Nobody could know. 

Once the dumpster was moved a fair distance, the man came over to me and crouched in front of me. "What's your name?" I didn't respond. "Do you have a home or family?" I shook my head. He picked me up and I didn't have the energy to fight. I was carried somewhere and he set me on his lap once he sat down in their car. We drove for about fifteen minutes until we pulled up to what I assumed was his house. He carried me inside and set me on the couch as he and is friends sat down around me. I quickly rolled off the couch and apologized.

"What's wrong," another vaguely familiar voice asked me. 

"I don't want to get your couch dirty," I explained. My voice almost frightened me. It was quiet and gravely; it sounded as if I'd been screaming for a year. 

The first boy quietly laughed and mumbled, "Just like Alex." A somber air settled over us all. Alex? That was my name, I think. I hadn't heard or used my name in over a year. My name was always Slut to my father. 

"Um," I started. The boys, I noticed there were five of them, all looked at me. "Do you think I could use your shower?" I was absolutely disgusting. I hadn't showered in over a year either. 

The first boy hopped up and said, "Sure, follow me." He lead me up the stairs and into a room. He opened a dresser and handed me a few clothes, then pointed to the bathroom. "Just come down when you're done," he said, then closed the bedroom door behind him. I looked around. This room was familiar. I looked at the photographs in their frames. That was me! So was that girl! I looked around the room again and down at the clothes in my hands as it struck me: this was my room. Those boys were One Direction. Louis had found me!

I walked into the bathroom and removed my bloodied and torn clothes. I threw them in the trashcan and stepped into the warm shower. I washed my hair about three times, as well as the rest of me. I finally smelled like me, rather than a sewer. I stepped out and wrapped myself in a towel, then reached for my hairbrush. It was still on the counter, exactly where I'd left it. It took me a while, but I finally brushed all the tangles out. I then reached for the pair of scissors I always kept in my drawer, and began to cut my hair, the pieces falling into the trashcan. I gave myself side bangs and layers, finally looking like myself. I looked at my face. It was bruised and cut, and my right eye was swollen shut. I cut my bangs to fall over that eye. I looked at the clothes Louis had handed me. Short white shorts and a black tank-top. Too revealing. I went over to my dresser and pulled out my skinny jeans and my black long-sleeved shirt. I went back to the bathroom and dressed. I stared at my reflection. The clothes, which were once form-fitting, now hung loosely on me. I might as well be wearing as sweatshirt and sweatpants that were both three sizes to big. I opened the cabinet and pulled out a few wraps. I wrapped the first around my middle. Thankfully it had stopped bleeding, but still. I wrapped the next around my knee and the last around my ankle. Both injuries were on the same leg, thankfully.

I sighed and walked, well limped, out to the top of the stairs. I took a deep breath. Was I ready to face them? No, I couldn't. Not after what I'd done to them all, especially Louis. I sat at the top of the stairs and put my head in my hands, letting myself cry. I heard someone come up the stairs and sit behind me. They draped their arm across my shoulders and I looked up: it was Louis.

"I, I'm so sorry Louis," I whimpered. I wiped my tears away and looked him in the eyes. I saw the flash of recognition as tears sprang to his eyes. He pulled me into a hug and we both cried together.

After a while, we walked down the stairs. When we were about half way down I stopped and he looked at me. "Louis? I think I might need a phone now." He laughed at me. His happy, relieved, carefree laugh I'd missed so much. The boys turned around to see what had caused this reaction and saw me. I looked down. I remembered the pain as it came back to me and doubled over. Louis stopped me from falling down the stairs and looked at me with concern. "He hurt me," I whimpered, my voice faltering  I knew I sounded like a two-year-old, but I wasn't emotionally ready to tell him anything. I saw the flash of rage in his eyes before it was replaced by sorrow. He picked me up and took me down the stairs, sat down on the couch, and set me on his lap. I leaned into him and closed my eyes. I couldn't face anyone right now. I just felt so bad. 

"What hurts, Love," Louis asked me, concern lacing his voice.

"Everything," I groaned, wrapping my arms around my middle. 

"What do you mean?" I really didn't want to explain it to him.

"He had over a year and he was mad at me. Everything hurts," I said, hoping he'd understand. I felt the tears in my eyes as the memories came back to me. Apparently he did understand because his arms wrapped protectively around me. "I'm so so so sorry I left Louis," I sobbed, "I didn't want to but I had to! I'm so sorry! I missed out on everything, TWICE! I'm so sorry," I said again. My father had broken me and I had yet to be fixed. I sobbed into his shoulder as he rubbed my back. His body was shaking a little, was he crying too? I looked up at him and sure enough he was. I wiped away his tears but didn't even try to smile. I knew I couldn't. At that point, it seemed impossible that I would ever smile again. 

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