Breaking Free

Ever felt smothered by everyone else's idea of what your life should be like? Have you ever just wanted to say "Stop! It's my life!" to those closest to you? We all have, haven't we? I bet you were too afraid to do it though. So you kept your mouth shut, and did exactly what you always told yourself you would never do: you followed the rules set by people who don't really know you, and let THEM control your life. But what could happen if you finally just said no? If you decided to follow your own dream? Would something amazing happen? Would you fall in love? Would you find what you've been looking for your whole life? What could happen if you just...broke free?

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1. Annabelle Lee Costa

"Annabelle what are you doing in there? Come out of your room right this very second or I'm coming in!"

Annabelle Costa's mother Trudy had a very high pitched annoying whine of a voice. She was petite, but her shrillness could pack a punch. She was the type of homemaker who was never seen without perfect makeup, high heels, and panty hose on. Trudy was simply a wannabe Martha Stewart, in all honesty.

Belle rolled her eyes and continued to strum her guitar on her bed. Belle's room was luxurious, huge and spacious with a fourty-two inch flat screen television mounted on the wall, a window seat, two couches, a keyboard, her own personal bathroom with a jacuzzi as well as a shower, and a walk in closet. She lived the high life, but you could never tell by talking to her; Belle was incredibly humble when it came to her family's wealth. Her mother on the other hand...

"Alright then Annabelle Lee, I'm coming in!" Trudy's shrill voice rang out making Belle cringe. Trudy opened the door and burst into Belle's room, hand on her hips in typical Trudy-fashion.

Belle's mother was, of course, dressed to perfection in her navy pencil skirt with matching blazer set. Her short brown hair was in a perfectly styled bob and she had on her pearl earrings and necklace, like always. She almost stumbled a little bit as she stepped her heels onto Belle's plush carpet floor.

"Annabelle Lee Costa it is four o'clock in the afternoon and you are still not ready for your father's work party tonight? Are you trying to start an early career of being a hobo? And what on earth are you wearing? Get changed and put on your face right this very second and if you're not downstairs in an hour dressed and ready to go you will suffer the consequences. And put that blasted guitar away, I swear I never should have bought that thing..." Trudy finished her soliloquy with a final scoff and turned on her heel and stormed out of Belle's room, not even bothering to let Belle speak. Which Bell of course did not mind at all.

As soon as the door to her room was shut, Belle shook her head and began her sarcastic self rant, "Hi mom, nice to see you too. Oh you like my outfit? Thanks, I picked it out just for you!" With that, Belle barked out a harsh laugh and set her precious guitar on its stand right next to her queen sized bed. She flopped on her back and chuckled to herself. She was sort of pathetic right now. She was wearing black leggings and an oversized gray sweatshirt that had belonged to an old boyfriend, and her long brown hair was thrown up in a messy bun that was falling out. She didn't have on any makeup either.

"Ah, who gives a shit. Oh right, no one." Belle mumbled to herself yet again. She let out a huff of frustration and got out of the bed. She walked over to her full length mirror and looked at her reflection.

A few seconds passed and Belle spoke to herself again, "Wow. Eighteen years old and more pathetic than ever."

Belle looked in the mirror for just a moment longer then turned to her closet to pick out a dress for her father's business party.

***

"My, my, my, Costa, you've got such a lovely daughter!"

"Oh yes Mr. Costa, she's a gem, that one."

"She'll be taking over the ole company for you one day, eh won't she Costa?"

Belle rolled her eyes as she heard all the familiar comments and compliments given to her father in regards to her. Her dad was the CEO of a huge chemical company, so the people who worked under him were constantly sucking up, and when they saw that their boss had a beautiful eighteen year old daughter, the compliments started rolling in.

"Mr. Costa, my son is about your daughter's age and I bet they would get along just swell!"

"Oh this can't be your daughter Mr. Costa, she looks like she just stepped out of a magazine!"

"Mr. Costa you must be so proud of your daughter, she's the ideal child!"

Belle would always smile on the outside and roll her eyes on the inside each time she heard another comment. Her father's response though, was always the same:

"Yes, our Annabelle is a rare one, she is."

Lovely.

Belle wasn't even making an attempt to try and impress these people. That charade had stopped when she had reached the age of about fifteen or sixteen. Her shoulders were slumped and her arms were crossed as she looked around her for a distraction of some sort, not trying to hide the fact that she was extremely bored.

Belle was wearing a beautiful Chanel cocktail dress; it was strapless and blue sequined up top, with black ruffles extending from her waist down to an inch or two above her knee. Her toned legs looked miles long in her black stilettos. Her hair was down and pinned to the side, hanging down like a wavy curtain over her right shoulder. She had on little makeup, just some basic foundation and mascara. Her plump lips were shiny with Burberry lip gloss.

The beautiful girl finally extracted herself from her father's side and made her way over to the refreshments. Belle was incredibly fit, but you'd have never guessed it from her eating habits.

Just as Belle stuck her finger in the icing of an uncut cake, she heard a familiar husky voice behind her.

"I saw that."

Belle jumped and turned around to see her friend Alan smirking mischievously. She rolled her eyes and smacked his arm with the back of her hand, making him laugh. She couldn't help but grin as well and she turned back to the cake. Alan was probably her best friend, though they weren't even that close. He was a fit bloke, and everyone expected them to date since they were both in the upper class and their fathers were both incredibly wealthy and would most likely join firms in the near future. Their mothers were already picking out wedding invitations.

"I didn't think you were gonna be here, Al." Belle said, her back turned to her friend.

She heard Alan sigh and she could just picture his broad shoulders going up and down. "Eh, you know how it is." He muttered.

Belle abandoned the cake and turned back to Alan, cocking her head to the side in confusion. "What are you talking about? I thought you were gonna skip town last night?" she said quietly.

Belle and Alan had always talked about leaving their wealthy lifestyle and going to live out their own dreams, and the other night after Alan had had a huge fight with his father over taking over the company, he had called Belle and said he was actually doing it. She'd wished him well and they'd hung up.

Alan sighed and looked down at his feet, scuffing his dress shoes on the patio cement. "You know what Belle, I was going to. I really was. But then I realized, I've got nothing else. This is it for me." He exclaimed, looking back up at her and gesturing to the party. "I've got no skills, nothing to fall back on. We always said we were going to follow our dreams, but I don't even have one!" Alan laughed sadly and looked away from Belle, tears glittering in his eyes. His voice softened, "Belle, I've got one fate. And unfortunately, that fate is taking over my father's company."

"Alan don't say that," Belle started, "you hate that company, you--"

"You're right." Alan interrupted. "I hate my father's company with every fiber of my being, but you know what? It doesn't matter." He hissed. "It doesn't matter if I hate it or if I love it, it's my future. There's no other option for me Belle." Alan said with finality.

Tense silence settled over the two friends and they both fought the tears back in their eyes. Was this truly their fate?

"But Belle, it's not the only option for you." Alan suddenly said, breaking the silence with his serious tone.

Belle furrowed her brow at his words. "What?" she asked incredulously.

Alan put his hands on Belle's shoulders and looked directly into her eyes. "Belle, I've accepted my fate, but you don't have to. You have other talents, you actually have a dream. You've always wanted to sing Belle, you know you have."

Belle rolled her eyes dramatically. "Oh Alan, that's just a dream, I--"

"Exactly Belle! It's a dream, and a dream that you have to chase! Please Belle, if I can't have my happily ever after, you have to. You've got your guitar, you've got your voice, and you have some amazing talent. What is it that we always used to tell each other as kids?"

Belle took in a breath and whispered the words. "'We'll never let our dreams slip away'"

"That's right." Alan said, shaking Belle's shoulders. "You can't let your dream slip away Belle. Mine's already gone, I can't change that. But I can help make sure that your dream becomes your reality."

Belle looked at her best friend with tearful eyes. She smiled meekly. "You really think I could do it?" she asked softly.

Alan chuckled softly and pulled her into a hug. "Hell yes I do. If anyone is stubborn enough to make herself known, it's Annabelle Lee Costa."

Belle laughed and dug her face into Alan's strong chest. A moment passed and he pulled away.

"Alright, here's the plan..."

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