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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22. Belle Punches Harry

"Liam it doesn't matter how many times we sing that verse, I'm not going to hit that high note!"

"Oh come on, just try it one more time for me!"

"No."

"Yes."

"No!"

"Yes!"

"UGH!" Belle shouted in protest, throwing her hands up in the air and standing up abruptly from her stool. She was about to walk off the almost empty stage and away from Liam, but as soon as she turned she ran smack into Harry instead. They bumped heads and both groaned in pain, ignoring Liam's laughter.

It was the day after the events at Niall's flat, and she and the boys were both at rehearsals. At the moment, it was Belle's turn to run through her two opening songs for the tour. She'd been having trouble with a particularly high note in her first song, 'Skyscraper' by Demi Lovato. She was getting frustrated so Liam offered to help, which Belle gladly accepted. That is, until Belle realized that Liam is the most strict vocal coach in the entire world and he was not going to give up nor let Belle have a break until she hit that note.

Belle rubbed her now aching forehead and opened her eyes to see Harry doing the same thing. "Harry what are you doing here, I thought you and the other boys went out to lunch?"

"No, we lied about that so Liam wouldn't recruit us to help." Harry replied in his slow drawl, dropping his hand and sticking it in his jeans pocket.

"Oi!" Liam shouted, looking offended. Harry just shrugged and looked back down at Belle.

"I came in here because it sounded like you guys were having sex and I was concerned."

Belle started to choke on air at Harry's surprisingly blunt words and Harry doubled over in laughter while her eyes pricked with tears at the sudden onset coughing fit. Liam paled and his jaw dropped.

"We weren't doing anything of the sort!" Liam yelled in their defense.

Harry scrunched up his nose as he laughed. He started to imitate their previous conversations, alternating between high and low voices for Liam and Belle and making everything sound much dirtier than it really was.

"'Liam I don't wanna do this anymore!' 'You have to keep trying you'll get better at it trust me.' 'It's not high enough!' 'Just keep pushing it!' 'You're almost there!'"

Harry couldn't go on as he collapsed into a fit of giggles and Liam and Belle glanced at each other quickly before looking away, the both of them blushing furiously. Belle pursed her lips and balled up her fist, rearing her arm back and punching Harry on the arm as hard as she could.

"OW!" Belle shouted, holding her right hand and doubling over as it exploded in pain.

"Woah love are you alright?" Liam asked, standing up from his own stool and putting his arm around Belle's shoulders. She was bent over at the waist now, holding her hand and biting her lip to keep back tears. It really did hurt.

Harry started giggling like an idiot. "Damn Belle, I know I got some muscles but I didn't think you could hurt yourself by--"

"Shutup Haz, I think she's actually hurt." Liam said, glaring up at his curly haired friend.

Harry immediately stopped laughing and got a serious expression. He walked over to Belle and put his hands on her arms, pulling her up into a standing position. He saw that she was trying not to cry. "Belle what'd you do?"

Belle couldn't say anything but Liam saw she was holding her right hand with her left. He went to take it from her and she gasped in pain. Liam tried a second time, being much more gentle.

"Holy shit." Harry mumbled. Belle's thumb was already starting to swell and turn purple. Liam turned it over a couple of times before sighing.

"Belle, hasn't anyone ever told you that you're not supposed to keep your thumb inside your fist when you throw a punch?" Liam asked.

Belle looked up at him with wide brown eyes and shook her head no. Harry chuckled humorlessly and he and Liam walked her off the stage to where Paul was located.

***

Belle hissed in pain as Paul wrapped white medical tape around the base of Belle's thumb before moving to her wrist and the other side of her hand. He chuckled deeply and muttered, "Girls."

Harry and Liam had explained to Paul what had happened on stage earlier and at first he had just laughed. But after examining Belle's hand he explained that she had most likely broken her thumb and sprained her wrist. Without any hesitation he had grabbed the medical tape, set her down on top of a table backstage, and started to wrap her hand up. Harry and Liam were backstage with them, whispering to each other and waiting for Paul to finish.

"Hey Paul do you know where--" Zayn cut himself off as he entered the room and looked up from his phone. "Woah what happened?"

Harry chuckled. "Well, funny story--"

"Harry was being a pervert so Belle punched him but her thumb was inside her fist and she hurt her hand." Liam interrupted bluntly before turning back to Harry. "Not a funny story now, is it Harry?"

Harry's cheeks flushed red and he looked down at the ground. Zayn gave off a crooked smile and looked at Belle who was furrowing her brow and pursing her lips as Paul wrapped her hand. Zayn started to walk over to them as Louis and Niall both entered the room, laughing about something. They both froze as they saw the situation.

"Belle what happened?!" Niall shouted, running over to the table she was sat upon and almost running into Paul.

"Nothing, I'm fine." Belle said through gritted teeth as Paul made the wrap even tighter and she inhaled sharply.

Louis chuckled and stuck his hands in his pockets, making his way over to where everyone was standing around Belle. "Right, because getting your hand taped up means you're just fine." He muttered sarcastically.

When Belle and Louis made eye contact it was for just a moment, but it was enough for the both of them. Enough for them each to know that their feelings were definitely there, especially after the events of the night before. Belle was the first to look away.

"What happened?" Niall asked hurriedly, oblivious to the silent encounter Belle and Louis had just had. Zayn, Harry, and Liam weren't so naieve though and they all looked from each other, to Belle, to Louis, and back again.

"I, uh--" Belle started to say.

"She punched Harry and hurt her thumb and her wrist." Paul said simply, ripping the final piece of tape and stepping back to observe his handiwork. "That'll do for now until we get you fitted for a cast."

"A cast?!" Belle shouted.

"Wait how'd you hurt yourself by punching Harry?" Niall asked in a confused tone.

Paul chuckled. "Yeah Belle, why don't you tell 'em?" He said playfully, winking at her before turning and exiting the room.

"Well you see..." Belle finally began to say as Louis and Niall looked at her awaiting an explanation. She rolled her eyes and sighed in exasperation as Harry, Zayn, and Liam sniggered. "Oh shut up, how was I supposed to know that you don't punch someone with your thumb inside your fist?!"

Louis and Niall immediately started laughing as well, and Belle furrowed her brow and her cheeks flushed red in frustration. A minute passed and the boys were still laughing when Paul walked back into the room, phone in hand.

"Alright boys, give it a rest." He said firmly. The boys stopped laughing. "Alright I just let the head of management know what's up and as long as your hand is fine by the first concert of the tour, you're safe."

Belle exhaled in relief. She really didn't want her own idiocy to keep her from performing with the boys. "But how am I supposed to play the guitar with a cast on? Both my opening songs are acoustic!"

Paul nodded in understanding before calmly saying, "Don't worry, the cast should only be on for two to three weeks, so it'll be off about a week before the tour starts. And as for song rehearsals, you've already learned the music on the guitar right?"

Belle nodded.

"Then we'll just get Dan or one of the boys to play the guitar for you during rehearsals so that you can get the vocals down. Don't worry, everything is going to work out, this is just a minor setback."

Belle sighed and nodded her head again. "Thanks Paul." She said sincerely. Paul smiled and exited the room again, leaving Belle alone with the boys.

"Belle I'm really sorry." Harry finally said, breaking the silence. Belle smiled sheepishly.

"Don't worry about it Harry, it's my fault for punching you in the first place."

"Yeah why did you punch him?" Zayn asked.

"She and Liam were making sex noises and I interrupted." Harry said quickly whilst winking at Belle.

"What?!" Niall said at the exact same time Louis shouted "Liam!"

Liam held up his arms in defense and his eyes got big. "We weren't doing anything!"

Belle rolled her eyes. "Harry shut up you know damn well Liam and I weren't having sex." She said calmly.

Harry grinned cheekily and said, "Yeah I know but it's fun to get you guys all worked up." Belle chuckled.

"So..." Niall said slowly, "You guys definitely weren't doing anything?"

"No." Belle said firmly. "He was helping me with the song, and that's all."

Niall nodded and sighed in relief. "Okay cool. So then there's nothing to keep you from joining me for dinner tonight then right?" He asked suddenly, catching everyone off guard.

Belle's mouth popped open and she felt all the boys put their eyes on her. Harry and Liam looked amused, Niall was grinning goofily, Zayn was looking at Louis expectantly, and Louis was glaring at Niall with his lips set in a hard line.

"I, uh..." Belle began to say, looking around at the rest of the group. Her eyes landed on Louis and he averted his gaze to her, looking nervous and almost upset.

"Belle?" Niall's voice snapped Belle's head back to him and he chuckled at how wide her eyes were. "Whatdya say? Go out with me tonight?" He asked in his thick Irish accent.

"I-I, um," Belle started to stutter and Niall just kept smiling away, cheerfully awaiting an answer.

There was a tense silence as Belle pondered over how to respond.

"ZaynIneedtotalktoyou." Her words ran into each other as she spit out the words hastily. Niall's face scrunched up in confusion.

"Huh?" Louis and Zayn said at the exact same time. Belle jumped off of the table and grabbed Zayn's hand with her left, the one that wasn't injured. She quickly pulled a very shocked Zayn away from the other four and out of the room, down the hall, and into an empty broom closet, leaving the others staring at each other in confusion.

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