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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60. Conflicted

 

At some point during the flight, Belle had managed to close her eyes and shut out the world, mostly thanks to the Xanax. She fell into a deep sleep, rolling her head to the side and towards Louis.

Louis looked at Belle's flawless features. Her eyes twitched in her sleep, making her long eyelashes flutter. It was a familiar sight; he couldn't count the number of times she had fallen asleep at his flat, or on his shoulder at rehearsals when she was their opening act. Back when they were together. Back when they were so in love.

Louis inhaled sharply as he thought about all the good memories they shared. Chasing each other around various venues, the way they would change each other's ringtones all the time, the silly pictures they took together. It was so long ago, yet felt as if it were yesterday.

When Louis thought about the happy moments in his life, three things came to mind: One, when each of his sisters was born. Two, when One Direction was formed. And three, every single moment that he shared with Belle. 

Belle started to mumble in her sleep, something about goats. Louis chuckled, looking down at her with soft eyes. Her light brown hair had fallen slightly in front of her face. Without thinking, Louis reached out and pushed it back behind her ear.

Belle stirred, but only slightly, when Louis touched her face. The corners of her mouth pulled up in a light, sleepy smile and she sighed in content, relaxing her shoulders and falling even more asleep.

Not pulling his hand away, Louis rested his palm against Belle's cheek. At the contact, Belle took in a deep breath and let it out slowly, leaning into his hand and smiling in her sleep yet again.

Louis closed his eyes painfully, wishing that things were different. 

"What happened to us Belle?" He whispered.

***

Belle finally started to stir about four hours later. Her eyes fluttered open and she took in a deep breath. She had to think for a moment to register where she was. 

Oh, right, she was on the way to Hawaii to meet with HMSA. 

"Hey there sleepyhead." A familiar voice said right into Belle's ear. Her eyes shot open as she recognized the voice.

Furthermore, she realized that she was sleeping on someone's shoulder. His shoulder, to be exact.

Belle sat up quickly, inhaling as she turned and looked at Louis, who was smiling at her. Belle sighed. 

"Crap, I forgot you were here." She muttered under her breath, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.

"Well I appreciate that." Louis said sarcastically. Belle turned to look at him and pursed her lips.

"You know I didn't mean it like that." She said seriously. Louis just nodded and looked out the window. "How long have I been out?" She asked.

Louis turned to face her once again, shrugging his shoulders. "Maybe four or five hours."

"Have you been awake this whole time?" Belle asked. Louis opened his mouth to speak but Belle cut him off with a shake of her head. "Oh yeah, I forgot you can't sleep on planes." She answered her own question, looking around at the rest of the cabin curiously.

"You remember that?" Louis asked with a smile. Belle's eyes got wide and she slowly turned to look at him again.

"Uh, yeah." She said awkwardly. "I did go on tour with you guys, remember?" She added with a nervous chuckle.

Louis grinned. "You remember stuff about me." He said cheerfully.

Belle rolled her eyes and sat back in her seat, running her fingers through the tangles in her hair. "Just one thing, it's not a big deal." She mumbled. "It doesn't mean anything."

"Oh okay." Louis said. After a pause, he added, "I remember stuff about you." 

Belle froze, gradually turning her head to look at him. "Like what?" She asked slowly.

Louis thought for a moment. "Like how you hate onions. And that you consider sleeping in late around eight in the morning. And nobody is allowed to touch your guitar except you. You hate feet, but you love to get pedicures. The sight of pearls makes you cringe because it reminds you of your mom. Whenever you have kids you want to have a boy named Lucas and a girl named Marilyn, so you can call her Mar-Bear. It's on your bucket list to see a World Cup game, and you root for Manchester United over Liverpool."

Louis paused and looked at Belle, who had her jaw dropped in disbelief. She acted like she was going to say something, but he continued.

"You said once that you thought tattoos were unattractive, yet you have one now which kind of confuses me. When you were a junior in high school you broke your arm while playing soccer because you slide tackled someone to keep them from scoring and they kicked your arm instead of the ball. But you saved the goal, so you said it was worth it. You've only smoked pot once, and you hated it. You got drunk the night of your senior prom and Alan had to drive you home, and you threw up all over the seats of his brand new Porsche." Louis paused yet again. "Oh and you love sushi." He added with a bright smile. 

Belle was speechless. He actually remembered all of that? She had told him those small details about her over a year ago, how could he possibly still remember it now?

"I...you...how?" She finally managed to spit out.

Louis' expression turned soft. "I remember everything about you Belle." He said bluntly, as if she should have known. "You were the best thing that ever happened to me."

Belle inhaled sharply, shocked at his heartfelt words. Tears threatened to well up in her eyes but she managed to hold them back. All this time she thought that Louis had just erased her from his memory because he hated her so much.

"I thought that you hated me." Belle whispered, looking down at her lap.

Louis chuckled. "I might have been upset with you a lot, furious most of the time, but I could never hate you Belle. That'll never happen. I just...can't." He said with a serious tone.

Belle looked back up at Louis' face and saw that he was being one hundred percent serious. He gave her a crooked smile and looked out the window again. 

A loud silence ensued.

"You read your horoscopes every day." Belle suddenly said. Louis turned his head quickly.

"What--"

"It's a secret dream of yours to go into acting, but you're too afraid to tell the boys because you're afraid you'll hurt their feelings." Belle spat out quickly, not looking at Louis. "You wish you could play the drums even though you have absolutely no sense of rhythm."

"Hey I--"

"When you were nine years old you stole your mom's razor and shaved your legs. Nicki Minaj scares you. You like photography but don't ever have the time to take it seriously. Your favorite soda is Coke, even though One Direction endorses Pepsi. You support Liverpool, but you're a huge fan of Van Persie. You cry every time you Skype your sisters, and you don't like Lottie's boyfriend. Every morning you drink a can of Pineapple juice at breakfast." She paused. "Oh, and you snore when you sleep."

Belle finished and only glanced at Louis briefly before looking back down at her lap. Louis chuckled, leaning back in his seat.

"Lottie and her boyfriend actually broke up." He said simply after a few seconds.

Belle smiled to herself, turning and looking at Louis.

"Oh yeah?" She asked. "Why?"

Louis grinned wide. "Probably something to do with a threatening message he may or may not have received..."

Belle rolled her eyes. "Oh gosh, what did you do?"

***

For the rest of the flight, Belle and Louis actually had pleasant conversation. It was just like old times, excluding the few odd variables of course. 

The two talked about music, movies, other celebrities, Louis' family, Allies for Alan, everything almost. The time literally flew by, they didn't even realize how long they had been talking. 

As a flight attendant announced that the plane would be descending in a few minutes, Belle realized how close she and Louis were. While talking, she had pulled her knees up to her side, fully turning her torso towards him. He was leaning forward on the armrest between them, his hand just inches away from the bare skin on her thigh.

Louis pulled out his phone. "It's five o'clock here, we shouldn't have too bad jet lag." He said, smiling lightly at Belle. 

Belle smiled meekly back, straightening up in her seat and moving away from Louis stealthily. "Oh, that's good." She replied.

Suddenly the plane lurched forward as it started to descend. Belle gasped, reaching out and grabbing Louis' hand out of instinct. She held on for just a split second before releasing it and pulling her hand away. "Sorry." She mumbled.

Louis chuckled. "It's fine."

Belle started to breathe heavy, the plane tilting forward just slightly. She started to rummage through her pockets.

"Fuck." Belle muttered. She had taken both Xanax earlier, when she had been planning one for when they took off and one for the landing.

Belle looked around anxiously, her breathing getting more shallow by the second. This wasn't good, she was going to have an anxiety attack on this plane any second now.

"Belle, Belle look at me." Louis suddenly said. Belle whipped her head around to him with wide eyes, only to see that he was strangely calm. "Just look at me okay, we're going to be fine."

"Louis I--" Belle began to say, looking out the window where the clouds were rapidly disappearing. 

"Don't look out the window, look at my face." Louis commanded, getting Belle's attention back on him. "The plane will land in just a minute or two, everything is going to be fine. Just keep looking at me." He said softly, reaching out and taking Belle's hand in his own. She jerked it away instantly. "Belle stop. You don't have any more meds and you need to calm down. Just let me help." He pleaded, reaching for her hand yet again.

Belle complied reluctantly, letting Louis take his hand in her own and looking him in the eyes. Oddly enough, she began to feel better. Her breathing slowed, and her muscles relaxed as she gazed into his sparkling blue-green eyes. Her hand was on fire at his touch, but she didn't focus on that. She just focused on him.

The rest of the cabin began to fade to black around them, gazing into each other's eyes as if there were no tomorrow. The past disappeared, all their fights and mistakes, harsh words exchanged. It faded to nothing. Their breaths began to match up, as did their heartbeats. It was astonishing how after all this time, and all the drama involved, Louis could still calm Belle down with just a single touch.

'Ladies and gentleman thank you for flying with us and welcome to Honolulu, Hawaii' A voice suddenly called out over the intercom, making Belle and Louis both jump back to reality.

Belle gasped as she realized she was still clutching onto Louis' hand for dear life. They both looked down as she disentangled their fingers. She looked back up at his face, which briefly flashed with hurt. 

"Th-thank you." Belle stuttered out, looking away.

"Anytime." Louis said softly. 

This week hadn't even begun yet, and Belle was already becoming more and more conflicted with every passing minute.

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