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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63. Giving In (The Third Day)

"And then I looked you in the eyes,

My knees starting to shake-

I didn't know what to say,

So I just took a leap of faith..."

Louis groaned, lifting his head up off the pillow and glancing towards his clock, which read 8:32 am. Much too early for him to be awake, especially since the second board meeting of the week wasn't until five in the afternoon. 

He pushed his fringe away of his face, sitting up and rubbing his eyes. Belle's singing was coming through the thin walls of his hotel room, next to hers. He recognized not only her beautiful voice, but the song from her new album, 'I've Been Waiting For You'. Despite the early hour, he couldn't help but smile as he listened. He'd missed hearing Belle sing. When they were together, he heard her sing all the time. In the shower, while watching TV, when she was reading, in the car, etc. Now the only time he heard her sing was through his headphones.

Louis smiled again as he pictured Belle in her room, maybe fixing her hair or changing into clothes while singing her own song. She was so cute.

Throwing the covers off of his bed, Louis stood up and pulled on some gym shorts over his boxars, which was all he slept in. He decided against wearing a shirt, wanting to see Belle blush again. He mussed his hair up a bit, then opened his sliding glass door and hopped from his balcony onto Belle's. He chuckled as he saw that her own balcony door was wide open, as if she were asking someone to creep on her.

Louis cautiously stepped into Belle's room and glanced around, seeing that she wasn't in there. Steam was billowing out from the bottom of her bathroom door though, which was closed. He listened again and heard that she was in the shower, still singing. 

'This will be fun' Louis thought to himself, smirking as he made his way to her bathroom door.

Carefully testing the handle, he saw that it was unlocked and he slowly opened it, feeling as if he were on a mission.

"...The words tumble out,

Nothing prepared, nothing planned--" She sang.

Louis bit back a laugh as he stepped into Belle's bathroom, watching her silhouette behind the translucent shower curtain. It looked as though she were using a shampoo bottle as a makeshift microphone. Fame certainly hadn't changed her.

Louis hopped onto her bathroom sink counter as quietly as he could, resting back on his hands and listening to Belle sing.

"I say that I've been waiting for you,

Oh I've been waiting for you,

To realize that I've been here all this time-"

Louis smirked again, finally deciding to have some fun with this. He started to harmonize with Belle, knowing the words by heart.

"I don't know how you didn't see,

When all I wanted was you and me--"

Belle froze, her eyes getting wide as she heard the most familiar voice in the world singing her song, with her, in harmony. She covered her mouth in shock as she continued to listen, hearing Louis sing the rest of the chorus to her song.

"I've been waiting for you baby,

Waiting for you to tell me too, oh,

That you're in love with me maybe"

Louis finished the chorus and giggled, knowing that Belle was aware of his presence now. He couldn't wait to see how she would react. This was the first time in a long time that he was just being an immature little idiot for the fun of it. 

Belle gulped, setting the shampoo bottle down slowly. She grabbed the side of the shower curtain, hot water still pouring over her. She pulled a portion of it back slowly, and peeked her head around the edge, still covering up the rest of her body the best she could.

Louis was sat on the edge of the sink counter, grinning like a five year old and swinging his legs back and forth with a much too innocent smile.

"Sup Belle, how's it goin'?" He asked, still grinning.

Belle's gasped and furrowed her brow. "Louis you ass!" She shrieked, reaching down and grabbing her shampoo bottle again and chucking it at Louis. He laughed, blocking it and tucking his knees up. Belle continued to throw random shower supplies at him.

"What...are...you...doing in here?!" She shrieked, throwing more stuff at her intruder through the exclamation. 

Louis laughed, moving erratically to dodge the various items. He yelped though when a soap caught the side of his head.

Belle ran out of stuff to throw and huffed, still peering around the side of the curtain at a shirtless Louis. Her hair was a mess, still lathered in shampoo on the top of her head. She really hoped that he couldn't see her naked body through the almost see-through shower curtain.

"What the hell Louis?!" She shouted, more amused than mad. She couldn't let him know that though. "How did you even get in here?!"

Louis laughed, leaning back on his hands again. "You left your balcony door open, genius. Your stupid singing woke me up!"

Belle huffed, closing the curtain back all the way and rolling her eyes as she rinsed out the shampoo from her hair as quickly as she could.

"That doesn't give you the right to come into my bathroom while I'm showering." She said with an attitude. "And for your information, my 'stupid singing' has me number one on the iTunes and Billboard charts right now, so there." She poked her head out of the curtain once again and stuck her tongue out, making Louis laugh.

"Alright then, alright." Louis said, holding his hands up as Belle went back into the shower. He watched her silhouette intently as he continued to speak. "I guess your singing isn't that terrible." He said cheekily.

Belle scoffed loudly. "That terrible? If I remember correctly, you used to love my singing." She said teasingly.

Louis' smile faded a bit as he thought about all the times Belle used to sing to him when they were together. All those happy times that he missed so much.

"I still do." He mumbled under his breath.

"What?" Belle asked loudly from behind the curtain, not having heard him.

Louis inhaled sharply and sat up straighter on the counter. "Nothing, I was just saying that the boys and I have been on those charts a whole lot more than you have, you might want some tips from us to stay there."

Belle laughed and shut off the water, the bathroom quieting. "I think I'll be alright, but thanks for the offer you turd." She teased.

Louis smiled. Belle was teasing him, being playful with him. Gosh he had missed this.

Belle stuck her head out once again, her hair dripping over her shoulders. She sighed dramatically.

"Well if you're not going to leave, at least hand me my towel so I can get out." She asked.

Louis looked to his left and saw that Belle's towel was right beside him on the towel. He glanced back up at Belle and grinned.

"Louis." Belle said, her eyes widening as she realized what Louis was planning. "Louis don't you dare." She added as menacingly as she could muster.

Louis just smirked and jumped off the sink, grabbing the towel with his hand and walking backwards towards the open bathroom door.

"Sorry what was that? The heat in here is really getting to me, my ears are ringing, I can't hear you." Louis said mockingly, hopping out of the bathroom, Belle's towel in hand.

"Louis stop! Bring that back Louis! Louis I need that!" 

Belle's shouts were futile though as Louis' contagious laughter drifted from the bathroom into her room. She listened intently and heard him flop on her bed. 

"Whenever you're ready, come on out here. Your towel and I will be waiting." Louis sing-songed as he giggled like a little kid on Christmas.

Belle rolled her eyes and leaned back against the shower wall. She wanted to be mad, but she just couldn't be. When she and Louis were together, not only had they been a couple, they had been best friends. He played pranks like this on her all the time, and she did the same to him. There was constant laughter between them, never a dull moment. Belle was happy being with Niall, she truly was. But her times with Louis had been the best moments of her life, and she couldn't lie to herself about that.

Belle giggled as she remembered all the funny pranks she and Louis had played on each other so long ago. When she pantsed him as he was waving to some fans outside of an arena on the UK tour. The time that he called her and pretending to be Justin Timberlake, one of her idols. When she hid a rubber snake in his bed. Or when he had covered her entire car in sticky notes written with 'Louis is sexier than Belle' on them. The list went on and on.

Sighing, Belle held back a few tears that threatened to escape as the memories overwhelmed her. Even though Louis had hurt her time and time again, said things to her that broke her heart into pieces, those bad times could never take away or replace the good times. She knew Louis better than anyone else on the planet, and Belle believed with all her heart that deep down, he was still the same man he was when they were together. At the moment though, he was different. There was still the chance though that Louis could get back to who he was when he was with her. When they were in love.

But the question was, did Belle want him to be that Louis again?

Of course she did. Thus, another question followed:

Was Belle willing to risk a good relationship to help Louis find himself once again?

***

"Oh Belley Belle, it's time to come out of the bathroom!" Louis sang, smiling to himself as he laid back on Belle's bed, still in just his gym shorts. Belle had been hiding out in the bathroom for about ten minutes now since he had stolen her towel. He was having much too fun with this situation.

He heard Belle groan from the bathroom and he smirked in satisfaction. 

"Louis please just give me my towel back." Belle pleaded from the other side of the bathroom door.

Louis giggled, looking up at the ceiling. "I'm sorry Belle, I just can't do that. I'm having too much fun with this."

"Oh so you enjoy seeing me in pain?" Belle asked with an awkward laugh, her voice muffled.

Louis froze for a moment. He knew Belle meant for that to be a joke, but he could detect the residual bitterness behind it. Louis sat up on his elbows and looked at the door, a serious expression on his face.

"No." He said to himself, much too quiet for Belle to hear him. "I definitely don't enjoy that." 

With that thought, Louis jumped up off the bed and grabbed Belle's towel. He began walking towards the bathroom.

"Louis please, I feel like I've been in here forever just--" 

Belle shrieked as Louis opened up the bathroom door just a crack and tossed the towel in before closing the door back. Belle was quiet on the other side.

"Thanks." She finally said, surprise in her voice. Louis never gave up on a prank. 

"Sure." Louis replied. He scratched the back of his head and said, "Uh, I'm just gonna go back to my room I'll see you later."

Belle wrapped the towel around her and opened up the door quickly before Louis could walk out. "No, wait!"

Louis froze, turning around and seeing Belle standing there in just a towel, her hair wet. The towel didn't cover that much, and he could feel the blood instantly rushing to his groin. He looked away quickly, not wanting to overstep any bounds or make her uncomfortable.

Belle looked down awkwardly, securing her towel even tighter around her. She hadn't even planned that outburst, she just didn't want Louis to leave quite yet. Which was a dangerous thing for her to be feeling.

"Um, stay for a bit." Belle finally said, smiling sheepishly.

Louis looked up with a raised eyebrow. "You're asking me to stay?" He asked, looking over her body. "You know you could have just unlocked the connecting door last night if you really wanted me to f--"

"Louis!" Belle shrieked, her face blushing bright red as he made what she said into something dirty. "I didn't mean that. I just uh, I thought maybe you could help me pick something to wear to the meeting today?" She asked, making something up on the spot.

Louis laughed at her reaction before narrowing his eyes at her. "You want me to stay for...fashion advice?" He asked, knowing fully well that she didn't value his opinion on her clothes whatsoever. She just wanted his company. Which made his heart close to bursting.

Belle nodded her head, knowing that Louis knew she was full of shit. "Yeah. I mean, what else were you going to do until this evening?"

Louis chuckled, leaning back against the wall and crossing his arms across his broad, bare chest. He flicked the fringe away from his eyes once again. "I don't know, probably sleep, mess around on Twitter or something. I hadn't thought about it."

Belle smiled thoughtfully. "Well maybe we can do something. We're in Hawaii after all. Help me pick out an outfit for the meeting, and until then we can find something to do."

Louis grinned cheekily, his mind going straight to the gutter. 

"And by something, I mean something innocent." Belle clarified quickly. Louis put on a mock pout and she laughed. "C'mon Louis. We're both here, let's might as well make the best out of it."

Louis took in a breath, already having made his decision but wanting to make Belle think he was hesitating. 

"Alright then sure." He finally said with a light smile. "We can hang out."

Belle smiled. "Alright cool. But first things first, help me with an outfit." She said.

Louis rolled his eyes through a smile and sat down on Belle's bed as she turned around and walked towards her walk in closet that the hotel provided. She picked up the privacy screen and brought it out, then went back in and grabbed three business outfits that she had already laid out. She also grabbed a specific tshirt from her suitcase. Walking around the privacy screen, still in just her towel, she tossed the outfits and tshirt at Louis, who caught them effortlessly.

"You're going to hand those to me in the order that you like best to least." She said with a smile, turning on her heel and bouncing back towards the screen. Louis ogled her bum, just barely covered by her towel, until she disappeared behind the screen that covered up to her shoulders.

His eyes widened as Belle took off the towel and tossed it. Louis couldn't see anything behind the screen except from her shoulders up, but the simple action of dropping her towel the way he did gave him a terrible hard-on. He grabbed a pillow and covered himself.

"Um, what's the tshirt for?" Louis asked as he shifted uncomfortably. The tshirt Belle had handed him was a men's size, and had the logo of some American football team he had never heard of. 

Belle chuckled, pulling a pair of red boycut underwear up her long legs. "You know just because you have abs doesn't mean you have to go around shirtless all the time." 

Louis laughed. "Nice to know I still make you uncomfortable." He said, holding up the shirt and glancing up at Belle. He made eye contact and winked cheekily, making her blush bright red and look away as she put on her bra.

Still chuckling, Louis put on the tshirt. "I'm guessing this is Niall's shirt." He muttered, more of a bitter statement than a question.

"Actually no." Belle said seriously, surprising Louis. She looked over top of the privacy screen to see Louis' still curious expression. "It's Harry's. He gave it to Kaylie a while back and it got mixed in with my clothes." She said with a shrug, now in just a bra and panties, which he couldn't see.

Louis just nodded, pleasantly surprised. 

"Alright hand me the outfit you like the best out of those three." Belle said, extending her arm over top of the screen. 

Louis looked down at the outfits and picked up the yellow dress. "I like this one." He said.

Belle smiled. "Okay cool, bring it over to me."

Louis smirked, leaning back on one elbow. "Y'know, my leg hurts real bad from hopping your balcony earlier, I don't think I can walk that far. You're going to have to come get the outfit yourself." He said cheekily.

Belle's jaw dropped. "Are you serious right now?" She asked.

Louis nodded. "Yep, sure am. Sorry love, you'll have to walk over here."

"I'm in just my underwear Louis."

Louis giggled. "I'm aware." He said with a wink.

Belle rolled her eyes. Then she thought for a minute. Louis was testing her, trying to make her uncomfortable. Well she didn't play that way. She was going to fight fire with fire.

With that thought, Belle lifted her chin high. "Alright fine then." She said with feigned confidence, striding out from behind the privacy screen.

Louis' eyes went wide, his mouth going dry as he took in Belle's appearance. Sure, he had seen her in a bikini just the day before, but something about her red boycut lingerie and strapless bra that gave her ample cleavage made her so much sexier.

Belle put on her most sexy walk, even though she didn't have a sexy bone in her body. She made her way over to Louis, who had his mouth open and was staring at her unabashed. She fought to maintain her facade even though she was wildly turned on to be so close to him while wearing so little, and he was so obviously affected by it.

Belle braced herself on the edge of the bed with one hand and leaned over Louis, giving him a great view of her chest and arching her back. She came close to his face and stared him right in the eyes as she grabbed the yellow dress from beside him.

"Gimme just a minute to change." She said huskily, still looking into Louis' eyes. He gulped and she smirked as she watched his Adam's apple bob up and down as he nodded furiously.

After another second of eye contact, Belle stood up quickly and strode back towards the privacy screen. She could feel Louis' eyes on her rear.

Once back behind the screen, Belle turned her back so that Louis could only see the back of her head and shoulders. 

"So, what do you want to do until the meeting this evening?" Belle asked, pretending as though nothing had just happened.

Louis cleared his throat and blinked a few times, trying to get the buzzing out of his head. Belle was like a drug to him, whenever she got close he lost all focus.

"Um, we can just uh, walk around I guess. Go to the beach, have lunch, whatever you want to do." He said, shaking his head once again.

Belle nodded, smiling as she listened to Louis stumble over his words. She was quite proud of herself for being the one to make him uncomfortable for once. She slipped the strap of the yellow one-shoulder dress on and straightened it out.

"Yeah that sounds good." She tied her hair up into a ponytail so that it wouldn't make her dress wet, then stepped out from behind the screen and stood in front of Louis. She put her hands on her hips. "Whatd'ya think?" She asked.

Louis was speechless. He couldn't understand how Belle had just stood in front of him in lingerie, yet he found her just as beautiful now when she was fully clothed, with no makeup on. The dress fit her perfectly, and showed off her tan legs.

"Well?" Belle asked again, looking down at herself self-consciously. "Too much? I'll try on the other one, I--"

"No." Louis interrupted, looking up at her face with a smile. "No, wear that one to the board meeting. You look stunning." He said seriously.

Belle blushed, a smile playing over her lips. She looked down at the ground and kicked her foot back and forth. "Alright then, I'll wear it." She finally said, looking back up at Louis from underneath her long eyelashes.

Louis smiled. "Good. Now change into something else so we can go out!"

***

An hour later, Louis was showered and changed into khackis and a blue tshirt, a white snapback on his head and aviators over his eyes. He was walking down a random street in Hawaii with Belle by his side, her hair straightened, wearing light makeup, short jean shorts and a red tanktop, and sunglasses as well. The two had decided to just walk around and wing it.

"If we get recognized, we're screwed." Louis mumbled, leaning down towards Belle's ear.

Belle chuckled. "Yeah I know. Nathan would kill me if he knew I was walking around without security."

"Why do you even keep that guy around as your manager? He's an ass." Louis muttered.

Belle shook her head. "You don't understand Louis, it's complicated." 

Louis scoffed. "What's complicated about it? He uses your fame for his own benefit, stresses you to the max, and got you hooked on anxiety pills. He's an ass, Belle."

Belle quieted, looking down at her feet as she took in Louis' words. They were all true, and she knew it, it was just hard to hear them out loud. 

Louis noticed Belle's lack of response and glanced down as they walked, seeing her hurt posture. "Shit Belle, I'm sorry, that was pretty harsh I didn't mean that."

Belle smiled weakly and shook her head, straightening back up. "No, you're right. That's all true, I'm just too much of a coward to admit it to myself. But he's not the reason I'm getting hooked on those pills. That's all me."

"How so?" Louis asked. Belle was quiet for a moment, just looking straight ahead as they walked down the streets of Honolulu. Louis nudged her shoulder with his elbow. "Come on, talk to me." He encouraged her.

Belle took in a deep breath. "It's just...yeah, Nathan puts me under a lot of stress. But even before he became my manager, I would just have these break downs. I would start thinking too much, and before I knew it I was crying and...and hurting myself, and I just couldn't control my own thoughts. I would start thinking about all the bad stuff, and it would just consume me. Gosh it used to freak Kaylie out so bad. I let the hurt take over my head, despite all the good in my life." She glanced up at Louis, who was listening intently, and shook her head, laughing nervously. "You know what, just forget I said all that, I probably sound like a freak."

"No, no, you're making sense." Louis said quickly. "C'mon, let's sit down." He said, leading Belle by the arm to a nearby bench.

They sat down on the bench and Belle scooted away from Louis, giving a safe amount of distance between them. 

"Louis I was just rambling, you don't have to--"

"Belle stop." Louis interrupted. "I know you pretty well, and I know when you're hurting. And you wouldn't have said those things if you hadn't been bottling those feelings up for a while. So just talk to me."

Belle took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. "Okay fine." She said, pushing her sunglasses up on top of her head. She straightened up in her seat and hesitated just a moment before speaking again. "Sometimes...sometimes I get really scared of...of myself." She gulped before continuing. "I get into these moods where I think about all the bad things anyone has ever said to me, and it all flashes through my mind. Every put down, every insult, ever criticism. Every single word goes through my head. From my dad, from that crazy Olivia woman, from the media--"

"From me." Louis interrupted, a sad expression on his face. Belle froze and looked at him slowly.

"From...you." She said cautiously. "It just...it all comes back to me. It's not like I'm crazy, or I'm hearing voices or anything, it's as if my own body is telling me how worthless I am. Reminding me of my own mistakes. And it hurts. At first I just accepted the hurt, had other methods of making the pain go away, but then Nathan introduced me to Xanax. And it works a hell of a lot better than alcohol and weed, trust me." She said with an awkward chuckle.

Louis stared down at Belle, his heart on the verge of breaking into a thousand pieces. Hearing Belle talk about her pain that way hurt him more than any physical pain ever could. To know that she had been feeling this way for so long, probably since she left him after the UK tour almost a year and a half ago, and hadn't told anyone made him want to hold onto her tight and never let go.

Louis gulped, his hands shaking as he thought over how to respond. "Belle, have you told anyone else this? Kaylie? Niall?"

Belle shook her head. "No." She laughed bitterly again. "I'm too much of a coward to admit that I need help."

Without hesitation, Louis reached out and grabbed Belle's hand in both of his own. She gasped, but didn't pull away.

"Why didn't you call me, Belle?" Louis asked hurriedly. "Even after all the horrible things I did and said to you, you had to know that I would always be there for you. I love y-- I loved you Belle, you know I would have done anything to help you if I had--"

"Would you have Louis?" Belle suddenly interrupted, turning to him with a frustrated look of exasperation. She scoffed and looked around. "My gosh Louis, you forget how much you despised me after I left you and the boys mid-tour. And then I went and started dating your best friend. It's easy for you to say that you would be there for me if I asked, but would you have actually done it before this trip?"

Louis' eyes were sincere and watery as he looked down at Belle. "Yes, I would have." He choked out, making Belle's face soften in shock. "I would have done anything for you Belle, I would have done anything in the world no matter how mad I was, or who you were with." Louis scooted closer and pulled Belle's hand up to rest against his chest. "You're the first girl I ever loved Belle. I was convinced we were going to spend the rest of our lives together, that's why I gave you that promise ring."

Belle flinched at the mention of the ring that she still carried with her everywhere. It was in her purse at that very moment.

Louis continued. "We've both made mistakes, me more so than you. But no matter how much we fought, or will fight, I will never turn my back on you if you need me. Ever. I need you to believe that."

Belle's eyes welled up with tears and one spilled over. Louis looked her in the eyes with the most serious expression she had ever seen on him.

Belle opened her mouth to speak, but before she could say that yes, she now believed him, she was interrupted.

By a camera flash.

And then another, and another.

Louis and Belle both cringed at the flashes and the familiar sound that made both their hearts drop. Suddenly three or four paparazzi were surrounding their bench, ruining their moment.

"Belle what is Louis doing here?!"

"Is Louelle making a comeback?!"

"What about Niall?!"

"Why are you two holding hands Louis?!"

Belle pulled her hand away from Louis quickly and covered her face from the flashes. 

"Fuck." Louis mumbled, standing up and in front of Belle, blocking her from the cameras and yelling at the paparazzi to back off. They kept yelling out obscene questions though.

"Come on, let's get out of here!" Louis shouted over the yelling, coming from the paps and also some fans who had spotted the disturbance.

Louis reached down and grabbed Belle's hand again and pulled her up off the bench. Holding on tight, he pushed the paps out of the way and led Belle away. He began to run, pulling Belle along with him gently. She hustled to keep up with him. 

Louis looked around and saw a brief gap in the traffic beside him. Instinctively, he led Belle briskly across the road, holding up his hand to stop a particularly fast taxi as he and Belle ran to the other side. The paps couldn't get right behind them because of oncoming cars, so during those moments of delay, Louis led Belle around the corner and into an alleyway. He gently pushed her against a wall, flattening his own body against hers so that they wouldn't be seen by passers by. Just five seconds later, they both heard the paps and fans running past, thinking that Belle and Louis were farther down the sidewalk.

Once the sounds were gone, Louis sighed in relief and closed his eyes for just a second. He opened them slowly as he realized that he was in a dark alleyway, his entire body pressed against Belle's with his arms pinned against the wall over her head. Belle was clutching his tshirt with her fists and breathing heavily.

Louis leaned back and looked at Belle, just to see that tears were running down her face and her chest was moving up and down at an abnormally fast pace.

"Belle? Belle it's alright, they're gone." Louis gushed, holding onto Belle's forearms. 

Belle just shook her head and looked from side to side. Her breathing wasn't slowing. "They were, they were just there out of nowhere, and they got pictures, and, and--" 

She couldn't continue as she was at a loss for breath, and Louis finally realized. Belle was having an anxiety attack.

"Belle look at me." Louis said firmly. She did. "Do you have any Xanax on you?" He asked.

Belle shook her head furiously, her breathing getting more rapid by the second. She was going to pass out if Louis didn't do something soon.

"Fuck, um..." Louis looked around, but he didn't know what to do. Belle leaned her head back against the wall and tried to swallow, but her surrounding suddenly seemed to be closing in on her, and she felt so dizzy.

Louis felt hopeless. The girl he loved was having an anxiety attack in front of him, and he couldn't do anything. He had to do something to distract her, to make her calm down.

Then, with no other idea, Louis grabbed the sides of Belle's face and pulled her to his own, smashing his lips against hers.

It wasn't romantic. Louis simply had no other plan, and he just had to do something to get Belle to focus on something else. And he figured that being kissed by her ex would probably do the trick. Which it did.

Belle was stunned. Everything had been getting blurry, and she felt like she was getting suffocated. And one would think that having a man's body pressed against hers, trapping her face against his, would make her feel even more claustrophobic, but it was quite the opposite. When Louis kissed her, it was as if the world had opened up again. All the blurry edges suddenly became incredibly clear. The ringing in her ears stopped and was replaced by the sound of Louis' heartbeat beneath her hand. Her shoulders relaxed and she completely gave into him. 

Louis felt Belle's body slouch into him, and he dropped one hand to go around her waist and hold her up. He moved his lips against hers furiously, kissing her for selfish reasons now. He had forgotten how soft her lips were, how warm her body was, how she fit so well against him. He'd kissed a good many girls, but nobody could ever compare to the way it felt to kiss Belle.

Belle reached up and pressed her fingers to the nape of Louis' neck, and kept him pinned to her. This sensation was so familiar, so overwhelming in a good way. Kissing Louis was like riding a bike, it was something she could never forget.

A certain amount of time passed, neither of them really knew. They broke for air finally, leaning their foreheads against one another. Louis reached up behind his head and grabbed Belle's hand tenderly, interlacing their fingers and bringing their hands between their chests.

For a moment, Belle and Louis just stood there, catching their breath and looking into each other's eyes.

"I love you Belle." Louis finally said, catching her off guard. "I never stopped loving you, and I want you to pick me over Niall. I want you to be mine, I want your forgiveness, I just want you. Please Belle. Let me show you how much I've changed."

Belle's bottom lip quivered and she looked into Louis' stunning blue eyes. Despite herself, she knew she loved Louis too. She didn't want to believe in love, she didn't want to give her heart away for fear of it being broken again. But the problem was, she couldn't give her heart away because it had already been taken by Louis long ago.

So finally, Belle decided to be selfish for once.

"Alright Louis." She finally said hoarsely, making his eyes shoot open in surprise.

"W-What?" He stuttered.

Belle laughed, her eyes still watering with tears. "Alright. I-I'll be yours Louis."

Belle looked back up at Louis, who had his mouth parted in shock.

"I've always been yours Louis. And I always will be."

***

Once Belle and Louis had discreetly made their way back to the hotel, unseen by any media or fans, they had both made their way back to Belle's hotel room. Once inside the elevator, it was all they could do to keep their hands off of each other. It wasn't even sexual, they each just wanted to touch each other's hands, faces, arms. It was as if they were each reminding themselves that this wasn't a dream. That they didn't want the other to slip away again.

Inside Belle's room, they had three hours until they had to get ready for the next board meeting. Hardly any words were exchanged, just soft touches and sweet nothings in each other's ears. They had finally given in to each other's heart's desires.

Belle was so consumed by Louis, that she had pushed away every thought of Niall. She hadn't even considered that he would see the pictures of her and Louis that the paps had gotten.

But he certainly had.

So two and a half hours later, as Belle and Louis were curled up on the bed, him tickling her sides and kissing her neck while she squirmed and laughed, Belle's phone rang.

"Louis stop, I have to check this!" Belle said in between laughs.

"Why?" Louis groaned like a child, pulling Belle back onto the bed by her hips.

Belle laughed again and sat back up. "Louis it could be Brian, he wasn't sure what time he had to be here for the meeting!" She argued back, leaning down and pecking him quickly on the lips before reaching out and grabbing her phone.

So happy and almost intoxicated by being with Louis once again, Belle didn't even think to check the Caller ID.

"Hello?" She asked with a smile on her face, thinking it was surely Mr. Fuller.

"Belle?" A tired Irish accent called out through the phone.

Belle's face paled and her smile disappeared instantly. Her breath caught in her throat.

"Belle are you there?" Niall asked again, hurt lacing his voice.

Belle stood up from the bed, her knees weak. She heard Louis sit up behind her, but she kept her back to him.

"Yeah, I-I'm here." Belle stuttered out. "What are you- uh, what's up?" She asked, squinting her eyes tight.

Niall was quiet for a moment. "Belle what are these pictures of you and Louis from today?" He asked painfully.

Belle gasped, covering her mouth with her hand.

"Niall, we were just talking about some stuff and--"

"He was holding your hand!" Niall interrupted with a shout.

Belle flinched and closed her eyes as tears spilled over. "If you'll just let me explain, I--"

"Y'know what Belle, no." Niall said. "Just forget it, have fun in Hawaii, don't worry about me. It seems like you're not anyways."

"Niall don't--"

Belle cut herself off as she heard the dial tone on the other line. She lowered her phone down and ducked her head.

"Hey." Louis' soft voice suddenly said behind her. He reached out and lightly touched Belle's hand with his own. "Everything okay?"

Belle shook her head before turning around abruptly and throwing her arms around Louis' neck, burying her face into the crook of his shoulder.

"No it won't be." She said through choked back tears, shaking her head from side to side.

Louis wrapped his arms all the way around Belle, holding her as tightly as he could, they way she needed him to.

"Yes it will." He whispered. "I won't let anything else bad happen to you Belle. I promise."

And in that moment, with the world seemingly crashing around her, Belle had never felt more safe.

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