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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20. Niall's Flat

"Belle come on please join us?" Niall's voice pleaded on the other end of Belle's phone.

"Niall I told you, I really need to practice this song, I keep getting the second verse all screwy and--"

"Then come over and I'll help you with it! C'mon pleeease, we're all just watching movies and eating pizza at my place, it's no harm! We all really miss you..." He took a pause. "And there's something I need to ask you anyways." He added, his tone a bit softer.

Belle breathed in deeply and rolled her eyes, thankful that Niall couldn't see her as she sat on her bed in the hotel room management was paying for. It was seven in the afternoon and she'd been in London for a week and a half now, having yet to spend some real time with the boys, much to their displeasure. She knew that Niall's "question" was to ask her out.

"Belle?" Niall's voice came across the phone again and Belle jumped, having got lost in her own thoughts. She sighed, there really weren't any more excuses she could make to postpone the inevitable.

"Alright I'll be over in thirty minutes." She finally said.

"Great! See you then beautiful." Niall replied before hanging up, his Irish accent making the word 'beautiful' sound so much sexier. Wait, what was she thinking? Belle liked Louis. No wait, she didn't like Louis, she had just slept with him and almost kissed him. Wait no, that didn't happen either that was never to be spoken of again! Unless he wanted to speak of it again, which Zayn had hinted to when they were blocking the lights and sound at the arena a few days ago. Oh gosh, this was too complicated.

Belle tossed her phone on the pillow next to her and she threw her back down on the queen sized bed, her legs hanging off the end.

"Shit."

***

Fourty five minutes later, Belle stood in front of Niall's flat as the cab drove away, leaving her alone on the foggy London sidewalk. She had been purposefully late, not wanting any more awkward situations with the boys. She had to face this at some point though, no matter how much she would rather not.

She looked pretty good, wearing black leggings and a red sweater that covered her bum. She had on brown knee high boots that had buckles going up the sides. Her brunette hair was straightened to perfection, reaching the middle of her back. She had on a red beanie as well, her side bangs peaking out the front. Her makeup was minimal, enough to make her eyes pop and cover up natural teenage blemishes.

Just as Belle was about to knock on the door, it opened to reveal a shirtless Harry, raising his hand to lean against the doorway and smile down at Belle, who was resisting the impulse to look at his defined abdominal muscles.

"Hey there Belle, how's it going?" He asked cooly, stepping back to let her enter the flat.

"I'm good Harry, you?"

Harry chuckled deeply. "Oh I'm doing well. Come on, the boys are in the living room." He said.

With that, Harry led Belle through Niall's flat down a hallway. She heard familiar voices joking and laughing with each other, but she was too busy studying Harry's back muscles to listen to what they were saying.

Belle had to tear herself away from the nice view as they entered a lavish living room, with a U-shaped black leather couch surrounding a glass coffee table and a large flat screen, showing a soccer game.

"Belle!" Niall shouted, leaping over the back of the couch and crossing over to her, wrapping her in a massive hug. Belle couldn't help but laugh.

"Hey Niall." She said sweetly, leaning back and looking up at his twinkling eyes. He really was cute.

They smiled at each other for a few more moments before Harry mumbled, "Oh quit having sex with your eyes you two."

Belle scoffed and Niall ignored the cheeky comment, grabbing Belle's hand and pulling her to the couch where the other boys were sitting. She realized then that Harry wasn't the only shirtless one, Zayn was in the same category. He winked slyly at her when she flitted her gaze to his abs as well. She ignored it.

Niall pulled Belle down on the couch next to him on the left side of the U-shaped furniture. Belle giggled as she bounced up and down on the leather, but stopped when she felt a pair of blue eyes staring at her from the other side.

Louis looked amazing in his blue gym shorts and plain white tshirt. Since it was apparently a lazy day for the boys, his hair was flat instead of styled up, but still messy as though he had mussed it up with a dab of hair gel. She reluctantly pulled herself away from his intense gaze to the television. Manchester United was playing Liverpool.

"Oh hell yeah, go Man U!" Belle suddenly shouted. The boys all turned to look at her in complete shock and she turned to them with a confused expression. "What?" Then they all burst out laughing, even Louis. "What?! Why are you guys laughing at me?!" She asked them, which just made them laugh even harder.

When the laughing finally died down though, Liam choked out, "W-We aren't laughing at you love, we were just surprised!"

"Surprised at what? That I like soccer? For your information, I play soccer. Have been since I was six. So there!" Belle stuck her tongue out at Liam childishly and crossed her arms, making a mock pout. Niall put his arm over the back of the couch behind her head.

"Really?" Niall asked.

"Yeah, sure do. I was a Varsity starter from eighth grade until I graduated, and I played club for four years too."

"What position?" Harry asked.

"Pretty much everywhere, but mainly midfield. I was goalkeep my third year of club though."

"No way!" Zayn said disbelievingly.

"I swear!" Belle said defensively, kicking off her boots and pulling her feet up beside her on the couch. "I love soccer, I started playing when I was six to prove I was better than Alan, and I guess I just fell in love with it." She shrugged and looked back to the television. Niall started giggling beside her. "What?" She asked incredulously, turning back to him.

"I'm sorry, your American accent is so cute. 'Soccer'." He giggled, imitating her accent rather well.

"Oh shut it and watch the game." She muttered, leaning back against him and watching the game progress.

It was difficult to ignore those piercing blue eyes staring at her with a mixture of adoration, jealousy, and...longing.

***

Three hours later, all the boys were passed out on the massive couch. Niall had his head in Belle's lap and his legs hanging over the armrest, Zayn and Liam were crisscrossed, Harry was on the floor, and Louis was curled up in the fetal position with his back to Belle. He looked like he was shivering. The flat was cold after all and he only had on shorts and a tshirt and he was the only one without a blanket. The room was dark but moonlight streamed in through the windows.

Belle was the only one awake and she needed to get back to the hotel; she needed to shower and her clothes for the next day were over there as well.

Very cautiously, Belle lifted Niall's head out of her lap and stood up, setting him back down carefully. He let out a loud snore and Belle had to stifle a giggle. She gracefully stepped over Harry's sleeping form and snatched the blanket off of Zayn and Liam. They would be fine, they had each other for warmth.

Belle quietly tiptoed over to Louis' side of the couch and draped the blanket over him. He was mumbling in his sleep adorably, something about 'Run Liam, the fans are coming on the stage'. Belle giggled yet again. She couldn't resist leaning over the couch and peering down at his face. His eyes were obviously closed, and his long eyelashes twitched. A strand of his hair fell down in front of his nose, which was twitching at the tickling sensation. She smiled meekly and impulsively reached her hand out to swipe it back. Louis smiled in his sleep, and before Belle knew what she was doing, she leaned down and pressed a light, feathery kiss to Louis' warm cheek.

Woah. What was that?

Belle leaned back away from the couch and slightly stumbled backwards, but she managed to brace herself on the glass coffee table to avoid landing on Harry. She shook her head to refocus and stepped around the table, picked up her boots, and began to silently go towards the hallway which led to the front door. It was dark, and kind of spooky too. It was just Niall's flat though, nothing to be afraid of.

Belle figured she should probably put her boots on before she stepped outside, the windows showed it was raining again. Belle stopped and leaned her back against the wall, leaning over and pulling her boots up over her feet. She had on the right boot but squealed and dropped the left shoe when she heard a voice ring out over the dark hallway.

"Belle? Woah, woah it's just me." Louis was by her side in an instant, putting his hands on her shoulders to calm her down. Her hand was over her mouth and she was slightly shaking from being so scared at his voice. Louis chuckled slightly. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you. It's okay Belle, calm down."

Belle dropped her hand from her mouth and smiled meekly, her breathing shaky. "I just, uh, didn't expect you to wake up." She said nervously, looking down. They were extremely close, and Louis' hands were still on her shoulders.

"Oh, sorry." Louis said shyly, letting go and stepping back away from her. Belle lifted a corner of her mouth too and leaned down to put her other shoe on. It got really awkward really fast in the narrow hallway.

As Belle stood back up, she slightly stumbled from having one foot off the ground. Louis caught her instantly, grabbing Belle by the hips to steady her. "Easy there," He said softly, helping her regain her balance.

They were close. Extremely close. Belle tried to mutter a thank you, but couldn't for fear of her own voice failing her. Louis' eyes were staring into hers, as if he could see straight into her soul. She had no idea how long they stood like that, her hands wrapped around his strong muscular arms, his hands on her waist, their bodies flush against each other. She squeaked when she felt a slight nudge against her stomach. She knew exactly what that nudge signified and she certainly had not expected Louis to get so excited so quickly at their close proximity.

"I-I need to go!" She suddenly squeaked out, wriggling out of his hold and walking down the hallway. She hadn't made it two steps though when she heard Louis breathily say her name and felt his warm hand grab her wrist, turning her around quickly.

His rough lips were on hers before she knew what was happening. He pushed her up against the wall roughly, but not enough to hurt her. His lips were somehow rough and soft at the same time. She responded after a moment, fisting her hand in his hair and pulling her closely to him. He moaned in the back of his throat as her nails raked over his scalp, and he pushed his body even closer against hers. He licked her bottom lip to ask for entrance but when she denied it, he lightly bit down on it. When she gasped at the new sensation, he took advantage and dipped his tongue inside her mouth to explore it. She breathed his name when he ran his hot tongue against the back of her teeth.

It ended almost as quickly as it had begun, as Louis pulled back suddenly and looked down at Belle who had to flutter her eyes open. Louis had a solemn expression as he said, "Goodnight Belle."

With that, Louis slowly leaned forward and pressed a sweet, lingering kiss to Belle's cheek before swiftly turning around, heading back towards the living area without giving her a second glance. Belle stood there in shock, back against the wall, staring straight ahead.

What the hell just happened?

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