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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59. Stuck With Me

 

2 Days Later

Belle turned and waved at the crowd of her fans that were shouting from behind security at the airport. She grinned as she heard them squeal and shout her name. She would have loved to have stayed and taken pictures, and signed autographs and everything, but her flight was Hawaii was boarding and she couldn't take a chance of missing it.

The last five months for Belle had been a blur. The best blur of her entire life, that is. After the Syco Ball, things had gone insane in the media. She was getting hate, she was getting praise, she was getting everything. Her name was in the news and on magazines every day for at least two months. The media discussed everything from her relationship with Niall, previous relationship with Louis, her friendship with Kaylie, her father's business and her time as CEO, Alan's death...Nothing was off limits.

Belle wasn't surprised by it though. Her entire dream was to be famous, and sing for a living. Bad press was a part of that dream, unfortunately, and she had to deal with it.

Furthermore though, Belle's relationship with Niall was better than she ever could have imagined. He treated her like a princess, she felt more beautiful with him than any other time. Sure, they had their fights. Most of the time it was over being away from each other when the boys performed, or visited other countries. Sometimes he would get frustrated with her for not wanting to go to his band functions or concerts because of Louis, even though he understood her reasoning. Their relationship wasn't perfect, but that's what made it so great. They didn't let the little arguments mess up something good.

Belle had wanted Niall to join her on the Hawaii trip, but he hadn't seen his family in such a long time so she insisted he go to Ireland on his few weeks off. Sure, she would have much rather spent the trip with him instead of by herself, but she wanted him to be with his family. Sometimes Belle would forget how important family was to him because she didn't really have one. Other than him, the boys, and Kaylie that is.

She wished Kaylie was going with her as well, but Harry had whisked her off to Bora Bora on a last minute vacation. Typical. Those two were so smitten with each other it was sickening. Even after five months, they still looked at each other as if they were just meeting and feeling all those butterflies in their tummy.

Thus, Belle was alone on this trip. She would be arriving in Honolulu and going straight to her hotel which management had arranged for her, and tomorrow would start her weeklong session of meetings and presentations to HMSA, Hawaii's largest enterprise.

Belle had been ecstatic when HMSA had contacted her, wanting to team up with Allies for Alan. This type of publicity would make the organization go haywire, tons of other companies would want in just to keep up with trends in the business world.

Belle supposed all of Damian Costa's teachings hadn't been in vain.

Focusing on the task in front of her, Belle made her way through the terminal and towards her massive plane. She was first class (something she was still getting used to), and directed towards the front of the plane. 

Making her way through the aisles, Belle looked at her ticket and saw that she was in seat 1D.

'Woah. How ironic.' She thought to herself.

As Belle got to her row, she saw that someone was sitting in her designated seat. She sighed, rolling her eyes. People were so rude, why couldn't they just sit in their own seats? The person was wearing a red beanie, she couldn't see their face.

Not wanting to confront the person right away, Belle put up her carry on in the compartment above the row behind where she would be sitting if the guy ever moved. She closed the compartment and lowered her arms, tugging her white tanktop back down from where it had exposed her stomach.

Belle took a deep breath and rolled her eyes yet again. She really didn't want to put up with some ignorant jerk who would insist that her ticket had the wrong seat.

"Excuse me sir, I think you're in my--"

Belle froze.

There was no way.

She was hallucinating.

Right?

The guy chuckled. "Since when do you call me 'sir', Belle?" 

Belle opened her mouth, but no words came out. What was he doing here? 

"I mean, not that I'm complaining or anything. I'm cool with you calling me sir. Makes me feel more manly you know, and--"

"Louis what are you doing here?" Belle interrupted quickly. 

Except that she spoke so fast it came out as if it were one word, sounding like, 'Louiswhatareyoudoinghere?'

Louis smiled meekly. "Well I'm flying to Honolulu, obviously." He said nonchalantly. 

How was he being so calm? Normally Louis didn't even look twice at Belle, and when he did it was with an expression of contempt.

"But...I...you..." Belle gasped out, not being able to comprehend all the questions running through her head, which was beginning to ache terribly.

"Here, let me see your ticket." Louis suddenly said, completely ignoring all the obvious questions that Belle was trying to ask. He reached out and took the ticket out of her hands, not seeing her wide eyes and dropped jaw, her still trying to figure out what the hell was going on. "Oh." Louis said as he read the ticket. "I'm in your seat, sorry. I guess since it said I was in row D I just assumed it was 1D." He said cheerfully, looking back up at Belle with a grin, who was looking at him like a complete and total idiot.

"Louis...you..."

"Here, I'll move over, sit down." Louis interrupted yet again, moving one seat over and tugging Belle by the hand to sit down in the seat he had just been occupying. 

Her skin lit like a fire the moment he touched her bare wrist, but it was gone as soon as it began. Belle was pulled into the seat, her hair falling down in front of her face. She made no motion to move it, instead just staring straight ahead at the seat in front of her, clutching onto the armrests for dear life. She could feel Louis' eyes on her.

"What...the hell...are you doing here?" Belle finally asked, turning slowly to look at Louis. He grinned at her reaction.

He grinned.

"I already told you Belle, I'm going to H--"

"Oh cut the crap Louis!" Belle interrupted, turning in her seat to face him with an angry expression. "You just happen to be going on vacation to Honolulu when I'm going to be there all week?"

Louis chuckled. "I'm not going on vacation, I'm going on business." He said matter-of-factly.

"What business?"

"Your business."

"My business?"

"Of course your business, who else's business?"

"Why are you in my business?"

"Well I'm not in your business yet, but I'd like to be in your business--"

"Stop talking about my business!"

"Not that business!"

"Then what business?!"

"Your business!"

Belle let out a frustrated scream as she turned in her seat and put her face in her hands. Louis started to chuckle.

"What the hell are you laughing about?" Belle asked, her voice muffled by her hands.

"Nothing." He muttered. "It's just...the first real conversation we have in months is about your business." He said cheekily, obviously implying that he was talking about her other business.

Belle scoffed shrilly and sat up, turning in her seat and beginning to punch Louis in the arm repeatedly.

"Ow, stop it! Quit it, woman!" Louis shrieked, trying to block Belle's relentless assault.

Belle finally stopped and sat back in her seat with a huff, crossing her arms over her chest. She pursed her lips tight. She couldn't smile right now, she couldn't smile around him

"You know you want to laugh." Louis said.

Belle pursed her lips even tighter, ducking her face down so her hair covered her eyes and mouth. "Shut up Louis." She managed to say.

"You know you want to." He sing-songed.

Being hidden from his view, Belle smiled to herself, biting down on her lip. But it was gone as quickly as it appeared.

"Louis will you please just tell me what you're really doing on this plane?" She asked seriously, looking up at Louis.

Louis looked into Belle's eyes and sighed. He hadn't been this close to her in so long. And he knew he had just made her smile, even if she had hidden it. And knowing that, had meant all the world. It had erased all his previous anger. She looked beautiful, her hair down and wavy, just the way he liked it. She was tan, like always, wearing white short shorts and a flowing blue tanktop, showing off her beautiful shoulders. Unlike in the interview he had watched, she had on very minimal makeup, showing off her pretty brown eyes naturally.

"I'm here to help you." Louis said simply. When Belle looked at him with a confused expression he continued. "I watched your late show interview, I heard about Allies for Alan. I think it's an amazing what you're doing, honestly. And I want to help you in any way I can. So I'm going with you to Honolulu to speak to the HMSA board on yours and Alan's behalf. And also on behalf of all Syco Industries."

Belle's jaw dropped. "What? Syco sent you to do this?" She asked incredulously.

Louis shook his head. "No, I wanted to come. I called Simon up and he was one hundred percent on board with the idea. So he said I could go and represent all of Syco, since he's really supportive of the organization as well."

"But..but..." Belle stuttered. "Why didn't they call me and tell me?"

Louis sighed. "Belle you know good and well that if they called ahead of time you would have found a way to keep me off of this plane at all costs."

Belle's face turned red and she looked away, knowing that Louis spoke the truth. And that's what hurt him the most. 

Louis chuckled sadly and sat back in his seat, looking out the window and the paved airstrip.

"You know you could have just made a support video like everyone else." Belle spat after a moment of silence.

Louis laughed. "And you would have shown it?" He asked. Belle was silent. "That's what I thought."

'Ladies and gentleman, we will be taking off in just five minutes. Please put on your safety belt and enjoy your flight.' A voice came out across the plane.

Belle and Louis glanced at each other briefly before putting on their safety belts. Belle immediately pulled her phone out of her shorts pocket and began to text before the plane took off and she had to turn off her phone.

 

To 'Niall :)'

Taking off in five minutes. I'll call you the second I land, have something MAJOR to tell you that's too long for a text. Don't worry though. Say hi to your family for me <3

 

Once the text was sent, Belle shut off her phone and put it back in her pocket, leaning back against the seat and closing her eyes, taking in a deep breath. She pictured that it was Zac Efron next to her, not her ex boyfriend (who coincidentally enough was also a famous celebrity).

"Texting Niall?" Zac Efron asked. 

Well, in Belle's head it was Zac Efron. In reality though, it was Louis. Belle sighed and opened her eyes, turning to face him. Surprisingly, she wasn't too disappointed to see Louis instead of Zac. Because, whether she had strong feelings of dislike for Louis at that moment or not, she couldn't deny that he was drop dead gorgeous. Especially then, with his red beanie and fringe stuck out, faded blue jeans and black 'Killers' tshirt. 

Belle snapped back to reality and stopped thinking about Louis' amazing good looks, focusing on answering his question instead. 

"Uh, yeah." She said quickly. "Just letting him know we're about to take off and I'll call when I land and stuff." She said, pursing her lips and averting eye contact.

Talking to her ex about her current boyfriend made for a very awkward Belle.

Louis nodded and was about to say something else when suddenly the plane lurched forward. Belle gasped, reaching out and clutching the armrests as if her life depended on it. 

The plane began to move forward slowly and Belle's breathing became very shallow. She closed her eyes tight and tried to think about anything else, but it wasn't working.

"Belle? You alright?" Louis asked tenderly.

Her eyes snapped open. That's what pushed her over the edge, hearing Louis' voice. She was going to be trapped in a metal tube, up in the air, with her ex boyfriend, for fifteen hours.

Belle could feel the anxiety attack just around the corner, and she was already gasping for breath. She dug around in her shorts pocket and found the two pills she had stashed in there right after she went through customs. 

She looked at the two Xanax for just a split second before popping them in her mouth, swallowing them dry. She had become a professional at that here lately.

Nobody except Kaylie knew about the anxiety attacks, not even Niall. Sometimes they would get so bad Belle couldn't breathe. Her doctor prescribed Xanax to keep it under control, but Belle was so afraid that just one wouldn't do the trick. What if she were in an interview, or performing a show, or signing autographs when one suddenly hit? She couldn't take the chance. So she had started taking more than one a day, sometimes several times throughout. It wasn't dangerous, at least not yet. But in the back of Belle's mind, she knew she was becoming too dependent on them. 

As Belle swallowed the pills and leaned back in her seat again, she closed her eyes, waiting for the meds to kick in. It only took a minute, and her breathing immediately slowed, regulating itself. Her limbs relaxed, her fingers unclutching the armrests. Her whole body felt weightless and she smiled lazily, fluttering her eyes open.

Louis stared, speechless. Belle had just popped two pills that she had obviously smuggled onto the plane like they were Tic Tacs. And what had that whole episode been about? As soon as the plane had started to ascend she had just freaked out. She'd never done that before...

"Belle?" He asked softly. She jumped, turning to look at him in surprise.

Belle had honestly forgotten that Louis was there. But she was certainly aware now, and if it weren't for the medicine she had just taken, she would be freaking out over the fact that he just witnessed her anxiety attack. She opened her mouth to say something, but she didn't know what to say.

"What did you just take?" Louis asked, concern in his voice.

Belle shook her head, turning away. "It's nothing, don't worry about it." She mumbled.

"Well obviously it is something, I mean you were freaking out when we took off." He paused. "What were the pills, Belle?"

Belle sighed and rolled her eyes, turning to look at him again. "They were Xanax, okay? It's no big deal." She said brusquely.

"Xanax?" Louis asked incredulously. "Isn't that like, for--"

"Anxiety." Belle answered for him. "I get stressed out, my doctor gave them to me it's fine." She said with emphasis.

Louis said nothing else, even though he was extremely worried. It wasn't like Belle to have to take medicine just to relax. She was obviously working herself too hard if she was having to take Xanax regularly. It would definitely be a conversation for later.

A loud silence overcame the two, the only sounds in first class were of a few people talking behind them. The former lovers said nothing though.

"So you watched my interview, huh?" Belle suddenly asked. When Louis didn't say anything at first she rolled her head to the side and looked at him. "You said you watched my late show interview, that's how you heard about Allies for Alan?"

"Oh." Louis said. "Um, yeah I watched it." He said simply. A blush creeped on his cheeks, embarrassed that he had been called out on watching her interviews.

"Hm." Belle said. "So you uh...you heard m-my song?"

Louis' eyebrows shot up. So he wasn't the only one embarrassed after all.

"Yeah, I did. Nice music by the way, who's your composer?" He asked teasingly.

Belle chuckled, smiling and rolling her eyes. Louis' heart fluttered when he heard her laugh. He hadn't heard it in so long. Though he figured she probably wouldn't be being this civil with him if she hadn't just taken that anxiety medicine.

"Eh, he's just some guy I know." Belle said sarcastically with a wave of her hand.

Louis laughed. "No but really, the song was good. I liked it. I was surprised that you used that music but I really did enjoy it."

Belle turned to him and smiled. "Thanks. Sorry if I caught you off guard or anything. I guess I could have asked you first." She said, her brow furrowed.

Louis shrugged his shoulders. "Nah, it's fine. That song was too good not to play." He turned and looked Belle straight in the eyes, catching his breath. "When something's that good, you shouldn't keep it from the world, y'know?" He asked.

Belle got the funny feeling that he wasn't talking about her song anymore. She looked away quickly.

"So." She said seriously, and they both inhaled and straightened in their seats, the serious moment having become awkward. "You want to present a speech to the board on Syco's behalf? Are you meeting with them today or tomorrow? You're going to be tired, having to fly right back to London in just a day or two."

Louis turned and looked at Belle, an eyebrow cocked. "Belle, you work for Syco. I'm here on Syco's behalf. Which means..." He trailed off, assuming that Belle would catch on.

She didn't.

"Which means what?"

Louis rolled his eyes and laughed. "Babe, I'm representing Syco for you every day this entire week. Hate to break it to you babe, but you're stuck with me."

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