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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65. 'You Hear That Universe?!'

Belle was running. Fast.

She was in a forest, constantly stumbling over roots and shrubs, avoiding trees and getting slapped in the face by branches. Her blood was pounding in her ears, overwhelming her sense of hearing. She was short of breath, it felt like she'd been sprinting for hours. She didn't know why she was running, just had the most overbearing feeling that she had to run away from something or someone.

A voice cries out.

"Belle!" Niall.

"Belle stop running, please!" Kaylie.

"Where are you going? Come back!" Louis, desperate.

"We need you Belle!" Zayn, followed by Liam, "Don't run away from us again!"

"You're making the same mistake all over again!" Harry.

Belle wanted desperately to turn around and get back to her friends, to her family, but she couldn't. Everything was closing in around her, suffocating her. If she turned around she would be swallowed up. She had to keep running away. But not from them, from something else. Something that was much faster than her.

Belle saw a tree up ahead, and made a quick maneuver to avoid it. As she came around the other side though, she was suddenly out of the forest and inside her old childhood bedroom. She skidded to a stop, looking around and panting for breath. The forest had disappeared behind her.

Without thinking, she ran over to her familiar door, covered in posters, and pushed it open quickly. 

She stepped onto a stage, lights blinding her. She could hear all the screaming fans chanting her name, but couldn't see them, the lights were too bright. Turning to her right, she saw an exit door, and sprinted towards it as well, away from the lights.

Pushing through the exit door, Belle found herself outside once again. The door shut behind her and she whipped around but saw nothing, just an expanse of grass. Turning back forwards, she realized where she was as she looked down at the stone in front of her.

RIP Alan Michael Fuller.

Belle choked on air, falling to her knees in front of the tombstone with her best friend's name written on it. The cemetery was silent, and light rain fell.

"Alan I'm so screwed up." Belle said hoarsely, speaking to the gray stone. "What's happened to me Al? I've lost myself. I-I need you here, I need you to tell me what to do." She murmured, lowering her head as tears fell from her brown eyes.

"I'm right here." A familiar voice said behind her. A voice she hadn't heard in ages, but she could recognize anywhere.

Belle stood up quickly, turning on her heel. In front of her stood Alan Fuller, her best friend in the world. Looking dashing as always, in just faded jeans and a green tshirt. He was smiling, his perfect teeth showing. Floppy blonde hair in a mess on top of his head, just like she remembered.

"Alan!" She cried, lurching forward and throwing her arms around his neck.

Alan chuckled, his broad chest absorbing the shock of her weight as he hugged her tightly back. Belle nuzzled her face in the crook of his shoulder.

"Hey Belles, you miss me?" He asked playfully.

Belle pulled back and placed her hands on his shoulders. "I, but you're--"

"Yeah, I know." Alan interrupted. "I'm six foot under. But you needed me, so here I am. Inside your head." He said with a smile, tapping her forehead with his index finger.

Belle laughed and hugged him again, holding on tight. "I'm so screwed up Alan, I-I don't even know who I am anymore." She choked out.

Alan nodded, pulling back and leading Belle over to his tombstone. He sat down on the wet grass and patted beside him for her to do the same.

"Well I can tell you exactly who you are." Alan said after a moment. Belle looked at him curiously. "You're a girl who finally reached her dreams, but can't let go of her past." He rolled his head to look at her. "You've got to stop feeling so guilty all the time Belles."

Belle closed her eyes for a moment. It felt so good to hear him call her by her old nickname again. Even if this was all just a dream.

"But I have so much to be guilty for Alan." She finally said. 

Alan nodded. "Yeah, probably so. But you can't change any of that anymore. It's all in the past. And you have to live for right now, because you're not promised your next breath. So do what makes you happy."

"But if I do what makes me happy, I'm going to hurt Niall." Belle replied quickly, her brow furrowed.

Alan laughed. "Belle, you can't always live for everyone else. You live for the boys, for your fans, for your crappy management--"

"Hey how do you know about that?"

"--for everyone except you." Alan continued. "Try making you happy for once Belles. Don't think about the consequences, just live for the moment." He said with finality, poking her arm.

Belle sighed.

"What makes you happy Belles?" Alan asked again. "Or should I say, who makes you happy?" He added cheekily. Belle laughed and rolled her eyes, tucking her hair behind her ear. He nudged her shoulder. "C'mon, tell me the truth. I'm dead after all, you might as well be honest. I can't really blab about it."

Belle laughed and looked back up at him. "Louis." She finally answered, shaking her head and smiling lightly. "Louis makes me happier than anyone on the planet, Alan. When I'm with him, everything seems so..." She got a distant look, smiling to herself. "Everything just makes sense for once." She finally said.

Alan smiled and took Belle's hand in his own, squeezing it in a friendly way. 

"Then be with him. Don't worry about anything else. And definitely don't worry about Niall, he's not as innocent as you think, trust me."

"How do you--"

"Just be with Louis. Be happy, deal with the consequences later." Alan turned towards Belle and looked her straight in the eyes, a serious look on his perfect, dreamlike face. 

"Live for right this very second Belles. Because if it turns out that your next second is your last on Earth, don't you want to be doing what you love with the person you love?"

 

Belle awoke with a loud gasp, sitting up in bed, her eyes wide open. That dream had felt so real, so vivid. It was like Alan had actually been right there, with her. And gosh it had felt so good to hear his voice again.

Louis sat up in the bed beside Belle, reaching out and touching her waist lightly. "Babe? You okay? What's wrong?" He asked worriedly with a trace of sleepiness still in his voice.

Belle slowed her breathing as she turned and looked at Louis.

Louis. The boy she was madly in love with. It had taken her a hell of a long time to finally get it right with him, why was she doubting that things wouldn't continue to work out for them? The Universe obviously wanted them to be together, why was she so afraid?

"Belle? You look kind of crazy right now, are you okay?" Louis asked with an eyebrow cocked, his hair sticking out everywhere. Belle smiled at him, probably making her seem even more crazy.

"I'm...perfect." Belle finally said, smiling at him. 

Louis chuckled. "Well I already knew that." He said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

Belle opened her mouth to respond, but no words came out. How had she gone a year and a half without properly having him in her life? How did she ever believe that love couldn't exist, when love radiated from him so easily? How had she ever been with another?

Belle leaned forward impulsively and crashed her lips to Louis'. He was surprised at first, but it took only a second for him to relax against her, moving his mouth expertly against hers. He groaned in satisfaction, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her back to lie on the bed with him. Belle adjusted so that they were chest to chest, her laying on top of him. Their mouths moved in sync for about a minute, hot and wet.

"I love you." Belle said quickly in a gasp, breaking apart and looking down at Louis' gorgeous blue eyes. He screwed up his face at her sudden outburst, but smiled as well.

"I love you too. More than you'll ever know." He murmured, pushing her hair back away from her pretty face.

Belle's eyes welled up with happy tears, but she refused to shed them. She wasn't going to ruin this moment.

She leaned down and kissed Louis again, hotly whispering in his mouth, "I'm ready."

Louis froze, his whole body tensing up. He pulled back and looked Belle in the eyes, surprise written on his face. "W-What?" He asked. "Belle I don't want you to do anything just because you think that I'm going to ditch you or--"

"That's not it." Belle interrupted seriously. "I'm ready, Louis. I love you more than anything or anyone else in the world, and it took me two years to realize that you're the one for me. I don't want anyone else Lou. I'll face the consequences with Niall later. But I'm in love with you, and I'm not going to deny it ever again." She thought back to what Alan had told her in the dream. "This could be our last minutes on Earth and we would never know. I want to live for right now, because it's not guaranteed. I want you, Louis. All of you." 

Louis took in a deep breath, shocked at Belle's heartfelt words. He could tell just by the look on her face that she wholeheartedly meant what she was saying. Without a word, he quickly flipped them so that Belle was lying on her back and he was hovering over top of her. Her brown hair fanned out on either side of her, making her look like a goddess. 

"I've been waiting so long for this." He murmured hotly, leaning down and pressing his lips against hers yet again.

With that, Belle and Louis took the entire night to rediscover one another. 

And in turn, they found themselves once more.

***

The Next Morning...

Belle opened her eyes and immediately took notice of two things:

One, that it was raining outside on her balcony.

Two, that she was in the arms of the man she loved, after having had the best night of her entire life. 

Blinking her eyes to adjust to the light, Belle smiled lazily to herself, taking in a deep breath and stretching out her arms. Louis groaned as her movements stirred him awake, and she looked over her shoulder at his sleeping form, holding her tightly with her back against his firm chest. His hair was matted to his forehead and he just looked so damn cute when he was asleep.

"Mmm. It's too early." Louis mumbled, barely even opening his mouth. 

Belle giggled and turned around so that she was still in his arms, but they were chest to chest lying on their sides. She stared at Louis' flawless facial features, studying his jawline, his long eyelashes, his defined cheekbones. His eyes were closed and his breathing was even, but she could tell that he was awake, just refusing to actually wake up.

"Belle." Louis groaned, still not opening his eyes. "Why are you staring at me?"

Belle shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly. "I guess you're kind of beautiful." She said offhandedly.

Louis' lips curved upwards in a tired smile and he finally fluttered his eyes open. Belle was facing him, her eyes bright, the duvet covering her bare chest. He couldn't have wished for a more beautiful sight to wake up to. Especially after a night like last night.

"Well trust me love, you're a whole lot more beautiful." He said sweetly. Then his expression turned serious. "How are you feeling?"

Belle smiled and curled into his chest even more. She leaned forward and kissed his collar bone. "I'm feeling great." She answered, kissing his skin yet again.

"No regrets?" He asked.

"No...regrets...whatsoever." Belle said in between peppering kisses all across his skin. She looked back up at Louis' face and saw that he still looked concerned. "Louis last night was the best night of my life, and I mean that one hundred percent."

Louis smiled and lifted her face up to his with his index finger. "That makes two of us." He said against her mouth, pressing their lips together.

Belle smiled into the kiss, reaching up and fisting her hand into his hair. When they broke apart, he fell on his back, taking Belle with him so she could lay on his chest.

A few silent seconds passed, Belle listening intently to Louis' heartbeat and thinking that it somehow matched her own perfectly.

"I think I should call Niall." Louis said out of nowhere.

Belle sat up quickly, taking the duvet with her and looking at Louis like he was completely deluded.

"What?" She asked incredulously.

Louis just nodded, still laying back. "Yeah. He's my best mate, Belle. And even though he stole you first, it doesn't make it right that I stole you back. I mean, it's 'right' I guess. I think we're a special exception in some crazy way because of our history and feelings for each other, but to take my mate's girl...that's something I need to own up to."

When Belle said nothing, Louis sat up and took her face in his hands, looking deep into her eyes.

"Belle, I'm going to take the fall for this. I love you, and I will not see you hurt again. And if that means things are tense between Niall and I for a while, or even for forever...I'm still willing to do it."

Belle's bottom lip quivered. "What is this going to do to the band?" She whispered. "Am I going to break up One Direction?"

Louis laughed and pecked Belle's nose in amusement. "Oh babe, trust me, that's not going to happen. No matter how much us boys may dislike each other at some point in time, we're not going to throw away our amazing careers over it."

Belle sighed in relief at that, fluttering her eyes closed for just a moment. Louis smiled down at her and pressed his lips to her forehead firmly. Belle relaxed at his touch instantly.

"So I'm going to call him while you get up and get ready for the board meeting you have in..." Louis checked the time on the bedstand clock. "One hour."

Belle's eyes widened and she jumped up from the bed, taking the duvet with her to cover up her naked body. "One hour?!" She screeched. "Oh my gosh I'm going to be so late!" She rushed over to her suitcase and began pulling out various outfits and throwing them on the bed next to Louis, who was laughing.

"Wait a minute, how are you even able to walk after last night?" Louis suddenly asked. Belle turned around slowly and looked at him slyly, just to see a cheeky grin plastered on his face.

Belle shrugged her shoulder teasingly, wanting to get a rise out of Louis. "I dunno. Guess you didn't do your job good enough." She said, winking as she dropped the duvet and strode towards the bathroom to take a shower.

Louis hardened almost instantly and groaned at the sight of her entirely naked body walking away from him.

"Trust me love, next time I won't go that easy on you." He growled in his most seductive voice just as she stepped into the bathroom and shut the door.

This time Belle was the one that was aroused, shivering at just the thought of Louis being rough with her, especially after last night was so slow and romantic. How had she gone for so long without his sensual touch? One thing was for sure though, she wouldn't be missing out on any more of that any time soon. 

***

In Mullingar, Ireland

Niall sighed as he scrolled through Twitter on his laptop. It was a lazy day for him at the moment, Riley was at work at a local restaurant and he'd already visited his family earlier on. 

This entire situation between him, Riley, Belle, and Louis had his brain completely fried. He'd stayed up almost all night last night just thinking about what to do. He was completely and totally in love with Riley, he knew that in his heart. There was no way he could stay with Belle after being with her, it was an emotion he couldn't explain. Yet he still cared about Belle, they'd been together for five months at this point, not to mention he'd pined after her for over a year, including the time she was dating Louis. Was he really willing to let it all go?

And then of course there's Louis. Niall had no doubt in his mind that Belle and Louis were together, probably right at that very moment. He remembered how in love they were, how devastated Louis was for the longest time when she moved back to America when Alan died. Niall had always been afraid that they both still had feelings for each other, despite their mutual animosity most of the time, and the pictures he'd seen basically confirmed that.

But why wasn't he mad? Why wasn't he overcome with jealousy? Perhaps his feelings were gone for Belle. But had they ever even really been there? Belle was a great girl, he enjoyed every second with her. But when Niall really sat down and thought about his feelings for her, it wasn't anything like what he felt for Riley. It was more like just a really good friendship type of love. 

The whole situation was just so complicated. Not to mention there were so many other variables to consider. Like how the media would react, what management would say, how it would affect the band. It all just made Niall's brain hurt to contemplate.

While reading through some of the fans' tweets, Niall's phone rang. He picked it up and froze when he saw the Caller ID.

Taking a deep breath after two rings, he answered.

"Hullo?"

"Hey mate, it's me."

Niall sighed, rubbing his temple and propping his elbow up on the table in front of him. "Hey Louis what's up?" He asked, trying to be nonchalant.

Louis chuckled on the other line. "Oh come on mate, we can't act like nothing's going on when we both know what is."

Niall laughed too, sitting back in his chair. "Yeh, I guess you're right. Jesus, Louis, what the hell is going on?"

He heard Louis inhale and exhale slowly. "I'm not going to bullshit with you Niall, and I'm not going to sugarcoat anything alright?" He paused for a long moment. "You and I both know that I never got over Belle. And no matter how much I love you as a friend and bandmate, she means more to me than I ever thought was possible. So I've been fighting for her and...well..."

"And you won." Niall finished for him, no traces of emotion in his voice.

Louis was quiet for a second. "Yeah, I suppose I did. But you have to understand that she is beating herself up over this, she never wanted to hurt you or cheat on you. Blame me, Niall, I pushed her to overstep her bounds before talking to you. Don't be mad at her mate, she's gone through enough, this is all me and--"

"Louis." Niall interrupted. "I'm not mad."

"You're not mad?" Louis repeated incredulously. "How the hell are you not mad Niall, I shagged your girlfriend for Christ's sake."

"You two slept together?" Niall asked in shock. "Damn, good for you. But no, really, I'm not mad. I know I should be mad, but, erm..."

"No." Louis said in shock. "You've got to be kidding. Don't tell me you're cheating too!"

Niall laughed awkwardly and scratched the back of his head. "Heh, I wish I could say that and be telling the truth Lou."

"Oh, fuck." Louis mumbled, a surprised tone. "What the hell, Niall? Since when did our love lives become a fucking soap opera?"

Niall laughed, shaking his head even though Louis couldn't see him. "Hell if I know, man. But seriously, I've known all along that Belle was never over you. Honestly, I'm surprised it took you two this long to hook back up. A few weeks ago I would have been mad, but...I've got Riley now. And I was going to break things off with Belle for her before I even saw the pictures. So I cannot believe I'm saying this, but take her Louis. You deserve her more than me anyways."

Louis was quiet on the other line. "Wow. This is probably the weirdest conversation I've ever had, but I've got respect for you Niall. Thank you, I mean it." He said sincerely. "Oh and uh, good luck with that Riley or whatever her name was."

Niall smiled. "Thanks. Good luck with my girlfriend."

Louis laughed. "Hey she was mine first, Irish."

Niall threw his head back in hysterics. "That she was, Louis. That she was."

***

Hawaii

Belle stepped out of the bathroom forty-five minutes later, in a flattering red dress and black heels, her hair up in a tight business bun, but curled tendrils hanging on either side of her face. She was wearing hardly any makeup, yet she looked dazzling, completely ready for the board meeting. Louis had just stepped into her room from his own balcony, where he was attempting to tie his tie correctly and failing miserably.

Belle took one look at him and laughed, striding over and taking the tie herself.

"Here, let me." She said with a smile, setting to work on the fabric.

Louis grinned down at her. "Thank you."

Belle didn't say anything for a second. "Did you call him?" She finally asked.

"I did indeed."

Another pause. "Well? How was it?" She continued, looping the tie again.

Louis chuckled. "It was...interesting, to say the least."

Belle finished the tie and straightened it, sighing. She wrapped her arms around Louis' waist and rested her head against his chest.

"He hates me. Doesn't he?"

Louis chuckled yet again. "No, he doesn't hate you, love. He wants to hate you, and me as well, but he definitely doesn't. He can't, to be honest. Unless he wants to be a hypocrite."

Belle leaned back and scrunched her face up at Louis, whose hair was styled up perfectly. "What?" She asked in confusion.

Louis grinned in amusement. "I'm not really sure how you're going to feel about this, but um..."

"But what?" Belle asked quickly, desperate to know what Niall had said.

Louis took a breath and exhaled. "You're not the only one cheating."

Belle stared at Louis for a few seconds, the gears not quite clicking in her head. Then finally, after a few seconds...

"No!" Belle gasped in shock. "He's cheating on me too?!"

Louis nodded his head with an amused grin. "Yep." He said, popping the 'p'. "And apparently he's in love with the girl too, known her since primary school. He feels awful, doesn't want you to hate him either. But he's also really happy with her, I could tell. Her name is Riley."

"Riley." Belle repeated, staring past Louis and thinking about how incredibly screwed up this whole situation was. "I can't believe it. What are the odds that I would be cheating on him, while he was cheating on me, and it's both with people we love, and we both still want to have a healthy friendship." She said in complete and utter shock, shaking her head and chuckling.

Louis laughed. "What are the odds that you and I would end up back together after all this time, all the arguments, after a crazy manager tried to get you kidnapped, after you dated my best friend and I had to watch from afar, and after you became a celebrity by your own merit?"

Belle looked up at him and smiled. "The Universe must really like us." She said teasingly.

"Either that or it hates us." Louis retorted, equally playful.

"Well it doesn't matter." Belle said, holding him even tighter. "The Universe can hate us or love us, either one. All that matters is that I love you."

Louis smiled and took her face in his hands. "And I love you, too." He said seriously, kissing her passionately.

After a second or two, they broke apart and smiled at each other. Then suddenly, in a moment of triump, Louis lifted his face to the ceiling and shouted,

"You hear that Universe?! I finally got the girl, so suck it!"

 

~~~~~~

A/N: YOU GUYS. So, there was this chapter, and then there's just one more left followed by an epilogue :( I can't believe it, I love this fanfic so much, and I love all you guys who comment regularly, you make me smile so much. But all good things must come to an end, including this movella I love so dearly. BUT, I've already got ideas for another big project that I think you guys are going to like a whole lot :)

Either way, about this chapter, I have to be honest with you guys. I legitimately had about nine paragraphs of smut written, but then I deleted it all because AWKWARD. I can hardly even say the word sex without blushing so how the hell did you guys expect me to write good smut EL OH EL. So uh, anyways, setting that awkwardness aside, I hope you guys liked this chapter!

Just one more and then the epilogue :'( Excuse me while I cry.

Don't forget to favorite and leave a comment! I reply to everyone! xx

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