See Through

Olivia Adams isn't alive, but she isn't dead either. Somewhere between heaven and hell lies perpetual purgatory, and she's inevitably stuck in it. There's unfinished business to be tended to, but the question of what it is remains unanswered. She walks the streets of New York City with tears in her eyes, but nobody notices the girl that barely exists. Until a beautiful day. Niall Horan has found her, and he sees and feels and hears her. She's falling in love with him, even though she's frightened since her last lover took her very own life. Through Niall, Olivia is able to reconnect with her sister, Jessi, and exist as if she never left. But, what happens when a dark mass tries to ruin any chance Olivia has of living again? Will the mass get to her, allowing her spirit to move on? Will she be able to fight it off long enough to become human again? Or, will she forever remain see through?

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21. This Won't Be Pretty

Olivia

How many times can a person die and come back alive? I know what you're thinking. That never happens, right? That's scientifically impossible because once you're gone, you're gone for good. Let me tell you something. You're wrong.

I've learned that in life, you are given moments. The first moment is the second you're born. Odds are against your tiny, frail body experiencing this world for the very first time. But, life is on your side and you kick those baby feet and you laugh that baby laugh. In that moment, you're living.

Then, there's the second you die. Whether it be from old age, illness, or murder...somehow your time on earth has been intercepted and it's time to move on to a better or maybe even worse way of life. Either way, you're taking your very last breath, and every scene of your past flashes before your eyes. In that moment, you're dying.

Finally, there's this other moment handed to you by some twist of fate, verging on the edge of insanity. Somehow you've lived and died, but yet you're still walking this earth as if nothing happened, and nothing changed. Could it be a dream? It feels like one, but you know that dreams only come to the living, and you're definitely not that. So what are you? In that moment, you're existing.

I'm existing.

Whether I'm alive or dead or coming back to life...that doesn't matter because I exist here and now, this moment, this day, this time. I'm here and this is real.

“I'm in shock,” dad says. “Olivia, I just...”

“It's okay to cry, dad,” Jimmy adds. “Let it out.”

A tear slides down my dad's cheek as he embraces me for the millionth time. “I love you so much,” he whispers into my ear. Andrea stands by respectively, smiling at our somewhat happy reunion. “I'm sorry I didn't believe Jessi when she told me, I –”

“Don't worry about it,” I interrupt him. “I wouldn't have believed her either.”

“So you're going to London?” he asks. “To find her?”

“I have to, don't I?”

“Well,” says Jimmy. “Why don't you just call her and let her know you're still here? That's a lot more simple than flying all the way to London.”

Andrea chimes in, “but a personal appearance would be much more exciting.”

“I suppose,” dad says. “Whatever happens, just know that I'm glad you're back.”

A laugh escapes me, “dad, I never left.”

He sighs and hugs me once again.

Andrea and I leave dads after hours of him crying and hugging me and laughing...seriously, I expected him to go insane the very moment he saw me, but instead he broke down. I guess you never really know how loved you are until you're not around anymore.

On the car ride home, Andrea doesn't say much as she sings along to the radio. “Yeah, so tell me girl if every time we to-u-uch,” rings through the speakers, music to my ears. But something's stirring in the backseat. A coldness that I can feel breathing on the back of my neck. I turn my head just enough to glance behind me, but I see only the contents of the car.

“Do you feel that?” I say over the music.

“Feel what?”

“...nevermind.”

I shiver at the thought of anything supernatural glaring behind me, and the smell of vanilla and lavender fills my nose as it hasn't done for months. Then, I know what's there. It

But if it's the mass, why can't I see it?

“Andrea could you drive a little faster, please?”

She swerves around a curve. “I'm going the speed limit.”

“I know I just...”

An overwhelming heaviness hits me in my chest, palms sweaty and heart racing. Whatever it is making me feel this way, it's taking all my energy, like it's sucking me in. I try to stay calm.

Love pushes the mass away. Love pushes the mass away.

I think about Niall of all people. His sweet charm that always has me on the edge of my seat, begging for just another kiss. Another touch. Another minute of happiness with the boy I fell so deeply in love with without any warning.

His laugh. His eyes. His hands. His smile.

Niall. Niall. Niall.

My mind eases and my muscles relax. The smell floats away and the coldness turns into warmth. “Are you okay?” Andrea asks, pulling into the driveway. “You looked like you were about to freak out.”

“I'm fine.”

“It was the mass, wasn't it?”

“I – I'm not sure. I didn't see it.”

She purses her lips as she cuts off the engine. “Maybe since you're becoming human, you can't see it anymore. Maybe there's a chance it's still here.”

“You know what? I don't want to think about it. Let's just go buy our plane tickets okay?”

“Alright, alright.”

We climb out of the car and take the stairs up to Jessi's floor while Andrea rambles something about Harry. “And I swear I wish I didn't end things with him the way I did.” She turns the key and opens the door. “It made me feel like such an incosiderate bi – ”

She stops in her tracks, and I stop in mine. Jessi's apartment has been ransacked.

“What the hell!?” she yells loud enough for the neighbors to hear. “The door was still locked...nobody could have broken in!”

Clothes were thrown across the floor, tables upturned, cabinets empty and glass scattered across the cold linoleum. “It's back, Andrea,” I say, coming to the inevitable conclusion. “And it's trying to get to me. This is what it does.”

“Messes with your life?”

“Destroys it.”

“So what do we do?”

“Pretend like it's not bothering us. We'll take the next flight out to London. We should be there by the time the concert is over.”

 

 

 

 

Niall

Jessi hugs Louis and I as we get offstage. “You guys were amazing!” she says with a smile on her face. In fact, she looks genuinely happy for the first time. If I didn't know any better, I'd say she really is that happy. But I see right through her just like she does me.

Truth is, nobody's over Olivia. Once a person makes an impact on your life, it's hard to let them go.

“Think so?” Louis says with a smirk.

“Best show yet,” she replies, touching her lips to his.

“Hey,” says a sweet, innocent voice behind me. I turn to find Zoey. “You did great out there.”

“Thanks,” I laugh.

“Are you going to the after party?”

I contemplate for a second, debating. “Actually,” I begin, “I was thinking about taking it easy tonight. Maybe take you out to dinner?”

The smile on her face is answer enough. “I'd like that.”

I take her hand and tell our bodyguards where I'm going. They're not okay with it, but I'm not the best at following so-called “rules.” Zoey's hand feels good in mine, but nothing like Olivia's. I wish it weren't this way. I can't even begin to appreciate this girl because I keep comparing her to Olivia, and that's not fair to her.

However, she knows we're just friends. I think...

“So Mr. Horan, where do you want to dinner?”

“Mmm, I was thinking Nandos?”

“Is that an Italian place?”

“That's funny. No, it's a fast food restaurant. The best, actually.”

She smiles and tightens her grip on my hand. “Sounds good to me.”

Maybe moving on won't be such a bad thing after all.

 

 

 

 

Jessi

There's many questions I have that remain unanswered. Questions such as why did Olivia have to die so young? Why did she come back to life? Where is she now? But Louis tells me that I shouldn't keep dwelling on them because they'll only rip me apart. It sounds crazy, but I believe it could. So now, instead of being bitter about the situation, I'm trying to be content.

Instead of mourning Olivia, I'm trying to celebrate the life she lived. Instead of keeping a close hold on Niall, I'm trying to let him go on with himself. Instead of closing myself up like a shell and wallowing in grief, I'm trying to heal.

It's gonna be hard, but nobody can be guaranteed an easy life.

“Ready to go babe?” Louis asks.

“You're not going to the party?”

“No, I want to spend some time with you.”

“How sweet,” I say with a laugh. “We really need time to ourselves.”

He wraps his strong arms around my waist, his lips only inches away from mine. “What do you say we cuddle up on the couch and watch a film? I'll make popcorn and then afterwards...” he wiggles his eyebrows suggestively, sending me into a fit of giggles.

“You're insane,” I laugh, “but that sounds nice.”

The two of us head off to Harry and Louis' apartment, where there's a curious, familiar car parked out front. “That looks like Andrea's car,” I say to him, pointing at the blue Kia. “What would she be doing here? How does she even know where you live?”

“I'm assuming she's stalking Harry.”

“She wouldn't do that.”

“I don't know, she seems like epic psycho bitch.”

“Hey, don't talk about her like that.”

He laughs and shrugs. “I'm sorry, but she's crazy. I thought you were mad at her, anyway?”

“I don't even know anymore, but I swear that's her car.”

“Only one way to find out.”

Louis cuts the car off and we both get out, inching our way to the mysterious car. I come up on the driver's side window and glance inside. “It's empty,” I say to him. “Plus, Andrea's car is never this clean.”

“And she wouldn't be able to get it overseas so fast.”

I interlock my fingers with his and he buzzes himself into the building. The lobby smells a familiar scent of lavender and vanilla, killing my senses like an old memory. Louis presses the “up” button on the lift and we wait for it to come down.

12...11...10...

9...8....7....

“This thing takes forever.”

“You get used to it after a while.”

6...5...4...

3....2...1....

Ding.

The doors slide open, revealing two faces, both of whom I haven't seen in quite some time. For a second, I think I'm hallucinating once again, but yet this feels like reality and she looks as visible as ever. There's no lights in my eyes to play tricks with my mind.

She's really here, and I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

“O – Olivia?” I choke out. Louis grabs my arm because he knows what comes next. Tears well up in my eyes and roll softly down my cheeks.

“Hey Jess,” she says with a smile.

“I think you have some explaining to do, Olivia?” Andrea says, nudging her slightly.

“Oh, yes, well...”

I don't let her finish. Would you? My arms grab her into the biggest hug I can possibly manage. She laughs digs her face into the crease of my neck. “I'm gonna kill you,” I say playfully as I pull away and stare into her eyes. “What happened?”

“Let's get to the flat first, ladies,” Louis interrupts.

We step inside the elevator with Andrea and Olivia and Louis presses the 12th floor button. “I knew that was your car outside,” I say to Andrea.

“Actually, it's not,” she says. “I got a rental just like mine.”

“Clever.”

“Look,” she turns to me and takes my hand in a friendly, apologetic way. “I know what I did was inexcusable, and I don't expect you to ever forgive me. I just want you to know how sorry I really am.”

I gaze at Olivia, and she nods slightly, indicating that she and Andrea have obviously talked through their differences. “Yeah, it was,” I say. “You tried to make me believe my own sister would try to hurt me and Niall. Who does that?”

“Like I said, I'm sorry. I know that doesn't tell you much, but that's how I feel.”

Olivia waves her head forward, telling me to forgive her. The elevator dings and we step off onto Louis' floor. “As much as I hate what you did, you're like a sister to me. I forgive you, but I'm still very, very upset with you.”

“Understandable.”

“Now give me a hug,” I laugh, wrapping my arms around her neck.

Louis opens the door for us and we all take a seat on the couch. “Now tell me what happened, Olivia. I thought the mass got to you?”

“No, it wasn't like that. I left because at the time it felt like the right thing to do. I figured Niall deserved someone real.”

Okay Jessi, stay calm, don't get upset with her. “But you are real!”

“I know that now, Jessica!”

“What about the mass? What happened to it?”

“Truthfully, I don't know,” she replies. “I still feel its presence but I never see it. Like this morning when Andrea and I were in the car. I know it was there. I could feel it pulling me in. Then it destroyed your apartment.”

“WHAT!?”

Should've saw that one coming.

“That's what we think,” says Andrea. “We're not completely sure, but nothing was stolen. Do you have any other explanation?”

“I wish we knew what to do to keep this thing away,” I say, “for good. If you're alive, why is it still trying to get to you? I thought it only had one chance?”

“I have no idea,” she says sadly. “Every time I feel it or see it or whatever...I just think of Niall.”

“Love,” says Andrea. “Love keeps it away from you. But why isn't it enough?”

We may never know the answer to that. Talking about Niall has done something to Olivia. The guilt is gleaming in her eyes like a burden. “I miss him,” she says. “But I'm sure he's done thinking about me.”

“Trust me,” says Louis. “You're all he can talk about.”

That puts a smile on her face. “Where is he?”

“Um,” Louis begins, “he said something about going to Nandos. I can take you there if you want. That'll give Jessi and Andrea a chance to catch up.”

Shit. No, Louis! “Babe, I don't think that's a good idea. Nandos is way across town and –”

“It's okay, Jessi, I don't care to take her. I'm sure Niall will be more than happy to see her. Let me change out of my concert clothes and we'll go.”

It seems as though Louis has forgotten that Niall is there...with Zoey.

This won't be pretty.

 

 

 

 

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