Over Again (1Shot41D: Louis Tomlinson)

Bethany's broken. The one person who has ever cared for her, her mother, has passed away, and Bethany's cold, harsh reality of being jobless, broke and unloved starts to weigh on her. She needs somebody to love and to love her, but who would ever be that crazy... or kind?
When Bethany goes out shopping for an ornament as a memorial to her mother, she meets Louis: completely weird, funny, and famous... but also caring.
The kind of somebody who, on Valentine's Day and over a cup of coffee, could help her pick up the pieces of her broken life...
***
For the purpose of this story, Eleanor Calder does not exist. Also, this is my first 1D fanfic, and I don't normally do this sort of thing, so any feedback would be helpful. And PLEASE don't "hate" or nag on at me if I miss out some sort of tiny 1D detail. (You can point it out though. :D ) I'm not an overly obsessed Directioner, just a slightly interested fan, so I might not get everything right. But that's what a fanfic's for, isn't it? :)

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1. Over Again

Dear Mother,

This is letter number 25 (I've counted), and it's really no interesting than any of the others.

Today I went to find another job. As usual, nobody wants me. I'm either too plain, too vibrant, too smart, too... unintelligent. (I wouldn't want to disappoint you, Mother, by saying dumb, but that's what I am. I know how proud you were of me when I got into my uni but, face it, Mother, anyone could have gotten into Stonebridge.)

Why has this happened? How could I have lost you, Mother? I'm broken. I'm snapped in half, like a piece of string. I feel like I've been torn to pieces by a monster whose name is Grief. Every time I write a letter my words become soaked with tears. Weeks later, and I still haven't cried any less.

I don't know whether you'd still love me if you were here, but I'm writing these letters like you do, because if you told me "no", I think the only remaining anchor stopping me from leaping off my balcony will disappear.

Oh, Mummy. Mummy. Mummy. I love you, I love you, I love you, and it would hurt less if you'd have cut me in half with a knife.

Please don't forget me. Wherever you are, just don't forget me. Because that's why I write. So you can remember. One day, in the afterlife--I know there is one-- when we meet up again, you have to know who I am. I am your daughter Bethany, Mother. Not your son Clyde, or daughter Amelia. I'm Bethany, Mother.

I'm the one who loved you more than anyone loved me.

***

My eyes flicker open, and I stare at the ceiling. For a second, I'm lost in that little moment between sleep and awakening. Then reality hits, and I press my hands against my temples as the pain overwhelms me.

My mother is gone. I'm jobless. I'm unloved. I'm nobody, and if I don't become somebody soon, I won't even be alive.

I push myself into a sitting position and close my eyes as tears seep through my eyelids. Breathing deeply, I open my eyes and cross over to my wardrobe, and push the doors open. I start sifting through my clothes and grab the first things I can find. Black and black.

Another day, another nightmare.

***

Bleary eyed, I prop myself up on the desk in front of the manager and give her my brightest smile. "So, what do you think?"

The manager flips through her papers and doesn't answer me. Her short, dark hair is styled in a bob cut, and her blue eyes are like pieces of ice, gazing at me, like in one word she would be able to shatter my life.

I know what that word is, and I don't want to hear it. Even if my life is already broken into a million pieces.

"Well, Bethany," the manager says finally, "here's the thing. You're a really great person, with a... fantastic personality. But, according to your resume, accounting isn't quite your thing, is it?"

My heart sinks right into the toes of my brand new flats, and I feel dizzy. I feel like I'm hearing another person speak, from outside of my body, when I say, "Yes, that's right, but..."

She holds up her hand, gesturing for me to stop. "And secretary work is mostly accounting, did you know that?"

I swallow. "Yes, ma'am. But--"

"No buts, Bethany. I'm sorry, but I just don't think John Muron's is the right place for you."

I'm fighting back tears, but I nod. Deep down, I had known this would happen, but another part of me... another part of me had just wanted... just hoped...

The manager looks at me sympathetically. I don't even know her name. I think it's Lucy or Lucia or something like that. "Look, Bethany, I've heard you've had problems, and I'm sorry."

"Please accept me," I say. "Please." I choke back a sob.

She shakes her head. "You're just not right for us. I deeply apologize, Bethany, but I think... Have you tried setting up your own business? Something not involving too many numbers?" A tiny smile briefly appears on her lips.

I shake my head. "I could never do it," I say.

"Yes, you can." Surprisingly, she takes my hand. "You're a very brave and confident girl, Bethany, and you will be all right."

There's something less icy in her eyes, something less frozen and more familiar. Something comes over me and, overwhelmed with pain, I squeeze my eyes shut, allowing tears to trickle out of the corners, and put my arms around her shoulders. At first, she seems startled, but then she hugs me back, and I cry freely on her shoulder.

"I'm sorry," I sniff, when I pull away. "It's just that... you're the first person who's said a kind word to me since my mother died three weeks ago."

Her eyes widen. "Oh," she says softly. "Then I really do feel for you, Bethany."

I breathe in and out slowly once, numbing my agony, then look up at her and manage a tiny smile that doesn't reach my eyes.

***

My eyes are shut tight. I'm standing in the middle of my favourite crafts store, spreading my arms wide, inhaling the scent of wood through my nose. It's the only thing that can calm me down now.

This was my favourite place to go with my mother. Every Sunday, they'd have a weekend sale here, and my mother would come here with me for an hour or so. We'd pore over the shelves, examining all the different handicrafts and little models, showing each other ones that looked ridiculous or strange. Often we'd end up in a giggling fit on the floor. The cash register guy never minded, because we were regular customers, and we almost always bought a sculpture every two weeks.

It was so much fun.

The bell hanging over the door chimes, and I quickly open my eyes and drop my hands to my sides, and start to examine a shelf. I don't want whoever almost saw me to think I'm crazy. It would just be another adjective to add to my growing list.

I run my hand along the dusty glass of the shelf until it reaches a sculpture. This is a rather strange one. It's a pigeon, and I don't really know why that appeals to me as strange, but it does, and I have, once again, the overwhelming urge to cry, as I think about how much my mother would have loved it. My hand shakes and I accidentally knock the pigeon off the shelf.

I kneel down to pick it up and cradle it in my hands. It's so helpless, I think. It reminds me of myself-- and in that moment I know I am going to buy it and put it on top of my mother's grave, like a guardian angel. A guardian pigeon... that's me.

"Are you going to buy that?" A voice from outside my head suddenly breaks through my thoughts.

I turn around to see a boy standing behind me. He looks about two years younger than me, more or less 21 years old. Tousled brown hair crowns his scalp, and hazel eyes pierce mine with such a boyish intensity I have to look away. I fix my eyes on his nose instead.

"Why are you looking at my nose?" he laughs.

"Uh..."

"Never mind. My point is, are you going to buy that pigeon?"

"Yes," I say, clutching it tightly.

"Oh." His face falls. "You see, I was going to buy her as a friend for my pigeon, Kevin."

My pigeon, KevinThat face. Those boyish eyes...

"I know you," I gasp. "You're Louis Tomlinson. From One Direction."

His eyebrows go up. "So you're a fan, then?"

I nod.

"Why aren't you screaming?"

"I don't have the energy to."

"I see. That's good, anyway. I don't like screaming. So, um, is there any reason you won't let me buy that pigeon? No offense, but normally when fans see me in the shops, they kind of do anything I want them to."

I jerk my head back a little, stung. "Well, I'm sorry for not living up to your expectations, Mr. Tomlinson, but I'm a little more level headed than that." Level-headed. Ha ha. That's funny, considering what I'm going through now. "And the reason I'm buying it is... very personal to me."

Louis holds his hands up in defence. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean it that way. It's just... I've never really met a fan who doesn't scream their head off when they see me. I'm actually really happy that you're not like that. What's your name?"

I hesitate. "Bethany Carter," I tell him.

He bows. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Bethany Carter. Tell me, would you like to go for a coffee?"

***

"So, what are you going to name your pigeon?" Louis asks later. We're sitting in a tiny coffee shop, and I'm sipping the most delicious hot chocolate I've ever tasted.

"I don't really want to name her anything," I confess. The pigeon is with me in a little bag from the shop. I take her out and look at her, then back at Louis. He's doing that puppy-dog-eyes thing.

"Oh, all right," I sigh. I turn my pigeon this way and that, studying her face. "Agatha," I decide.

"Agatha." Louis nods. "That's a perfect pigeon name."

I giggle for the first time in weeks. Louis takes out his own pigeon from his backpack and strokes his beak, making little cooing noises.

"Poor Kevin. Shut up in there for goodness knows how long." He places Kevin on the table, and I make Agatha sidle up to him and coo at him. I wink at Louis. "Kevin has a little admirer," I say.

"You got a girlfriend, Kevin?" Louis tickles his pigeon's back.

I hear a beeping noise, and Louis frowns. "That must be Harry. He must have noticed I've given them and the paparazzi the slip." He shakes his head as he pulls his phone out of his pocket. "We just came here to visit a relative of Liam's. Why do they follow us all the time? Sometimes I miss not being famous. Actually, I miss it a lot." He keeps talking as he reads the text. "That's why I often go to the most random shop I can... Excuse me, Bethany. This is urgent. Could I just..." He gestures to the phone.

I nod, and as he look away and starts typing furiously, I grab a pen from my pocket and the paper napkin from the table.

Dear Mother, I write, I met someone today. It's Louis from One Direction!!! Remember how much I used to love them? I think he cares about me. I don't know, but why else would he invite me for a coffee?!

I still miss you so, Mother, and I bought you a guardian pigeon named Agatha. I'm going to decorate her with flowers and put her on your grave.

I frown and tap my pen against my chin. What else can I write? I'm not feeling as sad or hopeless as I usually do. In fact... I'm feeling... a little happy.

"What's that you're writing?"

I look up with a start. Louis has finished texting and is staring at me. When I meet his eyes, he lowers his head. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to pry."

"No, it's okay." I decide to tell him. "My mother died three weeks ago. I... I write letters to her. You probably think I'm crazy."

"Not at all."

"S-sorry?"

"Bethany, I don't think you're crazy at all.

"I think you're wonderful."

***

A week later, I find this letter in my mailbox:

Hey Bethany!

It's me, Louis. Remember we met in that wooden craft store thingie last week? I don't think I'll ever forget.

I had meant to ask you that day: Do you want to be my Valentine?

My breath catches in my throat. "It was Valentine's Day," I murmur. I keep reading.

If you say yes, which I hope you do, then write back (letters are more romantic than emails, don't you think?) and I'll come and get you, and you can spend a week with me and the boys. I'd love to get to know you better.

And also, I know you said before you didn't need it, but I had to:

Taped underneath those words is a cheque for a thousand pounds. My hands begin to shake. "Oh, Louis."

I miss you so much, Bethany. And Kevin misses Agatha too. So please say yes?

Love, Louis Tomlinson.

I stare at those last letters for a few moments more.

Then I turn on my laptop, scroll through iTunes and hit play on a song I haven't heard for over four weeks. I listen to Harry sing the first verse and impatiently wait for the pre-chorus to play.

I used to think that I was better alone

Why did I ever wanna let you go?

Under the moonlight as we stared at the sea

The words you whispered I will always believe.

My eyes are filled with tears, but they are tears of happiness.

***

Dear Mother,

Louis came to get me today. He is so handsome, with those eyes, and that hair...!! I know you would love him.

Dear Mother,

I'm sorry I haven't written for so long, but so much has happened! I've been all over the country with 1D, and yesterday Louis and I had our first kiss! I'm falling for him, Mother...

Dear Mother,

Louis and I are official!!! I just can't believe it... My Twitter account is being overflowed with followers. Louis bought me flowers yesterday. They are tulips, my favourite kind.

Dear Mother,

It's Valentine's Day again! I came to see you and Agatha, who is looking a little worn, so I took her away. I'm sorry, but I don't think you need a guardian pigeon anymore, and neither do I, and I think Kevin really wanted his girlfriend back.

Dear Mother,

You'll never guess what happened today.

How does Bethany Tomlinson sound?

The End

 

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