Get Me Back

**Sequel to Hanging On (A.K.A. read Hanging On first)** It's now six months after the eight month tour begins and Katie can't help but feel her relationship with Louis falling apart. When she discovers the secret he'd been trying to hide from her, she's devastated; how could she ever trust again, especially after the one who promised to never hurt her went against his word? As Katie tries to build herself back up, a new set of arms help pick her back up, showing her something she hasn't felt for a long time. Katie finds herself in a troubling situation, especially when the truth is ultimately revealed to her. Will she try and rebuild what she once had, or will she embrace the new future presenting itself to her?

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19. Chapter Ninteen

Chapter Nineteen

    And so, with the afternoon wearing on, Louis and I found ourselves hopelessly lost inside every interior design store we came across. We had plenty of laughs and received plenty of looks, but nonetheless we had the time of our lives. After we finally gave up and I ended up ordering an interior design service to come and help, we went our separate ways. I had taken the time to buy food and silverware and the basic necessities to survive in my new apartment, so I busied myself that night with putting everything away and organizing my new living space. It was strange being on my own. I had so much space, and almost nothing to fill it with. It was like my own life in a way. When I lived in a smaller, simpler world, it seemed as though I had almost too much to handle. Now that my world had drastically expanded, I looked like a poor girl in a rich room. I stuck out like a sore thumb.

    I lay down on my bed, still in my clothes, and still thinking hard. Everything in my world had suddenly turned upside down, and that was all thanks to Toby. What was going on? Was this some sort of bad sitcom? My life had all of a sudden turned into one of the cheesy, over-dramatic soap operas my mother used to watch during the afternoon. How could I let my life come to this? Here I thought I had come a lot farther from where I had began, but in reality I had sunk much farther. Everything had become so complicated in my life. Where was the simplicity?

    That’s when it hit me. I sat up straight, reaching for my cell phone. I went down through my contacts and found her number. As I counted the rings, I felt myself growing nervous. I knew I had neglected the fact that I could speak to her whenever no matter what, but maybe just this once something could go right for me.

    “Hello?”

    “It’s Katerine…mom, I need to see you.”

 

    “So you just up and left? Without any warning you left everything just to come here?” I sighed and nodded in response to my mom as she carried a mug of tea to me. “Sweetie, why on earth would you do that? You could lose your job!”

    “I know…that’s what I was aiming for,” I admitted. She sat down across from me, waiting patiently for me to continue. “Everything is just so…complicated now.”

    “Life is complicated, honey. That’s just how it is,” she answered simply.

    “But why can’t life just be simple again? Why does every option in life have to have hundreds of complications and pros and cons to weigh with it? Why can’t we just get the black and white answer right there in front of us like before? ‘Hey, I’m the right choice! Pick me! I’m the answer to zero complications!’”

    “Well if we had that, we wouldn’t learn a thing!” My mom set her mug down and leaned in a little more. “Honey, I was absent for the majority of your childhood. When I was there, I never paid attention to you because I was too focused on my career!”

    I grimaced. “Yeah, thanks for the reminder.”

    “Now let me finish! I was so consumed by my job and what I wanted to do that I didn’t care what anyone else wanted! I was so certain of my career and so I put everything I had in me to commit to it. As it turns out, I was fired from that job for someone who did it a lot better than me. I found out pretty quickly that all I really needed was right at home waiting for me every day. That was you, Katie.” My mom reached across and took my hands in hers. “Sometimes the things we really need are right there in front of us.”

    “But there are so many things that are in front of me! How am I supposed to know which one is the right thing?” I asked her. She just smiled, stroking my hands.

    “You are such a smart young girl. It isn’t something you look for; it’s something you just know. Don’t look so hard! You’ll give yourself a migraine.” And just like that, my mother was able to pick me right back up. She was able to take the senseless scribble that my life had become and turn it into straight lines. I wasn’t expecting to find my answers when I first arrived at her house, but then again I wasn’t expecting to call her in the first place. Something was starting to fall back into place for me. Something was making its way to making sense again.

    When I got home, I made a few changes to my life. First, I quit my job at the café and put all of my attention back to Shira and my recording contract. I was ready to begin writing my own songs and in them write my story. Second, I decided to get a restraining order against Toby. After realizing he was the poison in my life, I decided ending all communications with him was the best antidote. Lastly, I did the hardest yet the best thing I could ever do for myself: I apologized.

    Meeting Jace at the coffee shop where we met and sitting down at one of the tables, explaining everything to him and what I had decided for my life wasn’t the way I’d wanted to say goodbye, but I needed to tell him in the nicest way possible that I was moving on with my life, and he wasn’t going to be a part of it.

    “It’s not that I don’t care about you, Jace. I really do care about you and you’re such an amazing friend, but it’s toxic for me. Being Toby’s brother and looking so much like him and acting like him…it’s too painful for me. Maybe someday when I’m more settled we can meet up like this and just talk for a bit.”

    Jace looked up at me with pain in his eyes but a smile on his face. “I’ll be waiting for the day.” I knew this was painful for him and that he wanted me around more than anything, but I knew it would end before it even had a chance to start. I kissed him on the cheek and gave him one last smile before leaving the coffee shop, not daring to turn around. It was the first of many apologies I’d have to make, but it was a good place to start. I had to start taking out the bad in my life in order for the good to shine through, and I was well on my way to doing just that.

    I hadn’t seen Louis, Harry, or any of the boys in a few weeks, so it was almost scary for me to call them all up and suggest they all come to my apartment for Thanksgiving. It was a bit much to ask, especially since they should have been with their families, but I wanted to see them all again. I wanted to, just for once, act like it was nine months ago when I had just begun to know them and I was beginning to change for the better. It was one of the only things I could ask for from them. When they all confirmed they would be there, I was more than overjoyed. I had one week to prepare everything for them and to learn how to cook a turkey. For all of that I’d have to call my mother to help. This time, I didn’t mind asking for her help. She was there for me and that was all that mattered.

 

    “Katie, can you please stir the gravy before it burns?” I scurried over to my mother’s side as she checked the turkey again. I whisked it slowly as she had instructed, careful not to slosh it out onto my stove. “How do you function in a space this tiny?”

    I scoffed. “Tiny? Are you kidding me? This place is huge and a lot cleaner compared to where Kara and I were staying together.”

    “I heard that!” Kara yelled from the bathroom. “I’ll have you know my apartment became mysteriously cleaner when you moved out.”

    “You’re so funny,” I shot back sarcastically. “How much longer does everything have?”

    “Well, the turkey has another hour and a half before it’s ready, and as for everything else, that should all be ready by the time they arrive in thirty minutes,” my mom answered.

    “Awesome! I’m going to go and get changed now.” I took off my apron and danced back to my room. I had laid out my outfit for the day, deciding on my new pair of dark slim jeans, a brown and gold sweater and my tall black heels. My hair was down in big, romantic curls that fell over my shoulders and framed my face. After I finished my make-up and hair, I helped Kara slip into her simple yet slimming black dress and pumps.

    “I’m so excited! I actually get to meet them all!” Kara squealed. “What are they all like?”

    “They are everything you aren’t expecting and more,” I promised. “Come on, we’ve got to put the finishing touches on the living room!”

    “Right, your mini pumpkins just have to be set out, right?” Kara joked, carrying a couple to the fireplace.

    “They’re cute! Besides, it’s festive,” I argued, setting them on top of the fireplace. That was when the doorbell rang and my stomach suddenly dropped. “Kara, why don’t you help my mom in the kitchen real fast and I’ll get them all settled.”

    “Good luck!” Kara called over her shoulder with a smile. “Don’t over-think anything!”

    “Yeah, I never do that,” I muttered. I walked up to the door and smoothed out my sweater before opening the door. I was greeting with cheers and hollers from the boys as they all wrapped me into a group hug. Liam, Zayn, Niall, and Harry all took turns giving me hugs and a kiss on the cheek. That’s when I noticed there were only four. I pulled Harry aside. “Where’s Louis at?”

    “He’s coming, I promise,” Harry chuckled. “He’s going to be a bit late. He said he had to pick something up first.” I tried not to show my relief visibly, but Harry caught onto something and wrapped me in his arms. “Don’t worry, he’s not going to just ditch on you.”

    “I know, I’m just flustered and nervous,” I whispered. He pulled away and led me into the living room. I walked into the kitchen and grabbed Kara’s hand. “Come with me, I have someone I’d like you to meet,” I smiled. I took her to the living room and straight up to Niall where I introduced them. As I watched them begin talking and laughing, I couldn’t help but know this was going to work better than I had planned.

    An hour later, we were all seated at the living room table, enjoying food and each others company. I found myself laughing and participating in all their conversations, ignoring the nervous gnawing in my stomach. I knew sitting there wondering wouldn’t bring him any faster, so why wonder? Why not enjoy the company of the friends and family I had right in front of me? Even if it wasn’t everyone, I could still be content with them. In the middle of listening to Kara as she schooled Niall in the art of flirting, I heard the faint closing of the front door and saw the dark outline of someone walking towards the table, a bottle of wine in his right hand.

    “Louis! You made it!” Harry cheered. Louis looked down a little sheepishly and handed the wine to my mother who smiled and sent a wink my way. I blushed and stood up.

    “I’m glad you could finally make it,” I smiled, letting him hug me. I closed my eyes and pulled him into me.

    “I wouldn’t have missed this for the world,” Louis said in my ear. We retreated and he sat to my left next to my mother. That was when I felt complete. At an oak dining table in the middle of November, eating turkey and stuffing while sipping fine Italian wine, that was when I realized where the right decision was. It was right in front of me.

    I stood up, grabbing my wine glass. “If you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to make a toast,” I began. “A very wise woman once told me, ‘sometimes the things we really need are right there in front of us.’ Sitting here today at this table, I finally understand what she meant by that. No amount of music, distance, or drama, could ever separate me from this family ever again. For the first time in my life, I finally feel complete. So, I raise this toast to life and the pursuit to finding the good in everything that is bad, to finding the right path, and to finally finding the things we really need in life.” And to that toast we drank.

    By the end of the night, my mother, Liam, Zayn, Kara, and Harry had all left. I was stuck in the kitchen trying to put everything away as best as possible. Louis was carrying dishes back to the sink. It was quiet, tense almost. We needed so badly to just talk things out, but neither of us wanted to make the daring first move to call attention to the obvious elephant standing in my crowded kitchen. I finally finished putting everything away and soaking all the dishes. I checked the time to find it was almost eleven at night. I walked out to the living room to Louis sitting on the couch.

    “You should probably get home. It’s getting late.” I started the fireplace and sat down next to him. “It feels so good to sit down.”

    “Did you really mean what you said at dinner today?” I looked over at him, confused. “In your toast, you said nothing could ever separate you from this family ever again. Did you really mean it?” He asked me again.

    I stayed silent for a moment, studying him. “Every word,” I finally answered. “Nothing will take me away ever again. I’m done isolating myself and acting like I’m still eighteen. I’m ready to be mature.”

    “Me too,” Louis agreed. “That’s why I need to ask you something.” He slid down off of the couch and knelt in front of me, pulling a box out of his back pocket. “I’ve never been more certain about wanting to be with you, Katie. You are my everything and I want to be your everything too. I want you to be able to wake up every morning and go to sleep every night knowing I love you and I’ll never stop loving you. From the first moment I saw you, I knew I’d spend my life with you. We’ve already done everything to mess this up, and I can’t think of anything that could break us apart anymore. Katerine Willows, will you marry me?”

    I smiled through the tears that had started falling and began nodding. “Yes Louis, I’ll marry you.” He slid the ring onto my finger and I kissed him, letting myself fall next to him. No matter what logic I tried to fight it with, no matter how many times I tried to separate myself from him, I would always find my way back to him, back to my path.
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It pains me to say this, but I only have an epilogue after this chapter. It will basically tie everything up in a nice pretty package with a big red bow on it, so I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you've enjoyed Katie's journey. Thank you xxx

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