Liam James Payne. August 29th 1993 – May 3rd 2014. Loving Son, brother, band mate and friend. Everytime Louis read the message scrawled across the grave stone his head throbbed with thoughts, could he have stopped Liam from leaving that night? Was it all his fault? Each boy had their own reasons to blame themselves, each boy had their own way of healing. This is their story of tragedy , and self pity, how will they survive without the glue that held the band together?


1. Skinny Love


Chap 1
Skinny Love

There were a million things that Louis Tomlinson regretted in his life time. Some of which were relevant to his life, and others were all just part of the journey to becoming the man he was now, the man he wasn’t proud of. Maybe stealing a biscuit from his mother’s pantry, while she was nursing his baby sisters. Back when he was 10, was the root to his dissatisfaction in his adulthood. It’s not like it wasn’t possible, it’s proven that events from your childhood were events that could piece together the future, they could change the way your destiny was determined. Louis knew he was being silly even thinking back to that day, why bother when nothing could or would change? He was sorry, he had told his mother so later that evening when she stood in his doorway looking down into his blue eyes with her disappointment face.

“Lou, did you steal a biscuit after I told you not to?” She asked with a stern face, Louis knew even back then that she hated having to discipline him. She hated it with a passion. They way her eyes looked almost dead, and how her voice was strained like she wished she could just walk over and give him a cuddle. 

He shook his head at first, not wanting her to yell. He didn’t want to be a naughty boy. He wanted to be her Boo, her baby boy. The guilt ate him inside even if the lie only lasted a second. His lip quivered as the anticipation of trouble doomed him. He looked up at her again before letting it all out. “I only took one, I am so sorry Mum. Please don’t be mad at me.” He splattered his words out like an infant flinging mashed potato across the kitchen. The way his eyes floated around the room unable to look at her, too afraid of her reaction.

The sigh that left her lip, Louis now knew well. It was the same sigh that escaped her the day he told her about the split between him and Hannah, or the day he was suspended from school. He knew each and every whimper or facial expression his mother ever gave, probably because he was nearly always the cause for them.

Now things were different, he couldn’t even bring himself to return her phone calls. He knew she was worried about his wellbeing, he knew she was only trying to help but it broke his heart even thinking about answering the phone, or returning her phone calls. He did however keep in touch with his sister Lottie, every so often he’d respond to her texts. She never asked him the obvious questions; her check-ups were more subtle. The occasional ‘How was your weekend?’ or ‘I miss you!’ were the only things she sent much to Louis’ delight. He didn’t mind the shallowness of their newfound relationship. It gave him space to gather his thoughts; it meant he didn’t have to make up a new idiotic excuse as to why he couldn’t answer her questions. He didn’t want to be one of those brothers who disappointed. He just wanted to put on a brave face, which was what he was trying to accomplish.

His ringtone echoed as a sudden gush of phone signal bounded in, message after message seemed to flood his inbox, not that he was checking the phone that sat beside him on the hood of his navy BMW, instead his attention was scattered, his shattered blue eyes stared across the horizon, the beauty of the town below him was the only thing he allowed himself to take in.

The cool winters air was like a slap on the face, which he felt he deserved. He didn’t care if his face was turning an unflattering crimson colour, it was just a reminder to him and to all that he wasn’t perfect, he wasn’t okay in fact. His insides screamed for help. Help that he would never ask for, the pain was just too strong, like a dagger in his heart.

His hands brought down the woolen material of his beanie, further down to cover his frozen ears as he continued to star out across the lookout view. He had no change in his pockets, nothing but a credit card filled with millions of pounds, money he wished he didn’t have. If he had even a penny inside his dusty jeans, he would have slotted it straight into the telescope only a few feet from his car, he would then take a peep of the town through the lens, spotting out Liam’s old place, or maybe his own house through the foggy sky.

It just wasn’t fair; it should be Liam sitting there beside him, laughing about how stupid the pair of them were for being out in the cold so early. The sunlight was barely a problem behind the protection of Louis’ sunglasses, the same pair he had bought on a trip to L.A with Liam a few months earlier. It wasn’t planned that he was wearing them, it just happened that way when he jumped in his car not too long before. They were the only pair in his car, he couldn’t help it.

“I’ll race ya.” He had told him, a week or so before, Louis had laughed. Shaking his head in response, there was no way Liam would beat him in a race. He just ran straight to his car, jumping into his driver’s seat without bothering with a seatbelt. Reckless driving wasn’t something the endorsed to their fans, it was just a release they had felt on that day. “Bring it on Payne!” He had called out of his window. He heard Liam’s cocky laughter from the other car, it was drowned out by the roaring of the two engines. Louis reached over to adjust the volume knob for his stereo system; it was only for a second before he noticed that Liam was already driving in front of him.

The memories of Liam were fresh in his mind, they had known each other four years, those four years had been filled with more memories than he could handle. Those nights back in the X-factor house where they would stay up playing cards with the other contestants, or the times they would purposely muck up Harry’s solo’s just because they knew he couldn’t yell at them mid performance.

It’s not like the two of them shared some kind of special bond, but the bond was still there, band mates to best mates, that’s what they all were. It was funny how the loss of one person changed everything. Louis didn’t even want to think about the future, he couldn’t even seem to get past the present.

The past was too hard to focus on, it hurt too much remembering the good times and realizing there would never be another happy moment again, at least not where he was concerned. His career wasn’t important anymore, and even if it wasn’t ruined he didn’t think he could ever keep going with the band. There was no One Direction without Liam.

Flashes of that night flew past his mind in a matter of seconds, he knew exactly what Liam was wearing when he left, he remembered snippets but his mind was blocking any real detail of what happened. Like protecting him was the best way to handle his situation. Why didn’t anyone protect Liam? Why didn’t anyone see he needed protecting?

So many questions flooded his mind, too many than he was able to answer. It wasn’t like he was superhuman, he was nowhere near perfect like the fans all seemed to think. Putting on a mask of smiles and crazy expressions wasn’t perfect. Sure he enjoyed most of his life, he was mostly happy but that wasn’t perfect, not like everyone expected him to be. He couldn’t handle any of that anymore. Not without Liam being there to tell him it was okay.

He felt a string of guilt in his heart, knowing that at least half the missed calls on his phone were from his beautiful girlfriend, and other half. Eleanor had agreed to give him space, but maybe that was only because he had yelled at her, he didn’t mean to lose his temper, it just came with the mourning. Her face had fallen further than he had ever seen it before. It was like he had turned into one of those people who only knew how to hurt everyone. One of those bastards who hurt every single person who ever cared for him, he hated being that guy, but he didn’t know how to stop it.

“El just stop it!” His face was red, and the way she flinched backwards told him that he had finally gotten through to her. Ever since it had all happened, she hadn’t left his side. She meant well, he knew that but it didn’t stop the way it made him feel. The way her lip quivered as she moved away from him, fear shot through her body. He could read it on her pretty face, the way her eyes flickered as if they were trying to hold back hot tears. He hated it when she cried; he hated it even more when he was the cause for them. Yet he couldn’t deal with her right then, the pressure of staying strong on the outside just wasn’t cutting it any longer. “Please just leave.” He said sternly, keeping an expressionless face. He didn’t even break when she picked up her bags from the floor of his master bedroom. He didn’t break when she looked back with tear filled eyes and walked out the door swiftly.

The messages didn’t stop coming though, she would ‘check-in’ every few hours, probably to see if he would reply for once. He knew he wasn’t replying to anyone any time soon. He couldn’t deal with their pointless advice, or their constant ‘I know how you feel’ because they didn’t, they had no idea how he was feeling. The only people who knew were Niall, Harry and Zayn. The three people who he hadn’t spoken to since the incident, he didn’t want to hear what they had to say, he didn’t want to see them at all even though he knew he would have to come out of hiding sooner or later.

The fans were the worst. The support pages they tagged him in on twitter were enough to make him throw up each and every time he stupidly clicked on a link. Three whole days he suffered through that, three entire days of self inflicted torture he endured as he clicked link after link, watching videos and reading blogs. It was enough to punish himself, enough to bring him to deactivating his twitter account, with no plans to return any time soon.

His phone started ringing once more, he didn’t know why he hadn’t just switched it off. It’s not like he was responding to anybody, it’s not like he had any use for the device. Maybe a part of him still longed for Liam’s ringtone to blare through his ears. He knew it would never happen, and if it did, it wouldn’t be the voice he was expecting on the other end of the line.

He handled the phone between his fingers, swiping the screen to unlock to take a look at his recent missed calls. Harry Styles. For a moment he was tempted to call him back, to ask him what he wanted. Why did he wait 10 days to call him, why didn’t he look at him during the funeral service? Was it that hard to mutter an empathetic hello? Why would Harry bother calling now? It just wasn’t fair, on either of them.

Louis remembered the look on Harry’s eyes that day at the cemetery, they were cold. A shiver even erupted down the face of Louis’ warmly covered arms at the thought. If Harry really wanted to talk, maybe Louis owed it to him to call back. His thoughts raced through his splintered mind as he debated whether or not he should re-dial. The interruption, footsteps heard across the graveled car park forced his attentions away from his phone. He didn’t even have to look up, he already knew who it was walking across the ground in his direction.

A whiff of her scent caught inside his nostrils as she leant against his car. A sniffle suggested that she had been crying not long before hand. Louis wasn’t in the mood to be sympathetic, even though he knew she deserved it the most of anyone else caught up in this web of heartache. He took in a deep breath as he felt a steaming hot coffee cup being placed against his hand. He looked down at it and politely took the gift.

“This was his favourite place.” She whispered, with a tearful tone of voice. Louis nodded his head as he allowed the steaming hot coffee drip down his dried throat. Liam had brought her there a lot, Louis knew that. He remembered that night when the two of them had bought their girlfriends to the lookout for a date night. They had conspired it to be the most romantic foursome they could have come up with, but the date didn’t go to plan. Danielle tripped over a loose pavement, resulting in Liam having to nurse her ankle for most of the night, not that he minded the close proximity at all. Eleanor however had concocted an allergic reaction to the wildflowers, showing Louis in sneezes almost the whole time, he insisted he didn’t mind, but she couldn’t stop apologizing the entire time.

A half smile applied itself to Louis’ otherwise expressionless face as he thought back to that night. Danielle wiped her eyes with the sleeve of her jacket, or rather Liam’s jacket that she hadn’t taken off since the night he died. Louis thought he was broken, but without even looking up he knew she was hurting even more than he ever would.

He forced himself to turn and face her. She looked awful, if that was even possible. She tried to smile at him, but instead it only brought on a waterfall of tears. “You know, I still haven’t packed up his things yet.” She started to say, breaking between words to let out un-wanted sobs, she kept wiping her eyes and trying not to seem weak.

Louis was in no way judging her, he had no right. She was aching the same way he was. The difference being she had lost the love of her life, he couldn’t even fathom how that would feel at all. She started speaking again after letting herself choke on her well deserved tears. “I can’t do it Louis; if his things aren’t there it means he isn’t coming back.” She managed to squeak out. He nodded, not letting himself fall into the trap of cuddling into her. He couldn’t break down in front of her, there was no way he would allow that. “…but if they stay there, it’s like he is coming home but he never will.” Louis frowned, as the coffee cup fell from his grasp, spilling its contents all down the front of his car. He didn’t even look down at the damage; instead he turned to face her. “I bet he is watching us right now, trying to tell us that it will get better but knowing we won’t believe him.” He told her warmly, placing his hand over hers supportively. Her eyes met his, a small appreciative smile tucked the corner of her lips upward.

“He’s probably glad he didn’t have to watch the footie match the other night, he hated it when his team lost.” She sniffed, with the smile still fighting with her tears. He knew she was trying to be strong, and so was he. He also knew that no matter how hard they hid it, they couldn’t hide the truth from themselves. It was too strong, the way his heart sank at even the mention of Liam, made him want to throw up, just not like this. The way Danielle spoke about him made it all seem to spin on a different string. The way she spoke about him, it felt different. Like he actually still meant something to her, everyone else spoke about Liam as if he was the past, like he wasn’t still a huge impact on their lives. He hated that everyone seemed to be able to so easily give up on his memory. Maybe they just didn’t want to get hurt, or maybe they really did just want to move on with their lives as if he didn’t matter.

“You’re the first person to talk to me this week” She sniffed, he rubbed his thumb gently across her cold hands, the contrast of temperature sent chills down his arms. “I haven’t shaved my legs in however many days, and just look at me, I don’t care about what I look like anymore.” She admitted, staring out at the amazing morning view. Louis let out a sigh, one that would go along perfectly with his mothers.

“You are still beautiful, and Liam never cared what you looked like, he loved you for you, babe.” He told her sweetly, following her gaze towards the town. He took in a deep breath, letting it out slowly before asking the question. “How did you know where to find me?” He asked her softly, cranking his neck to look back at her again.

She looked him in the eye, her lips parted as if she was going to say something but instead she shrugged. He chuckled on the inside, it probably wasn’t hard to guess where he had been. It’s not like he had kept his liking to the look out a secret. It was the one place he and Liam had in common, she probably guessed it.

“You want to go to starbucks?” She asked him, nodding towards the spilt coffee, he laughed awkwardly before nodding his head. “I actually think I need that actually.” He admitted, letting go of her hand.


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