Broken Crystals

When Crystal collapses in the middle of the road after another beating, headlights are the last thing she sees. She wakes up in a strange house, surrounded by five strange boys. She refuses to relax around them or be herself. But can the one Irish boy with the beautiful blue eyes show her what it means to be loved and fix her cracks?

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82. Red String

 

Crystal's POV


"Lou?" I call out, stepping into the shop. It was empty; apart from an elderly man behind the counter. 
"Hello, young lady." He says cheerfully to me. His hair was white and thinning at the top; deep brown eyes sparkling as he smiles at me. I stop and turn to face him, smiling shyly.
"Hello," I reply, stepping towards the counter. 
"This is for you," He says before I can ask him if he's seen Louis or any of the other boys. The man extends his hand out; a single white rose pinched delicately between his thumb and fore-finger. I crumple my brow at him hesitantly and he nods with a  reassuring smile.
"And this," I take the rose from him and he hands me a folded piece of card. The front has my name written in what I recognize to be Niall's hand-writing. I open it up and read the inside;
Follow the red string

 

"What the hell does he want me to follow that for?" I ask Susie, stepping out of the shop with the card clenched in my hand. I look up to find the street corner empty.
"Susie?" I call out, looking around with a frown. My phone vibrates and I pull it out reading the text from Susie.
Just remembered I have to cook dinner for everyone tonight. Cee is with me, don't worry. Have fun! xo
I sigh in relief and lock my phone screen, sliding it back into the pocket of my jeans. I spin on my heels, looking around for the supposed 'trail' I was supposed to follow. I spot a line of red wool attached to the door handle of the shop; bending and travelling around the shop corner. Taking a step towards it, I follow it around and squint in the sunlight as something attached to it comes into view . After following it away from the shop and towards the road that leads to the beach.
"What the hell," I mumble to myself as I approach the object attached to the string. Coming to a stop, I pick it up. It was a photograph. Peering at it closer, I see that it's the picture of me and Niall hand in hand on the way to the award night. The night when he told me who he was. I smile sadly at the thought. I pull the picture off the string and look at it closer. The gently breeze knocks it to the floor and it lands face down. I bend down to pick it up; noticing the writing on the back. It reads;
"Crystal"
Frowning, I tuck it into my back pocket and follow the string again. I come to a stop as I spot another picture attached to it; this time wrapped around a lamp-post. Picking it up, I turn it over and my heart leaps as I look down at it. It was a picture of the apartment block. Further down the line was as picture of me, Perrie, Danielle and El standing beside Susie. The next caused my smile to fade. It was a picture of the park we went to. The one when my... I shake my head and try to hold in the tears. Up until that happened it was a good day and the first day I properly talked with Danielle. My heart squeezes in my chest as the memories of what happened that night start to flood back to me. The bathroom... the blood... the feeling... but then Niall stopped it. He stopped me. I would never be able to thank him enough for that. I pull the picture off and put it into my bag with the others; rounding the corner and seeing more pictures. The rest were of us all; happy, smiling, laughing, lounging around in the sun. One was off my hair when I first had it dyed, the next of me and Niall inside the tent he had set up one night in the garden of the apartments. After that, a picture of me beside Ed Sheeran and then of my first scan. The next five of me with a pregnant belly; getting bigger and bigger until the next is of Calla in her cot in the hospital. I smile proudly down at it; taking in her beautiful features. The next is of me holding Cee's birth certificate up to the camera. Calla in her cot at home is the next and the next three are of her playing and gradually getting taller. A picture of us all standing in the garden for Calla's first birthday causes the memory of the pain I went through when I realised Cee and Susie were still in the house. I place them all in my bag and continue walking, following the red string. My confusion was getting larger as I was getting closer and closer to the beach. The last picture on the string is of me, Susie, Niall and Harry standing outside the house. Cee is resting on my hip and Darcy is on Harry's shoulders. It was only from last week. I look up at the sound of water lapping against stones to find myself at the beach. 
"Louis?" I call out, searching the beach with my eyes. The sun was high in the sky; bathing me in a hot summer glow.
"Niall?" I slip my shoes off and step onto the beach; the sand caressing my toes softly. I walk along the sand for what seems like hours before I finally give up and slump onto the sand. I lay back and let my head fall onto the floor. Closing my eyes, I let the sun bathe my face as I relax. Opening my eyes to check my phone, I turn my head to the side and the glint of something catches my eye. Turning towards the glare, I notice the top of what appears to be a bottle sticking out of the sand about five metres away from me. Standing up, I frown and wipe the sand from my clothes before padding over. I dig at the sand, pulling the bottle up. Through the dark glass I could make out the shape of a rolled up piece of paper. Confused, I brush the hair away from my face before tipping the bottle upside down. After a few minutes, I manage to shake the piece of paper down the neck of the bottle and grasp it in my hand. Dropping the bottle, it falls to the floor as I unfold the paper. My heart leaps at the words written on it. In Niall's handwriting, the four words I never thought I would see are printed in blue pen.
Will you marry me?
Tears cloud my vision as I slowly move the paper away from my face; revealing Niall leaning down on one knee infront of me. He smiles nervously; beautiful blue eyes gleaming at me in the bright sunlight. 
"Crystal," He almost whispers my name as my hands fly to my mouth. The paper falls from my fingers and gently sways to the ground. Niall lifts a small black box up to me as he slowly lifts the lid. Inside, an elegant silver band sits nestled inside deep black satin; a single delicate glistening crystal adorns the top, hugged by a silver claw.
"Oh my god," I whisper, my breath hot on my hands that were still covering my mouth in shock.
"Will you make me the happiest man alive and marry me?" He looks up to meet my eyes, a smile playing at his lips. I stand there for several moments just staring at the image infront of me. My eyes flicker from Niall to the ring in his hand.
"I-I... Of course I will!" I shout, rushing up to him and wrapping my legs around his waist. He chuckles, arm clutching my back as he falls back onto the sand; my body entwined with his.
"I love you," He whispers, kissing me with such passion that my heart jumps out of my chest.
"I love you too," I whisper back, smiling against his lips. 

 

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