Pearl White ~A One Direction FairyTale~

You think you know how the story goes. Snow White meets some dwarves, eats an apple, falls asleep, gets kissed by a prince and lives happily ever after.

If only my life were that simple. My name's Pearl. Pearl White. And unfortunately for me, I'm never even going to get to meet my prince. Because his name is Liam Payne, and he's a member of the boy band One Direction.

Cover made by the amazing user NathanielStanley! Thank you so much!

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6. Friends

They all stare openmouthed at me, and I awkwardly stare back before averting my eyes.

"Um. Sorry about the bed thing," I mutter. "I didn't know-"

"NO!" shouts one, and I cower. The others stare at him, shocked as well. He rubs his scruffy beard. "I mean, christ, you're a sight for sore eyes. Reminds me of my daughter." His face contorts into grief, and a younger man in a plaid shirt pats his back.

"There, there, Smithy. S'not your fault."

"We're the Hopeless Seven," interrupts another man. This one is wearing a black beanie and looks decidedly punk with tattoos running up his arms and a drooping hole in his ear where perhaps a gauge once sat. "That's what the staff calls us anyway. All the others manage to keep their responsibilities, but we can't seem to get our acts together. I'm still unemployed after a full year of training here. I'm Allen."

He points to Plaid Shirt Guy. "That's Harry, he's tryin' to deal with some nasty alcoholism on top of it, tends to relapse once in a while, but we get him back up again, we do." Harry nods soberly.

"I'm Smithy," interrupts the one with the beard growth. "I'm the eldest. My daughter was killed in 7/7." He gives a great big sniff. "She was just thirteen, comin' back from school and all, and me bein' a single dad and all...I got bad depression, ended up on the streets doin' drugs until St. Mungo's picked me up. Still trying to pick myself up here and make somethin' good outta myself for her."

"I'm Twitch," interrupts a guy in his twenties, clad in a hoodie and skinny jeans. "Well, not really, but I got some Aspergers," his face tics, and he cocks his head slightly. "So yeah me mum abandoned me on the streets and no one really wanted me. My real name is John though."

"I'm Thom," offers up one with a smile, looking like he's in his mid-thirties. "I got a gamblin' problem, but St. Mungos is tryin' to help me learn to save and stuff. My wife kicked me out, said I was going to rob my children blind. I'm trying to get better for them." He turns to the last two.

"This is Oliver, he's deaf. We don't know how he ended up here, but also, here's Charlie, he knows sign language, we all know a bit cuz of Ollie here, but Charlie knows it all, he's a smart one he is." Charlie gives a weak smile.

"I contracted HIV from a dirty heroin needle," he says quietly. "I couldn't afford my medication, and nearly died on the streets. This is like a second chance for me, but I'm still struggling."

Allen, Harry, Smithy, Twitch, Thom, Charlie, and Oliver. I try hard to commit their names and stories to memory. 

"So how did a posh-looking girl like you end up here, if you don't mind us asking?" questions Thom. "You don't gotta answer if you don't want to, we understand."

I tell them about Celia and the restraining order, and Twitch winces.

"Damn, just goes to show that rich bitches get problems too. That's nasty, man you not gonna be able to find a job with that on your head," he says pointedly. 

Charlie looks horrified.

"Twitch, you can't call girls bitches-"

I laugh.

"He's right, it's fine Charlie, don't worry." I brush my fringe out of my eyes and blink, still adjusting to the light. "Thanks for not judging me by my appearance." I motion towards my uniform.

Smithy shakes his head. 

"We all been through a lot to get here. We all know what it's like to suddenly be homeless or hopeless, or feel like there's no options. That's why St. Mungo's here is so incredible. We can get back on our feet and everything..."

"Yeah, I mean, we're the Hopeless Seven, and we do relapse a lot but we've never actually been kicked out because we keep trying to get better," says Smithy. "Every day is a new day here, Pearl, a new beginning where you can start over, so try not to worry too much."

I nod.

"So where is my actual bed then? They didn't tell me, so I kind of just laid down on a random one, but I'll move all my stuff if you just tell me-"

"You and I are gonna be sharing a bunk," says Allen. I quickly slide out of the bed and set up under Allen's bunk.

"So, Allen," I say, trying to start a conversation, "Who did your tattoos? They're amazing." He has full sleeves with winding colors in Japanese styled tattoos that flash different shades with each flex of muscle.

"I did 'em myself," he says, quietly. "Used to work as an apprentice artist, before the shop I was at was sued and lost everything."

"Why?" I ask.

"Well, turns out the owner didn't keep his needles very clean," he says in a voice that's barely audible. "I followed procedure, but I guess he got lazy, which was a shame because the suit destroyed both of us even though I did nothing wrong."

I smile sadly.

"I wanted to get a tattoo," I say. "A rose at the back of my neck, not sure what style, but I wanted it to look like a painting on my body. Celia would have had a shit fit though."

"Maybe one day when I get my own shop, I can give you one discounted," he says. "When pigs fly, you know."

"You never know," I say. I make a mental note that if I ever get that inheritance from Celia, I'll use it to help people who really need it. I'll make a big donation to St. Mungo's for sure. I don't really need that One Direction concert, not when people are suffering like this.

I harden my heart.

It's time to say goodbye to that love I had for Liam. It wasn't real anyway. It's not like he knew who I was, and it's not like he'll miss me or be sad.

I take a deep breath. I'm ok. I'm growing up. And part of that is dealing with the harshness of reality.

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