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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16. Silence

We don't speak again for the next two weeks. The sharp pain fades to a dull ache, throbbing like a knife in my chest. We make eye contact, and then look away. Hard to believe how much I had opened up to him. How much I believed in him. So I throw myself harder into my night classes, getting top marks on my tests. Anything that will allow me to distract from him.

I skip gardening duty, somewhat on purpose, to prepare for the trial. My body misses the dirt, the sun, the smell of the the earth beneath my fingers, but I can't do it. I just can't, knowing he's there. I'm a coward.

 Instead, Mr. Sedgewick and I spend long hours discussing my attitude and what I will say and how I will react. I am a marionette and the opposing lawyers will be prodding me with a stick, trying to get me to break open. If that happens, all is lost.

"What happened with Charming?" asks Harry, quietly. I've been staring at the window for a good ten minutes, lost in my own mind.

"What? Nothing happened," I say quickly, resuming my homework.

"I'll take it then that your moping and sighing is from your studies, and not from being lovesick then, huh?"

"Yeah, sure," I reply, chewing on the pencil eraser, my muscles tensing.

"You can tell me the truth," says Harry quietly. "Everyone's noticed how miserable you are. You haven't said a word about him since the last time in the garden."

Against my will, tears pool, but I'm more than finished with crying. I wipe the evidence away, regain my composure, and smile, my voice thick and musty.

"He's an alcoholic. And he was involved in a drunk driving incident with a family no less, and lied about it to everyone. All his fans think that he's here for charity, and he's perfect, and I can't be with someone like that."

"I am an alcoholic," says Harry, even quieter, and I can see that my attitude has stung him. "Maybe it's a bit difficult to understand because you've never obsessed over the taste of a drink to drown out your problems. To forget, to remove yourself, to relax, to have a good time. Drawn to it, time and time again, and you know you shouldn't, but you do anyway because your body cannot resist it. It's something not easily defeated. I understand why you're disappointed in him, but you shouldn't pass judgement on him so quickly. Maybe it wasn't his decision to hide it."

Harry's words are hard for me to swallow. But I let them sink in.

"Thanks Harry. I'm sorry, I didn't mean that about alcoholism-"

"Don't worry." He looks sad for a moment. "Not many people want to love a recovering alcoholic."

"Oh Harry, I'm so sorry-"

"Got you!" His face breaks into a grin. "You were so serious! Hah!"

"Harry! I felt awful-"

"But seriously, you shouldn't count your chickens before they're hatched? Wrong thingy. Ah, perhaps throwing stones at a glass house?"

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone," I quote, correcting him gently.

"Yeah. Not to get all biblical, I am an atheist, but don't judge until maybe you know the entire picture. He seems like an altogether ok fellow, and maybe, just maybe you should give him a second chance."

"That was his second chance. Remember Christmas?"

"Ah, right. Third time is the charm."

"Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice-"

"Ok, ok, I get it, stop with the idioms. My brain can't handle it. You're smart, I get it. I got the morning shift tomorrow anyway, so I'm turning in now."

"Night."

"Night."

Harry's words stay with me. As reluctant as I am to admit it, perhaps he was right. I judged him harshly, not once, but twice. And Liam at least deserves an apology.

So the next morning I get up. I take a cold shower, as usual. I get changed. I put on my gardening gloves and I talk to him.

"I'm sorry," I announce, as he's crouched over the compost bin.

"What?" he asks, turning around, and bumping his head on the hanging lid. "Ow!"

"I'm sorry, oh my gosh, are you ok?" I immediately start spewing apologies like a volcano of sorries.

"I'm fine," he winces. "Haven't you already caused me enough trouble?"

I step back.

"I was wrong," I say, softly. "I gave up on you, and I'm sorry."

"It's fine," he says, gruffly. He kicks a pile of dirt with his trainers, refusing to look me in the eye.

"I'm so mixed up inside. I don't know what to think anymore, but can we start over? As friends at least? And then see where it goes from there?" I try to hide the panicky, desperate note in my voice, but I can't.

"Pearl, I don't know how to say this, but I don't think we can be friends," he sighs. "I like you. I really like you, and I don't think I can be friends with you and get over that. Especially knowing that you deserve so much more than me," he says sarcastically. "You have to give me space to get over you."

I blink back tears.

"Of course. I understand." I am weak, submissive. I still love him, and I can't admit it because I know I've messed everything up. It's all my fault too. My pride is in the dirt. I have ruined everything, any chances of any sort of relationship with this Liam Payne.

So I dig, deep into the cool ground, nourishing my plants and pouring my attention into them. Halfway through, an old homeless woman stops me. Her shawl seems unusually heavy for her frame, masking her face and covering her malnourished arms.

"Pearl?" she croaks, sounding like a chain smoker. Sure enough, she reeks of cigarette smoke.

"Yes?" I reply politely. Something about her raises the goosebumps on my arms. Something about her is off.

"I just harvested the apples off of my tree over there," she points in the bushes, "and I'm sharing them with all the residents. Here, have one." She waits for me to take off my dirty gloves and then practically forces it into the palm of my hand. Maybe she's off her medication, I muse. I thank her politely, and turn to put it next to my bag.

"No, no, no, you must try a bite."

"No thank you," I say politely. She's really starting to weird me out.

"Young man, I have an apple for you. Here, have a bite." Wait, how does she know my name but not Liams? This is getting stranger and stranger.

Liam takes it and chomps down.

"It's delicious," he says politely, and he exchanges a glance with me that says she's interesting.

She turns back to me.

"Have a bite," she insists. "Please, you remind me of my dead daughter, and I used to bake pies for her all the time from my apples." She sounds close to tears. I roll my eyes. Oh, alright, she's just an old lady after all. I bit into the red, waxy peel. It's delicious. Crunchy, sweet, and...peanuts? I look into the apple. Watery peanut butter stares back at me. I can feel my throat start to constrict immediately as the anaphylactic shock kicks in.

"Call 999. Peanuts," I wheeze, gasping. It's getting harder and harder to breath. My skin is itching off my face. I force myself to breathe slowly, inhale and exhale.

The old woman runs away as Liam gets the chaperone to assist me. Suddenly, it makes sense. 

"Celia," I lurch.

"Pearl, try to breath. The ambulance is on it's way. Try to stay calm. I've already called the police. They'll find the woman that did this to you." Liam is silent, but I can see the panic in his eyes. His warm brown eyes.

"Love....you..." I gasp, my breath coming in squeals through my swollen throat. I can't breath anymore. It's too hard. I fight to stay conscious, but it's slipping, it's all slipping away.

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