Silent Laughter (Louis Tomlinson) [BOOK 3]
My fist knocks on the bright red, wooden door. I bite on my bottom lip to contain my excitement since I don’t want to seem too eager but also I haven’t seen these people for a few weeks so fuck it.
I knock again, hearing a loud ‘I’m coming!’ from within the house.
I hold the small bouquet of the fluorescent pink weeds in my grasp a little tighter and my lips brush themselves out from the incagement of my teeth as I can no longer fight back my wide grin.
“Why, hello there Winnie. It’s nice to see you.” Celeste (Iz and Coop’s mum) greets as she finally opens the door.
She has dark circles under her eyes, her skin paler than usual with her light auburn colored hair in a messy ponytail. She yawns, adding to her very exhausted look and I wrap my arms around her.
She hugs back lazily and gives me a tired grin.
“Come on in. “
Her body scoots a little to the side, letting me pass and I feel myself calm down moderately.
The temperature seems to rise as I enter her quaint home from the windy atmosphere outside. I pull off my hoodie, folding it over my crossed arms and right when Celeste closes the door as if on cue, Izzy’s voice erupts itself throughout the room.
“Mum, is Winnie here yet?! Was that her? Mum. I-”
Celeste doesn’t even respond, she just smiles warmly and stops in place as Coop and Izzy make themselves visible and stop in place as well.
Izzy’s hair grew even longer, a few hairs now taking up almost half of her forehead. Last time I saw her it was just right below her hairline.
She’s wearing her Okay? bright blue T-shirt I got for her birthday last year, no tubes connected to her whatsoever. She’s just resting in this special wheelchair with a few first-aid items hanging on the side for emergencies -I’m guessing- while Coop is standing right behind her. He’s wearing the matching tfios shirt that goes with Izzys, his just saying Okay.
Izzy’s eyes begin to gloss as she continues staring at me and her arms just open wide, waiting for me to embrace her and I do.
I almost trip in the process, placing my jacket and the weeds neatly on the ground before running to her.
She smells like detergent and medication and I don’t think I have ever missed the smell of antibiotics as much as I have during our separation..
Izzy’s arms have never been strong due to her misfortune, but when she hugs me I can tell that she’s using all the strength she has and that is making me tear up.
A whimper leaves her lips and I hug her even tighter.
“I’ve missed you so much, Winnie.” She says and I pull away a little, kissing her forehead.
I try to fight my emotions.
‘Don’t cry. Alright?’ I mouth, Coop now stepping forward to wipe his younger sister’s tears away.
She gives her brother an appreciative nod before looking back at me.
‘This is a happy day. Be happy.’ I add.
She smiles at that, a chuckle leaving her lips.
I reflect her actions.
“I’m sorry. I’ve missed you so much, Winnie.” She repeats her words and I nod before giving her another quick hug.
“What about me? I’ve missed you too.”
I wipe the rim of my eyes, making sure nothing sneaks up on me before looking over at the man child.
His hair has grown longer as well. It’s almost passed his ears now.
When I step closer to him, I see how his eyes are a lilac color today.
‘I’ve missed you too, you prick.’ I tease.
He rolls his eyes and grins widely before pulling me to him.
He rests his chin on the top of my head as he begins to crush me and I just begin tapping his side as I make these inhumane noises.
I would say something like, ‘I can’t fucking breathe.’ but since I don’t really have the ability, I just hope he gets the picture.
He releases me, my breathing now very heavy as I try to catch my breath.
I could’ve died.
Well not really, but…
I could have.
I hold my right hand up right in front of my shoulder area, the inside facing my body and I just flick it forward in a ‘come over here’ kind of way. I then point to him and then with both of my hands closed into fists - facing my body - I twist them outward. One of my index fingers of my right hand then moves towards and touches my left index finger. Soon after, my left hand closes again, all fingers but my index and middle within the fist before it makes a sharp downward gesture past my other hand that is raised as well. I point to myself soon after and Coop just chuckles.
“Yes, killing you was my intention. Damn, I can’t believe it didn’t work.”
‘You should really rethink your strategies.’ I sign in response.
He narrows his eyes, trying to play along when he actually looks quite amused.
I have that effect on people.
“I should’ve gotten you when you least expected it.”
‘It’s not my fault you suck at mass murder.’
A weird stifled chuckle releases from his mouth and Izzy just begins to laugh.
“What are you two talking about, Winnie?” She asks, Celeste still standing in the exact place with her arms crossed and a warm pleasant smile on her prepossessing face.
I walk myself to the front of her and her wheel chair completely and I glance at Coop so he could answer for me.
“Nothing really, Iz. Winnie is just underestimating my murdering skills."
Celeste rolls her eyes.
“You can’t even murder a bug, Coop! We all know I’m the real evil mastermind of this family!”
Coop forces one single laugh, a sarcastic one at that.
“Please. You don’t even know the difference between a shank and a knife.”
I raise an eyebrow at him, smiling idiotically.
A knife and a shank are the same fucking thing.
“Ha! A shank is just another word for knife! So there is no difference, Coop!”
This time Celeste is the one raising her eyebrow as she glimpses at her daughter, probably wondering how on earth she knows the street name for a possible murder weapon.
I just nod my head, impressed.
Izzy looks over at me briefly and winks and I wink back.
“Why in the hell do you know that?” Coop questions, his eyes narrowed and his head tilted slightly to the side in confusion.
She smiles this independent, ‘Because I’m badass’ smile and I just look back at Coop, waiting for his reaction.
“I have hobbies, Cooper.”
Celeste practically snorts.
“Hobbies? What, you stab people for a living?”
“No, I slice bread for a living. Of course I stab people for a living, Coop!”
Their mother places her hand over her forehead as her eyes close.
“Oh Lord.” She states as she shakes her head, chuckling at her children.
“Look at me, Coop! My appearance alone gives away everything about me! You’re just to blind to see that I’m a professional assassin!”
I place my hand over my mouth, trying to fight back my laughter that is threatening to erupt.
‘You do look scary as fuck, Izabel.’ I mouth when I catch her attention.
“See, Coop! Winnie even sees it!” Izzy states enthusiastically.
I don’t think I have ever seen someone look as vibrant as this girl when they speak of unlawful homicide.
Coop rolls his eyes before bending down to give his sister a kiss on the top of her head.
“You watch too much Law and Order.” He says.
“Netflix added another season, what do you expect a girl to do all day, Coop?”
Izzy was never one for crime shows, but I’m guessing Fifi introduced her while I was gone.
“I don’t know. Read, go outside, write, not binge watch crime shows.”
I roll my eyes, the aroma of something familiar beginning to manifest itself throughout the room.
“Hey! I do read, Coop!”
Oh my gosh.
She didn’t make-
My attention goes to Celeste who seems to already be looking at me.
I raise my eyebrows in a questioning manner and she raises her eyebrows back.
I nod and her eyes widen after a few seconds of thinking before she nods and winks.
She made cornbread.
I knew it.
“Reading as in reading books that are not by John Green and that are not written by people online.”
Izzy opens her mouth but quickly closes it, crossing her arms in a stubborn surrender.
“Whatever, Coop. At least I don’t listen to ‘You and I’ on repeat for three hours straight.”
My sight immediately lands back on Coop.
His cheeks are now flushed.
“That was one time!” He defends, my eyes narrowed.
‘You listened to ‘You and I’?’ I butt in, placing my right hand on my hip as I begin to smile evilly.
Oh, he’s never going to live this down.
“Yeah, so what? It just really reminds me of Danny.” He defends, his statement sounding more like a confession more than anything.
‘I was just busting your balls a little, kiddo.’ I remark, placing my hand on his shoulder.
‘But don’t think I’m not telling Louis this. He thinks you hate him.’ I mouth, already imagining Louis' face when I tell him.
The sides of his eyes will probably crinkle but he will be flattered instead of teasing and maybe it'll even get a blush out of him.
He is one narcissistic guy, always accepting compliments left and right but for some reason when someone comments on his voice and his music, he goes all timid.
It's one trait of his that I really acclaim.
I’m even a bit curious as to the reason behind it I must confess.
He is not perfect since perfection is only a fantasy that can never come to be, but qualities like that make him seem more imaginary than human as well as make me feel more lucky than neutral.
“Did you say what I think you said?”
I notice how my mind trailed off a little bit and Cooper’s eyes meet mine again.
I raise my eyebrows in a ‘Can you repeat that’ way and he obliges, making me realize what my mistake was.
“Did you say that you were planning on telling Louis the whole scenario because he thinks that I hate him?”
My smile is soon gone and I turn my head to the right briefly, my fingers going to the tips of my hair.
I mumble a mhmm, trying to act as nonchalant as I possibly can when instead I probably look like a complete nervous fucking wreck.
“You know that you pretty much implied that you have spoken to him about me, that you in general speak to him, and that you are planning to speak to him again.”
God, I don’t even dare look at Izzy, not even Celeste.
I just mumble that same mumble again, not really wanting to speak of him.
“What the hell happened while we were separated, Winnie?”
His tone sounds as if he’s cross and I immediately turn back to him.
Izzy looks to be confused by this as well since she’s gaping at her brother with the same look as mine.
With my eyebrows furrowed, I open my right hand flat, making it do this bouncing movement to the side. Soon after with both of my hands, I form them into fists with my index fingers being the only ones pointing out and with my palms up, I make a twisting motion inward.
‘Things happened.’ I signed.
His eyes do this quick mid widening to adjusting back to normal thing I’ve never seen him do and for the first time, I don’t know what he’s thinking.
He just peers at me, the lilac color not really seeming to be lilac anymore.
“Why don’t we all go into the kitchen!” Celeste says with forced enthusiasm to cut the intensity of the room with a butcher knife.
“I think the cornbread is finished and I even made an extra batch for you to take to Gene and your parents, Winnie!”
I nod my head still looking at Coop and he nods his head back, still looking at me.
With his open right hand, he moves it in a forward before finally going back behind Izzy’s wheelchair and pushing her into the other room with Celeste walking right beside them.
‘Later.’ He signed.
The cornbread was absolutely delectable in every shape and form. It felt fluffy on my tongue, the corn adding to the texture and flavor. It was sweet yet not, the bread having it’s own admirable complexity and damn I hope my parents let me have that batch for myself.
The conversation at the table was equally as joyous, Celeste answering the many questions about Izzy’s hair and lack of tubes.
My dad informed me about Izzy’s health during our time of detachment so I was pretty caught up. She’s better than 50/50 right now, the doctor’s having used her as a guinea pig and succeeding in doing so. These scientists that are well acquainted with my father had been creating this new bionic heart-like structure that could easily replace a human heart for people who need theirs replaced like Izzy.
The problem at first was that they were unsure if the human body would accept the replacement organ or if it would cause any infection. However, after years of perfecting this device, they somehow made this God-like creation.
It’s still going through trials, Izzy being one of their trials.
While Celeste was speaking of it. Coop remained quiet since the subject probably puts him on edge. I mean it’s literally putting me on the fucking tip of a cliff due to the risk factor even though it is really low so I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s been doing to his own sanity.
I don’t want to even try to think about it.
However, it seems to have been working especially since they even stopped giving Izzy chemo.
Izzy changed the subject quickly, wanting to talk about Coop and Danny’s relationship instead.
As I looked at Cooper more and more as he spoke, I begun to notice the dark circles under his eyes that seemed to be as if they were hiding behind make-up.
The long nights he must of endured, thinking about whether his sister would survive even the first week as well as having to deal with his boyfriend’s secluded sexuality.
He spoke of these dates they shared, his smile knowingly forced and tired, saying how Danny would usually be the one that cooked and how Danny this and Danny that, but there was more to it than that I sensed. Things that he didn’t want to bring up since he doesn’t like saddening anyone with details of his own emotions.
My mind was filled with images of him and his boyfriend eating in silence within the shadows of society where no cameras or people were lurking, everything being too private for a person like Coop and that pains me.
Since it is our reunion, I don’t want to bring up such a hard thing for him to discuss, especially when Izzy as well as his mother are here.
The vegan cornbread pan became empty as the hour went on, laughter and face-to-face reconciliation uniting us to create this substantial amount of genuity in the air that surpassed all of our cares for own inner misfortunes.
Celeste excused herself soon after, wanting to go to the market to grab some ingredients for our dinner, so we were left alone.
I quickly had remembered the weeds I brought and went back into the room from before to retrieve them and give them to Izzy.
I saved a big one for Coop as well who just smiled warmly at it.
The color matched his eyes and I hugged him again before we all went to Izzy’s room.
Her bed was the same sad medical/hospital looking bed, the same tubes and machines there even though many of them are obsolete right now, but I’m guessing they have remained just in case of an emergency.
Coop sat himself down in that plaid chair in the corner while Iz and I went to her bed, all of us sliding off our shoes and laying them on the white carpet floor.
Some empty cans of pop are on the floor as well as tissues and chocolate wrappers.
I didn’t comment though since my room looks even messier.
It was quiet for a while. Coop just checking his phone a few times while I sat in between Izzy’s legs as she started to braid my hair, placing some of the weeds in between the crossings of hair strands.
I told her how they were her weeds and that I didn’t want her to waste them on me, but she just kept on doing it anyway, saying how my hair grew even longer and how she wanted to make me look like Rapunzel and how could I say no to that?
After a few more minutes, Coop’s phone went into his pocket and a brisk wind blew through the open window beside Coop, Izzy giggling.
I couldn’t help but smile.
“So.” He began, his arms crossing over his chest.
I cocked an eyebrow at him.
“Are you going to tell us what happened with you and Louis or am I going to have to force it out of you?”
My smile faded and my eyes widened.
I know they would have found out sooner or later, but I kind of wanted a little bit of more time. Louis is leaving in a week and I knew that this is probably going to be the last that I’ll ever see him and by telling Coop earlier, he would try to encourage me to continue this friendship even after. However, I really don’t need to make these false expectations in my head. I know how the world works, how people like Louis work.
He’ll probably try the first week maybe even the first two weeks but after he’ll start forgetting and forgetting until the thought of me wouldn’t even be considered a memory. I would just have been some illusion or even a symbol of wasted time.
And I don’t need that.
I truly don’t, but of course since Coop looked at Izzy and Izzy looked at me with pleading eyes I couldn’t decline.
Though, my thoughts were however right.
I confessed to them about the many lunches, about the rain and the smoke, about the bad movies, about the skateboarding, about the letters, about the pen, about the wonderful charismatic glow he gets in his eye when he speaks about life, about the beer, and even about the shrugging.
I told them everything and for some reason it was actually quite difficult for me to stop.
Izzy had finished my braid, laying her chin on my shoulder while Coop has his eyes narrowed at me in some sort of thinking way.
I clear my throat.
I’m not really sure if they even heard everything I said properly since I did have to type it in Izzy’s Ipad, that monotone voice having to read my words, but as Coop just continues looking at me, I know that at least he understood it.
“So are you two like dating or something?” He finally speaks, my whole body going stiff.
I shake my head quickly, Izzy quickly pulling her head back up.
‘Nooooooooooooooooo.’ I mouth.
Dating? Me and Louis?
I don’t think I used any words that implied that even at the slightest.
He gives me a sarcastic ‘Really?’ face and I shake my head again, a few weeds falling out.
“Winnie, maybe shrugging can be you and Louis’ always.” Izzy finally speaks.
Oh my fucking god.
What did I do to deserve this treatment?
I begin to type.
‘Louis and I don’t have any romantic relationship of the sort.’ It reads for me, my arms now crossing to show that I’m standing my ground.
“That’s what Hazel said about Gus and look what ended up happening.” Izabel speaks again, continuing the torture.
‘No. I hardly even touch the man! It’s not like I’ve kissed him! I haven’t even hugged him! We just hang out and stuff. Nothing more.’ The Ipad speaks.
“You both stand in front of a window together for like half an hour just to stare at rain and smoke.” Coop comments, my face beginning to heat up.
“Winnie, he wrote letters to you so you wouldn’t drift off!” Izzy adds excitedly.
“He kept every fucking napkin you would write to him.”
“You gave him one of those really expensive pens that your mum likes so much, Winnie!”
“He didn’t drink the beer.”
‘I get it!’ The device speaks for me.
I so dearly want this conversation to end, but I don’t think it will anytime soon.
“Look. All we’re saying is that you both seem to be very important to one another.” Coop states, his voice sounding rather soft.
I just sigh, shrugging.
“What is it?” He asks.
I shrug again, going back to the app.
‘It doesn’t really matter anyway whether he’s important to me or not. He’s leaving in a week. So that’s it.’
“What do you mean that’s it?”
Coop sounds is a little more riled up.
He always gets mad when I say things like that, but it’s the truth so I don’t know why he makes
such a big deal about it.
Izzy wraps her arms around me from behind as if she knows where I’m going with this, but doesn’t know what to say.
I glance down at my lap, more wind blowing in from outside.
‘Our friendship will be over. Done. Forgotten.’ The robotic voice reads aloud.
“Why?” He continues on, his arms now uncrossing.
His hands ball into fists and I feel Izzy hold me tighter as I turn away.
‘Just leave it alone.’
He begins to stand himself up from the chair, angry.
“Why, Winnie? Why do you have to isolate yourself from everything?! Why do you just sit here and hide from the world?! Why, Winnie?!”
I feel my body flinch with each question thrown at me and my own hands form into fists.
‘Because, I’m shit!’ I mouth, Izzy not being able to see what I said due to her positioning.
Coop’s face calms a little and my heart begins racing rapidly in my chest as I look down at the Ipad, typing..
“Winnie, you don’t have to-”
I put my finger up to him, telling him to stop talking and he doesn’t say another word.
‘Because the villain doesn’t get a happy ending, Coop. Because the snake can’t get rid of her own venom. Because the shadow can’t hide from its own darkness. Because the diamond outshines the piece of coal. Because I’m just some messed up mute girl that relates to fucking smoke and I’ll never get my rain and the only part of me that will leave any type of mark on this planet and in this life will be my name in the obituary pages that will be thrown away carelessly after one quick skim and after one cup of burnt morning coffee. That’s all I am and that’s all I’ll ever be so you just have to learn to deal with it and realize that I’m as easy to forget as a polaroid disintegrating in the soil after a storm.’
My eyes just gaze at him as the words speak with the little emotion the voice contains.
Izzy’s arms are still around me, but this time she rests her head on my back.
Coop’s eyebrows raise.
“Wow.” He says, forcing one laugh as he tangles his fingers through his hair, turning around and pacing for a few seconds.
Another laugh escapes and my chest begins to ache.
“You’re wrong.” He speaks up when he turns back around, a fake smile playing on his lips.
“You are so fucking wrong and so full of shit you know that?”
He swallows hard and his forced amusement diminishes.
“You fucking over think all of this bull shit because you are ignorant! You are so damn ignorant and it just pisses me off so much. This isn’t about you feeling this pity for yourself, no. This is about you being too afraid to face the fucking world, Winnie. Yeah you may go outside a few times once in a while, but you’re not living because you are a coward.”
I feel my body begin to shake and Izzy doesn’t move a muscle.
“Why do you think Izzy tells you to do all that random stuff? Huh?! It makes you do something other than worry about something that happened fourteen years ago! It helps you live.”
His voice has gotten softer and when he walks up to me, he bends down and places his hands on both of my arms.
His eyes are glossy and I think mine are as well.
“Life isn’t just some word in a dictionary. It doesn’t have a definition, it has meaning.”
My eyes widen and my mouth falls a little and I just begin to cry.
Cooper hugs me immediately, Izzy still latched on and everything just falls all over my insides.
I regret ever typing that damn thing since I don’t enjoy having these people feel sad in any way, especially if I’m the reason for it.
“Please, promise me that you will try this time. Please.” Coop whispers, both him and his sister’s tears wetting my shirt.
The room becomes quiet once again and we all hear the front door of the house open and close, Celeste most likely back from her shopping.
Her footsteps were almost faint at the beginning, but growing more and more audible as she approaches closer to us.
“Hey, I’m back a-”
We all pull away, all of our faces flushed and masked with intensity as we each gape at their confused mother.
As she practically sprints to Izzy, making sure she’s alright, I look over at Coop.
‘I promise.’ I mouth.