The Bucket List

She's that crazy musical genius who received a scholarship to Julliard, but vowed she would never play a note of music again, turned down the scholarship and moved across Canada to pursue journalism. Most people saw Summer Terrace as a lost cause, but she needed an escape. She decided that this was the time to do the things that she's been yearning to do. She was going to start on that Bucket list that had been sitting in her notebook for all those years. When this eighteen year old journalist's newest assignment is to go undercover as One Direction's pianist and write articles about everything that happens on and off the stage of their summer world tour, she is overwhelmed to say the least. Summer, now known as Hope Carter, has no clue how difficult it will be to keep her secret as she slips deeper and deeper into trust with each boy and get's swept off her feet by the 'the blonde Irish one.' After all, is it possible to be genuine when you're lying about you're very identity?

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4. Airplanes, Auditions And Affirmation

 

 I sighed as I leaned back in my first class chair that would be taking me to London. I looked down at my newly coloured hair. It was golden brown with highlights. It was as close to my original hair color as they could get. I fixed my side bangs as I got out my journal from my bag that was stowed underneath my seat. As I was flipping through, I stopped on a page. It was my bucket list. As I skimmed through the list I instantly remembered the tour dates that Mss. Carol had given me the day before. I got them out of my bag and skimmed the page. It started in London. Ride a double decker bus in London. The next date that caught my eye was Australia. Learn to surf in Australia. Then there was China. Go to Tianamen Square. I also saw California. Meet Mickey Mouse. Last I saw New York. Take a picture with someone I love in Time Square. I remembered what Annabelle had told me about a year ago. “Go do the things you’ve been yearning to do.”

            Maybe I was finally going to be able to do these things.

            The only thing I was terrified about was that the boys would take one look at me and laugh saying, "Really? You thought you could fool us that easily. I was also terrified of playing again, but I figured that digging up some of my past would be worth opening up a new future.

 

                I rubbed my eyes as I awoke to the sound of the captain telling his passengers that they had arrived in London England. It was six in the morning Toronto time and ten in the morning London time. I took a compact mirror out of my bag to check the damage. I sighed when I saw my reflection. I started rubbing smeared makeup off my eyes and reapplying new makeup.  I took my hair and pulled it into a side braid. I definitely didn’t look my best, but I looked alright.

                As I walked down a long hallway to the pickup area, I scanned the room of people waiting in anticipation for their loved ones. I looked for my name until I realized that my name was not actually my name. Finally I found a sign that said Hope Carter. I walked over to the man holding the sign and smiled, offering my hand.

                “Hi, I’m Hope Carter.”

                “Welcome to London,” he said, shaking my hand and smiling, though his smile was grim. He was a tall man with greying hair, who looked to be in his late forties. I wasn’t sure who he was in this whole operation, except that he was my taxi for the day.

                ‘I’ll be dropping you off at your flat. You must be tired. Then tomorrow, I’ll be bringing you to the stadium at eight in the morning,” he said, handing me a schedule and a pass that I assumed would get me into the stadium.

                “How far away is the stadium from the flat?” I asked, as I followed the man out the doors of the airport.

                “Twenty minutes, why?” he asked.

                “No reason.”

               

                Once I got to my flat I had a shower, redid my makeup and called a cab. There was something I needed to do before tomorrow.

                As I walked down a long hallway in the stadium I poked my head into each room. I just needed a piano. That was all. All of a sudden, I saw a room with my name on it. Well, my fake name. I popped my head in and saw piles of clothes. I had my own dressing room! It was all I could do to keep walking, since technically I wasn’t supposed to even be in there. When I reached the end of the hallway I saw a small empty room with only a piano in it. I took a deep breath as I checked to make sure no one was watching me and walked in, closing the door. I walked up to the slick black piano as if it was some identified object I had never seen before. My hands began to shake and I felt my heart race fast as I sat down in front the instrument. I wasn’t sure what I was going to play. It was like not being sure of what to say to an old friend you haven’t seen in a long time. I remembered the first really difficult piece I played. I was ten years old. My mother walked up to me and handed me the piece. I remember flipping through it and telling her that I couldn’t do it.

                She leaned down and looked me straight in the eye and told me, “You can do anything that you believe you can do.” So I took her word for it. While all my friends were playing at the park, I practiced and practiced that piece until my parents made me go to bed. After a week, I was able to play that piece perfectly. I laid my clammy hands on the keys, took a deep breath and began to play from memory that piece that once seemed so difficult. Yet the notes just flew out of my fingers like it was a nursery rhyme. As I finished, I smiled. It actually felt good to play again. That alone shocked me.

                “That was beautiful,” a sudden voice said, which made me jump. I twirled around in my seat to see the familiar blonde kid that I had spent two hours in an elevator with. Niall Horan. The sighting paralyzed me. I held my breath as he walked over to the piano.

                “Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you,” he said, smirking down at me.

                “No, I just scare easy,” I said, blushing.

                “Niall Horan,” he said, offering his hand.

                “Hope Carter,” I smiled shaking his hand, still in disbelief that he hadn’t recognized me.

                “Well that was really pretty what you were just playing. What was it called?” he asked.

                “I don’t remember,” I admitted, “I used to play it when I was a little girl. It’s one of my favorites,” I said, brushing my hair away from my face.   

                   “Well, I really should get going,” he said, pointing over his shoulder. I nodded. “Are you a backstage worker?” he asked, giving my hoodie, skinny jeans and converse a once over.

                “Something like that,” I said, sticking my hands in my back pockets. “I really need to get going too,” I said, quickly walking past Niall, trying not to make eye contact.

                He gave me a funny look and said, “Bye then.” When I opened the door I was shocked to see a tall dark boy with black hair and dark brown eyes which were staring down at me.

                “Sorry, is Niall in here?” he asked with his unfamiliar British accent that everyone here seemed to possess.

                “Umm yeah,” I said, walking past him. I turned around, to take a second look, “Zayn?” I accidentally said out loud.

                “Yeah,” he said, turning around.

                “Just checking!” I said, as I turned around and walked away as fast as possible. That awkward moment when you don’t even know who One Direction is when you see them.  

 

                The next morning I found myself in an open room with a keyboard and one of the managers of the whole tour. This was my ‘audition,’ though I was told that it was 'simply a formality' and that 'I shouldn’t be nervous.' I was still nervous.

                “And these are the boys,” the manager, Mr. Adams told announced as five young boys entered the room. I tried to smile at them. I had already met all of them except for one. He was tall and had light brown hair and dark green eyes.

 … Liam! This time I made sure not to say it out loud. All of a sudden I caught a strange glance from Niall and I quickly shook my head in desperation.

                “Boys, this is Hope Carter. She’s auditioning for the new pianist position,” he explained.

                “That’s not a dude,” Harry pointed out. I looked at him, a little surprised.

                “No, but she has the experience we need and we were lucky to get her on such short notice,” Mr. Adams explained as I awkwardly smiled, feeling sort of special.

                Niall had a guitar and we played a few songs from their albums. To be honest it was a piece of cake. I had practiced a bit that morning after Mr. Adams told me what kind of sound they were expecting from me. I thought it went fairly well. When it was over, the boys left, but Mr. Adams stayed.

                “That was very well done,” he said, as though he was satisfied.

                “Thank you,” I said, smiling.

                “So, you’ll have a costume fitting tomorrow. When the designers heard that we were getting a girl, they instantly started coming up with outfits,” he said, smiling.

                 I looked at him a little shocked, “Can I stay here for a bit?” I asked.

                “Of course,” he said, “You must be a bit overwhelmed. You’re free for the day, but rehearsal starts tomorrow,” he said as he left the room. I sat staring at the keyboard for little bit. I couldn’t believe this was really happening. I couldn’t believe that this was my life now. My thoughts of disbelief were interrupted by the door opening. I twirled around to see Niall… again.

                “Hey,” he said, walking in, “Why didn’t you tell me yesterday that you were…” he trailed off.

                “I wasn’t actually supposed to be here yesterday,” I admitted, “I just needed to make sure I could,” I stopped for a moment, staring at the keyboard, “Play.”

                “What are you talking about?” he asked, almost laughing.

                “I haven’t played in a year,” I confessed, not daring to look up at Niall.

   He sat down next to me, in front of the keyboard, “The girl that’s going to Julliard in the fall hasn’t played in a year. I find that hard to believe.”

“That’s what they told you?” I asked, in shock. It would`ve been nice if Miss. Carol let me know what she was telling these people.

He nodded, staring at the keys, “Why haven’t you played?” he asked.

“I just met you,” I said, sort of laughing.

He shrugged, “You don’t have to tell me,” he paused for a moment, “You know you remind me of someone, I just can’t put my figure on it,” he said.

I looked away, “I’m not sure who.”

“Well, if you ever want to tell me, I’ll be around,” he said.

“Thanks,” I said, wishing I could tell him everything, but something was stopping me. “Niall?” I began, “What was with Harry saying I wasn’t a dude?” I asked, suddenly.

“You really don’t get it,” he said with a laugh, “We’ve always had all boys in our band. It just adds to the boy band thing that we’ve got going. Now that we’ve got a girl playing with us, there’s going to be reporters going crazy, saying that you’re in a relationship with one of us and fans threatening you. You’re amazing, don’t get me wrong. It’s just not the ideal situation,” he said.

“So then why am I even here?” I asked.

“Our pianist left us a week ago, and we were desperate,” he said, scratching the back of his head.

“Well then,” I said, looking down.

Realizing what he had just said, he tried to patch it up, “But don’t worry because if anyone picks on you, we’ve got your back.”

“Right.”

 

Summer’s journal: April 3, 2013

This week has gone by so fast. It`s just seemed like a blur of costume fittings rehearsals, and jokes. I didn’t realize how hilarious the boys were until I watched them learn their choreography. By the end of the week I could play my parts without even thinking about it. My stylist’s name was Geneva. She fitted me for all my costumes that I would be wearing for each show. Because I am the only girl who`s going to be on stage, I can’t just throw on a t shirt and jeans, like the other musicians. I needed costumes with style, yet wouldn’t take away from the boys. I`ve actually become friends with the boys now. It only took cracking a few jokes with them before they started being less awkward around me. Now that I`m playing all day, every day, it`s slowly getting easier to handle the memories that come flooding back when my hands reach for the keys. We have one more week of prep before the tour starts. The sets look amazing, they`re almost done. The costumes couldn’t have looked better, I love all of mine. The choreography… well the boys can’t really dance to save their souls, so there isn’t a whole lot to the choreography. I guess I just never realized how much preparation goes into these tours. Today is my first day off since I got here, and oddly enough, all I feel like doing is playing.

 

``What are you doing here,`` I heard an Irish accent from behind me. I twirled around from my piano to see Niall… yet again.

``You have to stop doing that,`` I said, laughing.

He held up his guitar case, ``I was just picking up my guitar that I left here by mistake, but why are you here.`` he asked.

``I just felt like playing, but you seriously have to stop sneaking up on my like that, I`m starting to get paranoid,`` I said, jokingly.

``I guess I just have gravitational pull to your music,`` he said, chuckling, and then frowned.

``What.`` I asked.

``I just can't figure out why you would stopped playing,`` he said, sitting down next to me on the piano stool.

I took a deep breath and closed my eyes for a brief moment, ``My parents died a year ago,`` I said, suddenly opening them. I looked at Niall but he didn’t say anything. He just looked at me, his deep blue eyes filled with sympathy. ``They were music teachers and they taught me everything, including my obsession for anything to do with music,`` I said, looking down at my hands trying to smile.

``You don’t have to hide here,`` he said, taking my hand and squeezing it. At that point I didn`t know what to feel as I let a tear slip down my cheek.

``When I was three my mom stuck me in front of her piano and taught me each note. Ever since that day, I was hooked. I was competing by the time I was six. When I was seven, I started playing at my parents` after school band practices. The funny thing was that I got so distracted by the other instruments. They all fascinated me. So from the ages of eight to eighteen I picked up about eight different instruments, on top of doing intense piano training. I could never just stay with one instrument. There was anyways a new sound or tone that I wanted to try. I was obsessed and fascinated by the music I could create. It didn`t come easy by any means, but I worked and worked until I was good. My parents,`` I paused, to look at Niall, who was concentrating on each word which came out of my mouth, ``They promised me that I would do amazing things. But when they died in that car crash,`` I stopped for a moment, ``I guess I never realized how much I originated music with my parents. I tried so many times, but I just couldn’t bring myself to play,`` I confessed.  

``But you`re playing now,`` Niall finally said. The words made me smile.

``I guess I just needed an escape,`` I said.

``Touring is a good escape,`` he said, ``It`s kind of like an alternate universe,`` he said, sort of laughing and then pausing, ``Music is a good escape too.``

``You`re right. Once I got past the fear and the pain, it was so easy to just get lost in the music,`` I said, smiling, ``I`m really glad I came here.`` 

``Where are you from`` he asked.

``Vancouver, but I just couldn’t take it there. I went from being a kid to an adult in one night. I had to sit through meetings about the will and all the legal stuff on top of graduation. Meanwhile, everyone was just so nice and comforting and sympathetic. I just wanted to…`` I paused.

``Escape,`` Niall asked.

``Yeah, so I moved to Toronto and started living with my Aunt. I started doing piano lessons with kids, even though I didn`t need the money, but I needed something to do,`` I explained.

``And now you`re here,`` Niall said, smiling. I nodded. ``You`re such a strong girl. Please don’t let the business change one thing about you,`` he said, taking me in and giving me a hug.

I looked up at him, biting my lower lip, ``Thank you.``

``Hey, me and the lads are hanging out tonight. You want to join?`` he asked.

``Yeah, sure!`` I said.

``Hey, what`s this?`` Niall asked as he grabbed my journal. The journal that had everything written in it from the past year, the journal that held my real identity, and the journal which would get me kicked off of the tour if anyone`s eyes were to see it, especially Niall Horan. The tour hadn't even started. Was this really the end?

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