A Box of Hearts and Sharps

This story is for the one shot competition. It takes place in New York and Lila is a street musician who catches Niall Horan's ear.

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1. Hand Held

 

The final chord at the end made the entire piece. It was a pretty resounding note that hung in the air. I looked up, briefly meeting the eyes of some spectators watching me; a young girl who's mother was tugging her away as she looked back, an unfortunate man. But then there was him, he with the stunning light blue eyes that seemed to follow my movements as I bent over the beaten up cello, swaying.

Bach's first cello suite was a good Valentine's piece, not classified as romantic, but still a good one. The building through the middle imitates love's feelings of falling for someone. It's just intense. And you break through all of that with one last stroke of the bow and you hear the last hopeful notes and you just know that life will all turn out alright.

I quivered and shook my fingers, and the ending was met with a smattering of applause. I half way stood up and bowed.
"Thanks. Thank you for listening. Have a nice Valentine's Day." I murmured at the people as the they tossed some change, the occasional dollar bill in my cello case.

The guy with the blue eyes came up towards my spot perched on the fountain base. He approached smiling. To my surprise it was the Niall Horan. He was cute as he took some dollar bills out of his back pocket. He tried to toss in a few, but I had just zipped the case shut. He dropped his hand and said in a cheery tone, "Happy Valentine's Day. That was a very beautiful piece you played. It suited you...?"

"Lila." I blushed and slung the case over my shoulders. "Thank you, Niall." I shrugged to get it comfortable on my shoulders.

He smiled appreciatively at the ready made introduction  and stretched one muscular arm out. "May I?" I dropped it off my back and handed it to him.

"Where to?" We said at the same time. He laughed and I blushed. Niall Horan was just carrying my cello as I made awkward conversation.

"My apartment I suppose. I mean unless you don't want to walk that far." I added, seeing Niall frown a little.

"Are you up for a holiday brunch?" He said openly.

"Of course," I replied surprising myself at my confidence. He shifted the cello over to his left hand and grasped my hand pulling my hand towards the busy day streets, guiding me through them.

His hands were comfortable, not too big so my slight hand got lost and swam in them. I interlaced my long fingers through his rougher ones. Niall looked down at our hands and smiled, then looked ahead and started to hum the suite I had just finished. I joined him with piano accompaniment I had heard countless times practicing. Soon he had his fingers drumming on the back of my hand. It was a comfortable feeling, as my finger tips slipped in between his knuckles, like they belonged there. It was a nice walk.

We eventually reached a small cafe, decorated with pink hearts and banners. Niall held the door open and I stepped in graciously and he banged my instrument on the door frame. He winced then looked up at me his blue irises begging for forgiveness.

I just grasped his hand and chose a booth. "It's fine, it's an old cello." He ordered tea for the both of us and we both swirled it and laughed, sipped and talked.

"So what do you do?" He asked me. "I like to consider myself a starving artist," I told the pop star on top the world right now.

*
I grabbed a box of those cheesy little candy hearts as he swept me out the door. Niall had insisted he pay.

"Why?"

"Because, you never let me tip you for playing so wonderfully." At this point I had blushed very deeply, and Niall had a small smile on his face, as he grabbed my hand again.

We walked around a little longer, just talking music for a while. We got to a park bench and Niall unpacked my cello, and attempted to play it. He stuck his tongue out a little in concentration and fumbled around with it for a while. I laughed lightly and took the cello back from him.

"I'm no good at this." He said mocking himself as he swept hair out of face while I just played a melody.

"You're beautiful," he remarked suddenly after having me play for a few minutes.

"Thanks," I mumbled, my fingers suddenly missing the strings completely.

He grabbed my hand away from it and held it for a second before leaning down and kissing my cheek. I shivered a little, not caused by the February day.

He pulled back, blue eyes never breaking eye contact with mine. I saw him reach down into his pocket and pull out a little box of candy hearts.

"Lila will you be my Valentine's Day princess?" I laughed a little in nervousness and at the small object he was holding out to me.

Before answering, I put my hand into my pocket where I had been keeping my box. It [my pocket] was empty. I turned back to Niall who was grinning; eyes twinkling.

I faked gasped, "Why you -" He cut me off by kissing me on the lips and stroking the side of my face with his thumb.
Niall pulled away, pressing the little box into my hand. "So will you?" He asked eagerly.

"Yes."

"Good." Niall put a hand around my shoulders and set the cello back in the case then took my hand and intertwined our fingers again. "You play well with this hand, but I like it better in mine." I squeezed his hand a little and leaned my head on him. He opened the box and gave a heart to me: BE MINE. l accepted it and he kissed me on the cheek as we watched the city run around for the people they gave their hearts to. It was a perfect note to end the day on.

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