It Was Meant To Be

Molly dreams of two things: getting into her first-choice university and finding true love. Music-loving slacker Zayn also dreams of two things:winning the battle of the bands- and winning Molly.He is determined to make her fall in love with him.

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9th February, 3.02 am

Zayn's POV

My audition for Bradford Music Academy is this Tuesday. I'm afflicted with anticipation of the unknown combined with that horrible Sunday-night feeling of having school the next day. Where you can never sleep because of noisy brain. No matter how tired you are. It's impossible to accomplish anything but lying here in bed. Frustrated and victimized at three in the morning.

So a few hours later Molly gets to her locker to put her bag away. I'm already there. I've been waiting here since the doors opened. I think this is the earliest I've been in school.

"Oh my god," Molly says when she sees me. "You're actually here this early?"

"I think so. Although it's too early for me to be sure about anything. So maybe it's not really me." I'm so drained that I don't even know what I'm saying.

Molly scrutinizes my face. "Are you OK?"

"I couldn't sleep."

"Because of the audition?"

I nod.

"Listen to me." Molly presses her hand against my cheek. "You have absolutely no reason to be nervous. You rock. You got straight A's last semester! And didn't Mr Hornby says your piece is perfect?"

"Yeah..."

It doesn't sound like she's just trying to be nice or make me feel better. It sounds like she really believes I'm that good.

"Can you go out after school?" I put my hands around her waist. "I need to unwind."

Molly puts her hands in my back pockets. "I think I have an idea."

I press my forehead against hers. "You have really good ideas sometimes."

"Sometimes."

"So what is it?"

"It's a surprise."

"Can I have a hint?"

"Um...it's something we both like to do."

Wild scenarios of extreme sex flash through my mind. Is she bringing me back to her place?

She whispers, "Think...lots of hand motion."

"Now I'm definitely looking forward to later."

When the surprise turns out to be going to the arcade to play Skee ball. I'm a bit disappointed but anything to take my mind off the audition is a good thing.

Molly rules at this game. I don't know how she does it, but she gets every ball into either the centre hole (50 points) or the ring around it (40 points. I'm lucky if my ball lands in the third ring(a whopping 30 points). It usually barely makes it into the outside ring (a humiliating ten points).

"What's your technique?" I say.

"With this?"

"Yeah."

"It's all in the wrist."

"Oh, man. Don't torment me."

If she only knew what she does to me.

This weekend is Valentine's Day. I'm asking Molly to go on a road trip with me. We've been on two so far. They're these day trips where we drive down Route 78 and get off at a random exits. The last time we went, we ended up at this truck stop near Shipley. Molly loved it. So this time I planned something even better.

"What I mean," Molly says, choosing to ignore me, "is that you kind of skim the ball along the fabric until you feel it...like, catch, or something. It's like the felt picks up the ball at one point, and if you don't let it go right then, it rolls too slowly."

I try but to no avail. Molly has a steady stream of tickets whirring out of the box every time she rolls a ball. Whereas I might have ten tickets by the time we're finished.

During an exceptionally impressive round, I reach down to rip Molly's tickets off.

"Don't!" she yells.

"I was just ripping off your tickets. The strip is getting really long."

"I like it long. It looks like I have more that way."

"Like you need more?" At this rate, she'll be able to trade in her tickets for a big-money item. She'll probably pick one of the giant stuffed animals that float above all the loser prizes in the display case. Me, I'll be lucky to walk away with a Superball and rock candy.

Sure enough, Molly picks out a giant stuffed penguin when we're done. I get a Superball and hide the rest of my tickets. When Molly goes to the bathroom, I trade them in for a glittery plastic ring. To go with my Valentine's Day plan.

I sleep better that night but the second I wake up way before my alarm goes off, there's that anxiety, punching me in the gut again and for the whole train ride into Bradford centre, all I can think about is how much better all the other applicants probably are. I'm no longer Mr Applied Guy. Now I'm Mr Rampant Insecurities Guy.

What I was expecting the audition to be like was all bright lights on a big, empty stage. A row of anonymous judges would be in the audience, but I wouldn't be able to read their expressions. Even the air would feel empty. I would play in a blur and then leave, with no idea how they're deciding my fate.

What I wasn't expecting was a sunny rehearsal space with friendly-looking people sitting behind a table. Which is exactly what I see when the door is opened.

"Zayn Malik?" the official-looking woman standing in front of me says.

"Yes."

"I'm Jenna Segal, the--"
"Director of Admissions," I say. I remember her name from the letter telling me when my audition was.

She smiles. "That's right." We shake hands.

The three people at the table smile. Ms Segal introduces them to me.

I set up my stuff. There's a stool and a music stand and some other equipment already there.

I balance on the stool. The judges already have my sheet music I sent in last week, but I don't even need a copy. It's just me and my guitar.

"Whenever you're ready," Ms Segal says.

While I play, I practise a visualization technique Molly taught me. I see myself here in September, playing in this room, writing the best music of my life. Walking down to NYU every day to see Molly. Music and Molly. The only things I need in life to be happy.

"Thank you," Ms Segal says. "We'll be in touch."

I look over at everybody. They're all smiling at me again. Either they're happy people in general or they like what I did. I think I did OK, but it's hard to say since I kind of zoned out.

"Thanks for your time," I tell them. "This really means a lot to me." I pack up my guitar and smile at them on the way out. Happy people like other happy people.

In the hall, I see the next two applicants waiting on the bench. One's this hardcore punk rock chick with pink spiky hair and leather trousers and severe-looking studs in her lip. Then there's this guy with glasses and a T-shirt that says 'vote for Pedro' with a clarinet case on his lap. I guess Bradford Music Academy is into diversity.

Back on the train, I lean against the window and listen to my iPod. I watch the lights come on in people's houses, beyond the tracks, through the trees.

This is the hardest part. Waiting to know what my future is.

 

A/N- Guys I'm so sorry I haven't updated schools been mad and then there was Christmas so I was with my gran which meant no wifi. If you celebrate Christmas I hope you had a fab one and if you don't I hope you've all had a good couple of weeks. Remember if you're having a shit day come talk to me my twitter is @lighteyedniall or you can email me elizabeth.cochran@btinternet.com. I'll try update more often I love you all. :)

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