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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32. The Little Things

The Little Things

21st November, 7.00 pm

Molly's POV

So of course Shania's not allowed to go to Battle of the Bands. Her father is seriously deranged but at least she's allowed to sleep over at Elizabeth's later.

Elizabeth has been getting ready for over an hour. I barge into the bathroom again.

I go, "Are you ready yet?"

Her make-up is spread all over the counter, and she's putting on a fifteenth coat of mascara. "In, like, two seconds."

I go back to my room and put away my sketchbook stuff. Hopefully she's being accurate this time.

When Elizabeth's finally ready, I get my coat and key and look into my mum's room. She's watching TV.

"Bye," I say.

"Bye! Have fun," Mum says. She's been in an unusually good mood for the past few days. I overheard her talking to my gran on the phone about how she can't believe I'm going away to college already. Maybe if she'd paid more attention to me this whole time, she wouldn't feel like it's 'already'.

But I don't want to think about her now. Soon I'll be with Zayn and he gives me all the affection I need.

*

Walking to the gym doors, I notice the windows are covered with black construction paper, so we can't see in yet. We giggle about nothing.

The gym has swirling, bubbly lights in all different colours spinning around on the walls. There are black lights right when you come in, so my white sweater glows with that weird purple hue. A lot of kids are here already. "Going Under" is playing. Evanescence rocks.

"What is Caitlin wearing?" Elizabeth asks. "Don't look." She warns.

I look.

"I said don't look!"

I pretend to look for someone else and see that Caitlin is wearing a dress. No one wears dresses to these things. The dress has one shoulder, then cuts diagonally across her chest and goes under her other armpit.

"Maybe she didn't get the message, that this isn't a night club," I say.

"Like, where does she think she is?" Maggie goes. "Nineteen seventy-eight?"

I wonder how everyone's going to react to Zayn's band. I've gone to a couple of their practices, so I've heard the song they're doing. Josh had to explain the history of it and the band that wrote it, and I don't think anyone here is going to know it but so what? They're really good, and that's what matters.

Most of the guys are on one side of the gym, and the girls are on the other. We walk over to the girls' side. I look around for Zayn. I see him standing near the stage with Josh. I get the same butterflies I get every time I see him.

"Fabulous," Elizabeth says.

"What?"

"Your Something Real and Mr Maturity are coming over."

"Just be nice to Josh, okay?"

"I'll try, but if he stares at my boobs, I'm out."

"Hey," Zayn says.

"Hey," I say

"Hey, Maggie."

"Hey."

"You guys know Josh, right?"

"Unfortunately," Maggie mutters behind me. I jab her in the ribs.

"Hi, Maggie." It's obvious that Josh is totally infatuated with her.

"Hi."

Then nobody says anything.

'Harder to breathe' comes on, but it's not the standard Maroon 5 version. It sounds acoustic. I'm loving that the music doesn't suck.

"Do you feel like dancing?" Zayn holds his hand out for mine. I'm someone who gets highly affected by little things and this little thing is huge.

I put my hand in Zayn's. We walk to where some other couples are dancing. He puts his arms around me and make me feel safe. I rest my head on his shoulder and blend into him.

As we slowly turn, I watch all of the unlucky kids standing on the sides with no one to dance with. Maybe they're watching me, wishing, they could have someone to dance with, too. The way I used to at so many dances. I'm so relieved to be on the other side.

Everything is perfect, until I see Andrew dancing with some cheerleader. I don't even know her name, but I've heard she's easy. Which is the primary quality Andrew looks for in a girl now.

A fast song comes on, but I don't let go of Zayn. I wish I could dance with him all night.

Feedback from the microphone snaps me back into reality.

"Testing! Testing!" Eddie yells. "Let's do this! First four bands, you're wanted backstage!"

I'm so excited and nervous for Zayn. MindFlame has to win.

I practically strangle him with a hug. I put my lips against his ear. "Good luck," I whisper.

"Thanks." He looks like his usual confident self as he walks to the stage. I feel like such a rock star's girlfriend.

Elizabeth comes running over to me. "Oh my god!" She grabs my arm. "Chad is snorting pepper through a straw. You gotta come see!"

"I think I'll pass on that one."

Everyone starts cramming in front of the stage. I pull Elizabeth to the front. I want Zayn to be able to see me.

When Fred and Zach start playing, the bass is really strong I feel every beat of it shake my bones. The crowd moves like we're all one big entity. It's a total blast. I've never wanted to come to Battle of the Bands before. Now I'm stocked that I'm here.

But while MindFlame is tuning up, Andrew starts a commotion with his people in behind us. I glare at him. He doesn't see me.

"What?" Elizabeth says.

I point at Andrew. He's got the rest of the beautiful people all around him. They're obviously planning something.

"He's such an ass," Elizabeth says.

And he's going to feel like even more of an ass when MindFlame wins. He just better not throw anything at them.

"Give it up for MindFlame!" Eddie yells. I'm relieved when there's a decent amount of applause.

Josh clicks his drumsticks together. Zayn sees me and smiles. I smile back. They sound great. They sound even better than they did in practice this week. I love how Zayn's arm muscles look when he plays and how he gets this really serious expression, like he's concentrating so hard.

Near the end of the song, Zayn and Josh do this jam thing that sounds super cool. I feel all special, knowing the behind-the-scenes truth to what they're playing. How they practised certain parts over and over. How hard it is for Mike and Zayn to harmonize on one line part of the vocals. The part where Zayn always thinks he's going to mess up but never does. I'm so proud of him.

Then I hear this loud cough or someone gagging but it's not just one person. To hear that over the music, it had to have been a lot of people together. Like something synchronized.

Like something stupid Andrew would do and get his people to do with him.

I hear it again. Other kids laugh. It's the kind of suggestive cough you hear in class when someone is making fun of someone else. Usually there's a word under the cough, like 'loser' or 'homo' or 'asshole'. It's disguised as a cough so the teacher won't get it.

They keep coughing and there's more laughing. A lot of people are supporting the interruption. There's no harsh shhhhhh! sounds you hear when people want someone to shut up so they can hear. Just laughing and some conversations are starting.

It's a total disaster area.

I look up at Zayn, expecting him to be noticing everything but he either can't hear what's happening or he doesn't care. He's playing with his eyes closed. I can tell he's completely focused on the music. All three of them are.

When the song is over, no one claps. Everyone just stands there like they're waiting for something else to happen. Elizabeth and I clap really loud. Other people join in. It doesn't sound like they mean it, though.

"Andrew's a child," Elizabeth says. "You got out just in time."

"Seriously."

She points at the stage. Zayn is pulling his guitar strap over his head. "Could he be any hotter?"

"Not so much, no"

The guys go backstage. I don't know if Zayn's coming out or not.

"Wanna try get backstage?"Elizabeth asks.

"Yeah."

As we're pushing past people, I overhear conversations about Zayn's band.

"How queer was that?"

"They suck so bad."

"Do any of you know what the hell that was? Did they write that?"

"Probably."

"They are so coming in last."

"Even Marco is better than that shit."

I push past harder.

"Josh is such an idiot."

"Seriously. Was he playing the drums or having an epileptic fit?"

"Both."

I turn around to see who's talking. I almost die when I see it's Joe Zedepski and Robert Garten.

Things are worse than I thought. I just have to convince Zayn that they're not.

*

"I always miss the good stuff," Shania says. We're in Elizabeth's living room. I've seen airport terminals smaller than this.

"Don't worry." Elizabeth sits down next to her on the couch. "I'm about to fill you in on all the details."

"But they came in last? How is that possible?"

"I'm getting snacks," I announce.

"Can you bring the Sun Chips?" Elizabeth says.

"And is there Crunch 'n Munch?" Shania asks Elizabeth.

"Yeah," Elizabeth says.

"That, too," Shania tells me. "Oh and P.S.? I am in dire need of more coffee. Industrial strength."

"But we're going to sleep soon," I say.

"I know." Shania shudders. "Addiction is a bitch."

I go into Elizabeth's humongous kitchen. The coffee Shania made before smells really good. I take out the snacks and get bowls to empty them into. I kind of wish I was with Zayn right now, making him feel better. I lean against the counter and think about him.

When I finally go back to the living room, I put in the movie we rented. We got Crazy/Beautiful since it has Jay Hernandez, and it was Shania's turn to pick. He's her main man. Which means next time we get to watch The Good Girl with Jake.

I turn on the huge flat-screen TV. An old All in the Family is on.

"Oooh!" I yell. "Can we watch this?"

"What are you on?" Shania says.

"I'm on life!" I dissolve into a fit of giggles.

"Now you need to chill." Elizabeth throws a pillow at me. "Okay. Truth. Do you guys think Josh is cute?"

I immediately stop laughing. "What?"

"Josh? Cute? Yes or no?"

"In which solar system?" Shania says.

"Where's this coming from?" I ask.

"I was just thinking... You know when I was dancing with him? He's looking better these days. Not as nerdy as before."

I arrange the floor pillows into two big piles in front of the TV. "Josh was never a nerd."

"You said he was a geek."

"Right but definitely not a nerd."

"What's the difference?"

"I've explained this to you before. A geek is like a dork. Someone who's on the fringe, who you wouldn't want to hang out with. A nerd is someone too weird and smart to fit in with the masses. Like me."

"You're not a nerd!"

"It's OK. I know who I am. I consider it a  compliment. I like when people tell me I'm weird." I cram four Cheese Doodles into my mouth. "I mean, why be normal?"

"OK, fine." Elizabeth licks fake orange cheese product from her fingers. "So he's looking less geeky."

"Do you think he's cute?" Shania looks at Elizabeth.

"Sort of." Elizabeth looks at the floor.

I'm totally shocked. "Ew! He's, like, the epitome of immature!"

"Get out!" Elizabeth yells. "I don't mean for me" No, I was thinking about fixing him up with Brenda."

I'm like, "Since when do you know Brenda?"

"Since we got put together for that history project. She's cool."

"Yeah , right," Shania says. "You are so hot for Josh!"

"Uh, well, no," Elizabeth says."It's for Brenda?"

I can't decide which piece of information is more astounding: Elizabeth thinking a geek like Josh is cute or Elizabeth thinking a punk like Brenda is cool. It must be a full moon.

"I can't believe you thought I liked him," Elizabeth huffs. "Jeez."

"That's why I was like..." I make a repulsed face.

"These high-school boys are too immature for me," Elizabeth announces. "I'm only dating college guys from now on. Guys my age don't know how to handle me!"

"You're too hot to handle." I press my finger against Elizabeth's arm and then pull it away quickly. "Ouch! Too hot to touch!" I make a sizzling noise. "Stand back!"

"Well, stand back unless your name is Rick."

"Oh, yeah!" I say. "What's the progress in Lovaville?"

"Much improved. He's incredible. He's such a good kisser. Among other things."

"Like what?"

"Huh?"

"Like what other things?"

"Whatever." She shrugs. "Anything I want."

"Are you going to sleep with him?" Shania eyes Elizabeth.

"Probably."

I say, "But you've only been going out for, like--"

"So what? We're not twelve any more. I'm eighteen. I'm supposed to be an adult now. What's the big deal?"

"Since when is having sex not a big deal?" I say.

"I'm not exactly a virgin. Anyway. Don't you feel like you want to sleep with Zayn?"

"Maybe."

"Then you're not ready. You'll know it when you are."

Shania goes, "OK, Miss After-School Special."

I put the movie on and get back into my pillow piles.

Halfway through the movie, we pause it for a bathroom-slash-beverage-refill break. Elizabeth's upstairs talking to her mum. She' told me how her mum's been spending a lot of time in bed lately. I could never just go talk to my mum like that or even ask her if something's wrong. It would feel way too uncomfortable.

I look at Shania. "Elizabeth told you how Andrew sabotaged Zayn's band?"

"Yeah. It's classic acting-out. He's still hurt."

"About me dumping him?"

"Yeah."

"Like he even cared."

"Of course he cared! He got dumped. You think he can't feel it?"

"Please. Like I ever knew what he really felt. He was probably fantasizing about every girl on the cheerleader squad while he was telling me how much he wanted to sleep with me."

"Some people just don't know how to act."

"I can't believe I ever wanted them to like me! Uuuuuhh!" I smother my face with a pillow.

"So you were going through a phase. It's over."

I come up for air. "How shallow is that?"

"No regrets," Shania tells me. "You found something real." 

"Will you quit saying that?"

"You know you love it."

She's right. Shania's always right.

 

A/N Guys my uncle has epilepsy so don't take any offence to the reference to it because I know what it's like for someone to have a fit. I just know people say that sometimes so I am sorry if it affected you. Anyway sorry for the late update but I tried to make this chapter longgg. School sucks recently but I got like 99% in my Biology prelim so I'm happy because that's my subject :).

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