In Perfect Harmony

Grace Masciale is a young waitress trying to get by on her meager salary in busy NYC. Her true passion is music, so she works hard playing open mics and doing whatever possible to "make it" as a musician. When Grace meets Liam Payne, she is thrown into a life in the spotlight. Can she manage a relationship with Liam, while attempting to follow her own dreams?

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30. Almost Time

Liam's POV

When we got back to my apartment, Grace and I went straight to the bedroom, where she flopped onto the bed.

"Whew. That was so much fun, Li," she sighed. "Thank you."

I chuckled as I sat down to take off my sneakers. "Try doing photo shoots every other week. Then let me know how much you like them. But you're welcome." 

"Leeyuuuum, just cuz it's the norm for your life doesn't mean everyone is used to it."

I shrugged. "I'm sorry, you're right."

"I know I am, silly goose," she giggled.

"You excited for tomorrow?"

A huge smile spread across her face. "Yes! What kind of question is that?"

"Just wanted to make sure you remembered," I teased.

"Hey! I'm not that forgetful!"

"That could be debated..."

"Liam!"

"Just kidding," I laughed, laying down next to her.

"You're such a meanie," she jokingly pouted.

"Oh really... Would a meanie do this?" I leaned in to kiss her. Her lips were soft as she kissed me back and adrenaline shot through my veins- being with Grace was more exhilarating than performing in front of a crowd of 60,000. 

I hooked my arm around her waist and pulled her closer. The embrace intensified as she kissed me harder, wrapping her fingers around locks of my hair. My hand slid around to the small of her back, so that her body was flush against mine. I loved having her in my arms.

After a couple minutes of bliss we broke apart, gasping for air.

"Ugh Liam! Why do you always do this to me?" Grace giggled.

"Me? You're the one who kisses back!"

"Eh..." She leaned in and gave me another peck on the lips. "Maybe that's true."

"It's not even debatable," I joked.

"Nope," she smiled. "Maybe we should stop... It's getting late. And I've got an early morning tomorrow."

"Whyyyy?" I whined. "You can stay here with me instead." I pulled her closer and didn't let her go.

"Silly Li, not all of us are international phenomena."

"Fine." I put on a fake frown. "You win." 

Grace squirmed out of my grasp and slid off the bed, dancing victoriously into the bathroom.

****
Ten minutes later, Grace was curled up next to me, wearing my old tour t-shirt.

"Goodnight, Liam," she smiled, running her hand down my cheek.

"Sweet dreams, Grace," I replied, kissing her forehead before shutting off the bedside lamp. We were both asleep in no time.

****
Grace's POV

"Grace, time to get up," a voice whispered in my ear.

My eyes flickered open to the sight of Liam lying next to me on the bed, his face inches from my own.

"OHMYGOSHLIAMTODAYARETHESHOWS!" I sprang out of bed like lightning and ran towards the bathroom. But before I could reach the doorway, I felt two strong hands grip my shoulders and hold me back.

"Whoa there," Liam said as he turned me around to face him. He wore a smile but seemed to be a little stressed. "You've gotta calm down, G. I know you're excited, but if you overdo it now, you're not going to have any energy left for later." He glanced down at his watch. "It's only 5:00 am."

Oh dang it. The boy was right. "Oops."

Li chuckled. "Yeah. So here's our plan. It's 5:00 now, and we need to be out of here by 6:00. I know you probably want to go to church, and then we can stop for breakfast somewhere. We're supposed to meet Leah at the venue by 8:30."

"Why do we have to be there so early? The first show isn't even until 1:00."

"It's always better to have a lot of time before going on stage, in case of any problems or what not. Plus for us it's easier to get to the venue before all of the fans do."

I nodded. "I guess I've got a lot to learn about this business."

"That's okay," he grinned. "You've got me to guide you through it." He pulled me close and kissed the top of my head.

"I couldn't ask for anyone better."

****

We were out the door at 6:00 sharp. Liam led me past the paps, who seemed more aggressive than usual.

"They know about your show and they all want pictures," he told me as we got in the car. 

After Liam and I went to an early morning mass, we stopped at a diner to eat. The cameras followed us, taking photos of every step we took. Greeted by a worried restaurant manager, we were led to a back booth so that we had some more privacy. Before we ordered, I excused myself to use the bathroom. When I came back several minutes later, I could tell Liam was hiding something from me. He was casually scrolling through his phone, and

"What?" I asked, giving him a puzzled look.

"Nothing... Okay while you were gone the server came by and I ordered for you." I knew Liam couldn't keep a secret.

"What did you order me?" 

"You'll have to see," he replied with a grin. 15 minutes later, the food arrived. Placed in front of me was a smiley face pancake, one of the ones with whipped cream for the mouth and chocolate chips for the eyes.

I burst out laughing. "Oh Liam... You're the best." 

And the brown-haired boy grinned back at me.

****
When we drove up to the Studio at Webster Hall, I was surprised to see a few fans already lining up outside the doors. Ok, not a few. More like a hundred.

"Oh my gosh, Li!" I exclaimed, my jaw dropping at the sight of all the young girls waiting for the show.

Liam grinned. "They're here for you, Grace."

It was still hard to believe that this was real life.

"Erm, I know I'm new to this stuff and all, but based on my previous experience as a fangirl I'd say it would be very risky to your well-being to get out here without some sort of security around."

"Yeah, I know." Liam bit his lip as he looked around while he drove. We had avoided going right in front of the venue for fear of a mobbing. "I was hoping it wouldn't be this busy yet."

"I say we turn to plan B."

"And what would that be?" Liam glanced at me, puzzled.

"Call Leah and pray she has some brilliant plan of action." We both laughed, knowing she would go manager-crazy and send the Secret Service out to get us if that was possible.

"I say that's our best bet. We need to get security out here before it gets any busier, and we've got to get inside."

After parking down the street, we called Leah and waited for the Studio's security to secure the fans. About 20 minutes later, we were finally able to drive up to the building, where a staff member was waiting to park our car. As I opened my door, I was met by ear-piercing screams and yelling. Whoa.

"LIAM! GRACE! I LOVE YOU!"

"CAN I HAVE A PICTURE?"

"OH MY GOSH I CAN'T EVEN BELIEVE I'M HERE RIGHT NOW! GRACE! LIAM!"

"Hi guys!" I yelled, waving to everyone as Liam and I were hustled inside the building.

"Wow," I remarked after the main doors had closed behind us. "That screaming is so much louder when you're not the one doing it."

All of the event staff and others milling about the lobby laughed. I had no shame in admitting that I had once been a crazy Directioner myself.

"Grace! There you are! Come with me to your dressing room!" Leah exclaimed. She seemed to be pretty anxious. And then it hit me. She'd never managed an artist on her own before... She was probably through-the-roof freaking out about this craziness.

I nudged Liam and we followed Leah around a couple of corners to a room labeled Grace. We were ushered inside and sat down on the plush sofa. 

"Alrighty," Leah panted, out of breath from being in constant motion. "Stay here, and I'll come get you when it's time for sound check!" And with that, she ran out of the room, shutting the door behind her.

Seconds later the door burst open. "Oh and Stephanie and Nikki are on their way!" And Leah was gone.

"Welcome to the life of a performer. Dressing rooms, green rooms, sound checks, stages, repeat," Liam chuckled lightly. 

"I'll take whatever I can get to reach my dream, Boo."

"Boo?" 

"I don't know," I shrugged, giggling. "It just rolled off my tongue."

"Alright then, cutie, want to play me your set list?"

"Oh yeah, of course! Well... You'll hear all of the songs later." For some silly reason I don't like performing for just a couple of people face-to-face. I prefer larger groups where I can be on stage.

"Come on, G, I won't judge you," Liam chuckled. "I already know you're amazingly talented."

I felt my cheeks turn red-hot. "Well... Okay. But not because you said I'm amazingly talented. I have a lot to work on. I'll do it because I know you won't judge me and you'll tell me the truth if these new tunes stink."

"Grace... I can't even respond to that because it's so ridiculous."

I giggled. "Alright, I'll play the set lift for you. I guess I do need someone to check it over and make sure it's all good for today."

I took my guitar, which Liam had so nicely carried in for me, out of its case and put it on my lap. After tuning and doing vocal warm ups, I closed my eyes and started strumming.

"This one's called Angels."

She
Stood apart from the crowd
Instead of letting her be
They singled her out
The words stung her heart 
She was battered and bruised
By taking her life
She felt she had nothing to lose

Heaven gained an angel tonight...

As I played the last chord, I looked up at Liam. He was frozen, staring at me. Okay...

"So..." To be honest, his reaction was scaring me a little bit.

"Grace... That was gorgeous. I'm lost for words."

And I felt myself go red all over again. "Thanks, Li," I managed, grinning.

"I'm serious, G! The words were just so deep, and you put so much emotion into it. That's what it takes to really be an artist."

He was so sweet and sincere. Gosh, I was falling for Liam harder and harder every day. Before I had a chance to respond, Nikki and Stephanie came busting through the door.

"GRACE! Our superstar!" Nikki exclaimed, running over to hug me. Funny how we had just met the day before, but she already considered us best friends. Or stylist and client. The specifics of this industry were still confusing.

"Are you ready to be beautified?" Stephanie asked excitedly. "Not that you're not already gorgeous. Oh, you know what I mean!"

"You guys are too much! No, I need a lot of help," I laughed.

Liam looked at his watch. "Let's see, it's 9:25 now. Plenty of time to run through the set list before sound check and getting ready."

"In that case, Steph and I will go do some exploring," Nikki suggested. The two of them slipped out the door.

"Thanks guys!" I called after them. 

After the door had closed I turned to Li. "What was that about? They just got here and you're already shooing them off."

"Sorry," he said, chuckling. "I wanted some time just you and me." He wrapped his arms around he and pulled me close. As much as I loved it when he held me, I didn't let myself get overly distracted. After we hugged for a minute or two, I took a step back.

"As much as I'd love to stay like this, I do have a show in a couple hours. Want to hear the rest of my set list?"

"Right. Of course I do, G."

****
Forty-five minutes later, I had played the entire show for Liam, consisting of seven originals and three covers.

"Wow," he said as I finished.

"You like them?"

"Grace, they're amazing! You're so gifted at your writing skills."

I felt my cheeks turn bright red.

"No, seriously, G. You're going places."

"Thanks, Liam..." I was never very good at taking compliments, and hearing this from a boy whom I admired for so many different reasons made me speechless.

"Record labels are going to be fighting over you," he continued.

"I really wouldn't say that... There are so many artists out there who are much more talented and experienced than I am and never come close to a record deal."

"Grace, look at me," Liam instructed. He didn't continue until I had made eye contact with him. "I admire your humility, but have some confidence. I know you can do whatever you put your mind to."

"Thanks, Liam." 

He leaned forward and kissed me.

****
"One more time from the top, please," the sound engineer instructed me. It was 10:30 and I was currently on the stage for sound check. Liam was standing in the audience, smiling at me the whole time.

After everything had been sorted out with my guitar and mic, I was free to hang out around the stage or play some more to get warmed up. Just as I was about to rehearse one of my newer songs again, I heard a distinct laugh that I knew could only have come from a certain Irishman.  I turned around just as Niall, Ella, Louis, and Eleanor came running onto the stage.

"Grace!" Niall exclaimed, running over to give me a hug

"Guys! You made it!" I said happily as I hugged Niall.

"Of course we did love," Louis chuckled, taking his turn with a hug.

Ella just stood there, grinning. She was definitely head over heels for Ni.

 Eleanor laughed, wrapping her arms around me in a friendly embrace, then Ella did the same.

"I can't even explain how much it means to me to have you here," I went on.

"This is your day to shine, Grace," Niall grinned, taking Ella's hand. Awww.

"Hello to you too, guys," Liam spoke up from the audience. 

"LIAM! We never even saw you there!" Louis said, running off stage to meet him.

"Of course you didn't, Lou," Liam laughed. 

"You ready to rock the house, Grace?" Niall asked as he air-guitared.

"Definitely. I'm just so excited!"

"Oh, that reminds me, I got you something." Ni turned to Ella.

"Correction," Ella spoke up, smiling, "We got you something."

She reached into her bag and pulled out a pink tin, handing it to me.  I opened it up; inside were pink guitar picks with my initials on them.

"Oh my gosh, thank you so much! I love them!" I pulled them both in for another hug.

"They're the brand I use. The best," Niall said. 

"I'm sure they're perfect." I took one out and set the tin on the ground, before positioning my guitar and starting to play.  Random chords turned into the opening of Ed Sheeran's You Need Me, I Don't Need You.

Within thirty seconds everyone was rapping out the lyrics.

Call yourself a single writer, you're just bluffing

Your name is on the credits and you didn't write nothing


Having everyone together, just having fun was amazing.  This group was turning into my family. Uh oh. My actual family. I had forgotten to invite them...

They were never going to forgive me.

"Uh, Liam..." I said out loud as I finished the song.

"What's the matter, Grace?" Liam's expression quickly turned to one of concern.

"My parents... and my brother and sister. I kinda didn't tell them about the show by accident."

A smile tugged at Liam's lips that he tried to hide. What was that about? "Come with me."

He helped me put my guitar on its stand backstage before leading me back down the hall to my dressing room.  As he opened the door, I came face-to-face with none other than my family.

"Mom! Dad!"

"Grace!" They all took turns hugging me and kissing my cheek: my mom, dad, brother, sister, Grandma, and Grandpa.

"Liam invited us all to your show as a surprise. Was there some reason you didn't want us here?" Mom asked.

"No, never! I... forgot. I'm so sorry."

 "Grace, we're used to it by now," Elisabeth smirked. 

"Hey!" I laughed.

"What matters now is that we're here for you," Grandma spoke up.

"Yes, thank you so much for making the trip. Oh, and I think there's someone you need to officially meet."

I turned to Liam. "Grandma and Grandpa, this is Liam. Liam, these is my Grandma Barbara and my Grandpa Michael."

"Pleasure to meet you," Liam replied, shaking hands with each of them.

"Take good care of our Grace, young man," Grandpa said sternly.

"Of course, sir." 

"I remember seeing your face on all of the boyband stuff we used to get Grace for Christmas. She was your favorite member!" Grandma piped in.

"Grandma!" I could feel my cheeks turn beet red.

"We better give you some time to get ready," Mom said.  She knew me so well; there was nothing I liked more before shows than peace and quiet to collect myself.

"Yeah, thanks, I've got to get hair and makeup before the show!" The closer it was, the more my nerves were getting to me.

After everyone had told me to break a leg and given me hugs, they filed out of the room.

"You got this, sis." Elisabeth told me. We had always been the bestest of friends; now that I was living in New York, it was harder to stay in touch, but she was still my sister annd someone whom I could go to about anything.

"Go Grace!" Timmy gave me a high five and a grin.  My little brother was the cutest.

Finally, the last three people in the room were me, Liam, and Dad.

"Liam, could you give us a minute?" My father asked.

"Sure!" He slipped out the door.

"Grace, I know you're going to do great today. Don't be nervous or freak out, everything is under control. Just do what you came here to do." 

"Thanks, Dad." I had had anxiety issues as a kid, and he was always someone I could go to to cool down.

"Who's better than you?"

"Nobody," I grinned.  It was a saying that he had started when I was going off to kindergarten.

"Nobody," he repeated. He wrapped his arms around me and we just stood there for a minute. When he finally let me go, he gave me a pat on the back before walking to the door.

"I have full confidence in you, Grace,"

And with that, he was gone.

A few seconds later, Liam walked back in the room.

"Let's do this."

****

By 12:15, I was done with hair and makeup, and Nikki and I were debating what I should wear.  She wanted a light pink sundress, but I wanted a shirt and high-waisted shorts combo.

"I like the blouse and shorts. They're not too casual, but they're classy."

"This is your first show, though. You have to make a good first impression."

"Right... I just don't want to look like I'm trying too hard."

"That's ridiculous, Grace.  There's no overdressing in show business. And you're going to be standing, so I say dress."

"Yeah, but the venue is small. What if someone can see up my skirt?"

 "Grace, nobody will be that close." She laughed.

"Okay then, dress it is."

I slipped the garment on and looked in the mirror. It was perfect.

Nikki came up behind me.

"Wow. Liam's gonna flip when he sees you."

We had made Liam wait outside while I got ready. Actually, he had gone to meet Harry, Zayn and Perrie when they arrived, and we just locked the door and wouldn't let him back in. Oops.

"Can I come in yet?" He had been chatting with the boys for a while, but eventually came back and camped outside my dressing room.

"Yes," Nikki and I said in unison. She went over and unlocked the door.

Liam's eyes got wide when he saw me. 

"Whoa..."

"Oh, Li," I laughed. 

"I'll leave you guys alone," Nikki whispered as she went out the door.

"Just, wow..." Li continued. 

Half of my hair was pulled back, while the other half hung down on my shoulders.  My eye makeup was pretty natural, and my cheeks were a light pink.

"Do you like it?" I spun around in the sundress.

"Yes. You are going to blow everyone away. You've got it all; the voice, the lyrics, the beauty..."

"Agh, stop it, Li! You're so cheesy!"

"Sorry... I can't help it!"

"Oh man," I laughed, sitting down in front of the mirror. "This is it, Liam. I've gotta get this right. If I mess this up..."

"Grace! An hour ago you were the happiest woman alive! Don't let the nerves get the best of you now."

"I know..." I sighed. Nerves could make or break a performance.

"Just relax and have fun," Liam went on. "Here, this is for you."

He pulled an eggshell-blue box from his pocket that said Tiffany and Co. No way.

I took the box from him and opened it up. Inside was a tiny music note on a silver chain.

"Liam, it's gorgeous! I can't accept this."

"I know music means everything to you. And yes you can, because I want you to have it." He took the necklace out and undid the clasp. I turned and held up my hair so that he could hook it around my neck.

The charm fell perfectly against my chest.  "Thank you, Liam."

"You're welcome, Grace."

"Can I ask you something?"

"Of course."

"Why are you writing your album in New York? Why not LA or London or Sweden?"

"That's a pretty random thing to ask all of a sudden," he chuckled. "We chose New York because we wanted something different, you know? This album is all us; we have no strict management anymore, I mean we have a manager but we're pretty much in charge, and we chose this city because it is always so much fun to visit, and it's a whole new area to explore. Why?"

"Just wondering," I replied. "I just find it funny that we happened to meet here, of all of the places you've been."

"I've thought about that too," Liam smiled. "Who knows? Maybe it's just fate."

We sat there in the dressing room for what seemed like hours, just chatting and hanging out. 

At 12:55 a crew member knocked and stuck his head in the door.

"Grace, places in 2."

"Alright, thanks."

I looked at Liam, who took my hand. 

"This is it."

 ****

A/N

Whew! Sorry it's taken me so long to update. School has been busy since Thanksgiving break and I had auditions for my school musical and a bunch of other stuff going on. I had a snow day today so I finally had some time to finish writing!

I hope you like this chapter. IT'S ALMOST TIME FOR THE SHOWS! What do you think is going to happen when Grace goes on stage?

The lyrics are original (I don't think I've already used them in the story?!)

Comment/Like/Favorite:)

 -Katie

P.S. Sorry it's unedited 

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