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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2. Busy, Busy, Busy

Grace's POV

"Without love!"

Amy, Matt, Patrick and I finished singing the last line of the hit song from Hairspray before returning to wait on our tables. If there was one thing that kept me motivated and sane in this hectic life, it was performing. Yes, it was minimum wage, but it was still money, and I was able to sing and interact with others who have the same talent. It was nearing 4 pm; I had started my shift at 8 am and was only an hour from freedom. I would be able to ditch my apron and my saddle shoes, my poodle skirt and my scarf and become Grace Masciale, the singer-songwriter chasing her dreams. Tonight was the open mic night at the coffee/tea shop Tea Time and I was excited to be able to let loose and express myself through my music. Writing helped me escape from my difficult life; it was a way to deal with my feelings. I wanted the world to know Grace.

****

I was finally on my way home from work. I had barely made it down the hallway to my apartment when I could smell meatballs. Andrea was cooking.

"Thank the heavens that you're my roommate!" I exclaimed as I burst through the door. My excitement quickly turned to embarrassment when I saw Andrea standing at the stove, with a tall, dark, handsome man behind her. He had his arms wrapped lovingly around her waist, and his chin rested on her shoulder.

"Hey there Andrea... And guest," I studdered. Andrea had never mentioned any love interests. Maybe I'd been too busy to notice or ask.

"Oh hey Grace, uhhh this is Michael." Andrea's cheeks turned bright red. She obviously wasn't planning on me coming home before the open mic.

"Nice to meet you both, I think I'm gonna go relax in my room." I skittered out of the kitchen as fast as possible, but not before I gave Andrea a 'tell me everything later' look. We never kept secrets like this from each other, and it made me frustrated that she'd keep something like this from me.

I opened my guitar case, and pulling out my guitar, began to strum. I was so ready for tonight.

****

After I had curled my light brown hair into shoulder-length ringlets, I slipped on my peach halter-top maxi dress and my white sandals.  It was early July, so the streets were hot, and I wasn't sure the A/C in Tea Time was working.  As I gathered my things and walked back into the kitchen, I noticed Andrea doing the dishes.  Michael must have been in the bathroom.  

"Hey, so since when do we just 'forget' to tell each other that one of us is in a relationship?" I confronted Andrea.  

"Grace, you haven't exactly been living on Planet Earth lately. You could have told me about the open mic tonight."

"Well I'm sorry that my life has been too busy to remember to tell you everything. I'm trying so hard to chase my dreams. That doesn't make me a criminal!"

"I would have told you about Michael but you can barely keep track of your own agenda, let alone chat about someone elses!"

The last comment made me furious. 

"I care so flipping much about you Andrea, we are best friends. Do you know what that means? Obviously if you keep secrets you don't understand the concept. I'm sorry that I'm ditzy and I forget to tell you things. But I would never fail to mention that I have a boyfriend. Get back to me when you've done some thinking. Because I can't have a best friend who purposely keeps me out of the loop."

With that, I stormed out of the apartment, slamming the door behind me.  What had just happened? Andrea and I never got into fights. That's what made our friendship so good. We were always mature for our age, and never overreacted about stupid things. It made me so mad that she would hurt me like this. I tried to push the ordeal to the back of my mind. Tonight was going to be a good night, I could feel it.

****

I finished the last lines of my song Caught By Surprise and began putting my guitar away. The audience had enjoyed my set, I could tell because some people were smiling, but the energy level was minimal in the room. I personally thought that I had performed well, but my success or failure as an artist will depend on whether or not other people like it. Either way, I had let myself go in the music, which felt good after the fiasco with Andrea.

"Excuse me, your name is Grace, right?" I turned to see a couple in their early 30s talking to me.

"Yup, that's me!" I replied hastily.  The fact that people actually remembered my name was a good sign.

"I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your songs. That one about making a fool of yourself in front of a crush was really cute," The woman gushed.

I felt so elated.

"Thank you so much! I can't even explain how good it feels to have feedback about my music! I wrote that one, Clumsy, when I was 16, but I feel like it can still be relevant for people of all ages."

"It certainly is. Do you have a twitter that I can share with my friends? You seem to be so hardworking, and I would love to help spread the word about your talent."

"Yes I do! It's @kathgracemusic. I really really appreciate this- I can't even explain! Thank you so so much."

"No problem at all. You deserve success. Fantastic to meet you."

"Great to meet you too! Have a good rest of your evening." 

As I walked away from their table, I was literally in a trance. PEOPLE LIKE ME. My immediate reaction was to text Andrea, but as I got out my phone, I remembered that we weren't on speaking terms. I made my way over to the counter. A good gig meant celebratory bubble tea. After I paid for and recieved my coconut milk tea with the yogurt bubbles, I grabbed my wallet and my cup and turned to leave. Failing to look where I was going, I collided with a person, nearly spilling my tea.

"Oh my gosh, I am so sorry!"

My cheeks turned bright red as I looked up to apologize to the person. My jaw dropped as my hazel eyes met chocolate brown ones. 

"It's ok babe, don't worry about it." The British accent was unmistakable.

The guy standing in front of me was none other than Liam Payne. The Liam Payne of One Direction. It had been two years since their last album release and tour, but I had spent four years of my life obsessing over these boys and I would recognize him anywhere. His hair had grown out, and his face was scruffy and unshaven. To say he still looked super hot was an understatement.

I tried my best to stay cool. I was 22 years old, and I didn't want to make a scene by fangirling in the middle of a coffee shop. 

"You're Liam Payne, right?" I managed to get out. 

"Yup, I am. And if I'm not mistaken, you're Grace," he replied.

I was literally lost for words. I was having a conversation with my teenage idol, and he knew my name. 

Seeing that I wasn't replying anytime soon, Liam continued.

"I saw your performance just now. You have some real potential. Those lyrics were so catchy but so deep at the same time."

I managed to squeak out a "Thank you!"

"Do you have a manager or anything?" He inquired.

"Nope, I'm flying solo."

"Well, keep working hard on your stuff, who knows, I never expected my success. Things happen when you least expect it."

I was about to reply when our conversation was interuppted by Olly Murs' Heart Skips a Beat. It was such a catchy song so I had made it my ringtone.  I put down my guitar and dug through my bag for my phone. Looking at the caller ID, I rolled my eyes. I was in no mood to deal with Andrea right now, so I hit Ignore. Just as I turned back to Liam, I got a text from Andrea. I was ready dismiss it until i saw the contents of the message. 

From Andrea:

Grace, it's Michael. Andrea's in the ER. There's been an accident. I didn't know who else to call. You need to come now. It looks bad.

"Damn it!" I exclaimed out loud. I needed to get to the hospital, stat. Completely forgetting where I was, I went into panic mode and ran out of the coffee shop, leaving a stunned Liam behind in the dust. 

****

A/N The introduction of the boys is slow I know but I want the story to make sense! Bear with me because I've never done this before :) I promise that the next chapters will be more interesting.

P.S. I'm actually a singer-songwriter and I wrote a song called Clumsy. It's not on YouTube or anything but yeah, just thought I'd share that. 

Anyway, hope you enjoy!

And the Twitter handle that Grace gives out is my actual twitter handle, so if you want to follow or tweet me that would be cool :D

-murk798

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