"Got it!" I yelled as I spiked the white ball over the net. I was playing volleyball with my friends on the beach while on vacation in California.
"You scored once. Big deal," Lindsey joked from the other side of the net. "We're still up 19-7."
"Hey! We do have a bit of a disadvantage over here," I laughed, watching as my teammate Amy served the ball. It was the two of us vs Lindsey, Sabrina, and Becca.
"You can handle it!" Becca taunted, diving to save the ball. She was successful, and Sabrina tipped it over. 20-7.
"Game point," Lindsey smirked as she prepared to serve. She happened to have been co-captain of the varsity volleyball team in high school. Greaaaaat.
"You think you've got this one in the bag. Well, you're wrong." A little pressure never hurt anyone.
Lindsey jumped as she served, and the ball went sailing over the net onto our side. Well, beyond our side. The wind caught the ball and it flew across the beach.
I looked to Lindsey and put my hands on my hips. "Really, Linds? So now I have to go get it?" I laughed as I chased after the ball, my long red hair blowing behind me in the breeze. The wind blew the volleyball along the beach and it bumped against a guy sunbathing on a towel.
As I approached the boy, he appeared to be fast asleep, with aviators on his eyes. His toned chest was covered in tattoos. Like total abs. Well hello there.
As I was leaning down to quietly retrieve the ball, I was interrupted by a voice with a distinct British accent.
"Bounce the ball on him." I looked up and saw a cute guy lying on an adjacent towel. Wait a minute- I knew that face. Louis Tomlinson?! It took all of my energy not to totally flip out.
"Wha-at?" I managed to stammer.
"Here," he chuckled as he picked up the volleyball and threw it at the sleeping boy.
"Ow! What was that for?!" He moaned. The guy sat up and rubbed his arm. When he saw me standing there, he lowered his sunglasses. OMG. The curly-haired boy was none other than Harry Styles.
"Oh. Hi," Harry smiled.
"Hi," I squeaked back.
"Thank you for hitting me with your...?" He started to say, trailing off as he realized he didn't actually know what had hit him.
"I-" I started to speak, but stopped when I noticed Louis with a finger to his lips.
"I'm so sorry I woke you. My friends and I were playing volleyball and the ball got away from us." I eyed Louis.
"That's quite alright," Harry chuckled.
"Don't take the blame for Louis. I saw him hit Harry."
I whipped around to face THE Liam Payne. "Umm..." I was at a loss for words.
"Louis? That was you?" Harry yelled at Louis, who was now pretending to be asleep.
"You better run!" Harry screeched. Louis was on his feet in no time. I watched him sprint down the beach, Harry on his heels.
"I probably shouldn't have said anything," Liam chuckled.
I leaned down to pick up the ball. The past three minutes had been a bit overwhelming, to say the least.
"Oh, sorry, I didn't introduce myself. I'm Liam." He held out his hand and I shook it, still kind of in a daze.
"Grace. That's a nice name," Liam replied. "Sorry to mix you up in our craziness."
"It's really no big deal. I'm, uh, gonna get back to my game," I indicated across the beach. As much as I wanted to talk to him, I felt a little bit awkward.
"Nice to meet you," Liam waved as I started walking away.
"Wait!" I turned as I heard someone call out. My heart skipped a beat as I saw who it was.
"Could you use another player on your team?" Harry asked, his forehead glistening from sweat after his run-in with Louis.
"Actually, I could," I grinned.
Harry ran through the sand to catch up to me. "I'm not sure I caught your name. I'm Harry."
"I'm Grace. I'm a big fan of your music."
"Thank you! It's nice to meet you, Grace."
"Nice to meet you, Harry."
By that time, we were back at the court. I looked up and saw all of my friends, their mouths agape.
"Guys, this is Harry. Harry, meet Amy, Becca, Lindsey, and Sabrina."
"Hello," he waved with a grin.
"Hi," they all squeaked in reply.
"Oh good. You're down a player. So now we're even."
"Yup," I laughed, handing him the ball. "You want to serve first?"
"Sure." Harry took the ball and jump-served it over the net. Ace.
"Yes!" I cheered. He held his hand out for a high-five. Hell yeah- I was playing volleyball with Harry Styles!
I caught Amy's eye when Harry wasn't looking. "OMG," she mouthed, her eyes wide.
"I KNOW," I mouthed in reply.
I watched as Harry served again. He was so flipping hot. This time, Sabrina managed to bump the ball, and Becca hit it over the net. Amy dove in the sand to save it, and Harry bumped it over.
Five serves later, we were shutting Lindsey's team out.
"You feeling a little down?" Harry poked fun at them.
"Nah, we got this," Becca replied, bracing herself for his next serve.
"Hey, can we play?" I turned to see Liam and Louis walking towards us.
"Sure," I shrugged, glancing sideways at my friends.
"Hmm... Liam, you go with Harry, and I'll play with these lovelies. Liam needs all the help he can get," Louis smirked.
"Hey!" Liam fake-pouted. Harry rolled his eyes.
After everyone had met, we got ready to start a new game.
"Loser has to buy the other team drinks," Harry looked at Louis, his eyebrow raised.
"Have your wallet ready, Haz," Louis taunted, rubbing his hands together as we began playing.
I had to laugh at the way they interacted; they were truly like brothers.
Twenty minutes later, my team beat Louis' 21-14. Liam turned out to be pretty good at volleyball, and Harry's serves were wicked. Amy and my skills weren't too shabby, either.
"Pay up, Lou," Harry grinned.
Louis smirked back. "You got lucky this time."
"I'm sure," Liam nodded, rolling his eyes.
"So, Grace, want to come back to our towels and chill?" Harry looked at me with a smile that made my insides go weak.
"Sure." I was trying desperately to stay composed.
"You girls can come too," Liam told my friends. I noticed him paying special attention to blonde-haired Sabrina.
"Yeah, we can all hang out," Louis added.
As we walked back to the boys' beach setup, Harry singled me out and started talking to me. "So, you live around here?"
"Me? I wish," I replied. "I'm here on vacation with my friends. We live in New Jersey. Becca's uncle owns a house where we're staying for the week."
"Cool. That's nice you have such close friends."
"Definitely. I'm really lucky," I nodded. "I guess I could say the same to you."
"Yeah, the boys will always mean the world to me."
"So why are you here? If you don't mind me asking." Was it inappropriate to ask about a celebrity's private life like that? Not that I had a lot of experience in the art of "how to talk to a teen heartthrob without losing your cool."
"Not at all. I'm actually surprised you don't already know," he laughed. "Our whereabouts are always posted all over the internet."
"I've actually been trying to stay away from my phone this trip... A kind of cleansing, you could say," I giggled.
"I totally get it." Harry looked at me and smiled, his green eyes gleaming. "The five of us came to LA for a bunch of meetings about our management, and a photo shoot. We added in a couple extra days to just relax on the beach."
"That's awesome! I mean- the beach part at least. You guys always seem to be running all over the place."
"We are. I sometimes think my body will be permanently jet lagged," Harry sighed. "But don't get me wrong, I love my job."
"No, I completely understand. It's just tiring."
"ZAYN! WAKE UP!" Our conversation was interrupted by Louis, who was standing over a figure lying in the sand, yelling at the top of his lungs. The girls and Liam were standing behind him, not really sure how to react.
"Louis, relax!" Harry yelled at him. He turned to me. "Zayn woke up late this morning, came out here, and went back to sleep. Lou isn't a big fan of his habits."
"What's goin' on?" A blonde-haired boy came strolling up, a bag of Doritos in his hand. It had to be Niall.
"Louis' a little high strung," Liam piped in.
"Something new and different," Harry added, laughing.
It was then that Niall seemed to notice that there were five girls standing among the boys.
"Oh. Hi," he said, his cheeks turning pink.
"This is Grace, Becca, Amy, Lindsey, and Sabrina," Harry told him. "Everyone, meet Niall."
"Pleasure to meet ya," Niall smiled, swallowing his chips. "Doritos?"
"Sure," Harry grinned, taking the bag and eating as he plopped down in the sand. "Want some?"
"Nah, I'm ok. Thanks though," I told him. I stood there awkwardly; I didn't really know what to do.
"Come. Sit," he said, as if reading my mind.
I took a seat next to him and the rest of the group did the same. Pretty soon we all got to chatting in smaller groups, Liam with Sabrina, Louis with Becca, Niall with Amy and Lindsey, and myself with Harry. Zayn was still fast asleep on his towel.
"So Grace, what's it like in New Jersey?" Harry asked me.
"Umm... It's pretty low-key compared to here I guess." I was kind of surprised (and pleased!) that he had actually paid attention during our conversation.
"That's good. Sometimes quiet is nice."
"Sometimes," I nodded. "I really want to go out and explore the world, but my parents insisted I go to college first. Not that I don't think it's important, I just want to go on an adventure. If that makes sense."
Harry nodded. "It does. I admire the fact that you're fulfilling your parents wishes."
"Yeah," I shrugged. "I'd never want to hurt them."
"Same for my parents and I. And I assure you, when you do get to see the world, it'll be worth it."
"I hope so," I grinned.
"Hey Niall, where's that food I saw you with before?" Harry asked.
"Right here!" The Irish boy held up a huge picnic basket.
"How about you share some with us?"
"Oh, I'd hate to steal your dinner," I told the two.
Niall shook his head. "It's okay."
Harry turned to me and whispered in my ear, "He normally makes about 15 sandwiches for the 5 of us so we'll have plenty."
"If you say so," I giggled.
"Let's eat!" Niall opened the basket and began throwing sandwiches at people. One managed to find it's way to Zayn's sleeping head.
"Alright," the dark-haired boy muttered, sitting up and rubbing his eyes.
"I think we've had enough flying objects for one day," Harry laughed.
"I second that motion," I grinned, unwrapping my sandwich. "Mmmm, Niall, this looks really good."
After everyone had eaten, we just sat there on the beach, enjoying the peace and the last few minutes of daylight as the sun set. I looked up at the sky and smiled. Here I was, with Harry Styles and One Direction, on a beach in California. How lucky was I?
All of a sudden, I heard strumming and turned to see Niall with his guitar.
"You brought that to the beach?" Lindsey giggled.
"I'm always ready to make music," Niall replied, bopping his head to the tune he was playing. "Anyone have any song requests?"
"How about Chasing Cars? I really loved it when you guys sang it on the X Factor," I blushed, tracing designs in the sand with my finger.
"I love that one too," Harry said. He shifted closer to me and drew a smiley face in the sand. I couldn't help but grin as I looked up and made eye contact with him. He was gorgeous.
Niall began strumming the opening chords, and as the boys started singing, my heart literally began to melt. It was the type of situation that had I been on my computer, in my room by myself, I probably would have collapsed on the floor. The harmonies were perfect, like X Factor had only been a few weeks ago, not years. The boys might have gotten taller and more manly, but fame really hadn't changed their personalities.
"Let's waste time, chasing cars, around our heads," Harry sang as he reached out and tucked a strand of hair behind my head, his green eyes never leaving mine.
After the song was finished, all of the girls clapped.
"You like it?" Harry asked me.
"It was amazing."
"Thank you," he smiled.
We spent the next several hours jamming on the beach until it got pretty cold and dark. As chilly as I was, I didn't want this day to end.
"Geez, it's definitely gotten colder," Liam said, grabbing a sweatshirt and throwing it on over his head. I felt pretty dumb for bringing nothing more than shorts and a swimsuit to the beach. Soon everyone else pulled out jackets and hoodies.
"Grace, you ok?" Harry asked me with a look of concern.
"Yeah, I'm all good, thanks," I replied.
He put his face right up to mine. "No, you're not."
"Yes, I am," I giggled.
"Wow, I've been oblivious. Here," he said, taking off the blue hoodie he had just put on and giving it to me. "You're cold."
"No, Harry, you keep it. I was the stupid one who didn't bring a jacket."
"I want you to wear it. Please. And you're not stupid."
"If you really don't mind. Thanks," I replied, slipping the warm fleece over my head. It smelled of nice cologne. Mmm.
"No problem. You look good in it," Harry grinned.
I blushed; it wasn't often hot boys gave me compliments like that.
"How about we get going home? I want to make some pasta," Niall said, putting his guitar back in its case.
Harry glanced at me before replying. "Do we have to?"
Zayn nodded. "Yeah, I could use a shower."
Liam and Louis just rolled their eyes.
"I guess we should," Liam shrugged, standing up and folding the beach towels.
Harry reluctantly joined him in cleaning up. After everything was packed, Harry came back over to me.
"You have a ride home?"
"We were planning on walking, I think." I ran my hand through my hair. I reeeeally didn't want Harry to leave.
"We'll drive you." Harry called over to Louis, who was chatting it up with Becca, "Lou, we're driving the girls!"
"Okay!" he called back.
"You really don't mind?" I didn't want to be a bother.
"Of course not!"
We gathered our things and the ten of us trekked off the beach to the boys' car, a huge black Range Rover.
"There's more people than seats, so we might have to do some sharing," Liam told everyone.
My friends and I let the boys get in first, as it was their car, and then we piled in.
It was definitely squished. Liam drove, with Louis in the passenger seat. Niall, Sabrina, Zayn, and Amy were in the middle row, and Harry, Becca and Lindsey were in the back. I was the last one to get in the car, and I had no idea where to sit.
"You can sit on my lap, Grace," Harry motioned me over.
Umm… this could be awkward. But what other choice did I have?
"Okay," I replied, climbing in.
I managed to survive the fifteen minute drive to our beach house. It actually wasn't bad; Harry and I talked a lot about silly things, like the best sushi we've ever eaten or our favorite movies. The whole car was pretty chatty; the other girls got along with the boys really well.
"Here we are," Liam announced, pulling up to the tan house.
"Thank you so much, Liam," I said as I scooted off Harry and jumped out of the car with the other girls. The boys followed, helping us gather our stuff from the trunk.
"I hope we get to meet again," Harry said to me, a shy grin on his face. My butterflies in my stomach were uncontrollable.
"Me too," I smiled back. "Thank you for an amazing afternoon."
"My pleasure. I know this is awkward but… Can I have your number?"
I'm pretty sure my heart skipped a beat. "Sure!"
He handed me his phone and I typed it in his contacts.
"Thanks, Grace," he smiled.
"Thank you, Harry."
We waved goodbye to the boys as they all started back to the SUV. I walked into the house and watched them drive away.
A few minutes later, I went onto the front porch to look at the stars. Today had been so incredible, like a dream come true. I was in denial of it being over.
I sighed and enjoyed the silence. We were in a quiet neighborhood, and the only noticeable sound was the distant waves of the ocean.
Suddenly, my peaceful bliss was interrupted by the noise of a car engine. I looked up and saw an SUV pull up in front of the house. The driver stopped the car and got out. As he came towards me, I realized that it was Harry.
"Hi," he grinned.
"Hi," I replied.
He climbed up the steps. "Mind if I sit?"
I shook my head. "Not at all."
"This is going to sound crazy…" He started before trailing off.
"You can tell me," I prompted. What the heck was he trying to say?
"The reason I came back is because I couldn't stop thinking about you. I had a really nice time today."
"So did I," I managed to say, my heart beating rapidly.
"But it's more than just a good time. I feel like you really understand how tough this lifestyle is. And you want to listen to what I have to say."
"Why wouldn't I? You're a really great guy, and you deserve to be heard."
"You just care." He shook his head with disbelief as he looked at me. "Most people just want my money. Or fame. I feel like you're not like that."
I felt my cheeks go red. "I mean…that'd be wrong. I would never want to lead someone on for those reasons."
"I know… I really like you, Grace. Like, like like."
Oh. My. Gosh.
"I like you too, Harry," I managed to respond.
He grinned. "I think you're beautiful. Your eyes, your hair… your personality. You're really wonderful."
At that point I was just about at my sanity max. "Thank you. I love your smile… and your curls," I laughed, reaching out and touching his hair.
"I know I know, everyone loves them," he laughed, taking my hand and holding it in his.
"Seriously though, Harry, I like you for your personality too. Your sense of humor, your positive outlook on everything…"
"Thanks, Grace." His green eyes bore into mine, and he leaned in closer until his lips were almost touching mine.
"Anytime," I whispered.
Harry leaned in and kissed me softly. Our lips met, and it was perfect. All too soon he pulled away to make sure I was okay with it. Assured that I had absolutely no problem with us kissing (!), he once more put his lips on mine.
This time it was deeper. His arms wrapped around my waist as he pulled me closer, kissing me hard. My hands found their way to his head and I twirled his curls with my fingers. I never wanted this to end.
When we finally stopped for air, the smile Harry wore on his face was huge. I'm pretty sure that if I had looked in the mirror, I would have seen that mine was just as big.
"So, are you enjoying your trip to California?" He asked me, wrapping his arm around my shoulder and holding me tight.
"Enjoying is the biggest understatement ever."
The future was unknown, but at that moment, I didn't have a care in the world.
I am SO sorry that this took so long… I know I promised it like a week ago but I've had a bunch of stuff get in the way of finishing it. The other requests will be up asap!
I hope you like it. I know I write kinda cheesy imagines.
Let me know what you think! :)
Thanks for reading!
P.S. If you like stories about a girl named Grace (but not the same one) my movella In Perfect Harmony is a Liam fanfic with Grace as the main character. Check it out if you like :) xx