~I glared my way around the music room. Every single awesome musical instrument was taken. There was only one lone xylophone left. And I hated xylophones. The senior block of the school sat above the music rooms, and every time we had an exam, the juniors would have a music lesson. And, of course, with a class set of xylophones the clanging of mallets against the annoying instruments would travel upwards and permeate the classrooms above. There’s only so much of the ridiculous clinking sounds you can stand without wanting to throw something out the window. And, here I was, standing before the demonic tuned percussion. I glared at it. Life was cruel sometimes.
There were only five girls in the Year 12 music class, myself included. And this got me asking that very important question: why the hell would the boys from ‘One Direction’ come to our school all the way out here in Australia to emphasize the importance of music at school, when honestly our school didn't have too large a music section in itself. They were due to come down and join our class within the next ten minutes, and put together a song. Now, that was easy for Alana and Emma, the twins; Alana could play piano and Emma usually sung. Loren had brought her flute and was happily tooting away in one of the practice rooms, warming up her instruments. That left me and Renee. Renee had taken the lone drumkit that sat in the centre of the room, next to the piano and under the whiteboard. All I had going for me was a xylophone, or those little percussion instruments. Worse still, we all had to throw together a song as a group. What the hell was I supposed to do?
To my utmost embarrassment, the boys from One Direction finally made their appearance. Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, and finally Niall Horan stepped through the wooden door to the dingy music room. There was no air conditioner in this summer heat, and it was almost unbearable. They were all sweaty, used to having their winter before the Christmas break instead of summer at this time of year. But they were all grinning wildly.
“Hi!” Harry began a conversation with the twins, and Loren came bounding out of the practice room to join in. The others marched on over too, and Renee also joined in the conversation. I stayed by the far wall, unseen by all. I felt so out of place without my guitar, violin and cello. Yes, you could say I was one of the most extreme musicians in the room; I could play any string instruments and also some brass and woodwinds. At home, my dad had always made sure I could express myself through music and art, which he believed to be important, spiritually. Others thought he was nuts.
I grimaced and stared at the wall, boredly. I sighed. I knew they’d pay me no attention, what with this stupid god-awful xylophone. Plus I was really plain looking compared to the other girls. I was really short, and had very fair skin that burnt so easily in the Australian summer. I also wore rectangular glasses that framed my eyes. They were fashionable, but most girls wore contacts instead. Those evil things made my eyes itch. Nothing like the tall and tanned blonde bomb-shells that lined the beaches. Suddenly, I felt a poke on my arm. I jumped involuntarily and squeaked, accidentally flicking my layered auburn hair in the boy’s face.
“Hello!” I turned around in surprise to see Niall Horan, standing next to me.
“Uh, hi…?” I responded bashfully. I went back to concentrating on my wall.
“Why, you’re a quiet one, aren’t you?” he asked, playfully poking me again on the arm. I swatted him away, blushing. I wasn’t usually one for liking boys with accents, but his Irish accent was like music to my ears. He was so short, sweet and kind as he sat there next to me. I guess he thought I needed some company.
“What’s yer name?” I shrugged.
“Lissie, but everyone calls me Liss.” He nodded.
“That’s a nice name. I like it.” I blushed some more.
“So, what instrument do you play?” he asked. I scowled at him.
“I play xylophone,” I said as though extremely offended. But I lightened up immediately; I couldn’t help being honest. “Nah, actually I’m a violinist, cellist and guitarist. I can also play clarinet, saxophone and trumpet.” His eyes widened and he looked me up and down. I shook my head and grinned.
“I kid you not.” He laughed and slapped a hand on my shoulder.
“Hey, we’re supposed to make a song during the period, aren’t we?” he asked playfully.
“That’s the idea.” I looked down at the instrument. “But I got here late, so all I scored was this dodgy xylo.”
“Can you sing?” he asked pointedly. I thought for a moment. Should I or shouldn’t I? I could lie to save myself the embarrassment at being a second-rate vocalist to this star. I watched him carefully. But I couldn’t lie to that face.
“Yeah, a little. But I’m obviously not as good as you.” I admitted sheepishly. He smiled sweetly at me. “I mean, I do like singing, but I don’t actually sing when people are listening.”
“Doesn’t matter. Let’s be music partners, and maybe we’ll be able to put something together.” He grabbed a mallet out of my hand and began taping it expertly on the keys of the tuned percussion instrument. I glanced into his eyes. God, he had long eyelashes.
“What do you have in mind?” I asked.
“Well, you know I did ‘So Sick of Love Songs’ by Ne-yo for my audition, right?” I nodded.
“You did good, by the way,” I muttered under my breath. Oh crap, I felt a blush coming on! It must have been his gorgeous, curly blonde hair and his deep, beautiful blue eyes.
“Well, I still know the chords, so we could do a new take on it.”
“Sure,” I smiled at him. “As long as you do all the singing. I reckon I’m tone deaf.” He laughed and we started organizing ourselves.
Actually, we made a good music duo. He was really good with music theoretically. He knew all of his scales and chords and was actually a really good teacher. And he was very persuasive. Actually, around him I wasn’t shy anymore. He managed to get me of all people to sing aloud with him. And I fancied our voices worked together perfectly. Our tones were very similar. Finally, it was time to perform.
Mmmm mmm yeah
Do do do do do do dodo
Gotta change my answering machine
Now that I’m alone
Cuz right now it says that we
Can’t come to the phone
And I know it makes no sense
Cuz you walked out the door
But it’s the only way I hear your voice anymore
We skipped the rest of the words and ran straight into the chorus. Niall and I sung in unison, smiling at each other. The other boys from One Direction’s eyes widened as they heard our voices meshing as one. I looked over to find Zayn and Harry tapping their toes. Liam was grinning cheesily and gave me the thumbs up. Finally, it seemed, they had recognized my existence. Some of the girls gave me confused and startled looks. I wasn’t one to usually sing in front of anyone.
And I’m so sick of love songs
So tired of tears
So done with wishing you were still here
Said I’m so sick of love songs
So sad and slow
So why can’t I turn off the radio?
As we finished the last few chords with clinking on the xylophone, we were met by wild applause from the rest of One Direction. The other boys came up to me one by one, and smiled and introduced themselves. I smiled sadly as I realized that soon, they would all have to leave and fly down to Melbourne from here in Sydney to visit another school. Actually, in the short few minutes of talking to Liam, Zayn, Harry and Louis, I came to see them all as regular guys, not boys that had been catapulted to fame on a tv show. I realized that in any other circumstance, if they hadn’t been born and brought up in England, they would have definitely been good friends of mine.
The twins, Alana and Emma, as well as the other two girls, Loren and Renee, stood beside me as we hugged and said goodbye to the boys. Niall stole my phone and put his name, address, e-mail and phone number in it.
“I want to keep in touch with you,” he explained, handing it back to me. “You’re a really nice girl and I think one day you’ll be famous too.” I couldn’t help but smile happily at his compliment. “And when that happens, I want you to tell me. And then we can go on tour together!”
“Bye Niall, it was nice singing with you.” I sighed and hugged him in farewell. I didn’t truly believe that I would ever become famous; the poor, naïve boy was definitely dreaming. I watched, wiping a tear from my eye, as their small tour bus exited the school gates.
Fast-forward 3 years
I exited the doorway of the studio with an excited look on my face, running straight into the arms of my dad.
“Well?” he asked expectantly. I started tearing up in his warm embrace.
“I did it!” His eyes widened and we stood there a moment longer, letting everything sink in. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect Niall’s idea would actually come true. About a month ago I had sent in a demo CD to Universal music, hardly expecting any response at all. I had done it on a whim. Now, being in my third year of uni, I felt life was just beginning. But still, I had had no direction whatsoever.
And, ironically, there was only ‘one direction’ that would present itself. And that was Niall’s continual nagging for me to take something in to a studio to see if I could break through. And I just did. I quickly whipped out my phone and texted Niall. He was back in Australia at the moment touring with the boys, but they were up north at Queensland at the moment.
“You need a break,” my dad whispered into my ear. “I bought you a one-way ticket up to the Gold Coast, where they’re touring.” I jumped on him in surprise.
“Dad, that’s awesome!”
I was met at Gold Coast airport by the smiling faces of One Direction. I was pulled into excited hugs by each of the members in turn. They all led me excitedly to their tour van and took me to a fancy restaurant. They had booked out a whole function room just for us. It was late and we were just about to start dessert, when I heard a clinking on glass. We all went silent.
“I’d just like to say a few words.” It was Niall who had spoken. Everyone smiled at me, watching my expression carefully. I sat there, oblivious.
“We all knew that this amazing girl was going to make it!” he grinned at me. “Me more than others.” I blushed at him. Everyone clapped at his words and I sat there in stunned silence.
“And, as most of you know, I have something else to say.” The room was hushed again. “I want to ask Liss if she would like to be my girlfriend.” My eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
“Say what?” I choked out. He repeated the question. I nodded madly.
“Niall, of course! Why would I not want to be with you?” I began ranting at him, but I was later silenced by a kiss on the lips. I gasped and had immediately had nothing left to say. We received a few wolf-whistles from Harry, Zayn and Louis and I received a congratulatory hug from Liam.
“Welcome to the family!” he said with a smile. Dessert was served, and I moved to sit on Niall’s lap, grabbing his spoon for him and digging into his cake for him. I took the first bite.
“Hey!” he growled at me, looking into my flashing grey-green eyes. I giggled and took another spoonful, this time pressing it gently to his lips. He smiled and swallowed, and gave me another kiss. Music began to play in the background. It was ‘So Sick of Love Songs’, the very song we first ever sung together.