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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8. Getting Down to Business

Grace's POV

I woke up to sunlight streaming through the blinds in Andrea's room. I turned to the alarm clock and freaked when I saw what time it was. "Shit! It's 8:20!" I exclaimed out loud to myself. I was due at the studio at 9:00 and I didn't want to be late on my first day. Racing into the bathroom, I turned on the shower and brushed my teeth frantically as I waited for the water to get warm. I glanced in the mirror and jumped at the sight of my own appearance- I had total raccoon eyes from my makeup. When I had finished, at the sink, I quickly stripped out of my clothes and took the fastest shower known to man. I dried myself off and ran into my bedroom in my towel, where I found Leah, still fast asleep. I grabbed a pair of high-waisted denim shorts and a light pink shirt, throwing them on before applying a tiny bit of mascara, eyeliner and lip gloss. My wet hair went into a bun, and I slipped into my white flip-flops. I was almost out the door when I realized I should probably leave a note for Leah. I scrawled a message onto a Post-it and left it on the counter, leaving the apartment with my bag slung over my shoulder.

I reached the studio at exactly 8:58, breathing a sigh of relief as I opened the door and went straight back to the writing room, where some of the boys were already settled.

"Hey," I greeted Zayn, Louis and Liam.

"You made it!" Louis exclaimed. "We thought you might forget."

"Haha, I'd never let an opportunity like this slip away, Lou."

"I, for one, knew you'd come," Liam spoke up, coming over to greet me. He pecked my cheek as he embraced me in a hug.

I could feel Louis and Zayn's eyes on us. I wondered if Liam had told the others about us.

"Erm, Liam, is there something you failed to tell us?" There was my answer.

A grin spread across Liam's face as he took my hand and turned to face them. "There is, in fact, but I think it's only right to wait for Niall and Harry." He sat down on the loveseat and patted the seat next to him, so I took a seat.

"Where are they, by the way?" I asked Liam.

"Harry and Niall were so wasted last night, I can only imagine that they're maybe waking up about now with a terrible hangover. "

"That's right," I chuckled. "When I left my apartment, Leah was still out cold. What about Josh?"

"Josh had a doctor's appoinment or something," Zayn spoke for the first time that morning. "He said he might not make it today."

"Alright, then. Should we just start brainstorming until they get here?" I was enthusiastic about getting to work.

"Sounds great, babe," Liam agreed. I had to admit that hearing him call me 'babe' gave me butterflies inside.

"Oooh oooh oooh, I know!" Louis reminded me of an excited schoolboy jumping out of his seat to answer a question.

"Yes Louis?" I guess I was the teacher.

I think we should write about how nobody outside our social circle really knows about us, like our relationships and stuff. It can be difficult for Eleanor and Perrie to be in this madness sometimes."

"Sounds like a great start! Now we just need lyrics, a catchy chorus, and music!" Songwriting brought me a joy that was impossible to explain.

"We could start with the concept that "they don't know about us," they being the fans and everyone else who thinks they know everything about our lives."

"That would be perfect, Zayn! To be honest, I've never really experienced life in the spotlight, so you guys are going to be doing most of the hardcore 'thinking.'"

"Hate to break it to ya Grace, but with all of these happenings I think that you might start to catch the eye of the media." Liam had such an honest soul.

"I guess you're right, Liam. I'll just have to face what comes. I hope they like me, though." I bit my lip. What if too much attention ruined my reputaion before I've even started my career?

"By the way, I don't think she mentioned it last night, but in addition to being my good friend, Leah's my manager."

Liam looked surprised. "Yeah, she never said a word about that." He laughed. "Now I know I guess. She should probably come one of these days and we can talk about the album writing and stuff."

As Liam was finishing his sentence, a blonde boy, a curly-haired one, and a straight-haired girl made their way through the door. All three were wearing sunglasses and looked miserable.

"Tough night?" Louis asked, smirking.

Harry lowered his glasses enough so Lou could see him glaring.

Niall immediately plopped down on a couch, putting his feet up on the coffee table, while Harry turned to the girl behind him and motioned for her to take a seat next to him.

"Leah, is that you?" Now I was the surprised one.

"Yup," she said. I could detect a hint of a groan. She was definitely hungover.

"I got Harry's number last night, so when I saw your note this morning, I asked him to pick me up so we could talk business."

"Well thanks," I replied. "Should we get to work? There's a deadline for this album and a lot to be done before then."

"Maybe we should do a Starbucks run. I work best with a full stomach."

Harry laughed. "Niall, I watched you consume 3 bowls of cereal when I picked you up. If you want to go though, be my guest."

"You know I would never turn down food, Harry. Unfortunately, I have already made myself comfortable on this sofa, so I believe it is someone else's lucky day. I vote you."

Harry rolled his eyes. "Fine you lazy bum. Leah, care to come with me?"

I couldn't help but crack up. Niall was so lazy, and he got away with it, probably because no one could resist his cuteness.

Leah seemed to perk up. "Sure. Everyone write down what they want."

She passed around a piece of paper, and five minutes later, the two were out the door.

"Well then, I guess the talking will have to wait. Let's get writing!" Yeah, I was slightly paranoid about getting started, but I just wanted the album to be perfect.

(A/N Just pretend for the sake of the storyline that They Don't Know About Us wasn't on the Take Me Home album... thanks!)

"So Zayn, what's something about your relationship with Perrie that you think the media and the fans don't understand?" I had my notebook out and was ready to roll.

"Like, when we were first going out, we let everyone see how affectionate we were for one another. We got a lot of criticism that we were taking things too fast, and that we were young and our 'love' wouldn't really last," Zayn replied.

"Ok, great start! How about this- People say, we shouldn't be together,"

"We're too young, to know about forever," Liam piped in.

I turned to face him. "Yes, yes, yes! Keep going!"

"But I say, they don't know what they're talk-talk-talking about," Louis continued.

"But this love, is only getting stronger," Liam added.

"And I don't want to wait, any longer. I just wanna tell the world that you're mine, girl. " Zayn finished.

I was struggling to keep up with writing the lyrics on paper. I had to admit, I was shell-shocked that the three had come up with that so fast. "That was fantastic guys! At this rate, we'll write enough for 3 albums by the deadline!"

Looking around, Liam, Zayn and Louis all had proud looks on their faces. Niall, however, was still sprawled on the couch, playing around with a Rubix cube that had been on the table. He looked more than disinterested- it was more sad and disappointed. I hated seeing anyone upset, ever.

"You okay Niall?"

"Hmm?" He glanced up long enough to make brief eye contact with me. "Yeah, sure," he mumbled, sighing, before returning to his game.

I looked at Liam, who mouthed back,"I'll explain later." I nodded and continued,"Ok- so we have a first verse; let's work on a second before we tackle the chorus!"

By the time Harry and Leah returned with the Starbucks a half hour later, we had written two verses, the chorus, and the final chorus. The only thing missing was the bridge.

"How about, 'They don't know what we do best- it's between me and you our little secret, but I wanna tell 'em, I wanna tell the world that you're mine, girl.'"

I wasn't sure whether to be impressed with Harry's quick thinking or to raise my eyebrows at the idea of a "little secret," either way, I was happy to have already finished the first song so quickly.

"That was great guys- how about we break while we drink our coffee, and we can talk with Leah and stuff."

I turned to Liam, suddenly self-concious."Ugh, I feel like I'm being bossy and I really don't mean to be I just want everything to be great and I'm sorry," I confessed.

Liam looked surprised. "Grace, you're doing great. Leadership is what we need, I promise you. If I feel like you're getting too controlling, I'll let you know, alright?"

"Okay, if you say so," I replied.

After Leah had talked to Liam and Louis, who seemed to know the most about the negotiations involved in album-producing, it was decided how much profit I would earn. Thankfully, with the huge success the boys had already achieved, it was enough to live on for the next couple of months (combined with what I had already saved), so I could temporarily stop working at the diner and focus on the studio. 

"Hey, if everyone could listen, Grace and I have an announcement," Liam spoke up.

"Liam you bad boy! I can't believe you already got her pregnant!" Louis exclaimed.

Liam's cheeks turned bright red. "She's not pregnant Louis. I asked Grace to be my girlfriend."

"Hey congrats bro! I knew you'd get her!" Harry grinned cheekily. 

Louis and Zayn seemed happy too as they congratulating us, and Niall smiled before returning to his blueberry muffin. "If he doesn't treat you well Grace, I'll take care of him," he mumbled through a mouth full of food. I could tell he was grinning.

"Thank you, Ni, I'll keep that in mind." I looked over at Liam, who was rolling his eyes.

"Grace I'm so happy for you!" Leah ran over to me. "You guys are amazing together. We'll have to talk later, you sneaky girl."

"Thanks, Leah. You're too sweet. I promise we will! Oh gosh-I hope I'm not in trouble!" I joked. I couldn't stop myself from smiling as Liam took my hand in his.

For the rest of the day, we tossed around ideas and started a couple of songs, leaving them unfinished. Leah decided to just hang around; I think she found simply being in the room to be extremely entertaining. 

Liam called it quits around 5:30; we had worked our brains enough for the day, and were unable to come up with any more rhymes or "deep" lyrics. He spoke up as I was gathering my notebook and bag.

"So, Grace, I was thinking maybe we could go out to eat- it's been a long day and I really want to get to know you better. That sounds cliché, but it's true."

"Sure!" I replied. "I mean, if you don't mind me going casual." 

"Not at all. I'll get the car and pull it up front." I watched as he disappeared out the door. 

I walked over to Leah. "Eeek! So Liam and I are going out to eat- what are your plans?"

As I was speaking, Harry came up behind Leah. "I was just about to ask her the same thing. Leah, want to go out tonight? I was thinking maybe Chinese."

A huge smile spread across her face. "I'd love to, Haz! Grace, I'll text you later." She winked at me before saying goodbye and leaving with Harry.

Just then, Liam popped his head in the door. "The car's out front, Grace, whenever you're ready."

"Okey dokey. Bye Niall! Zayn, say hi to Perrie for me, and same for Eleanor Louis."

I barely waited for them to nod in acknowledgement before I was out the door. Liam was taking me on a date! I wasn't sure I would ever finish fangirling over this relationship thing. Oh well.

As I went outside, I was hit with a wall of humidity. Since it was the middle of July, I was expecting warm weather, but it was actually super hot. 

"Oh, thanks Liam!" I said as he opened the passenger side door for me. He came around to the driver's seat while I put on my seatbelt.

"Ugh, thank heavens for air conditioning!" I exclaimed as he turned on the engine. Liam laughed in reply. "I have to agree with you on that one. I'm still used to London weather- cool, rainy, and dreary, with the occasional warm day."

"I bet it's a great place to live, though. I've always wanted to visit England!"

We spent the rest of the car ride comparing life in the two countries, with Liam trying to convince me how great the U.S. was, while I attempted to explain that in my opinion, it really wasn't as fantastic as foreigners think. I finally agreed, with him, however, to get him off my case. I mean, if it wasn't for New York, I never would have met Liam Payne.

****

A/N

Ugh I'm so sorry it took me so long to update- life has been crazy!

I'm asking for 3 votes before I post a new chapter. I hope you like the story so far... 

Remember to Comment/Favorite :) I'd love suggestions about characters, etc.

-Katie

P.S. Copyright notice-None of the lyrics used above are my own, I understand that they are the property of One Direction. :D

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