The Final Petal
The Final Petal, an Austin and Ally one-shot
I do not own Austin and Ally, or Love in a Box by the Workday Release (the italicized lyrics). This is to fulfill a tumblr prompt. Please enjoy, and remember to review!
The sand slips through her toes, as her foot lifts from the ground, landing on top of his. For the third time this afternoon.
She needs to nail this before the prom. Otherwise she'll be nailing her date's foot to the ground with her high heels.
"This isn't working," she says, breaking from his grasp.
"It will," he promises, weaving her fingers back with his. His voice is unsteady, as if he's trying to convince himself.
Or he's sick of all the bumping and missteps. With all these bruises, he's going to look like a dalmatian.
A tall, upright dalmatian.
In a tuxedo.
His hand pushes forward, signaling for his step. She moves back.
That's not sand under her foot.
Looking down, she sees the beach towel. His cue for her to step forward, not at all. That she misses.
Stumbling, manages to find balance, clamping her hand down on his shoulder.
It's more graceful than the fall that ensues. He tugs her forward, too hard, and she doesn't land on her feet.
Neither does Austin.
Kissing my best friend because he found it appropriate to do so as I scrambled to get off of him?
That was not how she was going to end that sentence. She could, seeing as how it's fact. But an apology was what she had in mind.
His mind was somewhere else. Somewhere her mind had vacationed from time to time, never more than a few minutes, like it was the bus depot, and she could get off, knowing that she'd have to reboard and head home.
This time the driver hits the gas.
He speeds away, not looking back, not saying a word.
"Let's take a break." He walks away, because sticking around gives her the opportunity to ask him what that kiss was about. He'd rather not talk about it.
Talking about it means that it's real. The kiss, his feelings. The internal ones, that don't involve the pain in his feet, the bruises on his body.
Those are safe to call real.
Calling that kiss real is asking for trouble. The kind that comes at six feet and one hundred seventy pounds, with anger management issues and a date to the prom. The one he's supposed to be teaching how to slow dance.
The one he wasn't supposed to kiss.
Which is why when he returns, they resume their lesson, without a word about the kiss.
"I think I'm getting the hang of this." The sand squishes under her foot.
"Yeah, maybe we can add music now." Sand to foot.
"I forgot to bring my speakers." Sand to foot.
"Then we'll make our own." He sings her a slow song, and she's too busy relishing in her ability to not step on his toes to blush. Though she should be, because the way he's looking in her eyes, singing about how he adores her should be making her melt like a popsicle in this sun.
He draws her in, moving his hands to her waist. Naturally, her free hand snakes around his neck. That's when the words hit her.
I'll touch your lips to mine and feel how we have to hold our breath, to make sure we don't miss one moment .
She should ask him what it meant. If that's what it was, a moment. Something that will pass with time.
She thinks she'd like to stay in his arms a bit longer first.
Swirling the punch in her glass, she waits for Leland to return from the bathroom. It's the second time that he's gone, and a small part of her suspects that he's ditching her to spend time with another girl. That would be her luck.
"I'm back," he announces, swinging an uneasy arm around her shoulders.
"Everything okay?" It's the best night of their young lives, so says the flyer, and he's frowning.
Plastering on a smile, he steals a swig of her drink. "Yeah. Just don't eat the shrimp."
The introduction to a slow song plays, and he holds his hand out to her. She takes it, sending a silent prayer that he doesn't toss his cookies all over her dress. It took five months of saving to pay for it, and pre-digested shrimp is not her favorite accessory.
He takes her hand, and the lead. Her heels click to the beat of the song. A song that sounds strangely familiar, though she can't put her finger on it.
It's those deep breaths that get me through the times she's standing next to me.
Taking a step back, she bumps into somebody.
It clicks. Her heels, the answer.
It's their song.
"I'm so sorry," she apologizes, cutting loose to see who she hit. Her breath catches.
"It was my fault," he responds, and his date takes him back, despite his yen to say more. He wants to tell her how well she's doing, and how they're playing their song.
He tells her later, when he's helping her take the bobby pins out of her hair, because there are a million of them, and it's one in the morning, even if the microwave she won at post prom is flashing 12:00. There's no point in adjusting the time when they're going to unplug it again. They just wanted to see if it worked.
They were also hungry for microwave burritos.
"Thanks for teaching me how to slow dance," she says as she waits for her burrito to cool down. No matter how starving she is, having skipped not only the shrimp, but the entire food table, she doesn't want to burn her tongue.
"No problem," he replies. He takes a huge bite of his own burrito, waving at his mouth. The bruises along his arm flash in front of her.
When did bruises lose their status as a problem?
Swallowing, he can feel it burn his throat. He forces a smile. "Love hurts."
She thinks he means his love for burritos, which he had proclaimed ten minutes ago when he found them in her freezer. This makes her laugh.
If she knew what he was really meant, she wouldn't be laughing.
He means her. Arms around another guy, kissing his cheek, holding his hair back as he released the rest of his shrimp in the bushes in the parking lot. Why couldn't she be holding his hair back?
For starters, he doesn't have a 'gorgeous mane of hair' as the girls put it. The ones that swoon over a guy that needs a haircut, all because it flows in the breeze and smells like lavender.
That's very manly, lavender.
For another, he didn't eat the shrimp. He didn't eat a thing all night, because he was dancing with his date, with hopes that Ally would notice him having a good time. Jealousy can go both ways.
Jealousy was a one way street tonight, and he was the driver, headed straight for a dead end.
So take one petal at a time and toss it to the ground.
Her boyfriend is tossing petals to the ground, as the song blaring out of the speakers suggests, repeating the same three words until the flower goes bald.
"She loves me." Leland hands her the stem.
"You don't like it?" he asks as she sets it down in the grass. His foot taps hers, and she gives a small smile. He nudges her. "Doesn't Ally like her flower?"
Giving up on poking her, his fingers take a new approach and tickle her sides. The smile grows.
Seeing that his plan is working, he gets closer, letting them dance across her body. She seeks revenge. Pushing her weight against him, she rolls onto the top.
His eyes widen. So do hers.
Last time she was like this, there was a different boy. One that leaned up and kissed her. Leland does the same.
She reciprocates half-heartedly.
"What's wrong?" He sits up farther, forcing her off, onto her butt.
The song's changed, along with her mood. She isn't feeling playful anymore. She's feeling stuck in a memory she should have forgotten four months back, when he aborted his mission. She wishes she knew what that mission was, why he kissed her. It could be that he was caught up in the moment, like how her boyfriend was now. Then why didn't he come out and say that?
And why has she been mulling it over for the past four months, waiting for the perfect time to ask him?
There will never be a perfect time.
"I lost my flower."
(Trish's Big Day)
Austin's between a rock and a hard place. A hard place that hypothetically could be another rock, as he doesn't know of any soft rocks. Ally probably knows of one, but he doesn't want to ask her. She's part of the problem.
He wants to steal her away from Leland. He snuck a copy of their song onto the disc jockey's playlist, and all it would take is two minutes, and forty two seconds, to win her heart over. Then he'd have her, at the expense of a lavender boy's broken heart.
The right thing would be to let him keep her. They're obviously happy together. So what if he has to live with a broken heart the rest of his life?
There goes the intro. Now's his chance to take her hand, ask her to dance.
"It's our song," he hears. The voice takes her hand, leads her to the dance floor.
This dancing has turned to falling. Words can't do justice to this girl I know.
Irate, he holds a hand out to Didi and asks her to join him. They take the open spot next to Ally and Leland.
"When we get married, this is going to be our first dance," he explains, creeping his hand farther down her side.
"When?" she asks. There's no guarantee that they're going to end up together.
"I think a spring wedding would be nice," he responds, misinterpreting her question.
Austin finds it to be an appropriate time to accidentally bump into her. It wouldn't be their song without a little bruising.
Didi holds back a smile, seeing through his actions. "My bad."
Leland takes a noticeable step to the right, picks up the conversation where they left it. Ally's eyes dart away, and when the song ends, she excuses herself to the bathroom.
When she returns, Trish grabs a hold of her bridesmaid dress and steers her into the crowd of waiting females.
"Ready?" The bouquet flies over her head, into the arms of her best friend.
That's when she makes the pinnacle of mistakes.
She looks at Austin.
The girls around her disperse, some grabbing their handbags so they can commence the long trip home. Nothing as long as the walk over to the table where her boyfriend is sitting, burning a hole in the side of Austin's head, fists clenched. The boys watch her as she crosses the room.
Handing a flower to him, she nods at it. "Our song."
"I thought you might like it." He absent-mindedly plucked the petals off. Then the final petal.
She loves me.
Unclasping her necklace, she hands it to Leland. His fingers fold over the chain.
Sorry that she hurt him. Not sorry for following her heart.
That's something she will never be sorry for.