Sour Milk, an Austin and Ally oneshot
I do not own Austin and Ally. This is a prequel for Crack the Moon, as requested by Mystik225. Hopefully this was what you were looking for. Reviews are appreciated!
The milk should have waited until morning. She's on her knees in the parking lot, crying her eyes out, a spilt and sour puddle of milk beside her.
"Ally?" He stoops down to her level. His new shoes get drenched by the milk.
There goes forty dollars out the window. Twenty really, as only one of the shoes got soaked. Nevertheless worth it.
Kicking the carton away, he sits down. The puddle hits the hem of his jeans.
"You're sitting in sour milk." She sniffles, as her nose is now running.
"You're crying," he responds. It's not to annoy her, pointing out the obvious, but he figures that he has to get to the bottom of this, and being direct is the best way to do it.
Sniffle, no words.
He wraps an arm around her. Then the other, cocooning her from the throes of the world around her.
Buying milk to bake a birthday cake should not leave a girl in this many tears.
"Oh come on. Don't cry over spilt milk," he jokes. Without knowing what's wrong, he can't help her. Making her laugh seems to be his only hope.
"I'm not." She sniffles a third time. He hasn't a tissue, and he's not getting up to retrieve the napkins from his glove box. He offers her his shirt.
Imagine this. Austin Moon, sitting in a puddle of sour milk, snot on his tee shirt from a weeping Ally. One can draw two conclusions from this.
For starters, something is gravely wrong with her.
Secondly, he loves her. Let's focus on the first point.
"Then why are you crying?" He loops his arms back around her as she lets his shirt drop.
"I- I can't tell you." She turns away sheepishly.
He grabs her face, determined to make her look at him. There's so much fear in her eyes his hand drops.
Something is seriously wrong. She's acting like he was going to hurt her.
His hand goes for hers, and he can feel her trembling beneath his touch. "Ally, you're scaring me."
The girl he loves is kneeling in old gum, convulsing by her sobs. A million different scenarios are running through his head, because he's pretty sure she's not crying over the fact that her knee is stuck to the ground.
He kisses her cheek, trying to calm her down. She backs away.
"Please tell me."
"He said he'd kill me if I told anybody." She swallows a ball of phlegm forming in her throat. Why can't she stop crying?
Austin places his hands gently under her armpits, hoisting her up into his lap. He's done it before, like last week when they'd run out of seats at the Independence Day picnic, but never with the intentions of holding her tight and whispering comforting words in her ear.
"Shh, shhh. I'm here now. I'm not going to leave you." Rubbing her back, he tacks on three words, so quietly that he doesn't think she can hear him beneath the sobs. "I love you."
Her sobbing pauses. "I- I."
He places a finger to her lips. He wants to hear those words when she's in the right state of mind.
"Think you're ready to get off the ground now?" he asks. They can't stay here all night, or they're going to get run over.
"Yeah." She clings onto him as they stand up.
"You're staying with me tonight." It's an order. He doesn't want her home alone in her apartment while Trish is away.
He buckles her in, flicking on his headlights. They pull out of the parking lot. The milk is still on the ground, and his shoe, soaking into his socks.
She bites her lip. Pushing her thoughts aside, she speaks.
"What were you doing at the corner mart at this time of night anyway?"
"Looking for you."
She's too tired to push it.
(the page breaks here)
It's three in the morning when she rolls off his couch.
Tonight, he's sleeping on the floor. She falls into him, eliciting a, "What happened?"
"I fell." She goes to stand up, but he grabs a hold of her. Dez is asleep in the other room, and if she breaks into another round of sobs, she's going to wake him. He's pretty certain she doesn't want him to be asking what's wrong. She won't even tell him.
That's a noise he's not familiar with.
Sitting erect, Austin pats the mound of pillows next to him. "Ally, what happened?"
He's not talking about the sudden impact to his rib cage. It may be bruised, but those are minor details.
Taking a good half foot distance from him, she breathes. It's deep, and she almost forgets to let it out. His questioning eyes plead that she exhales.
The air comes out as a rush. The words flow with it.
"I was sexually abused."
He chokes on air.
He'll take her teardrops as a yes.
Inching closer, he takes her hand. Everything is a bit clearer now. The fear of touch. Refusing to share a bed with him. All the tears.
She scoots to her right. A pillow slides out from underneath her, making her hit the floor.
Tugging her to him, he makes space in his sleeping bag. This conversation was designed for whispers.
"Ally, we need to tell somebody about this." He leaves the bag unzipped so she has a means of escape.
"If I do, he said he'll kill me." She buries her head into his chest. Finding his heartbeat, she settles. "I can't even pick him out in a lineup. Everything was all blurry. I couldn't stop crying."
He pulls her tighter, then thinks better of it. The grip loosens.
"Please don't leave me."
"I wasn't planning on it."
He could make some joke about her privacy in the bathroom, or that they live ten minutes apart, but he feels his heart speed up. She can feel it too.
That's a promise.
(the page breaks here)
It's her father's birthday, and they don't have a cake. They'd planned a surprise party, the entire family, and that was her responsibility. She was going to bake it last night so it'd be as fresh as possible.
The only thing that was fresh was the blood stains.
He broke her, body and spirit. Your first time is supposed to be magical, with someone you love. She was holding out.
Austin was going to be her first.
He takes her to her apartment, sliding his key into the lock. Thrusting his body into the door, as it always sticks, he gets it open. His calm demeanor returns. Taking her hand, they go into her apartment.
There on the counter is a recipe book. There's a canister of flour holding the pages open.
"Do you want help packing?" They've agreed that she's moving in with him until Trish returns from her trip. Of all weeks to have a family reunion, they had to pick this one. Had he known? Or did he pick the prettiest girl of the lot like a prize at the carnival, a result of pure happenstance?
There was nothing pure about what happened last night.
She leads him to her closet, removing hangers from the first three shirts she finds. They're all blue, as her clothes are sorted by color. It matches her mood.
He folds the shirts into quarters. "Do want me to order a cake for your dad's party?"
That's another thing they agreed to. They're going to go, act like nothing is wrong, because that's what she wants. He still wants to tell the authorities. But all she remembers is that he was tall and white, and that he smelled like a combination of cheeseburgers and cheap wine.
"The party is in less than two hours. I think we're just going to have to pick up one of those pre-made ones." Reaching for the hem of her dress, she frowns. "Could you turn around, close your eyes?"
"Sure." He walks over to the window, ignoring the rustle of fabric over her head. He can't catch a reflection, not that he's trying. He's been curious, but this isn't the time to investigate.
"I'm going to burn this dress."
It's a flowing summer number. He adores her in it, the way it flares out when she spins. Still, he understands her reasoning. "I'll grab the matches."
He backs up, half turned around when she calls out to him.
"No! I'm not dressed yet." She shuffles past a sea of greens and yellows to the reds. Voice muffled by the fabric, "I'm stuck."
The dress, an old favorite of hers, doesn't fit the way it used to. Her curves have been setting in, slowly, but steadily. She wiggles around. This reminds her of last night, her dress around her waist. He hadn't bothered to pull it off. He was far too hasty to spend time on such trivial things.
That did not save her from all the groping.
"Um, do you need help?"
"I've got this," she says. The grunts that come after prove she's lying.
"I promise to keep my eyes closed."
His fingers are gentler than her attacker's. He fumbles for a second, running his hand along her waist to find where the fabric has gotten stuck.
Austin inhales. He's not sure if he's meant to be helping her out of it or into it, but either way, this is a new level of closeness for them. He'd imagined by the time they'd gotten this far, she wouldn't be trembling under his touch. He thought that they'd be laying in the moonlight, his mouth on hers. He imagined many more things that he won't list, because he can't get excited now. He has to be the caring best friend.
There's no way he's going to be a mere addition to the roster of people to violate her innocence.
"You may want to open your eyes before you dislocate my shoulder." His eyes open, and he sees hers have snapped closed. In one swift motion, he collects the fabric, pulling it up, over her arms and head.
His eyes shut. He doesn't know when she's going to open hers, and he does not want to be caught gawking.
"I'm going to go find those matches."
He bumps into the door frame. He notes the clattering of the hangers, closing the door once he's through.
(the page breaks here)
It's been an ordinary day so far. Seventeen hours of sleeping and eating and making music.
She leans across the table of the cafe, knocking the napkin dispenser off. It draws attention to them. A quick smile, bending over to pick it up. He takes a bite of his turkey sandwich. Show's over people.
"What were you doing going through my garbage?" She wipes her mouth.
"I wasn't. Trish saw it, and asked me about it. She thought that you and I were," he scans the room, "doing the deed."
"We're just friends."
Who happen to hold hands, and give cheek kisses, and cuddle, and have every benefit that does not violate her innocence. But right, they're just friends.
He takes the stick off the table.
"Are you pregnant?" he mouths. There's a kid watching them, and he hopes that he can't read lips.
She shrugs, nodding her head. Nothing is for certain until she checks with the doctor. "I'm late."
As he recalls, she missed last month too.
Palm sweat gets rubbed off on his jeans. His breathing speeds up. He shouldn't be nervous, as it's not his child, but his nerves are acting up over something else.
"Can I go to the doctor's with you?" They're going to get through this. He's going to be there for the child, no matter who the father is.
"My appointment is Thursday, during your band rehearsal."
"I'll cancel it."
Playing with her straw, she begins to reply. "You don't have to-"
"I want to."
(the page breaks here)
Stopping at the red light, he makes an impromptu decision to put his right blinker on.
"Where are you going? My apartment is that way." Ally points to the traffic that is now flowing in the direction of home.
"I'm taking you and baby out for ice cream."
His knuckles tighten around the wheel as he slams on the break. Way to cut off a pregnant lady bucko.
"Well, we don't know the gender yet. I don't want to offend them." They take the only free space at the edge of the lot.
He escorts her to an umbrella table, promising to come back with her order.
The doctor had confirmed it. She was pregnant, with some stranger's baby. Somebody that never knew her, never loved her. He never knew how she chewed her hair when she was nervous, like how she had done in the waiting room. He never knew that she loved Fruity Mint Swirl, or that she'd be craving pickles for the remainder of the year.
He'd never know how beautiful, or handsome, his child would be. He wouldn't attend parent-teacher conferences, or pick them up from ballet and karate, or watch them in their first concert, even if it was only the mandatory third grade chorus.
Hopefully he can be the father that man will never be.
He loves Ally, and he will love this child.
"Your order?" the cashier repeats.
"Two cones. One Fruity Mint Swirl, one Cookie Dough." He takes the change out of his wallet, obliging to sign an autograph while he waits.
Somebody has joined them at their table. He sits next to her, rubbing his hand over her belly subtly, as to not cause a scene. That's all they need, is the press putting pieces of the puzzle together.
The wrong pieces, bent and crooked.
This wasn't what he had in mind, but he's going to roll with it.
(the page breaks here)
They're back at the doctor's. There's jelly on her stomach, and he thinks she's busy watching the baby on the screen.
"Why are you looking at me like that?"
"Like what?" He tears away his eyes, though he knows it's too late.
She raises an eyebrow at him.
The technician moves the transducer. "How long have you two been together?"
"We're just friends," Ally says, hoping that they aren't at this much longer. It's been half an hour now, and she has to use the bathroom.
Friends that check each other out on the examination table.
"About that..." He drifts off, watching the screen. She makes a noise, prompting him to continue.
He disregards the noise. "Austin, is there something you'd like to say?"
"Well?" she asks when he doesn't elaborate.
Just because he wants to say it, doesn't mean he can.
"What gender is the baby?" That's been on the tip of his tongue all week. She can take those words.
The technician looks to Ally for consent. She grants it.
"She's having a boy."
(the page breaks here)
He's passed the scissors.
"Are you sure you want me to do this, not the doctor?" He swallows nervously. He could mess up, and this kid will have the world's ugliest belly button. They'll put him on display, and point and laugh, because look at the kid with the weird navel. Could his father not cut right? Loser.
"You've been with me these past nine months. You're far more of a father to this baby than he ever would be." A tear falls down his cheek. It matches hers.
He manages to successfully do his job. The baby is screaming, but he's heard over the noise.
"I love you."
"I love you too." She waves goodbye to the baby as he's whisked off for testing.
In the quiet, he finds the opportunity to ask the golden question. "Will you go out with me?"
He's sweating and nervous, an unusual sight.
It'd be a shame not to mess with him.
"I'm not allowed to leave the hospital yet." Staring him dead in the eye, she smiles.
He kisses her. Hair ragged, gown rumpled, in the middle of a hospital room, they share that first kiss that they'll someday tell their son about.
Only when he's ready.
In the meantime, he'll go back to kissing her.
(the page breaks here)
Dez and Trish come to visit the newborn.
"Aww, he's so cute," Dez coos, cradling the baby. The baby giggles without abandon.
"And loud. How am I going to get any sleep at night?" Trish stands on her toes. That baby may be loud, but it is cute. "I need my beauty sleep."
"Yeah you do."
Eye daggers are shot. He passes the baby off to Austin.
With tiny fingers up his nose, he answers. "We've been meaning to talk to you guys about that."
"We were thinking that Dez and I could trade places, temporarily, until I'm able to take care of him myself. That way neither of you will lose sleep, or have to find a new place to live." She sinks into the pillow. They've grown a tolerance for each other. It wouldn't be so bad to do this as a favor to a friend, would it?
"You're kidding, right?" Trish crosses her arms,
"I wanted to get us all a house, but Ally said you wouldn't agree to it." He yanks the fingers out of his nose.
The baby squeals as his stomach gets tickled.
"How soon are you moving out?"
(the page breaks here)
He flings the covers back, exposing his body to the air conditioning.
"Jabber, what is it?" he walks over to the crib, sticking his fingers between the bars. He's had the nickname all of two weeks, thanks to that big mouth of his, but he already responds to it, unlike his given name.
He picks him up. The diaper squishes in his hand.
So that's the problem. He'd cry too if he was sitting in his own waste.
It's too early to turn the light on. Grabbing a new diaper, he takes him out into the kitchen. A few paper towels get laid out, Jabber set on top of them.
"Let's get you changed and then back to sleep, okay buddy? I don't want to wake your mom." In the dim light, he undoes the diaper. He's gotten used to this. It's down to a science.
He hasn't discovered how to make him fall asleep.
There's a rocking chair in his living room, a gift from her parents. They rock together. His voice is soft above the sounds of the night, singing promises of mocking birds and diamond rings.
Lullabies promise the stupidest things.
So he sings a different song. One that promises things like love and protection. Those things he can guarantee.
The diamond ring is going to take some time.
But hey, what's the rush?
"Can't get him to fall back asleep?" She comes out wrapped in her robe. He must look ridiculous, rocking in his boxers.
"Nope." He rubs his eyes when she removes the baby from his arms.
"Time for bed sweetie. Papa's getting tired."
Papa. He likes the sound of that. Mom and Papa. Ally and Austin.
He likes it a lot.