Stubborn Spot of Gravy
Stubborn Spot of Gravy, an Austin & Ally fiction
Disclaimer: I do not own Austin & Ally. Reviews and requests are always welcome. Special thanks to my first Auslly requester ConverseinDecember, who requested "Ally suffers from writer's block and have Austin try to find her inspiration." Hope you like it.
When Mr. and Mrs. Moon come into the Sonic Boom Tuesday afternoon to say goodbye to their son, Ally is a bit confused.
"There's a frozen turkey dinner in the freezer sweetie. Just follow the instructions on the box." His mother kisses his cheek.
"We should be back by Friday afternoon," his father adds. "We'll call you when we're on the way home."
They finish their goodbyes. Then their gone, and Austin is wiping the lipstick residue off his cheek. Ally closes her book.
"Where are your parents going?" she asks.
He sits on the edge of the counter. "Some networking thing. And then they're going to Thanksgiving at my aunt's house."
He stretches his legs out, almost kicking her as she rounds the counter.
"So you're going to be home alone for Thanksgiving?" Her voice is full of shock.
He shrugs. "Well, I was going to stay with Dez. But he's going to be out of town, so yeah. I guess."
Mr. Dawson walks into the store, and Ally rushes over to him. Austin watches her, and they move behind some customers to get more privacy.
"Dad, can Austin join us for Thanksgiving? His parents are gone, and he's going to be home all alone." She pokes her head around the customers. Austin turns his head, pretending he hasn't been watching her. Okay, so it was only her boots that he could see, but he was watching her.
Her father scratches his head. "I don't know Ally. It was just going to be the two of us, so I didn't buy a turkey."
Her shoulders sag. Still, she will not be deterred.
"We could get a small one. I'm sure there has to be at least one turkey left in Miami. Please dad? I'll take care of everything," she pleads with him.
The crowd clears. Glancing over, he sees Austin, who is again looking over at them. Austin gives a little wave, knowing this time he's been caught. Mr. Dawson waves back.
"Alright." He sighs. Ally beams.
She's gone before he can even say she's welcome.
(the page breaks here)
Dez leaves school early Wednesday. So when it's time for lunch, and Trish is still in line he doesn't sit on his side of the lunch table. Rather, he sidles right up to her side, taking what is supposed to be Trish's seat. She'd argue, but her mouth is full of peanut butter.
Trish approaches the table. She blinks twice at the change in seating arrangement. She shakes her head.
"Austin, that's my seat." She sets her tray on the table.
Ally swallows her sandwich (peanut butter, grape jelly, cut diagonal with crusts removed) and wipes her mouth. She looks at him for an explanation.
He peels the wrapper off his straw. "Just trying something different today. Y'know, with Dez being gone."
Trish sits across from him. She can tell that it's not the only reason he's over there. Lately he's been closer to her. And she's caught him staring at Ally on more than one occasion.
"That explains why it's so quiet," she says like she doesn't already know. She smiles to herself.
Ally digs around in her lunch sack. "Drat. I forgot to bring a fork. Be right back."
When she's gone, Trish pushes her burger aside and leans forward.
"So, when are you going to tell Ally?"
"Tell Ally what?" he asks, positioning the straw over the hole.
"That you love her, duh."
He nearly punctures his juice box.
(the page breaks here)
He's still thinking about it later that afternoon when he's at Sonic Boom. He's telling Ally a story, one that makes her laugh to the point where her cheeks turn pink, and his phone rings. He's too distracted by her that he doesn't notice until she brings it up.
"Are you going to answer that?" She wipes a tear from her eye.
He pulls it from his pocket. The caller id reads his mom's number, and he picks it up as it's about to go to voicemail.
"Austin, we're coming home early. Your aunt got the flu," his mother tells him.
"When are you going to be back?" He frowns. He was looking forward to Thanksgiving with Ally. What better way to spend the holiday than with the person he was most thankful for?
He hears conversation on the other end of the line, most likely her talking to his dad. "We're going to staying the night since we already paid for the hotel, but we should be getting back sometime tomorrow afternoon."
Ally's dinner was scheduled for four o'clock. He could still go. But then they'd come home to any empty house, and Thanksgiving was about being with your family.
"Are we going to do anything for dinner?" There was the possibility that they could go out. There was no way they'd trust him in the kitchen, making a complete turkey dinner.
Not unless they wanted lumpy mashed potatoes.
"Sorry honey. It's too late to make reservations, and by the time we get home I'll be too tired to cook," his mother replies.
He scuffs his shoe against the floor. "It's cool. We can just make that frozen turkey dinner you left me."
Ally taps him on the shoulder. He turns around to see her hand stuck out. He doesn't understand, so she points to the phone.
"I think Ally wants to talk to you," he says, passing the phone to her.
"Mrs. Moon? We're going to have more than enough food if you and Mr. Moon would like to join us for dinner." Austin pushes his head against hers to here the other half of the conversation.
He thinks back to the night of Ally's fundraiser. Trish had told his parents that Mr. Dawson didn't really like them. And while they haven't broken into a fight, they aren't quite as friendly as they used to be. He crosses his fingers.
"We'd hate to put you out," his mother says.
Austin grabs the phone back from her. He's so quick he doesn't register the spark of his hand sliding over hers.
"Ally wouldn't have offered if it would have been a problem." He knows that this probably isn't a hundred percent true. She always puts others first. "I was already going."
He hears a car horn in the background. "Alright. What time?"
"Four." He hears the car horn again, and realizes it's his mother's. She's always been an impatient driver.
"It won't leave much time. We'll have to meet you there. Now I got to go. Mwah." She disconnects.
"We're going to need more potatoes," Ally notes.
He bets hers wont have lumps.
(the page breaks here)
He's in the kitchen helping Ally. She's given him a potato masher, and it's his job to mash the potatoes. Of course.
She's tossing the salad. The doorbell rings, and it startles her. A piece of lettuce goes flying into his pot.
She plucks it out. She inspects his not-so-handy work while she's at it. Throwing the dirtied leaf in the garbage she tells him, "Your potatoes have lumps."
"At least I don't have a tomato in my hair." He wipes his hands on a towel. Carefully he tries to remove the tomato. She's not wearing an apron, and it'd be a shame to get tomato juice on her shirt.
She looks way too cute in that shirt to ruin it.
Then again, she looks cute in everything she wears.
And cooking naked is not an option.
At least, not a viable one.
Mr. Dawson brings his parents into the kitchen. He tosses the tomato in the garbage.
"Everything smells delicious Ally," Mrs. Moon compliments.
"I couldn't have done it without Austin's help." She gives the salad a final toss.
Mr. Moon peers down into the pot, as if to see if she is lying. "Now son, you actually have to mash the potatoes."
(the page breaks here)
The table seats six. The adults are already seated, Moons on one side, and Mr. Dawson on the other. Ally takes a seat next to her father.
Austin takes an extra minute to wash his hands, and when he comes out, he's faced with the decision. Sit between his parents, or sit next to Ally.
He really wants to sit next to Ally.
But it's pretty obvious that they've saved him the seat.
He sits down next to his mother.
The first few minutes are awkward. The friendly conversation seems too forced. He looks up from his peas. He can see Ally, right over the basket of rolls. He can tell by the look on her face that she agrees with him.
"Can somebody pass the salt?" he asks. It's between the two fathers, and they both grab for it.
"No worries Lester, I've got it." His dad tugs the shaker from his hand. A few grains fly out.
Austin takes it. "Thanks dad. And Mr. Dawson."
They both respond at the same time. Their eyes narrow at each other.
He was so going to kill Trish.
(the page breaks here)
Austin and Ally offer to do the dishes. Or rather, Ally offers to let the adults rest while the kids take care of things. And Austin, wanting the alone time with Ally doesn't argue.
Their parents are talking in the living room. Things don't seem as tense since the salt incident. He scrubs at a stubborn spot in the gravy dish.
"Somebody should tell our parents that Trish lied about them hating each other." Her hand covers his and she presses down. Together they scrub, trying to get the spot out.
"It'd be for the best," she agrees.
As they sip at their tea, the parents watch their kids. Mrs. Moon presses her tea bag against the side of the cup with her spoon.
"They are so cute together," she notes, taking a sip. "And I happen to know Austin has a little crush on Ally."
Her husband coughs. "He told you? I thought that was supposed to be a secret."
"It's not a secret. Anybody with two eyes can see he cares about her." She nods in their direction.
"And I think my Ally likes him too." Mr. Dawson turns to see them cheering over the finally defeated stain. She's dancing around, and he's laughing right along, copying her odd moves.
Mrs. Moon nods.
They watch the kids interact. It's so innocent, so sweet that they know they're not parting any time soon. So they might as well get used to each other.
"Lester, what are your dinner plans for next weekend?" she asks, setting her cup down on the coffee table.
"I don't have any. Why?"
"We'd like to repay the favor. Besides," she says, looking right at the kids, "I think we have a lot to talk about."
He marks the date on his calendar.
(the page breaks here)
Saturday morning Ally's brain is absolutely fried. She's gone from cooking Thanksgiving dinner to Black Friday at Sonic Boom to writing that research paper her teacher decided to assign over break. And now that she has a free moment to think, she really doesn't want to.
Except Austin is supposed to be performing for the opening of Santa's workshop next week, and she needs to write a new song. A Christmas song.
He comes into the store a few hours later.
"Hey Ally," he drones. He's been assigned the same paper as her. He's not as tired though. He didn't have to wake up at three in the morning to open the store yesterday, only to go to bed late after spending the night working on her paper. The paper she spent four hours perfecting, when she knows he only spent half as much time on it.
Was that extra two hours worth it? For one misplaced semi-colon and a dangling modifier?
Yes. Yes it was.
"Hey Austin. I'm just working on your lyrics." She sets down her pencil.
He picks up the paper from beneath her elbows. "It's blank."
"I know." She takes it back from him. "I have no idea what to write."
Shock crosses his face. Ally always has something for him. He hums the melody, the one that they'd come up with when washing the dishes.
He gets an idea. Not one for lyrics, but a plan.
A plan in which he inspires her to write the greatest Christmas song of all time.
"Then we need to get you inspired." He takes her hand. She lets him drag her away from the counter. He knocks on Mr. Dawson's office door.
"Yes?" he's asked as the door opens.
Austin tightens his grip. "I'm kidnapping Ally for the day. We need to get her inspired to write a Christmas song."
Mr. Dawson glances at their entwined hands. He wishes she could run the store for the day, but who knows what this could lead to. And he's made a pact with the Moons.
Nothing gets in the way of getting their children together.
"Have fun." He pats him on the shoulder.
When he's sure they've left he picks up the phone.
"Mimi? It's Lester."
(the page breaks here)
They're in the basement of his house, and he's trying not to fall off the step stool. She's right behind him, holding him steady.
He does not want to fall on top of her.
It may be romantic in the movies, but he's holding a heavy box, and the weight of him and it would be enough to crush her.
Broken ribs are not romantic.
"Okay, I got it." He takes a step down, her a step back. Then another.
"What is in the box anyway?" She makes room to let him set the box down.
He takes a seat on the stool. Then he undoes the flaps, opening the box. She lifts a bundle of tangled lights from the box.
"Decorations for the Christmas tree. Which you'll be happy to know is not on the top shelf." He steps off the stool and bends down to the bottom shelf. He yanks the box to the ground.
Ally sets the lights back in the box. "You have an artificial tree? I would've never guessed. I had you pegged for the type to search the lot for the perfect tree."
"If it were up to me I would. But my mom hates cleaning up all the needles, so we got this." He pushes the box towards the stairs. He grunts as he lifts an end.
"Maybe we should just set the tree up down here. Then we don't have to worry about getting the box upstairs," Ally suggests. He shakes his head.
He leans the box against the stairs. "I should be able to get it up from here. Can you go around the other end and pull while I push?"
They manage to get the box up the stairs. He goes back down for the box of decorations and she pushes it to the living room.
She's so happy when they finally get it up it the corner that he almost doesn't want to give her the lights.
The terribly tangled lights.
He's not sure how it happened. They're supposed to be untangling the lights, not getting tangled in them.
"Are we even sure these lights work?" she asks, trying to detangle herself.
"Hold on." He manages to unravel himself, for the most part. "Follow me."
She obeys, and they slinky their way over to the electrical plug. He plugs them in. The lights shine.
He turns back around.
He nearly loses all self control.
He nearly kisses her.
How could he not? The lights were framing her face, and she was glowing like an angel. He was so tempted he took a step towards her. Which was exactly when the light hit his eyes and he had to jerk back to rub his eyes.
So he doesn't kiss her.
"Let's get you untangled," he promises, unplugging them.
It takes a few minutes, but she's given him all control and he's going extra slow to make sure he doesn't break the lights.
Clearly it has nothing to do with the fact that he's running his hands up and down her body and she's not complaining.
Not at all.
(the page breaks here)
He steps back down the step stool, where she is once again right behind him. He loops his arm around her.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" She takes it all in. The lights, the homemade ornaments from his childhood, along with the newly placed star glittering atop the tree.
"Yeah," she breathes.
She catches him staring at her, so he removes his arm and moves to unplug the lights.
"Cookie time!" he announces. He leads her to the kitchen.
She takes the apron that he hands her.
"Isn't it a bit early to be making Christmas cookies?"
He slides his apron over his head. "Nonsense Ally. It's never too early for cookies."
"But they won't last until Christmas," she states as he takes the strings from her. He ties them in a neat bow, pulling her hair from underneath the neck strap.
"Then we'll have to do it twice." He yanks a cookbook out of the cupboard.
Besides, that means more quality time with Ally.
(the page breaks here)
"Austin, if we frost the cookies now, it'll melt and make a mess." She takes the cookie from his hand.
He grins at her. "I thought we stopped worrying about that when the batter went flying."
"I told you not to put the mixer on high."
"It was taking forever."
"It's a process. It requires patience." Patience. Because he didn't waste enough of that on Ally. Patiently waiting until she realized they belong together.
She lays the cookies out across the counter top. All of the gingerbread men line up, and she picks out the one casualty of the bunch. "You can have this one."
He lifts her hand to his mouth and takes a bite.
"Thank you Ally." He wipes a crumb from his lip.
He swallows and takes her hand again. She eyeballs him as he takes another bite. He was supposed to take the cookie.
There's one bite left. He wouldn't dare.
He takes her hand, lifts it up and puts the final piece in his mouth. His lips brush her fingers.
She washes her hand, but nothing takes away the tingles her fingers feel.
(this is the page break)
They agree that while they wait for the cookies to cool they're going to have a Christmas movie marathon.
He's singing along to the Island of Misfit Toys. She doesn't think he realizes it, but he's singing right into her ear.
He totally realizes it.
Each and every time there's a song, he realizes it.
He hopes it's driving her crazy.
The good kind of crazy.
He takes Rudolph out of the disc player. It was their fourth movie. And the cookies had to have cooled in the past two hours, right?
"Can we frost the cookies now?" He places the disc back its case.
"Alright." She stands and trips over the empty Christmas decoration box. She's expecting to hit the ground. She's expecting pain and she's not getting it.
She's getting arms wrapped around her.
"You okay?" he asks. He's still holding on, even though she's upright now.
"Yeah." She nudges the box away with her foot.
They walk to the kitchen, where he again ties her apron. This time his fingers linger. Neither of them say anything.
"We should decorate them like our friends." He takes out a box filled with candy. "Dez, Trish, my dancers. Then we could give'em to them."
Ally stops pawing through the candy box. "To eat? Wouldn't that be considered some sort of twisted self cookie cannibalism?"
"Oh." He hadn't thought of it like that.
But there is one thing he needs to know.
If it's cookie cannibalism, then who's the one armed guy that he ate?
(The page breaks here)
When Trish asks Ally how she came up with the song, she relates the story to her. Austin and Dez are getting ready for his performance. They've somehow convinced him to dress as an elf, an idea that while it amuses Trish to no end, is very difficult in execution.
Mainly because of the tights.
Trish laughs, and at first she thinks it's because Austin has come into the room. She looks around.
"Ally, you can't honestly be that clueless."
"What?" She snaps her head back to her best friend.
Trish sets a hand on her arm. "Sweetie, he loves you."
"That's crazy." Austin comes in, and the conversation ends.
She wishes him luck. She knows he'll need it. Dez has his video camera, and soon all of his fans are going to know exactly how Austin Moon looks in tights.
It's a pretty nice view she must admit.
She takes it as a good sign when he isn't laughed off the stage. She takes it as an even better sign when she hears the applause. He escapes behind the curtain.
Once backstage, he runs and hugs her. But it's still bugging her what Trish said, and she half hugs him back.
This confuses him.
"What's wrong?" he holds her at arm length, looking her in the eyes.
"Trish said something." She breaks eye contact.
He gently lifts her chin. "What?"
She stares at him for a moment. He removes his hand, replacing it back on her shoulder.
"Do you like me?"
"Ally, you're my best friend. Of course I like you." He pulls her back in for another hug.
She finds it easier to address the empty space behind him. So she does.
"No, I mean, do you like like me?"
The crowd is cheering his name. The chant gets louder, but he ignores them.
Dez steps behind the curtain.
"Dude, get back out there. They're calling for you!" Austin detaches himself from Ally.
"Just a minute." He takes her by the shoulders one last time and whispers in her ear. "Practice room, five thirty."
He hopes this isn't a big mistake.
Is he too old to sit on Santa's lap and ask for her for Christmas?
(this is the page break)
He's been standing outside the door for three minutes now. He checks the time. The digits change to 30 and he opens the door.
She's chewing her hair.
He holds his hand behind his back and uses the other to remove the locks from her mouth.
"For you." He hands her a flower. It's a poinsettia, one he's taken from the Christmas display.
"What for?" She takes it.
He sits down next to her. "The crowd loved the song. You rocked it Ally. You always rock it."
"The crowd loved you too. With those elf stockings and all." She peers down at his legs.
Nope, no stockings.
The laughter slows, and he's thinking this is the moment. He leans in.
She meets him halfway.
This was definitely the moment.
He hears the door open, but he doesn't stop. With a girl like Ally in his arms he finds it pretty hard to care. He wants the world to know she is his. Starting with Dez and Trish, who are cheering how it's about time.
So worth sitting on the fat jolly guy.