Have the Chicken, Hold the Soup; an Austin and Ally oneshot

I do not own Austin and Ally. This is to respond to two prompts, so I hope you both enjoy. Also, please remember to review!

There's a hole in his sock, but he swears he can feel it in his stomach. The cafeteria line is long, and breakfast is a distant memory.

Someone bumps into his back. His guitar hits him on the back, unleashing a faint howl.

Maybe there's a table open at the restaurant. The culinary students opened it last spring. While he's hesitant about eating amateur bites, he is awfully hungry. And if he does get sick, he can skip his last class.

The kid behind him hits his guitar again.

Up the stairs he goes.

"Table for one?" she asks. She being the most beautiful girl he's seen at this school. Not that it's hard to surpass all the girls in their overstretched yoga pants or bedhead from sleeping past the alarm, thanks to a late night round of drunken karaoke.

"Uh-huh," he answers, not able to form more words. Her ponytail sways in time with her hips.

"Here's a menu for you. Can I get you something to drink?"

He sets his backpack on the floor, flipping the menu over. "Ooh, can I have a chocolate milkshake?"

"You can."

Austin nods, and she flounces back to the kitchen, her ponytail going to and fro. He stares at the door, and when she returns, asking if he's ready to order, he realizes he hasn't even read the menu. He picks the first thing his eyes land on.

"I'll have the chicken noodle soup." His brain stops him. Ice cold and steaming hot together? Take your eyes off the girl and make an educated choice. "On second thought, I'll have the chicken, hold the soup."

"Do you want me to hold the noodles too?" She poises her pen over the pad.

Feeling embarrassed, he checks the menu. "I'll have the baked chicken."

"Excellent choice." Her fingers brush his as he hands her the menu. In an instant she's gone again, and his eyes wander everywhere but that door.

They cease their travels when he comes across the employee of the month wall.

March 2014, Ally Dawson. Major: Songwriting.

He thinks he may be falling in like.

(the ice breaks here)

Wednesday comes, and instead of braving the cafeteria line, he heads straight to the restaurant. The baked chicken hadn't killed him, so why not?

"How many?" A girl with cornrows picks up a menu.

"One," he replies. He canceled his lunch plans with Dez, his film majoring friend. That way he would be alone, and they could make small talk. The kind that gave him a big smile, and even bigger eyes.

That guy just had to drop a fork next to his table.

She places a menu on the table, facing him away from the kitchen door. He moves to the opposite side of the table.

Her eyebrow raises, yet she doesn't question it. The only question she asks pertains to if he wants something to drink. He orders.

Watching the kitchen door, his heart jumps. There she is, clam chowder in hand. She passes his table without looking at him.

Funny, he can't keep his eyes off of her.

He's too busy spying on her (he prefers 'casually observing') to remember his backpack. He's on his way out, and he hears her calling out to him.

"Sir! Sir!"

"Yeah?" He spins around, wondering what she could want.

"Your backpack."

Her hand brushes his as she hands it over. He slings it over his shoulder.

"Thanks."

For the backpack, for making his heart race, for being the most delicious eye candy he's seen in months.

For everything.

(the ice breaks here)

This time he brings Dez to the restaurant with him. That way he doesn't look like the loser without any friends.

Of course today she's the one waiting on him.

"Dude, you dropped something," he says once she's walked away.

"What?" Austin ducks his head under the table.

"Your dignity."

Some days he wishes he had a less sassy best friend.

He exercises all his willpower not to make eye contact when she drops off their pasta. What a fascinating salt shaker. Four holes, nice.

Not as nice as Ally.

"Want me to see if I can get her phone number for you? Hey Ally-"

He gets hushed. Unfortunately, she's heard him. "What can I get you?"

"This pasta needs salt," he covers, winking at his friend.

"There's some on the table." She points to the shaker.

Dez picks up the shaker and sprinkles it liberally all over his plate. "Silly me."

Once she's gone, and Austin's watching her retreating back, he swaps the plates. There's no way he's eating all that salt. And it's his fault anyhow. Had he let him ask for his phone number, none of this would have happened.

Since when is he shy around girls? Between bites, he poses the question to him.

"She's different." Twirling the pasta around his fork, he shoves it in his mouth. He needs time to think.

Water. He also needs water.

Dez was so wrong about needing the salt.

(the ice breaks here)

Longest weekend ever. It's been two days since he's seen her, and he walks into the restaurant to find cornrows girl at the door.

"Anyone with you today?"

No, but there's going to be if he has anything to say about it.

Sing about it. He's going to sing it, not say it. Lyrics express the things his words can't.

He's going to serenade the waitress.

She's sitting at a table, apron off, wearing her eraser away against her book. He stands from his own table, drink ordered, and walks over to her.

The lyrics won't come.

Sensing his looming presence, she looks up. "Um, hi."

"Hey." His eyes fall to her paper, riddled with cross outs and smudges. "You're writing lyrics?"

"It's for a class. My performance is next Monday, and I am freaking out."

"Why?" He fiddles with the salt shaker.

"I have stage fright. I'm more comfortable behind the scenes." She frowns at a line and starts erasing.

Cornrows Girl places the drink in front of him.

He was supposed to be reading the day's menu.

She picks it up, hands it to him. "You need a few more minutes?"

"He'll have the chicken noodle soup. Hold the noodles."

"And the soup. You have to hold the soup." They laugh at their own private joke. He coughs, glances down at the menu. "The hamburger, please."

The waitress writes it down and disappears, giving a sideways look to Ally. The one that girls give when they're going to talk about things later, once the boys are gone.

His hand reaches out.

"Don't touch my book."

He shrinks back. "I'll perform your song for you."

"Really?"

"Why not?" He sips at his cola. If anything, that giant smile on her face only makes him want to do it more.

Today he gets her phone number.

(the ice breaks here)

They meet at her house. Her father lets him in, studying his appearance.

"You're a friend...of Ally's?" he asks, as if she's never had a friend. Or if she has, they certainly haven't been male, or holding a rose.

"I'm helping her with her performance Monday." Spotting her coming down the stairs, he steps around Mr. Dawson to greet her.

She places a hand on his arm. "Dad, this is Austin. We'll be upstairs in my room."

Her eyes land on the rose. As they ascend the stairs, she mentions it.

"My neighbor grows them. I told her I was going to see you, and she insisted that I bring you one." That may have been after how he gushed to her about everything, because he was really excited. Bless her old heart for listening.

It gets set on her pillow. They sit on the floor, keyboard in front of them. Her fingers flow freely, but the words don't come. They're sitting there on her sheet music, rewritten from the day before. He picks it up.

Gosh, these lyrics are beautiful.

Much like herself.

Beautiful and talented?

He should go shopping for a wedding ring.

(the ice breaks here)

He sits down at the table, and she hands him a menu.

"Are you doing anything tonight?"

"You want to practice again?"

"Some of my friends are going to karaoke, and I thought maybe you'd want to come with us." He hands her the menu back. "Surprise me."

With agreeing to his plans or his lunch?

She goes for both.

(the ice melts here)

His right cheek is burning. She passed with flying colors, and out of all her excitement, she kissed him. On the cheek, but it's a start.

Everything has to start somewhere.

Her hand touches his, but there's no object between them. Just because she wanted to.

So he goes for the second kiss. Just because he wanted to.

Now her cheeks are burning too.

Thank God for cafeteria lines.