Chapter 11- The New Normal?

Payson ran a hand through her hair for about the twelfth time since arriving at Boulder Municipal Airport. She was glad to be home, but she couldn't help but feel exceedingly uneasy about going to meet her parents. She hadn't spoken to them since before the photo shoot and she knows that MJ sent her mother proofs of the final pictures.

"Would you relax? Austin asked, throwing his duffel bag over his shoulder, letting it hang as he walked beside her. Payson doesn't respond, merely chews on her bottom lip nervously, the only thing she could think about being, What the hell are they going to say? "Hey," He took her hand in his, "It's going to be fine."

"You obviously don't know my father." She mumbled, smiling just a bit as she intertwined her fingers with his. She didn't know where they stood exactly, they haven't exactly put a label to it. All she knew was that he makes her feel like she's diving blind into uncharted waters, and she couldn't care less.

"True." Austin ran his thumb along the inside of her wrist, she felt some of the pent up tension relax. "But I do know that he'd have to be blind not to appreciate how gorgeous you look in those pictures." He pulled her closer, forgoing holding her hand and instead wrapping an arm securely around her shoulders.

"He's not gonna see it that way." She insisted, leaning into his embrace all the same. She knew that her parents were going to be uncomfortable with the shots, no matter how great she looked in them, or how amazing seeing herself like that made her feel.

"He will. I know it." Austin pulled her aside, leaning against the wall. "Just relax." She looked up into his face, his hands wandered to her hips, his fingers brushing against the hem of her top. She smiled at him, taking in the playful glint in his eye.

"I might need some help with that." She placed a hand on his shoulder, he grinned at her. He leaned down, hovering directly in front of her lips, testing her patience. Screw that. Payson closed the remaining distance, locking him in a gentle, but lingering kiss. "Don't be a tease." She chastised him softly after they pulled apart. He laughed, taking her hand in his.

"It's called payback. You tortured me yesterday, and enjoyed every second of it." She gave him an innocent smile, knowing he was referring to how she had acted towards him during the remainder of the shoot. She was definitely more comfortable as the day went on, it showed in every photograph.

Anyone who was paying attention would have noticed that she had been trying to get Austin's attention as the cameras snapped picture after picture. And that she had succeeded. Every. Single. Shot.

"I have no idea what you are referring to." She smiled coyly at him, tugging him back into the ever moving stream of people heading out of the airport. He rolled his eyes, and she smiled sweetly back up at him, her lips still tingling from when the kiss.

"Uh-huh. Sure you don't Keeler." She could see the doors through the thinning crowd, her stomach lurched, and not in the pleasant way that she had become accustomed to when Austin was around. Just a twenty minute car ride and then I'm home. The thought both comforted her, and terrified her. "What are you going to tell them?" He asked after a moment's silence, completely sobering up the moment.

"I don't know," She knew what he was asking, what was she going to tell her parents concerning him? "What exactly is there to tell them about?" She looked down at their entwined fingers, he gave her hand a gentle reassuring squeeze.

"I don't really have an answer for you." He chuckled softly, "I'm as clueless as you are." She rolled her eyes, shifting the weight of her gym bag on her shoulder, extremely grateful for the fact that MJ had arranged for their baggage to be taken to their homes by a courier.

"Well it's nice to know we're on the same page." She smiled up at him and he let out a bark of laughter, her smile grew. Things were simple at the moment, do we really need to go and complicate it Does anyone have to know? The doors opened and Payson was met with an assault of high pitched voices squealing her name excitedly.

Austin dropped her hand immediately, if there was one thing that they both understood, it was that the last people who need to know anything concerning them, was their friends. Payson felt the immediate absence of his touch, but she didn't get a second to dwell on it as she was attacked by Emily and Lauren.

She couldn't help but laugh, clearly able to see over her friends heads to witness Austin getting a similar greeting from the twins. He was laughing hysterically, Adam was chattering loudly and Michael was trying to pry his brother off of Austin. Payson extracted herself from the hug, trying to make sense of what Emily and Lauren were saying, not able to extract much as they were both talking at the same time.

She managed to decode enough to get the gist; We missed you and let us see the pictures, You look FABULOUS, and Oh my God tell us all about L.A! Or at least she thinks that's what they said. Lauren continued to talk at a mile a minute, demanding details and then continuing on, making her own assumptions and predictions, even dropping a few not so subtle glances over at Austin. Payson smiled brightly at them, picking up her gym bag from when they knocked it off her shoulder. For the first time she takes a glance around them.

Lauren's convertible is parked in front of them, the twins' truck parked behind it. Something, or rather someone was obviously missing, the smile faded from Payson's face and she looked to Emily hopefully, the brunette smiles at her sadly.

"She didn't want to come" was all Emily said. Lauren stopped talking for a moment, takes a look at the disappointed look that Payson is sure has spread over her face. Lauren huffs and flips her hair over her shoulder.

"She's being stupid. I mean, seriously. Blowing it out of proportion much?" Payson had to smile at how blunt Lauren was being about Kaylie. She didn't know what to expect upon arriving home, but she had really hoped that Kaylie would have calmed down by now.

Austin caught her eye, apparently having noticed Kaylie's absence as well. She shot him the barest of smiles, an attempt to reassure him that all is well, but she doesn't think he bought it. He's harder to trick than Sasha.

"It's alright," Payson takes a look at the time, "How did you convince him to let you all come to meet us?" Payson finally averts her attention to the twins. Adam looks at her expectantly.

"'Bout time you noticed us!" He said indignantly, sweeping her up in an unexpected hug. It's Adam, I really shouldn't be surprised. She laughed as he spun her around, he was grinning when he let her go. Mike stepped forward and hugged her as well, though less exuberantly that Adam had.

"Sasha wants you back and training as soon as possible," Mike explained, Emily had leaned up to hug Austin in greeting while he and Lauren exchanged snippy remarks, but harmless remarks. "His direct orders were to get you and come straight back or we'd all have stamina drills waiting for us."

"Well then we'd better get back." Payson grinned at all of them, eager to get back in the gym. She caught Austin rolling his eyes goodnaturedly, it wasn't like they hadn't kept up with their workouts and conditioning while in California. MJ had made sure that their hotel had a state of the art gym that they had full twenty four hour access to.

They all piled into separate cars, the girls in one, the guys in another. As soon as the door shut Lauren sent Payson a skeptical look in the rearview mirror. "Alright Pay, spill!"

"Spill what exactly?" Payson arched an eyebrow, pulling down her sunglasses as Lauren pulled out of the airport parking lot. Lauren scoffed, Emily rolled her eyes, turning around in the passenger seat to look at Payson. Her phone buzzed, Payson glanced down to see a message from Austin. They interrogating you? She smiled and responded quickly. Just started actually, what about you?

"Don't even Keeler!" Payson raised her eyebrows at the use of her surname. Emily sighed and tried to intervene.

"She's been bugging out since we saw the magazine. You know, the one where they dubbed you and Austin Gymnastics' Golden couple." Emily tucked her hair behind her ears, obviously just as curious as Lauren, but she was attempting to be more persuasive.

"I'm guessing that magazine is one of the reasons that Kaylie is still pissed at me." Payson crossed her legs, the wind blowing her hair out behind her. She saw Lauren roll her eyes in the mirror, Emily merely sighed and nodded. Her phone buzzed again, Yeah it's getting out of hand, they keep slipping between languages I really wish you were here so I could make sense of what they're saying. She was about to reply when another message arrived. Among other reasons. Payson almost bit down on her lip, but knew that would be a dead giveaway. She shut her phone and put it back in her pocket.

"She's totally blowing this up." Lauren continued, not even noticing Payson's discreet maneuver. She surveyed the road from under her Gucci sunglasses. "I mean you should have seen her when she got back to the room after she saw you and Austin having coffee. It was like she saw you two making out or something." Lauren said it offhandedly. Payson couldn't help but smile to herself; Thank God she didn't show up at the roof. Emily arched her eyebrows and Lauren gasped, stopping short at a stoplight.

"Lauren! Pay attention!" Payson cried, gripping the seat in front of her as she lurched forward. Lauren turned around in her seat.

"He kissed you didn't he?" Lauren's eyes were demanding and accusatory. Emily stared at her curiously, but she didn't say anything. Payson arched an eyebrow, staying calm on the outside while, mentally panicking and trying to figure out how to word what she'd say next.

"What? Of course not!" Payson ran a hand through her hair, hoping she was pulling of a cool and calm demeanor. Technically isn't a lie. I'm the one who actually initiated it in Rotterdam. Lauren stared at her with narrowed eyes for five solid seconds, completely ignoring the impatient drivers behind her. Eventually the blonde seemed to believe her. She turned around and began to drive again. Payson smiled inwardly, relief spreading through her body quickly. A few minutes later they were pulling into the Rock's parking lot and she couldn't help but fill up with happiness.

I'm home. Lauren pulled into her reserved spot near the entrance, Payson eagerly got out of the car. She was itching to run inside and smell the familiar scent of chalk and hear the comforting sounds of the gym. Payson took an excited step towards the doors, but Lauren stopped all progress into the gym.

"Not so fast. Before we go in there I want to see the photos!" All of the suspicions were apparently gone from her head, Payson rolled her eyes, but complied without a struggle. She dug in her duffel bag and pulled out the large manila envelope that held the photos. Lauren grabbed at it and opened it hungrily, Emily exchanged a tired look with Payson, but she sidled up next to Lauren to see too.

Lauren's jaw dropped as she saw the topmost picture. Payson took a glance; it was one of the ones with the pink bathing suit, not the one that MJ had sent her parents, but it was a good picture none the less. She couldn't help but grin, out of the three suits it had ended up being her favorite.

"Payson you look…phenomenal!" Lauren flipped to the next picture, one of the wet shots in the pool. Payson remembered this one, she hadn't been paying attention when the picture was taken, looking in the complete opposite direction, she had been watching Austin act under the guise of talking to MJ while he watched her, MJ was completely oblivious to what her young clients were doing.

"Pay these are…" Emily trailed off, taking the next one out of Lauren's hands. Payson burst out laughing at her friend's speechless expressions as they saw the final picture in the packet, the one that MJ had fallen in love with and sent to her family and Sasha.

"Wow. Who knew you were hot?" Lauren says with a joking smile, flipping through the rest of the pictures. Payson rolled her eyes.

"Thanks Lo," She said, the sarcasm dripping from her tone, "You have no idea how much that means to me coming from you." Lauren smiled sweetly and bumped Payson with her hip playfully. Emily seemed to be paying particularly close attention to the pool shot, the one where she was looking the wrong way.

The twins' truck pulled into the lot at a breakneck speed. Lauren handed Payson back the photos and she placed them back in the envelope, no one really paying attention to the truck. Adam came barreling out of the driver's seat, and bolted over to them.

"I wanna see." He demanded. Payson stared at him questioningly, he was bouncing on the balls of his feet, looking like a little kid on Christmas. His eyes were locked on the envelope in her hands. It hit her like a ton of bricks, she rolled her eyes at him.

"No. Absolutely not." She said, smiling a bit at his now crestfallen expression. Austin and Michael came over to them, Austin was laughing and Mike was running a hand through his dark unruly curls.

"I told you she'd say no." Austin came up behind Adam and messed up his curls. Payson rolled her eyes and sent a longing look at the doors to the Rock, he laughed at her. "Come on, Sasha must be dying to chew us out and set us to work." He slung a casual arm around her shoulders, leading her inside.

"Thanks," She whispered, slipping the envelope back into her bag. He grinned, squeezing her shoulder gently.

"No problem. Just a warning, but he is determined to see those pictures, no matter how many death glares I sent him." She laughed as he pushed open the doors to the gym, removing his arm from her shoulders, Sasha would have a fit if they interacted like that in the gym.

Nearly every set of eyes turned to them, progress came to a standstill. Payson felt her cheeks grow warm at the attention. Austin grinned, shifting his gym bag on his shoulder and placing an innocent hand on her back, leading her past the stares of both parents and gymnasts alike.

"Wait," She stopped, sending him a curious glance, tinted with wariness as she caught sight of his mischievous smile. He grinned, "We should just go get changed and start training, see how long it takes Sasha to notice us."

"Sure, why not?" Payson laughed at his triumphant grin. She smiled, walking away from him and into the girl's locker room, sending him one last glance over her shoulder.

He winked at her and she bit back a laugh, pushing open the door. Lauren and Emily came in a moment after she did and Payson knew from the looks on their faces that she was going to walk out with a headache.

"Alright, what now?" She asked calmly, opening her locker and reaching inside to grab a spare practice leo. Lauren smiled superficially at her and Emily chewed on her bottom lip nervously.

"Nothing, nothing. Isn't that right Em?" Lauren asked sweetly. Payson raised an eyebrow, suspicion creeping over her. Emily tried to smile and started to step out of her tracksuit, stripping down to her green leo. Lauren did the same, smiling so wide that it looked like her jaw was about to fall off.

"Yeah, and my Worlds metal is made from a chocolate coin," Payson said dryly, pulling the stretchy and restricting fabric over her skin. Lauren burst out laughing, Emily barely cracked a smile, looking like she was deep in thought. Payson watched them both for a few seconds, eventually deciding that it wasn't worth the effort to try to get them to talk. She rolled her eyes and walked out of the locker room, eager to stretch and then get to work on her floor routine.

Austin was already out on the floor, hovering near the parallel bars. She debating going over, but decided against it. She looked around the gym, Kaylie was over by the vault, dressed in her signature pink. The brunette's gaze met hers and she quickly turned away from her. Payson sighed, Really Kaylie? What are we, five?.

She saw Sasha up in his office, talking to Summer. Payson glanced at the clock and it dawned on her that her mother had already left to take Becca home. Guess I'll just have to wait. Tara was running a level five class on the floor, the assistant coach smiled brightly at her, waving her over.

Payson complied, needing to ask her if she could use a corner to corner spread for a bit. Tara grabbed the attention of the mixed gender class. Gangly little boys and thin little girls stared up at her, some obviously recognized her, others didn't. Tara told them to run round-off drills and took Payson aside.

"Payson, it's great to see you, congratulations on the win." Tara smiled kindly at her. Payson smiled back sincerely. Tara was a nice woman, who had really helped in the early days of her artistic training, certainly more than Mistress Viola did.

"Thanks, it's good to be back." Payson let her eyes wander to the tumbling kids. Some were better than others, the boys were obviously bored. One dark haired boy with hazel eyes and a troublemaker's smile ran up to Tara. He couldn't have been more than ten or eleven .

"Can we throw handsprings if we have them? Round-offs are boring!" Payson had to smile at him, he just oozed cute. Tara smiled goodnaturedly at him, ruffling his hair affectionately.

"Alright Ricky, but only singles." He grinned and ran back off to his friends, "I mean it Ricky! If I see any doubles I'm making you all do extra sets of wind sprints!' She called after him. Payson bit back a laugh as she watched him excitedly tell his friends the news.

"Well he was adorable." Payson said, watching the trio of boys talk for a moment, waiting in line for their turn on the mat. "Who are the other two?" Tara followed her gaze, smiling tiredly at her students.

"The taller of the three with the curls is Matty Jenson, and the one with the shorter darker hair is James Horton. Along with Ricky I like to call them the Terrible Trio."Payson raised an eyebrow, biting back more giggles, Terrible Trio? They look harmless. Tara smiled knowingly. "They can be quite the handful. But they aren't the reason I called you over. I was wondering if you minded being my example for a tumbling demonstration. I can coach, but my body can't do the things it used to and there are some things that need to be seen to understand."

"Sure, that actually works out perfectly, I was going to ask you if I could use some of the mat. Now we both benefit." Payson laughed, and Tara smiled gratefully. Tara called the class to order, they all drifted back towards her, ending up in a semi circle around them.

"Alright guys, I have special surprise for you. This is Payson Keeler," Tara laid a hand on her shoulder, Payson waved at the kids. The ones who didn't recognize her by sight, gasped at her name. "She's going to help with a little bit of a demonstration for you today." Payson noticed that the boy that Tara had pointed out as Matty was staring at her in a way that she usually associated with the way Carter used to stare at Kaylie. Puppy love. Oh Boy. Tara asked if she could go to the corner and throw her double back handspring tuck sequence.

Payson got to the corner of the mat, taking a moment to really feel the familiarity of the springs beneath her toes, and then took off down the mat as fast as she could. She whipped the familiar and simple trick, landing firmly in the other corner of the mat. She looked back towards the group of children. Tara was nodding appreciatively, the girls were wide eyed in awe and the boys were just wide eyed. She threw a playful wink towards the trio, Matty blushed pink.

Tara started on explaining how timing and speed can affect any outcome for a handspring when one of the boys, James, raised his hand. Tara acknowledged him, and he spoke confidently, ignoring the looks he got from his indignant female teammates.

"Not that what she did wasn't cool and all, but wouldn't it be better if we saw a dude tumble too?" The boys all made quiet noises of agreement and Payson smiled, walking closer to the group.

"I think I can help with that." She looked to Tara, who was looking thoroughly amused and then let her eyes scan the gym for Austin. She found him watching Adam on the p-bars, the event that had kept the hyper boy from medaling. "Austin!" She called, he looked up and grinned at her, she motioned for him to join her with a nod of her head. He said something to Adam and jogged over to her.

It was clear that the class was intimidated. Not only was Austin a well known face and name around the Rock, and in gymnastics in general, but he was 6'2 and these kids barely even came up past his hips. He crossed his arms and surveyed the kids in front of him.

"What do you need Pay?" Tara quickly explained what was going on and Austin agreed with a laidback, "Yeah, sure why not?" He exchanged a playful, almost flirtatious look with Payson, she but her lip to hold back from laughing, and jogged to the corner.

Austin closed his eyes for a moment, and then he was running down the mat, throwing his triple back salto. Payson rolled her eyes at the move. He stuck the landing, and jogged back to them. The boys' eyes were bugging out of their heads.

"Nice. Too bad that's an elite level skill. Why didn't you just throw a tuck or something easy?" She grinned coyly at him and nudged him with her hip. He smirked at her and threw a careless arm around her shoulders.

"I could've." He smirked wider, "But where's the fun in that?" She rolled her eyes at him, turning her attention back to the class. Tara had resumed talking to the class about timing. They stood behind the coach, not talking, but Austin was tracing little circles on her arm with the tips of his fingers. She felt a shudder run down her spine pleasantly; she relaxed into his side a bit.

Payson caught sight of Kaylie, walking to the water cooler with Lauren; the brunette was shooting hurt speculative glances over at her. Payson frowned ever so slightly, How am I going to fix this? Austin nudged her gently, silently assuring her that everything would be fine. She smiled at, actually believing that it would.

They spent the next hour helping the kids with their tumbling. Payson took the girls who could throw their handsprings aside, while Austin took the boys. She sent a tiny redhead by the name of Alyssa down the mat in a round-off back handspring, catching a quick glimpse of Austin high fiving Ricky; he really seemed to be bonding with the Terrible Trio.

Alyssa came running back, all excited because she had landed the handspring perfectly, Payson smiled and praised the girl, a guilty twinge echoing in her gut because she had totally missed it. She watched her do it again, making sure to keep her gaze on the small girl the entire time.

Her eyes kept being drawn to Austin as he instructed the small group of boys, working on back tucks. She couldn't help it, she was used to a side of him that she was sure no one in the gym had seen, maybe with Kaylie as the exception. He looked up from spotting Matty and smirked at her.

She blushed from her spot across the mat; quickly averting her gaze to the small girl she was helping. Austin grinned, watching her as she gave gentle, but stern instruction to the girl in front of her.

"Austin?" He turned his attention back to his own group of "students". Austin sought out the voice who had called him, it was Matty. He knelt down so he was somewhat at eyelevel with the boy, These kids are really small, they've got to be like, underdeveloped or something.

"What do you need bud?" Matty's dark eyes shifted nervously, sending wary glances over to his two friends, both who were at the opposite end of the mat.

"Can you spot me for a layout?" Austin raised his eyebrows. A layout? Matty must have read the skepticism written on his face. "I know we're not supposed to work on those for awhile, and that I've barely got my tuck, but it just feels like something I wanna try."

Austin studied him, paying close attention to how his gaze seemed to flick over to the girls side of the mat every few seconds. Austin smiled, coming to a pretty obvious conclusion.

"Alright, what's her name?" His grin grew as Matty's eyes widened. "Come on kid, I've been around the block a few times. Which one is it? The cute red head or the spunky looking brunette?" Austin shifted so he was studying the girls Payson was working with, trying hard not to end up studying Payson again.

"The tall blonde." Matty murmured, his blush deepening. Austin almost choked on his laughter as he scanned the girls and saw only a single blonde on that half of the mat. He's crushing on Payson? Matty saw right through the concealment of his laughter. "I know it's stupid! But…can you just help me?"

"Sure little dude." Austin clapped him on the shoulder, getting to his feet. He smirked. "You should know that she's kinda involved with someone though." Involved? Is that what you two are Tucker? Matty made a face, clearly not caring about who Payson might be involved with. Austin grinned at him, playing his part.

He got Payson's attention, and then stood to the side nodding to Matty to start whenever he was ready. Payson raised an eyebrow, but she watched Matty as he ran down the mat, throwing a round-off back handspring. Austin stepped in and helped flip his body over, surprised that Matty didn't really need him at all.

He high fived the boy, stepping away with a grin as he was swarmed by his friends and teammates. Payson came up beside him, amused and impressed.

"Nice. I'm guessing that was supposed to impress someone?" Austin could hear the laughter in her tone, she smiled at Matty, who was absolutely beaming with pride.

"Yeah," He turned to her and leaned in close, letting his eyes flick to her lips quickly. She locked her eyes on to him he heard her breath catch in her throat. "You." He grinned at the surprised expression on her face. She looked ready to burst out laughing. Matty was looking over at them over the heads of his friends, he may be short to Austin, but the kid was actually the tallest in the class. Payson smiled softly at him, and blew him a little kiss. The kid looked ready to faint. "You're gonna give him a heart attack."

"That's a bit dramatic don't you think?" She turned to him, a playfulness lingering about her eyes. He merely grinned at her and she sent him a heart stopping smile. He found himself getting lost in her features. The sounds of the Rock were quickly fading away and it felt as if they were alone. Just the two of them, either back on the rooftop or secluded on the beach in California. He knew she felt it too.

Before either of them could lose themselves completely, and act on an impulse the door to the office slammed open. Austin tore his eyes away from her, her cheeks tinted pink. Sasha was standing at the top of his mini balcony surveying the gym.

His eyes passed right over the two of them, halting on Emily who was working in and out on beam with Lauren, and jumping over to the rings where Michael was chalking up with Carter. His brow furrowed, only noticing them when Austin whistled to get his attention.

Payson laughed out loud at Sasha's expression. He obviously hadn't expected them to be training after they got back. Austin waved at their coach, Sasha motioned for them both to join him in his office. Payson sighed, "Here we go."

Tara thanked them both and the kids all thanked them as well. Payson walked away backward, speaking last minute instructions and criticisms to a few of her girls, Austin rolled his eyes and grasped her hand, pulling her away from the kids.

"Come on Coach Keeler." She threw him a dirty look, though he knew it was harmless. They met Sasha at the bottom of the stairs. He was trying to look stern, but it wasn't very intimidating when they both knew he was happy to see them.

Sasha motioned silently for Payson to join him in the office alone; Austin gave her a gentle push up the stairs, laughing at the dirty look she shot him over her shoulder. He leaned against the railing, surveying the gym as he waited for Sasha to call him up.

He caught Emily's eye as she prepped for her dismount off of the beam. She was frowning at him, looking immensely troubled. His brow furrowed as she mouthed, "We need to talk." He nodded slowly, trying to think about what could possibly be bothering her.

Maybe problems with her and Damon? Or something starting up with Mike? He studied the boy from his spot, Mike was getting a drink at the water cooler, running a hand through his messy curls. As preoccupied as he had been with Payson, Austin had been paying close attention to how…compatible the two quiet gymnasts seemed to be.

Austin's gaze followed Mike's path back over to the still rings, where Adam was waiting for him. At the sight of Adam Austin thought of Lauren which led him to search the gym for his least favorite Rock girl. She was chalking up for bars, Kaylie standing at her side.

Lauren rolled her eyes, quite obviously annoyed, stepping in front of the bars and starting her routine. Kaylie wasn't training. She wasn't even pretending to train. Every few seconds Kaylie would send a nasty glare up to the office. Austin followed her gaze, catching sight of a familiar blonde bun in the window.

Anger flared in his chest. That's it. Enough is enough. He pushed off the railing heading straight for Kaylie's now turned back. He tapped her on the shoulder, clenching his jaw tightly. She turned around, clearly surprised to see him there.

"We need to talk." He heard the suppressed anger in his own voice as he jerked a thumb over his shoulder toward the trainer's room. He knew it would be empty, and if anyone asked what they were doing in there he could always use his ankle as an excuse.

Kaylie hesitated, looking back at Lauren, who had dropped to the mat. Lauren gave her a frantic nod, looking ready to drag Kaylie to the room herself. Kaylie nodded and Austin turned around without another word, not even bothering to see how far behind she was and walked directly into the trainer's room. He waited until Kaylie had shut the door behind them before turning on her.

"What's your problem?" He didn't hold back. Kaylie was clearly shocked at his abrasive nature.

"I'm sorry?" She narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms over her chest, her hip jutting out indignantly. Austin rolled his eyes. Is she really doing this?

"Your problem? You know the one you obviously have with Payson?" Her arms uncrossed and she spluttered at him for a moment, at a loss for words.

"I-I…what's it to you Tucker?" Her voice rose an octave, and her face went red with anger. Austin rolled his eyes, Drama queen.

"Payson's my friend." Kaylie scoffed, rolling her eyes. Austin narrowed his. "Something you'd like to say Cruz?" He really didn't appreciate the attitude she was giving him.

"I highly doubt you two are only friends." Kaylie's voice was dripping with venom and unwarranted superiority. There's some deeper meaning shit going on here. Austin crossed his arms and stared the fuming girl down. "Friends don't look at each other the way you look at her."

"Why would you even care if we were?" She leaned away from him, apparently speechless at the moment.


"If Payson and I were more than friends, why would you even give a damn?" Austin was genuinely curious.

"I think I have a right to-" Austin waved his hands in the air, cutting across her statement abruptly. He must look as angry as he suddenly felt because she shut her mouth almost instantly.

"You don't have right to anything." His voice rose in volume, he was almost yelling now. "In case you forgot Kaylie, you ditched me." She gaped at him, her mouth opening and closing like a fish, but no words came out. "Why would you have a right to know if anything was going on between Payson and I? We never dated, we were never a couple." He takes a step towards her, fuming now. "I wanted that, Kaylie! I wanted you!"

"Wanted?" She squeaked weakly, her brown eyes wide and skin pale. "Past tense?" Has she not been listening?

"Yes fucking past tense!" He was full out shouting now, and he didn't really give a crap. Kaylie looked frightened, she backed away from him. "I don't care about you, not that way. Not anymore. And you obviously don't care about me. I'll even go as far to say that you never really did" She looked like she wanted to protest, he even paused in his rant to let her speak, but she never did. Austin shook his head. "You know what? I'm done."

Austin pushed past her and started to head for the door. She didn't move behind him, didn't try to speak or stop him. He felt as though something was sliding into place. I think I'm finally through with Princess Cruz. The door shut behind him with a slam and he ignored the fact that he was drawing some poorly concealed glances.

He tried to calm down, taking some needed deep breaths. He headed for the water cooler, just to compose himself a bit more before fully interacting with anybody. He felt a small cool hand on his arm and he spun around. Payson was behind him, concern literally pouring off of her.

"Everything alright?" He studied her for a moment. Her blonde hair was already falling out of her bun from the minor exertion she had put her body through, a few stray pieces falling in her stunning blue eyes. Her fingers curled around his arm gently, asking him silently what had just happened. He smiled at her reassuringly.

"Yeah. Everything's fine." She smiled at him in return, a familiar warmth flowing from her gentle gaze. She removed her hand and motioned towards Sasha's office with a playful grin.

"He's waiting." Austin chuckled and started walking towards the stairs, not caring that he was probably about to be chewed out by his coach. For the first time in a long time he felt as though he was starting over for real.

One last glance at Payson only solidified this feeling and, damn it felt good.

A/N: Okay so. I fail at confrontation.

But...everything was too...fluffy. Like WAY too fluffy. But eh, I'm about halfway happy with the ending and this is certainly the best attempt.

So what does everybody think of the Terrible Trio? Aren't they adorable? They are based off of some friends of mine and they are just...huggable and mischievous. They will continue to dart in and out as our story progresses. So...YAY!

I really have nothing else to say and I feel like I've rambled enough. So I'm now. Bye!

Love you all!