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Love & Joy


What was she going to do? She paced back and forth, chewing on her hair in extreme nervousness. She couldn't believe it, she just couldn't believe it! How could she not notice this earlier? Why hadn't she noticed it earlier?

She dragged a hand through her hair, scratching her nails along her scalp. What was she going to say? How was she going to say it? Where was she going to say it? All those questions buzzed though her mind, confusing and clouding herself and her judgment. She couldn't keep her secret any longer.

It was a knock at her door that interrupted her thoughts. Ally spit out her hair, trying to calm herself down before going to answer the door. She stopped right in front of it, smoothing down her skirt before plastering on the best smile she could manage. She grabbed the handle, opening the door for whoever was on the other side.

Just beyond the other side of the door, there stood her boyfriend. The one and only Austin Monica Moon, her wonderful boyfriend of four years, smiled at her.

"Hey, beautiful." He pulled her into his arms, planting a tender kiss on her lips.

Ally melted into the kiss, resting her hands on his chest. Electricity buzzed through her, like lightning did to a metal rod. It spread though her body, awakening each one of her nerve endings. A burst of warmth exploded in the pit of her stomach, kindling the fire of her deep love for Austin.

She loved him, everything about him. When she fell in love with him, it was a hopeless and passionate love. She couldn't deny it nor hide it, because he captured her heart. She had told him countless times that she loves him, each time he said back with an honest smile. There was no hiding it, because they chose to embrace it. They both hardly ever doubted what was between them. Because, it was real.

"I missed you." Austin breathed against her lips, tightening his hold on her. "Sorry the concert in Pittsburgh took longer than expected."

"It's fine." Ally smiled, reaching up to gently play with the tips of his hair. "I missed you too, but we're together now. That's all that matters."

"Right." He agreed, kissing her temple lovingly. "Oh! I brought you back something."

Austin let her go, stepping back outside to do what he needed to do. He was gone only a moment, before he returned with a bag. He gestured for Ally to take a seat on the couch, as he closed the door behind him. She waited for Austin to sit first, before she sat in his lap. Austin chuckled, setting the bag on her lap.

"These are some souvenirs from Pittsburgh." Austin explained as Ally began to dig inside the bag. "Hope you like them."

Ally reached inside, pulling out a hoodie with the words of the city he visited in cursive. Ally smiled, knowing she was most definitely going to wear it in the upcoming winter. Ally set it aside, reaching in the bag again to pull something else out of it. When her hand emerged from her treasure trove of surprises, she held a small Pennsylvania license plate with her name on it.

"Sweet! Another one for my collection!" Ally giggled, planting a kiss on Austin's cheek before turning back to the bag. Austin chuckled at her enthusiasm and happiness; he enjoyed the sight of his girlfriend happy with the small thing he got her.

Even though they weren't jewelry or expensive designer clothes, Ally never asked much of him. She never asked him to bring her back stuff, but he always did because he wanted to. Even if they were typical souvenirs from a gift shop, she still loved her presents.

The remaining things in the bag were: a camera filled with photos of Austin and her friends Dez and Trish during their trip; a coffee mug for her father; a small, stuffed polar bear from the zoo; and pair of crystal earrings. Ally thanked Austin with another peck on the lips, turning around in his lap to hug him.

"Thanks, I love the all the gifts." Ally smiled, as Austin hugged her back. "I'm so glad you're home."

"Me too, I always feel anxious if you're not by my side." Austin admitted, lying back on the couch and taking Ally with him. "I constantly worry about you, and you're always on my mind."

"I can handle myself." Ally laughed, tracing invisible lines and shapes on his shirt. "And you always text me good morning and good night, you call every hour, and we video chat right after your concerts. You shouldn't miss me that much."

"I'm sorry, but you know how important you are to me Ally." Austin reminded, bringing his hand up to run it though her hair gently. "I can't bear to lose you, because you know my heart is still fragile."

"That's why I wear this every day." Ally sat up and held up the necklace he gave her when they started dating. "Your heart is mine to protect and I won't ever let it go. That I promise to do forever."

Austin smiled warmly and lovingly at her. He sat up too, sliding his hand to the back of her neck. He pulled her down for another tender kiss. Only this time, it was slower and sweeter. It wasn't heated, or maddening, or too passionate. All it was only the movement of lips and an occasional brushing of the tongues. The two wanted to enjoy each other's presence at the moment, so the kiss didn't get out of hand.

Austin pulled away, a satisfied grin spread across his face. He touched his forehead to Ally, softly touching her nose to hers.

"I love you." He breathed, hugging her tighter. "Unquestionably and undoubtedly."

"I love you." Ally agreed, her stomach fluttering wildly. "Always and forever."

Austin's smile widened even more, and he gently planted a peck on her nose. He pulled away from her abruptly, before he dug around in his jean pockets. When he pulled out his hand, he flashed Ally a nervous smile before speaking.

"Um, Ally." Austin began, clearing his throat and running his free hand through his hair. "I've been doing a lot of thinking, debating on the best way to do this."

"What is it?" Ally furrowed her eyebrows in confusing, tilting her head to the side. "Is everything okay?"

"Yeah, I just need to say this first." Austin inhaled a deep breath, trying to calm his nerves. "We've been dating a while now, and I've wanted to tell you this for a long time. Do you promise not to freak when I tell you?"

Ally nodded, and Austin kept on. "Well, Ally, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. You are the one I want to settle down with and start a family. I want to be able to sit on the porch of our home and watch our children play with our pet dog. I want to see them go through the first day of kindergarten, lose their first tooth, start middle school, go to prom, go away to college, get married, and then have our grandchildren.

"I want to be able to say 'This is my wife, Ally' and 'Yup, that's my son wearing number eleven' and all those things." Austin took her hand in his free hand. "I didn't know how to say this or how to do it, but I'm just going to go right out and say it. Sorry if it's not romantic."

Austin got up, sliding out from underneath Ally, before kneeling on one knee. He opened his hand, and in its palm, was a small blue box. He opened it, and inside was a simple ring with a small diamond. Ally gasped, bringing her hand to her mouth. Tears began to sting in the back of her eyes, but she held them back.

"Ally Dawson, will you marry-" Austin didn't finish talking, because Ally tackled him into a hug. She kissed him and he took that as a 'yes'. He pulled away, slipping the ring onto her finger. "I really don't think anything could ruin this moment, because this is the happiest moment of my life."

At that, Ally's happiness faded. She remembered her dilemma, causing her chest to tighten. She swallowed nervously, as the tears she held back began to get the better of her. Ally needed to tell him, she had kept it to herself for too long. Not being able to tell her dad or Trish hurt her, yet, not being able to tell Austin killed her.

The tears began to fall, and Ally let them. She couldn't hold them back any longer; she knew it was time to tell Austin the truth. Though, she didn't know how. She couldn't even think of the right words to use to not upset him, but she had to try.

Austin's eyes clouded with worry as Ally began to cry. He panicked, pulling Ally into his arms. He rubbed her back reassuringly, saying soothing words of comfort to her. He kissed her head, trying to calm her down.

"Ally, please don't cry." Austin's voice was full of worry. "What's wrong Als?"

"A- Au- Austin." Ally spoke in between sobs, trying to calm herself. "I- I'm sorry. This is my entire fault. I was too careless and I didn't pay attention. I should have noticed the changes and the signs but I just ignored them. I'm sorry."

"Ally what are you talking about?" Austin's hands slid up to her upper arms, pulling her away from his chest to look at her face. "Are you okay?"

Ally shook her head, wiping away tears with the heel of her palm. She calmed down a bit, before she began speaking again. "Austin, I…I'm pregnant."

Austin's eyes widened in shock, freezing momentarily to make sure he wasn't hearing things. His beloved girlfriend was pregnant, and dozens of thoughts roared through his mind. He didn't know which question to ask first, how to react, or even know talk for the moment. He was too busy letting the news of Ally's pregnancy settle in.

Ally saw the look in his eyes, and just stared into them worriedly. He hadn't spoken for a while, and they didn't move an inch. They stood still, letting the world silence around them. Ally had finished crying, though her breathing was broken. She waited until her breathing evened out before speaking again.

"It's our baby Austin. Ours." Ally added, trying to catch her fiancé's attention and it worked. "I know you have your career to think about, and I know we just got engaged, and we're only twenty-two, and you just got back from your concert in Pennsylvania, but…we're going to have a baby."

Austin still didn't speak, only watched as fear filled his fiancée's eyes. The whole world seemed to disappear around him, but Ally was the only thing that remained. She still looked the same since the first time he met her. Only, she was more mature and taller. She was still the same quiet, intelligent girl he fell in love with.

Then, his mind seemed to calm down and his voice began to work again. An iridescent wave of emotions filled him, and he acted without thinking.

"I'm going to be a dad?" Austin asked; shock and surprise clear in his voice. Ally nodded, and then a different emotion washed over him. "I'm going to be a dad! Ally! We're going to be parents! Us! Parents!"

Austin picked up his girlfriend/fiancée bridal-style and spun her around. He planted multiple kisses over her face, tossing her into the air and catching her in his arms.

"Austin, wait a minute!" Ally giggled/yelled caught between joy and surprise. "You aren't mad?"

"Mad?" Austin set her down, wearing an even wider grin than earlier on his face. "How could I? You, the girl I am madly in love with and will soon be my wife, are having a baby, my kid. Our kid." He corrected when she scowled at him for saying 'my'. "How could I be mad? Shocked yes, surprise of course, but mostly happy and filled with joy."

Austin squatted so that his face was in front of Ally's belly. He looked up at Ally; her cheeks stained red with a blush. Tears of delight and relief trailed down her cheeks, as Austin began speaking to their baby.

"Hey there baby!" He laughed, placing both hands on either side of Ally's stomach. "It's me! Your dad! Guess what? You just made my life even more amazing." He kissed Ally's belly and she giggled. "I can't wait to meet you."

Austin stood up straight, wrapping his arms around Ally's shoulders. He kissed her head, trailing kisses down the side of her face, before once again capturing her mouth. Ally kissed back, her arms snaking around Austin's neck. When the two pulled away, they rested their foreheads together and stared into the other's eyes.

"Ally, you're amazing." Austin kissed her nose. "I guess we have big news to tell everybody."

"Yup, and a wedding to plan." Ally added. "This means we have to post-pone it until after the baby is born."


"Well, a wedding takes plenty of time to plan, and we won't have time with the pregnancy and all."

"We don't need a grand wedding Ally. Let's just have a small one. One with our closest friends and our most important family members. That's all we need."

"But what about the others who don't get invited to the wedding?"

"Then we'll invite them to the baby shower first. Let's have our wedding October 17th."

"The 17th? Why?"

Austin blinked, a bit stunned that Ally didn't remember what the seventeenth was. He honestly thought that girls were supposed to remember stuff like dates, yet Ally didn't remember. He was just going to have to remind her.

"It's the day you became mine." Austin traced the charm on her necklace. "How could you have forgotten?"

"You remembered?" Ally asked quietly, a bit in disbelief.

"Of course, it's an important date to me." Austin smiled sheepishly. "I don't think I need to remind you that I love you."

"Nope, because I love you too." Ally smiled back, content with her day.

Their summer to come would be challenging and hectic, due to the coming baby and wedding, but the two didn't care. Their summer was going to be filled with love and joy because they had each other. Then, the season would change.

Thanks for reading!

~Hannah V.