Crooked Tie, an Austin and Ally one-shot

I do not own Austin and Ally. Polkadotty prompted spaghetti, so I hope you like it. Reviews and requests are always accepted.

He falls backwards onto her bed, staring at the ceiling. There's one lonely glow in the dark star up there. The sun is still shining, so the star doesn't glow, but he imagines that when it does, it's like a little night light for her. One that lights her face ever so lightly that you can make out the curve of her nose, her mouth barely open as she breathes in her sleep.

He imagines she looks pretty beautiful.

As her best friend, these thoughts concern him. He shouldn't be thinking about her curled up in one of her old t shirts. And he really shouldn't be thinking of her curled up in one of his old t shirts.

If she did, he'd make sure it had his name on it. Just a reminder that she is his.

Except she's not his. She doesn't belong to anybody, no matter how badly he wants to be that anybody.

Life was easier when he was okay with not being her anybody.

"Ally, how do you feel about- oh, she's not here." Mr. Dawson stands in the doorway, holding a box of spaghetti.

"She had to use the bathroom," Austin replies, sitting up. "She should be back any minute."

"I was just going to ask her how she felt about spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. Would you like to join us?" He sees Ally come up behind him, trying to get into her room.

She bites her lip, something that he finds adorable, much to his concern again, debating whether or not to ask him to move. "Dad?"

"Sorry sweetie. Are you two okay with spaghetti tonight?" He shakes the box.

"I don't think Austin wants-"

"Sounds great," he answers. Sure, they've been studying for hours, and he had plans to go to the movies with Dez, but this is Ally we're talking about.

Pretty, pretty Ally, who shines brighter than her glow in the dark star.

It wouldn't be the first time he gave something up for her.

Her dad leaves, and Austin stuffs his books into his backpack. "You know you don't have to stay."

"I know. But I love spaghetti and meatballs."

He'd add her name to the list, but no reason to make things obvious.

(the page breaks here)

The freezer closes with a thud. He tosses the bag of frozen raviolis on the counter.

"So where are your parents?" she asks, tugging the bag open. A ravioli flies in his direction.

"Someone tried to rob the store today. They're talking with the police." He catches the escapee, putting it back in the bag.

"How do you steal a mattress?"

He fills a pot with water and sets it on the stove. "They were trying to steal the money, not the mattresses."

She blushes. How could she have been so stupid?

The burner gets turned on and they wait for the water to boil. Without anybody around, it feels like they're on a date. Which he wouldn't mind, if they were talking instead of staring at the pot. At the same time, they try to talk.

"No, you go first," she insists.

He was hoping she'd go first. Then she would say something that would prevent him from speaking his mind. His mind with a big mouth that needed a muzzle, because these words should not be coming out of his mouth.

"I like you." He rubs the back of his neck, ignoring the fact that the water is bubbling and he should turn the burner down.

"I like you too." She hugs him, not aware of the full meaning.

He pulls back to correct her. Seeing her face, he can't bring himself to say the words. He can't lose this.

Then why is his face getting closer to hers?

Is it possible that hers is coming closer too?

Boiling water pops out of the pan. He grabs her, jumping out of the way. "Maybe we should turn it down."

"Yeah," she sighs as he takes his hands off of her. He lowers the temperature.

Adding the ravioli, he tosses the empty bag in the trash. It's quiet for a minute. This time, she breaks the silence.

"When you said you like me, did you mean as a friend or..." she trails off, too embarrassed to finish her sentence. If he only considers her a friend, she'll humiliate herself for thinking there could ever be something more.

He cups her chin, lifting her eyes to his. They aren't the only thing that connects.

"Does that answer your question?"

Ally needs to ask questions more often.

(the page breaks here)

They walk up the path to Jimmy's house. Stopping at the door, she lets go of his hand.

"Your tie is crooked again. Let me fix it." She adjusts the knot.

"I'm starting to think he does that on purpose," Trish mutters to Dez.

Austin hears her. "I do not!"

His blush says otherwise.

Ringing the doorbell, he takes her hand again. A balding man leads them inside, gesturing with the wave of a white glove where the 'powder room' is. From there, he leads them to the dining hall, where he shows them to their seats.

Shortly after the toast, a stream of waiters set plates of fettuccine alfredo in front of the guests.

"Dez, your napkin is supposed to go in your lap." Ally demonstrates, folding her own over her dress.

"But then I'll get my shirt dirty." Trish yanks the napkin out of his shirt, where it had been tucked in, and places it in his lap. Rolling her eyes, she picks up her fork.

The fettuccine is shrimp and broccoli. Austin tries to casually push the broccoli aside. It's rude to not eat what is served, but broccoli is always getting stuck in his teeth, and he doesn't even like the stuff. Ally smiles, catching him in the act.

"Don't you want to grow up to be a big boy?" she teases.

"I think I'm big enough."

Besides, if he gets any taller, it'll make it that much harder to hug her, and that is not something he plans on giving up.

(the page breaks here)

She sets the grocery bag on the empty countertop. It's odd, having a new place to call home. Yes, her dad is ten minutes away, and Trish and Dez are in the apartment right below them, but there's no comfort in walking into an empty white walled apartment when everything is still in boxes.

He pushes the door open with his him, carrying in the cooler with the frozens.

Okay, so there is one thing that makes this apartment feel like home.

"I'll find a pot so we can get the tortellini going." She searches for the box labeled 'kitchen.' As she paws through it, he stows the groceries away.

"Find the bowls and forks while you're at it," he says to buy time. There's something he needs to find the nerve to do.

Like finding something in these unpacked boxes, finding his nerve is proving to be impossible.

She makes a noise of approval. He walks into the bedroom, opening the drawer. It's the only thing he's unpacked, and perhaps the most important. There's a small velvet box.

"I found the pot!" she calls.

"Be there in a second!" He stuffs the box in his pocket, closing the drawer.

Returning to the kitchen, he finds that she's already set a pot of water on the stove. While she waits for it to boil, she puts the dishes in the cupboard. He gives her a hand. Every time he moves, he can feel the box getting jostled in his pocket.

It seems that in life, whenever something is planned down to the moment, fate gets in the way. Which is why, after carefully planning his proposal, he throws it out the window.

"When I was a little girl, I used to pretend that the tortellini were like rings and stick them on my fingers. Of course my hands are too big now." She stabs the pasta.

Setting his fork down, he reaches into his pocket. He's sweating.

Smiling nervously, he takes her hand, forcing her to drop her fork. "Well, then how about a real ring?"

The box pops open, along with her mouth.

"Austin," she breathes. She allows him to make his speech, her dinner getting colder by the second. Not that it matters.

It isn't every day she can say yes to a proposal.

(the page breaks here)

Spearing a cherry tomato, she pushes her hair off of her shoulders. She flips the page in her magazine.

"Hey cutie, any progress?" He kisses her cheek.

"I still have no idea what you and Dez are going to wear," she replies, scooping a helping of farfalle onto his plate.

He sits next to her. "Relax. I can wear my black tie and rent a tux."

She thinks this over while she chews. It took her three weeks to pick out dresses for her and Trish, and he could get off easy with some simple solution. But the press will probably crash the wedding, despite their attempts to keep things on the down low, and she wants everything to be perfect.

Staring down at her plate, it hits her. "How about a bow tie?"

"Sure. That way you don't have to keep fixing my tie." He picks up a tomato with his fingers.

"Well if it would stay straight, I wouldn't have to." Tomato juice squirts in her direction. It lands on her magazine.

He wipes it off with a napkin. She doesn't have to know that his tie is purposely crooked.

As long as she keeps fixing it, he'll do it forever.

(the page breaks here)

Her stomach enters the room before she does. It's like a warning signal, that Ally the Huge is coming.

That's how she feels anyway. Her husband thinks she's precious, and not some monster with a stomach large enough to knock a midget unconscious.

"I made stelline soup." He takes her hand, sitting her down at the table.

"What?"

"They're little pasta stars. I made you soup, see?" The bowl gets set in front of her.

She dips her spoon in, disturbing the free floating stars. It looks like a ripple in the galaxy.

He sits across from her, blowing on his own bowl. The soup is very hot, having just come off the stove.

"It's good," she says, dipping a cracker into it. It falls in.

As she fiddles with her now soggy cracker, he responds. "Thanks."

She gets the cracker balanced on her spoon. Then she suddenly drops it, clutching her stomach.

He raises an eyebrow at her.

"The baby kicked."

He gets up, rounding the table to place his hands on her stomach. The baby kicks a second time.

"Wow."

"I know, right? That's our little baby."

She never rescues the cracker.

(the page breaks here)

He stirs the macaroni in the pot. A pair of short arms cling onto the counter.

"Hey pop, whatcha making?" his son asks him.

"Mac n' cheese."

He licks his lips. "Mmm. I like it when you cook dinner."

"Hey, your mom is a great cook." He points the spoon at him. His son swipes his finger along the top of it, popping it in his mouth.

Always one to cause trouble.

Ally says he takes after his father.

"Yeah, but she makes me eat my vegetables," he says around his finger.

"Because they're good for you." She comes into the kitchen, kissing him on the top of the head. Austin stoops down so he can get the same treatment.

There are certain things you can't do in front of a six year. Last time he kissed her in front of their son, he covered his eyes and made disgusted noises.

One day he'd learn. He'd meet a pretty girl, and if he was as much like his father as she said he was, he wouldn't even realize he was falling for her. Hopefully he'd get lucky and realize it before it was too late. Austin had.

And he is so glad he did.