Pinch Marks, an Austin and Ally one shot

I do not own Austin and Ally. Feedback and prompts are appreciated!

The words fall out of his mouth as if they carry no weight, but in actuality weigh more than a pregnant elephant.

Yeah, terrible simile, but he's too busy freaking out to come up with something better.

Those three words, right before he hung up the phone. He couldn't have left it at goodbye. No, he had to add those words.

I love you.

It was enough to make her spill purple nail paint on her floor.

It was enough to make him hang up the phone.

(the page breaks here)

It was all just a dream. An incredibly fantastic, wonderful dream. She's going to look at her floor and not see the purple blob.

Oh no, there it is.

And it's shaped like a heart.

Someone has a terrible sense of humor.

She gets down on her hands and knees to get a closer look. It doesn't come off when she scratches at it. The bottle of polish remover is empty. It figures. Now she's stuck with the stain. It's like a constant reminder that he loves her.

Without any stipulation of 'just as a friend.' He didn't specify that he loved her in a romantic kind of way, but he's never said it to her before.

The words had sounded so right coming out of his mouth.

They still sound right echoing in her head.

(the page breaks here)

Dez was right.

He is in deeply, madly, hopelessly in love with Ally.

He should be happy it's off his chest. It felt so freeing, for the first few seconds. Then reality set in. He's her best friend, and he's back together with Kira, and he just made things awkward between them. They can pretend all they want, but those words came out of his mouth.

If he hadn't hung up the phone so fast, he could of fixed it. Told her she was a great friend.

No, instead he had let his thumb hit the end button. It wasn't nearly as satisfying as slamming the phone down. Then he would have known he did something wrong. Hitting the end button has only made his brain wage war on his heart.

Next time he's going to dig the old rotary phone out of the closet so he can slam it down if he says something stupid. Though he'll probably end up tangled in the cord, phone dangling around him as he tells himself he is such an idiot and she listens from the other end.

Okay, so he'll stick to his cell phone.

But if he ends up with a cracked screen from slamming it down, it is not his fault.

(the page breaks here)

He storms into the Sonic Boom. By now, he's more angry at himself than anything. How could he have been that stupid? She deserved more than hearing those words over the phone. He should have told her face to face.

What is he saying? He shouldn't have told her at all.

"Hey man, what's up?" Dez has his camera on, filming the various customers in the shop. He zooms in on Austin's face.

"Not now," he says, pushing the camera away.

"Well somebody's sure a grumpy Gus." He puts the camera in his backpack. Austin scowls at him.

It's not like him to be angry with the world. But between losing sleep, and possibly his best friend, he's a bit cranky.

Whether his definition of bit matches the dictionary's or not is negotiable.

Ally comes down the steps. "Austin, can we talk?"

If he doesn't talk to her, she can't tell him that she doesn't want to be friends anymore. Then again, if he doesn't talk to her, it'll be like they aren't friends anyway.

Saying 'I love you' makes things pretty difficult.

He pinches himself. Pain shoots up his arm. Enough pain and he'll remember never to say those three words again.

Five marks on the left arm and counting.

"Can't. I'm meeting Kira this morning," he lies. Now to casually send her a text message to make sure that she shows up and doesn't make him look like a fool.

More of a fool than he already is.

Six marks and counting.

When he texts her, he dreads the words that he gets back.

'Sorry. Busy today. Love you!'

Sorry, as in sorry that she ruined his only chance at not looking busy and avoiding his best friend? Busy today, as in doing something that doesn't involve him, and could possibly involve another person of the male gender that she could conveniently fall in love with, so he wouldn't look like a jerk if he told Ally that he meant the words he said? Love you, as in the words he said to another girl before his own girlfriend?

He is not going to slam his phone down. He is not going to break the screen and have to put up with it because the warranty expired last month.

He is not going to stand around and look like an idiot.

"Dez," he whispers, beckoning him with the nod of his head.

"What, now you want to talk?"

"Sorry. I'm not in the best of moods." He shoves his phone back into his pocket.

Dez sets his hands on his shoulder. "It's okay buddy. Tell the love doctor what's wrong."

Austin's eyes dart to his shoulder. It'd be rude to shrug his hand off, but he does not have the patience to be touchy feeling today.

He takes a step to his left. The hand falls.

"I never said it was about love."

"Then why are you avoiding Ally?"

"Okay, so it's about love," he concedes.

He is not going to pinch himself again. Not while Dez is watching.

His phone vibrates. He gets excited, thinking that it's Kira, telling him that she can make it after all.

Nope. It's a wrong number.

'Make sure to wear your red tie to match my purse. XOXO.'

Ally wanted to match her purse to his tie at the awards show. Was that something only couples did? And why is he thinking of something that happened how many months ago, that should be as fuzzy of a memory as what he ate for breakfast that day?

It was pancakes. It always is.

"Austin, I know you're waiting for Kira, but could you help me for a minute? I need to move these boxes." She lifts one from the top of the stack.

He sends a quick text back, saying that they have the wrong number. Tucking his phone away, he moves to help her.

Hopefully he doesn't screw this up.

There's no way he can pinch himself while carrying boxes.

(the page breaks here)

Once the boxes are put away he can talk to Dez.

"I told her I love her," he confesses, shutting the door behind him.

"That's awesome!" He's waited for this moment. Trish will be so excited when he tells her.

"No, it's not."

"Uh yeah, it is."

"No, it's not." He's getting frustrated. Talking to Dez was meant to calm him down.

This is not what calm is meant to feel like.

He'd call this fear, anxiety, stress. Any word that does not mean calm.

"Yes, it is."

He throws his hands into the air. "No, it's not, because she's my best friend, and I'm dating Kira, and I said it over the phone. I was supposed to say it to her face. I was supposed to walk up to her and say 'Hey Ally, I think I like you as more than a friend,' and she was supposed to feel the same way and we were supposed to live happily ever after. I was not supposed to totally ruin everything!"

Dez's eyes grow wide. It's rare that he gets to see this side of Austin. This, terrified, frustrated, guy who isn't in control of his life.

Which means that he is left to be the sensible one in the relationship.

"Calm down."

Right, because those words always work.

That voice in his head needs to shut up, because he is not going to pinch himself again.

There's a knock at the door.

He bets that it is her. She must have heard him yelling and has come to set him straight. He's just going to go ahead and pinch himself now.

"Hey Trish," Dez greets her, letting her in the room.

Great, he pinched himself for nothing.

She ignores him. "What are you doing? You can't tell a girl you love her and then ignore her."

Would everyone stop telling him what to do? If they were telling him to run, as far and fast as his legs would carry him, he wouldn't have a problem with it. But they're telling him to face his fears and go for it.

Lousy advice if you ask him.

Solely because his stomach has dropped to the floor, and his heart is too weak to pick it up again.

"I wish I would have never said that," he mutters.

Trish and Dez exchange a look. They know something that he doesn't know, and they aren't sharing. Sharing is caring.

Unless sharing involves him sharing his feelings about Ally with Ally. Then sharing is ludicrous.

"There's something you need to know," she starts.


"You have to ask Ally," she responds.

Is there a pillow he can scream into right now? These two need to understand he needs as much distance from her as he can get.

He could be across the world, and he wouldn't forget his problems.

"Fine. I'll talk to her." He swings the door open. There she stands.

"Kira's here."

He looks over the landing. There she is, waving at him.

Wasn't she busy today?

He goes down to the first floor. "Hi."

"Hey. I rescheduled so we could hang out today." She hugs him.

His body stays stiff.

(the page breaks here)

The girl rearranges her schedule for him, and how does he repay her?

Let's see. He sulks through the movie, pokes at his lunch, and when she finally asks him what's wrong, he tells her.

He tells her everything.

Right down to the nitty gritty about how his head was dangling upside down off the bed, but that wasn't what caused the head rush when he hung up.

How there's a tiny bald spot near his left ear because he tugged his hair too hard.

How he only regrets it because he's ruined everything, and how he doesn't want to take back the words, just the consequences.

And what does she do in return?

She doesn't dump her milkshake on his head. She doesn't storm out of the restaurant, leaving him and his burger to sort things out.

She takes his wrist and drags him all the way to the Sonic Boom.

"What are you doing?" These are his favorite sneakers, and she is wearing the soles thin.

"You obviously love Ally and won't do anything about it. I don't want to be your next best option," she tells him.

He can do this on his own time. Unlike the apparently popular opinion, it does not have to be right here, right now.

Well, about ten feet and a minute from here and now.

He shouldn't have admitted it. She needs to let go of him so he can pinch himself.

Might as well start on the other arm now.

(the page breaks here)

Eight is his new lucky number. Eight pinch marks line his arms. Eight pairs of eyes watched him as he repeated that eight character sentence to her face.

'I love you.'

Seven letters, one period. Not a question mark. There's no doubt in his mind. There's no more anger either.

Because their first kiss lasted eight seconds.

Because only eight of her fingers are painted purple, the right thumb and forefinger bare.

Because there is eight letters in the words 'love song,' as in 'Not a Love Song,' as in 'we're writing a sequel where the guy and girl end up together.'

But first, he thinks he's going to kiss her again.

It may last longer than eight seconds.

He's not keeping count.