Spilt Chili, an Austin and Ally one-shot

I do not own Austin and Ally. Pajama pants and pink lemonade for Polkadotty, Ants for urxgorgex, and Ally's book for Cataniagirl. Thanks for the requests and reviews! Keep them coming.

See, this is why there shouldn't be eating in the store.

She had been writing a song. Austin had offered her a bite of chili, because it was to die for.

He had failed to mention that she would die from the heat of it. It was like a blaze of fire burning at the back of her throat. She had run upstairs to to get a drink.

Returning with her pink lemonade, the first thing she noticed wasn't a thing. It was a lack of a thing. The lack of her book, which was right there, and now is right not there. And where might Austin be?

He's on the ground, scooping chili back into his cup.

"What happened?"

"Somebody pushed me from behind and spilled my chili." He can't get any more up, so he wipes the floor with his napkin.

"No. I mean, where's my book? It was right here." She points at the empty counter.

That book is her life. It contains her deepest, darkest secrets. It contains the shallowest, lightest ones too, but she doesn't care about that. They can know that she didn't like the shirt Trish was wearing yesterday, or the forgotten lyric ideas scattered through the pages.

They can't know that she may possibly have feelings for her best friend. Feelings that seem to have come out of nowhere, and she can't send them back, because where exactly is nowhere?

Somewhere she'd like to be at this moment. She does not want to stick around for this.

"They must have taken your book," he realizes.

Thanks for pointing out the obvious.

She nods. "Do you remember anything about who pushed you?"

"They got chili on my new sneakers."

"About them, Austin."

"Oh. I didn't get a good look at him."

This is the last time she lets him bring food in the store.

(the page breaks here)

She goes for a second glass. It's hot out, to add to the heat rising to her face as she contemplates every worst case scenario over twice.

There's a note.

The glass of lemonade gets set on the counter. She picks up the note.

'I have your book. Do as I tell you, or I will expose your secret to the world.'

There are dozens of secrets in there, but she knows which one he, or she, as she shouldn't assume these things, is referring to. Page seventy four, third paragraph. Well, really it's only a sentence. Eleven words that may be the death of her.

I think I may like Austin as more than a friend.

There's no way she can get around that. Short of saying that she meant to write Dustin. She doesn't have a friend named Dustin. That would mean having to hire someone to pretend to be him, and then wishing on every star in the night sky that he believes her.

Only you're allowed just one wish per night. Hence the first star I see tonight. You can't see more than one star first.

Maybe if she closes her eyes and reopens them she gets a second chance?

She could use all the wishes she can get.

'Please flip this paper over for further instructions.' She does as she is told. 'Hold hands with Austin.'

Wait, they've gone to the trouble to blackmail her, and that's all they make her do? And if that was all they said, why couldn't they fit that on the front of the page? There was nothing dramatic about saving it for the other side of the page. Her heart hadn't stopped, scared to see what was going to happen. There is nothing she wouldn't do to get her book back.

Nothing legal, that is.

"Hey Ally, what's up?"

She folds the paper up, stuffing it in her pocket. "Oh, not much."

He raises an eyebrow. Something is going on, but his news is too good to dwell on that.

"I got us tickets to see Jason Mraz at the beach!" He holds them up.

"That's only two tickets."

"One for you, and one for me."

"What about Dez and Trish?" While she would love to go with him, it's not fair to the others.

He sets the tickets down on the counter. Grabbing her hand, he smiles. "I wanted to do something, just the two of us."

If this is how her hand feels after one minute, how is it going to feel if she doesn't let go? The note never specified how long she has to hold his hand.

Better hold on, to be safe.

Amongst other reasons.

(the page breaks here)

It isn't that hard to obey her blackmailer's command. She hasn't seen them, not that she knows what to look for in a blackmailer. It could be anyone. It could be a complete stranger.

It could be one of her best friends.

It could be him.

No, it's not him. There's no logical reason for him to have her hold his hand. He wouldn't have to blackmail her for that.

Besides, he wouldn't ruin his own sneakers, and chili cup, to read her book.

"These seats are amazing."

"I know right?" He squeezes her hand. She doubts it was on purpose. They've been holding hands since they got here. Perhaps his hand was starting to cramp.

All she knows is that she isn't letting go. They'll lose each other if they separate.

That would be a very bad thing.

"How did you get so close to the stage?"

He shrugs in a way that makes her think he knows more than he's letting on.

When he hops on stage for the last song, and they duet to Lucky, her heart melts. There is no way that he's singing the song to her. Jason just needed a duet partner.

She's going to ignore the fact that his eyes haven't left hers.

And the tingling of her hand?

Yeah, she's going to ignore that too.

(the page breaks here)

She needs to stop going for pink lemonade. Now there's a new note on the counter.

'Excellent work. Now kiss Austin on the cheek.'

At least they aren't totally evil. They could have forced her to kiss him on the mouth. Still, it is a kiss.

"Any more pink lemonade?"

"Upstairs."

He heads for the practice room. She reads over the note again.

It's for the book. She needs to remind herself of that.

There's no way she can let herself fall in love.

(the page breaks here)

This may be the most convenient thing to happen to her all day.

She's making herself a peanut butter sandwich, and he comes into the store, bearing more good news. "Hey Ally. Guess who got booked for the Helen show?"

Now would be the time to hug him.

Except her hands are covered in peanut butter. She wouldn't want to get it on him.

So she kisses his cheek instead.

"That's great Austin." Sucking the peanut butter off her thumb, she studies the slightly shocked look on his face. Rather than growing into disgust, it fades into a smile.

Her kiss made him smile.

She likes the sound of that.

(the page breaks here)

The blackmailer doesn't wait for another day to pass. She helps a customer buy a guitar, and as she hands them their correct change, she sees the note.

This time, it comes with a package.

'Wear these tomorrow.'

Opening the box, she peers inside. There are a pair of booty shorts with the word delicious on the back. This guy, she's sure it's a guy now, because what girl would spy on a girl wearing short shorts, is sick.

But she does want her book back. Maybe she can get away with wearing tights with them.

The paper falls, and she notices the note on the back. 'No, you cannot wear anything underneath.'

This sucks.

(the page breaks here)

On her way here, she wore her pajama pants over the shorts. There was no way she was walking past some of those houses in shorts this short.

It's worse than she thought. She has to wear a short shirt so it looks like she's wearing bottoms. It may be 90 degrees out, but that doesn't mean she wants to bare it all. She wants to keep her pants on.

If she finds out who stole her book, she is going to give them a stern talking to.

She ducks into the office. Slipping the pajama pants off, her legs feel exposed.

Thank goodness she thought to shave last night. There is nothing attractive about stubbly legs.

Not that she's trying to look attractive. She's trying to get her book back.

"Looking good Dawson," someone whistles as she steps out. Tongues are waggling. She feels like an ant, under the scrutiny of every boy in the store.

Can someone please step on her now and end this? The weight of the world feels like it is on her shoulders. Ants can carry ten times their weight. If she is an ant, she feels crushed and can't even carry what she has. The weight of the secret. The weight of her missing book.

The weight of her heart dropping to the floor when she sees that Austin is openly staring at her.

"What are you wearing?" He takes his sweatshirt off, wrapping it around her waist.

"What's wrong?" She lets him knot the sleeves.

"Your butt says delicious! That's what's wrong."

Wow. That was a bit loud.

Hold on, he was looking at her butt?

"They're just shorts, Austin." Shorts that she was forced into wearing. Shorts that are making his face turn red.

Oh. She sees what's going on.

He likes her shorts. More importantly, he doesn't like that the other boys like her shorts.

This could be interesting.

(the page breaks here)

Somehow, despite her staying at the counter all day, she finds another note. This one is on the other side of the counter. They must have done it behind her back.

What could he possibly make her do now?

'This is your last mission. Tell Austin how you really feel about him, or I will tell the world.'

She tugs at the bottom of her shorts. There aren't any pockets, but she can't put the note in his sweatshirt pocket. She crumples it up and puts it where it belongs.

The trash.

Either way, he's going to find out. It might as well be her. That way she can lay the facts out straight. Plus, if he rejects her, it won't be in front of the entire viewing audience.

"We need to finish that song before Friday."

She jumps, the hood of his sweatshirt bouncing against her backside. "I don't have my book."

"You still didn't get it back?"

"Nope."

He drops his head. Toying with the sleeve of his sweatshirt, he pulls her closer.

It's an accidental tug, as is the accidental rise in her heart rate. It thumps so loudly, she can barely hear her own words.

"Austin, there's something I need to tell you."

He drops the sleeve. "What's up?"

No. He can't just say that like it's no big deal, and she's not going to tell him everything that she's worked to keep hidden. She grabs his hands. This is serious business, and she'd appreciate some focus.

Okay, maybe a little less focus.

Darn, he's not relenting.

"I was blackmailed into wearing these shorts." She watches his eyes glance to her legs before coming back up. "And if I didn't, they would tell my secret."

"Is your secret that bad?"

"I didn't want to make you feel uncomfortable." Ally lets go of his hands.

He takes them back. "Why would I feel uncomfortable?"

How long can she stand here and ignore the question?

She just had to go get that pink lemonade. Two minutes, and that book was gone, making her hold his hand, and kiss his cheek, and wear these shorts. She cannot wait to get back into her pants.

"I like you."

And then she does something on her own free will. She doesn't need a blackmailer to tell her to kiss him.

Well, on the lips anyway.

With her eyes closed, she can hear her book getting set on the counter. She should open an eye and see who it is. Only she doesn't care. This mystery cupid got her to do things she would have never done. Things that she liked doing, and will no doubt do again.

Minus the short shorts. She could go without them.

She can't say the same about going without him.