title: star crossed lovers
playlist/inspiration: Someone Like You- The Summer Set, Secret Valentine- We the Kings, Hearts Go Crazy- Parachute, the prompts "soul mate", "simple love story", and "bookstore conversations"
disclaimer: I own nothing you recognize.
warnings: plotless fluff with copious amounts of sarcastic banter and coffee references.
She wears yellow often and drinks a shit-ton of coffee and this is basically all he knows about her. This, and the fact that she spends more time in this Barnes & Noble than any human should.
(Of course, for him to make this observation meant that he spent a lot of time here, too. But he was only here for research purposes. She seemed to come here voluntarily.)
He's really not sure if there's a point to her being here, or if she's chosen this bookstore as her designated place to merely exist. This is plausible, too. He has a designated place himself.
Either way, she's here every time he comes, which, much to his chagrin is now daily. But he has a huge Music Theory paper due next Tuesday and the way he sees it, it's either here or the library, and he wasn't that desperate. Yet.
However, he now comes here not only to take notes on The Wrong Chords by Steven Edgewater, but to see her. It's kind of a ridiculous thing- bold, confident Austin Moon being scared to talk to a girl-but it's his reality and he's okay with it. For now.
He finally talks to her (sort of) on Wednesday night. She's desperately reaching for a book far above her 5'3 frame's reach.
Easily taking the book- Romeo & Juliet- off the shelf (the advantages of being six feet tall), he smiles and hands it to the girl.
"This what you wanted?"
She nods, clutching the book tightly to her chest. They stand across from each other silently for a moment, awkwardness radiating in their surrounding airspace.
"So, um." He pauses. (Romeo and Juliet, huh? One of my favorites. This is what he should've said.)
"I've got to-" She starts. (You read Shakespeare? She would've responded. He doesn't strike her as a lit major.)
And then she runs off down the aisle hurriedly, as if he were something to be scared of.
He wonders if this is a habit of hers.
Their second official exchange-of-words, and first official conversation takes place the day after. Thursday.
They're standing in the impossibly long and impossibly slow Starbucks line, her one spot ahead of him. This long line is ritual. Ever since Barnes & Noble had made the (delightfully correct) decision to implement Starbucks kiosks in their stores, hipsters and poets and anyone who basically seemed as if they belonged in a coffeehouse flocked to their closest location, as if a Starbucks was hard to come by in America.
"So.." He begins, trying to think of a normal college-student topic. "You go to the U of Miami?"
She shakes her head. "No, I go to the Florida Atlantic University, actually." She smiles shyly.
He notices that her voice is pretty.
He furrows his eyebrows and smiles in confusion. "Isn't that in, like, Boca Raton?"
The girl nods.
"So you drive all the way from Boca Raton to Miami because...?"
"The coffee's better." She shrugs nonchalantly.
He stares at her dumbfoundedly for a moment. "You drive an hour over here just for coffee?"
"I never said I lived on campus."
She has a point. "Oh, so you live near here? Then why don't you just go to Miami U?"
"Because I live in Boca Raton. I'm from the Miami Beach area though, which is why I know that this Barnes and Noble has quality coffee."
This girl was impossible.
(And he enjoyed that.)
The line finally moves up and she steps forward, creating a longer distance between them. But he wasn't done.
"So what are you, some sort of coffee elitist?" He teases, stepping close enough to her that there couldn't have been more than a foot of distance between them.
She smiles. "No. I just enjoy quality coffee and I'm willing to drive a mere hour to get it."
"Oh, so you're not a coffee elitist... you're just a coffee elitist?" He smirks, deadpanned.
"I prefer coffee enthusiast." She laughs, crossing her arms, which are clad in an oversized yellow sweater.
They've moved up enough to where the girl is third in line and Austin is fourth.
"It's true." She continues. "And I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things." Her eyes sparkle with delight at her literary reference, waiting to see if he caught it.
"So, John Green and Shakespeare? For a girl who I don't even know the name of, I'm impressed with your taste. "
"Actually, considering the title of 'The Fault in Our Stars' was inspired by a line from Julius Caesar, I don't differentiate them that much, aside from the fact that John Green is modern. But I think he can become a classic. But honestly, I'm not a fan of Romeo and Juliet. At all." She explains, purposely ignoring the bit about her name.
He gapes at her. "You don't like Romeo and Juliet? What kind of lit major are you?"
"How'd you know I was a lit major?" She asks, cocking an eyebrow.
"As if it wasn't obvious."
She blushed, a trait Austin also carried, except on her, it was adorable. When he blushed, he looked like a tomato.
"Yeah, you're right. Anyways, I was trying to get Romeo and Juliet from the shelf because I'm doing a project on how people romanticize the classics simply because they think they're supposed to, and do not judge based on the actual content of the book."
It's official. He's infatuated.
"Oh, uh, it's your turn." He points to the empty counter, where the cashier was waiting impatiently, tapping his fingernails against the granite top and probably hating have to work a mundane job for barely above minimum wage.
Their coffee quality may have been superb, but they could use some improvements when it came to customer service.
She orders a venti mocha cappuccino, he notes.
'And your name?" The cashier asks monotonously.
Ally. It sounds like music. It sounds like her.
Ally. Austin and Ally. He muses the syllables in his head.
They mesh almost too well. It's rather frightening.
"Your turn." The guy behind him moans impatiently, breaking him out of his thoughts.
"Oh!" He steps up to the counter, realizing that the whole time he was in line, he'd been talking to Ally and hadn't bothered to figure out what he wanted.
"Um.. Uh... uh..." The bored cashier and all the customers behind him eye him in annoyance.
"I'll have the vanilla bean Frappuccino. Tall." He says hurriedly, ordering the first thing he saw on the menu.
"And your name?" The cashier (whose nametag reads Jerry) asks.
He goes to join Ally, who's watching intently as her cappuccino is being made.
"Well, Austin." She begins. He can't help but notice that she'd bothered to learn his name. "I'm quite ashamed. We have a whole discussion on how I drive an hour just to get here because of the coffee and you order one of the few drinks that have zero coffee."
He shrugs. "I like changing it up."
"Ally!" The barista calls, placing a steaming cup in front of Ally. "Enjoy."
"Thank you." She blows a bit on the steam wafting up to her nose before taking a sip.
"Yup." She sighs. "Much better than anything in Boca Raton."
He collects his drink and turns back to Ally. "I still find it hard to believe that there is literally no coffee good enough for you in Boca Raton that you have to drive here every day just for the coffee."
She takes another gulp. "Ah, see, there's where you're wrong. It's not just for the coffee. I also come home to help my dad at his store sometimes. He owns the Sonic Boom. It's in the Miami Mall."
Austin's hazel eyes widen. "No way. I used to get all my instruments there in high school."
"I know. I recognized you. We also were in the same graduating class at Marino. You're Austin Moon."
Okay, now he's just confused. He spent four years in the presence of this flawless girl and never knew it?
"Then how come I never noticed you?"
She smiles softly and looks down at the ground. 'No one does."
He stares at her for a second, and she stares back.
"Besides, I don't see why you're complaining. If I didn't drive here every day, you never would have met me." She jokes, glossing over that odd moment of vulnerability to return to their banter.
He smiles at her. "Are you implying that I think meeting you is a good thing?" He asks teasingly.
"No." She replies simply. "I'm not saying it's a particularly good thing. But I think you and I both know it was meant to happen."
He'd forgotten to ask for her number.
And he would ask, not demand, for it tonight because he respects this girl and does not consider chauvinistic one of his character traits.
There she is, curled up in her usual armchair in her yellow tank top and navy hoodie.
Today she's reading To Kill a Mockingbird.
Settling himself down next to her, he coughs lightly. She doesn't turn to him, but he can see her give a slight smile.
"You know, that's one of my favorite books." He comments.
She looks up and closes her book. "You know, for a Music Performance major, you're pretty well-read."
He smiles. "Yeah, well, I paid attention in English. How'd you know I was a Performance major?"
"I remember your band playing prom in high school. And I made inferences. I wondered why you were just lead guitar. Why you weren't lead singer."
He chuckles softly. "I could never write a song. Trent could."
Ally snorts. "Yeah, sure. No offense, but you guys' music was kind of cliché. You know, if you'd ever talked to me back then, I would've helped you. I wrote a lot of songs, but I have stage fright. Would've been nice for them to be heard."
"Yeah, well, we can add that to my list of regrets." He laughs. "Do you still write songs?"
She shakes her head. "No. Not really. I focus more on stories and stuff like that now."
"Do you think...could I... would you ever be willing to show me some of your songs?"
Her brown eyes flicker over to him.
He figures this is probably a high honor, coming from her.
On Friday night, she orders an espresso, finishes To Kill a Mockingbird and moves onto The Grapes of Wrath, and leaves at 9:15, earlier than usual.
So, naturally and in a totally un-stalker like way, he decides to follow her.
Almost a quarter of the way back to Boca, she takes an exit off of the interstate and her tire goes flat.
"Shit!" She mutters. He chuckles softly. "Fuck! My phone's dead, too."
He slowly drives up to her. "Hey! Do you happen to have a phone I can- Austin?" She calls.
He cuts his lights. "Hey, Ally."
"Were you following me?" She asks, a grin forming slowly across her face.
"Psh, no." He bluffs. "Not at all, why would you-" She's giving him a pointed glare, and he knows he's been caught.
"Okay, I was following you." He blushes. Thank God it was nighttime.
To his surprise, she smiles. "That's actually really flattering. In a creepy way."
Popping open her trunk, she adds: "I'd be even more flattered if you'd change this tire. Provided you know how?"
He nods. "Yeah, I know how. What, you can't do it yourself?"
She lifts the spare tire out of the trunk and gives him a suspicious glance. "Are you going to make me do it myself?"
He swallows. "No."
As he cranks the jack she oh-so-conveniently had stored in her car, he attempts to make small talk.
"So, how 'bout them Heat?"
She rolls her eyes, swinging her legs back and forth from the hood of her car.
"Seriously? Do I seem like the type to follow basketball?"
"Well, what do you want to talk about?"
She sighs. " I don't know. I want to go home."
"Don't we all."
She hops off the hood and starts pacing back and forth on the gravelly road.
"So tell me about yourself."
She whirls around, her side-braid whipping her in the face. "What?"
He yanks the flattened tire off. "I said, tell me about yourself. All I know is that you read the classics, you and your dad are musically inclined, you're a lit major, and you're an insane coffee elitist."
"Enthusiast." She corrects, settling herself down on the hood of her car. "And you also know I live in Boca and my name is Ally. Can't forget that."
He gives her a flat stare.
"Fine." She sighs, blowing a wisp of hair out of her face. "What do you want to know?"
His eyes glint mischievously before he turns back to the tire. "Everything."
"Narrower topics, please."
He chuckles. "Fine. Um.. if you knew who I was in high school, why didn't you ever talk to me?"
"Before I answer that, let me ask you this;" She pauses. "Did you know who I was?"
He decides silence is his best option here, though they both know the answer.
"Exactly. You, you were popular. You were homecoming king. People wanted to be around you. Me? No one even knew me. No one wanted to." She sighs.
He starts screwing in the new tire. "But Ally… you're amazing." He says, his voice burning with sincerity.
He turns around enough to see what he swears is a glimmer of happiness in her eyes, but she blinks and then it's all gone away.
She hops off the hood. "I don't think you know me well enough to be making judgment calls."
He can add another thing to what he knows about Ally: she doesn't seem to take compliments.
He finishes the tire and watches as she drives away.
He's going to know that girl someday.
That's a promise.
On Saturday, she reads The Bell Jar , wears a yellow FAU sweatshirt, and gets stuck in the Barnes & Noble parking lot due to a stalled engine.
"Jeez. Two car problems in two days. Maybe you need to take it to a mechanic." He says, pulling up in his own truck "conveniently" as she climbs out of her Camry.
She scoffs indignantly. "I'm a college student, Austin. I barely have money to eat on a daily basis."
He laughs. "Good point."
And then he offers her a ride home, because while he may not be a chauvinist, he does have a hero complex and he may or may not have a crush on this girl, anyways.
"Hmm." She cocks an eyebrow. "You're going to drive two-hours round trip to Boca Raton at eleven o' clock at night for a girl you barely know?"
"I'm a nice guy." He grins.
Ally shifts her weight to one foot.
"Well, c'mon. Engine's running." He comments.
Hesitantly, she runs over to the passenger door and climbs in.
"This is such a tall truck." She grumbles, closing the door behind her.
"Maybe you're just a short girl." He smirks, and she swats him playfully on the arm.
So they're at that stage.
"Are you really going to drive all the way back to Boca?" She asks again as soon as they've gotten to a stoplight.
He cautiously looks over at her. Her long brown hair is curled at the ends and falls below her chest on her heart-printed sweater.
You're beautiful, he thinks, but he doesn't say it.
"Why?" He smirks. "Are you implying something?"
And then he realizes what he just implied, but he doesn't try to save himself. No, he decides to dig a deeper hole.
"'Cause, y'know, I live like three miles away from here. Off-campus. I have my own apartment. You could… stay over. If you want." He nearly chokes.
"Rich boy." She coughs.
He smiles. "Actually, I saved up from some odd jobs as a kid- I used to do some like child model crap, not a big deal- to pay for college, but I ended up getting a scholarship. So I spent the money on this truck. And my apartment."
She stares at him in awe. "Wow, I, uh.. sorry. That was rude of me."
" No, it's fine. My parents are fairly well-off. You weren't totally wrong."
She nods. "But, as for the offer… um… yeah. Yeah, I think that would be okay."
"So here we are. Chez Moon." He announces, setting his keys down on the kitchen counter.
It's a fairly small apartment, a one bedroom with one expanse of a room that was a living room and dining room, with a small kitchen off to the side. But it was bigger than what most college students-especially freshmen- and it was his.
"Cool." Ally nods.
"So, uh, do you want anything to drink? We have a myriad of selections- Dr. Pepper or filtered tap water?" He offers.
She laughs. "No, I'm okay. Thanks, though." She slips her sweatshirt over her head and places it down on the counter next to her bag gingerly.
He snorts. "Als, you don't have to be so careful about everything. You're basically family now, my home is your home, ect,ect, chill out."
She blushes. "That's a lot to say to a girl you've only been talking to for a couple of days."
He leans over the counter until his face is mere inches from hers.
"I think we both know this was meant to happen."
"Gosh, you've got a lot of instruments." She remarks, looking around his bedroom walls, crammed with guitars, a keyboard, a drum kit, some amps. A microphone stands in the closet.
"Says the girl whose father owns a music store." He replies jokingly.
"Yeah, well." She sets her stuff down on his desk and plops down on the chair.
"It's spinny!" She laughs, twirling herself around, hair flying around her.
He's not sure why this seems so hilarious, but he cracks up nonetheless.
She puts her hand on the top of his desk to stop herself from spinning.
"What's so funny?" She pouts.
"Nothing, it's just.. it seems like such a juxtaposition to see you, serious, shy Ally Dawson taking so much pleasure out of spinning in my desk chair."
She sticks her tongue out at him, the second juvenile gesture in just a matter of minutes.
"What, I take school seriously so I can't have fun?"
"No, no, I didn't mean that, I just meant-"
"Because," Ally interjects, a sly smile slowly forming across her face, "Clearly you're underestimating me."
She runs back to the living room, Austin right on her heels.
"Whoop!" She hollers, plugging her phone into his speakers and blasting Say You're Just a Friend.
"Oh my God, you listen to this?" He hollers over the music. It's midnight, and his neighbors are probably trying to sleep, but oh well.
"Yup!" She yells, thrashing around with her arms in the air in what he assumes is an attempt to dance.
"Dude, that is not dancing." He scoffs, watching her bounce around.
So maybe her dance moves weren't the most graceful, but they certainly were pretty adorable.
"So show me how it's done!" She teases. Her eyes glimmer in a "I-dare-you" kind of way.
He smirks. "Fine then."
So he breaks into a series of dance moves that she would never dare to try and replicate and she claps when he's done.
i"You know, you're pretty good!" She laughs, smiling exuberantly.
He gives her a goofy grin. Coming from anyone else, he wouldn't be blushing, but from her? He burned red.
"You're cute when you blush." She admits over the music, then blushes herself when she realizes what she's just said.
He blushes harder. "I could say the same to you."
The song shifts to Someone Like You by the Summer Set.
"Wanna dance?" She offers, holding her hand out.
He glady takes it and bounces around with her for the next three minutes, two tomato red teenagers with so many unadmitted feelings between them.
His palm tingled and his brain was in overdrive throughout the whole song.
Did he like her? Yes.
Was he in love with her? Probably.
Would he tell her that?
At around three am, she's standing next to his bed in the dark.
"I'm cold." She whispers.
He makes an impulse decision. "Then come here."
He lifts the duvet over the part of his bed that isn't occupied by him, inviting her to join.
Hesitantly, she crawls in.
The fluffy comforter, along with the heat radiating from Austin, was a comforting warmth and she fell asleep quickly.
Sometime in the middle of the night, she'd wrapped her arms around his neck subconsciously.
He'd wrapped his arms around her shoulders, too, but he'd been awake when that happened.
But she didn't need to know that.
He walks out of the bathroom towel-drying his wet blonde hair when he hears her talking on the phone from his room.
"I don't know, Trish, it's complicated!" She groans.
Trish. It rung a bell. He vaguely remembers her from high school. She and Ally must be good friends.
Trish's voice is clear through the speaker. Ally must've had it on speakerphone.
"It's not complicated, Ally. If you like him, tell him!"
He'd be lying if he said his heart hadn't skipped a beat right then.
He peered in carefully through the open crack in his bedroom door to see Ally sitting cross-legged on his bed, running her hands through her unbrushed brown hair.
"But see that's the thing! I don't just like him. It's like, it's like we're soul mates or something! I don't know, it's just like it's fated that we be together!"
"Even more reason to tell him." Trish remarks. She's not wrong. "Don't want to go around screwing with Fate or anything."
Ally sighs. "But you know me, Trish! I avoid confrontation! Hell, I avoid socialization for that matter!"
"But you let him in, didn't you."
Ally frowns. "Look, Trish, I gotta go. I think he's done with his shower."
She hangs up.
"Ugh!" She screeches, throwing her head into a pillow.
He strides into the room and over to his bed. She looks up.
"Austin?" She says meekly.
"Kiss me." He demands.
When he thinks about the complexities and complications that all the stories of star-crossed lovers entail, he realizes that they have none of that.
They are simple, with his hands intertwined in hers.
They are human, with messy hair and insecurities and regrets.
But they love each other, so this is their love story.
And that would be okay.
A/N omg okay so i promised myself i wouldn't bash on this as a birthday present to myself but it's so hard i mean ugh what the hell kind of rushed ending was that.
Also I know I credited this as AU but it's basically more just my take on what would've happened if Austin and Ally had met in college instead of high school.