Quickly and Deft, an Austin and Ally one-shot

I do not own Austin and Ally. Enjoy, and please feel free to leave reviews or prompts!

"I'm going parking with Ally."

Those may not have been the best words to use. Then again, maybe they were, and all he had to add was the word 'parallel' in there. He was going 'parallel' parking with Ally.

Much better.

She makes a sharp turn in the deserted parking lot. He braces himself against the back of her seat.

"Now slow down, and approach the car," her father instructs. Austin stretches as far as he can, yanking the seat belt around his neck. It chokes him.

He closes his eyes, silently praying that she won't hit the car. He's had it for two months.

Two months is too short a time to have a car pre-accident.

A lifetime. That's how long he wants a car before getting in an accident.

She puts the car in reverse. "One turn to the right, right?"

"No, you go left," he counters. Making motions in the air, he rethinks. "Wait, maybe it is right."

"Which way?" She tosses her hands in the air. Her foot is on the brake, but she lowers them immediately. They take a death grip around the wheel.

Austin's hands move to her shoulders. Can't Mr. Dawson stop floundering long enough to give his daughter directions?

If he would let him sit in the front seat, he could teach her.

He acts as a backseat instructor. "Loosen your grip Ally. You need to relax."

"I'm driving a car. I can't relax now." His hands are working at her shoulders. She refuses to relax.

Even if that does feel really good.

No, hands at ten and two.

"Technically, you're just sitting in the car. We've been sitting still for five minutes now." Her eyes narrow at him in the rear view mirror.

"Right. You go to the right first."

She checks for confirmation. Austin nods.

"Once to the right, all to the left, gets you into the space, quickly and deft," he sings. It's the jingle he made to pass his own road test.

"It's deftly. You park deftly, not deft."

"You're stalling." He can defend his need to rhyme later. But right now it's hot, and the windows are up because she finds the wind distracting.

When they go on her celebratory date, he's driving.

That relies on a few things. One, she passes her road test next week. Two, his car isn't the shop getting repairs from practicing parking.

Three, and this one may be the most important of all, he has to get the nerve to ask her out.

He shouldn't need some excuse, but it's a lot easier to blame a kiss on the adrenaline rush then his emotions.

'Hey, you failed, but your face looked delicious.'

That'd go over real well.

She awkwardly maneuvers behind his car. Muttering the song, adding a 'ly' to the end, just to mess with his rhyme scheme, she parks.

"How did I do?" Hope crosses her face.

Her father opens his door. Unbuckling himself, he steps out. "Too far away sweetie."

Luckily the horn doesn't go off as her head hits the horn.

"I'm never going to be able to do this," she says. He leans in between the two seats.

Ducking his head, his eyes meet hers. "You'll get it, I promise. I didn't get it right away either."

He tucks a hair behind her ear.

For the first time that night, she smiles.

"Maybe if I watch you do it once, I'll figure out what I'm doing wrong." Her eyes beg, and he gives in. She slides into the passenger's seat.

Moving to the front seat, he makes adjustments. This would have been much easier in his car, where the seat is already back. His legs feel squished.

His hand grabs the gearshift.

Back up, and a lap around the lot. They round the corner, smoothly, because he wants to prove he's a good driver for when he asks her out on that date, and pull up.

Two minutes later, he hits the curb. Three seconds, then he's back down.

He completes the parking.

"Well honey, you did better than he did, and he got his license." Mr. Dawson gives him a look.

He's never going to let his daughter near him and a car, is he?

Austin moves into the backseat, and she tries again. It's better.

Not perfect, but they're getting there.

With the car, or their relationship, he's not sure. One step at a time.

(the page breaks here)

He knows that giggle, and it's not Piper's.

"Are you using the shampoo bottle as a microphone?" Ally sets the rubber duck in the bathtub. Their daughter splashes happily.

"The soap was too slippery." It's sunk to the bottom of the tub.

Piper giggles, sending water in his direction. It soaks the front of his shirt.

"Pip, we want the water to stay in the tub." She rubs her head. It's still sudsy.

Sighing, she picks up the cup.

The water is getting cold, and the toddler screeches as it gets poured over her head.

"Scrub a dub dub, and you'll get clean. When splishing and splashing, until you've sheen," he sings.

"Until you've a sheen," she corrects. Sheen is a noun, not a verb.

"But that doesn't fit. Four syllables." He holds up his fingers. They've been working on her counting skills, and even if he's in the middle of an argument, he make this a learning experience. Their kid is going to be smart, and musical, and everything she wants to be.

Unless she wants to be a criminal. That's illegal.

Or an extreme sports enthusiast. That's dangerous.

As long as she's following the law and not make him lose his hair before he hits 50, it's okay. He cannot afford to pull all his hair out this young.

What else is Ally going to grab onto when they make out?

Oh, nevermind. He just thought of about a dozen other options.

A dozen other, really, really nice options.

"Austin, I think her belly is clean now." Has he been spending all this time daydreaming?

Piper's going to bed early tonight.

(the page breaks here)

One man should not be left home alone with two children. Especially if one was dumped by her boyfriend yesterday, and her eyes are bloodshot, because first loves are always difficult.

It lasted a whole four days. It wasn't even a week, and she's acting like it's the end of the world.

Great universal ruler, please don't make every future breakup like this.

"How about I make you a special breakfast? You can't mope on an empty stomach." He takes the frying pan down from its hook. There's no time for pancakes. Her ballet lessons start in half an hour.

"Whatever." Her hands catch her drooping head.

Things like this never happened when he was seven years old.

Cracking two eggs, he hears baby Rhapsody cry. Looks like the eggs are going on low heat.

There's no diapers under the changing table. He has to check the closet, where they keep the spares. Tearing the package open, he grabs a handful.

They all fall to the ground.

He hopes the eggs don't need to flip yet.

He hopes it takes them six minutes to cook, because that's how long it takes him to change her and get back to the kitchen.

That wouldn't happen to be the smell of burnt eggs, would it? Piper is still sitting, head in her hands, oblivious to it all. He flips them over to find the underside a little burnt. Nothing some ketchup won't fix.

By the time her plate reaches the table, it's coated in ketchup.

"You made me ketchup for breakfast?" She raises an eyebrow, and it disappears beneath her bangs.

"Your mother is better at these types of things." He rubs her back.

Taking a tentative bite, she smiles. "Thanks for the effort daddy."

"Any time Pip."

(the page breaks here)

He was playing a concert at the beach, and they chose to go as a family.

"My feet are killing me," Rhapsody wails, falling into the recliner.

"That was a bad idea," Ally agrees. Her flip flops land on the ground. Getting mosh pitted with no sturdy footwear hurts.

Piper walks into the kitchen. From there, "Who wants ice?"

She's suffered far too many injuries from dance class to not have the freezer stocked. Some boys do not know how to tango.

Austin goes into the kitchen to take over. It was his concert, his mosh pit, his fault. He's going to fix this.

"My first mosh pit ever, and they hurt my family," he remarks, taking the ice packs out.

"It's not your fault. Besides, you had security remove them." Ally lets him prop her feet up.

"Drunken jack...alopes," Rhapsody mutters. For a nine year old, she's got quite a mouth on her. She's picked a few words up from her friends at school, to the disappointment of her parents.

He smiles at her effort.

It's quiet for a while as they let the ice do its work. Then Piper speaks up.

"Hey dad, can we go driving tomorrow?"

"It'll have to be after work. I'm recording tomorrow." They've only had time for a few lessons so far, and he can already see that she takes after her mother.

Which is why it's no surprise that his wife asks, "Are you going to teach her the parallel parking song?"

"What parallel parking song?" Rhapsody takes the ice off her feet.

"Once to the right, all to the left, gets you into the space, quickly and deftly," he sings, tossing a look to Ally. She knows that last bit was for her.

Piper sits up.

"That doesn't rhyme."

Point proven, how many years too late.

Still feels good.

(the page breaks here)

"Damaged warehouse goods," Rhapsody shouts.

"What?" Austin enters her bedroom to find her in front of her mirror.

She points to her zipper. It won't budge. "Mom doesn't like when I say the 'd' word."

At her air quotes, the dress makes a noise.

"So what's wrong?"

"What's wrong? My prom dress doesn't fit. I'm fat!" Her rail thin arms bend to put her hands on her hips.

He checks the tag. Double zero.

No wonder it doesn't fit. Nobody is that thin, or should be. How'd she even find a dress that small, and why?

"Take it off, and then we'll figure this out." He leaves the room to give her privacy. While he's gone, he calls Ally. She's busy, looking at cribs with Piper, and doesn't answer.

He had to have daughters. He's learned to braid hair, and paint nails, but this is out of his territory.

His territory is singing goofy songs. Ones that make them laugh and forget all their heartache.

He busts into her room.

"I'm fat," she says again. Plans for his song go out the window, onto the lawn, down the street and around the corner.

"Rhap, you aren't fat. You're a perfectly healthy size." Posing her in front of the mirror, he forces her to look at herself. "You're beautiful."

Just like her mother. Just like her sister.

She lifts her shirt, inspecting her stomach.

It's flat, unlike the concave disaster it was a few months ago.

"All my friends are smaller than me." The bed sags under her weight.

"You're also six inches taller than most of your friends. You get your height from me, y'know." He sits next to her, picking up the dress.

She takes it, hand gliding over the sequins.

"Pink isn't really my color anyways."

"Going in shopping, something not pink. Getting a new prom dress, 'cause this one stink." He knows it should be 'stinks,' but it rhymes. And since Ally and Piper aren't around to correct it, he's sticking with it.

She laughs. "You're crazy."

He pats her on the back, getting up.

"It's hereditary."

(the page breaks here)

When the nest goes empty, she cries. They're in the middle of the dance floor at Rhapsody's wedding. Both kids married, moved out.

"We're still going to see them all the time. They moved in down the street, remember?" He tries to console her.

"I know. It'll just be a lot quieter around the house without her."

"Not necessarily." He growls seductively in her ear.

This dress is not meant to match her face. Can she stop blushing now?

An old song comes on. He strikes a pose.

"What are you doing?" She looks around to see who else is watching.

"Dancing." His feet find their rhythm. All these years later, and he's still dancing like a 16 year old boy.

It makes her feel young again. Sure, she's a mother, with two kids over the age of twenty. She's approaching the hill, but she's not over it yet.

She's going to relish these moments.

"Would you like to go parking after this?" He thrusts his body closer to hers.

"Because that worked so well last time." Hitting the curb wasn't the highlight of learning to drive.

"Who said I meant parallel parking?" He pauses to give her time to blush. Then, "Well, we would be parallel..."

"Austin!"

This is the last time she lets him have wine at a wedding. Some people can't handle alcohol.

He kisses her nose. "Yes?"

It's official. Her dress matches her face.

Bright red, like a cherry.

She's okay with that.