Coffee Jitters, an Austin and Ally oneshot

I do not own Austin and Ally. This is for Kim Crawford. Reviews are greatly appreicated.

Swizzling his stick around his cup, he looks past the rim to see a girl across the way, nose buried into her geometry book. He feels this twinge of curiosity. Who is behind that veil of curly brown hair? Are her eyes wide in confusion, or lids low, studiously, having a handle on what she's doing?

He closes his own math book. He's going to approach her. Either he gets a date, because she could be strikingly gorgeous for all he knows, or a study date, because his grades are falling faster than he did for his last girlfriend, and both of those situations need to be turned around.

She looks up.

Oh God, she's beautiful.

Don't panic, don't panic.

She smiles.

Panic, panic, panic.

He smiles back, buries his nose in his own textbook.

She gathers her belongings, sliding them into her backpack. Draining the last of her coffee, she takes one final look at him when she thinks he isn't looking, tosses her cup in the trash receptacle, and walks towards the door. A part of him wants to chase after her.

The other part of him is tapping his foot. Not because he's nervous. It's because he finished his entire coffee, hoping to catch her as she left, and now he has to go to the bathroom.

She comes back inside, and he leaps up, banging his knee on the table.

"Ow!"

Her eyes flicker over to him. Sticking the forgotten pencil in her bag, she steps towards his table.

Then her phone rings.

"I'm on my way there Trish. I just forgot my pencil." She listens to the girl on the other end. "But it's my lucky pencil."

What she's said is utterly ridiculous, as there's no such thing as lucky pencils. Everybody knows that. You sharpen it and you shave all the luck away.

She should get a lucky shirt. Preferably one that hugs all of those delicious curves of hers.

He's salivating over the muffin. He just really, really, likes blueberries.

And mysterious girls in coffee shops.

Girls with pretty voices, and pretty faces, and pretty much no intention of asking out boys that have problems doing their math homework.

That's not to say that he wants her to ask him out. He knows nothing about her, other than the fact that she takes geometry and makes his insides all tingly. Though that could be the coffee jitters. It's hard to tell, because this cup was chock full of sugar and caffeine, which is now somewhere inside of him.

He bumps into her on his way to the bathroom, and the contents of her backpack fall to the floor.

These are not coffee jitters.

Bending down on his sore knee, he gathers her belongings. They reach for a book at the same time, and the combination of her hand touching his, and the way their eyes connect after he's through reading the title, makes him feel like this is where he needs to be. On the floor, in a coffee shop. His ex had torn him down, so it only makes sense that he'll have to rebuild himself from the bottom up. What's lower than the ground?

Nothing.

"Music Theory for Dummies?" It's none of his personal business, but being an aspiring musician himself, he could teach her a thing or two.

"I'm studying to get into MUNY. They only give out one scholarship a year, and I need it if I want to pursue a career in music. My dad says the chances of that happening are one in a billion, but- what?" She stops upon seeing his wide eyes. She has a habit of rambling when she's nervous, which she is. Who wouldn't be, on the floor of a coffee shop with the cutest boy in all of school?

"My parents told me the same thing!" He excitedly places his hands on her shoulders. Her eyes pop open wider, and he retracts them.

Awkwardly sticking his hand out, he makes an introduction. "I'm Austin."

His voice shakes more than their hands.

"Ally."

The hands stop shaking, but he keeps his hand around hers until the silence occurs to him. Scrambling to collect the rest of her belongings, she gets up.

He hops to his feet.

"Ally, what's going on?" her friend asks.

"Sorry, I'm leaving now. I'll see you soon." She hangs up the phone, slipping it into her pocket. "Um, I need to get going. It was nice meeting you."

He nods, not knowing what to say.

He has two choices. Ask her out, or don't. It's that simple.

He runs after her. "I'm a musician too."

"Really?"

"Yeah."

"That's cool." Inside her brain is whirring, wondering what he plays, if he sings, why he's still talking to her when there were half a dozen other girls in that coffee shop. Simple, concise answers will get her through this.

"Maybe we could get together sometime?" At her raised eyebrows he clarifies. "Y'know, to write a song."

"Oh, yeah, for a song. Sure." Her eyebrows, and heart, sink.

"Awesome!" His enthusiasm shows, and he takes the outstretched arm out of the air to scratch the back of his neck.

"I have to go," she shyly remarks, pointing her thumb in the other direction. Her pace is quick. Quick to get where she was going, or quick to get away? Did he completely blow it?

He forgot to get her phone number.

But he did get her to say yes.

So he half blew it?

Looks like he's going to be drinking a lot more coffee now. Every afternoon, it'll be a date. Him, his geometry book and a tall cup of caffeinated sugar, until he runs into this girl again.

It isn't the next day, nor the next.

Friday afternoon he almost stays home, playing video games with his buddy Dez. There's no geometry homework, and he doubts that Ally is going to show up anyhow. She probably found a new coffee shop, one without boys with full bladders and empty brains.

"I heard Jimmy Starr is supposed to be here tonight," Dez says, snagging a table near the makeshift stage. That would explain why open mic night is so crowded tonight. Usually they get half a dozen performers. There are more things to do in Miami than drink sub-par coffee from a paper cup on a Friday night.

"Uh huh." His eyes are glued to the girl coming through the door, scanning the room for a place to sit.

"Jimmy Starr, the guy who owns the record company? Austin, this could be your big break." He acknowledges his words with a nod. Then he's up, maneuvering around the crowd to get to her.

Approaching her, he calls over the noise of the crowd. "Ally?"

Her head snaps to his attention. The friend that she is with looks too.

"Hi," she says nervously. They walked here tonight. Is there too much wind in her hair, can he see the bruise on her cheek? She applied a second coat of concealer before she left home.

"We have room at our table, if you want to join us."

"Us? It looks like there's only one of you." Trish follows as he weaves back through the crowd.

Pulling out a chair for her, Austin offers her a seat. Feeling obligated to do the same for her friend, as to not draw attention to the action, he swings around the table.

Trish pulls out her own chair.

He squeezes back around, taking a seat between Ally and Dez.

"I realized after you left the other day that I never got your phone number. I wasn't trying to ignore you." He doesn't want to come off as desperate, as that was his downfall before. Too eager to please, wanting to spend time with his girl. The one that he dedicated his songs to while she dedicated her time to another boy.

Is it so bad to want someone to hold and love?

Is it so bad that he's known this girl for all of a few days, and he already feels like she could be the one to fill that description?

"It's okay. I've been busy tutoring my boyfriend in geometry." She fiddles with the sugar packets on the table.

His heart begins its descent, but her friend puts that on hold. "Don't tell me you're still with him after what he did to you."

"I'm going to go get a drink."

"Ally, we need to talk about this!" She swats the sugar packets out of her hands.

"Not right now." She pushes her chair back, leaving the table.

And back down goes the heart.

By the time she returns, the music has started, and they're too close to the speakers to carry a conversation. The next time she hears his voice, he's on stage, singing his heart out.

"Explain to me, what was that time we spent?

To tide over your appetite;

is that all that it meant?

Next time you order dessert first,

or your buttons they will pop.

You're solely a romance glutton,

about time you learned to stop."

Had he known she was going to show up tonight, he wouldn't have practiced a song about having his ex-girlfriend cheat on him. It's not something he readily admits to those he knows, let alone a girl he wants to get to know. Then she'll find the reason that his ex found to leave him for someone better.

Though he thinks that her friend was implying that she can, and should do better. He doesn't know the details, nor are they his business.

He'd like to make it his business. He'd like to get to know her better.

Starting with that mouth of hers.

"You have a great voice," she compliments as he sits down.

"Thanks."

His face is hotter than his coffee.

In his defense, he bought that coffee half an hour ago. A lot of things are going to be hotter than that coffee.

"You should go up there."

"Trish, we've been through this. You know I have stage fright." She grabs a lock of her hair and tries not to chew on it. He doesn't need to think she's some weird girl that eats her hair. It only happens when she gets nervous.

The next musician starts, and once again, the table is quiet. It stays quiet until the end of the night, when it's time to part ways, and he wants to ask her for her number, because he still hasn't gotten it. How else is he going to call her up about the song? Or helping him study geometry?

Or going out on a date tomorrow night?

"I had a good time tonight," he says, setting his hand on her shoulder. Unlike last time, she doesn't seem shaken.

"Me too. We should do this again sometime."

He's so elated that she agreed to another date that he forgets to get her phone number.

Back to drinking coffee everyday.

Coffee, geometry and himself, because he can't get a girl's number to ask her on a real date, and now he's dating inanimate objects. Ones that can't talk, or smile.

It looks like she isn't smiling either.

She's sitting at a table, nose to her textbook, sniffling away into a napkin.

"Oh come on, math homework can't be that bad." He slides into the empty chair across from her.

"Hi Austin." Dabbing her eyes, she attempts to fix her face.

"What happened?" His eyes are drawn to the red hand mark on her cheek. It looks fresh.

He should have gotten here sooner.

Her hand goes to cover her face. "I, it's nothing really."

"Ally." His hand covers hers, and boundaries be screwed, he wants to fix this. They're both broken, and it's time they make things right.

"He slapped me."

"He?"

"My boyfriend. Er, my ex-boyfriend." Her head drops.

Austin notices the fading bruise on her neck. "This isn't the first time he hurt you, is it?"

A teardrop hits the textbook. He doesn't need the words that follow.

"You wanna talk about it?" She shakes her head.

"I need to finish my math homework."

"Page three ninety four, evens?" She confirms with a nod. "I have the same homework. Maybe you could help me? Math is not my best subject."

Moving to the other side of the table, she teaches him. He leans in close, and she smells his cologne, knows that it'll rub off onto her jacket. She likes knowing that.

He's connecting dots on the graph, and his mind goes to another place.

That other place has an escape hatch to his vocal chords.

"You deserve better."

"Excuse me?"

"A guy that will treat you right. Someone who will hold your hand, and sing you love songs, and tell you that you're pretty. Someone like-." He goes back to his graph, too chicken to say it.

"Like?"

"Can you help me with question fourteen?"

Some day, he's going to ask this girl out. But first, he wants to see where this goes. He's not going to jump in head first, and break this connection that they have. They're going one step at a time. One baby step at a time.

His coffee grows cold, but that doesn't matter to him. He didn't come for the coffee.

He came for the girl.