Back Corner, Purple Dress; an Austin and Ally one-shot

I do not own Austin and Ally. This fiction was requested by ThatBookFreak. Thank you for all the reviews, and Merry Christmas to you all!

She always thought that if one of them would chicken out, it would be her. Yet here it is, half past four, and she doesn't see him.

Her inbox dings.

Are you here yet?

I've been here since 3:50. Where are you?

She looks around the room. He has to be here somewhere. He'll be the one on his tablet.

That doesn't do much to narrow it down. She's in a cyber cafe. Everyone is on their tablet. Everyone but that guy at the bar, poking at the keys of his laptop like he's never typed before. Oh crap, he caught her staring. Look away Ally, look away.

Then their eyes meet.

Why is he still sitting alone? Did his date ditch him too?

Wait.

No.

There's no way.

But maybe.

I'm seated by the door, in the red t-shirt.

And then it dawns on her.

Five months ago, Trish had tried to convince them all to join an online game she had been playing, MeetMe. It was late May, and finals had been stressing Ally out. She politely refused. Austin and Dez tried it out.

"This is boring. Video games are way more fun, right buddy?" Dez asked, deactivating his account.

Austin disagreed. But rather than telling Dez, who already was powering up the gaming system, he deactivated his account. Goodbye online friends and arcade.

Late one night, after studying for her chemistry final, Ally, still curious about the game signed up for an account.

She stayed up for hours finding the perfect outfit for her avatar.

"You ready to ace the final?" Austin leaned against the lockers.

Yawning, she nodded. "If I can manage to stay awake. I was up late last night."

"Man, you sure like to study."

She wasn't going to correct him. There was no reason for him to know that she had spent the night playing dress up. Besides, he thought the game was lame.

Hopefully she did better at separating fact from fiction on her exam.

Two weeks post summer break starting, she logged onto MeetMe. The heat was keeping her awake.

Walking into the virtual music store, she noticed an avatar playing guitar.

Hi.

Hi.

Where was the conversation to go from there?

Luckily, the other avatar knew what to say.

I'm ShootfortheMoon34.

I know. Your name is hovering over your head.

Oh yeah. So, you're an Austin Moon fan? Cuz, y'know, your name is UcanCome2Me.

You could say that.

You could also say she was his songwriter, friend, and crushee. That is what they call you when your heart flutters around someone, isn't it? That's not a friendship flutter. Otherwise she'd be experiencing it around Dez.

Crushee it is.

I just did.

She laughed, trying to conjure up something clever to say. Here she was, talking with this stranger (cute stranger if his avatar is anywhere near accurate) and she had nothing to say.

Do you play guitar in real life?

Yeah, I love music.

Needless to say, they hit it off.

The next two weeks were filled with late night guitar sessions at the music store. Strumming produced a mundane sound, but she'd mute her game, and he'd send her video links to his favorite music.

At the eighth video, she fell off the bed.

You like Ally Dawson?

She's really talented.

She typed out her thanks, backspacing it out of the bubble. There was no way she was going to tell him who she really was. What if he was some cat fishing man in his underwear, with nacho cheese down the front of his shirt, seeping into his chest hair?

It was a good thing her grapes were on the bed, or she would have gagged on one.

Are you still there?

She considered telling him she fell off the bed. Then he'd think she's a klutz or insane. Nobody falls off the bed at an Ally Dawson video.

Nobody but herself.

Sorry. It's getting late. Talk tomorrow?

Another month of tomorrows later, they had moved past the comfort of the music store to shopping for clothes. She was tired of wearing the same outfit all the time.

What do you think?

It looks like something my friend would wear. You kind of look like her actually.

It wasn't often that she got confused for someone else. Chances were, she had similar coloring and not much else in common. Boys don't pick up on the details all too easily.

Really?

Yeah. She's really pretty.

Her heart flipped at his words. He hadn't called her pretty. Some girl, on his side of the monitor, was pretty.

He hadn't not called her pretty.

Getting into semantics wouldn't make her feel any better. By better, she means over her crush on Austin. Over the past couple weeks, though she won't admit it (she hasn't even admitted that she's made an account, let alone made a friend), she has developed a small crush on this Shootforthemoon34 guy. Just a small one. Miniscule even.

She must be lucky to have a friend like you.

There. Something that a normal human being would say. She's lucky because her friend says nice things about her. See, she can keep a conversation going without falling on the floor again.

I think I'm the lucky one. She's the greatest.

Her heart cooed. It was obvious that he has a crush on her. Which means that he didn't reciprocate her crush on him.

Add his name to the list. Dallas, Austin, stranger that she met online. Were they really all that strange anymore?

When three weeks passed, she knew the answer.

Can I ask you something? I feel like I can talk to you about anything.

They were sitting in their virtual house, sipping at hot cocoa. It was snowing out. If she lived in Australia, it would have made sense, snow in July, their winter.

In Miami, where not even Christmas is white, it made none.

Of course.

How do you tell your best friend that you love them?

She stared at the falling snow, hoping that the answer would come with the flakes. Wait long enough, and it would appear.

No answer came.

I don't know. But if you find out, let me know.

You too?

Me too.

Sucks, doesn't it?

She leaned back into the virtual sofa, along with her own bed. It did suck. Majorly. It would be so much easier if this guy could get over his crush and be with her. Then she could move past her crush on her best friend, and neither of them would ever have to find an answer.

Easier. Right. It'd be easier to date a guy who could be living halfway across the world, in actual Australia, with actual snow, than to muster up the courage to tell her best friend how she felt about him.

Yeah, no.

How about we make a deal? I'll work on telling my guy how I feel if you work on telling your girl how you feel. We can be each others' support systems.

He hesitated to respond for a few minutes. Then, a single word.

Deal.

For the next month, she worked on gathering the courage. And when her attempts failed, she'd ask him how his day went. The details stayed vague, as they preferred to keep their personal lives out of things, but by the sound of it, his luck wasn't any better.

At that rate, maybe it was better that she went for the internet boy instead.

Is it snowing where you are?

They'd been drawing in the fog of their windows. His drawing was of a dinosaur.

Nah, it never snows here. It's 92 out now.

It's 92 here too. What a coincidence.

That's freaky. Where are you?

Florida. You?

It was the fourth most populated state in the nation. There was no way he'd be able to track her down.

I'm from Florida too! I live in Miami.

Evidently, her comrade did not share her qualms of being found. And he'd been within reach after all.

Would you believe me if I said that I live in Miami too?

The enter key beat the backspace to the punch. It was too late to take it back.

As each moment passed, she wished she had taken it back.

We should meet up sometime, talk face to face.

You sure?

I mean, if you don't want to, it's okay. I just think you're really cool. You'd like my best friend. You two are a lot alike.

Okay.

She immediately logged out. That would take time for the brain to digest.

They'd set a date for September sixteenth, that next week. On the morning of the sixteenth, in Ally's history class, Austin had tried to get her attention. She was hurriedly scribbling notes down.

"Not now," she had said, shaking him off her back.

"Ally." He poked her back again.

"Not now!" Her volume rose too high, and the class stopped to look at her.

Detention for talking during class. All because she didn't want to take the paper from him that had fallen out of her bag. The one that had her lyrics on it. (Along with his own additional scrawling, having found something to rhyme with 'maybe.')

Something came up. I can't make it today, sorry.

If you don't want to meet me, you could just say so.

I do. Can we reschedule later though? I have to put my tablet away.

Stuffing it into her bag, she tried to concentrate on rewriting her notes. She had been looking forward to meeting this guy. To see how he looked, how he smelled, sounded. Gosh, she wanted to hear his voice so badly. He told her he sings.

He messaged her that night, asking her to meet with him on Monday.

She deleted the exclamation points before sending off her compliance.

Here it is, half past four, Monday afternoon, and there's Austin, sitting at the entrance, in a red shirt.

Austin?

How did you know my name?

Back corner, purple dress.

He looks up, snapping his head in her direction. She weakly smiles.

When did the room get so big? It's taking him forever to make his way over here.

"Ally? You're UcanCome2me?" He takes the open seat.

"That's me." She leans forward, nervous and shy. "Are you disappointed?"

His eyes double in size. "More like embarrassed."

"Why?"

"Remember when I asked you how to tell your best friend that you love them?"

Realization hits her for the second time that afternoon.

Taking a deep breath, she goes for it. By now, she knows that he loves her, that things aren't going to crash and burn.

"Remember what I said back?"

No audible response.

He tastes like pancakes. That's one thing she never thought she'd learn about her internet friend. She found that he looks, smells and sounds just like her best friend.

And funny, she's even fallen for him.

Just like her best friend.

That night, Ally goes home and deletes her MeetMe account. There's no need for it anymore. They can play real music, and shop for real clothes. Sure, they can't draw on the windows, but that's a price she's willing to pay.

Or maybe they'll buy window paint later. Who knows. All she knows is that the future is looking bright, and it has nothing to do with the glow of the computer monitor.

It's all him.