Disclaimer: Austin and Ally and Ross and Laura aren't mine.
A/N: for Laura and Aparna on Twitter, thank you guys for the inspiration :D
His phone has been going off all day with people calling or texting to wish him happy birthday but the only message he wants is from a certain brunette.
He hasn't heard from her at all and it's already six o'clock, which means she only has six hours left. He hadn't wanted a huge blowout so they'd had band practice like normal all morning and now he was settled in on the couch, ready to watch a movie with his family. With his insane schedule, it was rare that he got a lazy day like this.
Just as his sister leans forward to press play on the remote, the doorbell rings. His mom goes to open it and his ears immediately perk up at the sound of her voice.
"Hi Stormie," he hears. "Sorry to drop in like this, but is Ross around?"
He scrambles to his feet and practically runs to the front door before his mom can even answer. "Laura?"
"Hi Ross. Happy birthday!" she says, grinning widely at him. "Sorry I didn't text you or anything earlier, I was super busy all day. I know I sent that tweet but then I was totally swamped again. So I thought I'd make up for it by coming to see you in person."
Neither of them notices his mother walking away, a small smile on her face as she leaves the two of them alone.
"Thanks, dude," he says, opening his arms for a hug. She steps forward and wraps her arms around his torso as he rests his chin on her head and she laughs when he rocks her back and forth playfully. "You're too nice."
"I know," she says cheekily, as they part. "But there's more."
"More?" he asks, rubbing his hands in anticipation. "Ooh, gimme."
She giggles. "Did you turn eight or eighteen today?"
He sticks his tongue out at her. "Shut up, grandma."
"A month older than you and I'm already grandma," she says, shaking her head. "But since it's your birthday, I'll let it slide."
She bends down to pick up the bag at her feet, which he hadn't noticed in all his excitement. "Let's go to the kitchen," she says.
He leads her into the room, and then suddenly notices that the house is very quiet. "Where'd everyone go?" he asks, taking his phone out of his pocket to see if he has any messages.
Sure enough, there's a text from Rocky.
Went to go pick up your birthday dinner. Thought you might want some alone time now that you're legal. ;)
He rolls his eyes and slides his phone back into his pocket.
"They went to go pick up dinner," he says. "You wanna stay?"
She looks up from setting a box on the counter. "Isn't it a family thing?" she asks, her face unsure.
"Nah, we're not that formal," he says. "You should stay. It's French toast from my favorite diner. I think we might even have some GoGurt in the fridge."
"Wow, Ross, tempting me with GoGurt. You really know how to charm a girl," she says dryly.
"Not all the girls," he says teasingly. "With you, all I have to do is say the word GoGurt and you come running. But I gotta sing and dance to get the rest of the ladies."
He wiggles his eyebrows for emphasis and she rolls her eyes. "Come over here before I change my mind."
He laughs and moves to stand next to her. "What'd you get me? What'd you get me?" he asks eagerly, bouncing on slightly on his heels.
She pulls out a giant, frosted cupcake from the box she had set down. He can tell it's homemade because she had frosted the words Happy 18th Birthday Ross in her horrible handwriting, and he holds back a grin as she places a candle in the center.
"Can you turn the light off?" she asks, and he walks over to shut it off.
She pulls out a lighter from the bag and lights the candle as he walks back to her and she shyly presents him with the treat.
"Happy birthday to you," she sings softly, her features illuminated by the soft glow of the candle. There was absolutely nothing in the entire world that could make him look away from her. "Happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Ross, happy birthday to you."
He barely notices when she finishes singing, only brought out of his daze by the sound of her clearing her throat. "Make a wish," she whispers.
He leans forward and blows out the candle, wishing for only one thing, and it has everything to do with the girl standing in front of him.
They're bathed in darkness for a moment, but then she steps around him to turn the light back on.
The intimacy of the moment is shattered as the light floods his vision and he blinks a few times to clear his head.
"It's chocolate," she says. "Do you want to eat it now or after dinner?"
"Now," he answers. "If my brothers see that it'll be gone before you know it."
She smiles and neatly cuts it down the middle, handing him his half on a plate.
She waits for him to try it first, smiling happily when he tells her that it's delicious.
"You have horrible handwriting, dude," he says, eyeing the misshapen Ross that's on his half of the cupcake.
"Oh shut up," she says. "Like yours is any better."
"As a matter of fact, it is," he says, leaning forward to get in her face a bit.
"Is that so?" she asks, bringing her own face closer to his.
They eye each other over the kitchen counter, their faces inches away from one another, neither of them willing to be the first to back down, when she suddenly asks, "What did you wish for?"
He leans back. "If I tell you, it won't come true."
"Come on, gimme a hint."
"Nope," he says, taking another bite of the cupcake. "No way."
She eyes him suspiciously before taking another bite of her own. "You're a mean one, Mr. Lynch," she says, before dissolving into laughter at her own pun.
He watches as her cheeks flush prettily from her amusement. "Oooh, how original, haven't heard that one before. And Christmas is over."
"It's pretty punny, though right?" she asks, poking his arm.
"You're so ridiculous, why do I put up with you?"
"Hey," she says, affronted. "I made you a cupcake! And it's not like you have a choice, Austin."
"Yeah, okay, Ally," he says, narrowing his eyes, pretending to be annoyed with her. She makes a face at him and he laughs. "Hey, can you believe we met when we were fifteen? And now we're legal adults?"
"Time flies." She pauses. "Don't make fun of me for what I'm about to say," she warns.
She looks down at the counter, suddenly shy. "I'm really glad you're the Austin to my Ally," she rushes out. "God, how cheesy is that?" She shakes her head and laughs a little. "I can't imagine the last three years with anyone but you. And I know we still have some filming left, but we don't know about season four yet and so this next month could be it."
He opens his mouth to say something but she continues.
She finally looks up at him and she's smiling, but her eyes are just a bit sad. "I just wanted you to know that I'll miss you."
He's completely speechless. "I—Laura," he stammers. There are suddenly a million thoughts racing through his head.
But I'm not going anywhere.
I'll be right here.
There's no way we're not staying in touch.
I want to be with you.
He swallows. "I'll miss you too," he says quietly, and then steps forward to wrap his arms around her without a second thought.
She stiffens in his arms for a second before she relaxes, and he rests his chin on her shoulder. She turns her face into his neck and tightens her arms around him and they stay like that, silent, until they hear the sound of the front door opening.
He runs a hand through his hair as they spring apart, and she hurriedly puts the pieces of the cupcake they hadn't eaten back into the box. "Finish this after dinner?" she asks, and it takes him a second to realize she's talking about the cake.
He just nods, a little dazed.
She smiles at him as brothers and sister walk loudly into the kitchen, bags in their hands.
Dinner is fun and everyone is endlessly amused by their bickering and he can't remember a better birthday.
When they're done eating, they're left alone again as everyone makes some excuse or another. He nearly rolls his eyes at the obviousness of it all but can't find himself to care since she's taking him by the arm and pulling him into the kitchen.
She grabs the cupcake box from the counter and leaves the room, beckoning him to follow. He's perplexed but follows after her, his confusion growing as she opens the front door. He hesitates for a second before following her and then he's greeted by eight voices yelling, "Surprise!" and a camera flash going off in his face.
His jaw drops as he realizes what they're all standing next to.
It's a car. A shiny, jet black, completely restored 1971 Dodge Challenger, a car he had been lusting after for years. His dream car.
And his dream girl is currently holding the keys, and he can't remember how to speak.
"What—" he starts, and then he just runs forward and finds himself being embraced eight of the people he loves most in the entire world.
"Happy birthday, Ross," his mom says, smiling widely at him. "You deserve it."
"I know you wanted to fix it up yourself," his dad adds. "But you're kind of a busy kid, so we thought you wouldn't mind."
"Mind?" he exclaims. "I love it, thank you guys so much!"
"Here you go," Laura says, stepping forward. She holds the keys out to him and he takes them from her, a jolt of electricity shooting up his spine as her small fingers brush his. She grins at him. "Don't go crazy now, we want you to live to your nineteenth birthday."
"Yes, grandma," he says sarcastically. "Aren't you coming with me to take it out for a spin?"
She glances at his brothers. "I'm pretty sure your brothers are about to explode with anticipation so you should take a trip with everyone else first. I'll be here when you get back."
He frowns. "You sure?"
"Go ahead, Ross," she says, stepping closer to him. "Best for last," she whispers, so only he can hear.
"Full of ourselves tonight, aren't we, Marano?" he whispers back, smirking slightly.
She rolls her eyes and pushes him towards the car. "Just hurry up, I don't have all night."
He winks at her before climbing into the car and he can feel her watching him as he looks at the interior in awe. He turns the car on, marveling at the powerful rumble of the engine, much different than his mom's Prius he had been stuck with for the past year.
He rolls down the window and motions for his siblings and Ellington to get in. Somehow, all of them manage to pile in and he peels out of the driveway, tires squealing, before heading down the street at a more reasonable speed. "Be careful," he hears her yell, and he gives her a thumbs up out of the window to reassure her.
"Both hands on the wheel, Ross!"
When he gets back twenty minutes later, he walks inside the house to find Laura chatting with his mom and dad about college and her future plans, and he listens quietly for a couple of minutes before making his presence known.
"I'm leaning towards staying in LA for college," she says, furrowing her brow, and his heart jumps a little for reasons he doesn't want to think too much because they're not even together. "I thought about going to the east coast, but I still want to act and stay involved in the industry and it'll just be tougher than it has to be if I have to keep flying back and forth. But I don't know. Other people have done it."
"I'm sure your mom would like that," his mom says.
"Oh you have no idea," Laura says, laughing. "She—"
He steps forward, not wanting to eavesdrop any longer. "Hey, you ready?"
Laura jumps a little in surprise. "How was it?" she asks excitedly. "Do you love it?"
"It's awesome," he says, sighing happily. He looks past her to his parents. "I can't thank you guys enough."
"Like we said, you deserve it," his dad says. "Go on, enjoy it."
He grins and spins around, motioning for her to follow and she does, holding the box with the rest of the cupcake and a new bag that he hadn't seen before.
He holds the car door open for her when they get outside.
"What a gentleman," she says, as he climbs in next to her. "First the GoGurt and now you're opening doors for me? You're pulling out all the stops tonight."
"What can I say? I'm a charmer."
"You're something, all right," she mumbles, but he catches it and makes a face at her.
"I don't think I'll ever be ready to ride in a car with you." She perks up as she thinks of something. "But wait, you have to keep me alive if you want the second part of your gift."
"There's a second part?" he exclaims. "When do I get that?"
"Soon," she says ambiguously. "Let's go."
He peels out of the driveway again, laughing as she gives him a dirty look.
They roll down the windows and blast the stereo, singing at the top of their lungs to their favorite songs, and he can't think of a more perfect night.
He drives to a lookout point he had come to once before and they climb out of the car and walk to the edge, staring out over the city.
"This is pretty cliché," she comments. "Lookout point, city lights, new car."
"That doesn't mean the view isn't pretty," he replies.
"That's true," she concedes. "You want the rest of your present?"
"Yes, please," he answers. She smiles and hands him a gift bag.
He opens it to find a thin album of pictures. He pages through the book in silence, pictures of just the two of them together, with the entire cast, some with his family on set, even some pictures that he hadn't even known existed. She had written the date and a little note, a quote, song lyrics, or just a random memory from that day underneath each picture and his throat feels tight as he reads each one carefully.
"I know, I know, it's super lame," she says, looking down at the ground as she plays with her fingers. "And boring, I guess. But I…I don't want you to forget about all of this in a few years when you're huge and in some blockbuster movie and selling out stadiums and it's small enough that you could take it with you, I mean if you wanted—"
He cuts her off by wrapping his arms around her, and he buries his face in her hair as he feels her hesitantly wrap her arms around him. "It's awesome," he mumbles. "And how the hell could I ever forget you?"
She shrugs in his arms and he practically can feel her insecurity, about him, about them.
He pulls back, his hands at her shoulders. He nudges her a little, forcing her to look up at him and her eyes are wide and dark, full of an emotion he can't place.
"Like you'd ever let me forget you," he teases. "Who else is gonna keep me in check?"
"That's true," she says, smiling, a familiar sparkle back in her eyes. "Someone has to protect the world from your ego."
"Is that why this last picture is one of you pretending to punch me?" he says, flipping to the last page to show her. "To remind me that you'll come after me if I step out of line? You didn't write anything underneath it."
"Sometimes a picture speaks a thousand words."
"Okay, so if I fuck up you'll beat me up with your tiny little fists, is that the message?"
"Yes," she says flatly.
He laughs at her and she grins back. "You know I'm kidding, Ross. I don't think you're gonna mess up. You're too sweet. And smart. And nice."
"Whoa, whoa, three compliments all at once?" he asks, holding his hands up in mock protest. "Are you feeling okay? I thought we talked about keeping me from getting a big head."
"I think you'll survive," she says, rolling her eyes at his dramatics. "I'll just make up for it when we start filming again next week."
She looks over at the car. "You wanna finish your cupcake?"
"Yes," he answers, and she grabs it from the backseat. They sit on a nearby bench and dig in with their fingers, and he finds himself staring as she absentmindedly licks the frosting from her fingertips. He looks down at the box to see there's one piece left and he picks it up with his fingers, an idea forming in his head.
"You want the last piece?" he asks, holding it out to her.
She looks at him apprehensively. "What's the catch?"
He shakes his head. "No catch."
"Sure," she answers, holding out her hand to take it from him, and he makes his move.
He shoves the cake toward her face but to his surprise, she seems to have expected it and the next thing he knows, his own hand is being pushed to his face, a mess of frosting smashed on his cheek, and cake landing on his shirt.
She starts laughing her head off, clutching her stomach as he gapes at her in utter shock.
"Your face!" she manages to gasp, her entire body shaking with laughter.
He licks his lips and brushes off his shirt and glares at her, but finds it impossible to even be slightly angry as he watches her cheeks flush.
"I so got you," she exclaims, grinning at him.
He doesn't reply right away, still a bit captivated by her presence and her light and her happiness, and he watches as her smile fades.
They stare at each other in silence for what seems like minutes but he guesses is only a few seconds, and then he says quietly, "You got me," and he can tell by the look on her face that she understands. She's got him.
He swallows nervously as she searches his eyes and then she suddenly leans forward and softly presses her lips to his. He closes his eyes as she kisses him, her hands coming up to frame his face, and she pecks his lips gently before pulling back.
She smiles uncertainly at him. He shifts closer to her and wraps his arms around her waist. "You have frosting on your lips," he murmurs.
"I wonder how that got there," she mumbles back, already tilting her face up to his.
"It's all over your fingers, too," he adds, moving closer to her.
"You'll have to help me get it off," she says, and then he can't wait another second so he kisses her, the taste and smell of chocolate and sugar and Laura assaulting his senses.
He runs his tongue along her bottom lip and she hesitantly opens her mouth, letting the tip of her tongue touch his. He groans at the brief contact and she seems to be spurred on by his reaction because he next thing he knows her hands are in his hair and she's kissing him deeply, their tongues battling for dominance.
When they pull apart they're both breathless, and she brings her finger up to his cheek, swiping off the frosting.
He watches, mesmerized, as she licks it off, her eyes on his the entire time, and then she comes forward again to give him a lingering, chaste kiss as both of their eyelids flutter shut.
When she pulls back, her cheeks are pink and she looks happy and he's pretty sure his face mirrors hers exactly.
"Thanks for the last piece, Laura," he says, smirking. She smirks back at him and leans forward again. His eyelids close in anticipation but all he feels is her warm breath against his neck.
She softly presses her lips to his cheek and he can feel her smiling against his skin.
"Happy birthday, Ross."
Well that turned out to be a lot longer than I expected. Reviews are the best so please? Thank you for reading!