Etoile, an Austin and Ally oneshot
I do not own Austin and Ally. I had a request for an Auslly parents fiction, and another for them to have a daughter, so here it is. Please enjoy, and happy new year!
Ow, ow, that's his hand she's squeezing. It's turning colors, specifically red, like the shade on her face.
It's a girl. One that he names Etoile, because he's been wishing for her forever, on that star that shines in their window at night.
Etoile, star. She's going to be one someday. More than just one of those kids who become famous because of who her parents are. This kid is going to be someone great.
How does he know? Look at her mother.
Okay, wait until his mother is relaxed and cleaned up. She's looking a bit unkempt right now. But hey, give her a break. Giving birth isn't the easiest thing in the world. Otherwise his hand wouldn't be hurting.
"Isn't she the cutest, Austin?" Cradling the baby in her arms, she admires the tuft of blonde hair growing in at her forehead.
He never expected anything less.
They both have brown eyes, but he swears that she gets them from her mother. He's stared into them plenty of times. Even the times he wasn't supposed to, and nearly ran through a stop sign, had it not been for his peripheral vision.
There may also be some credit due to the horn of the driver he would've ran into.
"Daddy, it hurts." Etoile presses her fingers into the strings. Her parents have struck an interest in music with her. Guitar seemed like an obvious place to start.
It's not always best to start with the obvious.
Austin removes his hand from on top of hers. Shaking her polished fingers in the air, she groans.
"Everything alright in here?" Ally brings a pitcher of lemonade into the room.
"I want to play the piano like mommy." She climbs up onto the bench.
Shaking her head as she pours a glass, her mother responds. "Sweetie, I don't think your hands are big enough to reach all the keys."
He hates that disappointed look that she gets.
"We could see about getting her a keyboard, more her size."
She inherited that death grip from her mother too.
Her shoes are going to turn the color of predigested eggs.
She doesn't think she's going to like that color.
"I used to get nervous like you." Ally takes the seat next to her, watching the girl onstage. The one who's tripping over an invisible speck of dirt, and now her own words as she pushes up off the stage.
"You did?" Her eyes dart over to where the girl is drying her tears. Tiny, barely noticeable tears, but why else would she be wiping her eyes? Allergies?
"I still do. Except now it's a good nervous. You know, the type where you get butterflies in your stomach, because you know that something really good is going to happen." The director calls her name, and she writhes in her seat.
"I think my butterflies ate too many eggs."
Yep, not a pretty color.
She didn't eat eggs this morning. In fact, she hasn't eaten anything.
Starving would be a good work to describe her at this moment in time.
Terrified is also acceptable.
"You ready?" Austin sets a hand on her knee. He can feel her shaking under his touch.
"No." That performance that the girl on stage just gave, top notch. You can't surpass that. There is no topper notch. A more top notch? Either way, there isn't one.
"What are you so afraid of?"
"I could fail, make a fool out of myself." She turns to him, a droplet of water tucked in the corner of her eye. "I don't want to fail, Daddy."
He takes a moment to hug her. Then, "I thought the same thing when I wanted to propose to your mother, waited forever. Why do you think your parents are so old?"
All of her friends have parents that are in their mid-thirties. He himself will be celebrating his fortieth birthday next month.
It took him way too long to find the courage to ask. If she waits as long as he did, she'll be out of school.
She can wait that long to find a boyfriend.
"Etoile Moon, you're next!" Her laughter drops, and she swallows hard.
"You'll do perfect. I promise."
(and one more month)
On one hand, he loves to see her succeed. On the other hand, which he vows to make into a fist, if this boy tries to make a move on his daughter, he would rather her success not be in the dating department. She's too young for this sort of thing.
"He seems like a nice boy," Ally comments, when her daughter enters the kitchen.
"Isn't he?" Etoile swoons as she grabs a box of animal crackers out of the cupboard.
"See if he wants to stay for dinner. I'm making chicken."
Austin looks up from the guitar he's tuning. It's as if his wife is encouraging her. Yes honey, go put your heart on the line and get it broken. The longer he can postpone that, the better. He doesn't need her getting her heart broken all the time. The freezer only holds so much ice cream.
That, and he wants her to be absolutely certain that she loves him, and that it's not some residual lust between their characters. Because what if she loves him, and he loves her character? Then she mopes around, and he feels terrible, because he could have prevented it, all by saying she couldn't date anyone.
It makes perfect sense in his mind.
He should not be this relieved when he comes downstairs to politely refuse her offer, saying that he's a vegetarian.
(and one more week)
Tears of heartbreak don't always come from boyfriends. Sometimes they come from boys who find other girlfriends, because there are pretty cheerleaders in the chorus, that put themselves out there and ask out boys that they like.
"Mint Chocolate Chip or Butter Pecan?" He sets both pints down on the table, grabbing for two spoons. He's hungry for food.
She's hungry for something that frozen dairy can't cure.
She's craving love.
"I'm not hungry." She pushes the food away, resting her forehead on the table.
Ally walks by, seeing Etoile's head on the table. Tapping him on the shoulder, they trade places.
Somethings only a mother can handle. "Did I ever tell you the story of when your father started dating Kira?"
He takes it as his cue to leave. He'll return when the carton is empty.
(and two more months)
It's funny how last year, she hated that color. She can't seem to get enough of it lately.
"Etoile, you have company." Her mother raps on the door.
"I'll be out in a minute." Flushing the toilet, she shuts the shower water off. Coming out, hair dry, she sees Eldridge.
She prays that neither of them make the connection.
"Can we talk?" Her blood runs cold. He knows. "I could use a friend."
So could she.
(and one more week later)
Stepping off the scale, she backs up straight into Ally.
"Mom!" The towel wraps tighter around her body.
"Want to talk about it?"
The ice cream tastes so good. Fudge swirls in a coffee concoction, with those rainbow sprinkles on top, because she wants to go back to when she was twelve, and didn't fall for boys that would break her heart.
It doesn't taste so good coming back up at midnight.
(and one more week later)
The scale isn't working. Panic, oh God, it's not working. Stomp. Tap?
Why won't it turn on?
Austin appears in the doorway, holding a pair of batteries in his hand.
"Got a minute?"
"Daddy." A voice of pure fear and desperation. She promised her mother she'd stop. She tried, hard. That midnight purge was meant to be the last.
Habits don't break as easily as hearts.
She's pretty sure she broke his.
(and one day later)
They're at the piano, working on a new song when their daughter comes home from school.
"You told Eldridge?" Her backpack crashes into his guitar, setting free an awkward string of notes.
It hadn't been an easy task for Austin. That boy had broken his girl's heart, temporarily pasted it back together, with the hope that comes from new-found singledom, and crushed it again, with the disparity of second chances. But he cared for her, and they needed someone to keep an eye on her.
He cares way too much to let her go.
"Sweetie, we're worried." Ally wraps her arms around her tiny body.
Breaking free, Etoile grabs her bag and escapes to her bedroom. They leave her until dinner, when she can hear their voices outside her door.
Two words she never thought she'd hear come out of her father's mouth: "I'm scared."
She opens the door to find them locked in embrace. Maneuvering around them, she makes her way to the dinner table, where the ham and potatoes are still steaming hot.
By the time they come downstairs, she already has the lid off the neapolitan.
(and one month later)
It's been one month since her last purge. They're taking her out to dinner to celebrate.
"Where are you going Daddy?" she asks when he gets up from the table. He smiles, not saying a word.
When he reaches the piano, he speaks.
"Hey everybody, I'm Austin Moon." The crowd applauds. "I'm going to sing you all a song off my new album, coming out later this year."
The lyrics make her cry. Her burger is getting soggy.
That song they'd been working on that day she stormed home. It was for her. Telling her that she's beautiful, and that nobody should tell her otherwise. She's so much better than the rejection she faces.
It's summer, a time for fresh starts. She's going to be in high school. It's time to cut off all the negativity, things that drag her down.
Starting with Eldridge.
Sitting at the kitchen table, she ignores the dish of vanilla in front of her.
"What's wrong?" Ally asks, taking the rainbow sprinkles out of the cupboard.
"We got our new vocabulary list in french class today." The sheet slides across the table. "Number seven."
Etoile, star. "It's your name."
"You named me Star Moon? I sound like an astronomer stripper."
Austin could not have chosen a worse time to walk into the room.
"That's what all my classmates are saying, Daddy."
"We told you why you were named Etoile." It had been the day she came home crying in kindergarten. There was a good behavior chart, and every time you did something good, you got a plus. The person with the most pluses at the end of the week would get a special prize.
One week, the teacher put the plus sign too close to her name.
Most have stopped calling her Etoilet now. Evidently, they've moved on.
"I know, I was special to you and stuff." She piles a mound of ice cream onto her spoon.
Stuff being overly sappy sentiments that her parents will most likely reiterate to her. It's only because they love her.
Or they could stuff their faces full of ice cream, like her father is doing.
"Incredibly special," Ally assures her.
She's a star.
A lot can happen in two years. In her case, talks with her parent's label, puberty, a relapse. All the pressure from her manager to lose weight, be one of those singers thinner than the mic stand, the curves naturally filling her out, fighting her wishes.
It was like old friends reconnecting. Hello fingers, remember your good pal the throat?
Waiting in the doctor's office, to hear if she's gained any weight, she decides to make conversation with her mom.
"My chemistry teacher made Eldridge my lab partner." If she can't trust the boy with her heart, how is she to trust him with a test tube that could potentially blow her eyebrows off? She already hates her body. She doesn't need to add another check to the list.
"Think you'll bring up any old chemistry?" She nudges her. All these years, and she still can't resist a bad pun.
"We have nothing in common."
"You both love music and performing."
She shakes her head. "Come on mom, nobody bonds over just music."
Ally would argue, but it's best to let her daughter figure this one out on her own.
(and four months later)
The front door opens, letting a wave of giggles flow into the house.
"Did you get the part?" Austin looks up from the sheet music he'd been scribbling on.
"Of course she did," Eldridge answers for her. "As if there was any doubt."
They climb the stairs to her room, shutting the door. There used to be an open door policy, but when Etoile challenged them that they got to close the door, he couldn't find an argument to win with.
Two friends behind a closed door won't lead to anything, right?
Best to stock the freezer, just in case.
(and one month later)
Ally dips her tea bag into the hot water. Settling onto the couch, she watches the kids practice for the musical.
It comes to the part where they're meant to kiss. Etoile hesitates.
"We should save the kiss for opening night. It'll be more magical." When they had auditioned, she went for a supporting role. Only seniors get the leads. He had gone for the lead. She hadn't expected him to be cast as her love interest.
He slowly bends his posture back up.
Is that disappointment she hears in his agreement?
"No chemistry?" she says to her daughter as they watch him leave later that afternoon. "I really thought he was going to kiss you in that last run through."
"It's called acting."
Been there, said that. She'll come around.
It was totally more than acting.
She stumbles in, with him hot on her heels, crashing into the front table.
"Did you two have a good time?" Ally averts her attention from the television, where she's watching the twentieth anniversary of her mother's documentary. She's seen it all too many times, knows every word. But it was either that, or the infomercial on some superblender, and she can only watch carrots get pulverized for so long.
"Eldridge would not stop tickling me when we slow danced." The problem with taking your friend to prom is that they know just how to push your buttons, instead of giving you the most romantic night of your life.
The vase of flowers on the table wobbles.
Best of both worlds then? A dozen daisies, minus the one he tucked into her hair.
"Is that why you two are home this early?" Austin sits up, dragging Ally with him. He loves curling up with her. He could live without his body falling asleep under her weight.
"I didn't want to push any boundaries with curfew sir." He kisses her cheek. "I better get going. See you Monday?"
Maybe Austin was wrong about this kid. All these years, he's been trying to save her from getting her heart broken. Her heart has been broken, from unrequited love. He thought it was unrequited. Now, he's thinking differently.
He wouldn't be the only one.
"Remember when we went to prom together, as just friends?" Ally asks when the kids step outside to say goodbye.
"Think they'll end up like us?"
When he goes off to a performance arts college, she stays home to work on her music career. He's only an hour away.
Then why does it feel like years?
"He's not going to be gone forever." Ally stabs the rock solid ice cream with a spoon.
"How did you deal with leaving Daddy?" She's heard the story before. Maybe now that she's in her shoes, she'll understand.
"I cried, a lot. My roommate tried to help, inviting me out with her friends. At first I stayed in, video chatting with your father. Then he begged me to go out, have fun. We would see each other at Christmas. So I went out, met a guy, and we went out for a week or two, but he didn't live up to the standard that he had set."
"I thought you were only friends," she interrupts, yanking the spoon out.
"Best friends can set the highest of standards," she sighs. "They make you laugh, are there when you cry, love you no matter what."
Etoile shoves the spoon back in, prying out a scoop of chocolate.
"Will I ever find someone to live up to Eldridge?"
"I don't know. After my first semester, I ran into his arms, got spun around, and realized I was exactly where I needed to be. I quit school, worked full time on my music, and got beautiful family. I wouldn't trade this for the world," she remarks, encompassing the room with her arm.
"I'd trade for some softer ice cream."
"It'll soften up soon."
They stare at the carton, waiting impatiently. "Hey mom?"
"Thanks." For the advice, for loving her, and keeping the freezer stocked. For showing her what love really looks like.
In case you're wondering, it looks a lot like her Daddy wrestling with the ice cream spoon, sending chocolate hurling in her direction and then wiping her face clean, kissing her brown lips. It looks like her spraying whipped cream down his back, giggling like a maniac.
Maybe she'll find it with Eldridge. Maybe not. But when she finds it, one thing is certain.
She's not letting go.