Ross surprises Laura with a trip after she graduates from college. Cue the fluff. Raura. Established relationship. One-shot.
Sometimes he wonders if he's bad for her.
If her life would be easier, better, simpler if she wasn't Ross Lynch's girlfriend.
Because as much as he loves the sound of that, and a lot of their fans love the sound of that, there are still plenty of people that don't. And it's not getting any easier, the longer they date. It seems like every day they're both tagged in conversations online debating whether or not she's good enough for him, whether she's pretty enough or skinny enough (which blows his mind because she's almost too tiny), whether it's all for publicity even though Austin and Ally has been wrapped for years.
It's been getting worse lately because he's more popular than ever. His face is plastered on the cover of what seems like every magazine at the grocery store, he has a starring role in a feature film that's due to come out in a couple of months, and a couple of singles from R5's latest album are near the top of the charts.
Laura's been slowly working on her own music after having released an EP a few months ago and she's had a few guest starring roles in a couple of TV shows, but she's focused on finishing her last semester of college right now and a little bit under the radar of the press—aside from their relationship, that is.
He doesn't know how to stop it. She tells him that they just have to accept it, to ignore it, but he has a hard time doing that. But then again, she's always been a little bit stronger than him.
So his reaction isn't completely unexpected the first time she receives an actual threat on her life. Her eyes are sad but she's calm when she shows it to him on his phone (she's still stubbornly clinging to her beloved flip phone), he completely loses it.
He throws his phone so hard at the wall that it completely shatters as a loud stream of curses escapes from his mouth and he finds himself clenching his hands into fists so tight his knuckles turn white and his fingernails nearly draw blood from his palms.
He only unclenches his fists when he feels her small hands wrap around his wrists, tugging gently to make him sit down next to her on her couch.
"You have to calm down, Ross," she says soothingly, furrowing her brow in concern. "You can't let it get to you like that."
He stares incredulously at her. "How can you say that? This is such fucking bullshit," he seethes. "Nobody can say that shit to you. And what if it's real? If someone ever hurt you because of me, I don't—" he cuts himself off, unable to continue.
She sighs and looks down, playing with her fingers in her lap, something he doesn't seen her do very often but knows it means she's upset and his heart breaks a little bit. He's used to seeing her happy and smiling and perky, not this serious, sad version of herself.
"Let's get out of here," he says suddenly, leaping to his feet. "Can we just get out of LA? We haven't spent more than an hour at a time together in almost three weeks because you have finals and graduation and I've been in the studio nonstop and I miss you."
Laura looks up at him and smiles, her eyes lighting up at the prospect of some time alone. "A vacation sounds fantastic. Where do you wanna go?"
He smiles back and he feels his spirits genuinely lifting for the first time in days. "I'm gonna surprise you. Let's call it your graduation gift."
She raises an eyebrow at him skeptically. "Really?"
"Really." He pauses. "Pack bikinis, though. Lots and lots of bikinis."
"Typical," she laughs. "Anything else?"
He pretends to think. "I'll let you bring one shirt. I wouldn't want you to get sunburned."
"How thoughtful," she says dryly. "You really have my best interests at heart, Ross."
He leans over and presses a smacking, wet kiss to her cheek. "You know it, Laur."
She makes a show of being disgusted as she wipes her cheek and rubs her hand on his shirt as he laughs. "You're so weird and gross," she says, scrunching her nose at him.
He grins at her and she leans closer to him, threading her fingers with his. "But for some crazy reason, you love me."
"You really weren't kidding about the bikinis," she says, staring in awe at the boarding pass he's just handed her as they're waiting in line to check their bags. "Hawaii, are you serious? Is this really happening right now?"
"Totally happening," he says, nodding. "And just wait until we get there, Laura, oh man, you're going to flip."
She eyes him suspiciously. "I get the feeling that there's a lot more that you're not telling me."
"So much more," he says. He smiles at her. "I want this trip to be really special for you."
She tilts her head. "But why? Not that I don't love it, but is there a reason? Besides the fact that we're celebrating me graduating?"
"You didn't just graduate, you double majored and finished with honors. Have I told you that I'm so incredibly proud of you?" he asks, raising his hand to high five her, which he's been doing nonstop since he saw her walk across the stage to accept her diploma a little more than a week ago.
She rolls her eyes, pretending to be annoyed, but high fives him back. "Not in the last five minutes," she laughs.
"And hey, do I need a reason to do something nice for you?" he asks, his eyebrows narrowing.
She frowns. "Of course not, that's not what I meant, I'm just—"
He laughs. "I'm just messing with you. I know. And…there is a reason." He laces his fingers with hers. "We've been dealing with a lot of crap lately. About us, about our relationship, you know?"
She nods and he tightens his grip on her hand. "And we haven't had any real time alone together in a while either," he adds. "I felt like we just need a break from everything."
She bites her lip worriedly.
He opens his mouth to continue but the airline attendant calling them to check in interrupts them and he squeezes her hand tightly as if to say that they'll continue the conversation later as they walk up to the counter. They drop off their bags and then he pulls her aside before they head to their gate.
"It's just that you seem…kind of sad lately. I'm not used to it," he confesses. "You're usually bouncing off the walls."
She lets out a breath. "I have been kind of down," she admits. "It's just that it's been really bad lately with your movie coming out and everything." Her eyes widen as she realizes what she said. "But I don't blame you," she adds quickly. "I'm so happy for you, you know that right?"
"You haven't made me feel like anything is my fault," he replies quietly. "So don't worry. I just thought we could use some time without parents and siblings and friends and managers and fucking paparazzi breathing down our backs."
She looks at him for a long moment and then smirks. "That blond hair is misleading," she says. "You're not as dumb as you look."
"You should know better than to stereotype," he says, shaking his head at her. "And hey, sometimes I have my moments."
"You really weren't kidding about the bikinis," she says, her voice awed as they walk out onto the deck of the secluded beach house they're staying in for the next two weeks.
"I really, really wasn't," he says, laughing. "We're the only house for a mile. And the cell phone reception out here is awful. And there's no Internet and no cable." He pauses. "We can still watch movies, though."
She turns to him and frowns, her hands on her hips. "And what if there's an emergency?"
"Landline," he answers. "Don't worry, I've learned from the best," he teases. "Our families know the number. And they also know not to bug us unless there's an actual emergency."
She sighs happily and walks to the edge of the deck, resting her forearms on the railing as she looks out over the clear blue water. "I don't even know what to say. This is perfect."
He walks up behind her and rests his hands on either side of her, effectively trapping her. He lowers his head.
"Good graduation gift?" he mumbles, his lips against her bare shoulder.
She shivers slightly against him and then turns around in his arms. "That depends," she says, grinning. "Is there somewhere we can buy GoGurt?"
"Already in the fridge."
She kisses him.
"I can't believe we've been dating for over two years and you still haven't taught me how to surf," she says as they walk to the beach together, surfboards in hand.
"I honestly can't believe it either, dude. And that whole date that I used to tell the magazines about has still never happened."
"Well, what's stopping us from doing it today?" she asks. "We can get stuff to make French toast and watch a movie." She pauses. "And cuddle," she says teasingly, reaching her hand up to pinch his cheek affectionately. "Lame-o."
"It's a good date!" he exclaims defensively, batting her hand away. "And don't even pretend you don't like to cuddle with me."
"I'm not admitting to anything," she says, her cheeks turning pink.
"Ha! You're blushing," he says, smirking. "I knew it."
"You're so annoying."
"Oh, that's it," he says, and before she knows it, he drops his surfboard and picks her up over his shoulder, forcing her to let go of her own board.
"Ross!" she shrieks, trying to wiggle out of his grasp. "Put me down!"
He tightens his grip on her and adjusts her in his arms so he's carrying her bridal style as he runs into the water. "Say I'm not annoying."
She narrows her eyebrows at him. "Never."
He pretends to drop her into the water and she instinctively grabs his shoulders. "Ross!"
"Come on, Laura," he says, lowering his head to whisper in her ear. "All you have to say is this: you're not annoying, Ross, you're sexy as hell."
"Not a chance."
He shrugs. "Okay," he says, and then drops her into the water without a second thought.
She comes up sputtering in disbelief a couple of seconds later, her hair in her face. "It's on, annoying-boy," she yells, and then jumps on him. She catches him completely off guard and he falls into the water, her on top of him. He comes up with her a moment later and they both glare at each other for a moment before bursting into laughter.
"Annoying-boy?" he gasps between laughs. "That's the best you could come up with?"
"It's just the truth," she says, giggling.
He reaches out and grabs her by the waist, pulling her close. They both stop laughing, and he looks at her for a moment, lifting his hand to cup her cheek.
"How annoying is this?" he asks softly, before leaning his head down to kiss her softly.
"Super annoying, annoying-boy," she whispers, when he pulls back. "Try again."
So he does.
She pauses, her hand outstretched. "What? Do you not want French toast anymore?"
"No. Yes. Dude. Dude. Laura. How could I have forgotten?" he asks, placing his hands on her shoulders and shaking her slightly.
She gives him a strange look. "What did you forget?"
"The bread. The bread. Dude, Laura, the bread."
She sighs. "The word bread is starting to sound weird."
"Oh man, Laura, it was this bread I had. The butter. The mad butter."
She perks up. "Oh, I remember that. You ranted about that bread for like, ten minutes on set when you got back from Hawaii."
"Can you imagine making French toast with that bread?" he asks excitedly. "We have to go get it."
Fast forward three hours and they're sitting at the table, a pile of French toast on a platter between them.
She reaches out and takes a piece and he watches her in anticipation as she pours the syrup. He leans forward a little as she lifts her fork to her mouth and she rolls her eyes at his excitement before taking a bite.
She chews. And chews a little more. And swallows.
A moment passes where they just stare at each other.
"OH MY GOD, ROSS. THE BREAD."
"I told you!"
"This bread—what—the bread, Ross. It's so…and so…and all…oh my God. This is literally the best thing I've ever tasted in my entire life. Better than GoGurt." She stops and widens her eyes. "Wait, what? Did I…did I just say that?" she whispers.
He raises both of his eyebrows. "You definitely just said it."
She takes a deep breath.
"Ross. The bread."
"Laura. The bread."
He nods in solemn understanding. "Mad butter."
"I am not watching Romeo and Juliet 1968 with you, come on, Ross," she whines. "Pick something else. This is like the sixth time I've seen it."
He shakes his head. "Uh uh. My date, remember? My movie. Come on, please?"
He gives her his best puppy dog eyes. She sighs exasperatedly and he frowns, even though he knows those eyes rarely work on her.
"You owe me."
"Um…uh…when we get back home, you have to…you have to…um…take me to the Pink concert next month!"
"I already bought tickets for that," he says smugly. Her jaw drops. "You did?"
He nods. "You've only been talking about it for like, two months. Did you really think I wasn't going to buy them?"
"Way to ruin the surprise," she says, punching him in the arm. He grins. "You can't think of anything, can you? I'm not crazy picky like you are, Marano."
"That's just food!" she protests. "You know I'm usually up for anything you want to do."
"I know, I know," he says, reaching his hand out to playfully tug on one of her curls. "I'm kidding."
She frowns as she thinks about what she can get him to do and then perks up. "Okay, how about this? You have to come with me to go shopping for a dress for my charity event next month."
He groans. "Anything but shopping, please, Laura?" he whines.
She shakes her head firmly. "That's the deal, take it or leave it."
He looks between her face and the DVD in his hand, one, two, three times before letting out a loud moan. "Fiiiine. I'll go stupid shopping with you for your stupid dress."
"Yay!" she exclaims exaggeratedly. "Ha ha ha, I got you, you owe me," she sing-songs, bouncing up and down on the couch.
He rolls his eyes as he walks back to the couch after putting in the DVD, slinging an arm over her shoulder before leaning his head down to whisper in her ear.
"You are so lucky I like you."
She tilts her head up and kisses his cheek before burrowing further into his chest, throwing her arm over his stomach. "You're the lucky one, Ross," she says, laughing. "I actually already bought the dress. All we have to do is pick it up." She shudders. "Shopping with you would be a total disaster."
He sighs happily. "I am so lucky you like me."
"You think too much," she murmurs.
"I just can't believe we have to leave tonight," he says softly.
She moves, tangling her legs with his as she shifts on top of him, resting her chin on his bare chest. "We just woke up, don't think about it yet."
He brings his hands up around her waist, letting his fingertips stroke lightly up and down her back underneath her (his) T-shirt. "Did you like it?"
"What kind of question is that?" she asks incredulously. "It was you, me, the beach, and no interruptions for two weeks. I didn't think it would ever be possible. I still can't believe no one called us even once."
He frowns. "And now we have to go back and we'll each have ten thousand messages and we'll be crazy busy and it's gonna suck not seeing you."
"I uh…I actually wanted to talk to you about that," she mumbles.
He furrows his brow. "About what?"
She blushes. "I just…now that I'm done with school, do you…do you maybe want to…it's totally okay if you don't, I completely get it, so no pressure or ultimatum or anything, but…do you…um…want to…"
"Just say it, Laur," he says, an amused look on his face.
"Move in together!" she squeaks, and then buries her face in his chest.
His eyes widen. "Are you serious?" he asks.
She nods into his chest, still refusing to make eye contact.
He's silent for a moment, but then cups her face in his palms, forcing her to look at him. "Are you kidding? Of course I want to. I…I actually wanted to ask you the night you graduated," he says, his cheeks pink. "But the timing was never right and I wasn't sure how you'd take it. Laura, this is gonna be awesome."
She bites her lip and smiles, her cheeks flushing prettily as he lifts his head to press a kiss to her forehead.
They smile at each other for a moment, completely wrapped up in happiness and excitement and each other, but then he sees something else flash through her eyes.
"Hey," he says, running a hand through her hair. "What's wrong?"
She turns her face into his palm. "This'll make everything worse," she says, her voice muffled. "The fans. Especially when I start getting back into my career. I'm tired of you always worrying about me."
He's speechless for a moment as he tries to work through the reason she's upset. It's not because of the hurtful words said about her and their relationship. She just doesn't want him to worry. It's such a Laura thing for her to be concerned about, putting him before herself, and he wonders, for probably the millionth time, how the hell he got so lucky.
He gently nudges her to look at him again. "I will always be worried about you, Laur. That's kind of how this thing works."
"I thought you would be more upset about, you know, the shit people write about you?" he interrupts, eyebrows raised.
She shrugs. "I know you love me," she answers simply.
He looks at her skeptically. She lowers her head and presses a kiss to his chest, looking up at him through her eyelashes. "You've never given me a reason to doubt you," she says softly. "What more do I need?"
He takes in a deep breath and wraps his arms around her waist before rolling them over gently, immediately burying his face in the crook of her neck.
Her fingers come up to run through the hair at the nape of his neck and he feels her wrap her other arm around his back, enclosing him in a tight embrace. "I hate seeing you get hurt because of me," he mumbles against her collarbone. "And I hate that there's barely anything I can do about it."
"I promise I'm okay," she whispers. "Ross, you made sure there was GoGurt in the fridge before we even got here. If that's not true love, I don't know what is."
He can't help but laugh and lifts his head to see that she's grinning. He lowers his head and kisses her softly, and he sighs a little into her mouth as he feels her completely relax underneath him.
"Let's just stay here," he whines, pulling back. "I have my guitar and you have bikinis." He pauses. "And we have bread."
"Romantic," she deadpans, and he gives her a sheepish grin. "Come on, Ross, let's get up."
She pushes up on his shoulders lightly but he just shakes his head and tightens his hold on her. "Bed."
"We can't spend the whole day in bed," she protests.
"Why not?" he asks, pouting a little.
"Because we—uh...um…" she falters, unable to think of a good reason. "We just…we just can't!"
He smirks. "We so can. And we so are."
And then he reaches back to grab the sheet that's on top of them, pulling it up to cover their heads, the sound of their laughter echoing through the room.
"Can we actually spend time together when we get back?" he asks as they stand in line to board the plane.
"I think we might have to, considering we're going to be getting a house together," she answers. "Unless you're gonna let me get whatever I want?" she asks hopefully.
"Not a chance," he says, shaking his head. "We need a pool, and a huge music room, and somewhere I can play video games with my brothers, and—"
"And somewhere to put all my books, and a grand piano, and maybe a second fridge just for GoGurt…" she trails off, apparently lost in a beautiful fantasy.
"Dude, earth to Laura," he says after a minute, waving his hand in front of her face.
She laughs. "Sorry."
"Finding a house might be more difficult than I thought," he says, raising an eyebrow.
She winks at him. "You know you're just gonna give in to whatever I want."
He opens his mouth to protest but apparently thinks better of it and lets out a resigned sigh. "Probably."
I DON'T EVEN KNOW THE POINT OF THIS STORY OMG (I'M SO SORRY) or where exactly I went with this and it's pretty much a written form of some of the insane scenarios I daydream about when I should be studying or whatever. I know I've written a variation this plot like three times but I can never get the thought of how Ross would feel if he saw Laura being hurt and Nada asked for a fluffy story where he treated her to something special and alfdkjalfksdja I should stop.