Uh. I wrote this about a year ago? I never posted it because I wanted to write a second and maybe a third part to his. That clearly never happened but, um, here it is anyway because I really need to clear out my folder of unfinished fics.
BE WARNED. I WROTE THIS A YEAR AGO. And I'm honestly too lazy to do any sort of real editing. I don't know, guys, I've just been feeling really uninspired lately, sorry. I keep staring at all my blank documents that need to be turned into new chapters and nothing's getting done.
Disclaimer: I'm far too lazy to come up with something clever or funny but just be glad I don't own Austin and Ally.
Austin Moon has been a bartender for a long time now. He may not own his own bar or anything like that, but he likes bartending and he's had his fair share of experience while working. From disgusting dive bars to swanky hotel bars to friendly pubs to crazy night clubs, he's worked them all, seen it all.
Doesn't mean he's quite prepared for a girl like this, though.
It's a slow Tuesday night, with only two or three guys sitting at the bar. A few couples are sitting down at the tables, ordering some food.
Austin watches from behind the bar, bored out of his mind. While weekday nights aren't usually this bad, he much prefers the busy, fast-paced weekend nights. He considers going through and drying the drinking glasses, but realizes he's done that ten minutes ago. He fights back a groan and pulls out a rag to start scrubbing circles on the already spotless bar, starting at the end closest to the entrance.
And then a tiny, petite figure plops down in front of him.
"Two shots of tequila," a small voice says, before tacking on a quick, "please."
He blinks and looks up to meet two doe eyes staring back in a steely manner. It's a little off-putting, this glare from a girl with such soft and dainty features, framed by even softer-looking brown hair.
Austin frowns, gives her a once, twice, thrice over and raises an eyebrow. "Did you sneak in here?" he finally asks, crossing his arms.
She matches his frown. "Excuse me?"
"Let me see your ID," he orders bluntly, holding out his hand and moving his fingers in the classic gimme gesture. "Your fake must be really good if you got past our bouncer," he snorts.
Her jaw drops and she glares at him. "I'll have you know that I'm twenty-three!"
"No shit?" he asks, eyebrows shooting up. At her annoyed but emphatic nod, his eyes narrow into a scrutinizing stare. "You look nineteen."
She rolls her eyes. "Do not," she mumbles, turning pink.
"No, seriously. You look like you belong in high school."
She quirks a wry smile at that. "Oh yes, high school. Because I just can't wait to go back there."
He smirks at her little. "I meant it as a compliment," he offers as he shrugs a shoulder up and down.
With a resigned sigh, she starts rifling through her purse. "You really want my ID?" she asks.
He thinks about it, watches her continue shoving her arm deeper and deeper into her purse. He's beginning to think it's bottomless from the way she's still searching through it with her arm almost completely out of view.
"Nah, it's fine," he sighs after a while, deciding to save her the trouble of losing her arm to the abyss that must be her purse.
She stops, slowly withdraws her arm with a slightly relieved look. "Well, if it's any consolation, the bouncer took, like, five minutes grilling me and checking my ID," she admits with an irritated roll of her eyes. "He couldn't believe that I was twenty-three, either."
"Aha! So I'm not the only one that thought you looked way young," Austin points out smugly, chuckling at her annoyed expression. "Anyway. You ordered tequila, right?" When she nods at him, he takes out two shot glasses, pouring her requested drink into them. He moves down the bar to grab two slices of lime and, with a practiced ease, slides a salt shaker down a lengthy part of the bar only to have it stop perfectly in front of her. The salt shaker trick clearly impresses her, if the look on her face is anything to go by, and Austin smirks a little, even though the look is already gone and she's rearranged her features to be carefully blank. "Drink up!" he says cheerfully as he places the two slices next to the shots.
The brunette's eyes widen at the added ingredients. "Um..." she whispers in a small voice as she picks up the salt shaker in one hand and pokes at a lime with her other. "How exactly... do I take a tequila shot?" she asks hesitantly with pink cheeks.
Austin stares at her blankly. "Are you shitting me?" he says, completely toneless.
He's been bartending illegally since he was eighteen and mixing drinks for friends at parties since he was fifteen. Never in his life has he been asked how to take a shot of tequila.
Her pink darkens to red and she bites her lip. "I – this is the first time I've been to a bar," she admits quietly. "And... the first time I'm drinking."
He nearly chokes on his own spit as he continues staring at her. "And you want to hit up tequila?" he asks, incredulous. He shakes his head, grabbing the two shots. "No way. I'm not letting you have these," he snorts. He moves to turn around, ready to pour them down the drain.
"My boyfriend of two and half years cheated on me today," she says in a voice full of lead.
He stills at her confession, not sure how to respond. He may not know what to say, but he gets it, you know. Not that he's ever cheated or been cheated on, but as a bartender, he's seen more than his fair share of broken souls with shattered hearts coming to him with the desperate hope to forget, whether it be for a night or a few hours, with the aid of alcohol.
They lock gazes – hers is dark and steely with challenge, but he sees, for the first time that night, that they're red-rimmed, and he slowly puts her shots back down on the bar, pushing them gently toward her.
"Salt your wrist, take the shot, bite down on the lime," he says. "Do it fast."
She looks at him gratefully before she begins to follow his directions. He can't help but think she won't look so grateful after her first shot as he watches her salt her wrist and then bring the first shot glass of the clear liquid to her lips. After she slams the shot glass down, she nearly gags before shoving the lime into her mouth. When her features pucker into a sour grimace, Austin chuckles just a bit. She throws the lime into the empty shot glass and somehow manages to further exaggerate her grimace. "Oh, god," she chokes, sticking out her tongue. "Maybe I should have stuck to ice cream and bad romantic comedies. This drinking idea was a mistake," she says through her gagging.
He snickers for a minute. With a lopsided smirk, he points at her second shot. "There's that, too."
She looks at it in horror and pokes it forward with a light finger. "Argh. Just... just gimme a moment," she mutters.
Austin rolls his eyes and pulls out a tall glass. He fills it with Sprite and pours grenadine into it, topping it off with two maraschino cherries. "Here," he says softly, handing it to her while simultaneously sticking a straw into the drink.
She stares at it in confusion before turning her eyes to him. "I didn't order this," she says dumbly.
"One, we both know you're not gonna take that second shot. Two, that's a Shirley Temple; everybody loves Shirley Temples. Three, don't worry, it's on the house."
An eye narrows at him and her nose crinkles at him. "This is out of pity, isn't it?"
"Yes," he says with complete honesty, looking her dead in the eye.
She groans and slumps onto the bar, cradling her head in her folded arms. "I shouldn't have told you about my cheating boyfriend," she mumbles into her arms.
He frowns, eyebrows jumping. "Whoa, 'boyfriend'?"
Not that it's any of his business, but he sincerely hopes that it's just a slip of her tongue.
She freezes, slowly lifts her head to rest her chin on her crossed arms. "Ex-boyfriend. Sorry, force of habit," she whispers with an empty, sad smile.
Austin looks down at her and shrugs. "I'm just glad you dumped the asshole." He smiles softly at her.
She exhales noisily. "He wasn't always an asshole," she whispers brokenly, looking up at him. "He was really nice, you know. Up until the cheating part, anyway," she continues wryly with a small sniffle. A tear edges its way out of the corner of her eye and she quickly wipes it away before it can continue its descent down her cheek. "Sorry. Crap. I'm sorry," she apologizes with a hard swallow.
"Hey, hey," he murmurs soothingly. "It's okay. It's alright. If you need to cry, go ahead." He wants very much to give her a hug or to lean over and rub her back or to put a comforting hand on her arm. But he's working and he knows better; touching the customers isn't exactly approved of.
She laughs, and it comes out beaten and hollow. "I've already done that. A lot of that. Tired of it, to be honest," she whispers. She gives him a watery smile. "I just need a break from all the snot," she jokes.
He gives her a sympathetic look. "It's okay, a lot of people get snotty," he whispers.
She gives another laugh, this small one sounding more genuine, but not by much. She tucks a wave of hair behind her ear and grabs the drink, playing with the straw.
"Hey, look—" Austin's mouth opens and he quickly snaps it shut. It's too late, though, as it caught her attention and now she's looking at him curiously with a tilt of her head. "Um, it's nothing," he coughs with an awkward scratch to the back of his head. "Never mind."
"No, it's okay. Tell me. I unloaded a pretty heavy and private detail about my life on you," she reminds him with a soft smile. "So go ahead. Just say it," she urges as she takes a drink from her Shirley Temple.
He hesitates, works his jaw silently for a second or two. "I was just – do you want to talk about it?" he finally blurts out with a flinch.
Her eyebrows shoot up and she stops sipping her drink through the straw, even though it's still placed between her lips. She moves the drink away, her lips letting go with a small, audible pop. She gives him a kind smile. "Thanks, really. I appreciate the offer, but, uh, I don't think I want to bother you with my troubles."
He shrugs. "Look, it's not like I've got a busy night—"
And then four guys plop down at the other end of the bar. "Hey! Bartender! Yo! We need some drinks up in heeere!"
Austin's shoulders slump and he looks up to the skies for patience. "Frat boys," he mutters. "Great. Just what my night needed." He turns to her with an apologetic look. "Hey, I have to—"
"Don't worry, no need to apologize," the brunette giggles with a small wave of her hand. "It looks like you've got your hands full," she says as she nods toward the frat boys. She gives him a small sympathetic smile as she shrugs.
The blond bartender gives her a pained look. "Oh my God. They come in here once a week and it's always a disas—"
"We need eight shots of tequila and two orders of buffalo wings! And make that shit spicy!"
"Gotta go," he sighs with a roll of his eyes.
"Good luck," she smiles, giving him a thumbs up.
Austin smiles, but doesn't let her know that he'll need it.
The frat boys end up taking up all of his attention and time, demanding round after round after round of drinks and appetizers. Currently, two of them are in the bathroom—throwing up or actually going, he's not sure, not that he cares—while the other two are happily and quietly eating onion rings.
Oh, thank God.
Austin turns back to the end of the bar and realizes, regretfully, that the brunette patron must have slipped out at some point without so much as a goodbye. He sighs and walks over to clean up the area she previously occupied. He can't help but chuckle dryly at the bills she left behind, enough to cover the two shots and the Shirley Temple with a nice tip included. He picks up the empty glass and goes to crumple up her napkin when he notices that it's covered in writing. An eyebrow arches in surprise and he quickly picks it up and flips it around, reading the note.
Hey, thanks for listening to me tonight. And for teaching me how to drink tequila. Sadly, I don't think I'll be using that knowledge again for a long time, if ever. Right, anyway, talking to you was a nice way to cap off this incredibly crappy day, so thanks.
He unfolds and refolds the napkin. No name, no number.
He pockets the napkin anyway, tries not to feel too disappointed.