Disclaimer: Austin and Ally isn't mine. And neither are Ross or Laura, I suppose.
A/N: I don't usually write long author's notes but I feel like I want to explain where this came from. After I saw the fan art that's the cover for this story and being asked to write a Raura story around it (Nada ily) I thought about what kind of challenges Ross and Laura would face if they actually started dating. As they both become more famous, things could get complicated, especially with some of Ross' female fans who can already be a little insane. I mean, I get that they're celebrities but they're people too, and seeing/hearing/experiencing that kind of stuff (death threats and the like) really can't be easy even if they're expecting it.
And the thought of that happening to Laura breaks my heart but I'd like to think that it would break Ross's heart even more so that's what inspired this.
Sorry for the long note but I just kind of wanted to explain my thought process and I don't really know if I like this story that much but here it is anyway. Thank you for reading!
She leaves through a back entrance after the concert like always but the car that's supposed to pick her up isn't there yet. She frowns but chalks it up to bad traffic and sure enough when she checks her phone she notices that she has a voicemail from her driver. He apologizes profusely and explains that there was an accident on the interstate and that he'll be about fifteen minutes late.
She sits down on the curb and stretches out her legs, her feet finally beginning to hurt after a long day spent in some pretty intense wedges. That's the price she has to pay for dating someone so much taller than her and having to make appearances with said someone, she thinks sullenly, but if she's being honest with herself she wouldn't change it for the world.
She's waiting alone because security is tied up with escorting the band to their private signing after the show but she doesn't mind and she's not worried because fans never make their way back here.
She's looking down at her phone when the girl approaches her and she doesn't take notice until she's standing right in front of her. She jumps a little, startled, but then she looks up at her and smiles, thinking that she wants her autograph or a picture.
"Hi—" she starts, but she's cut off when the girl spits in her face.
She freezes for a second, completely at a loss for what to do, but then she's suddenly angrier than she can ever remember being and quickly scrambles to her feet. She wipes her face with her hand and glares at the girl, who can't be more than sixteen or seventeen.
"You don't deserve Ross Lynch," she says with so much hatred in her voice that she nearly takes a step back. "You're ugly and a horrible actress and you should just fucking die. Just because you were on a stupid TV show with him when you were younger doesn't mean he should date you. He needs someone who's actually on his fucking level, and that's not you."
All she can see is red and she narrows her eyes. "And you think that's you?"
The girl laughs bitterly. "No," she scoffs. "But maybe someone who's actually got talent and a fucking personality who actually deserves him. Just not you, you stupid bitch."
Her eyes widen in disbelief and anger and she opens her mouth to say something but before she can blink a security guard appears in front of her. She watches in shock as the guard apologizes and drags her away but the girl is still screaming at her and she stands there, fixated on every horrible word and burning them all to memory until she can't hear her anything more.
Her chest feels tight and her heart is pounding and her palms are sweaty and she hardly notices when the car pulls up and her name is called.
"Miss Marano?" her driver says hesitantly. "Miss Marano, are you ready?"
She blinks and turns to face him. "Um, yeah. Sorry."
She climbs into the car automatically, not really processing what just happened, and she sits rigidly in the backseat, staring unfocusedly out the window until they pull up in front of the hotel.
"Miss Marano?" he says quietly. "We're here, are you okay?"
She shakes her head when she hears her name and tries to smile. "I'm okay, sorry! Just distracted. Thanks for the ride."
She climbs out and practically runs into the lobby before he can say anything else and then she takes a deep breath before walking calmly to the elevators even though she feels frantic inside.
She closes her eyes and fidgets as the elevator climbs to the highest floor, her need to be alone nearly overwhelming.
When she's finally inside their room the first thing she does is turn on the shower as hot as it can go and takes off all her clothes and then looks at herself.
She's never disliked what she sees in the mirror and she knows he is nothing short of…enthusiastic about her body but she has to admit that what that girl had said had shaken her a bit. It's not that she's suddenly terribly insecure now but she's never experienced anything like that before and she'd be lying if there weren't newly forming tendrils of self-doubt floating around in her head.
She blinks at herself and tries to shake the unpleasant thoughts but her stomach coils uncomfortably so she takes a breath and then steps in the shower. She stands still and lets the scalding water dissolve any remnants of the ugly confrontation until her face is red and her skin starts to sting.
She slowly washes her hair and her body and roughly scrubs her face and then steps out, wrapping a thick towel around herself. She looks at herself again but doesn't see anything different except pink cheeks and tired eyes. She dries off and changes into pajamas before sinking under the covers. She closes her eyes but her mind is racing and she knows he'll be there soon anyway so she doesn't bother trying to go to sleep.
That girl hadn't said anything that she hasn't heard or seen before but she's never had anyone come up to her like that while she was alone and no one has ever spit in her face or made her feel that scared or vulnerable or weakin her entire life.
They've been dating for a little over a year now. It had taken almost four years after the show wrapped for them to finally move beyond the just friends stage but now that they're here, she can honestly say she's never been happier.
They'd never lost touch, even as she moved on to become one of the most respected actresses of her generation and as R5 became one of the biggest bands in the industry. They both still lived in the same city, after all, and it was as if they actually got closer after the show ended.
Their relationship is simple and uncomplicated and happy when it's just the two of them—but widen the lens a little and it's a bit of a war zone.
Some of his fans can get a little intense although she had never imagined anything like the events of tonight happening, and the news that they were dating was not universally well-received. They had both tried to keep it under wraps for a while when they first started out but it was difficult to actually date when they couldn't go anywhere without the fear of being photographed. So they had agreed to be a little more open with it but she hadn't realized the consequences of their decision until the first picture of him holding her hand had been released.
The internet seemed to explode and they had both received a combination of incredibly happy and incredibly hurtful messages for weeks. Truthfully, he still doesn't know the full extent of the negative messages and hate mail and even the occasional death threats that had only been sent to her and she hadn't ever told him because she didn't want to worry him. It died down for a brief period when they both disappeared from the public eye for a while but then they were caught having dinner together and it had never really stopped since then.
Both of them ignore it as much as they can but certain things were unavoidable and there had been a few painful nights when they had even contemplated ending things because their relationship had started to overshadow their careers.
Her thoughts are interrupted by the sound of the door opening and she sits up a little as he walks into the room and grins at her.
So no one's told him.
And she wants to keep it that way because he'll only worry or demand more security or get angry and he's in the middle of the biggest tour he's ever done and she can handle this herself.
So she grins back at him and does her best to make it reach her eyes and manages to do it well enough to convince him.
"What'd you think?" he asks, raising his eyebrows at her as he kicks off his shoes. "That was the biggest show we've ever played!"
He practically bounds his way over to sit on the edge of the bed and looks at her excitedly.
"It was incredible, Ross," she says, looking up at him. "Absolutely perfect. I've never seen you like that before. It was like the music was…I don't know, a part of you or something."
"That's exactly how I felt, Laur," he sighs happily, and she can't keep the smile off her face because his energy is contagious. He looks at her then, taking in her bundled form, and frowns. "Are you feeling okay?"
She laughs and it sounds a little nervous to her ears but he doesn't seem to pick up on it. "Yeah, fine. Just tired. And my feet hurt. But you should go to the after party."
He shakes his head. "Nah," he says. "I'm not really feeling it. I kinda just want to chill with you tonight. I mean, I haven't seen you in what, over a month? And we haven't had any time alone all day."
She looks at him in confusion. "But won't management be angry?"
He smiles. "It's all taken care of. I'm excused for the night. Hey, are you hungry?"
She swallows. All she really wants to do is go to sleep and forget this day but he's looking at her with hopeful eyes and she realizes that she actually hasn't eaten since lunch.
"Very hungry," she says.
He spins around and picks up the room service menu. "Pizza?"
She nods and then sits up. There's a knot in her stomach and she realizes that it's probably not going to go away until she tells him about what happened but it can't be right now, not while he's in such a good mood, and not after the incredible night he's just had.
He stands up and stretches after placing the order, extending his arms to the ceiling, and then he turns around. "I'm gonna shower," he says, and peels off his shirt as he walks to the bathroom, tossing it on the floor. She lets out a breath when she hears the door close softly and tilts her head back into the pillow and stares at the ceiling.
Now that he's gone she can't focus on anything but what that girl had said to her and what she had done to her and it's like a broken record in her head, you should just fucking die you should just fucking die fucking die die die.
She's never really been anything but confident in herself and who she is (not to say that she hasn't experienced periods of low self esteem like everyone else) but being issued a death wish to her face is suddenly more than she can handle.
But she just squeezes her eyes shut and tries not to think about it and especially ignores the prickling feeling behind her eyelids because this is not something that she will allow herself to cry over.
And then she hears the bathroom door open and her eyes fly open and she quickly plasters a smile on her face. He's shirtless but wearing boxers and he's rubbing his hair roughly with a towel as he walks towards her. Under normal circumstances she'd probably be admiring his body, especially since she hasn't seen him in so long, but all she can think about is the tightness in her chest and nervous feeling in the pit of her stomach.
But she can't help but laugh despite everything when he trips over the shirt he had thrown on the floor earlier. He lowers the towel from his head and gives her a sheepish look.
"Smooth," she says dryly. "I keep telling you not to leave things on the floor…"
She tries to give him a stern look, but he just grins at her as he runs his fingers through his hair, flattening it. "Yeah, yeah," he says. "I know, I know."
She turns her head to look at him when he joins her on the bed, sitting cross-legged above the sheets.
He stares at her for a few seconds and then lifts his hand to cup her cheek, drawing her close before he kisses her. She lets herself sink into him, wrapping her arms around his bare torso, wanting to get lost in something other than the nervous and angry and bitter thoughts she's been dealing with for hours now.
He kisses her on the cheek and then he pulls back after a minute. "Are you sure you're okay?" he asks, a concerned look on his face. "You seem…sad, or something. I can feel it."
She breathes a laugh. "From a kiss? I'm fine, I promise."
He doesn't look like he believes her. "You're not a good liar, Laura," he says. "You've never been a good liar."
"I'm not lying, Ross, can you drop it?" she says, irritated, and his face falls. "Look, I'm sorry. I'm just exhausted."
"Okay," he says quietly. "But you know I'm here for you for whatever, right?"
She opens her mouth to respond but they're interrupted by the sound of someone knocking. He scrambles off the bed and goes to answer the door, coming back a minute later to settle back into his former position, setting the pizza box down between them.
They eat slowly and he tells her stories about tour and she tells him stories about being on the set of her new movie and she lets herself be distracted as she eats two slices and he demolishes the rest. "You're such a boy," she observes. "How do you eat so much—" she asks, and pokes his abs. "—and still look like this?"
He shrugs. "I'm lucky, I guess," he says, grinning. "How do you eat the way you do and still stay that skinny? I have yet to see you eat fruit that's not in GoGurt form."
"Hey, I eat bananas," she says. "And if I remember correctly, you said in an interview once that you thought it was funny, the way I eat them."
"I might have said funny," he says, smirking. "But I meant hot."
She blushes. "Ross, we were what? Seventeen?"
He grins lasciviously at her. "That doesn't mean I didn't appreciate—"
She cuts him off by smacking him on the arm. "Shut up."
He laughs at her and then closes the now empty box as she stands up. "I'm gonna get ready for bed," she tells him. "Just give me a minute."
She shuts the door behind her and then takes a deep breath. And they hit her again like a ton of bricks when she looks at herself in the mirror, the feelings she had been masking since he had arrived. She doesn't know what to do and she feels herself start to panic a little bit because she doesn't know how much longer she can keep this up. She closes her eyes and wills herself to calm down but she's barely hanging on even after she brushes her teeth and washes her face. She rests her hand on the doorknob and takes a deep breath before turning it, putting a smile on her face as she walks out into the bedroom.
"All yours," she says, and he smiles back before walking in himself. She crawls under the covers and closes her eyes as soon as she hears the door shut. She's not going to be able to sleep tonight, she can feel it, and there are a million thoughts running through her head as she tries to clear it. The words are still repeating themselves, ugly, you don't deserve him, die die die, and she can feel her lower lip trembling as she tries to keep it together.
And then she hears the door opening and she opens her eyes and manages to smile at him again. He lets out a breath and slides under the covers next to her and she turns on her side to face him as he does the same.
"I missed you, Laur," he says, taking her hand under the covers.
She squeezes back lightly but then she takes her hand back and something flashes in his eyes. She gives him a small smile. "I missed you, too."
He shifts a little closer to her and she automatically tenses for a second and then immediately prays that he won't notice. She's in the clear, though, because he just lifts his hand to rest it on her hip, letting his fingers reach under the hem of her camisole to rub her skin gently. She closes her eyes for a second and tries to focus on his touch, tries to push everything else out of her head, but nothing seems to be working.
She tries moving a little closer to him, letting her legs press into his, and he shifts his hand to her back, splaying his fingers between her shoulder blades under her shirt. She takes a breath before he kisses her and closes her eyes tightly, trying to force out everything negative. It doesn't work though and it's not even a few seconds later that her mind starts to race and all she can hear are the words repeating over and over in her head. She suddenly pulls back gasping and his eyes fly open, his expression worried and confused. "Laura, what is it?" he asks, his voice anxious. "Tell me, please, I knew you weren't okay."
She takes a deep breath. "Nothing," she says and she's surprised that her voice is fairly calm. But then she looks in his eyes and her mouth immediately starts trembling. "It-it's nothing, I just forgot to um, breathe."
He narrows his eyes at her and removes his hand from underneath her shirt. "Cut it out, Laura, and tell me why you've either been kissing me like it's the last time you ever will or been flinching and acting like I'm about to bite your head off every time I try to touch you."
So he had noticed.
She takes a deep breath. "Can we just go to sleep? I just…can we talk in the morning?"
He looks at her in disbelief. "You're shaking, and you want me to go to sleep?"
She doesn't realize that she is until he says it but sure enough, her hands are trembling. "Please," she whispers.
He stares at her, his eyes confused and hurt, but then he shakes his head when he realizes he's not going to get through to her. He turns to lie on his back and then they're not touching anymore and she squeezes her eyes shut. She shifts to do the same thing and tries to stop her hands from shaking and she wonders how she's going to make it through the night but then his hand finds hers under the sheets and he holds it tightly, weaving his fingers with hers. She relaxes the tiniest bit and turns her head to look at him but his eyes are closed.
She lets her own eyelids drift shut and she eventually falls into an uneasy half-sleep where she dreams about fans chasing her and yelling at her and spitting at her and she runs until she reaches him but he just laughs in her face as he wraps his arm around the waist of a beautiful, blonde, curvy, faceless woman. She begs him to look at her and calls his name but he just turns and walks away, laughing as he leaves, and then the fans catch up to her and—
She suddenly wakes up in a cold sweat and she quickly opens her eyes to see that his face is above hers and he's looking down at her with a panicked expression on his face, his hand on her shoulder. "Laura, Laura, please," he pleads, and she widens her eyes at him as she slowly realizes that it was a dream.
"You were almost crying and and tossing and turning and mumbling my name. What's going on with you?" he asks, and his voice leaves no room for argument.
She swallows and turns on her side so he'll move from on top of her and he does, mirroring her position on the bed. He takes her hand in his and lifts it so it's resting between them and she gives him a small smile.
"After the concert tonight, something…happened," she starts, and her voice only wavers a little bit. "With a fan."
He narrows his eyes. "What?"
She nods. "This girl, this kid, really, she came up to me while I was alone waiting for the car and she um…"
She trails off because she can't really bring herself to say it out loud.
"She what?" he asks, his voice almost frantic. "What happened?"
She can't look him in the eyes when she says it so she stares a hole in his chest and waits a moment.
"She spit in my face and told me that I should die and that I don't deserve you," she says so quickly and so quietly she doubts he even heard or understood her. "Among other things."
But his body goes completely rigid as he takes in what she said and she hears him start breathing heavily but his touch is feather light when he cups her cheek with his hand, tilting her head up so he can look at her. His eyes are a little wet and she swallows because she's never seen him look at her the way he is now. "I don't—" he starts, but is unable to continue, his features collapsing into an expression so sad that she can barely stand to look at him.
"That's what happened," she says softly. "And I didn't tell you because I didn't want you to worry or be upset after you had such a great night and were in such a good mood and we haven't seen each other in so long and—"
He cuts her off by wrapping his arms around her and pulling her into his chest and he just holds her and it's then that she finally allows herself to cry. She buries her face in his neck and sobs until her eyes are red and her nose is runny and he rubs slow circles into her back and whispers into her hair and she knows he's trying to be strong for her. But his voice is shaking and she keeps hearing his breath hitch and she can't bring herself to look at him because she knows she'd absolutely lose it if she were to see his eyes.
When she finally stops he leans back and he doesn't know what to do as they stare at each other but then he comes forward and presses his lips to what seems like every inch of her face, like he's trying to erase what happened with his touch. She lets her eyelids flutter shut when he reaches her lips and he kisses her softly and it turns out to be exactly what she needs.
When he pulls away his eyes are blazing. "I don't know exactly what she said to you but you have to know that none of it is true," he says. "And if either of us doesn't deserve the other…I don't even come close to deserving you."
She shakes her head. "I think it was the fact that she told me to die to my face and the fact that she spit at me," she says. "And don't say that. We deserve each other equally." She pauses. "Whatever that even means."
He nods and she continues.
"I mean, the words were nothing new, not even half as bad as what I got right after we first start—"
She cuts herself off, her eyes wide, because he's not supposed to know the extent of that.
"Wait, what?" he asks slowly. "What do you mean not even half as bad? You showed me what kind of stuff you got back then and now you're telling me it was actually even worse?"
She doesn't say anything for a long moment. "Is even worse," she corrects. "Is."
He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. "Why have you been keeping this to yourself?" he asks quietly.
"I was fine," she says. "I was fine until tonight. But they're your fans, Ross, what can we do?"
"I don't know. But you didn't need to be dealing with it alone. And if I had known, Laura, I—"
"You would never leave me alone," she finishes. "Or you would have wanted to hire someone to never leave me alone."
"Yeah, and that wouldn't have come in handy tonight?" he snaps, his eyes narrowing angrily, and she raises her eyebrows.
He sits up and looks down at her. "Calm down? How the hell am I supposed to calm down when some stupid little shit does that and tells the person I love more than anything that she should—"
He can't bring himself to finish and he covers his face with his hands, exhaling heavily as he tries to compose himself. She sits up too and brings her hands to his, gently pulling them away from his face. "I'm okay," she says quietly. "And we know that I shouldn't go anywhere without security now."
"Is this really worth it? Am I?" he whispers after a long moment. "Are you happy?"
And her heart breaks a little bit because this is exactly what she had been afraid of. "I'm always happy when we're together," she says firmly. "I love you. And death threats and insane teenage girls aren't going to change that."
"Death threats?" he asks, his voice weak and his eyes wide, and she curses herself for bringing it up. "You got death threats?"
"I…in the beginning, yeah," she confesses quietly, twisting her fingers in her lap. "To be honest, the first month was really, really hard."
"I don't understand why you didn't tell me," he says, his voice cracking a little, and she doesn't know what will happen to her if she sees him cry so she just wraps her arms around him, turning her face into his neck as he pulls her into his lap. They sit there in silence for a while as she absentmindedly rubs his back and she realizes that here, with his arms around her, she's never felt safer or more protected in her entire life.
"What am I supposed to do?" he mumbles as he turns his face into her hair. "What can I do?"
She doesn't have an answer. Because this is something they knew they'd have to deal with, although admittedly, she never thought it would be this bad. And it's something that's not going to go away, even if he gives a million interviews and sends a million tweets asking people to stop. But it's like a weight has been lifted from her shoulders because she's not dealing with it alone anymore and she didn't know how much of a relief that would be until now. And that's enough.
So she says, "Nothing," and holds him a little tighter as he takes a deep breath. "I'm really sorry I didn't tell you. But there are a lot of supporters, too. That evens it out a little bit. And they say really, really nice things."
He nods. "I understand why you didn't," he says, and his voice sounds just a little more normal. "But you can't do it anymore. You can't push me out when things get hard because it's killing me, thinking about you reading those things alone and not having anyone—"
His voice falters and he has to pause and her heart clenches because she can feel just how much he loves her. "Not having me there to make you feel better and tell you that you're awesome and talented and dorky and adorable and hot and so much smarter than me and—"
She lets out a slightly teary laugh at his rambling and he turns his head to press his lips to her jaw. "I actually meant to say adorkable," he says, and she feels her eyes filling up with tears because that word brings back a flood of memories from where they started, where they came from, and how far they've come since then.
"We'll get through this, Laur," he says, and his voice is suddenly strong and clear and determined and she doesn't doubt him for a second.
She tilts her head back to look at him and he's looking back at her and she doesn't know what to say. So she just closes her eyes and presses her lips to his and this time, this time, she doesn't think about anything else but him and the way he's holding her, like she's about to break into a million pieces and he's the only thing keeping her together.
And she's not about to break into a million pieces and she doesn't need him to hold her together because she's not weak and she's never been weak and she knows that he knows that.
But that doesn't mean she doesn't want him to.
Insulting Laura was the hardest part of writing this story. And I'M SORRY.
reviews are much appreciated :)