His hands will not stop fidgeting, and he can feel the sweat rolling down his forehead.
Kenneth Kreen is not the first person to dislike his music or even him for that matter. He is not naive, and he knows there are trolls on the internet or people whom just generally dislike his pop songs playing on the radio and stunningly good looks.
Maybe it is because he tried so hard. He wants to impress and he knows, because Ally, Trish, and Dez have told him before, that not everyone will love him or even like him. He wants to be liked though, wants to have that kind of attention because it feels good to know that his dad was wrong about his chances of making it and that he is more than capable of being a star.
His confidence is falling apart and he feels like he is letting everyone down.
How is Trish going to feel about managing a loser who loses it everytime he has to perform on stage?
How is Dez going to want to film videos for him when he constantly sees the judgment of everyone around him in his head? (Especially that annoying old-timey judge like come on.)
How is Ally going to feel when the guy who has been confident since the first moment they met fails to utter a word into the mic because he is suddenly feeling the weight of what he is doing crushing him?
A new wave of dread hits him and the thought of disappointing Ally makes him want to curl into a ball and never leave the practice room.
What if she realizes that he was never that good in the first place? What if she sees being his facade and realizes that Austin Moon is actually afraid of screwing this all up?
Their relationship is already tentative at best because of their summer apart, and oh god does she even like him anymore? Sometimes he thinks he can see it in her eyes when she looks at him. Sometimes he thinks about the warmth she holds in her gaze and how it makes him feel like he can do anything. When he gets on stage and sings, he can see her looking at him and feels the pride she holds and what he hopes is love when she smiles at him and claps.
God, he is so besotted with this girl he can barely breathe.
Her career is already in the works, but she is still so intertwined with his own that failing now also means failing her. If he messes up badly enough, it will probably affect her own album coming out and the weight on his chest is slowly starting to suffocate him.
He hears a chime, recognizing Ally’s text tone, and pulls out his phone.
Hey, are you in the practice room?
He thinks about ignoring it, wanting to sit and wallow in his suffering for a little longer, but when has he ever turned down a chance to see Ally?
Yeah, u coming up?
Already on my way!
He pockets his phone and fiddles with the piano, all his nervous energy flowing out into the ivory keys. He hears Ally open the door and feels her sit next to him. The weight on his chest is already feeling lighter, and he resists the urge to curl into her.
She comforts him. Even though he has known Dez for most of his life, Ally is still the best at calming his nerves and pushing down his fears. She laces her hand into his and his heart stutters in his chest. She reminds him about her fears, about the stage fright she had not too long ago and how she overcame it.
“And you know how? Because I had you by my side.”
His heart soars at her words and he admits that he feels like he could do anything with her there. Her smile is so wide and her eyes are so full of love and pride. He wants to kiss her. He wants to close that gap and hold her because dammit how does she know to do this to him?
She tells him about Trish’s plan of getting Kenneth Kreen to see him, and he knows he would be stupid to not take this chance.
“I know you’re scared, but I also know you can do this Austin. We’re all going to be right there with you.”
She squeezes his hand and he feels his confidence surge.
“Yeah alright. Give me some time to get ready and we’ll head down yeah?”
Her smile is smaller now but no less bright. She nods, saying she will give him a few minutes and wait downstairs. Their hands unlace and she makes her way to the door, nearly shutting it before he speaks.
“Thanks Als. You always know what to say.”
“Well I can’t have my partner be too afraid now can I?”
They grin at one another before she closes the door with a click, and he is left alone again.
He exhales and remembers the warmth he felt from Ally, from her body next to his and and her hand in his own. He pulls out his phone and thumbs through his notes, finding set after set of unfinished lyrics before coming across one labeled as “mom stuff.”
It obviously is not “mom stuff,” but he needed to keep his friends from snooping through his lyrics when they need to use his phone. He looks over the lyrics, an honestly pointless gesture because he has not forgotten them since he wrote them. How could he?
He is not brave enough to give this song the moment it deserves, not confident enough to stand in front of Ally alone to leave his heart out in the open. Maybe he will be another time. Maybe he will have another set of lyrics ready to pour out his feelings in. After all, she is his greatest muse and all his lyrics only ever revolve around her.
He quickly changes into some spare clothing they keep in the practice room for emergencies and grabs his guitar before heading down. Ally looks up from her phone when she hears the door open and smiles up at him.
He grabs her hand and smiles back at her.
“If you’re here? Absolutely.”