A/N: Hey all!! Wow... so it's been a while... :s I just recently started this story again and it's one of the few that I still really like. So here's more! Hopefully this one gets a few more reviews/readers. Enjoy!
"The word is out, the boys are back!" – High School Musical 3
Ava was right, there were banners and streamers, and party hats and cakes… He didn't mind the cakes, but Austin hated the soccer-ball covered party cone hats that his mother made everyone wear (especially him).
His kitchen was crowded with the parents of his friends, relatives of his own and even a few teachers (or coaches) from St. Jude's. On the opposite side of the main floor, all of the younger generations flocked to the living room. Tyler and his fiancé, Melissa, sat with Jack and his girlfriend, Alice, in no man's land in the dinning room. It was, obviously, Austin's job to travel in between the three groups and repeat the same stories over several times.
Spencer Montgomery, Austin's best friend, hip checked him hard into the doorframe he was leaning against as he walked up.
"Welcome back, man. It was dull around here without you," was Spencer's greeting.
Austin nodded with a smile. "Of course it's boring without me. I'm the soul of this town," he joked.
Spencer rolled his eyes. "I thought that this camp was meant to beat back that ego a bit."
Austin shrugged. "I was the best over there, too."
Spencer laughed and pulled his friend into a headlock and dragged him out of the kitchen into the hall where he finally let go but they still continued to walk out into the backyard.
"The team missed you, though," Spencer said.
"You missed me, you poof," Austin replied.
Spencer froze and gave Austin a look. "You just called me a fag, didn't you?"
Austin reached into his pocket pulled his pack of cigarettes, and then taking two out of that. "No," he put one in his mouth letting it hang out the corner. "I didn't call you a cigarette, I called you gay. Smoke?"
Spencer snatched it out of Austin's offering hand and glared. He looked it over before reaching to pull the one out of his friend's mouth.
"No thanks, and neither should you," he tossed them into the flowerbed beside the deck in Austin's backyard.
Austin shoved his hands into the pocket of his jeans and hunched over. "You sound like my sister."
"Then maybe we'll get through to you. Don't smoke," Spencer put it simply before walking over to sit on the edge of the patio. Austin shuffled over and joined him.
"So you convinced that girl not to come back with you, then?" Spencer broke the silence with a smile.
"Obviously, if she's not here," Austin responded.
"She sounded twisted enough to climb into your soccer bag and sneak back here as an illegal immigrant."
"I'll send you up to my room to look, blond hair does more for her anyways."
Spencer looked surprised. "Blond? Austin?"
Austin looked down at his feet and swung them above the grass. "Some sort of initiation thing," he mumbled.
Spencer surveyed his friend's dark brown hair and found a few tufts of blond tucked in. "They bleached your hair?"
"Sure," Austin chose the easy route out.
"And this girl…"
"Jamie," Austin added.
"The coaches daughter liked it."
Spencer laughed. "Way to get in above your head, Williams!"
"You're telling me…"
"Sometimes I think you'll never learn. Didn't dating Mrs. Palmer's daughter teach you anything?" Spencer bugged.
Austin twisted him mouth into a contorted smile. "I never dated her."
"Exactly my point," Spencer drawled.
"I didn't sleep my way into becoming a captain in England, if that's what you're insinuating," Austin said, a little shocked his friend would go there. Sure he was the type of person to do that sort of thing, but that didn't mean he did it.
"You jumped to that conclusion on your own, man." Spencer held up his hands in defense.
Austin looked over at his friend and decided to change the topic away from the rather sticky one they were beginning to get into. "So, another month of school left for you?"
Spencer shrugged, "Sure, another month until we're Seniors." He clapped Austin on the back.
"Oh, school. What does it feel like to still be in classes? I haven't been anywhere near one of those in two weeks," Austin reminisced mocking Spencer by clapping him on the back as well.
"Shut it, man. Not all of us have the cushy opportunity to jet off around the world when we get bored of a place," Spencer said trying to hide the hint malice that had somehow creped into his voice.
Austin looked at him in surprise. "I didn't leave because I was bored, Spence. It was the chance to train with an actual European club team, you would have done the same thing."
"I never had the chance," Spencer said.
Austin was at a complete loss and stared blankly at his friend. This totally blind-sighted him. Spencer was always at the top of his list of supporters and was the hardest to push him to leave in the first place. Austin wasn't stupid, though. He figured this conversation would come up eventually but he was hoping Spencer wasn't going to take it there today. Any other day he would be perfectly fine defending himself for leaving and enjoying it, but just not today. He was too tired to put any imagination into a fight.
"I wish you did. You're better than half of the guys there," Austin said, trying to stay calm. He also wanted to get in on the Crusaders practice tomorrow.
The corner of Spencer's mouth twitched up. "You haven't seen me play in a year. For all you know I could be better than all of the guys there."
Austin laughed in relief knowing that he had by-passed the inevitable, for now. "All but one."
"Sure, I'll give you that. I would think there was something wrong if you didn't improve while you were gone."
He only nodded his head in response and they let an uneasy silence pass between the two.
"I'm sorry, man," Spencer looked over quickly. "My parent's were pissed that you were scouted to go over and not me."
Austin could easily see that happening and forgave his friend instantly for his previous bitterness. Spencer's parents (his dad, especially) were constantly on their son to be the best at everything. Spencer had never had a problem with being better than average, but that never happened to be good enough for his parents.
"I get it, don't worry about it," Austin nudged him with his elbow.
They sat in a more comfortable silence until Kate found them.
"Aww, you two are so cute!" she cried walking over to sit in between the two wrapping her arms around their shoulders. "Mom said Spencer called everyday to see if you decided to come back early, Austin."
Spencer glared and shook her arm off him. "Did not!" Austin looked at him in amusement and Spencer added, "Honestly, man!"
"And then Austin would call home to ask how his icky bwest fwriend was doing," Kate pinched her brothers cheek, her arm still slung around his shoulder.
"He wishes," Austin scoffed and shoved his sister's arm off him as well.
Kate laughed and changed the topic. "Enjoying the party?" she asked.
"It's simply marvelous," he drawled in his best snobby British accent.
"You'll have the thank Ava," Kate smiled wickedly.
"Remind me next time I see her," Austin deadpanned.
"Ava? Oh! You're hot friend? She's here?" Spencer looked back at the house as if to catch a glimpse of her.
"Turner decided not to grace us with her presence. She needed to go back to her coffin and sleep the day away. Lock your window tonight, my friend," Austin said to Spencer.
"Ha-ha, insinuating that she's a vampire. How clever of you little brother. But even you have to admit she bested you today."
"Hardly," he scoffed.
She ruffled his hair before strapping one of the ridiculously hideous soccer-ball cone hats on his head. Kate stood up and walked away laughing.
Austin growled and took the hat off, ripping it in half.
Spencer laughed. "Ava, planned this? Hum."
Austin looked critically at his friend for a few moments. "It's not like you had anything to do with it."
Spencer looked shocked, and placed a hand on his chest. "Moi? Never!"
"Poof," Austin snarled and pulled out another cigarette. Before it even reached his mouth, Spencer snatched it away and threw it out into the yard.
"No," he said cuffing the back of Austin's head.
Austin glared at him. "You're gunna pay for that."
Spencer continued like he never heard him. "Maybe I was wrong before. You may have been better than me before you started killing yourself, but now… you're just a washed up, old, hack-job, of a smoker."
Austin rolled his eyes. "Nothing I haven't heard before."
Spencer jumped off the deck and bent down to scoop up a soccer ball that lay on the grass. He threw it, hard, at Austin's chest and said with a sneer. "So you have nothing to prove, then?"
Austin slowly got up, faking a wince, and dropped the ball at his feet and began to juggle it expertly while stifling a yawn.
"Nothing to you," he replied and then scooped the ball over Spencer's head and ran behind him before it hit the ground to juggle it again on the other side of his friend, the ball balancing perfectly on his feet.
Spencer looked Austin over with a critical eye.
"Sloppy," he finally said tapping his chin.
This caused Austin to kick the ball high enough for him to give a questioning look to his friend and ask, "What?"
"It. Is. Sloppy," Spencer said slowly, biting back a smile.
Austin scoffed and quickened his juggling of the ball and then kicked it up enough for it to land balanced, with his head tilted back, on his forehead.
"You wouldn't know sloppy if it came up," he dropped the ball towards his feet and sent it sailing towards the fence hitting with enough force to shake it violently. "If it came up and kicked you," he finished, smirking.
Spencer jogged over to retrieve the ball and held it in his hands. "I've seen you do better," he finally let his grin free.
Austin rolled his eyes and snatched the ball away dropping it onto his feet to start juggling it again. "You're a dick," he said catching on.
Spencer ignored him. "I guess you have come to practice with us tomorrow, you need a reminder of how real soccer is played. Who knows, you might even pick up a few tips."
Austin lightly kicked the ball at his friend's chest and caught it with his feet when it bounced off and back to him.
"I'll show you how they 'kick it' in the Premier League," Austin smiled and got into his defending stance, awaiting Spencer's attack.
"That is if you even touch the ball, William's," Spencer said calmly walking over to him. "I'm just gunna say, our team is pretty kick ass this year. We might not need you come next season."
"You boys would be lost without a man like me to lead the team," Austin said, still awaiting Spencer's inevitable attack.
"GAME!" Someone yelled from the patio door and there was a rush of Austin and Spencer's friends joining them in the yard.
"Grey," Austin called, easing up his position as he called his fellow striker over to his side of the yard.
"Wiles," Spencer said in response, calling a mid-fielder over to him.
Austin and Spencer stared each other down as they picked teams and made goals for their impromptu game.
"Just think of this as qualifying to get into a closed practice tomorrow," Spencer said.
"Just think of this as me sizing up whose position I'll take on the team," Austin responded easily.
By this time, most of the guests had made their way out into the yard and took observing positions around their makeshift field. Austin spotted Mr Montgomery, Spencer's dad, eagerly awaiting the start of their game. This make him seriously consider losing to make his best friend look good in front of his dad.
Nah he thought seeing the mocking smile Spencer was sending him as he relayed a plan to the guy next to him.
The game began, charged with competition and pent up energy from being on a plane for the last few days. If felt good to play again.
At one point, Austin let out a few strangled coughs and Spencer walked up to him. "Smoker's cough is such a bitch," he smirked before walking back to his team.
Austin gave him a friendly tackle the next time he touched the ball.
But after an hour, Austin was beginning to feel the effects of jet-leg and became more and more sluggish. Even though it was only four in the after noon, he felt as if he was supposed to be asleep by now. The game ended when he snuck over to the sidelines and lay down on the grass, closing his eyes.
"You lost," Spencer said, standing over top of him.
"Sure, whatever, I wanna sleep," Austin snorted.
"Good game, though. Maybe you did improve, after all."
Austin opened one of his eyes. "How kind of you to accept defeat."
Spencer laughed. "Defeat? We beat you, six to five."
"Sure my team lost, but even though I've been on a plane for the past two days and on a schedule six hours ahead of myself, I still out played you. How does that feel?" Austin closed his eyes in glorious satisfaction.
He could hear Spencer scoff the he nudged him in the ribs with his foot. "Practice tomorrow at noon, don't be late."
"Wouldn't dream of it," Austin replied to the retreating figure of his friend.