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Chapter 2

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Gabriella

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Well, that was nice of him. I made my way to my seat, only to be pounced upon by a cloud of pink and glitter. "How do you know Troy Bolton?" she asked immediately and I raised an eyebrow. Troy…Bolton - oh, that must be his last name.

"We bumped into each other." I replied, settling down to start copying the problem the teacher had on the board. "I was lost - he offered to bring me to this class." I held out a hand to her. "Gabriella." The girl looked at it for a second before taking it in hers for a moment then dropping it.

"Sharpay Evans." she said dramatically, flipping her hair over her shoulder. "President of the Drama Club."

Was I supposed to care? Don't be mean Gabi. I reminded myself. You're not doing yourself favors by being mean and antisocial. "That's nice." I said genuinely, settling myself in my seat and starting the worksheet, easily making my way through the problems. I sighed and scowled at one of the problems - one of the givens was missing for one proof and I had tried it every way possible - you couldn't solve it without it. I sighed and wondered if I should just skip over it and wait for someone else to bring it up, or just bring it up myself. Here was the perfect chance to hide the fact that I was freakishly smart…but…I sighed and my conscience got to me. I slid from my seat and conferred with the teacher for a moment who agreed that one of the givens had been cut off in the photocopying and made my way back to my seat.

"I'm also," Sharpay continued, like there hadn't been a ten minute silence between her introduction and her new announcement. I kept my eyes on her, but my hand kept moving, automatically doing the problem. And if you prove not C and C implies F then F is false and… "with Troy." She gave me this meaningful look like I was supposed to know what that meant. "You know," she said, her voice lowering, "with."

Ah. With.

The disappointment I felt was slightly a surprise - did I already have a crush on this Troy guy? I silently scolded myself - I knew I didn't have time for this stuff. I had to help my mom with the new house, get into the curriculum - no time for anything silly. The rest of the class passed by in a blur, along with the rest of the day. I sat alone, eating my homemade lunch with little relish. Not exactly what I expected on my first day of the new 'me'. I silently promised myself that I'd do better tomorrow. This was my chance to be someone other than 'freaky math girl' and I was going to live up to my hopes. The bell rang at the end of school and I was nearly at the front doors of the school when I remembered my detention. I muttered a swear in Spanish - the only way I'd ever curse, and never in front of my mother - and started running. If I was late for detention I knew Darbus would have me doing a whole week more, and I'd only just met the woman today.

I made it to the auditorium with a couple seconds to spare. I dropped my things in a seat and made my up to the stage. Darbus acknowledged my existence only by handing me a paintbrush and pushing me towards a giant crescent-like thing. A couple more people showed up at once - Troy being one of them. Darbus scowled at them for being three seconds late, but handed them brushes and shoved them towards random inanimate objects.

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Fate

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"Fate?"

"Not now Chance, I have to finish this form."

"Alright Fate, but I thought you said you wanted to know when Gabi got to deten-" my secretary didn't even need to finish her words before I rushed by her and down the hall. I sighed as I ran, this was becoming a too often occurrence and my cubicle neighbors were beginning to talk. More than they did before, that is.

I skidded to a halt outside the Viewing Room and made my way inside, aiming myself towards the most cooperative viewing globe, one that didn't try to show off and zoom in at random points or try to talk back when you told it to do something. Of course, someone was already at that globe, though by the sounds, I could tell they were viewing exactly what I needed to see. Three guesses to who it was. Oh, and the first two don't count.

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Angst

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"Why are you here?" Always suspicious that Fate. As though I would do anything to ruin her plan. Despite the fact that used to be my mission in life.

"Watching you work." I replied enigmatically, knowing it would annoy her to know end, not knowing why I would spend my free time with her charges. Really, she was one of the smartest people I knew and still she had no idea. The thought amused me, so a smirk lit my lips.

"Why are you so interested now in my work?"

"You're doing well, that's all."

"I just don't get it. Why are you being so goddamn nice?" she asked me, her eyes suspicious even as her mouth quirked into a smile at my last comment. I smiled wider at this, remembering my conversation with Death not too long ago.

"Haven't you ever heard the saying, you get more flies with honey than vinegar?"

"…I," I considered this. "I decided I wanted to catch more flies." I replied, smirking at the confused look Fate was trying to hide but failing miserably at. Was it so wrong that I took a smug pleasure every time I managed to set her off balance? Perhaps, but it was too good. Fate was always…well, not in control, because she wasn't, but she always knew what she had to do. She was organized in the way that she understood what was to be done and set her mind to it and did it and that was that. Pushing her a little so she found herself pin wheeling to keep from tripping was my little way of showing myself that I could affect her. A little pathetic, but hey - everyone is at some point in their life. Trust me, I know.

"I don't think I'm going to ask." she finally replied and I turned my gaze from her face back to the globe I was gazing at, the smirk still on my lips.

"That's probably wisest, considering I probably wouldn't have given you an answer." I said casually, adjusting the view with a few taps, centering in on Troy sitting on the stage and painting. I glanced up to see Fate rolling her eyes, but smiling as though she knew she really wasn't as annoyed as she pretended to be.

"Anyway, may I use your globe?" I considered this question for far longer than was necessary and Fate was just about to make a snappy retort about how slow I really must be to think about it for this extended period of time - I could tell - when I finally said,

"I don't see why not." and moved several feet away, allowing her use of the globe. I settled myself on one of the many counters around the room, perching on the edge, yawning casually as I relaxed, watching Fate at work. She expertly used the globe to scan the auditorium and every person in it before settling it back on Troy, occasionally switching the view to Gabi.

"I just don't know." she muttered to herself, having forgotten who exactly was in the room with her now.

"Well…" I said poignantly, before drifting off, knowing Fate's curiosity would eventually get the better of her. I counted down from ten and precisely at zero, Fate sighed loudly and turned to me, her dark eyes reluctant.

"Alright. You got me - what Angst?" I grinned. A responding smile crossed Fate's lips before she forced it off her face.

"You could always…force them to sing." I said, raising an eyebrow at Fate. I could see the wheels turning in her head as she turned back to the globe. She murmured to herself for several moments before speaking aloud, thinking.

"I could, but why would they…and how could I… but then there's…oh. OH." Fate whirled, a large smile on her face as there was a wicked gleam in her eyes. "I know the perfect plan - thank you for reminder." she said, with a mock curtsy, before rolling up her sleeves and returning her gaze to the globe. I laughed.

"My honor milady. Like you expected any less from the great and wonderful Angst?' I said with a mock-dubious tone, as though I was astonished she even doubted me. Of course, doubting me was what Fate did best. She cast a sly glance over her shoulder before jerking her head at the globe, a not-so-subtle invite to join her beside the machine. I meandered over to stand beside her, shoulder to shoulder.

"Now watch and learn grasshopper." Fate said imperiously, with laughter in her voice as she raised a hand and flicked, creating chaos with a mere hand movement. That's hot.

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Troy

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We were doing just fine, Chad and I, painting a tree. Or at least, I was doing fine and Chad was sleeping. But I didn't mind so much, it kept Taylor from pinning us with death glares every couple minutes and it gave me a little time to think about this whole drama thing. I mean, it was dorky. People who did drama were dorky, right? I bit my lip - no, wrong. I couldn't say that - I hadn't met any of the drama crew, right? Except Sharpay and Ryan. And even though I knew they were crazy, that didn't mean everyone else was crazy. That was like assuming because Jason was lazy in school, everyone else on the basketball team didn't care. Or assuming that because Chad was a practical joker, none of the jocks cared about the rules. I sighed - but all of this thinking, however philosophical or true it was, was pretty much useless considering I couldn't, wouldn't and shouldn't join the drama club - ever. It wasn't my clique and wasn't my group and that sort of thing was completely frowned upon at East High.

His gaze wandered along with his thoughts and curious eyes ended up settling on the new girl - Gabriella. She was the odd one out among this crowd - everyone had their group and their friends, except her. She was smart, so the Mathletes might haul her in, but she was pretty, so the fashion crowd might recruit her. I didn't know much else about her, but for some odd reason - I wanted to. I really, really wanted to. But unless somehow she became a cheerleader or became the president of some club her first week in, I didn't see us having anything to do with one another. Our crowds would move in different circles and she'd be lost to the masses. I sighed - this was becoming less and less fair.

If only I knew.

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Chad

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You can't really blame me for sleeping. I'd been up for hours the night before finishing my global studies project - I couldn't risk another bad grade in that class. And I certainly didn't want to risk getting more snide remarks from one Taylor McKessie. If you ever needed a reason that mixing groups was a bad idea - she was it. She represented the intelligent side of the school, organized and highly sensible. I was a jock and therefore, by default - stupid. So she took every chance she could to nudge at me - so I returned in kind. I don't even know how the feud began, but it did and since first grade we've despised each other. She was the reason that I never even attempted to make friends with anyone outside my group. If they all saw me the same way - what was the point?

Anyway - so I was sleeping, letting Troy do all the work - but hey, he's my best friend and he knew I'd eventually pay him back. Eventually being the key word there. But suddenly my comfortable spot jolted and teetered and because I wanted to survive till my eighteenth birthday, I jerked awake to find Troy staring up meaningfully at me and then over at Darbus, who was making her way down the aisle of the auditorium. I let out a soft 'eep' and quickly scaled down the tree to pretend I was and had been working steadily on the back end of the tree for the entire detention.

McKessie gave me a knowing smug smirk and I gave her one back. Hah - like I hadn't noticed she'd been chatting away the entire time to that new girl - I wasn't the only one skipping work. Darbus made her slow, dramatic entrance onto the stage and I watched in slight amusement as Sharpay dropped everything and turned to give Darbus her simpering, undivided attention. Ryan yawned, pulled his hat further down over his eyes and settled himself on the stage, seemingly ready to be at Sharpay's beck and call. I mimicked Sharpay's adoring gaze dramatically and obviously and Troy hid his snickers behind his hand. Darbus' attention was immediately drawn to him, so I returned to my normal expression - no use getting a week's worth of detention - I had enough of that already.

"As I mentioned before in homeroom, where you seven so atrociously interrupted me - during free period tomorrow, there will be auditions for the newest musicale -" here, DramaDarbus paused dramatically. As if she could pause any other way. "-Twinkle Towne."I shuddered - I couldhear the 'e' at the end. It sounded all 'jazz-hands'-y and 'leotard-costume-makeup"-y. As usual. Another musical I wouldn't be going to see. I turned to Troy, to make a comment about making plans for whenever opening night was, but his gaze was on Darbus. He was actually listening - I nearly made a comment about this but it was far too odd to comprehend, so I returned to gazing at Darbus skeptically.

There was yet another dramatic pause before Darbus spoke again - as though the next thought had just been placed in her head by some higher being. She grinned - I flinched. This would not be good.

"I know!" she said happily, "we'll have a little showcase right here." I could've sworn she was staring straight at me. Nononono, I thought, terrified of the thought of singing. But with a enormous sigh of relief, her gaze moved on. I was about to attempt to steady my heart rate when I realized where it had landed - on Troy.

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Gabi

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A showcase? I glanced at Darbus, trying to pretend like I wasn't hiding behind the moon I was painting. Maybe if I just stayed out of her periphery…

"All of you will come up and sing for us - in pairs - and we'll see what talent we can scrape for at the bottom of the barrel." Sharpay and Ryan looked terribly excited, already whispering about what they'd perform - at least, Sharpay was, Ryan just looked he didn't have an opinion either way - but everyone else looked faintly sick. Except the dark haired boy - Jake or Jason or something, who looked like he was bored out of his mind. He looked like he couldn't care less about being forced to sing - I wish I felt like that. My stomach started clenching and twisting and I felt nauseous already - and no one had even said anything. I could just see that moment in the hotel, repeating and repeating, again and again. I couldn't sing in front of anyone - I didn't even sing in my room - or in the shower. If my mother was home, there was no way I would even think about it. Singing in front of my mirror even freaked me out. And with my luck, I'd be paired with-

"First up, Gabriella and Troy." Darbus smiled maliciously - though I'm sure it was aimed more at Troy than it was me, I still felt sicker.

This was not going to end well.

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Author's Note: EEK. Sorry. Writing more as I type this... though that's not technically possible, but whatever. I really don't like this chapter as much asthe others, so feel free to critique. Anyway, sorry about the delay, no real excuse. Just tiredness and uninspiredness. Review please, it would be much appreciated!

Love you guys like crazy! Thanks for the feedback, you guys kick ass.

-Becca