Disclaimer: Miss Lovely here. See, I'd like to say that I do not own High School Musical, or any of the characters, such as Troy Bolton and Ryan Evans. I do not own Zac Efron of Lucas Grabeel. I do not own Relient K, or their song Let It All Out. I do not own Hazen Street or their song Are You Ready? I do not own Jesse McCartney and his song She's No You. I do not own the company Volcom stone. I basically don't own any products associated with this story, including iPods. I do however own this whole plotline, so nobody better steal it.
Warning: This story involves homosexual relationships, so do not read if you are offended. This story will be Troy/Ryan. If you don't like, don't read.
Summary: Troy Bolton has never really cared for Ryan Evans or bothered to know him. However, when they go on a community service trip to Vietnam and are roommates, will they find friendship and love?
Author's Note: See, I noticed there was a lack of Troy/Ryan fictions. This is my first fiction. So I decided to send them on a community service project to Vietnam. Why Vietnam? Ok, first I'm Vietnamese, so I have some cultural awareness. Also, I've traveled there, so I could provide adequate description. I also wanted to be able to portray my story and also teach a valuable lesson of how people are suffering over there. So I hope you enjoy, and please review. (I would like to thank SketchyGhost for editing my first draft for me. Check out his stories in the section The Suite Life of Zack and Cody).
Ok, I was removed for those who wondered where I was. The Fanfiction staff didn't tell me why; I was just booted off and left confused. I decided it was because some of my stories were too graphic. So now I'm posting, but I'm going to check every chapter before I do. I really don't want to be kicked off again. I lost all those reviews from before, so would you please review again.
I'm dedicating this chapter to those who supported me: TillThatTime, Mondler4Ever, Kami With a Broken Smile, SteffieEvans26, Sketchy Ghost, and Lizzy. These reviewers helped me get my act back together. Thank you.
Shallow. That's what I've always thought of Ryan Evans. Shallow, conceited, artificial, overly-dramatic. That's what I'm still thinking now as I'm looking out this glass window of the plane, trying not to breathe in the weird fake air in here. I hate fake air. There's nothing to see, really, so I'm thinking instead, I guess. Ryan Evans. Why don't I like him? Well, it really doesn't help that he's blonde, part of the drama club, wears weird clothes, and is related to Sharpay Evans, the most annoying girl in the history of East High.
See, Sharpay has liked me since Kindergarten—which is as far as my memory goes. I still remember when she would wear her frilly pink princess costume and dance around saying that I was her Prince Charming. I just wanted to know what kind of parents would name their kid "Sharpay." Everybody—in first grade—called her Sharpie, and she went home and cried. In fourth and fifth, she spread rumors that I was her "boyfriend," so no girls talked to me. She wouldn't shut up for a second in Middle School about how "dedicated" and "amazingly talented" I was. So, I hate Sharpay and I hate Ryan. I mean, how different can he be from his sister? They're twins!
I freaked out when, after graduating from Small Steps School, that went from Kindergarten to 8th, Sharpay came after me to East High! I guess I should've known that she was going to East though—well, I mean, the oldest Evans kid—Matt Evans—went there. He was a basketball legend—he owned the game. It's sort of weird that Ryan has the athletic ability of about a piñata—while his brother was amazing. One thing Ryan can do, however, is run. Yeah, I was sort of surprised too—he runs really fast, so he's joined the track team. This is probably the only thing he can do besides drama.
Oh, that's another thing. Drama. Ryan and Sharpay are the most overly-dramatic kids in this world. They've been dramatic since Kindergarten, and they're still dramatic now when we're in our senior year. The Drama Duo, that's what they call them. I laughed my head off the first time I heard that name. Might as well be the Dork Duo. Now, I get out of there as fast as I can when I hear that name.
You have to admit, it's sort of weird that Ryan and Sharpay got all the main roles in every single play, including third grade's Cinderella and fourth's The Sound of Music. You also have to say that it's sort of weird that they star in everyone together, even if it's a love scene. I mean all the plays that Kelsi directs has some sort of romance, and they got every single role—well until Gabriella and I beat them last year.
Ooh, Gabriella. That's someone to talk about. Well, after she and I got the main roles, we were dating. That's when I started to realize how much I'd not seen of her—stuff I didn't exactly like. She was all snobby and conceited. I guess it was because she was pretty. It's sort of hard to get past someone's beauty and see what's inside them. I never saw how really shallow she was, but when I did, I broke up with her. She is now officially my ex-girlfriend.
Wait, back to Ryan. Oh yeah, he's blonde. I hate blonde hair color—mainly because I've associated blonde hair with Sharpay since Kindergarten, so being blonde doesn't help Ryan. It's not his fault, I know—I mean, his whole family is blonde.
And his clothes are just weird. I know I shouldn't be talking—with my clothes being varsity jackets and jeans and stuff, but Ryan's clothes are sort of strange. I bet that he doesn't even have a t-shirt. He always wears these weird long-sleeved button-up collared shirts that are all strange colors. I mean, do you know a guy that has a bright, high-lighter green shirt? Or how about a dark purple one? Do you know a guy that has a perfectly matching hat for every single shirt he has? Ok, you might, but not too many. I think his fashion choice is just weird.
Ryan Evans is strange. That's what I've thought all my life, and that's what I'm still thinking in my senior year.
Talking about my senior year, let's get back to why I'm on a plane. Principal Hatsui thought that East High needed to do community service. Mrs. Darbus came up with this idea of shipping us halfway around the world to do it. When I heard about it, I just wanted to know why couldn't we go to Mexico?
I know why, I'm not stupid, but I just don't want to admit it. Mexico was the trip last year—for the juniors. Actually, we went to Tijuana, but it's in Mexico, so yeah. So basically Principal Hatsui, listened to Mrs. Darbus, and now we're on a plane to Vietnam where we're going to spend a month helping out at places like orphanages.
Only the senior class is going—well, those that can afford to go. It was easy for me to go—well I mean, my dad's Captain Jack Bolton, the basketball coach. I didn't really want to go, but since my dad teaches and everything, it's sort of expected for me to go. Besides, my dad got a discount, so he forked over the money, and now I'm no a plane to Vietnam, a country I can't even locate on a map.
Who else is here? I stand up and glance around. Well there's Gabriella, who's sitting with Sharpay. They're actually really good friends now. Well it figures since they're both artificial conceited people. Kelsi is sitting with Taylor—two girls that I actually like in our senior class. There's a girl I think is named Susan sitting with this other girl that I don't know, Chad, Zeke, Jason, and this skater named Alan. Not too many people went, because mainly they couldn't afford to pay for a trip to Vietnam. See, Kelsi's family managed to send her, basically because they want her to have fun and a good time. Chad's family was able to pay for it, Zeke's and Jason's too—and I'm guessing Alan's because he's on the plane. Ryan and Sharpay have absolutely no problem with money, seeing that their dad owns this hotel company and their mom owns a fashion line that's really successful right now.
I'm looking at them—all of them. They're all talking and flirting and laughing, and somehow I feel like they're like in a snow globe or something and I'm not part of it. I mean, Zeke is talking to Sharpay, and Sharpay's laughing. He pulls out this bag of heart shaped cookies with red heart-shaped sprinkles on them. Yeah, Sharpay and Zeke are dating. I was sort of mad at him—not because I liked having Sharpay chase me everywhere, but because Zeke can do better than her. He doesn't need to be going out with such a stupid girl, but when I talk to him, I can't convince him otherwise. I guess he sees something in her that I don't. Taylor and Chad are together, and I'm happy for them because they really care about each other. I mean, Taylor is explaining some weird scientific thing to Chad, and Chad, who goes to sleep every single science class is actually looking interested. Kelsi calls them a "cute couple" and I truly hate that phrase. Not that Kelsi's doing so bad herself. I look over at her, and there she is with Jason, pushing back her light brown hair. Jason kisses her, and I bet that through her glasses, her eyes are all happy and excited. Gabriella's single, but she's talking to Alan. I'm not jealous or anything—I'm definitely single. And so is Ryan… hey, where is Ryan?
Oh, there's a blonde kid practically falling down the aisle. Figures.
Ryan's pulling two carry-on bags along: one's hot pink and the other's this weird turquoise. That's another reason why Ryan's sort of weird. Sure, he and Sharpay are twins, but does he really like being her bellboy?
"Hey Evans," I call, "are those all your clothes? It said to pack lightly, you know."
I really don't know why I said that. I guess I'm just sort of in a bad mood, and seeing him isn't making me any happier.
Ryan gives me this dirty look and hands the backpack to Sharpay. He walks over to me. I think he's about to say some comeback, but instead he pulls out his ticket. "17C. I'm next to you."
I'm trying, honestly, not to show my horror. Out of all the people I could have sat next to, I end up next to him. I'm going to sit next to him for 17 hours! This is going to be a very long ride. Mrs. Darbus rigged it, I bet. I always knew she was out to get me.
"Hey, are you going to move or not?" Ryan asks. Then I realize I'm standing where he's supposed to sit.
"Sorry," I say, moving over to my seat. 17D.
"It's ok," says Ryan, looking like he means it. I'm sort of surprised. I'd never think that he'd be so genuinely real, because Sharpay would probably make this overly dramatic groan or something, but then I realize in the thirteen years that I've known Ryan Evans, I've probably never said more than 500 words to him. I've said plenty to Sharpay, but I've always just sort of assumed that Ryan was just like her.
Ryan gets in, pushes his backpack under his seat, and sits down. He smiles, sort of this lopsided, easy-going smile that makes me think that maybe Ryan Evans isn't so bad. This almost makes me ignore the completely ridiculous outfit he's wearing. He has this long-sleeved, collared, button-up sky blue shirt and a perfectly matching hat, along with these light khaki pants. I notice the blue shirt brings out the blue in his eyes… wait, what am I saying? You would think that the kid could wear normal clothes when he was going to be on the plane for 17 hours. I bet he doesn't own a t-shirt. Can't he ever wear something normal?
Looking over at Sharpay, I realize the answer's no. Sharpay's wearing this weird frilly looking white shirt and a fancy looking skirt—a really expensive looking outfit. I glance down at what I'm wearing—a gray Volcom Stone t-shirt, jeans, and my Rainbow sandals, and feel poor sitting next to Ryan.
"Ahem," comes a voice. Everybody looks up. Mrs. Darbus, who's in charge of this whole community service thing, is standing in the aisle, getting ready to make a speech. "You all have been brought here," she says, adjusting her glasses. "We will be landing in Ho Chi Minh City, known to the inhabitants," (she pronounces "inhabitants" and "Ho Chi Minh City" wrong), "as Saigon." (She pronounces Saigon wrong too). "There, we will rest for a night at our hotel—all the arrangements have been made—wake up, and have breakfast. We will then go straight to the orphanage and learn about our surroundings. Then, for the next few weeks, we will have opportunities to sight-see and other activities, but we will mainly we working at the orphanage, helping out and thus fulfilling East High's standards of community service." She brandishes her hands in a large gesture, and I roll my eyes at Ryan, who gives me the same easy smile again. "You will all be needing a so-called 'buddy' who will also be your roommate—two people are staying in each room. I have partnered you up with people you may not know so well, and people that you do know well.
"Gabriella Montez, you will be rooming with Sharpay Evans. Kelsi Swift, your buddy shall be Taylor McKessie. Chad Danforth, you will be rooming with Zeke Rayanson. Alan Martin, your roommate is Jason Kassic. Susan White, your buddy is Jessica Roberts. Troy Bolton, you are staying with Ryan Evans. Kelly Starn, you are staying with…"
What? What? I'm spending the next month with Ryan Evans? I don't even know him! I told you she rigged it! I always knew Mrs. Darbus was a bit crazy.
I suck in a deep breath. Troy Bolton? I'm spending the next month with Troy Bolton?
Ok, I have nothing against him—I actually think he's a pretty ok guy—but I haven't said almost anything to him, even though I've known him since Kindergarten! Well, I don't really know anybody in my grade that well—Shar makes sure of that. I'm always carrying her stuff around and practicing for plays and stuff.
Troy pushes his brown hair out of his eyes, and I can see he's sort of frustrated. I feel bad, because he really looks like he doesn't want to be with me, and my heart sort of sinks.
I've never really had a friend—I'm not exactly what anybody would call popular. Shar made sure of that. People take one look at "Stuck-up Sharpay", and decide I'm just the same as her. After all, I am her twin.
Sharpay's not exactly conceited or anything, but she just can be a bit rude, so she seems that way. Nobody bothers to get to know her, and so nobody bothers to get to know me either. I get nervous around people I don't know anyway. So all my life, I've just been in Sharpay's shadow. I've always been just "Sharpay's brother", something that's stuck to me since I was in Kindergarten.
An announcement from the pilot says we're about to take off, and I can feel my stomach turn over. I've always been afraid of flying. See, Matt wouldn't be afraid. Matt would never be afraid, not my parents' favorite son, no. Matt is so different from me, so we never really got along. I mean, he's the jock and I'm the drama kid. My parents wanted me to be like the athlete, but it wasn't happening. I probably have the worst hand-eye coordination in the whole school. See, since my parents are really rich, they never spend time with us kids, that's why I'm always with Sharpay, since she likes drama too. See, Shar's special because she's the oldest girl in the Evans family. I just sort of stand there, overshadowed by all she's accomplished. Hillary, our six-year-old sister, is the baby of the family, so that's her position.
The plane starts moving faster—I can feel the wheels on the runway—and I feel more nervous, the palms of my hands starting to get all sweaty. I look over at Troy, with his brown hair in his eyes again, and over at Sharpay, who looks completely calm. I know she's hiding it though. She's just as afraid as planes as I am. The wheels tuck in and the plane's going up in the air, and I can't help it anymore. I grab on hard to Troy's hand and squeeze it until we're at a regular pace in the air. See, I always do that with Sharpay—it's one of the things she actually understands and doesn't get bothered by. The pounding in my ears stop, and I pull my hands away from Troy, only then realizing how strong and perfect they are.
Troy looks at me, his electrifying dark blue eyes sort of freaking me out.
"I-I'm sorry," I say, my voice shaking. I really need to say this. "I've just always been sort of afraid of flying…"
Great. I've been on this plane for ten minutes, and the person who's going to be my partner for the next month is going to think I'm a pathetic coward.
"Don't worry, it's really ok," says Troy in this understanding voice. I can feel my ears turn red. I really don't want or need his pity. I just want him to forget that just happened.
"It's just that…" I break off. "My cousin, Josh, died in an airplane crash. He was my favorite cousin too…" Why am I telling him this? This is stuff I don't even share with Sharpay, but I feel like I have to explain somehow so he doesn't think I'm such a wimp.
"I'm sorry man, I understand," Troy says, looking like he's really sorry. "My uncle got in a car accident with his kids, and I didn't want to get in the car for three months, until my dad got tired of walking me to school everyday," he says, laughing weakly, attempting to make a joke out of it so that I won't feel so embarrassed.
"Yeah," I say, with a small smile. It doesn't really work, but I'm thankful he tried.
There's an awkward silence. Neither of us know what to say, and we just sit there, staring blankly at our hands.
With a small noise of embarrassment, Troy pulls his iPod out of his gray carry-on backpack, and occupies himself by listening to his music. He starts singing along to the lyrics, sort of quietly to himself. It's sort of hard not to sing along to your iPod when you're listening to it, you know, and he's not really bad to listen to. He has a really nice voice, actually. "Are you ready? Show me what you've got… are you ready? Are you with me or not?" I recognize the song—Are You Ready, by Hazen Street.
Feeling sort of unoriginal, but not knowing what to do, I pull out my iPod mini, which is silver, and choose a song. Pretty soon I'm singing too—Relient K's Let It All Out, a really amazing song.
It's only when I finish that I realize Troy Bolton is staring hard—right at me.
I don't really realize how increasingly loud my voice has become until I notice I can't hear anybody else talking. I stop singing, and glance over at Ryan after pulling out one of my headphones. Ryan's holding a silver iPod mini, singing softly to a song. Ugh, what an original kid.
I looked away disgustedly, about to put my headphone back in my ear and listen to Hazen Street again, but then stop. There's something about the way Ryan is singing that makes me want to listen—I don't know the song, but something about the lyrics captures my attention.
Ryan's singing quietly, looking out somewhere else—I'm not exactly sure where, but I don't feel like asking him either. "Let it all out…get it all out…rip it out, remove it…don't be alarmed…when the wound begins to bleed…"
I find myself moved in a way that Hazen Street or any other music has never been able to do.
"Cause we're so scared to find out…what this life's all about…so scared we're going to lose it…not knowing all along…that's exactly what we need…"
The melody's soft, slow, and sweet, and I feet myself being captured and enveloped by the music—by Ryan's lilting voice hitting all the notes perfectly. Ryan's always been a better singer than me—I'll admit that. Gabriella, however, is better than Sharpay.
"And today I will trust you with the confidence…of a man who's never known defeat…but tomorrow, upon hearing what I did…I will stare at you in disbelief…oh, inconsistent me…crying out for consistency…
"And you said I know that this will hurt…but if I don't break your heart then things will just get worse…if the burden seems too much to bear…remember…the end will justify the pain it took to get us there…"
How can he do that? I've never noticed how different Ryan is from Sharpay, and I'm sort of starting to regret it. Sharpay can't sing like this—she doesn't have the capacity or the emotion. She's a practice and get better student. This is pure, genuine talent.
"And I'll let it be known…at times I have shown…signs of all my weakness…but somewhere in me…there is strength…
"And you promise me…that you believe…in time I will defeat this…cause somewhere in me…there is strength…"
How could I have not seen it before? Ryan is a different person than Sharpay—a completely different one. He's easy-going and compassionate. Just because his sister acts so artificial and snobby, doesn't mean that Ryan is. He'd just always been stuck in his sister's shadow, and he needs to find his way out.
"And today I will trust you with the confidence…of a man who's never known defeat…and I'll try my best to just forget…that man isn't me
"Reach out to me…make my heart brand new…every beat will be for you…for you…
and I know you know...you touched my life...when you touched my heavy heart and made it light..."
I finish and break off with a start. "Oh…" I said, looking at Troy. "Did I bother you?" I can feel my face flame with embarrassment.
"No," Troy says. "You have a really good voice, did you know that?"
My ears turn red again. "Not really," I say, trying not to show how pleased I am that Troy likes my voice. God, why can't I just say "thank you?" What's wrong with me?
Troy grins. "Don't be modest—I know you know."
I shake my head, a small smile escaping.
"Who was that?"
"What? Oh, the song? That was Let It All Out by Relient K, my favorite band."
"I thought they were sort of just a boy band."
"Not really, they have great lyrics."
"Well, I learn something new everyday," Troy grins, his eyes all alive. "So, Ryan, what other music do you like?"
I give Troy my iPod, and Troy scrolls through my songs. "Relient K, Sum 41, Hazen Street—oh, I was just listening to Are You Ready, Jesse McCartney?" He looks hard at me.
I grin, trying not to show my embarrassment. Jesse McCartney has been my idol ever since he was twelve and joined Dreamstreet. He has this amazing way of showing compassion and love, and still looking friendly. I don't know why, but I can't tell Troy that. I think he'd look at me weird like he was embarrassed to know me, like the time I told Matt that."He makes me laugh," I say, silently apologizing to Jesse. Oh, God.
Troy listens to one of the songs—She's No You.
"Yeah, you're right," he says, after listening for about thirty seconds. "He's funny."
Troy's not so bad. Well, I've never really known him. I guess I'll get to know him once we reach Vietnam. I hope we'll get to know each other better then… after all, we are spending a month together.
Author's Note: Ok, you all need to go and listen to Let It All Out by Relient K. It's truly an amazing song. They're a talented band, really. Anyway, please review for more. I won't post until I get more reviews. Constructive criticism is welcome too, but no flames please. (I personally think this chapter was pretty clean).
Oh, I named this story Tainted Promise, for those of you who didn't notice.
-Miss Lovely a.k.a. Falling With Grace