Hey guys! I'm so glad you guys liked the last chapter. I especially loved the part where Troy asked Gabriella out, isn't that just incredibly adorable?? The date probably won't happen until the next chapter, but depending on how this chapter goes, the start of the date would probably be at the end of this chapter, and the official date will be next.

Thank you SO very much for contributing your ideas for the duet. I had the opportunity to listen to all your choices, and they all sounded so amazing! However, because of how the story is progressing, I have chosen TWO songs two be sung by Gabriella and Troy. I won't tell you which song is for which part (the project, and the actually performance), but the two songs I have chosen are 'Where you are' by Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, and 'At the beginning with you' by Richard Marx and Donna Lewis.

Both songs are absolutely beautiful! Thank you very much to kassandra and puppylove223223 for your ideas,

And thank you to the rest of you for your contributions, they are very much appreciated.

A bit of an HSM update, as you may know Zac has officially wrapped up in Hairspray and is back in California for a rest. He attended a HSM Q&A last week and his hair is back to being brown! It's not the same shaggy hair style since he had to cut it for the movie, but its back to the brown colour we all know and love.

Story: One Step at a Time

Author: xo-dreamer


Pairings: Troy/Gabriella Chad/Taylor Ryan/Kelsi Zeke/Sharpay Jason/OC

Disclaimer: High School Musical does not belong to me, it is a Disney Original Movie and all credits of characters and plot belong to them. This story was inspired by the equally amazing movie, "A Walk to Remember" and I have no credit over that either.

Chapter 10: I need your help

Gabriella returned to school that Thursday after being absent for the past three days. Her mother had been against it,

"Are you sure you're feeling well? You've already missed half of the week, I'm sure you will be able to catch up," Isabella had said to her daughter earlier that morning when Gabriella was eating down some pancakes, "Besides, I'm sure Troy will come over again to give you your homework like last night," Isabella added, smiling knowingly at her daughter. Gabriella's cheek reddened,

"Mom," Gabriella blushed softly, "I know I missed three days but I still want to catch up, it's my senior year and I'd be lucky if Taylor doesn't decide to kill me for skipping out on so many tutor help, and besides, I can't count on Troy to be my homework deliverer," Gabriella said, "Not that I mind," Gabriella secretly said in her mind, her memory still fresh from the night before.

"Well if you say so, keep your phone near you at all times, make sure you give your new pills to the school nurse, I've called the school principal and told him about what happened so if anything, anything feels wrong, even just a little bit, you're out of that class and you go straight to the office and call me, understood?" Isabella said sternly to her 17 year old daughter, Gabriella sighed dejectedly,

"Yes mom I will," Gabriella surrendered, she took a glance at the clock, "We better go or I'll be late," she said, heading to the door, Isabella sighed, grabbing her car keys,

"I swear sometimes you take too much from your father," Isabella thought warily as she drove her to school.

Gabriella had managed to quietly slip past the crowded halls and into the Nurse's office without being seen by many people. She handed the nurse her pills, prescription and a note written by the hospital doctor. Grace, the school Nurse, smile softly at the young girl as she nodded in understand,

"Don't worry Gabriella, tell your mother I will take very good care of you," Grace said soothingly, Gabriella flashed a quick grin before walking out the door to her class. Grace sighed as she brushed the paper again with her brown eyes; it was just too sad, so unfair that of so many people, kind Gabriella Montez had to be chosen,

"But God has a way to work mysteriously," Grace thought as she carefully placed the bottle in a special cabinet that was easily accessible. Turning around, she smiled as she fell back into her daily routine, ready to treat a freshman who had unfortunately slipped on a wet floor.

Troy had been jittery all morning, and he wasn't the only one who realized that. Sharpay had already come up to him multiple times, asking him if anything was wrong, and why he was twitching so much. He only managed to brush her off by going to the boys' washroom. Even Kelsi managed to notice something was wrong, even though the auburn had been less persistent than the blonde had been; only quietly saying,

"I'm sure she'll be here Troy, no worries." before heading off seeing Ryan and Jason coming into the school. Troy hid a small smile; it would be very unlike Gabriella to skip the last two days of school, even though she had already missed three. But the smile did not last long as a flash of the prescription bottle flashed in his mind. The entire night he was tormented with the idea of possibly telling her that he had found out her secret.

"Would that be a smart idea though?" he thought to himself, "I mean… well I did kind of sort of invade her privacy right? And there must be a point for her not telling anyone… maybe I should just let her… deal with it at her own time… no point pushing her away just when you plucked up enough courage to ask her out right?" His mind told him.

"Does Troy seem a little distant to you?" Ryan mentioned, the gang looking at him from a far,

"I'm sure it's just championships, I mean it's our last year." Chad said, twirling the basketball in his hand,

"Maybe… or maybe it has to do with a certain someone who just walked into the school," Zeke said, smiling at Sharpay's grin when she saw the brunette entering the school. Troy was right, Gabriella did seem sort of sick. She was paler than they had remembered her to be, and she seemed to lack some energy.

"Wow she looks terrible," Jason commented, earning a slap from Kelsi who glared at him. Gabriella didn't notice him, instead she walked right up to Troy, and handed him a stack of paper. Kelsi hid a grin, she recognized them,

"Hey," Gabriella grinned, coming up to him, Troy turned around, slightly surprised to see her there even though he knew she would've probably came to school anyways,

"Gabriella, how come you're not home?" he asked, Gabriella giggled,

"I got tired of my bed so I decided to come back for the last two days, I printed this out last night, Kelsi sent it to me yesterday, its two different pieces, I don't know why she gave me two but anyways this could work for our project," Gabriella said, pointing out certain parts, Troy chuckled, so like Gabriella to work even though she was sick,

"You need to calm down and chill," Troy said, taking his copy, "I'll look it over, but right now someone else needs to see you," he said, motioning to Taylor who had yet to see Gabriella's entrance, entranced in a book. Gabriella smiled, nodding, "Wait," Troy grabbed her wrist,

"Yes?" she asked, flushing softly, Troy let go immediately and lowered his voice,

"Um Saturday… wear something… nice… well not that you don't look nice normally well what I mean was like just… nice…I'm messing this up aren't I?" Troy said helplessly, Gabriella giggled,

"You are kind of, but I get what you mean… alright if you're sure then I'll be ready." She said softly, Troy grinned,

"Good, then I'll be there to pick you up around 7," he said, before Gabriella could protest him picking her up he had already left, leaving her alone and no choice but to walk towards Taylor.

"Hey Tay," Gabriella said softly, Taylor immediately looked up,

"Gabriella!" she squealed, she jumped up and hugged her best friend, "Oh are you alright? I was so worried, I tried calling but you were always asleep, you look so pale, what was wrong?" Taylor babbled, Gabriella laughed,

"I'm fine, I guess I was just slightly stressed, doctor said for me to rest so I did and now I'm back, no worries," Gabriella lied, she hated lying to Taylor, it was so hard, Taylor was her best friend but there was no need for anyone besides administration to know what had really happened.

"Thank god, I was worrying my head off!" Taylor exclaimed, "You missed so much,"

"Oh I got the homework, I just got a few questions to deal with other wise I'm doing quite well," Gabriella smiled, sitting into her desk across from Taylor,

"That's good, can't have our top student slipping can we?" Taylor teased. Gabriella blushed, shushing her.



Troy rejoined his buddies, most of them looking at him with smirks on their faces,

"What? I don't like those looks, nothing good can come out of them," Troy said defensively, the pack of paper still in his hands,

"Don't mind them dude, they're all weird like that," Chad laughed, waving his hand at them,

"Oh coming from the boy who can't even be separated from a basketball for two minutes?" Ryan countered smirking, making Chad stick his tongue out at him.

"Hey Kels, thanks for the sheets, they look real nice," Troy added, the auburn smiling back at him,

"No problem, I think you and Gabriella would sound really nice with them," Kelsi said softly,

"Gee, if me and Zeke hadn't already gotten our costume and practiced the play a million times I would've asked Kelsi to write me something!" Sharpay said in a dramatic voice. The group laughed,

"Err, Shar can I talk with you for a second?" Troy asked hesitantly. Looking confused, Sharpay nodded, leaving the group with Troy and heading to a secluded corner,

"What's up Troy, you feeling alright?" she asked, Troy swallowed nervously,

"Um… yea I do… actually I need to ask you for a favour," he said hesitantly, Sharpay cocked her head to the side, now this was a change, East High super star asking her a favour?

"Yes…" Sharpay prompted impatiently,

"I… uh I want to know if you can… you know lend me one of your country clubs to me for one night, just like a spot in the restaurant for this Saturday…you have one by the lake don't you?" Troy asked nervously, Sharpay nodded slowly,

"Yea I do… well mommy and daddy do but they practically never go there and it's mostly for me and Ryan anyway… but why the sudden interest?" she asked suspiciously, Troy mumbled avoiding eye contact,

"Oh you know… here… there…" he mumbled, Sharpay narrowed her creamy white face,

"Troy Bolton, if you don't tell me there's no way I can lend you it, I need a reason you know," Sharpay said stubbornly, Troy groaned,

"Fine… I ugh… I'm taking Gabriella on a date on Saturday," he said quickly, half hoping she didn't catch it. Wait, what was he thinking? This was Sharpay Evans, she catches everything.

"I knew it!" she cried triumphantly, Troy made a shushing noise,

"Sharpay, the whole point of being in a corner is to not let anyone know!" Troy said harshly making the blonde quiet down,

"Oh right," she said sheepishly, "I knew it, great hang on a second let me just call," she said, he barely had any idea what she was talking about until Sharpay whipped out her jewel encrusted side kick out of her oh so convenient purse, and sped dial someone. She was mumbling and talking for less than a minute before she flipped it closed,

"You know you owe me big time," she said smugly, Troy rolled his eyes,

"Sharpay, yes or no, I just want a direct answer," he said exasperatedly, Sharpay grinned a grin that could only say she had a plan brewing,

"I'll tell you if you promise you'll let me dress you for that night," she bargained, Troy's eyes widened,

"No way… Sharpay are you freaking joking?" he stuttered, she crossed her arms across her chest,

"It's your choice basketball boy, you can have dinner by the lake with Gabriella in a beautifully decorated country club and look fabulous at the same time… or you can just camp out at your backyard," she smirked evilly, knowing she had already won the battle from the very beginning. Troy's eyes closed tightly, God must be punishing him, and he must enjoy watching him suffer,

"Fine, fine you win, you can pick out my clothes, now is that a yes or no?" Troy said impatiently, Sharpay laughed, flicking her hair off her shoulder walking back to the gang,

"It's all yours basketball boy," she said with an air of superiority.

The week came and was gone in a matter of seconds… or at least that was how Gabriella had felt. It seemed like it was only minutes ago she had went in for a shower, and now her hair was half tied into a bun, the loose hair from the bun falling down her back with the rest of her hair. She took forever to choose her out fit, most of her clothes falling into separate categories: too fancy, not fancy enough, too out going, too secretive, too boring, too colourful, not special enough, and never should be seen outside of the house.

Finally, Isabella had seen enough clothes being flung out of her daughter's closet. She had sat Gabriella on her bed, picked up most of the clothes and placed their neatly back into the closet before pulling out a one piece dress Gabriella couldn't remember buying or seen before.

"There this is perfect, now shower and put this on," Isabella had ordered her daughter. She had done her hair and helped Gabriella into her knee length very pale pink spaghetti strapped dressed. Her mom gave her a pair of light white, slightly heeled shoe and made Gabriella look into the mirror.

"Beautiful," Isabella smiled, she was getting teary, and her baby girl on her first date it was just so… fast. The door bell rang, and Isabella flew towards the door, more excited than her daughter was. Troy stood outside the door, as nervous as he was when she first opened the door and found him visiting his daughter. The cute teenager was sure handsome tonight and Isabella knew she was not the only one to think so. He wore a black button up shirt, but it was left opened, a white wife beater inside, he wore dark black jeans and white sneakers, his brown hair hanging over his amazingly bright blue eyes,

"Good Evening Mrs Montez," Troy said politely, his mom's red Mercedes Benz outside waiting for them,

"Hello Troy, don't you look handsome tonight?" Isabella praised, earning a small blush from the boy, Isabella moved apart and Gabriella stepped out shyly. If Troy wasn't so nervous, his mouth would've dropped wide opened. Gabriella looked… well in one word, beautiful. Her tanned skin regained some of her colour, and her brown eyes sparkled with excitement,

"Wow…" Troy croaked out, "I mean… wow Gabriella, you look amazing…" Troy stuttered, Gabriella blushed,

"Thank you, you don't look half bad yourself," she smiled, Troy grinned and produced a single red rose out from his back,

"For you… but now it seems kind of shabby next to you," he teased, making her blush even deeper, Isabella smiled,

"Well you two better be on your way, have a good time and remember to take some pictures." Isabella reminded,

"Thanks Mrs. Montez, I'll have her back before 10 I promise." Troy said, Isabella smiled,

"No problem Troy, I trust you." She smiled. The door to Gabriella's house closed and left the two teenagers standing there,

"Well… shall we go?" he asked, motioning to the car whose engines were still running. Gabriella smiled, nodding, accepting his arm and walking with him to the car, "It's my mom's car," he added seeing Gabriella's eyes widened, "She's a doctor, she can afford a Benz yet she doesn't let me buy lunch often, sad isn't it?" he laughed earning a giggle from her. Like the gentleman he was, he opened the passenger door for her, she thanked him and waited for him to go in the other side.

"So where are we going?" Gabriella asked as they pulled out of the drive way, Troy grinned mysteriously,

"You'll see." He said.

A/N: OHH their date has begun!! I have the perfect idea for their date, but that's for me to know and you to find out. Thanks for being so incredible, tell me what you think of the chapter!