Here's the day you hoped would never come
Don't feed me violence, just run with me
Through rows of speeding cars

"Sharpay, ten minutes 'til showtime!"

You nod a quick thanks to Kelsi, who seems frazzled as she rushes around backstage, frequently speaking into her headset. For the first time you're glad you weren't in the last play, you imagine she was worse then.

"Knock, knock," comes a voice from behind you. You don't even have to turn to know it's Troy. "Flower delivery."


"Nice makeup," he comments. You wrinkle your nose, always hating the way stage makeup looks up close, so heavy and distracting.

"I'm especially fond of the red lipstick. And I wonder," he says, moving closer to your sitting place at the lighted vanity. "Is it super-lipstick, or will it leave marks if you, say, kiss someone?"

"Only one way to find out."

A smirk finds its way to your face briefly, before it's cut off by the whisper of breath and the brush of lips. All of a sudden your mind's whirling. Where are you? What are you supposed to be doing? Who the hell are you? It doesn't matter--none of it does. Nothing does but the fire erupting in the pit of your stomach, or the way Troy's hair feels soft to the touch under your wandering hands.

"SHARPAY! TROY! Turn the hormones off! It's showtime! Jeez!"

You both laugh as you reluctantly pull away. Kelsi should consider going into showbiz herself.

Troy tucks a stray piece of blonde hair behind your ear, "So, are my lips..."

"Dirty Trollop? Why yes they are, and the color is very flattering on you."

"Moi? A dirty trollop? I like it!"

Your heart beats double time as his face breaks out into a giant grin.

"Alright, loverboy, you ready to show this school what we've got?"

"But of course," he answers with a sly grin, grabbing your hand to lead you out of your dressing room.

The paper cuts, the cheating lovers
The coffee's never strong enough
I know you think it's more than just bad luck

As the bright stage lights focus on you, you flawlessly say your monologue while searching the crowd. It's become a habit of sorts to see who's out there. Chad, Taylor, Zeke, and Jason are sitting front and center each with a smile on their faces. Here and there you recognize people from different classes, or just the random students you've passed in the hall. You begin to finish up as your gaze reaches the back of the auditorium; there's something familiar back there. That blonde hair in perfect ringlets is reminiscent--but you don't have time to dwell or look much further as you turn to face Ryan's character.

Then Troy comes onto stage, in all his tights-wearing glory. It's pretty hard to stifle the laugh you feel coming, but you try your hardest. There's just something about Troy Bolton that has always gotten, and always will get, the better of you. And involuntarily your mind flashes back to the day he realized the same about you.

"Sharpay? Sharpay, what's wrong?" Ryan asked you as you entered the house almost a month ago.

"Nothing. Everything's just peachy."

"Uh huh, sure."

You had reached into the refrigerator to grab a water bottle when his voice cut through the silence again.

"This wouldn't have anything to do with a brown-haired, blue eyed, someone, would it?"

"Ryan, the world doesn't revolve around Troy Bolton!"

"Oh really?" You nodded. "Then why would you automatically assume I was talking about him?"

"Ooh, you're sneaky. I don't know how much I like this new side of you."

Before he asked you, again, what happened with Troy, you change the subject. Granted, it's not exactly to a more pleasant one.

"Do you have, um, the note mom left?"

"Oh, uh, yeah. I think dad put it over here."

You followed him over to the kitchen island, where among a stack of unsorted mail lay what was obviously your mother's note, clearly discernible by the formal stationary she took pride in.

You remember thinking how Ryan was right, it really was painfully vague. Nothing about her whereabouts or why she even left. You supposed it was up to you to tell the fam. what really happened.

"Hey, call me when dad comes home. I've got something to tell you guys."

Ryan never even got the chance to question as you walked away. If you had to give a long-winded coming clean speech, you figured you'd have to rehearse first.

When your father got home that evening he gave you a hug, having not seen you in a few days, and you were amazed he was trying to comfort you. You made yourself sick at that point, because you knew his heart was breaking but he was still there for you. But it was all your fault.

"Daddy, I've got something I've gotta tell you and Ryan."

"What's up, Blondie?" he asked worriedly.

You were worried too.

Ryan came into the room carelessly, muttering something about him being mid-shmear, as if he thought your announcement would be something as trivial as shopping plans for the weekend. As you began though, his eyes noticeably widened. You didn't hold back for once in your life; you told them everything. They finally knew how she treated you and what she said behind closed doors, and you told them why she left to begin with. It always led back to you.

"Sharpay," Here it comes, you thought. Vicious words, maybe even something more serious. "It's not your fault."


"How can you say that? Of course it's my fault! She left because of me! Because I told her to!"

"Do you really believe that?"

"How could I not?"

For the first time Ryan broke his stoic silence, "I think she needed this."


"If she's really so bad, then maybe she needed to get away, to find herself."

Well damn, you had never thought of that one ...

"He's right," your father agreed. "If this is what's best for her, and you, then we'll let her have her time."

"You're not mad, either of you?"

"No, of course not," your father replied in sync with Ryan's "How could I be?"

Then you found yourself in the middle of a Sharpay sandwich, but having your bones crushed never felt so good.

Later that evening you found yourself in a state of strange bliss. You shouldn't have been feeling so happy, you knew, but as you watched a movie snuggled on the couch with your father and your brother, it felt like things were finally going back to the way they were supposed to be. They had both spent minutes assuring you they didn't blame you for your mother's disappearance, but you still couldn't help feeling partially responsible.

You looked out at the window as the two men beside you chuckled a laugh at something the character on the television said, but you focused you attention at the falling dusk. Where did she go? You wondered deeply over all of the things that had bothered you for so long. Why didn't she leave any more information? Was she okay, wherever she was? The distant ringing of the doorbell startled you out of your musings and you picked yourself off of the couch, fully knowing no one else would answer the door.

"Sharpay, will you just listen to me please, before you shut the door?" Met your ears as soon as it opened.


"Please. Just hear me out, alright?"

"Now's not the best time."

"Please," he begged. The stars in his eyes brought weakness to your knees, and you knew you would never deny him.

"Fine, but we'll talk outside."

"I know you probably hate me right now, but I just thought that if I explained, maybe you'd understand."

"Understand what? I'm sorry but how am I supposed to act when you say 'what am I doing?' Troy, I'm giving you an easy out here, so do both of us a favor and take it."

"I can't do that."

"And why not?"


"Well your logic is stunning."

"I've never given up on anything in my life, and I'm not about to start now."

"You wouldn't be giving up on anything though," you shrugged your shoulders carelessly. Even if your heart was breaking, you at least wanted to seem like it wasn't killing you. "There was nothing between us to begin with. Except probably the strangest friendship ever."

"Don't push me away, Sharpay. I'm trying."

You scoffed, playing up the dumb blonde routine. "Trying at what? Troy, can you stop speaking in riddles for, like, a minute?"

"Alright, alright," he said while pacing. Was that supposed to reassure you? Because if it was, it was a truly awful attempt. "Look, I'm just going to spit it out plain and simple. I like you, Sharpay."

"Mmhmm, and I like you too, Troy. Are we almost done here, it's a little chilly and I forgot my sweater."

It's then you saw he was taking determined steps towards you. And he wasn't stopping. Step-step-step. He was coming incredibly close to being in your personal bubble when you squeaked a, "Bolton, what are you doing?"

"Something I should've done a long time ago," was his ambiguous reply.

He kept coming startlingly closer, until he was a mere few inches from your face. His eyes were dilated, deep blue getting lost beside wide black irises, and staring intently. It felt like one of those staring contests you had when you were younger, except then all you could focus on was not blinking and the tears pooling in your eyes. His hand tilted your chin upwards once your gaze slipped purposely, and suddenly it struck you that Troy Bolton was about to kiss you. And he did.

It was a kiss straight out of the movies, and you almost expected an uncomfortably awkward moment when your father would come to open the door and find the two of you standing there with arms wound around each other. But you weren't interrupted, rather the opposite. You lost track of time as his lips gently probed your own so delicately. It was everything a first kiss with someone new should be, you remember thinking. It was sweet and unrushed, filled with the guarantee of new beginnings.

"I'm taking you out this Saturday," he declared a few minutes later. The statement came out of nowhere as the two of you sat on the front step, still clinging to each other. You knew it was just that, a statement and not a question. That itself warranted a chuckle from you. Who knew Bolton was such so forceful?

"You sound pretty confident that I'd agree to such a thing."

"You will."

"How can you be so sure."

"I can be very persuasive."

"I'm sure."

"Don't sound so doubtful," he teasedly scolded, nipping your lips into a slightly more accelerated kiss this time. "I'll pick you up at seven."


"Why seven?"

"No, why are you taking me out?"

"Well, you've got a tiara so I figure that means you're a princess. Every princess deserves to be wowed by a dashing knight."

It was like he could read your mind.

"Last time I got my hopes up, my knight in shining armor turned out to be a loser in aluminum foil."

He laughed then, his sparkling eyes showing he caught on. He stood up, pulling you with him so you were, once again, just millimeters apart. "Well he's recently got some body work done, and he'd like another chance to prove himself."

"I don't know," you sighed dramatically. "A princess really needs to know if she'll be protected in all those fierce battles around the kingdom."

He pulled you into a hug, pulling you flush against him to the point you were sure he could feel your heartbeat. "And what battles would those be?"

"Well, have you ever been inside a mall? It's like an all-out war trying to get to the perfect top before someone else."

"Hmm, I don't know how good I'd be at fending off the masses of screaming girls."

"I do drag you into my battles a lot, don't I?"

And you felt him smile into your hair, mumbling, "We're all fighting a battle, if for no other reason then to prove that we're strong enough to win it."

"You're probably the only person who actually understands that."

"I better be," and then a whisper of breath, and a brush of lips leaves you free-falling. Funny thing is, you didn't find yourself particularly minding tumbling into an unknown abyss. Actually, you found yourself rather liking it. A lot. Because as long as Troy Bolton's holding you, smelling like spring rain and promises, you find life's not nearly as bad as you thought it to be.

"But Madelynn!" he cries desperately. "Where will you go?"

You give a small wistful smile, "Wherever the wind blows."

Suddenly all you see is red. The velvet of the curtains drape closed and you leap across the stage, straight into Troy's awaiting arms.

"You were fabulous, Mr. Jonathan Flackshaw."

"Well you weren't too bad either, Ms. Madelynn Lee."

"Sharpay! Troy! Cut that out! Curtain call is in ten minutes! Troy, Ryan, get ready for the next scene!" You both stifle a laugh at the vexed expression on Kelsi's face, feeling remarkably like children caught in the cookie jar. Not wanting to miff the writer/director/pianist, Troy and Ryan take their places at opposite sides of the stage until the curtains rise. You head off to your dressing room quickly, wanting to make any last minute touch-ups to your makeup before you're out on stage again.

When you get there you move straight to the lighted mirror, dabbing a little gloss to your still bright red lips and fixing the smudged eyeliner that gives you slight raccoon-eyes. It's when you turn to get your water bottle out of your bag that you notice an envelope taped to the door. It's a simple white, with a quickly scrawled 'S' in the middle. Confusion courses through you as you rip it open, being careful only not to tear whatever's inside.

It's a letter, you find. There's no name anywhere, but as you read the words, it all starts to make sense.

"Where are we?
What the hell is going on?
The dust has only just begun to fall
Crop circles in the carpet
Sinking, feeling

Spin me round again
And rub my eyes,
This can't be happening
When busy streets a mess with people
Would stop to hold their heads heavy

Sleeping pills, no sleeping dogs lie never
Far enough away
Glistening in the cold sweat of guilt
I've watched you slowly winding down for years
You can't keep on like this
Now is as bad of time as any

There, there, baby
It's just text book stuff
It's in the ABC of growing up

Now, now, darling
Oh, don't lose your head
'Cause none of us were angels
And you know I love you, yeah

Mmmm what do you say,
Mmmm that's all for the best?

Ah, of course it is."

It's written in a way you understand, in a language you can both understand. It was her. It was your mother. She really was here tonight.

Your name is called from behind stage, and you rush out knowing it's time to take your final bow. You wait until Troy steps out and takes his bow, following the cue he gives to run besides him and give a short curtsy. With a wrinkle of your brow you decide to get your hearing checked sometime soon. There's absolutely no way the audience could be cheering louder for you than anyone else, could they?

The stage lights focus on you, with an almost blinding brightness. The cheer of the crowd wells up a familiar feeling inside of you, one that's been suppressed for too long. You're finally home.

You search the faces in front of you again, this time hoping to glimpse that blonde hair in the back of the auditorium, but it's no use. You're all receiving a standing ovation at this point, and it'd be impossible to spot her over so many heads. With a slightly sinking of your elated mood, you walk over to the side so the other actors can come out, and you remember the last two lines of the letter she wrote.

"Hide and Seek -- you'll find me eventually." They weren't quite the song lyrics, but a twist to them so you know what she's getting at. Ryan's a lot smarter than anyone gives him credit for, because he seems to have gotten it right. She's taking time now for herself, and for you. But she'll be back again, when you both can handle it, and maybe then you can be the little girl with the big brown eyes and long blonde pigtails.

On each of your sides, Troy and Ryan take one of your hands as the cast gives a final bow. It's a defining moment for you here, you realize. Your friends up front shout your name excitedly, and it feels amazing to think that you actually have a group of people to go out with after this is over. You're a recluse at heart, you always have been. That notion's been instilled in you since you were young. You've always been wary of relying too heavily upon others. Besides, as The Format said, "All you really need are a few good friends." But you have that now, after so long.

You watch with a half-awed, half-amused expression as Ryan unexpectedly kisses Gabriella (who stands by his other side) and most of the audience lets out wolf-whistles. Finally things have fallen into place.

And as you stand for pictures a few minutes later, you're transported back in time to the night of the Twinkle Towne premiere. It's funny how much things can change in only a few months. Your face falters now, but this time from sheer exhaustion (and a little hunger, too).

The same cheerleader hands back a camera, gushing some nonsense you ignore. Instead, you link one arm through Troy's and one through Gabriella's until your whole little group is a large chain, and you exclaim "Let's blow this popsicle stand!" You're met with the echoes of laughter and the warmth of smiles, Gabriella even makes a comment about how your non-stage makeup looks great and how you need to show her how you do it.

A smile crosses your face as you respond with, "Sure Gabby, it's really easy. I bet it'd look fabulous on you."

For once you're more than the Ice Princess, and she's more than the Scenestealer; and later tonight you'll toast to new beginnings and forgiveness, while clinging to the scent of spring rain and promises.

It's okay by me
It was a long time ago

a/n: The lipstick shade sound familiar to anyone? If you guess right then you get .. a cookie? Of your favorite variety? Haha, well this was it. The whole first kiss bit was extremely bad, I'm sure, but I'm no good at that really romantic stuff. But now I'm incredibly sad. And I'm going to miss all of you reviewers tons! But today I've also posted the Ryan one-shot companion to this that I promised, and a trailer. Do check out the new stories, yeah? Trust me, you haven't seen the last of me and my drama-inducing plotlines -- that I can promise : )

So review once more? For old times sake? C'mon, it'll be fun--I promise!

For those who don't review (even though you really should! ;D) then I guess this is goodbye! Hopefully I'll be seeing you all around. It's up to us to keep troypay going strong, right? We can't have all of these fluffy troyella's running about, can we? I think not! And now Sharpay's Drama Queen tiara comes off & I end this pointless rant and the story.

Ciao, loves x3

song credits: Speeding Cars & Hide and Seek - both Imogen Heap