17 months later
"Hey Bolton, over here!" A handsome dark-haired male in a yellow and blue tricot yelled over to his team-mate, who was dribbling the ball in the basket's direction. Troy passed the ball to James, who jumped up a few seconds later and dumped the ball into the basket.
"Nice game, man", James came running up to Troy and patted his sweaty shoulder. Since Troy went to college in Los Angeles, he easily befriended his basketball team-mate and roommate James, who he spent a lot of his free time with. "What do you say, Bolton? You, me and the guys at 'Jamie's' tonight? I heard the cheerleaders were coming too", James asked his friend, when they were walking straight to the locker room after basketball practice.
Troy lifted his sweaty tricot over his head and shook his head. "Nah, I'll pass. My girlfriend is visiting me over the weekend and I'm looking forward to see her again. It's been three months", Troy confessed and rubbed the sweat drops out of his face.
James laughed. "Ah, I understand. The famous Gabriella is visiting. So tell me, Bolton. Will I ever going to meet the chick you can't stop talking about?" James now asked and a few of the other players only nodded in agreement.
Troy chuckled, while taking his big towel and heading towards the shower room with the others. "I'm pretty positive Ella will arrive before you go out with the guys."
"So tell me, Bolton. Why does Gabriella live basically on the other side of the country whereas you're here at UCLA", James asked his friend casually, while lying on the couch in the dorm room they chaired. James was already dressed for the night. He wore light blue jeans and a bright red polo shirt that had a little famous crocodile on the left side, right on James' chest.
Troy was standing in front of the mirror trying to tie his tie in his fifth attempt. "Damn", he cussed impatiently and untied the messy knot again. "Well, like I already told you a few months ago", Troy said a little annoyed, remembering their talk about Gabriella, when James was obviously a little drunk and didn't remember a thing they talked about, "Ella has a son and she decided, since he was only six months old, when we signed up for college, that she'd take the year off and take care of Cameron", he explained to his good friend.
"Cameron is the child, right?" James demanded and sat up on the couch, brushing his hand through his soft brown hair.
Troy finally succeeded in tying the knot. "Yeah", was all he answered, when he looked into the mirror one last time. "How do I look?" He turned around to face James.
"Smokin'", he answered irritated and rolled with his eyes. "Don't ask me those girly questions, Bolton. I have no idea if you look good", James smirked. He got up and went over to the wooden entrance door, opening it halfway. "Ey Charmane, come over here, I have a question for you!" James yelled into the hallway, having spotted one of the cheerleaders walking along the corridor.
The girl jerked a little, but went over to James, smiling from one ear to the other. "What can I help you with, James?" She expressed flirtatiously, checking out James' muscular chest.
James opened the door widely to reveal Troy, who was again standing in front of the big mirror, rearranging the sleeves of his jacket. "Okay Charmane, on a scale from one to ten, where would you classify Bolton tonight?" James smirked at the girl in front of him.
Troy turned towards the door a little confused, while Charmane took a look at the handsome male inside the room. "Eleven", she said without hesitation. "You look hot, Troy." Charmane noticeable blushed and looked back at James. Every girl that knew Troy Bolton here at UCLA knew he had a girlfriend and no matter how hard any of them tried to get near him, he'd always turn them down with a sweet apology. Most of them were impressed by his commitment towards the girl nobody had seen here before and they thought that made Troy even more attractive.
Troy blushed. "Well thank you, Charmane. And now since you're already standing there, maybe James has the guts now to ask you out, like he's already planning to for a few months", Troy shot back at his friend and James blushed like a peony.
"Ehm…," James scratched his neck and looked into Charmane's eyes. "We talk about that tonight, alright?" He winked at her and smiled lop-sided, obviously still embarrassed by what Troy had just done to him. Charmane only grinned and nodded and let the boys alone again.
"I told you, she likes you", Troy stated smirking after James closed the door behind him.
"I hate you", the young man hissed back and flopped on the couch next to where Troy was sitting.
"You're welcome, dude", Troy only said, taking a big sip out of his Cola bottle. They were silent for a few minutes, but James couldn't help but notice that Troy was checking his watch every thirty seconds.
"Will your girlfriend bring her son?" James suddenly asked out of the blue, playing with an old straw in his hands.
Troy smiled, when he thought about Gabi and Cameron. "She is planning to. I haven't seen him since Easter", Troy explained a little sad. When he was visiting Gabriella in July in Albuquerque, Cameron was with his grandmother Clara, who moved to New York after she got separated from Gabi's dad.
James just wanted to reply something, when they heard a knock on the door and both simultaneously called out 'come in'. Troy nervously got up from the couch, straightening his tux, walking towards the door.
"Trooooooy", he heard someone squeaking and felt a tight grip around his left leg. Troy looked at the now open door and saw his mother standing there with a bright smile on her face.
"Surprise!" Amanda brightly called out and dumped her suitcase on the ground. Troy was standing in front of his mother in total shock. "Lexie, let go of your brother's leg!" Amanda told her three year-old daughter.
Troy instantly got out of his paralyzed state and lifted his little sister up on his arm. "Mom, what are you guys doing here?" He said through gritted teeth, but still tried to smile at his mother.
Lexie was hugging her big brother tightly. "I missed you, Troy", the little girl said and placed a wet peck on his cheek. Troy hadn't seen his family since July either and he was wondering what they were doing here now, since they actually planned to reunite on Christmas in Albuquerque.
"I wanted to see my eldest child", Amanda finally walked into the room and kissed her son on the forehead. "Besides, we thought you'd like to spend your 20th birthday with your family", she continued happily.
James' eyes went wide. "Dude, it's your birthday today?" He asked a little shocked.
Troy scratched his neck a little uncomfortably. "No, it's actually tomorrow", he answered. "Ella and I were planning on spending it together." Troy looked a little bit annoyed and definitely unsatisfied.
Amanda Bolton looked totally oblivious at her son and Lexie. "Oh come on, Troy. Your family wants to spend your birthday with you, isn't that fun?" She asked Troy cheerfully.
Troy grimaced. "Sure mom, that's…wonderful", he sighed and put his little sister back down on the floor.
Mrs. Bolton grinned at her son. "Dad couldn't make it, he had to prepare for basketball season, but Lexie and I have a little surprise for you", she explained and Troy saw how his baby sister clapped her hands together. She made him smile and he missed her, since he wasn't living in Albuquerque anymore, although he still was a little angry that his family screwed his evening with Gabriella.
"That's great, mom", Troy replied unenthusiastically. "But I'd love to wait for Ella, you know. She should arrive any minute", Troy's face lit up by only thinking about it.
"Oh well, your girlfriend can wait a few minutes, Troy. Come with us now", Amanda said demanding and Troy was actually a little shocked about how she reacted. His mother loved Gabriella, why was she suddenly not caring anymore? Lexie pulled her big brother out of the door with her.
"James, can you wait for Ella and tell her I'll be back in a few minutes?" He yelled after his roommate and left a smirking James standing there, who immediately took out his cell phone to make a quick call.
"They are coming", was all he whispered into the earphone, before he grabbed his jacket and closed the door behind himself.
"Mo-hom, I'm so not in the mood for surprises right now. Ella is wait-"
"Troy, will you finally stop complaining", Amanda Bolton laughed at the immature behaviour of her almost 20 year-old son. "I'm sure you'll like the surprise." When the three of them had left the guys' dorm room, where Troy was living in, Amanda directed them over to another building that looked exactly like the one they were in before. Troy's never been in this one before and he was a little curious what his mother wanted to show him here. Arriving in front of a door on 3rd floor, they stopped and Mrs. Bolton raised her voice a little. "So, here we are, Troy!" She emphasised the last word and opened the door to the dark room.
The boy in the black tuxedo was totally confused now and hesitated walking into the room, where he could see nothing. Suddenly someone switched on the light and Troy had trouble adjusting to the sudden flash of light. "SURPRISE!!!" He heard a bunch of people screaming and when he looked around the neatly arranged room, he saw about 20 familiar faces beaming at him. First of all a lot of his team-mates from basketball here at UCLA, then of course his mother, his sister and even his father, who he was told couldn't make it. Then there were Chad, Taylor, Sharpay, Zeke, two more guys from his High School basketball team, Gabriella's dad Noah and he spotted Thalia, Gabriella's best friend from Chicago. But his eyes wandered around more, until he saw her standing there.
Gabriella was wearing a bordeaux halter dress that ended right above her knees and she combined it with a pair of plain black peep toes. Her curly hair was falling on her naked shoulders and she was beaming like a crazy person. In her arm she was holding her almost two year old son Cameron, who looked cute like a button in his mini-tux and the blonde curls on his head. "Surprise", Gabi expressed once more, only way more quiet than they all did it together before. Troy averted his gaze from his girlfriend and now looked into the grinning faces of all the people he loved.
"Wow", Troy scratched his neck feeling awfully overwhelmed right now. "I definitely didn't expect that", he chuckled and exchanged a loving look with Gabi.
"Yeah well", Jack Bolton suddenly took the floor, "we thought your 20th birthday is something you should spend with all your friends and family. So we were planning, checking our calendars and here we are", he explained cheery and beamed at his son.
Troy laughed. "Who's idea was this? I mean that's crazy!" He expressed, rubbing his hands and looking around the room once more.
"That would be your girlfriend's", James explained, suddenly appearing out of nowhere behind Troy. "Gabi called me a few months ago and told me about her plans", he explained and grinned at his roommate's girlfriend on the other side of the room.
Troy didn't know what to say. He was standing there, slightly overdressed, with an open mouth, staring from James to Gabriella and to his friends, who were starting small conversations again. "So you knew her already and were still teasing me about when you'll finally get to meet her?" Troy chuckled and looked at his friend.
"Yeah, I'm that good of an actor. It was so hard to keep it a secret from you, because every time I talked to my mom on the phone, it was actually Gabriella and when I told you over the last days that I was going out with some chick, I was meeting Gabi to plan the party", James explained. Troy couldn't form a proper sentence right now. "You can thank me later, dude. Now go over to her, I know you want to!" James nudged his friend in the shoulder and walked over to his team-mates who were already eating from the small buffet the others had arranged.
"You know I love you, right?" Troy whispered, when he reached Gabi and was standing right in front of her, only inches apart from each other.
She smiled at him. "Yeah, I figured", she said casually and brushed a stray of hair out of Cameron's eyes, who was still in Gabi's arms. Troy couldn't believe how big the little boy had gotten. The last time he'd seen him, Cameron was barely able to walk and now he looked like he could run a marathon on his own. Gabriella noticed how he was looking at her son in amazement and handed him over to Troy. "Here. Cammy actually has to say something to you. He already wanted to do it in spring, but the words wouldn't really come out of his mouth", Gabriella chuckled and caressed her son's cheek.
Cameron was looking at Troy with his big brown eyes that resembled Gabriella's even more now. "What do you want to say to me, buddy?" Troy asked Cameron curiously. He hadn't really heard him speak before, because Cameron was a little shy around other people and seeing him only a couple of times a year, doesn't do the relationship between the two any good.
"Daddy!" Cameron mumbled and Troy jerked.
"What was that?" He asked again, just to make sure he had heard it right.
Gabriella had tears in her eyes, looking at Troy and her son standing in front of her. Cameron was looking at her with a questioning face. "Say it again, sweetheart", she encouraged him.
Cameron looked back at Troy. "Daddy", he said once more, only this time a little louder, so that even Troy's parents could hear the words.
Troy was speechless. "Oh my-", was all he could express when he pressed the tiny body against his and hugged Cameron lovingly. Troy was not a person to cry in front of a crowd, but this time he couldn't help the tiny tears that were coming out of his eyes. He looked over to Gabriella, whose eyes were at least as teary as his. "Thank you", he mouthed over to his girlfriend, but Gabi only shook her head.
"I didn't do anything", she sobbed. "Cam and I were looking at the Christmas pictures from last year and when he pointed on you, he suddenly said 'dada'", she explained, taking out a tissue and drying the tears on Troy's cheeks. He leaned down to her and pressed a short, but loving kiss on her wet lips.
Noah Montez, who was looking at the happy couple, took Cameron out of Troy's arms and looked at his son-in-law. "The balcony looks pretty empty and it's still a few more hours until midnight", he hinted and motioned over to the small balcony that belonged to the room. Troy looked at Gabi and she only nodded. He took her hand in his and walked out into the warm air.
"Cammy didn't just call Troy his daddy, right?" Chad was standing next to Taylor, his arm wrapped around her shoulder, biting on a chicken wing.
Taylor had almost tears in her eyes herself. "Oh, I guess he did. I just wonder what Nathan might say about all this", she questioned and looked out on the balcony, where Troy and Gabi were standing, staring out into the night.
"If you want to ask me now what Nathan's reaction is, I have no idea", Gabi answered Troy's worried face. "He's Cameron's birth father, nothing more and nothing less. I gave him the chance to be in his life – as a friend. Cameron will sooner or later find out who his father is, but that doesn't keep him from having the daddy around he choose for himself", she explained, not looking Troy into his eyes.
He looked at her face and soaked in every single inch of her perfect skin. "God I missed you", Troy suddenly exhaled, wrapping his arms around Gabriella.
She looked up at him in relief. Gabi was glad Nathan wasn't an issue for him. He seemed to be cool with how the situation was now. She slung her bare arms around his neck and pulled him closer until their noses almost touched. "I missed you, too", she replied, before their lips connected. It was as if fireworks were exploding above their heads, but they knew it was only the longing to be together after three months. Troy kissed her nose after pulling slightly away.
"Who's dorm is that?" He whispered and Gabi knew this question was burning in his head since he put a step into the room.
Gabi smiled, not breaking the gaze they were in. "It's mine and Cameron's", she replied casually, totally anticipating Troy's reaction.
Troy looked surprised. "B-but I thought you were going to NYU this fall?" When Troy visited Gabi in Albuquerque in July, they were talking quite a lot about her college applications and she'd told him she decided to go to New York to study there. This way she could see her mom every once in a while and she could study at the University she always wanted to be at. "Wasn't that your dream?" He continued asking.
"My dream already came true", she explained, playing with the slightly too long hair of Troy's. "I never told you this, but I applied to UCLA even before I send out the form for NYU. It was only my second choice. And when I got the positive answer from both universities, I didn't even have to hesitate. I want to be with you, not thousands of miles away from you", Gabriella said. "Besides, my dad is moving with me. He found a great apartment only ten minutes from here."
Once more this evening, Troy was speechless. He cupped Gabi's face with his hands and kissed her with more passion than ever. When he pulled away a few seconds later they were both slightly out of breath. Gabriella chuckled. "So we have your blessing?" She asked sheepishly.
"Are you kidding me? This is the best birthday present I've ever gotten. I never wanted to be the one to force you to come to L.A, but I'm more than happy you did", he expressed with a happy voice and hugged Gabi tightly. "You make me the happiest man in America", Troy continued cheesily and kissed her cheek.
"I love you, Troy Alexander Bolton", Gabi stated, looking into his ocean blue eyes.
"I love you too, Gabriella Anna Montez."
"And you know what the best part is?" Gabi now asked. "Can you see the room over there?" She pointed with her finger towards a dark window and Troy shook his head. "Well, that is your room. Which makes me - well, at least kind of-"
"-the girl next door again", Troy completed her sentence and beamed from one ear to the other. "I like that", he confessed smirking and wrapped his arm around her shoulder. "Come on, let's get in there to celebrate", Troy said and placed a last loving kiss on her head.
Troy and his friends and family were celebrating into his 20th birthday at midnight, but they were also celebrating the reunion of Gabriella and Troy and his unexpected paternity. Troy couldn't be happier right now and he knew it was only the start.
SORRY IN ADVANCE FOR THE WAY TOO LONG AUTHOR'S NOTE
Okay, so this was it…and now I'm sad. After I had written the last chapter, I couldn't bring myself to write the epilogue for 3 weeks. I just didn't want it to be over, you know? I had so much fun writing this story and I never would have thought I'd be nearing 900 reviews once I'm finished. I loved every single thing you wrote me after the chapters and sometimes it made me laugh and even cry out of joy, because your words were so precious.
When you guys read a chapter, I was already 5 or 6 chapters ahead of you, which made it way more fun to read your reviews and they didn't influence me in my writing, because I knew how this story should end - from the very beginning on. And to tell you guys a secret…the scene were Cameron said 'daddy' to Troy was the first one I wrote back in May. How J.K. Rowling of me, huh? ;)
To answer some last questions that came up in the reviews or I just thought you might like to have answered:
Why did I end the story already? Well, that's because everything's said and done. I'd rather end it here, when it's still good than 10 chapters later and all I come up with is crap.
Will there be a sequel? No. Most definitely not. Like I said before, the story is told. Sure, I could write them getting married, having some children on there own, but I think Troy and Gabriella went through enough already and I think it's a nice thing to make up their future in your minds, huh?
What was my favourite character to write? Oh, that's easy. I loved writing Lexie. And especially Lexie with Troy. And I know for sure that a lot of you agree with me on the fact that they are adorable together.
How did you come up with the minor characters/minor characters names? Well, Lexie and Cameron both have the names my children will carry once I have children. ;) Thalia, Jill and Rachael are friends of mine and they so deserved to have roles in the story. I love you! Thalia's character got bigger than I expected, but it was awesome writing someone you actually know. :D Rachael's boyfriend Patrick (you might not even remember him, he's only in one scene) is actually my ex-boyfriend, or at least I used his name. ;) Oh, and James in the epilogue can be pictured as James Lafferty from One Tree Hill. My friend Kelli told me she always pictured James, when she read about Nathan (which is his role on OTH), so I gave him a little cameo. And Charmane (also in the epilogue) is one of my most dedicated reviewers.
Will you write another story? To be honest, I'm writing already, but I'm not sure if it is publish-worthy. So just give me some time, if you're interested in reading more. I'm going on vacation soon and it's summer, but I promise this isn't the last you've heard from me.
What was the hardest thing about writing this story? Oh, that would be spending 1 ½ hours typing up my reviewers names to mention you all in the last AN. ;) I had NO idea 178 different people told me what they thought over the last two months and a lot of you came back for every chapter to review. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everyone who took the previous time to read and even review after the chapter. You wouldn't believe how much that meant to me. Especially all the nice words about my language. I mean it should be pretty obvious that English is not my first language, but you guys never said a bad word about it.
I love you guys and without wanting to sound big-headed, but I love the story and I'm very proud it turned out as such a success!!
Thank you to all my reviewers in alphabetical order (next time think about easier usernames please, it took me forever to type them all up LOL):
AnotherColorTurnsTo G R AYx
LIL BIT 101