A/N: Since Sweethearts was such a big hit, I decided to continue it and start this one. It's going to take place three years in the future when they're graduating college.
A huge thank you to JustaCrush for all her help!!! Feedback and ideas would be loved and greatly appreciated!!!
Disclaimer: I don't own and/or am affiliated with any of the characters, the movie, music, etc.
April 24th, 2010 2:00 pm
I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow,
and each road leads you where you wanna go,
and if you're faced with a choice, and you have to choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
And if one door opens to another door closed,
I hope you keep on walkin' till you find the window,
if it's cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile.
But more than anything, more than anything
The President of Duke University stood in front of the mass of four hundred and fifty- three identically dressed students in blue caps and gowns. The man cleared his throat, wiped his brow and then leaned close to the microphone.
"Distinguished guests, faculty, friends and family. By the power invested in me from the great state of North Carolina. It is with honor and privilege to announce one of the finest groups of students I have ever witnessed. Please join me in congratulating the official alumni of Duke University, class of 2010."
Cheers, shouts, and applause came from not only the graduates but everyone who had gathered to help them celebrate. Caps filled the sky as students celebrated their achievements and victories. In the center of the mass of excited families and students, Gabriella Montez pushed her hair off her face and let her brown eyes trail around the area. She bounced up and down on her toes looking for her family and friends.
"Who are you looking for?" Gabriella jumped at the voice behind her, but settled when she turned around and looked into those brilliant blue eyes.
"Oh, this really nice looking guy I met earlier. You haven't seen a really tall, handsome guy anywhere have you?" Troy Bolton wrapped his arms around Gabriella waist and looked into her dark brown eyes.
"Nope. But I'm here, so we could you know . . . sneak away before he gets back." He winked, causing her to giggle uncontrollably for some time. Troy leaned over and kissed the corner of her lips, right at the edge of her smile.
"We'll see. Can't we find our family first?" Not taking his eyes off of her face, he just nodded before kissing her in the exact same spot one last time.
"You have the most beautiful smile. Did you know that?" Gabriella blushed and let her eyes fall to the ground. "I can't decide what I like about you best. You're smile or you." Before he had another chance to sweep her off her feet, Gabriella ran around and jumped on his back, hoping to be able to see over the thousands and thousands of people.
"Do you see them anywhere?" Troy yelled over the noise
"Not yet. Why don't you go towards the stage and see if they are over there?" After weaving their way through the crowd, Gabriella eventually recognized the top of Chad's massy afro and they ran over to meet their group of friends and family.
"Sister, we've graduated!" Taylor squealed, running up to her longtime best friend. The two embraced in a long hug while Chad and Troy did the same, except with much less squealing and giggling.
"I know, I can't believe it's been four years."
"Now you know how we feel." Coming up behind the four friends, Mr. Bolton wrapped an arm around Gabriella's shoulder. Mrs. Bolton and Mrs. Montez were right behind him and greeted their children warmly.
"I just didn't think it would go by so fast." Chad admitted after receiving a congratulatory handshake from his almost second father.
Troy agreed. "Yeah, now we have to go out and get jobs and start paying bills . . ." The four friends couldn't help but frown at the idea of starting a life at their own and not having their parents to protect them.
"You'll get used to it." Ms. Montez's warm, cheery voice brought the group out of their unpleasant thoughts. "And you guys are going to light the world on fire."
Mrs. Bolton and Mr. Bolton nodded while Troy walked over and wrapped a protective arm around Gabriella's waist. "It seems like we just graduated high school yesterday though . . ."
"Come on you two. Smile." Jack Bolton held up his new fancy digital camera and began clicking away, taking one picture after another.
"Dad come on. It's hot and the last thing we want to do is pose for pictures." Troy whined within the first five minutes of picture taking.
"Troy stop acting like a child. We're all hot and miserable, you aren't the only one." Gabriella reprimanded him, almost like he was her son misbehaving in the grocery store.
"I am not acting like a child." He retorted.
"Oh yeah? I think you are."
Troy smiled. "Well, children can't do this." Licking his slips, Troy leaned over and kissed Gabriella passionately on the lips. They stood like that for several moments, oblivious to the world around them until Mr. Bolton's voice interrupted their thoughts.
"Ok you two break it up. The parents don't need to be seeing this."
Shaking her head before taking off her cap, Gabriella shook her hair allowing it to lay flat before smiling brightly. Troy's fingers stray on the strand of hair that drapes across her face before pushing it back. "I love you, you know that right?" Biting her lip, Troy kissed her lips before pulling back.
"Of course I know that. I love you too." Sealing his promise with a kiss, they heard the shutter of a camera click before looking at the guilty parents.
"What? I couldn't resist." Gabriella's Mom tried convincing the pair. "You can put it on the mantle in your new house."
As soon as she saw her almost sister, Gabriella ran up to Tess and embraced her tightly. The two girls jumped up and down screaming in excitement, or at least as much as Tess could in her condition.
"So what are you two college graduates going to do now?"
"I have no idea. Bella and Olivia mentioned something about having one last get together before we head our separate ways."
"That sounds like fun. Go out and enjoy yourselves tonight, I can entertain the parents."
"It's not that it won't be fun, I'm just really sad about leaving them. It will be weird not living with them."
Tess clutched onto Gabriella's hand and looked into her brown eyes. "You have Troy by your side. He'll protect you from whatever and do his best to make you happy. You two will be fine."
"Thanks Tess. I really appreciate it!" The two girls hugged one last time before breaking apart and joining the rest of the group.
"Troy you better hold onto this girl. She's amazing." Tess asked while massaging her stomach. She was six months pregnant and was due July 21st. She and Aaron were ecstatic as were her parents and her siblings.
Troy smiled. "I know that."
"What are you two doing tonight?" Jack Bolton asked, interrupting their conversations.
"Oh, that's a surprise."
"But I thought we were going to a party?" Gabriella asked, staring up at her boyfriend curiously. The two had planned a long time ago to attend the big end of the year blowout party. Now, she was wondering what was going on.
"Um, I told them we wouldn't be able to come. I thought you and I could just hang out for a while." The duo began walking up the hill to the parking lot with their friends and family towing behind. She was not going to protest the idea of spending the night alone with Troy. Not only did she feel uncomfortable at those big college parties, but she had some important news she hoped to share with him.
"You ready to go, graduate?" Bringing her out of her thoughts, Gabriella looked up and saw Troy holding open the door to his truck waiting for her to climb in. "I don't know about you, but a free meal from our parents' sounds a lot better than hanging out in the sun all day."
"Just taking one last look. Come on, graduate."
Senior year, Graduation Day
"Gabriella, Troy's here!" Mrs. Montez yelled up the stairs to her soon-to-be graduated daughter. "You better hurry."
"Coming mom." Slipping on her shoes, Gabriella ran her hands down her dress one last time, grabbed her cap and gown and ran down the stairs.
"Oh sweetie." Mrs. Montez smiled. "You look so pretty." Tears were creeping out of the corners of the mother's eyes as she admired her grown daughter. "I'm so proud of you Gabriella."
"Thanks mom. Don't start crying now, the ceremony hasn't even started yet." Giving her mom a quick hug, she turned towards the door to leave.
"Do you have everything? Your speech?" Gabriella turned around at her mom and smiled.
"I'm good, mom. I'll see you afterwards, okay. I'll be the one with the big smile."
Before she could walk out the door, her mother stopped her. "Your father would be so proud of you, Gabi."
"I know." She smiled at her mom one last time before running out to Troy's truck.
"Hey Wildcat." Once Gabriella was in the car, Troy leaned across the bench seat and kissed her lightly on the lips.
"Hey Gabs. You look amazing." He let his eyes crawl up and down her body, admiring her beautiful white dress and the way it fell off of her shoulders. "I mean, really, really amazing."
She blushed of course. "Thanks, babe. My mom gave me this bracelet." Tugging delicately on the chain at her wrist, she showed him a beautiful small white pearl with a diamond right above it.
"It's gorgeous. But I was kind of hoping you would wear something of mine tonight." Troy reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a small, red velvet box.
"Troy…what is it?" Her eyes beamed with excitement.
He laughed slightly before giving it to her. "Just open it." Watching her brown eyes grown while she opened the lid to the box and squeal with excitement, Troy's heart nearly stopped. He loved how he managed to make her excited over the smallest things.
"Troy, this is beautiful." In her hand was a beautiful, white gold necklace in the shape of a "G." Tiny rhinestones encrusted the letter. "This is too much."
"Nah, babe. Nothing's too much for you." He leaned over, reached his arms behind her neck and fixed the clasp for her. "There, it's perfect."
Gabriella grabbed his hand which was fixed right over the bottom of the necklace. "Thank you Troy. I love you."
"I love you too." Pulling away, he slid back into his seat and put the car into gear. "Are you nervous?"
"Yeah, kind of." She admitted.
"Read it to me, please?" He begged. Gabriella was taken aback by his blunt request. "I want to hear it."
"But you'll hear it soon enough. Won't that ruin it for you?"
"Nope. I never get bored hearing your voice. Now read it for me."
"Why?" She asked, while turning the note cards around in her hand. "It's not that good."
"Impossible." When they reached a stop sign, Troy took his eyes off the rod and looked at her. "Gabriella, I love you. I want to hear your speech, please?"
"Because, I'm your biggest fan."
Gabriella blushed and whipped away a few loose tears. While shuffling through her note cards, she cleared her throat and looked back up at her boyfriend.
"Dearest friends, family, honored guests, administration and staff and wildcats. Today is our day. Today we embark on a brand new adventure . . ."
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
and while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish
"Troy, where are we going?" Gabriella asked as she was being dragged up several flights of stairs by her boyfriend. "We aren't going to spend the night in these old dorms are we?"
"Haha, no. But if you want, I'm all in favor of a sexy campout." Troy laughed while she blushed a dark shade of red. Luckily it was too dark for him to see. "We're going to have a romantic dinner."
"Where? On the moon?" She joked.
"No, on the roof." He couldn't see, but Gabriella's jaw dropped to the floor. "Did you know that they are tearing this building down?"
"Well, they are. Next Friday, actually. They have big plans for some sort of mega dorm complex that will be 'of the future'." Troy helped her climb up the final set of stairs and then went around and unlocked the door. "I think it's kind of silly, seeing as there are so many memories here."
Just as he finished talking, the door to the roof swung open and Gabriella was swept off her feet. A small, round table was set up in the corner with a red plaid picnic table cloth and two wax candles in the middle. There were several lantern lights covering the ledge of the balcony and in the opposite corner a stereo was playing very quietly in the background.
"Troy, this is . . . incredible." He led her over to the table where he pulled out her chair like any gentleman.
"Thank you sir." As she took a sip out of her glass of champagne, Gabriella continued. "I can't believe I'm actually going to miss this place." Gabriella frowned while wrapping her arms tighter around her chest to keep out the cold." Troy snuck up behind her and wrapped her arms around her small frame.
"I know, but I'm glad to be going home."
"Yeah?" Turning around to face him, she looked up into his deep blue eyes.
"What's so special about Albuquerque?" She asked
"Well, for starters, that's where I met you." She could feel her cheeks turning red.
"You met me at a ski lodge in Colorado." Gabriella corrected him rather bluntly. Troy leaned forward and kissed the tip of her nose.
I know that, but I mean, our whole relationship is pretty much centered around there. Duke is nice and I'm not going to say I won't miss it, but . . . for you and I, Albuquerque is our home."
"I guess so. It's going to be so weird going back home, though. I hope we can find some place to live . . ." Her voice trailed off and she let her eyes dance towards the sky, admiring the dozens of stars.
"Well, about that . . ." Troy stuck his hands in his jacket pocket and began pulling out a piece of paper. "I think we've already got that covered."
Gabriella couldn't explain the feeling she had next as she stared down at their future home. Her heart swelled and for the hundredth time that night, tears leaked out of the corners of her eyes.
"Troy? Is that ours?" She asked, not taking her eyes off of their quaint, four bedrooms, and three bathroom house just outside the city limits.
"Yep, darling. That's going to be the Bolton's homestead. Do you like it?"
"I love it. But not near as much as I love you." Gabriella stood on her toes and kissed him firmly on the lips. "Ooh, please tell me more. What does the living room look like? Is there a fireplace? What about the master bedroom? A balcony? How did you afford this?"
"I'll tell you all about it on the plane tomorrow. And let's just say that my grandparents and parents kind of chipped in."
Gabriella looked back up at him and then back at the paper. "Troy, this is too much. I can't ask your parents to do that." He could tell her excitement was dwindling and his heart began breaking.
"No, it's fine. Believe me, my parents wanted to help out. And they didn't help out too much, I swear." Smiling lightly, Troy felt much better about his big gift.
Gabriella fell silent for a little while, still staring at their future home until Troy's voice interrupted her thoughts.
"Do you know what my favorite part about the house is?" He asked, his cheeks now raising a bright shade of red.
"There's a great little room for a nursery, right across the hall from the master bedroom. It's already painted a nice shade of pink."
"Troy," Gabriella beamed. "I have a present for you, but you won't get it for a while." She tightened her grip around his waist and smiled.
"That's okay, Gabs. All I want is you here with me, underneath the stars."
"They are beautiful tonight, aren't they?" She noticed.
"Yeah, but you're more beautiful."
"Wow, I smell some really strong cheese." Gabriella joked, but soon her face fell serious again. "Do you ever wonder if there's someone up there in those stars, looking out for us?"
Troy stayed silent for some time while considering her question. "I think so, yeah. At least, I believe someone's watching over us."
"Yeah? Why is that?"
"Because they sent me you." He squeezed her hand and looked down into her beautiful brown eyes.
"Troy . . ."
"No, I mean it. Whoever is up there knew exactly what I needed when they sent me you." Tears slid down Gabriella's cheeks as she looked up into Troy's eyes. They stood there for a long time, wrapped in each others arms just staring at the stars in the sky. After a while, Gabriella's shivering became uncontrollable so Troy offered her his coat and they began the decent down stairs.
"I'm really going to miss this place." Gabriella said as she took one final look back at the roof. "This was our home for four years. That's the longest I've ever lived in one place."
"We'll, we're about to go to our real home now."
"Absolutely. Now hop on Ms. Montez, we have a long day tomorrow."
"Don't you mean Bolton?"
"Oh yeah, that's right. Come on Mrs. Bolton. Let's go home."
I hope you never look back, but you never forget,
all the ones who love you, in the place you left,
I hope you always forgive, and you never regret,
and you help somebody every chance you get,
Oh, you find God's grace, in every mistake,
and always give more than you take.
But More than anything, yeah, more than anything
Thank you guys for all the feedback from the Sweethearts. Here's the new chapter and I hope you guys love it. There are going to be several surprises so get ready for an exciting ride. The song is "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts!!! Feedback would be amazing!!!