I'll Be Strong for You

Author's note: Hi everyone. We all know that in life, we have to learn that all good things come to an end; and this story is coming to an end. After 25 Chapters, I have truly enjoyed writing this story for you guys and you are my greatest inspiration. I couldn't be happier with this story. Please enjoy the final chapter of this story.

Chapter Summary: Gabriella has finally woken up and she has learned about her mother's whereabouts and her condition. What will Troy do when he realizes that Gabriella may have to go through this alone?


Troy sat on his bed and he took in a deep breath. He had to go see Gabriella. He knew that she had to know about her mother. Troy felt that it was best she heard the news from him; after all, she was his girlfriend and she didn't know Thomas very well. Troy took in another breath and looked around his room. Even though he was back home and it was the only thing he ever wanted, a part of him wanted to go back to that island. It was on that island where he and Gabriella grew closer to each other. It was on that island where he and Gabriella had their first kiss. It was on that island, where they realized how much they really did need each other.

Troy groaned as he slowly got up off his bed and walked over to the dresser on the other side of his room and looked at the pictures he had of Gabriella. In one of the pictures, it was one of Gabriella's 'model shots'. That's what Troy called the picture. The way Gabriella tilted her head in the picture, the way she sat on the stone steps of his house, the way she smiled and even the way her hair was styled made her look like a supermodel. Maybe even prettier than Gisele Bündchen! Troy always teased Gabriella about it and she always blushed at the thought of him calling her a beautiful model. Troy loved the idea that he was the reason why she blushed.

Troy gazed to another picture and found a picture of the two of them at Semi-formal. Gabriella looked so beautiful wearing her crème colored spaghetti strapped cocktail dress. Just gazing at the picture, Troy remembered when he asked her to semi. She was at her locker and he just went up to her and asked if she wanted to go to semi with him…as friends! Troy regretted asking her out as a friend because not only did it send her the wrong message, but if he hadn't said that, they would've been dating already. But he was fortunate enough to have gone with her. Troy wouldn't have been able to bear it if she turned him down.

The last framed photo caught Troy's attention the most. It was a photograph of him and Gabriella sitting on the bench in their secret hideout; the greenhouse. Troy's arm was gently draped around her shoulders and her arm was resting on his knee and her head rested on his broad shoulders. That photo was taken two weeks before they went on the cruise trip. Troy let a weak smile grow across his face. Once he thought about it, the photo wasn't taken that long ago, but it felt like years since it was taken. Troy stared at the picture and his eyes widened at what he saw. He was blushing in the picture. Troy began to blush just staring at himself blushing. Troy had given a copy of this picture to Gabriella and he hoped and prayed she didn't notice him blushing too and start laughing. But it didn't seem to matter now; they were together now.

Troy continued to stare at it as he let the tips of his fingers graze the photo's frame softly. Troy sighed and he walked back to his bed and he collapsed onto it. Troy could feel his eyes beginning to close as exhaustion overtook him, when he heard a loud sudden knock on his door. Troy quietly groaned. It must have been his dad or his mom coming to check up on him. Troy really didn't have the energy to get up and open the door, so he just called to them.

"Come in." Troy hollered loudly, not taking his face off the pillow. Troy heard the door open, but it wasn't either of his parents.

"You miss us?" A familiar voice asked. Troy's head shot right up off the pillow. It was Chad. Troy turned his head and he saw Chad, Taylor and Ryan standing in his doorway. Troy smiled happily and he ran to Chad and hugged Chad tightly. They both laughed, happy to see each other after the whole ordeal they had been through. Troy let go of Chad and looked at him with a wide smile on his face.

"Chad! Oh Chad, it's so good to see you Bro." Troy said, patting his shoulder. Chad smiled in return and patted his best friend's shoulder as well.

"It's good seeing you too Troy. It's nice seeing you alive and clean." Chad said with a playful smile. Troy smiled back and he turned to Taylor and he hugged her back as well. Taylor smiled as she hugged her boyfriend's best friend.

"It's good to have you back Troy. We were so worried about you." Taylor said as she hugged him tightly. Troy nodded his head as he let her go.

"It's good to see you too Taylor." Troy said as he turned to face Ryan, who had a very sorry look in his eyes.

"Troy, I'm sorry about what happened on the island. I wish I didn't do that to you or Gabriella." Ryan said apologetically. Troy nodded his head with a forgiving smile.

"It's okay. Sharpay came by earlier and explained everything me. Thank you for being honest with me though." Troy said. Ryan nodded his head with a smile.

"Thanks man." Ryan said as he and Troy shared a small hug. They both smiled as they let go of each other and turned to Chad and Taylor.

"So give us the dirt Troy. What's been going on?" Chad asked as he sat on Troy's computer chair and Taylor sat on his lap. Troy sighed as he sat on his bed and looked at his three friends, made themselves comfortable sitting on his computer chair and on his bed.

"Well, the good news is… I and Gabriella are dating now." Troy said, trying his hardest not to blush. The trio all smiled with admiration; even Ryan!

"Finally! Thank God, because no offense man, but I was so sick of hearing you talk about how much you loved her when you weren't going to ask her out! I was tempted to tell her how you felt about her. But I'm happy for you man. Gabriella is very lucky to have you now." Chad said with a playful smirk. Ryan smiled genuinely as well.

"Congrats Troy. You deserve this more than anything." Ryan said with a cheerful smile. Taylor nodded in agreement.

"I agree strongly. What other good news do you have for us?" Taylor asked, hoping for more dirt on him and Gabriella. Troy sighed sadly and shook his head.

"Unfortunately, that's the only good news I have." Troy sadly informed them with a sigh. Chad blinked hard. Bad news?

"What's the bad news Troy?" Chad asked. Troy looked him in the eye.

"Gabriella has bronchitis. And her mom has to stay in the hospital until Gabriella gets better. And I've had bronchitis before; it takes a while before you finally get better. It's going to break Gabriella's heart when she learns that she has to go through all this alone." Troy said, feeling his hands begin to shake. Ryan looked at him and raised an eyebrow.

"But isn't…" Ryan began to say before Troy interrupted him in frustration.

"Yeah I know, she has Thomas there with her, but it's not the same as having you mother there to take care of you. I don't know what to do. I can't help but think that she's going to be so alone. I want to do something but there isn't much I can do. Guys, you don't know how helpless I feel. I feel so powerless." Troy lamented, trying his hardest not to cry in front of his friends. Taylor, Chad and Ryan all felt an urge to cry but tried not to for the same reasons why Troy didn't want to cry. Taylor got up from Chad's lap and she sat across from Troy on his bed. She had her usual serious stare in her eyes.

"Troy, I know that you're worried about her but you have to have faith. You have to believe that she's okay." Taylor said with seriousness in her voice. Troy shook his head and he got up from his bed and walked over to his window in frustration.

"How can I possibly have faith right now Taylor? Have you seen her mom? Her mom is a wreck. And when Gabriella wakes up and finds out about her mom, Gabriella is going to break down crying. And I've seen her cry, and it breaks my heart. I don't want to see her hurt! It's too painful." Troy said, refusing to look at his friends, ashamed at what they might think of him now. Ryan sighed as he got up from where he sat and walked over to Troy and he gently placed a hand on his broad shoulder.

"Troy…listen to me." Ryan demanded in a kind tone. Troy reluctantly turned to Ryan and nodded his head, urging Ryan to continue talking.

"We all don't want to see her hurt. Especially you. But don't you think that she would want you to be strong for her? Don't you think it will be best if she was hurt, knowing that you were there for her to lean on or her to be hurt and you weren't strong enough to help her?" Ryan asked Troy with an effective voice.

Troy blinked in utter surprise. What Ryan told him was very effective and convincing. Troy never would have guessed that Ryan would inspire him like this. Troy knew that Ryan liked Gabriella before, and for Ryan to tell him to be strong for Gabriella, truly meant something to him and that he and Ryan were now friends; nothing to feel awkward about now. Troy let a smile slowly grow across his face as he stared at Ryan.

"Thank you Ryan. You're right. I have to be strong for her. I have to be there for her. Ryan, I never thought I would say this but…you're officially my inspiration!" Troy said with a wide and vivid smile. Ryan smiled back at Troy and patted his shoulder.

"Anytime man." Ryan said simply. Chad jumped out of the chair with a wide smile on his face.

"You know what? I say that we go out and celebrate by going to that new pizza parlor! We will celebrate getting off the island, and Ryan being an inspiration to us all!" Chad said happily. The four friends laughed happily as they walked out of Troy's room and they left his house to go buy pizza. At the time, it seemed like everything was going right.

In the middle of the night…

It was two in the morning and Troy slept in his bed, in a deep slumber. Ever since he was rescued off the island, Troy had been sleeping a lot since then. Maybe because he had lost so much sleep when he was on the island, he was making up for it all. Or maybe because he was a young adult, he was just being a typical teenage boy always sleeping. Whatever the reason was, he was enjoying it and had no shame; Troy was now enjoying sleeping a lot now.

Troy continued to sleep, when he suddenly awoke to the sounds of his cell phone. Troy's head shot right up from his pillow and he tiredly turned on his lamp and looked at his cell phone sitting on his night table. Troy groaned tiredly. Who is calling me at this hour and why, Troy wondered to himself. Some people like to sleep you know, Troy angrily thought to himself. He picked up his cell phone and Troy flipped his phone open and answered it, not even bothering to see who was calling him.

"Hello?" Troy answered tiredly, slightly annoyed. He wasn't answered with a hello; he was replied back with heartbreaking sobs.

"T-Troy." The crying voice answered back. Troy's eyes widened. It was Gabriella; she was crying.

"Gabriella? Babe, what's wrong? Why are you crying?" Troy asked, suddenly not feeling tired anymore, but concerned. Gabriella continued to sob into the phone and she struggled to talk to Troy.

"Troy, I just woke up and I can't find my mom. I found Thomas sleeping on the couch, and when I went to my mom's room to see if my mom was sleeping, she wasn't there and neither was her stuff. Troy, where is my mom? If you know, please tell me Troy." Gabriella begged, still sobbing violently.

Listening to her crying on the phone was breaking Troy's heart. She didn't know where her mom was. Troy did know, but he couldn't tell her over the phone; it's an awful way to find out. He had to talk to her in person. He couldn't just tell her that he'll call her in the morning and tell her about her mom; that would be cruel and unfair. He had to go over to her house now. She needed him there. He had to be with her in person.

"Gabriella, unlock your door on your balcony." Troy informed her as he began to get out of bed. Gabriella sniveled.

"Why?" Gabriella asked.

"Because I'm coming in that way. I'm coming over right now." Troy told her as he grabbed a pen and paper and began to write a note telling his parents where he would be.

"No Troy, you don't have to do that." Gabriella told him.

"No Gabriella. I'm coming over. I don't want to go back to sleep without knowing you're alright." Troy told her as he grabbed a pair of jeans and a shirt he found on the floor.

"Troy, why can't you just tell me over the phone?" Gabriella asked desperately.

"I can't tell you over the phone because it is something I have to tell you in person. I don't care what you argue, I'm still coming over." Troy told her as he put on a shirt. Troy heard Gabriella sigh.

"Okay Troy. I'll be waiting. I love you." Gabriella said as she hung up. Troy put his phone away as he took of his pajama bottoms and put on his jeans and walked out of his room.

Once he got downstairs, Troy placed the note on the kitchen counter, where he knew his mother would find the note. After leaving the note, Troy grabbed his house key and he opened his front door and locked it once he was out. The early morning air hit him gently as he walked down the empty streets towards Gabriella's house. Troy sighed to himself, wondering what he would tell Gabriella about her mom. How would he word it? How would he tell her without it turning into world war three?

Troy thoughts were interrupted when he soon found himself in front of Gabriella's house. Troy opened the gate to her backyard and he saw that her bedroom light was on. She was still awake. Troy walked further into her backyard and he began to climb up the big tree that led him to Gabriella's balcony. Once he accomplished climbing up the tree, Troy got himself onto the balcony and he looked through the glass door and saw Gabriella crying on her bed. It was killing him to see her like that. Troy slowly walked closer to her door and he tapped on the glass, informing her that he was there. Gabriella's head immediately looked up and looked at Troy. Gabriella slowly got up off her bed and she opened the glass door, letting Troy in. Troy walked into her room and he looked into her eyes and saw how red and puffy they were. Troy sighed sadly.

"Gabriella…" Troy began to say, but was at a loss of words. Gabriella began to choke on her tears again.

"Troy, where is my mom?" Gabriella asked, choking on her tears. Troy grabbed Gabriella's shoulders and pulled her into a tight bear hug, refusing to let her go.

"Gabriella…you have bronchitis and the doctors feared that it would affect your mom's cancer and her treatments, so she has to stay at the hospital until you get better. I'm sorry Gabriella." Troy told her, as he held her closely, rubbing his hands up and down her back gently. Gabriella sobbed into Troy's chest and she held on tighter to him.

"Oh Troy…Troy I can't believe this! Why is this happening to her?" Gabriella sobbed into his chest. Troy looked down at his girlfriend and was heartbroken. She was a good person and was very sweet and loving. So why did she have to go through all this alone? Why did she have to suffer? Troy lowered his head and he gently kissed her head.

"Gabi, it's okay. I'm here for you. You just have to rest and get better. The quicker you get better, the quicker it will be when your mom comes home. But in order to do that, you have to be strong." Troy told her comfortingly. For what seemed like hours, Gabriella didn't say anything and only cried into his chest. Troy held her close and he picked her up like a baby and he carried her over to her bed. Once they arrived over to her bed, Troy gently rested her down on the bed and he pulled the blankets over her. Gabriella continued to whimper as Troy quietly began to shush her as he delicately ran a hand through her long thick hair.

"Gabriella, I need you to sleep. I'm going to stay right here with you. I'm just going to be sleeping on your computer chair. I'm not going to leave you." Troy told her as he turned and sat in her computer chair. Gabriella sat up quickly and called for Troy.

"Troy no! I want you to sleep with me on the bed. I want to fall asleep knowing I'll wake up in your arms. Please Troy, just stay with me." Gabriella begged, wiping away the last of her tears. Troy bit his lip as he stared at her. He couldn't refuse; not only because she was upset but what kind of a man would he be to deny a pretty woman? Troy nodded his head as he walked over to her bed and got under the covers.

"If it will help you go to sleep I will sleep here with you. Try and rest babe; I want you to get better and I need you to stay strong." Troy told her as he stretched his legs out across and he wrapped his arms around Gabriella petite body. Gabriella just nodded her head as she rested her head on Troy's chest and fell asleep. Troy looked at her already sleeping body and let a weak smile grow across his face. At least he got her to sleep. Troy turned around and turned off the lamp and he went back to Gabriella and fell asleep with her in his arms. He knew he couldn't be acting love struck, but with her in his arms, he had to surrender. Troy promised himself that in the morning, he would do something for Gabriella to make her situation a little bit better.

The next morning…

The bright light from Gabriella's window awoke Troy. Troy's eyes fluttered open and he looked around the room that didn't belong to him. Troy was first clueless as to where he was, but then he remembered the events that happened during the night and why he wasn't in his own room. Troy's eyes wandered to his arms where his beautiful girlfriend slept in his arms. He let a sad smile grow across his face. Gabriella slept so serenely and peacefully, that it was hard to believe that she was crying in his arms in the midst of the night.

Troy sighed as he slowly lifted a hand and gently cupped her cheek into his hand. Troy smiled weakly as he allowed his thumb to gently caress her cheek. Troy stared at himself caressing her cheek and he noticed that he always held her cheek in his hand. Troy didn't know what he found so captivating about her cheeks, but he was always caressing and cupping her cheek into his hands. Maybe it was because he loved the softness of it. But he kind of liked more the idea that it was his way of showing his affection for her. He kept doing that to her on the island when they weren't dating just to show her that there was something there. Even though he had her now, he still liked to do it; it was pretty obvious that Gabriella liked it and Troy loved doing it too.

As he continued to caress her cheek, he glanced at Gabriella's clock and he sighed at the time. It was eleven forty-five. Troy new that he would have to get out of bed soon and explain everything to Thomas and why he was in their house. Troy regretfully took his hand off of Gabriella's soft silky face and he got out from her bed and he tiptoed out of her room and down the stairs of her house. As he walked down the stairs slowly, he could hear Thomas in the kitchen, making lists of stuff he had to do. Troy bit his lip. He really was scared that Thomas would think that he was in their house last night for the wrong kind of reason. He didn't want Thomas to think that he hurt Gabriella like that. Troy bit his lip harder as he quietly walked towards the kitchen, where Thomas' back was turned to Troy. Troy sighed, as he collected the words in his mouth and spoke them.

"Good morning Thomas." Troy said, trying to hide the nervousness from his voice. Thomas quickly turned around, clearly shocked that Troy was standing behind him. Thomas just stared at Troy blankly and after just staring at him, he finally talked to him.

"What are you doing here Troy?" Thomas asked. Troy bit his lip and he tried his hardest not to begin twiddling his fingers with nervousness.

"I slept with Gabriella last night." Troy said nervously. Troy saw Thomas' eyes quickly widen and Troy thought about his choice of words and soon realized that they sent him the wrong message. Crap! Bad choice of words! He's going to think I'm a dirty sick perv! Calm yourself Troy...just play it cool…,Troy thought to himself, picking better words to say.

"No I don't mean like that! She woke up in the middle of the night crying because she didn't know where Gina was and she didn't want to wake you up so she called me to come over. So I did; at two in the morning. I was here and I comforted her and I told her that she had to sleep and she told me that she didn't want to be alone so I stayed with her. That's all that happened. We didn't do anything. I swear I would never force myself on Gabriella like that." Troy told Thomas, truth clearly showing in his voice. Thomas stared at Troy and he nodded his head with approval to the story.

"I believe you Troy…so you told her about her mother?" Thomas asked. Troy nodded his head.

"I did…I'm sorry, I know you wanted to tell her but she was heartbroken and she asked me to tell her and i couldn't just tell her that i couldn't." Troy told Thomas, hoping he would understand. Thomas nodded in understanding.

"Its okay Troy, I understand why she would want you to tell her." Thomas said with a smile. Troy bit his lip and looked at Thomas.

"Thomas, I was wondering if maybe you could take me and Gabriella somewhere tonight." Troy asked, hoping Thomas would be up to it. Thomas nodded his head and looked Troy in the eye.

"Sure…where to?" Thomas asked. Troy bit his lip as he began to whisper his plan to Thomas.

Later that day…

Gabriella slowly began to open her eyes. She was still in bed at quarter to three in the afternoon. Gabriella groaned as she began to slowly lift her head off her soft and fluffy pillow. Gabriella sighed as she ran a hand through her hair. She was very tired even though she had slept more than the average person has. Gabriella rubbed her eyes and she slowly got up off her bed and she walked over to her dresser and grabbed some clothes. Gabriella grabbed a pair of her light blue jeans and threw them on lazily. She then grabbed white baby doll shirt that complimented her skin tone very well. She looked walked into her bathroom and she brushed her hair and let her loose natural waves hang on her shoulders. She then brushed her teeth, making her teeth smell fresh. Once she saw that she looked somewhat alive, she put on her white flats and she walked out of her room and called for Thomas.

"Thomas? Thomas, are you there? I'm awake now if you want to go for a walk." Gabriella called out. Suddenly, she heard Thomas' voice come from the kitchen.

"Gabriella…come here for a moment." Thomas called out from the kitchen. Gabriella listened obediently and walked into the kitchen, and she not only saw Thomas standing there, but she also saw Troy. Gabriella's face lit up when she saw Troy.

"Hello you two." Gabriella said with a happy smile. Troy smiled as he took a step towards her and took her hand and kissed her cheek.

"Gabriella, how do you feel about going on a boat ride?" Troy asked with a smirk. Gabriella looked at Troy and raised an eyebrow.

"A boat ride?" She asked skeptically. Thomas nodded his head as he grabbed a large cardboard box that he and Troy had been working on earlier.

"Yes, I'm going to take you both for a boat ride." Thomas said as he walked past them with the large cardboard box. Gabriella turned to her boyfriend in confusion.

"What's in the box? And why are we going on a boat ride?" Gabriella asked. Troy grinned and snaked an arm around her waist.

"You'll find out in time." Troy said, kissing her lips quickly before bringing her out to the car, where Thomas was waiting. Gabriella tried to hide her impatience as she and Troy sat in Thomas' car. Gabriella didn't know it yet, but she was in for a ride.

In the boat hours later…

Gabriella and Troy smiled happily at each other as Thomas took control on the boat and drove around quickly on the water like lightning. They were on the water for almost two and a half hours. Gabriella saw that the sun was beginning to go down. They hadn't eaten or drank anything since they left. Gabriella was beginning to get tired of sitting and she wanted to do something. Gabriella sighed and she turned to Troy who had a good-humored grin on his face.

"What's that smirk for?" Gabriella asked with a smile. Troy shook his head, maintaining that playful smirk.

"I can't tell you." Troy told her playfully.

"Why?" Gabriella asked with a smile. Troy stretched his arm around her and pulled her into him.

"If I told you that would ruin my little surprise for you." Troy told her, kissing her cheek quickly. It wasn't long until Gabriella noticed that the boat was beginning to slow down. Thomas turned back to the two lovebirds and smiled.

"Make yourselves comfortable, we're almost there." Thomas said. Gabriella looked at Troy confused.

"Almost where?" Gabriella asked confused. Troy smirked as he planted small kisses on her cheek.

"Gabriella, curiosity killed the cat." Troy told her as he continued to plant small kisses on her cheek and jaw line. Gabriella smiled as she gazed into Troy's dazzlingly cerulean eyes.

"There must be some unknown and very odd reason why I am dating you Troy." Gabriella said with a playful wink. Troy smirked at her and shook his head.

"You're with me because you know you love me." Troy said playfully, not trying to sound too much like a boyfriend when Thomas was there. Thomas turned around quickly and winking at Troy, giving him the signal for the surprise. Troy nodded his head and he turned to Gabriella with a smile.

"Gabriella, we're almost there to the surprise, so I need you to close your eyes and no peeking." Troy informed her. Gabriella raised both eyebrows and smiled.

"What is it Troy?" Gabriella asked, not closing her eyes. Troy saw the surprise coming and he put his hands over her eyes.

"Never mind, I'll just cover your eyes myself; I know you're going to peek. Just stand up and turn when I tell you to okay?" Troy told her, leaving his hands on her eyes. Gabriella nodded obediently and sat near Troy. Troy saw the surprise and Thomas stopped the boat. Troy brought his lips close to Gabriella's ear.

"I need you to stand up now." Troy informed her. And Gabriella did, trusting Troy with all her heart. Troy stared at the surprise and he slowly began to take his hands off her eyes.

"You can look now." Troy told her, taking his hands fully off her eyes. Gabriella opened her eyes and she gasped at what she saw; it was the island that they had been stuck on for those dreadful days. But for some reason, the island didn't look as torturous as it was before. It looked romantic. Gabriella turned to Troy, at a loss of words.

"Troy what are we doing here?" Gabriella asked, trying to collect her thoughts. Troy grinned and snaked an arm around her ever so tiny waist.

"You and I are having dinner on this island." Troy told her as Thomas gave him the large cardboard box.

"I'm going to give you two crazy kids your privacy so I'll be gone until you send me the signal okay Troy?" Thomas asked smiling. Troy nodded his head, taking the box from his hand and slowly stepping out of the boat with Gabriella.

"Will do Thomas!" Troy said happily as Thomas and the boat began to drive off. Troy and Gabriella continued walking to the island with smiles painted on their faces. When they finally got there, Troy placed the cardboard box in the box and he turned to his lovely girlfriend.

"Are you surprised?" Troy asked with a smirk. Gabriella nodded her head as she gazed around the island.

"I'm surprised, that's for sure." Gabriella said.

Troy nodded his head with a smile as he grabbed the cardboard box and he opened it, pulling out a red and white table cloth. He stretched it out across the sand and once it was stretched out across the sand, he pulled out two candles and he lit them up with a match. He then went into the cardboard box and he pulled out plates of food for him and Gabriella and drinks for them too. Finally, Troy pulled out his cordless radio and placed it beside the cloth and he turned to Gabriella with a smile.

"Welcome to dinner, Ms. Montez." Troy said with a loving smile. Gabriella smiled, clearly impressed as she sat beside Troy on the mat. Gabriella smiled at him admiringly as she looked at all the food and she stifled out a laugh. Troy had ordered Chinese food; one of her favorite meals. She turned to Troy with a smile.

"Troy how did you get all this Chinese food?" Gabriella asked. Troy smiled humbly and took her hand.

"I went to China while you were sleeping." Troy said with a joking smirk. Gabriella raised an eyebrow with a grin.

"Oh did you?" Gabriella asked, smirking. Troy nodded and kissed her hand.

"I ordered it while you were sleeping." Troy told her. Gabriella stared into his eyes. She knew how expensive Chinese food could be; and if Troy spent money on it, she wanted to pay him back.

"Troy how much was all this? I will pay you back, just tell me the price and I'll…" Gabriella began to say, but then Troy laid a finger across her lips.

"Don't even worry about it. Just live for right now with me Gabriella." Troy told her, brushing her hair out of her face. Gabriella smiled as she and Troy began to indulge on the Chinese food. Gabriella grabbed a chicken ball and she took a bite out of it and she let the delectable taste overwhelm her.

"This is good, Troy." Gabriella complimented. Troy smiled as he bit into his breaded shrimp.

"What can I say? I know how to pick good Chinese food." Troy said with a playful smirk. Gabriella put down her food and she looked at Troy as he chewed on his shrimp.

"Troy…why are we here? I mean, I love that you set all this up for me, but I thought you wanted to get off here." Gabriella pointed out as she took a sip from her can of diet coke. Troy looked into her chocolate brown eyes and he let a slight smile grow across his face.

"It's part of the surprise Gabriella. If I told you, it would ruin it and I've been planning this all day." Troy said with a playful wink. Gabriella giggled at Troy. The wait for this amazing surprise was killing her, but the fact that Troy was acting like a perfect boyfriend was making her feel the urge to cry with joy.

"Troy, I'm about to ask you something and I don't want you to think any less of me okay?" Gabriella asked, looking Troy in the eye. Troy nodded with a smile.

"I would never think less of you." Troy modestly told her. Gabriella nodded her head and she looked Troy in the eye, love and passion clearly showing.

"When did you know that you were in love with me?" Gabriella asked, a little bit embarrassed about her questions. Troy smiled at her, seeing that she was embarrassed. She was so cute when she was.

"Well…first of all don't be embarrassed because what I'm about to tell you is even more embarrassing." Troy began to say, hoping that the sky was dark enough to hide his blushing cheeks. Gabriella nodded her head, urging him to go on.

"Just tell me Troy." Gabriella urged. Troy stared into her eyes and he smiled lovingly.

"I knew that I was in love with you because…I would see you in a crowd of people…but you were the only one I could see. I knew I loved you when you became the only thing that I would think about and you became the only person I wanted to be close to. That's how I knew I loved you." Troy told her lovingly, kissing her cheek. Gabriella let a single tear stream down her cheek. Hearing something that meaningful from Troy touched Gabriella's heart.

"Troy, I love you so much." Gabriella said to Troy with a smile. Troy turned for a moment quickly to the radio and he turned it on, 'I'm kissing you' by Des'ree playing. Troy turned back to her and he stood up.

"Gabriella, come with me for a second. I have to talk to you." Troy said, extending out his hand to Gabriella. Gabriella hesitated for a moment from taking his hand, but then she smiled and took his hand. Troy and Gabriella walked a little further away from their little picnic and Troy turned to Gabriella, who looked at Troy with curiosity.

"Troy, what's going on? You've been so secretive since the moment we got here, now what's the catch?" Gabriella asked, beginning to get anxious to find out why he brought her here. Troy gazed into her eyes as he took hold of both her hands.

"The reason why I brought you back to this island is because…because this where we became a couple. As much as we both wanted to get off, this is where you and I fell in love." Troy said, fighting the urge not to kiss her fiercely.

"Troy, I never knew you were such a romantic person." Gabriella said, blushing. Troy grinned back at her.

"I speak nothing but the truth Gabby. I wanted you to see the other side of the island. We fell in love here. I don't want you to ever forget that." Troy told her as he raised her hands and kissed them gently. Gabriella blushed even more.

"Troy you are so sweet for bringing me here to remind me of when we fell in love. You're such a good boyfriend." Gabriella complimented as she began to move in and kiss him. Gabriella was stopped by Troy, who moved back slightly, and still gazed into her eyes.

"Gabriella, I'm not done yet. There's another important reason why I brought you here." Troy said staring into her eyes.

"Why?" Gabriella asked. Troy stared into her eyes as he began to remember that moment on the island.

"Gabriella, when we had that huge argument about Sharpay, there was something you said to me that really made me think." Troy began to say. Gabriella nodded her head, urging him to go on.

"What did I say?" Gabriella asked. Troy held her hands even tighter and he didn't dare to break eye contact with her.

"You said that just for once you wanted someone to be strong for you and that you were tired of always having to be strong for everyone." Troy said. Gabriella raised an eyebrow. Why was this important? Why was he mentioning this to her?

"Okay, so I was upset about what Sharpay did and I was having a meltdown…but what does that have to do with…" Gabriella began to say, but Troy interrupted her.

"That's why I arranged all this for you. Gabriella, with everyone that's been happening with your mom and still trying to get to know Thomas, you're going to emotionally feel alone. And I can't bear to see that happen to you. So that's why I arranged all this for you. I want to promise you something." Troy told her with a smile. Gabriella stared into his eyes, not knowing what was going to come out of his mouth.

"What's your promise Troy?" Gabriella asked.

"Gabriella, I promise that…I'll be strong for you. I'll always be strong for you, when you can't be. I promise that nothing will stop me from being strong for you." Troy told her, pulling her in closer to him.

Gabriella smiled into Troy's eyes. Never once had she heard something so romantic. He was going to be strong for her when she wouldn't have the strength to. He would be there when she needed someone to love her. He would love her when she needed someone there for her. Gabriella had a few boyfriends before Troy, but she had never felt the same like she did being with Troy. She felt so safe…and in love. Gabriella let a tear of love and joy stream down her cheek as she gazed into Troy's eyes.

"Troy…thank you. Thank you for being the perfect boyfriend and for promising to be what I need." Gabriella said, trying to avoid letting too many tears fall down her cheeks. Troy smiled as he brushed away her tears with the pads of his thumbs.

"There is something else I want to do to make my promise an official promise." Troy said as he took the pink diamond ring out of the pocket in his jeans and slipped it onto Gabriella's promise finger. Gabriella stared at the ring and let more tears fall down her cheeks.

"I have something to make this promise a promise as well Troy." Gabriella said, going into her jeans pockets. Gabriella pulled out the chain with the 'T' charm that belonged to Gabriella's father. Troy took the chain from Gabriella's petite hands and he put the chain around his neck. Troy's left arm snaked around Gabriella's waist and his right hand slowly lifted to cup her cheek. Gabriella smiled at Troy as he caressed her cheek gently.

"I love you Troy." Gabriella said, moving in closer to Troy. Troy smiled, still caressing her cheek.

"I love you too Gabriella." Troy said as he moved in closer and gave her a passionate and loving kiss.

Even though they didn't want to remember the true horror of that fateful night when their cruise ship sank, there was some good that came out of it all. Being on the island and enduring everything they went through changed them in some way. Sharpay became a better person and realized that her actions were wrong. Ryan learned not to follow his sister's morally wrong actions no matter what she promised would happen in the end. Chad became stronger and Taylor became wiser. And the whole ordeal showed Troy and Gabriella how much they really needed and loved each other. Everything that happened was fate.

They had their fight for love, a fight for acceptance…and a fight for survival. And they would never forget that fight for the rest of their lives.

The End


Well there it is folks…the final chapter of my story. I'm crying as I'm writing this because I've had a lot of fun writing this story for you guys and now that it's over…I'm going to miss getting reviews from you guys and being inspired from you all. All the reviews you guys have given me have put a smile on my face and some even made me laugh! You are all my biggest inspiration and because of you guys, I'm going to be writing another HSM story for you guys in late January or early February!

Also, I'd like to thank the following people for reviewing the previous chapters of my story:

Hinata-37

myd0gr0cks

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...

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If I forgot anybody, please tell me and I'll add it in!! Until my next story, I love you all and have a happy new year!!

Love,

Acting-Singing-Bella (Alanna)