I've been working on this story a while for a friend of mine. We both like planned it and we have the whole story planned out but somehow I ended up writing it all. Never mind.

But you don't want to listen to me rambling on, you want to read this story (at least I hope you do), so please don't let me stop you...

Emily had sweaty palms. She never had sweaty palms. She had also never been to America. Well she had but she was 3 and who can remember when they were 3? And those who tell you they can are lying.

Anyway she was standing in the middle of a corridor, nervous as hell (hence the sweaty palms) and scared. Not a very good combination. She couldn't have looked more foreign if she tried. Back in England, she had been pretty tanned compared to everyone else. But here she looked like a vampire compared to everyone else.

She looked up at the ominous building in front of her. In her dreams it had been some kind of monster, complete with evil window eyes and teeth jutting from the big glass double doors which served as the mouths, the entrance into the belly of the beast.

But now she was stood in front of it and she saw no teeth or moving windows. It was just a normal building, a normal high school.

"East High," she muttered under her breath. "I preferred the monster house."

She stood where she was, absorbing (drinking?) in the sight of her new school. The red banners, the fountain, the cheerleaders, the jocks, the brainiacs. She was surprised to see that there were no definable cliques. They were all mixed in together. The jocks weren't just talking to the cheerleaders, they were talking to the brainacs too. She almost smiled when she saw a cheerleader trying to skate.

She let out a sigh and began to walk forwards. She took a deep breath, preparing herself to walk through those doors into what she still thought of as the belly of the beast. She pushed the door and she had taken no more than two steps before she was knocked off her feet. She landed heavily on her bodacious behind and immediately started to pick herself up, ignoring the protest of most of the nerves in her lower body. She brushed herself off and looked to see what had knocked her over. Her eyes fell on a blonde who was on the floor. The blonde's mouth formed a little O and her eyes showed shock. Emily moved to help the blonde to her feet but most of the crowd around them beat her to it. They blocked her view of the blonde for a moment and when they cleared she was on her feet with a guy wearing a hat next to her.

Emily could tell by the expression the blonde wore that she was in for an earful. Or maybe a handful Emily thought eying up the blondes perfectly manicured nails. Her eyes returned to the blondes face and she could tell that she was about to explode. When the blonde opened her mouth Emily cringed slightly. But before the blonde had the chance to saw anything the boy wearing the hat whispered softly in her ear. The blonde rolled her chocolate eyes and sighed. She obviously saw the hat guys point.

She stalked up to Emily, eying her like a lion would a piece of meat. Emily silently gulped, worried about what the blonde was going to do. She very nearly flinched when the blonde thrust her hand forwards. Then she realised that it wasn't a violent gesture and wiped her hand quickly on the leg of her jeans before returning the gesture by shaking her hand.

"Hi," the blonde said, giving Emily a toothy smile. "My name is Sharpay."

"Err..." Emily replied, deeply puzzled at what had just happened. "Emily."

"Well hello Emily. You're new here aren't you?" Sharpay asked, still smiling.

"Hmm what gave it away?" Emily tried to joke. "The fact I just walked into you or the fact that I look like a lost puppy?"

"Actually it was your accent, gotta love the British," Sharpay said, shooting Emily's feeble attempt at a joke down in flames. "Plus you looked like a lost puppy." She added, the smile changing into a smirk. She moved closer to Emily and whispered in her ear, "And I never could resist a puppy." Without even looking back, Sharpay walked off and the crowd parted like the red sea.

Emily just stood there and watched her walk away. She had now gone beyond confusion. She turned to find the hat guy standing right behind her. "Hi," he said simply. "Don't worry about her. She's more of a cat person." His eyes were still on the retreating figure of Sharpay. Now that Emily saw him up close she saw the similarities between him and Sharpay.

"Erm hi," she said, slightly freaked out by who she had dubbed hat guy.

"Yeah hi. Wait I already said hi didn't I?" hat guy said, a look of puzzlement crossing his face for a second. Emily smiled at the sight. It made him look like a little puppy dog. It was sweet. "Anyway, yeah my name is Ryan aka The Drama King and the proud twin of the Ice Queen."

"Ice Queen?"

Instead of answering Ryan pointed in a dramatic way in the direction that Sharpay had walked. Well it wasn't really a point, it was a sweeping arm gesture which ended with Ryan pointing. This made Emily chuckle. She could see why he was called the King of Drama. She couldn't see how he and Sharpay were related. True she had only spent a minute with each of them but they seemed nothing alike. Sharpay just plain freaked her out and Ryan was so friendly.

Ryan was still in his pointing pose when the pair was approached by a short girl with brown hair pulled up into a pony tail and hidden beneath a hat. Emily saw her out of the corner of her eye and tried to give her a little smile. The trepidation she had felt had disappeared the moment Ryan had introduced himself. The girl returned her smile warmly before turning to Ryan.

"Oh no."

"Oh no?" Emily asked.

The girl turned back to Emily. "You got him in drama mode didn't you?" she scolded playfully.

That was when Ryan stood up again, almost as if he was snapping to attention. He then looked at the girl and bobbed his head, nodding like a hyper toddler. The girl let out a teasing sigh and rolled her eyes. "And this is why we ration your sugar intake," the girl said, letting herself be drawn up into Ryan's arms. "Who is this then?"

Ryan separated himself from the girl to walk over to Emily. He stood up straight, indicating Emily as a game show assistant would indicate a cuddly toy or other such prize. "Kelsi Nielson I would like very much to introduce you to my new friend Emily...?"

"Benson," Emily finished for him. "My name is Emily Benson."

"Well it's nice to meet you Emily Benson," Kelsi said whilst reaching for her hand. She gave it a quick firm shake before cringing at the bell. "Ry that's the first bell, we have to go." When he didn't move right away she shouted "Now" at him from half way down the hall.

He made to move after her and then remembered about the new girl stood there all alone and the picture of confusion. He couldn't help but smirk when he looked at her. Sharpay was right, she did look like a little lost puppy. He grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her along with him.

"Kelsi wait up!"

Kelsi didn't wait, but she did slow thereby giving Ryan a chance to drag Emily to catch up. Emily was beyond confused at this point. From her first impressions of Ryan she had assumed he was gay. However the way he had acted with Kelsi made her wonder. Then she was distracted from her thoughts by the fact that Ryan had almost pulled her from her feet and much to her surprise, she had managed to catch herself. Instead of falling over she found herself sliding on over polished lino.

The look of wonder on Ryan's face was lost on her as she rushed past him, her momentum carrying her forward. Kelsi appeared as nothing more than a blur to her as she turned her attention to the wall that was rapidly moving to meet her. She saw some kind of mural on her target but she couldn't make sense of what her eyes were seeing. Her brain didn't work all that well at the best of times, it was hardly guna work when she was travelling at speed.

SPLAT!

Ryan and Kelsi couldn't help but cringe at the sound. Ryan was sure he heard a crunch but then he shrugged it off, figuring it was just his imagination trying to be overdramatic like usual. Ryan made eye contact with Kelsi, exchanging a glance that spoke volumes. They heard a groan and turned away from each other to find a bruised and battered Emily trying to pick herself up off the ground. They again looked at each other before rushing to help Emily.

Once Emily was up off the floor she looked from Ryan to Kelsi and back again. When she met his gaze again Ryan decided to shake his head in disappointment, as if scolding Emily for sliding into a wall. She looked back to Kelsi, not having the energy to point out to Ryan that it was actually his fault that she had slid into the wall. All she got from Kelsi though was a roll of the eyes.

That was when Emily gave up. She looked at no-one in particular and rolled her eyes. She pried her arms out of the grasp of the other two and threw them up over her head. She turned away from them and moved past them, further along the wall. This didn't mean she couldn't see the looks exchanged the two she now knew to be a couple. No-one could look at each other like that and act that way together without being romantically involved. She heard chatting behind her but she couldn't focus on what was being said.

She had now taken the time to really look at the wall in front of her which she had so gracefully collided with. On it was one of the cutest guys she had ever seen. His golden hair flopped over his forehead, not quite covering his piercing blue eyes. The out of the baggy b-ball shirt he was wearing stretched the fittest arms Emily had ever seen. Not that she usually thought arms were fit it was just those arms with their rippling muscles where the best arms she had ever seen. So evenly tanned... she only wished she knew what was under that baggy top...

She was snapped out of her stupor by Ryan chanting at the top of his lungs, "The new girl is drooling, the new girl is drooling!" to the tune of nanadenana. She went to lightly slap his arm to shut him up but he expertly ducked out of the way. He moved out of Emily's reach and hid behind Kelsi. "Nah-huh. You no touchy."

Kelsi turned to look at Ryan like he was out of his mind. "You put extra sugar on your cereal this morning didn't you?"

"No actually, I didn't," he replied, a smug look playing across his face.

"You've had coffee haven't you?" This wiped the smug look off his face, giving Kelsi her answer. "Come on you goofball we have to get to homeroom."

"Homeroom?" Emily questioned, not understanding American culture.

"Yes the room that will be your home for the entire time you're at school," Ryan stated matter-of-factly.

Kelsi started to walk away after she had finished talking but had now stopped to roll her eyes at Ryan. She then back-tracked to grab both Emily and Ryan to pull them along. Emily soon freed herself, the painful memory of the last time she had been dragged along still fresh in her mind. Ryan however was content to let himself be pulled along by the remarkably shorter Kelsi. Emily took a moment to marvel at hoe someone so small could haul someone so large along. Then she followed alongside.

Ryan was acting like a child, pretending like he didn't want to go; kicking up a fuss like one would expect a small child to do. "No don't take me away from Troy!!! No!!!" Emily turned to look at where he was pointing and turned back to give him a look of pure unadulterated evil. If looks could kill Ryan would be as stiff as a board on the ground.

Then all of sudden Ryan was serious, as if someone had flicked a switch. He stopped pulling and fussing and walked nicely and even tried to engage the girls in polite conversation. Kelsi chose to ignore him just because she wanted to and Emily chose to do it out of the seething hatred she felt for him right now. Well it wasn't hate, more embarrassment. She felt herself turn beet red as she remembered how she had drooled over the mural.

"O yeah and she's already met Sharpay," Ryan casually mentioned.

"Hmmm," Kelsi replied, deciding to at the very least humour him.

"Yeah," Ryan continued nonchalantly. "She survived her first encounter with the Mountain Lion! Woo!"

He went to high-five her but was left hanging as they turned another corner into another non-descript corridor lined with lockers. Emily had no idea where she was now and just gave up trying to figure it out.

"And she survived Sharpay trying it on with her!" again he went for another high five but Emily didn't have the opportunity to leave him hanging this time. Instead Ryan's statement was met with a yell from the least likely source.

"WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!" Kelsi well... yelled. She was so loud even people in the surrounding classrooms heard her and scrambled to get to the door to look through the little pane of glass to find out what the matter was. Ryan was left shocked; he had never thought Kelsi had it in her to yell like that. Emily looked all around, again confused. She had no idea what was going on, and she didn't think she ever would.

"O look we're here," Kelsi said, obviously changing the subject. "Emily this is homeroom."

She held open the door for them both and Emily followed an open-mouthed Ryan into what was her 'homeroom'. She chuckled at Ryan, watching him open and close his mouth like a fish out of water. She looked away smiling to herself when her eyes fell on the class of people looking at her. Her eyes were immediately drawn to the blonde hair of a certain Ice Queen sat in the corner. She managed a half-hearted smile in Sharpay's vague direction before her eyes moved on to the other people of the class. There was a pretty girl sat at the back with dark curly hair giving her a toothy grin which she returned. This did not go unnoticed by Sharpay who turned to stare daggers at the girl.

Her eyes again moved on to settle on a boy with golden hair. He was turned away from her, talking to some kid with an afro so she couldn't see his face. But she knew who it was even before her turned to look at her with his piercing blue eyes. Her heart did a little dance against her ribs and a true smile spread across her face. This was exact moment Ryan chose to turn around and look at her. A smirk was obvious on his face as he sat down and indicated for her to do the same in an empty desk next to his which was also next to Sharpay. She did not see this however and was still gazing into the guy's perfect eyes. Only when he looked away from her did she return to her senses but by then she had already sat down. She took one look at Ryan's smirking face and felt herself blush again.

"O shut it you," she snapped at him quietly, only making his smirk grow wider.

Ok so that's the first chapter. Please review.

Jo

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