A/N: Here it is. The final chapter of Diary of a Nerd. *Sob* It's been a long, bumpy road. Once again, I sincerely apologize for the five month wait. I've been finishing college applications and surviving the trials of senior year . . . among other things, as most of you know. So thank you for sticking with me all these years. it's truly been a pleasure. Enjoy Gabriella's final diary entries; I know I enjoyed writing them.
Saturday, October 10, 2007. My Bedroom, 9:12 AM.
It appears I was not dreaming last night's incident. I mean, it seems like something I would do, seeing as my life is a tragic movie. But it wasn't a dream. It actually happened. How do I know, you ask? Maybe the fact that Troy's in my bed . . . with his arm wrapped around my waist . . . and the majority of my blankets tangled in his legs. Yeah.
Don't go thinking what I know you're thinking. I'm still wearing a pair of pajama pants and Troy's East High Basketball sweatshirt, so there were no inappropriate actions of any kind occurring in my bed. Troy is still wearing . . . Wait a minute. HOLY MOTHER OF . . . Troy's shirt is on the ground. When did that happen? And how did I not notice that my body is pressed up against his naked chest? Oh, my gosh. His chest. Could it be any more perfect? He practically has an eight pack for goodness sake! Must resist urge to trace eight pack with finger, must resist urge to trace eight pack with finger . . . Seriously. Did I mention he has a light smattering of hair trailing down his torso and disappearing into his basketball shorts? Bad thoughts, Gabriella, BAD THOUGHTS!
But while I'm on the subject, why the heck do some guys wax their chest hair? I mean, really. Do they WANT to be feminine? Alright, then. Moving on.
I think I could lie like this forever and be absolutely content. With Troy's arm around me, I feel . . . safe, you know? Like nothing and no one could hurt me. All the troubles I have at school and with my dad don't matter to me as of right now. I just don't want to ever move from this position.
Saturday, October 10, 2007. My Bedroom, 9:21 AM.
Okay, I have to go to the bathroom.
Saturday, October 10, 2007. My Bedroom, 9:24 AM.
Alright, I just turned over so I'm on my back. All I have to do is gently lift his arm, slide out from under it, and hope I don't disturb his slumber. Mkay, on the count of three: one, two . . . Awwwwww.
His face is so serene! Almost childlike. Which is ironic, considering if I look down, I know I'll see the body of a Grecian God. But I already discussed his distracting abdomen. What I haven't mentioned is the five o'clock shadow gracing his jaw. Or the few freckles sprinkled across the bridge of his aristocratic nose. Or how his lips are naturally an enticing red . . .
What is wrong with Troy? He never looks anything less than sexy! And me? Oh, jeeze. I do not want to look in a mirror right now. I'll let Chad read this diary if my hair isn't an ineffable bird's nest, dark shadows don't brim my eyes, and the zit I felt forming on my chin yesterday made a miraculous disappearance.
Oh, wait. Chad has read this diary. SEE?! It's a sign. I'm a medusa-raccoon-pizza-face. Why on earth did Troy kiss me? And better yet, why the heck did he say he loved me?
Saturday, October 10, 2007. My Bedroom, 9:37 AM.
And I STILL have to pee.
Saturday, October 10, 2007. My Bedroom, 9:40 AM.
What if he opens those beautiful cobalt eyes of his and realizes I'm not worth his time? He's Troy Bolton for goodness sake! And who am I? Nerdy Gabriella Montez. We just don't compute.
Great. My throat is starting to ache in that way it does before you cry. That'll definitely make Troy question last night. What is wrong with me? I'm such a—
Saturday, October 10, 2007. My Bedroom, 10:25 AM.
Troy's gone now. I made him go home because his parents are probably wondering where he was all night. He argued that they're used to his late night excursions. Typical. I mean, my mom would be worried about me if I wasn't home. But I never leave the house, so I guess it's a little different in Troy's case. I just figured that as his girlfriend, I should think about what is best for him.
. . .
Did you catch that? Did you, did you?! G-I-R-L-F-R-I-E-N-D. Girlfriend!
I know. After reading where I was cut off at my last entry, this sudden occurrence seems rather random. But it happened. And he gave me his class ring!
I already strung it through a chain I had in my jewelry box. It's now proudly presented against my collar bone. He said he wanted me to wear it as a reminder.
Of course, just because Troy gave me his ring doesn't mean I feel good enough for him. I still don't. I just feel more . . . assured. He's my source of confidence. When I'm with Troy, I feel like I could be beautiful. He makes me happy, you know? I figure that as long as he somehow thinks I'm good enough for him, I should enjoy the ride. Even if I have no idea how long it will be. After this morning, however, I feel like the ride won't be ending for quite some time.
Basically, Troy woke up while I was writing in here. He kind of moaned, stretching his arms and scrunching his face in an adorable fashion. Then he sighed and buried his face into my shoulder.
"Morning," he mumbled, his voice scratchy.
I wanted to hug him and whisper a greeting in return. More importantly, I really wanted to kiss away his sleep-clouded expression. It was cuddly and sultry – a downright deadly combination. But Troy's teddy bear persona just made my oncoming tears quicken their pace. I let out an uncontrollable sob.
I know, right? Can you say embarrassing? Poor Troy was totally confused. Looking back, it's actually kind of humorous.
"Hey, hey," he had said urgently, tipping his head back in an attempt to see my face.
His worried expression merely worsened things; he was, without a doubt, the perfect guy. I tried to pull away from him, but his hand caught my chin.
"Elle, what is it?" he asked frantically. "Did your dad call again? I swear, I'll--"
"N-no," I interrupted, "it's . . . I-it's . . . nothing." I shook my head, trying and failing to calm myself down.
Troy was not convinced. "If it were nothing, you wouldn't be crying."
He pulled me to him. I fell against his chest like a ragdoll, shaking as his arms protectively encased me. My own hands drooped helplessly at my sides. I could smell his shampoo from where my nose rested at the nape of his neck. There was not a distinct scent about it, just a generically clean aroma. It was so Troy, and I found myself being involuntarily comforted.
"Is this what brought this on?" Troy asked quietly, breaking the silence.
I couldn't decipher what his tone meant. It was hard, as if concealing anger, but also somehow filled with hurt.
I pealed myself away from his shoulder to see this diary, brazenly open in his hand. Only one arm remained wrapped around my waist, so I was surprised that I hadn't noticed him reach over with his other arm to grab my diary, let alone read it. My breath caught in my throat. I know Troy has seen a few snippets from here in the past, but what I had ranted about in my last entry is absolutely mortifying.
My silence inadvertently answered Troy's inquiry.
He snapped the diary shut, and then tossed it onto my pillow. The hand that wasn't still holding me to him reached up to massage the bridge of his nose. A muscle in his jaw was clenched. Assuming that he was angry at me, I made to move away from him.
"No," he said, his voice still strained.
I gasped as he suddenly flipped me around and pulled me onto his lap, crossing his arms in a seatbelt over my stomach. This time it was he who was breathing in the smell of my shampoo. I couldn't help but relax against him and close my eyes.
Come on. What would you have done? Super Woman wouldn't have had the strength to pull away. Heck, Chad would have enjoyed the position. Wait, that came out all wrong. Never mind.
"I'm conflicted," Troy finally said. "I'm conflicted in so many ways, it's impossible for me to explain. But I'm going to try, Gabriella. And I'm sorry I invaded your space by reading your diary; it was just laying there. One of the things you said caught my eye and I couldn't stop reading because there is so much about what you wrote that just . . . It kills me that you see yourself that way."
The fact that Troy had used my full name kept me silent. It was obvious that he was being extremely serious.
"I know that some of your inferiority complex probably comes from your father leaving you, but a lot of it is thanks to jerks like me. Which is why I fucking hate myself for treating you the way I did. You have to know that you are by far a better person than I have ever been. I was too much of a coward to step outside of the stupid school's expectations, and in the process I was hurting all the people who were smart enough to just be themselves."
He paused for a second, and a shiver ran down my spine when I felt his lips brush the back of my neck. I could feel his hot breath tickling the tiny hairs there, making them stand on end.
"And while I'm flattered that a girl like you thinks so highly of me, not to mention a little turned on . . ."
I blushed. I mean, I was sitting on his lap. Thankfully he was not turned on enough for a certain, ah, body part to make itself known. I don't know if I'm comfortable enough for such a thing to happen . . . yet.
" . . . I want you to know that you are more than good enough for me. You're beautiful, inside and out, which is more than I can say for myself. If anything, I'm the one that should be stressing over this."
"Troy." At last I had found my voice. "I . . . I don't know what to say."
Apparently I was still searching.
"How about this," Troy began, and he pulled me off of his lap so I could sit before him, face to face. "I meant what I said just now. Which means I also meant what I said last night . . . Elle, I love you. I wouldn't care if you gained fifty pounds, teased your hair into an afro, and sang crappy Disney songs. But I . . . I want to make sure you meant what you said last night too, because I come with a hell of a lot more shit for you to accept."
It was strange seeing Troy so vulnerable. He was literally hanging on my every breath, like I was going to turn him down after what he just admitted.
"If you love me, than you know I never lie," I replied, biting my bottom lip. "Of course I love you too."
My favorite crooked grin broke out across his face, the one that showcases every single one of his pearly white teeth. I stared in awe at him until he leaned forward to kiss me.
It was everything and more than I can recall of our kiss last night. Last night was hesitant; obviously we both still held insecurities. Today it was like we were both opening up to each other, both physically and mentally. Troy wasn't holding back; he ran his warm tongue across my bottom lip, tracing it tenderly. I tried to keep up with his undeniable experience, but sometimes found myself drowning in his ministrations. He didn't seem to mind my naïveté in the slightest, for he moaned at the smallest, most tentative of touches. When we broke apart, Troy rested his forehead against my own while we both fought to catch our breath.
"So let me get this straight," he panted, his eyes closed. "You're sure you've never kissed a guy before?"
I giggled. "I think I would know."
Troy let out a small guffaw. "Not only is it so sexy to know that I'm the only guy to have ever kissed you, it really scares me how good you already are at it."
"Really?" I asked disbelievingly.
He opened his eyes. I sucked a sharp intake of breath through my nose. They were no longer the clear, ocean blue I was accustomed to, but a dark, almost black color. I could sense his desire, and a bubble of love swelled in my stomach; he hadn't even tried to push me into something I wasn't ready for.
"Really," he breathed, and then kissed me softly once more.
I ran a hand through his hair, briefly investing myself in the new kiss before Troy turned away abruptly.
"Fuck, I'm in trouble."
"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?"
His eyes continued to burn into mine, though neither of us spoke. Troy was twisting his hands oddly, and it was only when his elbow jabbed rapidly outward that I realized he had been trying to remove his class ring. He played with it, a small smile of triumph on his face. I had a feeling he wasn't aware I had noticed.
"I don't want you to question my motives again, Elle. I promise I'll be there for you in the best way I can, no matter what the scenario is. Whether you need me when you finally call your dad back, or you're just feeling lonely . . . I'm here until you decide you don't want me anymore." And then he opened my hand, dropped his ring into it, and balled my fingers into a fist around it. "Be my girlfriend?"
As you know, I gladly complied. And then Troy ushered me to the bathroom, considering I still hadn't gone.
Now, sitting on my bed still wearing his sweatshirt, I already miss Troy's presence.
Saturday, October 10, 2007. Some Dressing Room at the Mall, 1:18 PM.
Okay, so I was moping around the house for the better part of an hour after Troy left. My mom kept looking at me strangely, but I assured her I was fine. I wasn't in the mood to inform her of my new boyfriend yet. She would make a huge ordeal out of it, probably invite Troy's parents over for dinner or something. I wanted to keep it between Troy and I for a little while.
Yeah, that idea went down the drain. Thank you, Taylor and Sharpay. That's right. I was innocently watching TV on my couch when the doorbell rang. I jumped up, excited because I thought it was going to be Troy. Then they burst in . . .
"Oh, my GOD, how did it go?"
"Where did he take you?"
"Oh, Chad told me he took you to that one restaurant with the amazing pasta!"
"Chad even called Troy to ask if one of you guys could order him one to go."
So that was why Chad interrupted the almost kiss last night after the date? Wow. Chad is just . . . Special.
"Wait, did he kiss you?"
"EEEEIIIIIHHHHH, what is that you're wearing, GABI?!!!!!"
"OH MY GOD!!!!!!"
"HIS CLASS RING?!"
I'm going to stop documenting that moment. Let's just say it wasn't exactly pretty. Plus, my mom inevitably heard Taylor and Sharpay's insane shrieking. I'm sure the entire street knows that Troy and I are a couple. In fact, Troy needn't tell his parents – now they know.
Alright. I'll admit that I got a tad hyped up with them. Okay, a lot. But it's impossible resist the girly happy dance. You know the one I'm talking about. Like, when you get in a circle and just flail about with your friends? The one you would die to save from being posted onto Youtube? Yeah, that dance.
Taylor was so excited that she immediately started babbling on and on about having a double date tonight, which got Sharpay excited about dressing me up . . . again.
So that's why I'm cooped up in a dressing room, surrounded by mounds of clothes. Troy and I are having a date with Taylor and Chad at the movies. Even worse, I can't help but be just as excited as Sharpay and Taylor.
Guess that's what having a boyfriend will do to you.
Oh, jeeze. Sharpay's back with another round of outfits.
Saturday, October 10, 2007. Drowning Under Clothing Pile, 1:31 PM.
He sent me a text:
Looks like the cat's out of the bag. Can't wait to see you tonight.
Love you, Troy
And I thought he couldn't get any cuter. Seriously. He doesn't even have to try. It's just not fair. How am I supposed to top his text message?
Dying in a swirling torment of Taylor and Sharpay. They're playing dress up doll with me. Miss you!
Love you too, Gabriella
Yeah, I suck at cute text messages. Sue me for never having flirted with a guy via cell phone.
Hmm, what are you wearing? –Troy
He obviously has had plenty of practice. I'm trying not to think of who the practice was with. On the other hand . . . What would someone like Lindsay or Shannon reply? Think sexy and flirty, Gabs, think sexy and flirty . . .
Yeah, I've got nothing. Maybe I should just let him decide. I don't know.
Use your imagination. –Gabriella
How was that? Oh, my gosh. I should have asked Sharpay or Taylor for advice. I'm so bad at this.
You're going to be the death of me, Babe. – Troy
He called me Babe? Usually I really hate pet names, but for some reason . . . I like it. Guess that means I'm not as bad at flirty texting as I originally thought. Hey, you learn something new about yourself everyday.
Saturday, October 10, 2007. My Bedroom, 6:12 PM.
Okay, so I have a little over fifteen minutes to get this all down. Troy's picking me up at six thirty and we're going to dinner with just the two of us. Then we're meeting Chad and Taylor at the theater around nine to watch Guns, Cars, and Fists.
I'm not even going to start in on the movie we're seeing. But it was either that or the third High School Musical movie. As soon as I saw the screenings for it online, I immediately thought back to when Troy and I watched the first and second High School Musicals when I was sick.
Amazing how much has changed in just nine days. Then, I wouldn't have been able to fathom that my crush on Troy would turn into what it is today. If someone had told me Troy would love me, I would have personally taken them to an asylum.
Speaking of asylums, I should take Sharpay to one. That girl is a crazy ninja freak when it comes to picking out clothes. Apparently the date tonight is the first real date, considering we're officially together. Whatever. A date is a date is a date. But don't tell her I said that.
I must have tried on at least thirty different outfits. However, I do have to say I like the final product. I was able to convince her to let me wear my favorite pair of jeans, but she bought me a new sweater when I refused to. Don't get me wrong, I really like it. It's a really soft gray-blue off-the-shoulder sweater. But, I mean, it was like eighty dollars! And when I tried to tell her not to buy it, she said it was her 'congratulations on your first boyfriend gift' gift.
Tell me you've heard of such a thing, because I haven't. Sneaky little Sharpay Evans.
Fortunately, I put my foot down when she tried to attack me with makeup. I may have put up with it for our last date, but Troy loves me for me. And personally, I never wear makeup. Period. At least I know he thinks I'm beautiful without having to hide beneath layers of goop.
The doorbell just rang. Here we go . . .
Saturday, October 10, 2007. Restaurant Restroom, 8:37 PM.
I really have a bad habit of hiding in various bathrooms to write in this diary. Jeeze, I am so weird. Have I mentioned this is the third time I've been in here tonight and have only actually used the toilet once? I'm not kidding.
It's just been a really long, extremely dramatic night. The good new is that Troy still, for unknown reasons, loves me. And he is still the best boyfriend ever. The bad news is that I ran into Shannon. Yes, that Shannon. The beyotch-who-told-East-High-that-Troy-and-I-slept-together Shannon.
Yeah. Like I said, it's been a long night.
Everything started out flawlessly. My mom had somehow gotten to the door before I did, so when I clambered down the stairs, she and Troy were already talking about something. I was glad that she liked him, but really, well . . . It was just awkward. So I kissed my mom's cheek and hurried out to the car before things got worse.
Oh, and a quick pause to mention that Troy looks mouthwatering tonight. He's wearing a pair of black jeans and a blue, button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Absolutely indescribable. He did something different to his hair too. He kind of like, gelled it into what I can only describe as 'sex hair'.
And he said I was going to be the death of him? As if.
Although, he did show me just how good he thought I look tonight as well. I think I'm getting better at the whole kissing thing. Yay me!
We went to a burger joint in town. Troy said he wanted to go to a place that served burgers because it was what we ate when we went to Ruby's together last month. I guess that's what he sees as our 'first date'.
I don't know. Everyone seems to have a different definition of what our first date is. Go figure.
It pleased me that conversation between Troy and I hadn't changed just because we became boyfriend and girlfriend. He was still unbelievably easy be around, with his hilarious recounts of his and Chad's countless dilemmas. I couldn't stop smiling over our burgers and chili fries.
I love him. Truly, I do.
Things got sticky when I excused myself to go to the restroom. I swear I was only gone five minutes, seven tops. But as I stepped out of the bathroom and began walking to our table, someone was sitting in my seat.
Yup. You know where this is going, right?
Shannon was in my chair! She was pressed against the edge of the table and letting her v-neck shirt slide way too low. Her long blonde hair was falling around her shoulders, and by the way she was giggling, it was blatantly evident that she was flirting. Heavily.
In Troy's offense, he did not appear interested. In fact, he was practically counting the prongs of his fork. I would have laughed at the ridiculous situation had Shannon not leaned over the dirty plates and planted a kiss right on Troy's lips.
A monkey would have recognized Troy's lack of attention. But not Shannon. No, no. She just kissed Troy regardless. I mean, what an idiot! More accurately, what a slut!
It felt like time stood still. What seemed like a five minutes was probably barely three seconds. Second one, Troy's body visibly stiffened. Second two, his only movement was the widening of his eyes when he spotted me by the bathroom. Second three, I spun around and headed right back into the girl's bathroom. The door closed right as I heard Troy shouting, "Gabriella!"
So we're at the second time I went into this dirty bathroom. And even though I knew Troy didn't do anything wrong, I couldn't help but let a few tears slip down my cheeks. Part of the reason was because I was angry at Shannon, but the majority was because I was angry at myself. A normal person would have marched over to the table and pried Shannon away from her boyfriend. I just ran away like the nerd that I am.
You don't have to tell me. Believe me; I was already aware of how horrible a person I was.
Luckily there was no one in the bathroom, because I didn't bother slinking behind one of the stalls. I merely slumped against the sink for who knows how long. I'm not even sure what I was thinking. It's not like Troy would just ditch me or something. But I certainly didn't imagine he would follow me into the girl's bathroom!
I looked up upon hearing the door open, expecting some snobby middle schooler to come in to reapply her lipgloss. My jaw dropped open when I saw Troy edging cautiously into the florescent lighting, his eyes silently begging me.
"Troy, what the heck are you doing in here?" I asked, shocked.
"Nothing happened," he said, ignoring my question. "Well, fuck, I mean, she kissed me, but . . . I didn't kiss her back, I swear. She just appeared out of no where and started talking about shit, I wasn't even paying attention. I figured you would be back any second and we could leave her there, but then she was kissing me and I couldn't move and I'm so sorry and--"
"Troy, it's okay."
"– I promise it didn't mean anything, I was just shocked--"
"--I mean, I love you and she was just--"
His pleading expression broke my heart, especially because I knew I had worsened the situation by fleeing the scene.
"I understand, Troy," I said softly. "And I'm sorry for leaving you like that, it was just a knee jerk reaction."
He shook his head, brushing my apology aside. "I told her to fuck off because you were my girlfriend."
Now there's another sentence I never thought I'd hear directed at me.
I smiled and moved to give Troy an apologetic hug, but the bathroom door began to open. Without thinking, I shoved Troy into the nearest stall just as a girl around my age appeared. She glanced briefly at me, and then walked over to the sink to wash her hands.
I must have been staring bizarrely at her, for she felt the need to break the silence. "I um, I like your sweater."
Oh my god, she knows!
She turned the sink off and dried her hands on a paper towel. I shifted uncomfortably, willing her to go back outside. She fluffed her glossy hair in the mirror, adjusted her shirt collar, and then glided swiftly out the door.
I let out a breath I hadn't realized I'd been holding before knocking on Troy's stall. "Troy?"
"Ahem, taken," came a high pitched voice.
I snorted. "Troy, come out before some other person comes in."
The lock clicked open and Troy stumbled out, grinning sheepishly at me. "She was right, you know. That is a nice sweater."
And then we both returned to our table as if nothing had happened, the only difference being that Troy refused to let go of my hand. We ordered a round of chocolate milkshakes, continuing where we had left off in Troy's story. I beamed at him, watching how dimples formed when he smiled in just the right way, or how his eyes crinkled in the corners when he laughed. I could look at him for hours and never get bored.
In truth, I'm sure everything about Troy could never get boring. He'll continue to surprise me in every way when I least expect it. Take for instance, when I left to go to the bathroom for the third and final time tonight. He had slowly released my hand, smiled his famous crooked grin, and said clearly, "Love you."
Just like that. As if it were the most common, natural sentence to say to me. Love you.
Well, I have to go now. I've been in this cramped, unsanitary stall long enough. It's time to face Guns, Cars, and Fists. Even though I know that movie is probably going to suck more than Chad's impenetrable timing, I'll at least be with Troy. And with Troy, I'm willing to be open to anything.
A/N: That's it, folks. I'm sorry if you wanted the story to go on further. Part of me wanted to try and stretch the story out so they could go to school as a couple, but it seemed unnecessary. Not to mention clichéd. I hope you liked the final chapter of Diary of a Nerd.
While Gabriella still has a few insecurities, I think leaving it where I did is the most realistic. Personally, as a person with a fairly large inferiority complex, the only time I ever feel better about myself is when I'm with people who love me. If I'm with someone else from school or someone I don't know very well, I can't seem to find my confidence. So that's what I did for Gabriella.
A huge, gigantic thank you to all the people who have reviewed every single chapter of this story from the beginning. I can't believe it started back in 2007 and today is the first day of 2010. Wow. I don't know what that says about me, but I know it says a lot about all you faithful fans of this story. I also want to thank you for the wonderful, heartening reviews I got after posting the previous chapter. It was nice to have people to relate to after getting through my depression. I tried to reply to as many as I could, but my schedule got in the way. I promise I'm going to reply to EVERY review I receive for this chapter. It will be the last time for this story, so I want to make it count.
On a final note, as of right now, I do not have a sequel planned for several reasons. If you are curious, feel free to ask why, but I will not bore those who could care less.
Happy New Year to you all. I hope you break free from society's expectations like Gabriella, and that you all find your Troy.