Troy Bolton pulled away from his girlfriend Rachel Stevens, when Ms Darbus walked into the classroom followed by a pretty – but also looking extremely scared – brunette.
"Alright, class, settle down," Ms Darbus called over the racket everyone was making.
Everyone sat in their places as the brunette stood at the corner.
"Okay, listen up, now," Ms Darbus called. "I want you all to welcome Gabriella Montez." She motioned the brunette to come forward.
Everyone looked at each other and shrugged. They were all thinking the same thing. If this girl is a timid mouse, it would not be too bad to have her around!
"Okay, I'm going to assign three students to look after Gabriella," Ms Darbus said. "Mr. Bolton, Ms Evans and Ms McKessie, you are in charge of Ms Montez. Make sure she finds her way around the school. Ms Montez, take that seat. Behind Mr. Bolton."
Gabriella sat down on the seat hurriedly and stared at her desk, trying to ignore the stares that she was receiving. Everyone sat quietly at their desks while Ms Darbus took their attendance. The same thing was running through Sharpay Evan's, Taylor McKessie's and Troy's mind. Why do I have to look after this girl? I'll leave it to the other two to take care of her!
As soon as attendance was over, Troy, Taylor and Sharpay – also the leaders of the three major cliques in school – tried to run out of the classroom, but, Ms Darbus stopped them.
"You ought to know that I assigned the three of you to show Gabriella around, so that she can see the school in three different angles," Ms Darbus said, as Gabriella watched them, quietly. "You will be nice to her, or else it will be detention, for you all, and no Mr. Bolton, I do not care about your basketball practices."
The three students walked out of the classroom followed by Gabriella.
"Look, you guys don't have to bother about me if you don't want to," Gabriella said. "I'm sure I'll be able to find my way around."
"Oh, okay," Sharpay said and left, quickly with her brother Ryan who had been waiting for her outside the classroom.
"The Ice Princess belongs in the North Pole, not in East High," Troy chuckled.
"And you belong in the zoo, because you are an animal," Taylor said. "You don't belong here in East High either."
Troy looked a bit taken aback by the comment, but, he snapped out of it soon, when Taylor left him standing alone with Gabriella.
"Well, bye, Troy," Gabriella said, and started to walk away.
Troy stared after her. There was something about her, but, Troy could not understand exactly what it was.
"Hey," Troy called after her. "Gabriella, right?"
"Yeah," Gabriella turned and smiled.
"Do you have a free period right now?" Troy asked.
"Yeah," Gabriella answered after pulling out her timetable and scanning it.
"Me, too," Troy said.
"Good for you," Gabriella laughed.
"Well, Ms Darbus gave me an assignment," Troy smiled. "Come on, I'll show you around and introduce you to everyone."
"Thanks," Gabriella said.
She followed Troy as he showed her the different parts of the school. She could not help noticing that everyone was staring at her.
"Uh, Troy?" Gabriella interrupted Troy who had been explaining about how bad the food in the cafeteria was. "Why is everyone staring at me?"
"Maybe it's because you're an extremely pretty girl," Troy lied. He knew exactly why people were staring at him. It was because Gabriella was with him. He was the captain of East High's basketball team and had led them to win the statewide championship the previous month.
"Hey, Troy," a dark boy called. "Who's your new friend?"
"Gabriella Montez," Troy called back. He turned to Gabriella. "That's Zeke – a baker and also on the basketball team."
"Okay," Gabriella nodded.
"Yo! Troy!" another voice yelled. It belonged to a bushy haired boy.
"Hey, Chad," Troy said. "Meet Gabriella."
"Hey, Gabster," Chad grinned. "I'm Chad. In other words, Troy's most loyal best friend."
"I still don't know what came over me when I sat next to you in preschool," Troy joked. "Dude, go catch up on the homework that you've been behind since then."
"Whatever," Chad rolled his eyes. "See you later, Troy."
"Seems like everyone in school knows you," Gabriella said.
"Actually, they don't know me," Troy said. "I mean, they know me, but, they don't know me."
"I know that feeling," Gabriella said.
"You do?" Troy asked, surprised.
"Yeah," Gabriella shrugged. "At my old school, everyone knew me as the freaky math girl, who led them to victory in the school's decathlon competition; they didn't really know me at all."
"Yeah," Troy said, understandingly. "Everyone here knows me as the guy that won them the statewide basketball championship."
"I'm sorry," Gabriella said. "The only reason I was happy to come here was because I knew that it would feel great to start over, and get people to know me, just as me."
"Oh, well, you'll do a pretty good job at it," Troy smiled.
"Troy," a voice called.
Troy and Gabriella turned and saw Rachel running towards Troy. As soon as she reached Troy, she started kissing him. Troy pulled himself away, slightly embarrassed.
"Rachel, get a grip," Troy told her quietly.
"What's wrong, Troy?" Rachel asked. "Don't you like me anymore?"
"It's not that," Troy said. "It's just…" He broke off glancing at Gabriella who pointedly looked away.
"Who are you?" Rachel asked Gabriella meanly.
"Rachel, meet Gabriella Montez," Troy said quickly.
"Nice to meet you," Gabriella smiled.
"Whatever, freak," Rachel said.
Gabriella's smile disappeared, as Troy frowned. Rachel pretended not to notice anything.
"I'll see you later, Troy," Gabriella said, quietly.
"Gabriella," Troy called after her. "Wait!"
Gabriella ignored him. She walked away leaving an upset Troy. He did not know why he was upset. After all, his girlfriend was Rachel, not Gabriella, and Rachel was standing right next to him.
"What is wrong with you?" Troy asked Rachel.
"Nothing," Rachel shrugged. "I just didn't want to see that freak getting cozy with my boyfriend."
"You think I would suddenly start dating her?" Troy asked. "I would never do that…unless I've broken up with you first."
Leaving an angry Rachel behind, Troy walked to class as the bell rang. One thought was running through his mind. 'I've got to apologize to Gabriella.'