Troy decided that Sharpay had gone through enough. He had to get things straightened out, and soon. He decided he would talk with Ryan first. Ryan didn't even understand his sister, and the sooner he fixed that, the better.
"Ryan, why do you hate Sharpay?" Troy asked. He had stopped by Ryan's locker on the way to study hall.
Ryan frowned. "Why do I hate my sister? Well, why do you hate a broken leg? She won't stop getting in my way, not even for a minute! She also always has to show me up, and I hate it!"
"And you don't think that you spend a lot of time showing her up?" Troy questioned him thoughtfully.
Ryan rolled his eyes. "What are you going to do, attempt to prove who started showing up the other?"
"Oh, but I don't have to attempt to. I have the proof right up here," Troy said, tapping his head.
"Okay," Ryan said, crossing his arms. "When do you think my rivalry with my twin began?"
"It began in March of third grade, remember?" Troy said.
"Oh, so that's why you asked me about that the other day!" Ryan exclaimed. "Alright, keep going."
"Well, like I was saying, you and Sharpay both read Magic Tree House books, and then you had to make dioramas on them, remember? But Sharpay's was kind of sloppy, while yours was perfect. My family came over for a barbecue or something that night, and no one but me talked to Sharpay that whole night. After that, Sharpay was just plain mean."
Ryan smirked. "Ah, but that's what you think happened! This is what really happened," Ryan said, beginning his story. "See, Sharpay and I made a bet that I could never make a better project than she did," Ryan said. You could tell he was making this up as he went along. "Of course, it went exactly like The Tortoise and the Hare. She was so sure that she could pull together a project at the last minute that she hardly worked at all! It was her fault she got a D."
Troy stared at him for a few moments. "Ryan, you're a terrible liar."
"So what if I am?" Ryan retorted. "Yeah, I know Sharpay's jealous of my grades. And you know what? I'm jealous of her acting ability, all right? I may share the role of co-president of the drama club, but she's still the better actress."
"Ah, but whose parents give them more attention?" Troy asked.
Ryan thought about that for a moment. "Well, I guess they do give me more attention in general. They may be stage parents, but they're still parents."
"Are you kidding?" Troy was practically shouting. "You—" he began, but was cut off by the bell. He sighed, and the two boys went their separate ways.
Troy walked into art class. His teacher was late. Good, he thought. That gives me some more thinking time.
Troy thought about several things before his art teacher came. The one thing that was on his mind was the fact that Ryan was jealous of his sister's acting ability. He could tell that he meant it, too. That meant that he was probably really sensitive on the inside—just like Sharpay was. He knew it wasn't really his job to help Ryan be a nicer person, but at the same time, if Ryan were nice, then Sharpay would be. He figured that all he had to do was just get them to talk to each other.
He thought for a moment about how he was supposed to do that. After all, Sharpay still wasn't talking to him. If he was going to get her and Ryan to talk, he needed to do it at the right time.
Troy sighed as he stepped out of the art room. He had history next, which, quite frankly, he was dreading. He didn't want to have to sit next to Sharpay, and he was pretty sure that Sharpay felt the same way.
They had a substitute in history that day. Needless to say, the class was up to the typical "sub" pranks: adding names to the roster, switching seats, etc. Troy smacked his head, wondering if the kids actually forgot they were in 11th grade.
Since the class was going wild, and nothing was getting done, Troy decided to turn to Sharpay. He looked at her awkwardly.
"Hey, Sharpay!" Troy said. He stared at her black clothes, surprised. He had heard that she was hanging out with the Goths lately, but he hadn't seen her. She was…quite a sight. Her hair was dyed black (though he found out later it was a wig—her parents wouldn't let her actually dye it), a nose ring (also fake, of course), a fancy black dress, and black lipstick. Troy sighed. As much as he hated to admit it, he missed Sharpay's pink girliness.
"'Sup?" Sharpay said coolly. He couldn't tell whether her voice was cold because she was mad at him, or because of her new Gothic personality.
Troy was silent for a moment. "Are the Goths treating you okay?" He thought it was kind of a stupid question, but he didn't know what else to say.
Sharpay shrugged. "They're cool. I hang with them a lot."
Troy noticed an edge to Sharpay's voice. He could tell that she missed her old personality, too.
"How come you hang out with them?" he asked.
Sharpay shrugged again. "Well, you dumped me. Everyone at school knows, except for the Goths, who never pay attention to gossip." Her cold voice was getting hotter now, and she was glaring at Troy.
Troy looked uncomfortable. He took a deep breath, and blurted out: "Sharpay, I did not dump you. You dumped me." Sharpay sighed. It was the truth. Troy went on, "Sharpay, you know I care about you. And the truth is, I really do love you! Like, romantically. Even if I was with you at first to—" Suddenly, Sharpay put her hand on his mouth. Troy realized that the whole class was quiet all of a sudden. Sharpay didn't want Troy to tell to the whole class her personal problems.
Troy blushed slightly, and Sharpay whispered, "I forgive you."
The commotion ended, and class started. As the bell rang and Troy walked out, he felt almost dizzy with relief. Embarrassed, maybe, but relieved.
After Troy finished eating, he practically bounced into Mrs. Riley's room. He couldn't wait to tell her the good news.
"Well, Sharpay and I are back together," Troy said gleefully.
Mrs. Riley beamed. "Great! So what happened?"
"Well, we talked things over, and she admitted I was right. She said she forgave me," Troy said, careful to leave out the fact that they were talking in the middle of history class.
"That's super, Troy." Mrs. Riley smiled half-heartedly, a little disappointed that he hadn't taken her advice. She said, "So, are you going to work things out with her and Ryan?" she asked.
Troy nodded. "I'll find a way to get them to see eye to eye. I wasn't planning on sitting her down in front of her whole family, though. I know what it's like to have too many people trying to help you with your problems at a time. It can get frustrating," he said solemnly. "Anyway, I talked to Ryan. He's pretty sensitive on the inside, you know, just like Sharpay. I think that maybe they could communicate well if they were alone together, you know?"
Mrs. Riley nodded approvingly. "I like the sound of that. If you believe that that's what's best for Sharpay…well, then I'm all for it!" she said, grinning.
Troy grinned back.
The next day, the Goths went to Sharpay's house after school. Crap, Sharpay thought. I forgot to make my room look Goth-like! Well, I can say goodbye to that clique. Oh well, at least I've got Troy again, and the whole school probably knows it by now.
When Liz walked in, she acted blinded from all the pink. She turned to Sharpay, staring. "Why is your room pink?" Liz asked. She looked angry, and Sharpay gulped.
"I hate pink," Anna scowled, and Ashley nodded in agreement.
Sharpay sighed, because she knew they were going to dump her any second. Luckily, or unluckily rather, her mother came in just then.
"Oh, who are your new little friends, Sharpay?" Mrs. Evans asked. Sharpay sighed, but pointed to her friends.
"Their names are Liz, Anna, Ashley, and Sophie," she said bitterly.
"Oh, okay," Sharpay's mother said, looking a little nervous. "Would you guys like any snacks?"
Sharpay turned to the Goths, and they all shook their heads.
"Well, I'll see you guys later. Have fun," she said before leaving.
The moment she shut the door, Sophie glared at Sharpay. Sharpay backed up, because she knew what was coming.
"I thought you said your parents were dead!" Sophie snapped. The three other girls looked at Sharpay, but she couldn't quite figure out the expressions on their faces. Was it jealousy? Hate? Betrayal? All three? She couldn't figure it out.
Suddenly, Liz gasped. "You're not Goth at all, are you?"
Gosh, someone's slow, Sharpay thought sullenly.
Ashley cocked her head. "Hey, wait a minute! You look familiar. Wait another minute! You're that girl who broke up with Troy Bolton, aren't you? And didn't you get kicked out of the drama club?"
Liz gave her a disgusted look. Ashley was the only one who kept up with gossip around school. Of all the Goths, she was the one who was the least depressed. And everyone knew that she liked Ryan, so that was probably how she knew what was going on with Sharpay.
Anna just stood there the whole time. She was putting the pieces together. Finally, she said, "It all makes sense now. Why you looked so terrible on the first day you joined our group…why your room is pink…why you were stumbling when you told us why you were Goth. You're not that good of an actress, you know?"
That last comment really bugged Sharpay. "Excuse me? What do you mean, I'm not a good actress? You're probably just jealous, since I bet you have no acting experience whatsoever! And Ashley, Troy broke up with me. So I am depressed, because I lost my boyfriend!" Sharpay said in an overly dramatic voice.
Anna smirked. "See, you are a terrible actress!"
Sharpay rolled her eyes.
Liz cut into the argument. "Sharpay, you lied to us. Therefore, I officially declare you kicked out of our group!"
Sharpay tried to hide her pleasure, and succeeded. She scowled. "Fine. Get out of here. Ashley, stay a minute," she said. The girls left, and Ashley walked over to Sharpay.
She whispered into Ashley's ear, "Ryan likes to have spaghetti and meatballs by the candle light." Ashley grinned, and gave her a thumbs-up. Sharpay smirked as Ashley walked out the door. Ryan never really liked Ashley. He said she creeped him out.
Sharpay ripped off her wig and flopped down on her fluffy pink bed. She was finally rid of those stupid Goths.
Sharpay knocked on Troy's door the next day. Troy answered it, and was terribly glad to see her wearing pink again.
"Hi, Sharpay!" Troy said. He was happy for two reasons. The first reason was that Sharpay was finally back to normal. The second reason was that he had invited Ryan over, and he hoped that he would finally solve their sibling rivalry once and for all. "Come up to my room, alright?" Sharpay shrugged and followed him upstairs.
She squinted her eyes when she saw Ryan sitting on Troy's bed. It didn't take her long to figure out where this was going. "You set us up!" she exclaimed.
Troy nodded solemnly. "You two aren't leaving this room until you get along, you hear me?" He meant it, and Sharpay and Ryan could see that. He locked the door, and left Sharpay and Ryan standing there.
Ryan, for one, was sort of eager to patch up his relationship with his sister. They were practically like best friends eight years ago. It would have been nice for them to get back to that.
Sharpay, on the other hand, was sort of reluctant some part of her was still kind of distrustful of her brother. She just didn't think that being his friend again would be that easy. But if Troy insisted it was okay, then she supposed it was okay.
Ryan took a deep breath, and began. "Shar, look. There's no doubt that there have been things going on between us, but you know I care about you deep down."
Usually, Sharpay would have wanted to avoid the sappiness, but she also kind of wanted to talk. She sighed. "Ryan, I hate to be rude here, but really. You can't honestly say that the attention our parents give us is equal."
Ryan shrugged admittedly. "Yeah, I think our parents really are unfair. I mean, just the other day, when Mom asked us about our tests, they were both so excited when I told them about my A , and just so…mediocre when you told them about your C ."
There were tears in Sharpay's eyes, but she was glad they were on the same page. She nodded. "Yeah, I know." Her tears were going to spill over any moment, but her voice was steady. "It's my fault, all right? It's my fault for being too lazy to ever study."
"No, it's not totally your fault," Ryan said, and Sharpay smiled through her tears. "It's not very nice of me to brag all the time. But Sharpay, you're so good at acting, and I'm so…not! I just want to be good at something, you know?"
Sharpay was a little surprised by her brother's comment. "What? Ryan, you're a great actor! Okay, I get more awards and stuff, but you still act well, honest!"
Ryan put his arm around his twin. "Well, I could say the same thing to you, Sharpay. You're pretty smart, you know. Everyone's a little lazy. We're both good actors, and we're both good students. We just have different focuses, that's all. I think I should stop bragging so much. It's just not nice."
"Yeah," Sharpay sighed. "And I really ought to stop treating you like my servant and more like my brother."
"So is it a deal?" Ryan asked uncertainly.
Sharpay nodded. "It's a deal. Hey, Ryan?"
"I have a couple acting tips that I could give you. Maybe we could work on them sometime," she said a bit shyly.
Ryan nodded eagerly. "That sounds great! I have some mnemonic devices I could teach you, too!"
Sharpay looked at him blankly, and Ryan just sighed. "You know, mnemonic devices. Like this one, for the five Great Lakes: HOMES."
"HOMES?" Sharpay repeated, confused, and Ryan smiled.
"Yes, HOMES. It stands for Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior."
Sharpay smiled. "Wow, that's not so hard!" She exclaimed. "We'll work on the acting exercises sometime this weekend, alright?"
Ryan nodded. "Come on, let's go," he said, and they walked downstairs.
Troy looked up. When he looked up and saw them both smiling and linking arms, he grinned in relief. He couldn't wait to tell Mrs. Riley.
A/N: Okay, it's been almost two months, and no excuses. I'm sorry! But there's the end of the story! Whew! I tried to go easy on the fluff there. :D Review!