Poster Child

A (Revised) High School Musical Fanfiction by Desireé Lemmon

Setting: Albuquerque, New Mexico; Fall 2007

Disclaimer: I still have yet to claim the rights of this movie… Until then, I'm just a writer on fanfic.

Dedication: I dedicate this story to PinkJelly and LizzieRokasGermain, who acted very generously as the leaders of many reviews that encouraged me to give this story a second chance.

A/N: In this story, all events that happened in the movie sequel do not exist. Everything goes as planned by the movie makers up until 'Twinkle Towne,' and that's where my imagination comes in. :)

Chapter One, Fabulous

The sky was falling. The world was ending. A dark, luminous cloud was rolling across the earth, spreading like poison through the town to forever block the sunshine. At least, this was what was going on in the eyes of Sharpay Evans. "It's not fair!" she screamed in her room, tears flowing freely, in spite of the runny mascara collecting beneath her blond lashes. Mrs. Evans sat on the edge of her daughter's pink, round bed, fingering the small monograms of 'S.E.' on the comforter. In the center of the bed, Sharpay sat, sitting with her legs crossed the way your kindergarten teacher asked during reading time on the rug. She had rubbed her face so many times in the last hour that her metallic gold eye shadow had worn away to smudges on her palms. "How can I work so hard yet she gets all the glory? It's not like she makes just as much of an effort as I do! It's always me who does everything! Me!"

The bedroom door was open, and Sharpay's brother passed, popping Goldfish into his mouth like circus animals would. "Give it a rest, sis," Ryan sighed, pausing for a moment. "Your sobbing makes the house shake." She only screamed again and threw a coral star-shaped pillow at him, which he easily avoided by moving onto his room next door. Mrs. Evans sighed patiently and stood up, tugging on the hem of her pantsuit jacket.

"Sharpay, dear," she said, her voice eerily calm and even. Yoga breathing techniques had made Mrs. Evans quite tranquil in any given situation. "Daddy and I have to run. Mr. Gardner is having an exclusive opening to his new line of restaurants and there's a strict entry time. I'll call you when we're on our way home, all right? I left turkey wraps in the refrigerator for you and your brother. Hugs and kisses!" She blew air kisses and excused herself from the miserable sanctum, just as Sharpay burst into tears again. She was used to her parents leaving constantly for big budget Hollywood events, or fashionable red carpet shows that required an arm and leg for entry. However, this time, she just felt even more alone as she heard them drive off in Mr. Evans' Lexus, abandoning the empty household for the millionth time.

Tears had been a common thing for Sharpay lately. It was as if she was on a schedule, and they were programmed to promptly roll down her cheeks every afternoon. Somehow, it was always for a different reason. This particular meltdown was caused by the Devil herself: Gabriella Montez.

"I hate her!" the drama queen had screamed when she got home. Ryan dropped their bags near the front door and quietly slipped to the kitchen, letting his sister blow off steam on her own. "She's such a fake! Yet the world seems to love her! What did I possibly do to deserve such foul-play competition?" She swallowed the saliva that had collected in her angry mouth, remembering all of the girls whose tight leashes were always firmly in her possession. Now they all assembled around that stupid girl, and she never treated them like they were inferior to her. She treated them as… Friends.

A flaw in Ryan's plan for avoiding his sister was this: he needed to get to his room, and in order to do this, he had to walk through the living room, where Sharpay was performing her pre-written rampage. (As if she actually said all these infuriated things on the spot.) Ryan knew she'd drag him into this if he even dare whimper past… "You don't think she's anything special, do you?"

He blinked and looked around. The blond boy hadn't realized he had drifted to the doorway between the kitchen and family room, where his sister could now visibly see him. She stood, impatiently, waiting for an answer. As she jutted her chin out as if to say 'Well?' Ryan cleared her throat, clearly uncomfortable with this certain question. Gabriella wasn't horrible—he thought she could sing and she had been really nice to him whenever they had group projects in English class. But, of course, Sharpay wouldn't hear a single word of any kind. "No, I don't," he replied, trying to avoid any more interrogations.

Dissatisfied with this response, Sharpay scoffed and stomped a delicate foot on the plush white carpet. "Would you rather sing with me or her?" she asked, sniffling now. He resisted an eye roll, hoping with a few more reassurances, the episode would finally be over and Sharpay would return to her normal state: bossy and domineering.

"You, of course, Shar," he said in a 'duh' tone. "Why are you getting so worked up about it? What did she do this time?"

Through her teeth, Sharpay recounted the bitter story, accenting the tale with grunts and the occasional screech. Gabriella had been chosen as the Role Model of the Month for the Albuquerque Youth Center, and the posters of her smiling, looking beautiful, would be printed next week and displayed all over town within a few days. "So?" Ryan had said, not recognizing the twist in Sharpay's face when she finished.

"So," she insisted crossly, "I've been replaced! I will no longer hold the title of AYC Role Model! Now I'm just a silly little rich girl! Money must be expressed in different ways, Ryan, and my monogrammed things and incredible stage talent can only go so far! I must be the face of today's adolescence, rich and poor. Young girls have to look up to me and want my autograph and pictures and signed keepsakes! Ryan, look at is this way; you can get the autograph of a beautiful rich girl or you can get the autograph for the Photoshopped face of Albuquerque's youth."

This was a trick question, and he knew it. He was supposed to always side with her, yet in this case, her inquiry was to point out that no one would want her autograph without her face on the Cheer! Volunteer! Have a Good Year! poster. "Well," he began nervously, slightly raising an eyebrow, "Sharpay, you know I'd have your autograph over Gabriella's any day."

"That doesn't answer the question," Sharpay snapped, finishing with a dramatic sigh. He quickly tried to mend his words, but she interrupted. "I just can't believe she's… She's… Popular!" The last word was like a loud explosion, and she theatrically collapsed onto the sofa, directing her sobs into an innocent satin pillow.

There was an awkward pause in the room. Ryan shifted his weight from one foot to the other, and back again, trying to think of a way to cheer his sister up. They were never seen without the other, yet he couldn't help but feel so distant from her at that moment. "Well, hey, Shar, you know you're still better than her," he said, and instantly regretted saying anything. No convincing tone lay in his voice.

"You have to say that," Sharpay moaned, finally rising from the sofa and stomping upstairs. "You're my brother!"

Now, in her bedroom, Sharpay tried to gain composure. "I am pretty, I am popular, I am fabulous," she said, and recited the phrases again like a spelling bee's toughest word, easiest for the most intelligent contestant there. She reached for her Strawberry LG Chocolate phone on her nightstand and immediately dialed her boyfriend.

"Hello?" he asked, sounding as if he had just woken up.

"Baby, it's me," Sharpay whined. "Do you love me?"

"What?" He sounded startled. "Of—of course I do, honey! Why would you ask that?"

She whimpered into a stuffed fuchsia teddy bear before elaborating. "She just got named Albuquerque's new face of youth! I am supposed to be that face. Me. I've been that face for the last three years. You know what they said to my publicity agent over the phone? They needed something fresh. Baby, am I fresh?"

There was a screech of sneakers and the pound of basketballs in the background. He was at practice. "Of course you are, Pay. Don't sweat it, you're going to get stress lines. I've gotta run, Coach is gonna kill me if I take any more time outs. I'll call you later, okay?"

Damn his other priorities. "Okay," she muttered. "I love you, Troy."

"I love you, too. Bye, Pay."