There were only three people in this world that Sharpay Evans really respected: Ryan Evans, Troy Bolton, and Gabriella Montez.
At a very young age, Sharpay discovered just how special she was. Her parents, being wealthy entrepreneurs, would supply their daughter with whatever she desired. While it was true that both twins lived the high life at a very early age, Sharpay was particularly spoiled. Ryan would have been the perfect heir to the family business and such, but he was a strange boy. Instead of playing with the massive number of cars and action figures he possessed, like most normal little boys would, Ryan preferred to grab his sister's dolls and dress them up in a surprisingly coordinated fashion. This peculiar behavior left his parents baffled, so they simply tried to distance themselves from his strangeness by paying significantly more attention to their little princess.
For the first few years of this pampering, Sharpay felt as though she was sitting on a throne, ready to be served with a simple snap of her fingers. However, when her parents weren't home to dote on her, Sharpay became bored. That's when she had called Ryan to her. He had never been a very bright boy. It appeared that she had garnered all of the wit and cleverness between them. But, what he lacked in brains he made up for in naïve kindness. It appeared that he had taken all of this particular attribute for himself, but Sharpay was perfectly alright with this. It made her master plan easier.
"Yeah, Shar?" Ryan had asked quietly, taking a seat beside Sharpay on the couch.
She shoved him off and said, "We're going to play a game, Ryan. You will be my slave and I will be the queen."
"O…kay," he said uncertainly.
"That means that you have to do whatever I want you to do whenever I want you to do it. No questions and no arguments," she finalized.
"Why, of course, your majesty," Ryan said, the thrill of playing a game bubbling up in his stomach and making him laugh jovially.
"Go and get me some chocolate chip cookies, slave," Sharpay demanded.
Ryan gaped at her, "But Shar, we're not supposed to eat those cookies. The maids said so."
"I said no arguments! Now, go and get me my cookies," she yelled at him.
Slowly, Ryan nodded hesitantly and tiptoed out of the room. Carefully and quietly, he reached the kitchen. The counter was much too high for the small boy of four to reach, so he scooted a chair over to the counter. It rumbled against the floor and Ryan looked around hastily, making sure that no one was coming. Cautiously, he lifted the lid of the jar and stuck his hand into it. He grabbed hold of two cookies, then replaced the lid. Making sure to put back the chair before he left, Ryan ran at full speed into the living room to find Sharpay tapping her fingers impatiently.
"I got 'em!" he shouted joyfully.
"Finally," she said, rolling her eyes. She held out her hand, and Ryan placed the two cookies into her palm. She shoved one into her mouth and closed her eyes in the ecstasy of eating forbidden sweets. Something panged inside of her, though, as she opened one of her eyes and saw her brother smiling at her.
"Do you…want a cookie?" she asked.
Ryan shrugged, "Only if you don't want one, your highness."
Grumbling at her own weakness, Sharpay broke one of the cookies in half and handed it to her brother.
"There. Now stop bugging me," she said haughtily.
Ryan did not argue, but he thanked his sister for her graciousness and left the room.
The "game" continued as such throughout the rest of the week. Sharpay would send Ryan on missions, and would generally give him a fourth of the profits. However, the prospect of getting caught someday had Ryan worried. He had already noticed the lack of good attention his parents gave him; he really didn't want to be on the receiving end of bad attention.
"Shar," he had said one day after retrieving the cookies, "how do we tell who wins this game? When is it over?"
Sharpay laughed. "It's never over, Ryan. This is a fun game! It'll go on for as long as I say, because I'm the queen. And you can't win, Ry. I always win at this game."
Ryan hung his head, "Oh. Then why are we playing it?"
"Because I said we should. Now, go get me some milk, please."
Still unsure of his sister's plot, but not nearly bold enough to question it, Ryan complied and scampered into the kitchen.
The game would go on for several months more, until the twins reached kindergarten. Now, Sharpay was bored again. She was growing tired of being obeyed and getting whatever she wanted at all times. When there's no uncertainty in your life, it becomes rather dull. So, she decided to test her limits. At home, she broke things and mouthed off at her parents. The Evans', however, merely said that they could buy the exact replica of whatever had broken and that Sharpay was maturing quite quickly for her age. They continued to supply her with her every wish. But the more she got, the more frustrated Sharpay became.
The first week in kindergarten, Sharpay had doused one girl's pigtails with orange paint, claiming it matched her outfit better. The girl had cried and told the teacher that Sharpay had done it. But, by now, Sharpay was not worried. She had never been punished in her life.
As she sat alone in the principal's office, waiting for them to call her parents and 'have a talk' with her, Sharpay noticed several other students in the office as well. This wasn't really a test of her own limits, but of every child's limits. She huffed. Would no one give her what she really wanted? What exactly did she want? Even she didn't know. But this was definitely not it.
The next week, Sharpay had taken all the clothes that the school had for the dolls in the kindergarten room and chopped them up with scissors into her own design. Nobody had seen her do it, and the little girls all cried when they found that their favorite blouse for Barbie had turned into a bikini. Immediately, Sharpay broke into tears, as well, and put the blame on Ryan, who was sitting innocently in a corner, trying to play with the trucks while secretly desiring to dance or sing.
Ryan had taken the blame this time, simply going silently to the office, but the principal scared him. Ryan was considered an antisocial child in the classroom. He never talked to any of his classmates except for Sharpay. So, when the call had been made to his parents and the three adults stood hovering over the five-year-old boy, Ryan had never felt more frightened in all his life. When Sharpay had done wrong, their parents had merely brushed it off as either an accident or a misunderstanding. Sharpay was really just trying to help the girl. But when Ryan was blamed for cutting up Barbie clothes, his parents reprimanded him harshly, yelling at him for being a bad and abnormal little boy. They even took away his favorite hats and made him come to school with nothing on his head but his hair.
So, the next day, when Sharpay had again blamed Ryan for putting Play-Doh in the teacher's shoes, Ryan had adamantly contradicted her, shouting at the top of his lungs that it was Sharpay's fault. Everyone had stared at the boy, never having heard him speak before in their lives. Unsure of what action to take, the teacher had sent both Evans' to the office. When their parents arrived, it was again Ryan who took the entirety of the lecture. Sharpay watched her brother squirm and realized that, in blaming her, he had given her a portion of what she really wanted. The least she could to was repay him with the truth.
"Mother, Daddy, Ryan didn't do it. I did. I just wanted to see what our teacher's foot really looked like in Play-Doh form," Sharpay said innocently.
Their parents exchanged glances and gaped at the little girl. They turned their gaze to Ryan and asked, "Is this true?"
Ryan nodded meekly, unable to believe that the queen would acquit her slave.
"Yeah. Sharpay did it."
Again, the start of an unfamiliar sensation rose in Sharpay's stomach. It felt horrible. But, somehow, she liked it.
Several years flew by and, until about eighth grade, the twins carried on with their lives as usual: Sharpay getting what she wanted and Ryan getting in trouble for whatever she did. Usually, though, she would bail him out in one way or another. He had set up her first real 'limit.' She had trouble watching the only person who truly loved her get punished continually, so she helped him. For years, the only person of the opposite sex that either of the twins would talk to was each other. Middle school was, after all, the time of cooties and the natural separation of genders. So, Ryan was the only man in Sharpay's life.
Until she noticed Troy Bolton.
It was one day at lunchtime when Sharpay turned her head and saw the most gorgeous sight out of the corner of her eyes. While her many admirers waited on her, Sharpay watched as this other boy, who could have very well been doing the same as her, given his popularity, just sat around with his friends and joked with them. Everyone knew that Troy Bolton was the most popular boy in school…and it was pretty obvious that Sharpay was the most popular girl in school.
It just made sense, didn't it?
She watched him twirl a basketball on the tip of his index finger as though it were nothing. His ruffled hair practically glowed in the cafeteria lighting, and his teeth shone brightly as he smiled at her. She only now realized that she had been staring, so she flashed a smile back at him and turned around, making it her goal to secure that boy for herself.
That same day, after class, Sharpay strutted over to Troy after making sure that her hair was perfect.
"Troy Bolton?" she asked, needlessly clarifying his name.
Troy turned to her, surprised, before saying, "Sharpay Evans. Hi. What…what's up?"
Sharpay tried to make eye contact with him, but was caught off-guard by the shimmering pools of blue, so she pulled out her mirror and continued to ruffle her hair.
"Well…you're the star basketball player right?"
Troy shrugged modestly. "I suppose."
"And did you know that I have starred in every school play since kindergarten?"
Troy shook his head negatively. "No. I, uh…I didn't know that…"
Troy's slowness was beginning to annoy her, so she quickly shut her compact mirror and glared at him.
"Look…what I'm saying is that you're the most popular boy in school, and I'm the most popular girl in school. So we must have some things in common, right? How about you take me on a date? Pick me up on Friday night at 7:30. We'll go see a movie," she commanded, then she turned on her heel and began to saunter away.
Troy seemed a bit taken aback by the proposal, but he carefully answered, "Wait, Sharpay, I really don't know you that well, and I'm really not interested in dating right now. But, we could just try to be friends first," he said, almost apologetically.
Sharpay stopped in her tracks and her eyes grew wide. She turned around to face Troy. "Wait, you…did you just…reject me?"
Troy shook his head and waved his hands around frantically, "No, no, no, no, no. I just said that I would like to be friends before we went on a date or anything, Sharpay. It's not that I don't like you; it's just that I don't know you."
Again, that strange feeling arose in Sharpay. It was so…different. She had only ever felt it once, to a smaller degree, when her brother had first pinned the blame on her, not allowing her to get away with what she wanted. The feeling was so overwhelming that Sharpay merely nodded absently at Troy's explanation and walked away.
Rejection. At last, someone had refused to give Sharpay what she wanted. Perhaps, then, what she really wanted was to not get what she wanted. Did that even make sense? She was so confused.
All she knew was that she wanted Troy Bolton now more than ever. He was the only person who had ever outright refused her. All of her minions at school were garnered through threats and persuasive talking. Everyone in the school either feared or admired her. She always got what she wanted. She would not let this boy be an exception.
The next year, freshman year in high school, Sharpay would sit behind Troy Bolton in class and just stare at him. This boy was so confusing. Why would he not want her? She was beautiful, talented, clever…everything a boy could want in a girl, right? She made sure to catch his eye every so often and flash a grin. She wore seductive-smelling perfume and made certain to attend all the sport activities possible, just to catch a glimpse of him. Meanwhile, her brother continued to be the quiet doormat that she knew and loved. He seemed not to have matured quite yet, so he continued to just follow Sharpay around everywhere she went, doing whatever she told him to do. It was not really a game anymore, just sort of a habit. Though, technically, she had never renounced her title as queen and he had never officially quit being her slave.
Troy had made the varsity basketball team that year and it was an unspoken but mandatory rule that every member of this team needed to have a date for a group viewing of a movie the night before the first game. Upon hearing this information, Troy became horrified. Who would he ask? He hardly talked to any girls because he always hung out with 'the guys' on his team. He vaguely recalled being asked out by a girl on a whim in middle school, so he decided to give her a shot.
Sharpay was standing by her locker, picking out her 'after-lunch' outfit when Troy stumbled up to her locker and hesitantly asked her out.
Sharpay's eyes flitted up to his face emotionlessly. "I'm assuming that you'll pay for it and get me whatever I ask for?"
Troy gulped, unsure of what response he should give to a girl who would ask such a thing. "Um…yeah, I guess. This Friday?"
Sharpay nodded, trying to hide her smirk. "Friday. Pick me up."
She slammed her locker shut and strutted down the hallway away from Troy. And though she was sneering endlessly, she couldn't help but feel something suddenly empty inside of her.
After the movie that night, Troy and Sharpay emerged from the theater, laughing. Sharpay had honestly enjoyed herself without begging for anything or feeling the need to sparkle and shine. When she looked Troy in the eyes, she felt another unfamiliar sensation rise inside of her, but this was not the thrill of rejection. It was something else. Something much deeper. Something she was afraid to explore.
"So…" Sharpay started to say. "That was pretty fun. Thanks, Troy."
Troy gave her a crooked smile. "Yeah. I'm glad you liked it."
Sharpay began to lean in closer to him, but Troy pulled back dejectedly. She looked at him, confused.
"What's wrong?" she asked.
"Nothing it's just…Sharpay, I'm really not ready for this, yet, I don't think," Troy said sincerely.
"But…then, why did you ask me out?" Sharpay asked, now becoming irritated.
Troy sighed. "Look, I remembered that you asked me out one time in the eighth grade and I sort of needed a date for the varsity team's outing tonight. I really do like you as a person and as a friend, but…I'm just not ready to date, yet."
Sharpay nodded almost imperceptibly and fiddled with the makeup in her purse. "Oh. I'm, uh…I'm sorry you feel that way, Troy."
Troy's eyes became glassy and guilty. "Oh, man, I'm sorry, Shar. I just…I'm sorry. We could go out some other time, if you want. As friends."
Sharpay shook her head, trying to keep the inevitable tears at bay. "No. That's okay. I'll be fine."
Before Troy could apologize and make her heart melt any further, Sharpay turned on her heel and stomped quickly in the opposite direction, pulling out her cell phone and calling her limo driver to come pick her up. It began to drizzle, but Sharpay refused to go back under the awning to get away from it. After all, if she stood in the rain, everyone would think that that was the only water source causing mascara to run down her cheeks.
Sharpay made sure not to let any person get that close to her ever again, besides, of course, her loyal brother. She still spoke to Troy and attempted to gain his affection. After all, the day that he was ready for a girlfriend, she might as well be there for him. And she always believed she would be.
Until Gabriella Montez came along.
The little goody-goody had come right out of nowhere after winter break during their junior year. The moment she had entered the classroom, Sharpay had seen the way Troy stared at her. The way he showed her around school and acted all gentlemanly towards her. She had him wrapped around her little finger. So much for not being ready for a girlfriend, eh, Troy?
And worse, Gabriella had convinced Troy, her Troy, to combine their efforts and kick Sharpay and Ryan out of the only area of their lives at which they could excel: the theater. Not only had Gabriella stolen Troy from her, she had also stolen the musical from her, and Sharpay's life seemed to be falling apart at the seams. School inhibited her from getting whatever she wanted; though, once she got home, she could ask for anything and it would appear. She supposed it was a balance, in a way. It was better than Ryan, who never got anything he wanted in either setting, so she settled with it uncomfortably.
Every time she saw Troy and Gabriella together, it made her sick to her stomach. It hadn't been that Troy wasn't ready for a girlfriend, he just hadn't wanted her. But she still wanted him. Oh, his love for Gabriella only fueled her lust. She would have Troy Bolton, the only boy who had ever stood up to her. Admirers had asked her out, and Zeke had baked cookies for her. Though she did love receiving their gifts and Zeke's cookies, Sharpay was after a much more unattainable prize. After all, would not the reward be so much greater?
That's why, the very next summer, Sharpay tried to do everything in her power to break up Troy and Gabriella. She tried to get him to work at her country club so he would be with her all the time. But then, he got Gabriella to work there, too. She tried to bribe him with a full scholarship to the University of Albuquerque. But then, he decided that Gabriella was more important to him than his future. She tried to lasso him into doing the talent show with her. But then, that blew up in her face in more ways than one.
That was when her respect for Gabriella came. All along, she had despised this girl for stealing what was rightfully hers. What was worse, she had done it all without direct confrontation. She wasn't being attacked, just ignored. And if there was anything Sharpay hated in this world, it was being ignored.
Finally, Gabriella got up the nerve to confront Sharpay on her own turf. And, admittedly, she had done a commendable job of sticking it to Sharpay. No one had ever yelled at her in that fashion or so completely contradicted everything she was trying for…let alone made absolute sense in the process.
And, in this same light, Sharpay had gained an infinitesimal amount of respect and adoration for her brother. He had contributed to her boredom ever since kindergarten. He did what he was told, he agreed with her on everything, and he never talked to any girls besides his sister and Kelsi when absolutely necessary. But, that summer, something had set him off. He began to break away from Sharpay. He went against her strongest wishes to keep the Wildcats out of her talent show, and he actually organized their entire performance. Not only that, but, when faced with the defeat of his show not going on, Ryan declined to participate in Sharpay's. The feeling of her own brother abandoning her made the emotion deep within Sharpay rise to its fullest, so much so that even when Troy agreed to sing with her, she could not get over her own brother's rejection.
Sharpay did not give her brother the Star Dazzle award because he put on a 'good show.' She gave it to him because he had succeeded in doing what she had said was impossible: he'd won their game. By finally refusing to comply with her desires, she fell prey to him and his wishes. That made him the new king and her the servant. And she loved, hated, and admired him for it.
Sharpay was a star. She dazzled. She got what she wanted at all times, without question. Sharpay had no limits set in her life. None but the limits of Gabriella Montez, who would not let her stomp all over her friends, the limits of Troy Bolton, who would never be her boyfriend, no matter how much she loved him, and the limits of Ryan Evans, who would never allow Sharpay to control him or their family ever again.
Respecting people was very bittersweet business for Sharpay Evans.