Before I begin, a little background. I first saw HSM pretty recently and thought I would hate it, but actually thought it was decent, with decent music and liekable characters, though Kelsi was my favorite by far. Because of this (and the lack of stories about her) I decided to write this. Its a bit emo in this chapter but it gets considerably lighter. Hope you enjoy, and I don't own any High School Musical characters, plots, etc.

Kelsi slowly began her walk away from East High, undergoing her daily ritual of trying to not get hit by the cars of her fellow students, inevitably a bit too excited about the end of the school day. She thought about how much easier it would be for her if she could drive, but unfortunately her dad had forbidden her to drive until after graduation. It hadn't irritated her until a few weeks ago, when senior year began and she realized that just about all of her classmates had their licenses.

Of course, this meant that she could get a ride from someone fairly easily, but Kelsi had never been comfortable asking for a ride, even from someone who she knew fairly well, such as those in the Drama Club or Orchestra, which she had joined last year, in hopes of having more freedom with her music, which she had had some success with, and making new friends, which was markedly less successful. So she generally only asked for a ride when she had a lot to do after school (fairly rare) or was getting together with someone (virtually never).

Though she often complained about it, when Kelsi was being fully honest with herself, she didn't mind walking home, even though it was about a mile-long walk. It gave her a bit of exercise and fresh air, something that periodically shutting herself out from the world didn't offer. More importantly, it provided her with a good, quiet setting to think. Her thoughts on her walks home ranged from the events of the day to homework and ways to put it off, from new musical ideas to hopes for the future. Kelsi always took the longer but quieter back roads in order to have a more peaceful companion to her ideas, thoughts, and hopes.

Today there was one subject that kept pushing itself into her mind. She had tried to push it out by mentally experimenting with her latest piece and even thinking about the lecture in English class, but it kept coming back. She had been sitting near the circle of her…friends. She used this term loosely, as she still wasn't comfortable around the nice but overexposed group that Troy and Gabriella had created after the Winter Musicale. This consisted, of course, of the power couple themselves. Both Troy and Gabriella were very sweet people, and Kelsi knew that they made a great couple. But they had never known or tried to know Kelsi outside of the "playmaker" setting, which was a persona that Kelsi initially appreciated, but now felt that it defined her. This was certainly a step above "small person," but it still limited her to a single identity rather than a whole person.

Next to Troy and Gabriella was "the 'other' it couple," as Kelsi secretly called them, Chad and Taylor. She hadn't gotten to know either of them too well, as neither were involved in the Musicale, but she admired Taylor's ability to be a fun loving genius, and Chad's great sense of humor, even if he could be a jerk at times. On the whole, they seemed like a watered down version of Troy and Gabriella: great people with whom Kelsi didn't feel she was fit to be friends.

Then there were Zeke and Jason. For Kelsi, they were probably the two biggest surprises of the group. Zeke, who Kelsi was initially intimidated by merely because he seemed twice her size, had turned out to be one of the sweetest people she had ever met. They had even bonded somewhat over the shared hobby of cooking, though it was much stronger for Zeke than for her. Jason was a similar story. Kelsi's parents were acquaintances with Jason's, so she had had some idea about his personality. Or at least she thought she did. His spacey nature often made him seem like the prototypical jock, but over the past few months, Kelsi had found out that this was not true at all. In fact, when he was focused, Kelsi had found Jason to be both engaging and surprisingly intelligent. In her mind, Kelsi described Jason as a nerd trapped in a jock's body, of course, meaning nerd in the best sense of the word. She wasn't exactly making friendship bracelets with either of the basketball players, but Kelsi acknowledged the rapport that she had built with both of them, both because of shared interests and the fact that they both seemed to know something about being lost in the fray, as they both seemed to be overshadowed by Troy and Chad, their more popular counterparts.

Then there were the Evans twins, who Kelsi felt she would never be able to relax around, particularly Sharpay. Of course, Ryan was always very sweet to her. In fact, she considered him to be her closest friend within the new group. But Kelsi always thought that Ryan acted this way mainly to make up for his sister's aggressive personality and the mistreatment that they had once shown her. But whenever she thought this, there was a tiny voice that came up in her head, reminding Kelsi that maybe she was just trying to convince herself of this in order to avoid the light feeling she got in her stomach when she thought of him.

Then there was Sharpay, a girl who stood apart from the rest. Kelsi had spent the majority of her pre-Musicale time being terrified of Sharpay's domineering personality. While she had undoubtedly softened somewhat over the summer, Kelsi's perception wasn't much different. But now there was something new that accompanied her slight fear: annoyance. Not necessarily annoyance at Sharpay herself, but rather at her situation. Sharpay had spent most of the previous year being rude to the gang, and had even schemed to split up Gabriella and Troy. And yet, she was now fully accepted without question. It wasn't that Kelsi didn't think she should be trusted, for even she had noticed a genuine change in Sharpay. But rather, she was irritated that she, who had been nice to everyone, and even went out of her way to help Troy and Gabriella in the Musicale, was still on the fringes.

It was this thought that brought Kelsi to the events of the day that she couldn't get out of her head. She had been a few minutes behind everyone else, but still arrived in homeroom before the bell. When she came in, Kelsi sat down in her usual spot, close enough to the group to be included, but still not exactly in their circle. The others were talking about various subjects, when Troy suddenly said "So guys, what are we doing on this weekend?" There were a few suggestions and little debates, including Chad and Taylor arguing about the merits of "Die Hard 9." After about a minute, it was decided that they would have one of their movie marathons at Chad's house, with everybody bringing something, though no one had asked Kelsi what she would bring. When Troy asked if anyone needed a ride, he was "reminded" that they had all gotten their licenses over the summer, and they continued to make their plans, as Kelsi turned away from the group slightly, pretending to be highly interested in the book she was reading. Throughout the day, she had talked to both Ryan and Jason, trying to subtly bring up the homeroom occurrence, and see if there was any reason why she was seemingly forgotten. But neither picked up the hints she was dropping. Maybe she was just being too subtle, or maybe her friends just didn't want her around.

It wasn't the fact that she wasn't invited to Chad's house. Most of the time, Kelsi was just as happy at home reading or writing music as she would be in more social settings. What really bothered her was that she was, once again, forgotten in the group that ignored cliques, and was supposedly all-inclusive. Then there was the fact that this seemingly inconsequential memory wouldn't get out of her mind. It was the fact that she couldn't let go of something so small that made her so irritated and embarrassed. And when she felt like this, she always thought of bad memories, which was, in this case, the homeroom scene. It was a vicious cycle that Kelsi seemed incapable of getting out of until she arrived at her house, opened the door and walked over to her piano.

Well, hope that you enjoyed it. I'm not going to beg for reviews or anything, but I would appreciate any thoughts or criticism. I've written about 4 chapters so far, but I'll probably hold back a little on posting them just because I have a pretty full schedule and don't want to go too long without updating. I'll probably put the next chapter up by tomorrow, maybe even later today.