Author's Note: Hey, welcome to my new story. Well, it's not really "new" new...more of a revision. This is the rewrite of my first story, Because I Loved Him, that I've been meaning to get around to forever. It's a more mature, realistic, high-school-ish story than the original version, with less OC's, too. I still might throw in a spontaneous song, because hey, it's High School Musical.

So kick back, relax, and enjoy the new version of Because I Loved Him!

---

Disclaimer: I do not own any characters, settings, or plot details relating to High School Musical. However, Bianca and the general plot of this story are mine.


These Are The Moments

Chapter One

"Soaring, flying, there's not a star in heaven…"

Gabriella smiled. It was already a month since the production of Twinkle Towne - well into March - and people were still quoting the lines, singing the lyrics, and chattering about their favorite scenes. She stared up at the picture of her and her boyfriend pinned to the locker door and smiled again.

"Gabriella, darling, you really have to stop smiling into your locker. It makes you look insane."

With a laugh and roll of her eyes, Gabriella turned around to face said boyfriend. Troy's blue eyes twinkled down at her as he leaned in to give her a quick kiss. He reached over to close her locker door and intertwined his fingers with hers.

"How was golf yesterday?" she asked.

He groaned. "Absolute hell. Coach worked us like dogs. I never thought golf could make a guy so tired."

"Don't you mean 'worked us like wildcats'?" Gabriella smirked

Troy glared at her. "Shut up. I'm blowing off steam right now."

"What'd he have you do?"

"Three miles! Apparently, 'you need strength and stamina when walking the golf courses,' but I think it's all a load of crap. How much energy do you need to walk ten yards?" As Troy ranted, Gabriella pulled him away from her locker. Together, they walked to homeroom, pretending not to notice the glares of the senior girls and the dreamy giggles of the freshmen. As they entered Ms. Darbus' room, they were greeted by the loud calls of their friends. With one last smile, Gabriella disconnected her hand from Troy's and went to her seat in the back, grinning at Taylor along the way. Troy didn't take his eyes off her as he sat in his own seat, ignoring the friendly slap from Chad.

It was only when Ms. Darbus swept into the room and said, "Good morning, class. Today we will continue our analysis of Great Expectations. Now, from last night's reading, who can tell me the significance of Miss Havisham's name?" No one moved. She sighed, then noticed Troy's back was still turned. "Mr. Bolton, unless you found the answer to my question on the back bulletin board, I suggest you turn around." Gabriella stifled a giggle behind her hand as Troy whipped around, eyes wide.

"Do you find something amusing here, Miss Montez?"

Her giggling stopped abruptly. "N-no, Ms. Darbus."

"Hmm. Perhaps you would like to tell us the significance of her name?"

As Gabriella launched into an explanation that obviously disappointed the teacher – she had been hoping to catch Gabriella off guard – Troy spotted Principal Matsui hovering outside the door. He seemed to be talking to someone, but Troy couldn't stretch out to see who without having Ms. Darbus snap at him. Out of the corner of his mouth, he hissed, "Psst!" to Martha, who was just about to fall asleep. When she turned to him, he pointed out the door and whispered, "See who's there!"

After a few minutes, she answered, "Matsui and…some girl. I think she's new."

True enough, Principal Matsui walked into the room, saying, "I'm sorry, Ms. Darbus, but I just wanted to show our new student to her class."

"No, no, go right ahead!" He all but dragged a reluctant looking girl into the room.

There was a low murmur throughout the class. He put a hand on her shoulder and said, "Everyone, this is Bianca Sheppard. She's a new student here, and she'll be starting tomorrow. So show her some Wildcat hospitality and make her feel welcome!" The class snickered at the words "Wildcat hospitality." He glared at them. It seemed to say Or else.

The guys were whistling under their breath and nodding appreciatively. Gabriella rolled her eyes when she heard Chad whisper, "Damn." Taylor chucked a paper ball at his shoulder – it bounced off harmlessly.

Bianca was a petite blonde of short stature. Her green eyes seemed to flash as she looked around the classroom for a place to sit. Ms. Darbus said, "Miss Sheppard, tomorrow you may have the seat in front of Miss Montez. Miss Montez, please raise your hand." Gabriella obliged.

Bianca looked around coolly. Her eyes swept over the students in the room - and seemed to linger for a second longer on Troy. Gabriella noticed, but dismissed it. She couldn't blame Troy - he was one of the best-looking students in the school.

Mr. Matsui and Bianca left the room, and Ms. Darbus tried to restart her discussion on Miss Havisham. But the class was already distracted. Seeing that it was a hopeless case, since most of her students probably hadn't done the reading anyway, Ms. Darbus threw her hands up and cried, "Woe is me! Students, I assume that most of you have not read the assignment!" The class quickly quieted down. "Out of the goodness of my heart, I am giving you another day to finish it. We will continue this discussion tomorrow! The rest of the period is yours!" And with that, she sank into her seat and massaged her temples.

"YES!" Chad yelled.

Troy grinned and hopped up onto his desk. Gabriella came and joined him, and soon the rest of their friends did, too. He put his arm around her and hugged her tightly. She leaned into his embrace.

"So what'd you guys think of the new girl?" Martha asked.

Zeke and Jason exchanged a look. "She's hot."

Taylor rolled her eyes and said, "I swear, boys are hormones with feet!" The girls laughed.

Sharpay inspected her nails as she drawled, "I didn't see anything special about her." She was clearly unhappy, but since Ryan had become part of their group, she had nowhere else to go - so she followed Ryan for the first time.

"She looked kind of intimidated," Kelsi said softly.

Ryan snorted. "Are you kidding me?"

Troy agreed. "Yeah, she looked pretty arrogant to me."

"Maybe she just wanted to put on a brave face. You know, she's new and all," Gabriella suggested. "I know when I was new, I wanted to look like I wasn't scared."

"It didn't really work." Gabriella elbowed her boyfriend in the side. "Ow! Why are you so abusive?"

"You know you love me anyway," she said flippantly.

Troy grinned as he leaned over to kiss her. "That I do," he whispered.

Their friends rolled their eyes and laughed. "Guys, get a room. Seriously."

"Shut up, Chad."

---

Several periods later, the group met up again for lunch. They sat at the former "Drama" table at the top of the steps. Though in their previous lives they would have dreaded sitting in such a spot, their views had changed – they also had to admit that the Drama table had the best view of the cafeteria. Sharpay had chased the old occupants of the table away – save for Kelsi and Ryan – and had invited Troy to sit with her.

She ended up with a few more seatmates than she expected. Troy invited Gabriella, who invited Taylor, who invited Martha and Chad. Chad brought along Zeke, and Jason somehow ended up at their table as well. Since Sharpay couldn't stop them from sitting there without making herself look bad in front of Troy, she let them sit with her. But one didn't need 20/20 vision to see the glares she shot at Troy's friends.

Ryan walked up to the table and joined his friends. "Guys, Bianca's in my Calc class."

Sharpay rolled her eyes. "And…" she deadpanned.

He shrugged. "I don't know. I just thought I'd share the information."

"Sharpay," Troy said warningly. He never liked the way she treated her brother.

Chad reached over and stole a chip from Taylor. She sighed and moved her lunch so that it was closer to him. "Thanks," he said.

Then he took half of her sandwich. "Chad!"

"What?" he asked through a mouthful of bread and turkey. "I'm hungry!"

"So get your own lunch!"

"You know you can't finish it anyway! So you might as well give it to me!"

"I-" Taylor cut herself off, realizing that he was right. "Ugh." She hated losing arguments. Martha and Kelsi shared a look and smiled.

Across the table, Zeke was unpacking his dessert. "I made cookies!" he announced. He tossed a bag of cookies into the middle of the table, and the guys dove for it. Somehow, Troy ended up with two, one of which he handed to Gabriella. Jason came out with three in his hand and was about to eat them, but Zeke snatched two and handed them to whoever hadn't gotten a cookie.

Just then, Bianca walked into the cafeteria with Mr. Matsui and a tray of food. He said a few words to her, and left. She looked around for a place to sit, but saw none. She was about to leave when Gabriella called out, "Bianca! Bianca!"

"Gabriella!" The boys hissed. "What the hell is the matter with you?"

"She needs a place to sit, guys. She's new - she doesn't know anyone." Gabriella waved Bianca over. "Hey. How are you?"

Bianca didn't respond. Gabriella bit her lip and continued, "Um, do you want to sit here? We noticed you coming into the cafeteria."

Her nose up in the air, Bianca put her tray down and sat in between Kelsi and Martha. You're welcome, Gabriella thought sarcastically. "Uh, well, let me introduce you to everyone." Gabriella started pointing at her friends. "The one on your left is Kelsi, that's Ryan, Sharpay, Zeke, Chad, Taylor, I'm Gabriella, this is my boyfriend Troy, and the girl on your other side is Martha. We're all in your homeroom, too."

"Fantastic," Bianca said sarcastically. She picked up her grilled cheese sandwich and started eating. Gabriella noticed that she didn't take her eyes off of Troy. Something heavy settled into her stomach.

Troy seemed to have noticed it too and cleared his throat uncomfortably. "So, Bianca, where are you from?"

"The greatest city in the world, of course." Her voice was noticeably kinder and softer as she answered Troy's question.

"Paris?" Sharpay asked brightly.

Bianca fixed her with a piercing glare. "Do I sound French to you?" she sneered. Sharpay narrowed her eyes.

Troy cleared his throat again to rescue Sharpay. "Um, what city?"

Bianca put her grilled cheese down. "New York City."

"Why'd you move?" Jason asked.

Sharpay muttered under her breath, "Yeah, why couldn't you stay wherever the hell you came from?"

Either Bianca didn't hear Sharpay or chose to ignore her. "I don't see how it's any of your business, Jacob."

"Actually, my name's Jason," he said innocently.

"Do you think I care?" she snapped.

Everyone blinked. Kelsi spoke up. "So how do you like East High, Bianca? Has Mr. Matsui showed you to all of your classes, yet?'

"No," she said tersely. "I still have to go to my afternoon classes." Bianca finished her lunch and stood up. "I need to go find my locker."

Gabriella asked, "Do you need help?"

"I can find it on my own," she said coldly. She picked up her tray and her bag, but before she left, she turned to Troy. "Bye, Troy." Then she dumped her garbage and left the cafeteria.

The table exploded. "What am we, invisible?" Ryan asked incredulously.

"Okay, I'm not really an expert, but I don't think that's how most new kids act." Zeke's eyes widened. "Oops, sorry, Gabriella."

She waved it off. "Don't worry about it. I don't get why she acts like that. Wouldn't she want to make new friends, not push potential ones away?"

Troy put an arm around her shoulders. "Gabriella, you may have an A in Psychology, but I don't think you'll be able to figure Bianca out for a while. Just forget about it, okay?"

Gabriella looked into his eyes. "Okay," she said softly. He smiled and gave her a soft kiss.

A crumpled-up milk carton hit Troy's head. "Who threw that?" he demanded.

Chad wasn't afraid to raise his hand. "Dude, not while I'm eating!"

Troy gave him the finger. Everyone laughed, including Gabriella. The unsettling feeling she felt when Bianca looked at Troy had vanished.

--

At the end of the day, Gabriella stored her unneeded books in her locker and took out her bag with her homework. Taylor walked up to her, dragging her wheeling backpack behind her and said, "So what're you gonna do now, Gabriella?"

Gabriella hefted her bag onto her shoulder. "Well, I was gonna go to the library and get some homework done before my mom comes to pick me up. What about you and everyone else?"

"Well, Chad and the guys left after eighth period because they had ninth free, but they're coming back for baseball practice. Martha's gone to dance class, Kelsi's off in the music room doing something. Ryan and Sharpay...I don't know where they are but I really couldn't care less –"

Gabriella stared at her friend. "Come on, Taylor, they're not that bad. Sharpay kind of sweetened up after the play – she even helped me rehearse and stuff. And Ryan's a fun guy."

"Yeah, Ryan's fine. It's Sharpay. She may be 'nicer,'" Taylor made air quotes, "but that still doesn't make up for all the things she said and did to you guys."

Raising an eyebrow, Gabriella said, "If I remember correctly, you and Chad weren't exactly encouraging, either."

"Will you drop that already? I already said I was really sorry!"

Gabriella laughed and put her hands up in surrender. "Okay, okay. Anyway, what are you gonna do?"

"Well, I'm gonna wait for Chad out front and then we're going to grab some pizza before his practice. Don't look at me like that!" she cried when Gabriella gave her a knowing look.

"That's so sweet!" she squealed. "Honestly, you and Chad make an adorable couple."

"Yeah, when we're not fighting all the time…argh!" Taylor smacked herself in the forehead when Gabriella snickered.

"You just admitted that you and Chad are an adorable couple," she said in a sing-song voice.

Taylor smirked. "But the award for 'Most Saccharine Couple' goes to you and Troy, hands down." Gabriella blushed. "Don't give me that silly blush, Gabriella. You guys are like, perfect."

Gabriella smiled weakly. Just then, a hand slid around her waist and pulled her to what seemed like a wall. Another hand covered her eyes. She heard Taylor chuckling.

"Don't move, don't scream, and maybe I'll kiss you," a low voice whispered in her ear. Gabriella shivered. "Ah ah, I said no moving."

"Hmm..I wonder who this could be," Gabriella said sarcastically.

"Hey. Do you want a kiss or not?"

Her lips twisted. "Um…maybe not now." She brought her elbow up and elbowed the person in the gut.

The person didn't flinch. "Ow?" she laughed sheepishly.

"Honestly, you guys make me sick." Chad shook his head as he walked up to join his friends.

Gabriella ignored him and asked, "Can I have my kiss now?"

"Lemme think." The hand dropped from her eyes and spun her around to face Troy. He was grinning as he lowered his head down to kiss her.

They broke apart at the sound of a retch. Chad was doubled over, holding his stomach. Troy rolled his eyes and slipped an arm around Gabriella's waist. "Dude, stop. You're acting like Sharpay now."

Chad quickly stood up straight, his eyes wide. "Don't compare me to that…thing, man. Not cool." He wrapped an arm around Taylor and asked, "Ready to go?"

She nodded. After saying goodbye, the two left. Gabriella called out, "Adorable, Taylor!"

"Saccharine, Gabriella!"

Troy raised his eyebrow. "Am I missing something?"

Gabriella smiled and reached up to kiss him again. "Girl talk." He nodded as if to say Okay... "Not that kind of girl talk, idiot."

"That hurt my feelings." Troy pouted. It was a look that could take a girl's heartstrings and twist them around into knots.

She patted his cheek. "Come on." She took his hand, and as they walked, she asked, "What time do you have practice today?"

"3:30. So I have…" He did the math, "an hour and fifteen minutes to kill. Whaddaya wanna do?"

"I was thinking of going to the library. My mom's picking me up at 3:45, I figured I should get some homework done."

"Or…" he raised an eyebrow suggestively.

Gabriella hit him on the shoulder. "Or you could do your homework so you're not up until 2:45 in the morning finishing it." His face fell.

"Fine," he grumbled.

---

What was I thinking? Gabriella thought as she laughed at another one of Troy's stories. 'Get some homework done' my butt!

"I'm not joking!" Troy cried.

"Mrs. Danforth has a picture of Michael Crawford in her refrigerator?" she asked in disbelief.

"That's what he said."

"Wow."

Troy sighed and leaned forward so that he was closer to her. "So, Miss Montez, how has Albuquerque been treating you?"

"Well..." she put on a thoughtful expression. "I've made new friends, done better here than in any other school I've been to, actually performed in a school musical, won a Scholastic Decathlon..."

Troy urged her on, waiting for a certain comment, "And..."

All right, I'll play along. Gabriella continued and said, "I found a garden on the rooftop, found out that my balcony is rather reachable from the ground..."

He was getting worried. "And..."

She smirked. "Had a rather silly crush..."

Finally! "On who, Miss Montez?"

"Ryan."

Troy fell out of his chair. "Oh my god!" she exclaimed. She leapt out of hers and ran to his side.

He reached up a finger and said, "I'm okay." She helped him up anyway. Troy sat on his chair again; but as Gabriella was about to go back to hers, he reached out and pulled her into his lap. "What was that you were saying about your crush?" he whispered in her ear.

Gabriella shivered. "Just that I had a silly one on Ryan." Her face was straight, but he could hear the giggle in her voice.

"Oh really?" He swiftly poked her in the waist. She yelped. "Tell the truth, Miss Montez," he said lowly.

She shook her head. He poked her again. And again.

"Okay! Okay!" she cried, out of breath from laughing. "I never had one on Ryan. It was always you."

"Now that's what I was listening for!" Troy pulled her down and gave her a quick kiss. Gabriella laughed again, a sweet, tinkling sound, then hopped off his lap and pulled out her AP Chemistry textbook. And they actually worked for the next half an hour, until Troy had to run to practice.

---

That night, as Troy was eating dinner with his parents, his dad said, "So, Troy, have you heard about that new student?"

He looked up from his mashed potatoes and mumbled, "Oo ee eeaanca thepparff?"

"Troy," his mother said warningly.

Troy grinned cheekily, chewed, and swallowed. "You mean Bianca Sheppard?"

"Yeah, that's her." Jack put his knife and fork down. "Have you met her?"

"Um, Matsui was showing her around to all of her classes today. She came into Darbus' class for like three minutes. I saw her again at lunch. Why?"

"Because she's going to be in your gym class. Her name was added to the class roster today."

"Oh." Troy ducked his head and started eating again."

"Troy." He looked up, annoyed, at his mom. "You be nice to that girl, okay? Make sure you treat her like you treated Gabriella."

"Like how he totally screwed up and made her think he didn't like him?" his dad asked, a glint in his eye.

"Dad!" Troy whined. "I thought you said you wouldn't bring that up anymore! And you didn't like her at first either!"

Jack shrugged. "Yeah, but that was before I got to know her. She's a sweet girl."

His wife nodded. "Mm hmm. Understand me, Troy?"

"Yes, Mom."


Author's Note: Hmm...I think I'm a bit rusty, but it's a start.

Please note that I am not promising regular updates. I'll be lucky if I can get one in every few weeks. Also, the title might change as I continue through the story. Right now, it's still tentative.

Reviews are greatly appreciated! Thanks for reading!

VH