She was perfect. The way the white material curved around her flat skinned body. Her creamy skin glowed in the light, but it seemed more that her own internal light was radiating more then the sun that was shining through the windows. The now shoulder length, light brown hair was pulled half up in perfection, with curls radiating her thin shoulders. The light brown eyes were pouring love out as she looks into the mirror. It seemed as though the mirror on the wall would bow down to her, for it was her day. The day that every girl had dreamed of since she was three years old. The day that would change her life, forever.
The deep brown eyes look at this woman with a small smile on her face as she spun in her white strapless wedding dress. "Liv… you look unbelievable."
Gabriella watches as Olivia's light brown eyes rip away from the mirror with her eyes bright and shining with love. Her bright white teeth were showing through her mouth as Gabriella couldn't help but feel jealousy at how perfect the twenty-six year old looked. But she had to kill that thought, shove it to the ground, for it was Olivia Walker's wedding day. She was able to have the thunder, whether Gabriella was jealous or not.
"Thanks Gabs." Olivia says while her breathing was extremely fast.
It seemed like only yesterday, Gabriella was in the store with Olivia shopping for her orange, perfect homecoming dress. Nine years later, she was standing in the mirror with her wedding dress on that made Gabriella smile softly in the same way. So much had changed since then, yet things were still the same. Like Gabriella's feeling of inferiority to her since Olivia was perfect. Completely flawless. But what had changed since the day she went homecoming shopping with her?
Gabriella knew that she was gorgeous also.
"Honey, he's not going to be able to take his eyes off you." The dark girl says while Gabriella looks over to her best friend to see her in the spaghetti strapped light blue dress that came to above her knee. Her hair was half up also, though hers was straight. Gabriella looks down at the matching dress on her body that fit her curves perfectly. Her midnight black hair that still drapes over her body was curled and pulled half up also, with her flowers sitting on a table in the corner. Gabriella's small, recently manicured hands grab her small stomach reflexively as Olivia's body glows with perfection again while Taylor gives her a knowing smile.
Gabriella's eyes look to the other two women standing there, with their hair pulled up in the same way. One of them was small, with little glasses that framed her face since she refused to buy contacts all through high school and college. And then the other cousin of the bride, Julia, the bridesmaid, who looked almost as happy as Olivia did. Almost.
There was suddenly a knock on the door as Gabriella's head turns around. A tight afro'ed dark guy sticks his head in, Gabriella noticing how much his own face had lengthened and become older then when he was a junior in high school. He looks thinner, maybe playing basketball for UCLA with his best friend really helped. "You guys ready? My feet are starting to kill and the priest said that he's got another wedding in an hour… Shit Walker! He's gonna die when he sees you!" Taylor's fiancé says before shutting the door.
Olivia's face completely pales as she spins around like a tornado loose. Panic floods onto her flawless features as she immediately turns to the mirror and stares. "Oh my God… oh my God!" She exclaims while Gabriella, Taylor and Kelsi all exchange nervous glances. "I can't do this, I can't…"
"Yes you can… just calm down…" Taylor tries to soothe as Gabriella just stands in the back and watches. After going to Stanford for a year and Taylor going out East along with Kelsi, she had become so much closer to Olivia, putting her jealousy of her perfect body behind her. They weren't best friends, but after living down the hallway from her, they had become close enough.
"No! I just… it's too soon… we broke up again less than a year ago… he can't want this again…this is out of control…" She starts to freak out. Gabriella could almost feel the panic seep into her own veins, reminding her of two years ago. She takes a few steps forward and places a hand on Olivia's bare, bronze shoulder while her eyes were still wide. Gabriella's dark chocolate brown eyes lock with the light brown. Her once enemy breathes harshly as though she was going to have a panic attack while Gabriella shakes her head slowly.
"But you guys got back together after a month right?" She asks while tossing her curly hair behind her shoulders. A small smile plays on her lips. All the jealousy she had ever felt was slowly slipping away. She had to be a better friend then that. "Trust me, he loves you ok? I'd know more than anyone." Gabriella's smooth voice says while she reaches up and touches the small gold chain on her neck. "He's told me a million times over her loves you. Believe me ok?"
Olivia takes a deep breath as Gabriella could see her eyes swimming with small, nervous tears. "I just… I don't want to make a mistake… I mean, he just popped the question three months ago. Everything seems too soon. I just… I feel like… I'm loosing control…" She says softly as her pink, glossed lips close together to hold in the tears to not mess up her make up.
Control. It was such a simple, yet haunting word that made Gabriella's stomach turn over again. She hadn't purged in over seven years, which was a result of a short, four month break up with her best friend and boyfriend of two years while they hadn't seen each other in over two months. She never doubted his love for her, but after being attached at his hip for so many years, and then suddenly be apart for that long while he was at UCLA, it took a toll on them. She relapsed for about a week, before realizing everything that she had ever worked for was falling down the drain. She could remember calling her best friend that night, crying her eyes out. He had then jumped in the car and drove at top speed, barely making it without a speeding ticket, and just held her for the entire night. Even if they were fighting, it didn't matter. Her best friend was there like he promised he would be. Promised he'd never leave her. Never let her go.
Gabriella smiles a little as she nods. "It's scary… we know…" She says while glancing to the still small girl to see the ring on her finger that represented her marriage to a guitar player she met out East after breaking up with Jason. A lazy, distant smile drapes across her face as she looks into Olivia's perfect one. Her hand reflexively moves to her stomach to hold it, hold what was small… for the moment. "Someone once told me that life isn't always about being in control." She says while still holding her stomach, knowing that it was the furthest thing from being in control right now. But she wouldn't have it any other way. Taylor smiles at the hand as Gabriella's eyes begin to sparkle. "And you know what? The guy couldn't have been more right. It's hard, but sometimes…" She says while glancing down, almost listening for the second heartbeat that would be beating inside her in a few months. "… miracles come from it."
Olivia takes a deep breath as she pulls Gabriella to her, almost crushing the small girl's bones. "Thanks Gabs… you always know what to say." She says while Gabriella holds her tightly. The two girls pull apart as Olivia takes a deep breath and looks at all of the girls. "Ok… I wanna get married."
All five of the squeal. Gabriella, Taylor, and Kelsi all grab their bouquets of flowers and walk towards the bedroom door, letting Julia and Olivia had a few more moments before they came down Julia's house in LA also, where she and Olivia now lived, until after tonight. "So… you haven't told her yet?" Taylor asks as their light blue heels hit each of the stairs.
Gabriella's eyes grow wide for a moment before she places her finger up to her lips. "Shhh! No, it's her day, I don't want to steal her thunder… and you two plus Chad are the only ones who do. I haven't gotten around to telling Shar yet, but she and Justin looked pretty cozy in the front row, so I don't want to bother her today." She states in a secretive tone as their heels hit the stairs to reveal the glass doors were open, while five men plus a flower girl and ring barer were standing. It was the perfect backyard wedding.
Her eyes look outside and she gasps slightly. There were less than a hundred white chairs set up all facing a white archway with pink flowers draped over it. There was a light wooded platform with a man holding a bible in his hands. A completely pale man with dark hair was standing there shaking as all eyes were up on him. Chad was standing next to him, proudly since the two had gotten extremely close during college, after he turned his act around. "It's beautiful…" Kelsi lets out as the peek out the doors, Gabriella's breath suddenly getting caught in her throat.
She didn't understand how he did it after all these years. Even though she knew everything about him, it was still a mystery to her. Her stomach still flipped the same way as her eyes lock on him. The tan skin was radiating off of his body as the sun beat down onto it. His black tux made him look so much more mature, reminding Gabriella of the way he looked on his own wedding day. His chestnut brown hair still fell over his eyebrows a little, but was more mature then his jock high school cut. Even from over fifty feet away, she could still see the piercing, drowning ocean blue eyes shine as though they were brighter than the bright sun. Gabriella's heart begins to pound faster as his head flips a little to get the hair out of his eyes, unaware that she was staring at him from inside the house. Her hand slips down to her stomach again, closing her eyes almost as though feeling a part of that man growing inside her.
"Mrs. Bolton…" A voice rings in her ear but she couldn't rip her eyes from him. It wasn't until a soft hand rests on her shoulder that she was brought out of her trance from staring at the love of her life and into the face of one of the wedding planner. She had almost an irritated look on her face, but Gabriella didn't care. Her eyes blink again as the woman with high cheek bones points to the rest of the group, the guys now standing with the girls and Olivia's arm with her father's. The only one who had an opening was Olivia's brother. All of them were staring at her as she could feel a blush erupt on her olive cheeks. "Mrs. Bolton, if you'd be so kind…" The planner says in a snotty voice.
Gabriella sighs as she turns and walks to Allen, who was much younger than her. She smiles at him while glancing back to see Olivia's face was almost the color of her dress. Her eyes look down as she laces her arm with his, looking at the gold wedding band on her left finger. "You look great." Allen says while Gabriella smiles at the younger guy.
"Thanks Allen." She says while looking down for a moment.
Before she knew what was happening, her heels take steps outside after Kelsi and one of Carlos' friends step out of the glass doors of the house. The sun shines down on Gabriella's face for a moment, illuminating her olive skin in a perfect way that she had no idea did. Her parents were sitting towards the front with her aunt and uncle, but Gabriella could only feel one pair of eyes on her. The only ones that mattered.
Her eyes blink for a moment, before they open up slowly and feel her breath get completely sucked out of her. Standing on the platform before her was him. The one person she woke up to every morning and never wanted to be apart from. His piercing blue eyes were locked on her, with so much love that it was almost immeasurable. His mouth was opened slightly, and he held the same look on his face that he did when she was walking down the aisle with her father two years ago in her white strapless dress that fit her so perfectly.
As they reach the end of the aisle, Allen and Gabriella separate. She walks up the steps and stands next to Kelsi, but barely notices. Her eyes were still locked on the drowning ocean blue ones that had a sparkle in it. She didn't even notice the music change, nor did he as everyone stands up and looks to the bride coming in. Neither noticed as Olivia walked up to Carlos and grab hands with him, with love in their eyes that would never be taken away. All throughout the vows, Gabriella's eyes remained on Troy's, who was staring at her like she owned his body, soul. But that's what happens when she owned his heart.
"Do you, Olivia Jane Walker, take Carlos Lee Montez…" The priest starts to say, but Gabriella still wasn't paying attention. Troy's lips suddenly move, forming the shapes "I love you" to her as Olivia says I do. She smiles back at him and opens her mouth also, whispering I love you back. "You may now kiss the bride."
Their eyes didn't leave each other as Olivia and Carlos kissed. Their eyes didn't leave each other while the entire crowd clapped. Because nothing, nothing would ever make them want to see anyone else. Not in this moment, nor in any other moment. As long as she lived.
Her body collapses as her back gives out on her. Sweat glistens on smooth olive skin as she opens her bruised lips to gasp for breath. Her eyes were shut, as she didn't seem to have the energy to open them. She could feel the body above her breathing panting also as his hands were placed above her head, lifting his torso up as though not to crush her stomach, though she knew that nothing would happen since a bulge hadn't formed yet. "You're ok?" The hitched voice asks while her eyes look up and try to look through the black hair that was sticking to her forehead. The deep brown eyes connect with the piercing blue with concern that was radiating from them. She smiles and nods slowly. "I didn't hurt you or anything?"
Gabriella laughs a little as she shakes her head again. One of the rooms in Julia and Olivia's house was completely black as all she could see was the tan, glowing skin above her. In the corner of the room somewhere was his black rented suit along with Gabriella's powdered blue dress. The reception had ended an hour ago, though Gabriella and her husband managed to make it out two hours ago, unable to hold their emotions any longer. It was also perfect timing because everyone at the wedding seemed to be getting tipsy, and since Gabriella couldn't have alcohol, her husband thought it'd be best if they left and he was sober also, only having a small glass of champagne that was served with dinner.
"No Troy." She says while letting her fingers run through his messed up, bed head chestnut brown hair. He smirks his bright white sexy smirk at her while her head leans up to connect their lips together, even though they had just gotten done sending fireworks through their bodies, she could still feel sparklers shooting through her nerve endings. "You didn't hurt me."
His left hand gently plays with the almost black curl that fell onto her shoulder, making her hair tickle against her skin. "Sorry… I know I'm anal I just…" He says while his eyes look back up to hers and connect them together, making Gabriella's body wave heat. "I can't believe it…"
Troy places one last kiss onto Gabriella's forehead before rolling off of her. She immediately feels the emptiness of the twenty-seven year old above her, but then feels him lean on his side next to her, making it her cue to turn the same way. His arm pulls her waist close to him, almost as though protecting the little human being that was starting to grow in Gabriella's body.
She couldn't remember a time she saw him this happy. This ecstatic. Maybe it was while they were on their honeymoon in Jamaica. He hadn't been this excited about something since then. Not when he graduated and was told he should be drafted in the NBA, though he turned it down to stay with Gabriella and go into sport's marketing with Chad. Not when he and Gabriella bought their first house, which was stationed in Sacramento.
For some reason, sleep wasn't coming to her. Her mind was wrapped up in too many other things to think about sleep. She couldn't hear Troy's steady breathing either, which meant he wasn't sleeping either. It was just like their sympathy pains when they were just kids. If she couldn't sleep, neither could he.
Slowly, she lifts her head up and then her shoulders, glancing down to see that Troy was narrowing his piercing blue orbs in confusion. His arm reflexively pulls her to him, so she could feel the hard six pack abs against her back and his softness against her butt. "I'll be right back." She whispers while leaning down and placing a small kiss onto his perfect lips.
She gets up slowly, revealing her totally nude body to him, and couldn't help but get the same feelings of insecurity about her body as the first night she slept with him on Christmas morning. Even though he had seen her naked a million and a half times. He had touched every inch of her body, pressed his lips against every stitch of skin, and stared at her with love, she would never truly get over it. Never.
Though the lights were off and it was rounding close to three in the morning, Gabriella could see the bright moonlight shining into the room, illuminating the floor. Her hands reach down and grab a black, translucent silk robe that she had brought. She slips it over her shoulders and slowly walks towards the long, body length window of death. It takes a moment before her full body shines back in the glass, but as it does her eyes look up to see what was staring back at her.
It had been so long. So long that she had struggled with the image in the mirror. It almost stole her teenage years, her life, away. Once, long ago, she would look into this mirror and see that her thighs were the size of an elephant's. Her neck would be the owner of three chins, her face would look as though she belonged in a sumo wrestling match. And her stomach, her stomach would have looked as though it would burst from having so much content in it. It would physically make her throw up just looking at herself.
Gabriella hears a shift on the bed as a couple footsteps. There was a pause, which Gabriella assumes that he was putting on his boxers. But her eyes look to the mirror again. Now, almost ten years later, she looked in the mirror and saw something else. She saw a psychologist who focused on eating disorders. In the curves of her chest that still could be revealed even under the black robe, she saw a daughter who had turned out to be every parents dream. In the depths of her dark hair, she saw a friend who was there for anyone whenever they needed it. And in her left dark chocolate brown eye, she saw a best friend, one the other played in the sandbox with as a four year old. And in the right eye? She saw a lover, and soon to be mother of her lover's child.
The deep brown orbs look at the mirror to see that the piercing blue orbs were hovering towards her. Gently, he wraps his arms around her waist from behind; over her stomach protectively, while resting his chin against her shoulder, before kissing it gently. "It's just a reflection." Troy states while looking at her in the mirror again. "It doesn't mean anything."
She smiles softly while turning around in Troy's arms, wrapping her own around his neck. After all these years, Troy had been there for her through so much. He might have been what triggered the eating disorder that one night, but it was going to happen eventually. It was what she was destined to become. It was a curse, and she wished that she would have never had it. Yet, in the same light, it was what made her strong through these years.
"I know." She whispers as Troy pulls apart, his eyes sparkling in the blue glow of the moonlight.
He smiles softly before gently placing his lips onto hers. She breathes in deeply, trying to take in the Troy Bolton scent that she fell in love with so many years ago. But every time she took in his musky smell that just made Troy… well Troy, she fell in love with him all over again. He breaks apart from her and slowly runs his hands down her bare chest and stomach while sliding down also, making Gabriella's body tremble a little. His knees hit the floor as his eyes stare right at where her bellybutton ring should have been, but she had to take it out since she wasn't the only one living in her body anymore.
"They're really in there huh?" He asks as she could see the shine of his piercing blue staring at her olive skin with more love in his eyes then anything she had ever seen. They hadn't planned this, since both wanted to wait another two years before they started to settle down. But after she found out she was pregnant, both realized this was everything they ever wanted. "God… I just…" He says while Gabriella smiles down, seeing the glint of the gold basketball pendent that had lasted all these years still around her neck. "You're gonna be a mom…"
With that he places his cheek against her bare stomach, as though trying to hear his child inside her. Gabriella smiles as she dips her hands into his hair, pulling him closer. His eyes close, along with hers. She could remember when they were five years old, Troy with his stringy hair and gapped teeth, playing house and being a mommy and a daddy. Well now? They weren't going to play. This was real.
Slowly, Gabriella slides down also so Troy's head skims up her chest. Her knees hit the floor also while his piercing blue bore into her deep brown. A grin breaks out onto her face as she looks at him. "You're gonna be a dad…" His lips connect with hers as she feels electrifying sensations shooting through her nerves. But then they both let go at the same time and Gabriella looks to the mirror again. Both she and Troy were kneeling sideways. Her eyes look to her nude stomach, suddenly imagining nine months from now. "I'm gonna be huge…"
"No… Gab… you're gonna be beautiful." He says while looking towards the mirror also. Her eyes look down at her thin stomach for the moment, then connect up with Troy's eyes to see love spilling out of them. "And I love you Gabriella Bolton… no matter if you're a hundred pounds or five hundred." He says while leaning his forehead against hers. "I love you."
Gabriella looks up into his eyes, almost feeling her own cloud with tears. "I love you too Troy." She says before wrapping her arms closer to him, so her head was in the crook of his neck, and he was holding her body with all the love he could possibly give.
Troy Bolton had been Gabriella's everything. He was her stranger at three, her acquaintance when they first met. He had been her enemy when he told her parents around her eating disorder and when he made her stop. He had been her playmate, her teammate, her brother. But there were only two things that he would always be. They would never die, nor go away. He would always be her lover, always and forever. Until they both died, she would always love him. But there was something more important than that. Something deeper, a bond that only she and Troy shared. No matter what happened, Troy Bolton would always, always be Gabriella's best friend.
As she feels his strong arms tightly hold her as their smooth skins were connected as one, she looks to the side again to see her reflection one more time. Her eating disorder would always be a part of her. Always. It was just who she was. She would never feel fully comfortable with her body, never fully appreciate how beautiful she really was. Her almost black hair falls away from her face as she grips Troy's tan shoulder, her deep brown eyes staring into the identical deep brown eyes back at her. She was going to be huge. It was everything she had ever feared. She was pregnant now; she had no control over her body weight. She was jumping into her worst fear in high school.
The eyes stay connected with her own reflection as a small smile plays her face. She grips Troy's shoulder tighter while gently leaning down and placing a kiss onto the soft skin. Never wanting to let go.
It may have been her worst fear, but she was ready for it. As long as she had her best friend in her arms, she was ready for anything.
A/N: So this is it. It's been a long road, a lot of ups and downs, but this is finally it. It was really hard to write this chapter. I hope I didn't disappoint any of you with this. I know a lot of people had an issue with this story, but I just want to thank everyone for reading it. It really means the world to me that you took your time to give this a chance. If there was anything I really wanted from this story, it was that maybe I helped someone with this issue, because it is truely important in today's life. I hope you liked this story, because I liked writing it. You're reviews were incredible, I mean, over 2000? All I have to say about that is THANK YOU! Truely, you guys make the story. So I hope you guys really liked Never Let Go, and just thank you so much!
And as for me stopping or not. I really sat down and thought about what I wanted. It was really truely hard to think about, because I love to write, but I wasn't sure if it was my time to stop or not. I want to thank you guys for some of your comments and PMs on why I shouldn't stop. They really meant the world to me, but I had to sit down and realize what was best for me. Anyways, thank you so much. And after thinking long and hard about it, I realized there was only one thing I really wanted. So for if this is my last story...
Let's just say keep your eyes open for the rest of the day or tomorrow for a new story called Forgetting to Love.