Story Title: Masquerade Hunt
Summary: Troy is sent to a hunt to find his 'date' on prom night but he isn't up to it especially that all he wants for the night is Gabriella. Will he let the girls pass him onto another and get involve in a blind date? The date he never wanted? Or so he thought. This is the first 'Wildcat Promenade' story set in Troy's point of view.


Masquerade Hunt
by Pure Vowels aka Auie

Prom. That is what everyone has been talking about for the past three weeks. Girls have been running around the mall deciding for their perfect gowns. Boys have secured a young lady to go out to the prom with them. Friends have booked limousines and hotel rooms for after prom get together. No one has been prepared than the whole senior population of East High.

East High School's senior promenade is always grand. Set in a luxurious hotel in Albuquerque or neighboring cities or towns complete with themes and motifs to add excitement to the event. And usually, East High prom has themes like Fairytale where the ballroom is designed with a sunny feeling (even at night), or Under The Sea where the venue is plastered with balloons, see artifacts, blues, greens and pearls.

Last year, prom had a Hollywood theme. Girls and boys were dressed up in elegant formal attires replicating design dresses, the entrance steps to the ballroom is covered with a red carpet and to complete the scene, parents were excitedly taking various photos from behind a railing. Black, red and gold completed the look of the theme.

This year, however, is a lot different than those usual themes. The prom committee – consists of Sharpay Evans, Joanne Lavery, Lorraine Smith, Paula Crest, Alfred Jones, Max White and the student body president James Larry with Ms. Darbus and Mrs. Phillips both from the English department – have decided to have masquerade as a theme for prom. This requires all girls to wear masks but optional for boys (none of the boys would want to wear one, anyway). The prom king and queen are being judged according to the elegance, poise and beauty of the physical look. The girls, however, can only rely on their gowns and mask. The judges will mostly base their criteria on the poise and how the girls bring themselves elegantly.

But that isn't the reason why I'm slumped back in this uncomfortable black leather sit of this long black limousine. It's also not the reason why I'm looking pissed just staring outside the tinted window avoiding the happy faces of my best buddies Chad Danforth, Ryan Evans, Jason Cross and Zeke Baylor. They are all too excited for the night's event and completely forgetting the fact that I hate the night. None of the guy's dates are with us in the limousine as they decided to mess with us. Nevertheless, these guys are all too eager to find what the girls will look like; Chad saw Taylor trying on her dress one day a week before the prom. Zeke 'accidentally' spotted Sharpay with Gabriella purchasing a pink dress. Kelsi told Jason what she'll look like because she hated the idea of hiding behind the mask. Ryan, well, Martha isn't really hard to find in the senior crowd. But as for me, I have no idea.

And that isn't just the reason why I hate prom. Three weeks before the actual prom, I know exactly who to ask on a date for prom night. I have packed up all my courage and climbed up to her balcony window and ask my girlfriend of one year, Gabriella Montez, the one and only question.

"Oh Troy," she said after a long pause. But instead of the usual twinkle in her eyes and the curls on her lips, I was met with a frown and a guilty looking brown eyes. "I'm sorry"

What? I thought to myself and my eyes widen in disbelief hearing her last words. Did she just say I'm sorry? Did she just reject me? But why? It's not as if she's going out with someone else… Or was she?

"What?" I say out loud with a huge expectation that she'd change her answer.

"I'm sorry, Troy." She once again said. I mentally cover my ears not wanting to hear it. But I needed to know why and just like as if she was listening to my thoughts, she added, "Grandma is coming over from New York and I have promised to be with her. She's coming over on prom date. I'm sorry"

What? I couldn't believe it. It is just one night. Why can't she excuse herself for a few hours and enjoy the best night of senior year with her friends. Surely, her grandmother would understand that and she could allow her one night out.

I try hiding the disappointment in my face but I'm too late. She wraps her arms around my waist and buries her head on my chest. My arms, however, were frozen inside my jeans pocket.

She looked up at me with the same disappointment on her face. But she could somehow still manage to fake a smile. "Troy," she started, "I'm sorry if I turned you down. It's just that… Oh geez. I don't even wanna talk about it. But Troy, please, for me go to the prom. Even with someone else, I don't mind. Just please, go to the prom for me."

I followed her with my eyes as she walks to the railing of her balcony. Now she's allowing me to go to the prom with someone else. It's a bit odd knowing this was one of the events she's looking forward to. "But why can't your grandmother allow you to attend just one night with friends?" I desperately needed to know.

"Troy, I always spend my days with you and the gang. Grandma's dying and I promised her I will be with her 'till her last. I just can't break that promise for one night. I love her so much, Troy. And I know you're aware of that." She said in between sobs.

Without anymore delay, I wrapped my arms around hers from behind telling her that I understand her situation. I know very well that Gabriella and her grandmother are really close and knowing that her grandmother has a few weeks –or days, who knows?- to live, she will just worry too much.

I turned her to make her face me and looked deeply into her chocolate brown eyes filled with water that were about to pour. "Gabriella, I understand. Your grandmother needs you and I'm sure you will give her the love she needs before she leaves you and your family. We can always spend time together anytime. Just call me when you need anything."

She nodded her head taking my hands that were holding her face. She held it tightly saying thanks to me. I started climbing down the tree feeling so down knowing that I will hate prom forever. But before I could totally disappear behind their fences, I heard a soft call from Gabriella's balcony. I turned around and saw her now tear stain face.

"Please go to the prom." She says but I said or did nothing. "For me" She finishes and find myself nodding before tracing the path back to my house a few houses away without realizing that I didn't say goodbye.

I agree to go to the prom for Gabriella, that's why I'm here. Otherwise, I won't be in this limousine. I am still looking outside the window without realizing we have arrived at the venue. A nudge wakes me up from my deep thinking and I reluctantly throw myself outside the car and to the front of the grand Lava Springs Hotel –a Lava Springs franchise managed by the Evanses in downtown Albuquerque. I look up at the building before me mesmerized by the look. Hearing the boys complimenting Ryan and his family, I look straight to see the cozy looking lobby through the glass doors where a bellboy is waiting patiently to open the door for every visitors coming in and out of the building.

Ryan leads us to the entrance and is greeted by a happy "Good evening Mr. Evans" by the bellboy. We, too, are greeted by him. The lobby is huge but very packed with men in tux and women in colorful dresses, which I believe are my schoolmates. The girls are expertly hidden behind their masks as I can't notice anyone from behind it. But I can tell that some groups are the cheerleaders through their cheery grins and voices.

Scanning the room, one particular blonde catches my attention. The usual bubbly and happy looking Sharpay Evans looks a lot gloomier and stressed tonight. I look at her long pink gown with glitters sprinkled on it and notice the height added to her usually short one. Her hair is in an up do with a few strands of her blonde hair loosely hanging accordingly around her face. Her make up is perfectly matching her dress and skin tone. I must admit, Sharpay does look amazing but her face tells us otherwise.

"Ryan!" She shouts in her high pitch commanding voice grabbing the attention of most of the people in the lobby including the receptionists. As she draws closer to us, I notice that she isn't wearing any mask but, instead, she is wearing a headgear with flowers on top and a fishnet-looking thing that covers up her face. That, I think, is extremely wise but anyone can still see her through it.

"Why aren't you wearing a mask?" Ryan asks her sister but is given a point at the fishnet and a 'duh' look on her face as a reply.

"I don't need a mask," she starts, "I'm not eligible for queen anymore."

I realize I'm forming a perfect 'o' with my mouth as I remember Sharpay is the head committee for prom and the reigning prom princess from junior ball. And with East High, rules are rules, give others a chance.

"Sharpay" Zeke starts causing all of us to look at him. "Why are you so stressed?" I can feel the nervousness in Zeke's tone like it is hard for him to speak to Sharpay. But no one pays attention to it.

"I'm stressed because the sound system isn't working! Damn it" She says her voice slowly rising as she starts her sentence and yells the last bit. I look around the room and see that she is definitely catching a lot of attention.

"Ok, sis, calm down." Ryan says as he starts some yoga looking gesture with his hands. Both of them are now waving their own hands at their faces calming themselves. "Why don't you let Max do the work?" Ryan suggests as they finish their short calming session. "After all, you assigned him that."

"I know. And he's also the reason why it's not working." She groans angrily through her teeth and places a hand on her forehead to rub it.

"Okay, okay" Ryan says as he thinks of something to help his sister but he was unsuccessful. "What do you want me to do?"

Sharpay lets out a sigh still rubbing her forehead. Zeke is looking puzzled and I can see he wants to help Sharpay with the problem. But just like Ryan, he doesn't know what to do. Finally, Sharpay starts talking calmly, "Can you please ask if there are spare sound system in this damn hotel before…" She pauses to look at her gold watch complimenting her dress. Her eyes widen at the time which made me look at my own silver watch. "Shit! Half an hour!"

"Okay, Sharpay, calm down" Zeke says and places a hand on her arm, which I think is making her put a smile on her face. "We'll help you out, anything to lessen your works."

Sharpay's smile goes bigger at Zeke and is thankful for Zeke's offer. She starts asking them stuff to do and they begin pacing different directions leaving me alone as if I am not really there. But to my surprise, Sharpay turns around and walks back to me with a pointed polished finger. "And you," she commands "In half an hour, when everyone starts entering the ballroom, I want you to keep your eyes open at exactly one hundred and thirty degree angle from the entrance doors. Got that?" I am impressed at how fast and clear she says it in one breath, but…

"Huh?" I mutter out loud.

"I know you're bad at math, Bolton," - I roll my eyes at her which cause her to smirk forgetting her problems. Sharpay Evans is one hell of an actress - "But can you just pretend you know it and look to your left from where you are standing at the entrance doors and spot a violet haltered backless gown, hair in up do. Okay? Now I have to go." She turns on her heels and walks away.

"Sharpay!" I yell but I unsuccessfully catch her attention because she keeps walking away and really fast. "How does a halter dress look like?" I say in a whisper knowing she won't hear me even if I increase the volume of my voice. I let out a sigh and go straight to the hall outside the ballroom and waited impatiently for the entrance doors to open in half an hour.

Minutes have passed and I realize that the crowd from the lobby starts making their way towards the hall to the ballroom. A lot have attempted to talk to me but I am too occupied with too much thinking. First Gabriella and now a violet halter dress. What am I suppose to do with the girl wearing a violet halter dress?

Another more minutes pass by and the entrance doors opens. I let people walk in first and enter when the mob decreases. When I know it's better to get in, I remember what Sharpay told me earlier. I look at the middle of the room where I can see the dance floor separating the girls' side from the boys' side. Oddly enough, the committee decided to group the girls and boys so the boys will search for their girls in their side before the special awards announcement. According to Sharpay, this is how they will judge the couple of the night. So I look to me left where the girls' wing is situated and disappointedly see a mob of violet dress across the room.

However, one particular violet dress catches my attention. Her bare back is turned to me, which put a smile on my face. According to Sharpay, the dress is backless. "Yes it is." I check. I walk closer to her and notice her dark hair in an up do. I smile again. And when I got a lot closer, I see the familiarity in her body curves and the way she throws her head back when she laughs. How could it be? She's not here… or isn't she?

"Gabs?" I say unsure if she is. My heart starts pounding fast when the girl turns to face me. My face fell when I saw ebony eyes and square jaw line. It is Stacey, the head cheerleader. I make a mental not to kill Sharpay when I see her. She must have planned to give me a date for tonight since Gabriella isn't here. But no way! I'd rather stay in a corner thinking about Gabi than date someone else.

She smirks at me before placing a camera at her face and takes a picture of me. I place a hand to the camera's lens to cover me up but I'm too late. She giggles again before sticking out her tongue at me. "Sorry, Bolton, I have to do it. And sorry that I'm not your high numbered level IQ girlfriend. I can't believe you've mistaken me for her."

"I'm sorry Stace" I say not really meaning it. "Although, you do look awfully lot like her from the back"

"I know. That's why can you tell Brie how smart she is." She says in a smirk. "Oh. And that's a compliment."

Woah! Now I'm totally confused. Did she just call Gabriella Brie? None of us ever calls her Brie. I am totally confused. I really am going to kill Sharpay once I find her. Oh, speaking of Evans, "Stace, Sharpay told me to look 135 degrees from the entrance doors and look for a violet halter backless gown and hair in up do. And I think you're the only one wearing that. Unless that's not a halter dress."

"It is." She giggles. "And you're right, you have to spot me here a few minutes ago. I kept waiting for you here. I won't leave till you see me. Thank God you went to your senses and did what Sharpay told you to do."

"What do you want?" I ask straight to the point.

"Oh nothing… Just to take a picture of you to document that sad look when you saw me and not your girlfriend. And also to tell you to…"–She stops to clear her throat and takes out her Nokia phone from her silver purse– "Find a cocktail dress in rainbow colors. Hair straight and her mask is color red." She closes her phone, puts it inside her purse and looks back at me. "She's the only one in rainbow cocktail. You should find her easily. Although, scanning around, she's not the only one in a red mask. So don't rely on that much."

Ok, what the hell is this? First Sharpay wants me to find a violet dress, now Stacey wants me to find a rainbow cocktail. I want to ask her why but a different question leaves my mouth. "What's a cocktail dress?"

"I see you have problems with dresses." She says as she playfully narrows her eyes at me. "A cocktail dress is a short dress that stops either at mid-thigh or the knee and never reaches the floor. Don't worry that much. She's the only one in rainbow tonight. Okay? But I'm sorry that's all I can do to help you out. I shouldn't, though, but I can tell you won't be able to find her if you don't know what a cocktail looks like.

You don't have enough time so I suggest you start scanning the room and look for this dress. Your clock is ticking, and so is prom night. So bye" She waves a hand and takes her friend with her, which I believe is Tiffany her co-captain, and walks away.

Now, I'm all alone again trying to picture a rainbow cocktail dress. What am I suppose to do with all these dresses, anyway? Thankfully, I am not the only boy in the girls' side of the room. A quarter of the boys' senior population has now spotted their dates. I even see Chad with Taylor in his arms. How I wish I have Gabriella with me. I shake the thought out of my head and start scanning the room for a rainbow cocktail dress.

I first spot numerous red masks and then look up and down to see if the girl has a dress that stops in mid thigh or knee. Thankfully, after five various dresses, I see one particular rainbow dress that stops at the knee. I release a heavy breath before walking to her.

"Ah, Troy Bolton," she smiles imitating Ms. Darbus. I can't help but smile back to her but honestly, for a split second, I think I saw Gabriella's smile in it. I know for sure that it isn't Gabriella because she is as same height as I am and her heels aren't that high. And her voice isn't as sweet as Gabriella's. "Welcome to your quest."

I put on a confused face as she says those words. "Uh, quest?"

"Ever since Sharpay gave you your first clue, you have entered yourself in this hunt. The hunt to find yourself a date for tonight-"

I groan in frustration. "I don't want a date tonight. Especially since the only person I wanted to be with is nowhere nearby. Why don't you under-. I mean, is this Sharpay's idea? Because if it is, I'm going to hunt her down and kill her"

"Surprisingly," she says as she shakes her head calmly "Sharpay did not come up with the idea. She's too busy with the prom preparation and she certainly doesn't have the time to play with you. It even took a lot of pleading for her to agree to give you the first clue. Unexpectedly, she remembered." She says in a low calm voice. Even without the mask, I can't picture who this person is. She must be from the volleyball varsity, I think.

"Whatever." That's all I can see knowing that her words about Sharpay are true. "But if it's not her, then whose idea is this?"

"That, Bolton, is what you need to know. At the end of this quest, you have your treasure waiting for you somewhere in this hotel. It could be in a room, the restaurant, the bar, the garden or the swimming pool That, I seriously have no idea. So to pass you on to your next clue, you have to look for Ms. Darbus and the person she's talking to will give it to you."

I once again release a sigh. Should I do this 'quest'? Should I search for this clues and end up in a blind date? Should I let myself be passed from one girl to another? Or should I just sit down and bore myself to death? A half smile creeps across my face as I make my decision. After all, this is the only 'fun' I can have for the entire night.

"Okay. You better make sure this 'treasure'" –I say emphasizing the word- "Is worth it."

"It sure is, Bolton." She ends with a smile and goes back to talking with her friends as if I never really come to talk with her.

I leave to start scanning the room for Ms. Darbus but she is nowhere in sight. I feel a tap on my shoulder when I head my way to the boys' side hoping to see her there. I turn around and saw a smirking Jason behind me.

"What do you want?" I ask a little coldly.

"Woah, hot head much?" he says raising his hands up as if defending himself. "Anyway, I'm here to tell you where Darbus is."

Wait, how did he know? Jason knows? Is he the only one? Or there are some others as well. "How did you-"

"Know?" he continues for me. "Well, I'm actually your lifesaver. The mastermind really didn't trust me that much but I heard them talking."

"Them?"

"Darbus is just outside those doors if you're still looking for her." He says ignoring my thought. "You get three helps from me. So use it wisely."

I nod my head ignoring the fact that it is not just him, Stacey, Sharpay, that volleyball varsity girl and whoever Darbus is talking to who know about the hunt. There is someone else. Or should I say 'are'.

Before I completely get lost in the crowd, I turn back and catch Jason's attention by tapping his shoulder like what he does to me earlier. "Jase, do you, by any chance, know who came up with this?"

"Sorry but no" He says shaking his head. I turn my back but Jason once again calls out "And Troy! You used two of your lifesaver. Use your third wisely."

"What?" I say but I just receive a smirk from him. "You suck, you know that?"

"Of course, otherwise, I'm not Cross, Jason Cross." He says in the poorest James Bond imitation I heard. I turn away from him and start walking to the entrance doors.

To my relief, I see Ms. Darbus just outside the door talking to Joan Lavery. She, too, isn't wearing any masks. Maybe because she's one of the judges for the night's awarding. I wait until the two are finished talking and Darbus handing Joan a clipboard, which I believe is the list of nominees for King, Queen, couple of the night and other special awards.

Ms. Darbus pass by me without acknowledging my presence. I look at Joan who is smirking at me. "Bolton" she says and I give her a smile. "Just in time. By now I'm sure you know what you put yourself into."

I nod my head but I am not sure if she sees me doing it because she is now looking at her clipboard writing something I'm not interested in. When she finally looks up, she speaks "Ok Troy, I really am not up to this whole thing but I agreed anyway. What's better fun I can have than to see you confused on prom night. Although seeing you bored to death is a lot more fun."

Knowing Joan, she is one of the most serious students in East High. She takes things seriously and gets mad when things don't go as planned. Even cheerleading isn't cheery for her. It's just weird that she finds fun in seeing me look like an idiot looking for something I really don't want.

"To pass you on to your next clue, I want you to help me pick 5 girls elegant, graceful and amazing enough behind the mask for queen. According to Sharpay and Ms. Darbus, the queen is based on the dress and mask and how they gracefully bring themselves."

I nod my head in response, "What do you have so far?"

"I've two: Red empire waist glittery dress and butterfly mask. A sapphire sweetheart neckline ball gown, fitted bodice and full skirt sprinkled with jewelry with white sparkling mask." She answers. I have a slight curiosity who these girls are but that is not what I need to do. Right now, I have to find five girls for Joan's list. "I need ten but you just have to help me with five."

"Maybe we should start by going inside." I suggest.

I lead the way back to the entrance doors and open it for her. Once again, my gaze turns towards the girls' side but this time, I have to search each and everyone in the room. I point my finger to various girls in blue, orange, green, violet, pink, red, brown or black gowns wearing either a feathersed mask, simple white or silver, blue or green, pink or red, purple or black masks. It seems like hours since Joan and I have started listing girls for the nominees and soon after, I have completed five of them. I never really realize who those girls I pointed to are. I just choice those who I think are really eligible enough for queen tonight, which I think I'm satisfied with my search.

I leave Joan searching for three more girls (but I think she has completed her list already) when she tells me to search for Kelsi. Unfortunately for me, I don't know where Kelsi is. I have to go find Jason and unwisely use that last help he can give me.

"Hey Jase," I say as soon as I spot Jason talking to Zeke who looks really nervous. I look at him suspiciously but it seems like he isn't acknowledging my presence.

"Oh hey Troy," he greets back. "Here to use your last help?"

I nod my head and ask him "Yes, I need to find Kelsi. Do you know where he is?"

"Kelsi is…" he says searching the room "Oh, right! Kelsi should be by the DJ. She's working on something, I think."

I say my thanks before I move my way to where the DJ stand is. And true enough, Kelsi is there writing something on a piece of paper, which I think is a music sheet. I see her scratching her head and her eyebrows furrows. I wonder what and why she's working on some music on prom night.

"Hey Kels," I smile greeting her, which makes her unmasked face look up to me.

"Hey Troy," she greets back. "'Bout time you're here."

I chuckle a little before I start again. "I know. Uh, Kels, why aren't you wearing any mask?"

"I hate it." She says simply looking at the abandoned mask right beside the sheet of paper.

"What are you working on?" Pushing the topic away, I sit down on the chair next to her and ask about the music she is working on. Weirdly enough, if that music is for tonight's event, why didn't she work on it weeks ahead?

"Oh, just some music. It's nothing." She says folding the paper and putting it under her elbows. She sighs and continues "Sharpay wants me to work on something for tonight. Unfortunately, I didn't find anyone who can do it. Unless…" She trails off giving me a hopeful look.

"No, no, no, no. Kels, I can't. I don't want to do it tonight." I say quickly letting her understand that I'm not in the mood for anything. I just hope she gets the message.

"Please, Troy." She pleads but I just shake my head no. I'm not up for it. I only sing with Gabriella. It may look like I am the one encouraging Gabriella, but she gives me the courage to perform something I'm not used to. "Come on, Troy. Just like call backs and the talent show. Please"

"Kelsi, if you didn't notice, I sang with Gabriella on call backs and talent show. Unless you show Gabriella to me right now, I'm not singing this song."

She nods her head in understanding, I think. "Okay, then. But…"

"No Kelsi."

"Wait… Let me finish. If you win an award tonight, you'll do the song for me. Ok?"

"That's the condition?" I ask. I think it through; I already won Prom Prince last year with Sharpay and just like her, I'm not eligible for king anymore. There are four other awards for the night apart from King and Queen. And two of them are Couple of the Night and Most Fashionable. I don't think I'm eligible enough for both. And as I see Kelsi nodding her head at me, "Ok." I agree.

She claps her hands together in excitement. She looks back at the music sheet she's working on and shows it to me. I look at it as if I have no idea what it is and what's its purpose. "This is the music you'll be singing in case" - she says before I can cut her off – "you win an award tonight. It's simple and Shar agreed to let the singer bring the music sheet on stage."

I sigh heavily at the excitement engulfing my friend. "But what if I didn't?" I ask making sure she's not expecting too much and that she has someone else.

"I'll just worry about that."

I nod my head knowing she has someone else in mind. But I think I need to be going before I can put myself into something again that I'm not up to. "Kels, uhm… what's the-"

"Oh right! Sorry. I forgot. Anyway, Taylor knows your last stop. She holds the key to your treasure. However, from what I heard, she isn't in a good mood. So she might be somewhere you can't think of." She says with a huge grin on her face and then suddenly winks at me.

"Thanks." I say in reply and think through what Kelsi just said. Why is Taylor not in the mood? It's prom night. Then again, I'm also not in the mood for prom. But I don't have Gabriella. She has Chad. That is weird.

I scan around for my best friend's puffy hair hoping that he is with the person I am looking for. But to my disappointment, he isn't anywhere in sight. Not even Taylor. I ask people I meet but no one knows where he or she is. Jason could have been more of a help but he just tells me "Sorry, I can't help you there." So I give up and go outside the room. If both of them aren't in the ballroom, they're most probably outside.

I love the peace and quiet I'm having the moment I step out of the crowded ballroom. It feels like I have finally release my breath from holding it for so long.

Someone is visible at the corner of my eye. I look at him in full view and I see the familiar afro hiding behind a pillar searching for someone. Or looking? I don't know.

"Hey" I say placing my hand on his back.

"Shit" he says startled and he almost lost his balance. "Don't do that again, Troy."

"Sorry, dude. What are you looking at?"

"Taylor"

"Why?"

"She's right there." He says pointing at a dark skinned girl in a yellow dress. Her arms are folded across her chest and her face look a bit mad.

"Dude, what happened?" I say assuming Chad had done something to piss his girlfriend off.

"Ok, ok. I made a teeny mistake. But… Whatever dude. I'll figure this out before things go real bad tonight. Don't mind me. I'll think of something."

"If you can" I say jokingly making my way out of Chad and to the angry looking Taylor.

"What's that suppose to mean?" I hear Chad yell out. I look at him and give him a huge grin.

I sit next to Taylor the moment I reach her. She does not smile nor look back. She just stares blankly at the carpeted floor, which I find really uninterestingly.

"Tay," I start snapping her out of her thinking. I place a hand on her back trying to be comfortable. "Whatever happened, I'm sure Chad didn't mean it."

"Did he tell you to tell me that. 'Cause if he did, it's completely lame." She says a bit coldly.

"Actually it is Kelsi who sent me here. Or at least she told me to look for you. Anyway, I saw Chad panicking behind the pillar." I say and I'm sure I saw her roll her ayes when I mentioned Chad. "Just don't kill your prom just for him. You still got your friends with you."

She looks at me and I finally receive a smile from her. "Right, you're right. You are right. I have friends I can have fun with tonight. Thanks Troy."

I smile at her knowing that even if I can't put a smile on my face, I made someone smile tonight. I see her pull out a piece of paper from her gold purse. She hands the folded paper to me and I take it from her with a confused look on my face. "What's this?" I ask.

"You're last clue. I was afraid I'd forget it so I wrote it down."

"Right. Thanks" I say and smile at her. "You're going to be alright?"

"Yeah" she replies. I stand up and walk towards my best friend who is still hiding behind the pillar. "Dude, better work something out fast" I walk away without hearing what he's about to say. When I look back at him, I see him walking towards Taylor who is again sporting a sad face. Chad is scratching his head in nervousness and I think he's now starting a conversation. I mentally bid him good luck and put my gaze on the piece of paper in my hands.

I decide to proceed to the restaurant instead of the ballroom so I could be alone for some time. As I sit down on a chair where I believe no one will find me, I open the folded piece of paper and see Taylor's neat handwriting. I look through it but it gives me confusion. I once again read what's written on the paper but, this time, slower:

See me waiting for you
By the place we heard the wolves
Twice we got into trouble but
Remember the second time, water bug.
Until the hour Cinderella runs away,
I'll be waiting for you wishing you to stay.

I read through it one more time without blinking. The clue isn't hard to think because the moment I read the 'water bug', I know who it is from: Gabriella. My Gabriella is waiting for me by the pool. Outside, Ryan told me before, there's a swimming pool a little smaller than the one in Lava Springs Country Club. I hear my heart pounding louder than it usually does. I can feel my lips curling up to a smile. Gabriella is here. She wants me to look for her by the pool where she is waiting for me.

Standing up fast, I leave the restaurant before a waitress approaches me. I am just too excited to see Gabriella outside. I'm sure it is her waiting for me to be done with this hunt. She must have worked on this. And probably, part of it, she wants me to believe she isn't coming but she really is.

I run excitedly and I almost bump everyone in the lobby. I say faintly say sorry when I get in their way but all I am thinking at the moment is Gabriella and to see her face again. I reach the glass door and happily see the clear blue water in the pool. I look around as I clutch my hand on the handle opening it. She isn't anywhere in sight so I step a little more outside and gladly, I see a girl's figure by the rippling water. I take a deep breath before moving towards her.

A few more steps with my heart pounding hard against my chest and I can see her kneeling beside the swimming pool. Her hands were dipping and swirling in the water in a circular motion making the water ripple silently. I see her standing up and straighten herself, her back still facing me. A light from the lamp post is now shining on her and I can now clearly see her backless purple dress, her dark hair in up do. The dress that I think is replicating someone else's. She twirls around after I cleared my throat and I know my face fell as I once again see that ebony eyes and square jaw line, again. Stacey.


A/N: So this is the first story. Obviously, it has been cut off. Like you don't know what Troy's reaction is after seeing Stacey. So I suggest you wait for the next story for that one. XD Sorry bout the ending. I don't know if you guys wanted something different but don't be harsh on the reviews because the story has not yet ended. Only Troy's part. I hope you understand what I wanted to do here.

Wildcat Promenade is the story. The story titles are the chapters. But the point of using stories instead of chapters is there are different stories linked together to make Wildcat Promenade. I don't want to give away too much. But you'll see the connection once I get the 2nd story up. Just don't be confused. Once the next story is posted, you'll understand what I mean. Anyway... please review. My stories gets like less than 10 reviews... Not that I'm complaining. But I hope if you do enjoy the story, let me know your views. Let me know if I made mistakes as well. That could help.

So anyway, watch out for Gabriella's side of the story in Dear Fairy Grandmother.

Disclaimer: I do not own High School Musical. But I own the story, the story telling and the plot of Wildcat Promenade. I also own some of the characters in here.