A/N: I am so sorry!! I know I haven't updated in a while (aka 4 days) but my mom needed the computer and I've only just gone on now!! Don't kill me...
Disclaimer: ARGH, must I keep reminding myself that I don't own High School Musical? It's depressing (sob) anyways...
Ten minutes before the warning bell, Troy's car pulled up in front of the school.
"Are you sure you're okay with this?" he asked the person beside him concernedly. "I mean, we can wait before we tell everyone..."
"We wouldn't be waiting for long." Gabriella grinned. "What do you think is the probability of Chad keeping a secret?"
Troy groaned and leaned back into the seat. "I'm going to kill him for that. Of all the times to hide under the bed –"
Gabriella reached up and stroked his face. "Troy, I know you think that Chad is your responsibility and that it's your fault he was in there...but it's not. And it didn't ruin the moment or anything...it was still the best moment of my life. So don't worry about it," she said softly, kissing him.
Troy's expression softened. "I love you," he murmured after they broke away.
"I love you too, Wildcat," Gabriella told him. "Now, let's go in."
Troy smiled and opened his door, rushing over to open Gabriella's for her and help her out. She took his offered arm.
"Thanks," she said softly.
"Anything for you." He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close, kissing the top of her head. Then he took her hand and led her through the doors of East High.
Gasps and mutters reached their ears, but they didn't care. Leslie, the head cheerleader, strode up to them, her eyes flashing.
"Troy, what is the meaning of this?" she demanded. She had hoped that Troy would ask her out.
"Well, Leslie, I'd like you to meet my girlfriend, Gabriella," Troy said calmly.
An outbreak of chatter burst out at this statement, and Leslie turned and flounced away. Then more people started to come up to the new couple, but most offered their congratulations.
"Finally, man! We were wondering when you were going to do it!"
"Gabriella! I'm so excited for you! You've liked him for ages!"
"Loved," Gabriella amended quietly.
Complete silence filled the halls as Troy looked at Gabriella, beaming. He leaned down and captured her in a soft kiss. Eventually, they pulled away and stared into each other's eyes.
"All right, guys, break it up! Enough with the PDA, already! We need to go to class!"
Chad's voice carried through the parting crowd as he and the rest of the gang reached them. As soon as they stopped, Jason smirked and held out his hand.
Chad turned. "What?"
"Pay up," Jason ordered, still smirking. "Remember out bet? I just won it."
It took Chad a full ten seconds to figure out what Jason was talking about.
"Argh! Fine! Here's your ten bucks! It's only ten, anyway!" Chad reluctantly handed the money over. "Now you can buy that new car you've always wanted!" he said sarcastically.
"Actually..." Jason thought for a minute. "I've been saving up and come to think of it, I only needed ten dollars more. Thanks, Chad!"
Chad made sure to hit his head on the wall a few times before walking into Mrs. Darbus's classroom.
"...and we really think, as co-presidents of the Drama Club, that doing this would be best for the theatre."
"Hmmm..." Mrs. Darbus paused, looking at Sharpay and Ryan. "Well...if that is what you think...I might actually agree with you."
This time, Ryan didn't have to ask if Mrs. Darbus had approved. He sprinted through the halls, eventually finding Chad by the gym.
"Hey, Chad!" he called. "Mrs. Darbus wants you in the theatre!"
Chad frowned. "What for?"
"I don't know...she didn't say! But she said we have to be quick!"
Ryan and Chad ran back to the theatre, where a crowd was beginning to form. There was a poster on the theatre doors.
"Oh no..." Chad whispered, horrified.
The poster was designed as if advertising for a musical, with "CHAD" written in big letters on the top. The background picture was of Chad, when he was very little in a red raincoat and matching boots. He was sitting in a puddle and looking very angry, as if he had just fallen in. He couldn't have been more than three years old. But what got everyone's attention was his hair. There was no afro. In fact, most of it was simply not there. The only hair remaining was sticking straight up from Chad's head, like a spike.
Ryan turned, smiling, to a thoroughly humiliated Chad. "Care to explain?"
"My mom took it...right before she got Michael Crawford's picture. I had decided to...er...give myself a haircut. She thought it was priceless..." Chad's voice trailed away. Seeing everyone beginning to turn and look at him, he ran at full speed down the hallway.
"SHARPAY, I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!!"
"Mr. Danforth! As I have said before, this is a place of learning: not a hockey arena! No yelling in the hallways!" Mrs. Darbus smiled. "Although...that picture of you is rather humorous, I must say."
Chad turned, if possible, redder than he already was and looked at the floor. "Note to self," he muttered, "never, ever bump into Sharpay."
"You've got that right!" Sharpay called out from the front of the crowd. "Coming soon to a theatre near you! Chad, the musical...with none other than Chad himself singing, dancing and looking just like this!"
Chad scurried away before more damage could be done.
Meanwhile, on the rooftop garden, Gabriella was sitting in Troy's lap on the bench. They were both laughing hysterically.
"That...was...hilarious!" Gabriella choked out. "Did you see Chad's face?"
"I dunno..." Troy grinned at his girlfriend. "I have a funny feeling that Sharpay is actually going to go through with staging a musical. Poor Chad!" He paused. "But...yeah, it is pretty funny."
Gabriella smiled and snuggled into Troy's chest. "And why did she want to get back at him so badly, again?"
"He bumped into her during the recording plan." Troy chuckled and pulled her closer.
"Ah, the plans...do you think we'd have gotten together if they just left us well enough alone?"
"That's arguable," Troy said, "but I think yes, we would have. Eventually. After all, we're meant to be." He smiled down at her. "By the way, that was a really sweet thing you said when we walked in."
Gabriella blushed. "Well, it's true," she muttered. "I have loved you for a long time."
Troy kissed her forehead gently. "And I've loved you practically since I first met you."
Gabriella rested her head on Troy's shoulder, content to just be with him. "In any case," she said quietly, "whether the plans really worked or not...I'm glad that we're together now."
"Yeah...now and forever," Troy said, almost inaudibly. Realizing what he'd said, he blushed and looked down, only to meet Gabriella's loving eyes.
"Definitely," she whispered. "I have no doubt about that. We've been through hardships before...and we can handle them." She kissed him, and then pulled back, a smile on her face. "You don't have to be embarrassed, by the way."
Troy smiled sheepishly. "I'm embarrassed about more when I'm with you," he admitted. "I guess you're just that special."
They sat there for an immeasurable amount of time, holding each other, until...
"Evil bell!" Troy groaned. "I've said it before, and I'll say it again!"
Gabriella giggled, taking his hand as they rushed down the staircase to join their friends. I'm glad we finally admitted our feelings, she thought as she ran. Being with Troy is only going to get better from here.
A/N: It's finally finished! Shout out this time to JoBro-Jelsi Luver, tashLOVE and ncy555. Hope you liked my story!! And now for the BIG list of thank-yous:
FOR STORY ALERTS: SkyChasm, pandora511, Splitster7, HSM88, Cassie-Lee-91, starry3y3dangel, crazyandproud344, zanessaandashlover, Kisha84, laalaa1123, snoopyloverwhohasahighvoice, WhiteRose6136, BrenShorter, blue-mani-pedi, ncy555, boltonxmontez (love the name, by the way!!) and evil-sami-poo.
FOR STORY FAVOURITES: ZaNeSsAObEsSeD102, JoBro-JelsiLuver, laalaa1123, mai-thebored, crystal8701, darlingxoxonikki, StaB MY HearT, SaltyPretzels.14 and boltonxmontez!
And in advance to future reviewers, alerters and favouriters!! (I loved typing that.)