A/N: Well...I'm back. At least for awhile. A few pictures from the upcoming HSM3 movie inspired this piece of Ryelsi. Hope you enjoy it! Please let me know how it turned out.
"RYAN! Quit your daydreaming and get your butt over here. This needs to be PERFECT!" Sharpay scolded her brother.
Having just completed an already perfect lift just ten seconds ago, Ryan ignored his sister and continued daydreaming. His gaze was fixed firmly on the piano, particularly on the girl playing the piano. Most people try not to stare too much at their long-time crushes, lest they be discovered, but Ryan was a different matter. He knew Kelsi never noticed him; in fact, the only times she ever bothered to look toward either of the Evans twins were when Sharpay was barking an order directly at her. Otherwise, she maintained a concentrated and unbreakable line of connection on her music.
Women who were genuinely interested in the art of music made Ryan fawn.
"RYAN!" The piercing cry of his twin prevailed back through his thoughts.
Women who were only interested in the potential glamour and fame a life of music could bring simply irritated him.
He grumbled in reluctant compliance as he sauntered over to his impatient sibling.
"Yes, Your Majesty?" he inquired sarcastically, but kept his voice dull so as not to instigate a riot with his sister.
"I've been calling you for the past thirty seconds! Stop staring at the piano and PRACTICE!" she demanded.
Ryan rolled his eyes. Of course, even his own sister assumed that he would stare at a piano before staring at the beautiful girl playing it.
"Come on, Shar," he pleaded irritably. "We've been working at this for the past four hours…not to mention every day for the past two months. If we're really not completely on target by now, I think the show can deal with a little improvisation," he reasoned.
All of a sudden, it seemed that nearly everyone stopped what they were doing and stared in the direction of the quarreling twins. For reasons unknown to most of humankind, Sharpay's forthcoming bursts of irrational anger generally garnered amused attention.
"Improv?" she shouted. "IMPROV?? You expect me to go through MONTHS of practice and extra time put into this show just to see it go to waste with improvisation?! Ryan…I can't even believe you. I can't believe you'd even say such a thing. Do you realize what an insult that is to me? Or to Kelsi, even? She wrote the entire show, for Pete's sake!"
Ryan stiffened for a moment as Sharpay directed her gaze toward the piano which he knew only too well was situated behind him.
"Isn't that right, Kelsi? What would you think if we incorporated improvisation into a show which you spent so much work, time and dedication on?" Sharpay asked, laying it on thick.
Ryan didn't look behind him, but he held his breath and said a little prayer as he waited for Kelsi's timid voice to answer.
"Well, uh...Sharpay, ma'am," Kelsi began hesitantly, "much as I, personally, sort of enjoy my script and wouldn't mind sticking to it completely…" she took a deep breath, "I trust you and Ryan to improvise rather well, if you need to, and, honestly, a little improvisation might not hurt. It could be…fun. I don't know. But I wouldn't really mind..."
Ryan released the breath he had been holding and tried to hid his smirk from his sister.
Sharpay, on the other hand, simply narrowed her eyes, unable to comment. She was torn between agreeing with Kelsi due to her comment concerning Sharpay's own trustworthy skills or huffing in her disagreement.
"Fine," she eventually sighed. "I suppose we've done enough work for today…so long as we practice extra long tomorrow."
Both relief and tension filled the air as cast and crew members filtered out of the auditorium, wary of the additional amount of time they would need to put into the show the next day to appease the Ice Queen.
Ryan turned from his sister and whirled around to look at the piano, opening his mouth to ask that ever-impending question.
But she was gone.
He let out a disappointed breath and frowned, continuing to stare at the instrument. Kelsi had a tendency to do that. To disappear into the wind. It was disheartening, yet mysterious. It made him want to know her better. To know to where she always escaped.
But, he decided he wouldn't get his wish standing here. Slowly, he grabbed his coat and walked lazily out of the room.
He was just about to exit the building when he felt a sudden urge to walk back toward the science wing. Perhaps it was time he took a chance; stepped out of his comfort zone; stopped daydreaming and started making his dream a reality.
He chuckled to himself as he walked back through the hallways in search of two girls with whom he was completely comfortable, and who he knew would help him figure out his situation. He whistled slightly as he walked, a familiar tune from their upcoming show with a jazzier tone, and was only slightly surprised to hear the exact same notes emitting from the practice room.
He smiled briefly, knowing only one person who could make a melody sound so appealing on a piano. He stayed outside the room, listening appreciatively, tapping his feet to the music, and humming to himself.
So intent was he, that he was caught completely unawares when someone tapped him lightly on the shoulder. He gasped, covering his mouth as he turned around, careful not to alert Kelsi of his position.
"Eavesdropping, Ryan?" Gabriella teased, glowing at the sight of his surprise.
He sighed in relief, laughing at bit when he saw both Gabriella and Taylor. Just the help he'd been looking for.
"Hey, I was just about to go off and find you two," Ryan said. "I need to talk to you. Ya know…get some advice."
The girls exchanged intrigued looks, raising their eyebrows at Ryan, prompting him to go on.
"Well…uh...ya know," he continued awkwardly, gesturing his head backward toward the door. "Girl advice."
Gabriella gasped and Taylor clapped giddily as Ryan blushed.
"AWWW! Ryan's finally got his eye on someone," Taylor said dreamily, picking up Ryan's hat spontaneously and ruffling his hair a bit.
"Don't worry, Ry. We'll help you," Gabriella assured him.
Together, the trio scampered to the cafeteria, the most comfortably empty place in the school.
I'm so lucky to have enthusiastic female friends, Ryan observed as he was hastily carried off to sit at a table.
"So," Gabriella started excitedly, "it's Kelsi, right? I assume this because you flailed your head around wildly while we were in front of the practice room discussing this. She always hangs out in there."
Ryan nodded, his mouth suddenly too dry to speak.
"Oh, you guys would be so cute together!" Taylor gushed. "Except…"
Again, the girls exchanged looks. Worried looks.
Ryan's eyes grew wide in horror. "What? What's the problem?!" he asked a little too loudly.
"Well," Gabriella hesitated, "she just got out of a relationship with Jason Cross."
"Pfft, a very silent and uninteresting relationship," Taylor commented, obviously more approving of Ryan.
Ryan slouched in dismay. "So, asking her out now would be too soon…like I was catching her off the rebound?" he suggested, proud of his basketball analogy. Having friends other than Sharpay was very educational, and he loved to show off his new lingo.
"Maybe…but it doesn't have to be," Gabriella said craftily.
Taylor nodded in agreement. "If you do something extravagant, something to show her you really care about her, you'll come off as truly sincere."
"You could ask her out in song!"
"You could serenade her outside her window!"
"You could dedicate a piece of choreography to her!"
"You could sing her songs the RIGHT way, I mean the way she wrote them as opposed to how you and Sharpay interpret them, in medley format!"
The two girls shot ideas back and forth rapidly, offering Ryan a plethora of ways he could win Kelsi's heart. But Ryan had stopped listening, both unimpressed by their suggestions and wanting his actions to be his own. He stared off into space, concentrating hard…daydreaming…
"Girls!" he commanded loudly, hushing his excited advisors. "I've got it."
"RYAN! Are you ready or not?" Sharpay asked.
They were standing behind the curtain, waiting for their final number on opening night.
Ryan shifted uneasily. Truth be told, he had never felt so NOT ready for a show. But his reasons were different from what Sharpay would have expected (which would be that six hours a day, ten on weekends, for two and a half months was truly not sufficient practice time for a team of seasoned high school actors).
But, he blinked heavily and took a deep breath, allowing himself a small glance toward the piano bench for motivation, and replied, "Yeah. I'm ready, Shar."
As long as you don't mind a little improvisation…
He stepped out onto the stage first, into the soft, purple-tinted dusk setting of the musical. He held out his hand gentlemanly for his sister to take, and she immediately donned her fake, perky acting face as the two made their way to the bright spotlight. Ryan eased them into dancing position with difficulty as Sharpay always threatened to take the lead. But, eventually, as necessary, he gained control, and they glided across the stage to the sultry melody.
A familiar melody which caused Ryan to stir in anticipation of what he was about to do.
Through the last few notes, Sharpay twirled fancifully out of Ryan's arms, standing on her own in the spotlight, just as she had requested. She opened her mouth to begin a belting solo, but all of a sudden, her accompaniment stopped, and she turned furiously toward the piano.
However, it wasn't until her expression became one of shock and she gasped that the lighting crew shifted the spotlight over to the real show.
Ryan had hauled Kelsi spontaneously to her feet, dipped her, and was currently planting a thoughtful, warm kiss on her lips. When they both rose, the entire auditorium was silent but for their breathing and rapidly beating hearts.
Ryan gulped nervously, still in ecstasy over the sweet contact, and asked, "Kelsi, will you go out with me?"
Any confusion the audience may have been experiencing over the male leading going for the crew's paino player was gone, and now only anxiousness filled the air as the world waited for Kelsi's response.
Her breath was caught in her throat. A girl could only take so much surprise at once! She looked around quickly to ascertain that no one was setting this up and that this overwhelming experience was a dream come reality.
She shook her head slightly, tears of amazement in her eyes, "I thought you'd never ask."
Both Ryan and Kelsi released happily relieved laughs and dove into a second, more sincere kiss, as they were both prepared this time.
The audience then broke into tremendous applause, and two particular girls in the front row whooped and cheered loudly. Gabriella and Taylor rose to give a standing ovation, and the rest of the audience soon followed.
Sharpay gawked at the scene, unable to believe that her brother had upstaged her, but also unable to hold in genuine applause for her twin's success.
Someone said later that they saw Jason Cross angrily leave the auditorium, but that was just hearsay.
And, besides, Ryan didn't care. At this moment, he simply looked into Kelsi's eyes and knew that the world was right. Maybe he hadn't stuck to the script…but, he had to say, he liked this improvisation-inspired rewrite much better.
Ah...fluffy love. How I despise writing it, yet enjoy the outcome. Please review, if you would. Let me know of any errors in grammar, spelling, characterization, otherwise wrong aspects of this story, or simply let me know if you enjoyed it. Thank you.