Kelsi waved to her mother as she drove off from the high school's front entrance. Kelsi straightened her hat and the rest of her outfit before walking into the school with a bright smile. It was the Monday after the auditions, and the past weekend had been one of the best weekends of her life. Troy and Gabriella had been cast as leads which meant Kelsi would actually get to work with actors that would listen to her. She had also made several new friends thanks to Troy and Gabriella's call back. She headed into the school and checked her watch. It was 7:30. She had plenty of time to run through a few of the arrangements for "Twinkle Town". She needed to make the transitions from scene to scene smoother. She made her way toward the rehearsal room which was where she usually spent her mornings unless she was running late.
As usual no one was there. She sighed happily as she sat down on the piano bench and her fingers grazed the keys. Perfect. This was perfect.
She was certain Sharpay would be a pain later, but right now…this moment…was perfect.
Sharpay would, of course, demand to know why Kelsi had helped Troy and Gabriella, and Kelsi wondered what to tell her. It wasn't really because Troy and Gabriella were more talented…
"Kelsi!" Came Sharpay's shrill tone. Kelsi jumped and hit a wrong key during her song. She looked up to see a frazzled looking Sharpay and a disheartened Ryan. Ryan also seemed mildly embarrassed.
"Shar, maybe we-"
"Shut up, Ryan!" she said as she lifted a hand to silence him. He rolled his eyes and let her continue, "Kelsi, what were you thinking? They're going to murder your show!"
"No, they won't," Kelsi said softly as she began to play again.
"Of course they will. They're amateurs," Sharpay said condescendingly.
Kelsi stopped playing and gave Sharpay a stern look, "They won't."
Sharpay grunted frustratedly, "Whatever!"
The blonde quickly turned on her heels and exited the room. Kelsi felt Ryan stay behind and watch her thoughtfully.
"Yes?" She asked nervously.
"Why did you help them?"
Ryan's tone was polite and genuinely curious, and Kelsi felt she could answer honestly.
She took a deep breath, "It has to do with respect."
"Respect?" He asked in confusion as he approached the piano.
"Respect for my music and my vision. Troy and Gabriella understand that and…care about what I want for the show," She told him as she continued to play.
"I care," He answered honestly.
She believed him. She had never really gotten too terribly close to Ryan before then again she'd never gotten too terribly close to anyone. She may not know him well but even she could hear the sincerity in his voice, and she had a suspicion there was more Ryan Evans than what he showed people.
"I'm sure you do, but Sharpay doesn't. That's the problem. I can tell you're a good guy Ryan, but…"
"But what?" He asked hopelessly. He already knew instinctively what she was going to say.
"You tend to do whatever she wants to do whether you agree or not I mean I know I do it too. Sharpay's the kind of person that's difficult to say no to…"
Ryan nodded and interrupted her, "I get it."
Kelsi sighed, "I didn't mean to-"
"It's okay, you were just being honest," He said with a weak smile, "You're right though. Everyone gives in to Sharpay. It's the only way to keep the peace."
"Well, maybe being an understudy is just the way to help Sharpay," Kelsi said hopefully.
Ryan chuckled bitterly, "I doubt it. I mean it might work for a little while, but eventually she'll go back to the way she was."
Kelsi decided a change of subject was in order.
"Nice hat," She said as she lifted her hands from the keys to motion to his fedora.
"Yours isn't bad either," He said with a grin as he flicked the top of her newsboy cap.
"Hey Kelsi, I thought I would find you here," Gabriella said as she walked through the door. She didn't notice Ryan until she was standing right next to him. "Hi Ryan."
He nodded and waved to her before silently exiting. Kelsi watched him go with slight disappointment. She had been hoping to talk with him a little longer.
"Kelsi?" Gabriella asked as she gave her a concerned look, "Are you okay?"
"Yes," She said with a slight blush, "I'm fine, what was your question?"
"It's about Minnie's song just before the end of act one…"
"Can we discuss it on the way to homeroom?" Kelsi asked as she glanced at her watch and gather her things.
"Of course," Gabriella said warmly.
As they walked Kelsi answered all of Gabriella's questions about the character of Minnie. Kelsi had written "Twinkle Town" last summer, and had focused it around the characters Minnie and Arnold. Who were two people who had been child hood friends, but were separated by moving from town to town over the years. Both grow up and move to New York in search of fame on the Broadway stage. They run into each other on an audition and start to reconnect. Arnold gets a new agent named Ichabod who is a good friend but afraid that Minnie is distracted his client from his work. The show wasn't two deep. It was just fun or at least Kelsi thought it was. Gabriella and Troy were Minnie and Arnold. Ryan had been cast as Ichabod and understudy for Arnold. Sharpay had been cast as Minnie's older sister, Jenny, and understudy for Minnie. Mrs. Darbus had immediately loved it which led her to where she was now. She was actually friends with Troy Bolton and Chad Danforth not to mention the rest of the basketball team. She'd gone to school with most of them since preschool and she was just now getting to know them.
"Morning, Small Person," Chad said with a grin as she entered the room.
"I thought my nickname was Play Maker?" She asked him in confusion.
"Officially it is your nickname, but unofficially it's Small Person," He said with a wink.
She chuckled and shook her head at him.
"Hi Kelsi," She heard Jason say as she sat down at her usual desk. She smiled at him and waved in return.
She turned to face the front where Mrs. Darbus had suddenly appeared.
Chad might call her Small Person, but she certainly didn't feel like one…not any more at least. All of her life she'd been an observer, but now she was a participant.
And she didn't mind one bit.
I plan to make this a drabble series. It might turn into a chapter fic...I'm not sure. I really just want to bridge the gap between HSM and HSM2 that's my ultimate goal...so whether that happens in chapters or in drabbles all that matters is that it happens, lol.