Okay so I have never done this before so I don't know what disclaimers I should add...so I will just say that I do not own HSM or any of the lines from it that appear in this story. Or Zac Efron...sadly.

Chapter One

Gabriella Montez exhaled with relief as she entered the warm lobby. Firelight from the nearby fireplace flickered on the softly lit walls, and small groups of people were scattered around in comfortable chairs, talking quietly and enjoying hot chocolate with marshmallows as the snow fell lightly outside. Making her way quickly across the room towards the empty sofa she had spotted, Gabriella gave silent thanks that she had found some time and space to be on her own with her book.

It was New Year's Eve and Gabriella and her mother were enjoying a short break at the ski lodge on their way to their new home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Much as she adored her mother's company, Gabriella was glad to be on her own for a little while. She'd always needed this – to take a little time out of her day to relax and 'recharge', as she put it. And it was always hard to find her alone time during these periods of progression from one 'home' to the next.

Sighing luxuriously, she pushed her long chocolate brown waves behind one ear as she snuggled into the cushions, tucking her fleece lined boots beneath her. Within moments she was happily absorbed in her novel, oblivious to the mounting excitement surrounding her as the rest of the world counted down the few remaining hours to midnight.

Troy Bolton hastily pulled the blue basketball jersey over his tousled brown head, before quickly stuffing his feet into his sneakers. His dad had just stopped by his room at the ski lodge where they were spending a few days over the Christmas break and they had together conspired to squeeze in a few hoops before that evening's New Year's Eve party. Stuffing his room key into his pocket, Troy slipped through the door and sprinted down the hallway.

At sixteen Troy was the perfect picture of male teenage America. His five foot ten frame was kept perfectly fit and toned by the rigorous basketball schedule he maintained. He was well liked among his peers, and kept his grades respectable in school. To any outsider, it appeared he had it all – great family, great friends. He excelled in all sports, and was captain of his high school basketball team, the East High Wildcats. Of whom his father was the coach – hence the last minute basketball rendezvous. Actually, Troy reflected as he made his way through the busier parts of the lodge, slowing a little now out of consideration to the people in the hallways, any given moment in his life could be a last minute basketball rendezvous. He picked up speed again as he began to approach the tiny gym located in the basement of the lodge.

All of a sudden he arrived and swung himself through the door, nearly slamming into it in his hurry. His father was nowhere in sight, so tossing his room key carelessly towards the far wall he scooped up a lone basketball lying on the court and in one fluid motion propelled himself towards the basket and neatly dunked the ball. The small gym echoed with the noise of his feet landing lightly on the floor as he leaned forward to grab the ball and swept around to his left, dribbling the ball twenty feet or so from the basket before launching again. The ball flew beautifully through the air, passing through the net with nothing but a soft swish.

Jack Bolton arrived at the door to the gym and stopped before taking a step inside. Leaning against the doorjamb, he watched his son for a few moments. Troy had definite talent, and that was more than just fatherly bias speaking. Troy caught sight of his father out of the corner of his eye and planted one more ball through the hoop before turning around, welcoming Jack with his wide friendly grin famous for its ability to make teenage girls weak at the knees. Unsurprisingly, it did not have this affect on Jack, but he always enjoyed watching his son play the game they both loved.

'Hey buddy! Lookin' good!' Jack greeted Troy. He made a quick fake to the right before swinging around to the left and stealing the ball from Troy. Showing off, he made a few turns and fancy steps before making for the basket down the far end of the room.

Troy grinned before muttering under his breath, 'I don't think so.' Playfully, yet determinedly, he came up swiftly behind Jack and stole the ball just as they reached the hoop, twisting in the air and slamming the ball through the hoop to the delighted howls of his father. As Troy landed they high-fived, all pretence at competition dropped.

'You're in great shape buddy, we're going to need you to bring all you got for the game.'

There was no need for Troy to enquire which game. Only one game had been in his – and his father's – thoughts for some time now.

'You know I'll bring it, Dad. But there's more than just me in this team.' Troy's easy smile robbed his words of any resentment.

'I know Troy, but you're the leader. You've gotta –'

Troy cut short his father's well known 'motivational' speech.

"I know Dad, I know. Now – did we come down here for a D&M, or did we come to shoot some hoops?'

Jack smiled cheekily. 'Well, you know, I wanted to take it easy on you. Didn't want to make you feel bad right before a big game – "

Before Jack could finish his sentence Troy had snatched the ball and was away, dribbling his way down the mini-court. Throwing a grin – a challenge – over his shoulder he quickly ran down the length of the room with Jack in hot pursuit.

'Gabi. It's New Year's Eve. Enough reading.'

The sound of her mother's voice drew Gabriella from her solitary reverie.

Looking up, she watched as her mother gently took her book from her hands. Inwardly she sighed before offering a token resistance.

'But Mom I've almost done, and –"

'The teen party?" Her mother interrupted. They had discussed this earlier; Gabriella knew her mom worried about her spending so much time studying (even over semester breaks) that she had agreed to go. 'I've laid out your best clothes. Come get ready.'

'Can I have my book back?' Gabriella pleaded. Her mother hesitated only briefly before handing it back.

Gabriella smiled sweetly.

'Thank you.' She rose then, and moved to follow her mom to their suite upstairs.

Fifteen minutes later Gabriella stood in front of the mirror gazing at herself doubtfully. She mostly didn't spend a lot of time considering her appearance but... sometimes she wondered if she'd spent so much time educating her brain that she hadn't left it any time to be just ... well, just a girl. Her intelligent gaze took in her pale green sweater, dotted with tiny crystals, and the slim fitting black pants she'd chosen to go with it. Suddenly her flash of self doubt was gone. She actually looked pretty hot, and she was smart enough to be able to admit it. Grabbing her bag...and her book...on her way out, Gabriella stopped only long enough to deliver a swift kiss goodbye to her mother before moving through the door and closing it gently behind her.

A few minutes later Gabriella stepped somewhat tentatively into the Freestyle Club, where the teen party was being held. All around teenagers were talking, laughing, and generally enjoying themselves. A tall boy in a red oversized cowboy hat tipped his head to her.

'Howdy, mam,' he parodied.

Gabriella giggled and continued moving through the crowd, arriving at a vacant seat behind the karaoke podium that had been set up. Glancing around, she settled herself in and quickly retrieved her book and opened it on her lap. Oblivious to the swirling lights, music and party noise surrounding her she was soon absorbed in her reading.

Across the room the east door opened and Troy stepped through. Their impromptu one-on-one game had been cut short by his mother, who had insisted that he put in an appearance at the kids party. Young adults, he corrected himself wryly, much as she had done almost two hours before. Troy had taken his time showering and getting ready, not really keen on the idea of coming at all, and had managed to delay his arrival until after eleven.

Looking around, he wandered over towards a temporary stage that had been set up in the middle of the room. A couple of kids he recognised as fellow snowboarders were belting out some karaoke.

"...I wanna be your everything/baby keep me in your arms."

The song came to an end just as he reached a group of people standing near the stage. Glancing around at the people in the club he stuffed his hands in his pockets. He didn't see anyone he recognised from the few short days they had spent there. He wriggled uncomfortably in his dark brown sports jacket, not used to such attire.

'All right! How 'bout that for a couple of snowboarders!!' A man that Troy assumed to be the teen activities coordinator joined the singers on stage. A sprinkling of applause and a few enthusiastic cheers rippled through the crowd, and the girl who had been singing dropped a mock curtsey.

'Now who's going to rock the house next?' The man on stage looked around expectantly for volunteers. None being forthcoming, two spotlights started to dance around the dimly lit room.

Troy looked around with everyone else, stifling a yawn. At that precise moment, just as he had turned away from the stage, the spotlight hit him and he was flooded with light. He froze, instantly realising that they were expecting him to get up and sing.

Troy barely registered that the other spotlight had also chosen a victim. Around him, people started cheering and encouraging him to go up.

'I can't sing. No, you go." Troy said, as the boys closest to him tried to push him towards the stage. 'Look, I don't sing. I can't sing. No, guys -' One final push propelled Troy almost all the way to the stage, and he gave in unwillingly. Stepping up, he registered that his fellow singer was a young dark haired girl, about his own age, but he did not pay much attention to her. He was too concerned about his own forthcoming performance. The coordinator made some inane comment, causing Troy to look at him with a combination of annoyance and confusion – he had no idea what the guy was on about. Wiping his sweaty palms on his jeans, he focused on the screen. The music started to play and he began.

'Livin' in my own world...didn't understand' he cleared his throat nervously before continuing.

'That anything can happen/when you take a chance"

At that moment the ridiculousness of the situation struck him. Who was he kidding? He wasn't a singer! Turning, he made to move off the stage, when he was stopped in his tracks by the voice.

'I never believed in/what I couldn't see...'

Her voice was so sweet, so pure, he couldn't conceive the angels in heaven singing any more beautifully. Slowly he turned back towards the microphones and the girl who had been picked to sing with him. Really looking at her for the first time he realised that she was every bit as beautiful as her voice. His gaze took in her delicate body, her golden skin. Long dark hair hung in waves down her back, and the large chocolate brown eyes were framed by long, delicate black lashes. But he was struck by her lips... full, gentle lips, from which that mesmerizing voice was coming. He stepped back towards her as she continued.

'Never opened my heart...'

Troy willingly surrendered himself entirely to the song, the atmosphere, the sound of her voice, and added his own in harmony. 'Oh-hh'

'To all the possibilities...'

Finally she looked at him and offered a tiny smile. In that instant he knew two things. The first, she was absolutely terrified to be standing up there singing. And the second? Troy Bolton was officially smitten.

Gabriella lay in her bed later that night, her head spinning. So much had happened; she could barely keep it straight in her own head. First, she, with the world's biggest case of stage fright, had actually gotten up in front of all those people and sung! She loved to sing but could rarely bring herself to do it in front of an audience. But maybe because it was New Years, maybe it was the party atmosphere, maybe it was something to do with letting go in a place where no one knew her, no one would see her again – whatever the reason, something made her get up there.

She also couldn't stop thinking about who she'd been up there with. Troy Bolton was ... amazing. So much more than amazing, but as articulate as she was she just couldn't find the words to describe him and how he made her feel. Right from the moment he had taken her hand as he introduced himself, she had felt a thrill run through her. Her whole body tingled and her heart sang; a feeling that had not dissipated. This alien feeling had been what had caused her to cut their conversation short and leave him suddenly. They had been standing outside after their song, drinking hot chocolate and talking animatedly when midnight had struck. She remembered how the sky had filled with fireworks and the icy air had been filled with the sounds of people wishing each other a happy new year and exchanging kisses of celebration. Their conversation had halted with the fireworks and suddenly they were gazing into each other's eyes. She remembered how she had lost herself in his deep blue eyes and had begun to experience a whole range of feelings unfamiliar to her. Chief amongst which, she had suddenly realised, was the desperate desire to be kissed by him. This thought had jolted her from the depths of his eyes and had caused her to suddenly stammer out an excuse about wanting to go and wish her mother a happy new year.

She had left in a hurry, but not before he had asked for her number. Gabriella hugged herself, remembering the bolt of delight that had struck her body at his suggestion. They had exchanged numbers, and she had hurried off. Now, more than three hours later, she was still tingling at the thought of him and totally unable to sleep. Rolling on her side, she tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear and smiled as she remembered his promise to call. Slowly, her smiled faltered as she remembered where she was. Where she was on her way to. Albuquerque, New Mexico, was probably a million miles away from wherever Troy lived. There were only two more days before she and her mother were due to leave the resort for the middle of the desert, only two more days to try to see him again.

It's not fair, she told herself silently, rebelliously. I feel like this for the first time in my life, and it's a boy who I don't even know and never will get a chance to know...

Stop. Her voice of reason intruded firmly. She had never enjoyed the fact that her mother's job involved them moving every year, sometimes even more often. But she had never allowed herself to dwell on it or feel sorry for herself. Besides, that didn't really have much impact on her current situation. It didn't matter where they were going; the chances of it being to wherever Troy lived were like a billion to one. She tried to work that out – math problems always calmed her when she was worried or upset. If she calculated, say, the number of cities in America, and called that x, then the probability of her living in the same place was x:1...

She began to feel a little calmer. What was wrong with her? She didn't even know this guy...

No. She didn't know him. But somehow, with the part of her that was all woman, she knew what it was that he made her feel.

And she wanted more.


I posted this here because I wanted some feedback on my writing - other from my bestie. So please be honest, I'd love feedback on my style etc. Remember, your reviews will determine whether I continue on Fanfiction or not!! And I know that nothing happened here that wasn't in the movie but trust me, I am building towards something.

thankyou thankyou!!