A/N: This is shorter than usual but it seemed like a natural stopping point for this chapter. I'm working slowly on the next chapter, but my days have gotten longer since school started and my kids went back to school and I went back in front of the classroom. I hope you enjoy and please let me know what you think.

Chapter 16

The week after New Years was a return to work and normal life for both Troy and Gabriella. School and basketball practices began again with a vengeance within a week of their return from Colorado. Gabriella returned to her job at the hospital pharmacy still feeling the ill effects of her stomach virus. She still woke up a few mornings feeling slightly nauseous but not enough to cause her to call in sick. She could also tell that her body hadn't quite recovered from their late nights as every afternoon, she found herself quite exhausted and in need of a nap. Many nights, she was even in bed before Troy walked in from basketball practices or games.

One night while Troy was out of town at an away game, Gabriella, Taylor, Kelsi, and Martha joined Sharpay for a girls' night out. It was a surprise invitation from Sharpay, but the girls decided that if they all went, it might not be so bad after all. Sharpay invited all of them over to her house for an evening of dinner and chick flicks in her home theater area. Zeke had made a great dinner for them and then left to join some of the guys for a guys' night.

As the five ladies sat around Sharpay's large dining room table, the conversation actually flowed fairly easily. Sharpay made them feel welcome and was the most gracious of hostesses. At first the conversation was lighthearted and fun and full of laughter and jokes between one another. But as girls often do, once dinner was done, the conversation turned more serious.

"So, Gabi," Taylor began turning toward her best friend, "how was Colorado?"

"It was cold but amazing," Gabriella admitted with a shy smile. She was still not completely comfortable talking about her sex life even with her best friends.

"Was Troy the perfect gentleman?" Kelsi asked picking up on the conversation even though she already knew the answer. Troy was never anything but a gentleman in her mind.

"He was great," Gabriella confirmed, "especially when I was sick the majority of the week while we were there. He took very good care of me."

"I'll bet he did," Sharpay piped in laughing at her own hidden meaning as the others joined in as well.

Gabriella laughed as well but still spoke up in defense of her own words. "He did. He was very sensitive to the fact that I was nauseous and in need of a bathroom like every half hour or so when we first got there. He also let me sleep, a lot. He didn't push me to go skiing even though I know that's what he wanted. He went a couple of times without me, but kept saying it wasn't any fun without me and would just sit with me on the couch by the fire."

"Wow, that's pretty special," Martha finally added her two cents.

"Yeah, it was," Gabriella agreed.

"So what was with the nausea?" Taylor asked.

"I think I picked up some bug from one of the guys at work," Gabriella explained. "He came in the day after Christmas with something. He looked really pale and like he was going to lose it any second. He stayed for a couple of hours, just long enough to get me sick, and then the boss sent him home."

"Oh, yuck," Kelsi commented feeling completely grossed out. She hated when people didn't keep their sickness to themselves.

"You're telling me. I think I'm still feeling some of the effects of it. I still have a queasy stomach sometimes, and I'm really tired in the afternoons."

"Are you sure it's a stomach bug and not something more serious?" Sharpay asked moving slightly away from Gabriella not wanting to get sick herself.

"I'm pretty sure. I haven't been in contact with anything but that," Gabriella tried reassuring Sharpay as well as herself. She had to admit, she was beginning to think it might be something more serious as well.

"Have you seen a doctor yet?" Martha asked concern for her friend evident on her face.

"Not yet, but I was thinking about making an appointment next week if I still don't feel good," Gabriella admitted to her concerned friend.

"I think you should," Taylor finally spoke up again. She had been quietly thinking about some things in her head. Her brain had been working through the facts and she was beginning to come to some kind of conclusion. "In fact, I think you should call your OB," she finally voiced.

"My OB?" Gabriella questioned her quite puzzled. "Why her? Do you think it's something bad?"

"Only for about the next seven to nine months," Taylor told her grinning at the conclusion she had come to.

"No way, Taylor," Gabriella spoke quickly. "There's no way. We are very careful, and I'm on the pill. There's no way I'm pregnant."

"Gabi, the pill's not foolproof," Kelsi reminded her. "I was on the pill when I got pregnant," she told her quietly. At that statement, the room got deathly quiet and four sets of eyes quickly focused on Kelsi.

"When you got pregnant?" Martha finally voiced quietly the one question on the tip of every girl's tongue.

Kelsi's face broke out in a small soft smile. "Yeah, I'm 10 weeks pregnant," she told them cautiously knowing they were all about to scream. And just as expected, scream they did.

"Why didn't you tell me I was going to be an aunt?" Sharpay screamed.

"Oh, I'm so excited for you and Ryan," Martha crooned.

"Oh, Kelsi, that's great," Gabriella cheered for them.

"So, how long have you known?" Taylor asked the sensible question.

"I figured it out right before Christmas," Kelsi admitted. "It was my Christmas present to Ryan. I had a sonogram done when I went to the doctor for confirmation, and I wrapped up the picture in a box and hid it under the tree. He didn't know what it was at first, but when he figured it out, he was so excited he almost ruined the picture. We haven't told anyone yet, not even our parents," she told them looking pointedly at Sharpay. Sharpay noticed the look but said nothing only holding her hands up in defense indicating she wouldn't be the one to tell them. "We plan to," Kelsi explained further. "We just wanted to enjoy the secret for a little while longer. We'll probably tell everyone in the next week or so since you guys all know now."

"We'll keep it under wraps," Taylor agreed for all of them. The others nodded their head in agreement and continued to smile at Kelsi's happy news.

With Kelsi's news, the conversation turned away from Gabriella and her sickness. The girls chatted eagerly about Kelsi and Ryan and their new little one to come. They talked of all the possibilities if the baby were a boy or a girl, how to decorate and even names. Gabriella contributed occasionally, but her mind kept turning over what Taylor had suggested about going to see the OB. The thought made her nervous as neither she nor Troy were truly ready for a baby yet. She still wanted to believe that it couldn't be possible, but as she began to mentally calculate, she realized she had missed her last period. At the time, she had contributed it to being sick, but the idea of pregnancy was becoming more plausible with each passing minute. Soon she was so worked up over the idea that she wasn't even paying attention to the conversation anymore. When Taylor asked her a question, she was so wound up in her own thoughts that she visibly jumped at Taylor's voice.

"You okay, Gabi?" Taylor asked again seeing her friend's agitation.

"Yeah, I'm okay," Gabriella finally replied to her question. "I'm really tired, though," she said making excuses prepared to make her escape and return home to think everything over. "I think I'm going to call it a night and head home," she said rising to her feet and heading to collect her purse and coat. Taylor rose immediately intending to follow her out.

"Gabi, I'm sorry to have upset you with what I said," she apologized coming up behind her best friend.

"It's okay, Taylor," Gabriella assured her. "I think I just need to think over a few things."

"And talk to Troy?" Taylor questioned.

"No!" Gabriella exclaimed quickly. "And please don't say anything to Chad about this just yet. I need some time to think and figure out how to talk to Troy about it. I don't think we're ready to be parents yet. We've got too many things to work out before we have kids."

"Okay, I won't say a word to Chad," Taylor promised. "But you better call me if you need anything especially someone to talk to about this"

"I will, I promise," Gabriella told her. Taylor reached forward and gave her a gentle hug. "I'll call you later in the week," Gabriella promised returning the hug. "Tell Sharpay I said thanks for everything, and I'll try to catch movies with you guys another time. I'll see you later." And with that, she was out the door before Taylor or anyone else could stop her.