He's Not Me
Disclaimer: I do own High School Musical, I do own High School Musical, I do, I do, I do…! HA! If I owned High School Musical, Ryan and Kelsi would have gotten together in the first movie or reveal that they've been secretly going out like I had them do in my "My Spotlight" fic. No, no, Disney owns it… There's also a tiny portion of a phrase I took from the first High School Musical, so, obviously, not mine either. The seamstress, Mrs. Clarks, Sapphire, and Caridad are my characters, however.
Author's Note: Once again, I do not hate Jason; I just strongly disagree in their choice of him as Kelsi's boyfriend. This is something I will contradict with more emphasize in another fic. Also, this is a sequel of sorts to "Straight and Smooth, Soft and Silky."
In one week, Kelsi Nielsen will be a married woman. At the age of twenty-six, she's already a well-known pianist/composer throughout the U.S. thanks to the helpful influence of the ever-famous choreographer, her best friend, Ryan Evans.
Everything is in chaos as she and her friends get things ready for her day. Even though there's a lot of work to be done, for Jason Cross' parents want only the best for their youngest son, everyone's in a pretty cheery mood.
Everyone, that is, except for Ryan himself. See, the problem is that he's been in love with his best friend since they were seniors in high school. At least, that's when he first realized his feelings for her transcended from that of a close friend to more.
Ryan sighs and absent-mindedly starts playing the 'Sleeping Beauty Waltz.' In about half an hour, he's to meet Kelsi and the others to do some last minute fittings. It's really inevitable whether or not he goes. Of course, he'd never disappoint his best friend. He arrives at David's Bridal twenty minutes later and one would think the apocalypse has struck. "What's going on?" he asks Martha Cox. "Where's Kelsi?"
"She's locked herself in her car. The bridesmaid dresses are done but the seamstress doesn't know if she'll have Kelsi's gown done in time."
"What?! But it's the most important!"
"It's also the most extravagant," his fraternal twin, Sharpay Baylor, inputs innocently. "Cut the poor woman some slack."
He looks at his opposite sternly. Before he can burst out, he takes in a deep breath. He notices, not for the first time, that he's had to take many deep breaths throughout his life when it comes to calming himself down because of something his sister has done or said. "Let me speak to Mrs. Clarks." After doubling whatever offer his sister had given her, he heads out to Kelsi's car.
Knocking on the passenger window, he sees Kelsi leap. "Hey small person, what are you doing caved inside?" he questions as she opens the door to let him in.
"It's a total disaster Ry. Why am I doing this?"
"Because you love him," he states, simply out of practice. This isn't the first time she's asked him this. The first time she did, he didn't know what to answer, so she answered herself. Since then, he 'reminds' her.
Sighing, she places her head on his shoulder as he wraps an arm around her. "Are these things always so hard and stressful?"
"Hey, they have to be. Karma, remember? Before happiness pain must precede."
"How'd you become so wise?"
They laugh before lapsing into a comfortable silence.
"Ready to go get that dress of yours checked out?"
"Promise me you'll let me know if I look like a cupcake?"
"I promise to let you know that you'll look like a deliciously frosted cupcake."
Kelsi giggles at her best friend's silliness. "What would I do without you, Ry?"
"You'd be one meek and underpaid composer."
Laughing, she sticks her tongue out and they exit the car to enter the store. She tells her gal pals they can head home. After promising to send them the pictures Ryan will take, they leave.
"Need help?" the blond calls as it's been fifteen minutes since she entered the fitting room. "Kelsi? Did you suffocate in there?"
"Pretty close," she finally answers, before opening the door.
She's a beautiful vision white, but…
"A bit much?" he inquires, half-smiling.
"Only a bit?" She sighs, looking at herself in the mirror.
The dress itself is a masterpiece; however, it doesn't seem to be made for her, as the general view of brides is told. The dress seems to…no, she seems to drown in the dress, as if she's been buried in a pile of snow.
"It's a lovely dress," they say at the same time.
The composer looks into her friend's eyes through the looking glass. His blue gaze holds her in place.
"What do you think you're doing?" A girl, no older than twenty, suddenly grabs hold of Ryan. "The groom can't see the dress until the day of the wedding." She turns to Kelsi. Startled, she asks, "Er, that is the dress, right?" She looks at said puffball doubtfully.
"So it would seem," the curly haired woman smiles wryly. "But he's not the groom."
Sapphire can't help but notice a tinge of disappointed in her tone. "Oh, I'm sorry, of course not! It's just…" She looks back and forth between the two. They had been looking at each other so intimately… Has she lost her touch? "Um…sorry again!" With that, she dashes off, embarrassed.
Before they can take in the strange event, Mrs. Clarks comes by. "I'm so sorry for the mix-up before, dear."
"Now, let's see if we can do something about this. If you'll excuse us young man…"
Looking back at him on last time, she smiles, before being herded off into the fitting room.
Ryan sighs arriving at the church, thinking, 'And Sharpay says I'm clueless.' Shaking his head in amusement and sadness, he enters; bracing himself in order to watch what will be a mixture of agony and joy, as his best friend and one and only love vows to love a man that's not him.
Kelsi stares out the window as they head to the church. She's about to marry the man she's dated since high school, yet all she can feel is dismay in the pit of her stomach.
"Are you okay Kelsi?" Gabriella Bolton asks.
The bride-to-be turns to see Martha, Taylor McKessie (soon-to-be Danforth,) Sharpay, and Gaby stare at her worriedly.
However, before she can answer, the limo stops. They've arrived. Martha, Sharpay, and Taylor exit.
Dr. Bolton stares at her expectantly.
"How did you know Troy was the one?" she small woman blurts out.
Gaby smiles. "It wasn't easy, especially after graduation. I thought, after going our separate ways, it'd be the end. We somehow always found a way back to each other, though. We've been through so much together and we finally realized we wanted to spend the rest of our days as one. It's like I told Troy once, it's just like kindergarten: when you meet a kid, ten seconds later you're playing like you're best friends, because you don't have to be anyone but yourself. I'm sure Taylor and Sharpay can say something similar about Chad and Zeke." She looks at her intently. "Not everyone's they same, though. Kelsi," she finishes, taking the smaller girl's hands, "No one will judge you for what you decide as long as you know it's the right thing to do. We'll always be there to support you, every step of the way."
Kelsi tries to hold in her tears. "Thanks Gaby." Pursing her lips in a contemplative manner, she finally nods. "I hate to ask, but can you do me a horribly huge favor?" She takes out two envelopes. Seeing the dark haired girl's eyebrows raise, she shrugs. "Just in case."
As soon as Gaby enters the church's corridor, Sharpay is at her side in an instant.
'You'd think being pregnant would slow her down.'
"Where's Kelsi?" the blond demands.
Ryan's right behind her, worried.
"She's not coming," she says simply.
Her husband's jaw drops.
Zeke Baylor and Chad Danforth look at one another.
Before Ryan can voice his concern, Gaby hands him the envelope addressed to him.
"Join me?" the messenger girl asks her husband once she sees comprehension dawn him as Ryan reads the short note and dashes off.
He gulps. "I can't let you face the wrath of Jason's parents alone, now can I?" With their three year old daughter in his arms; they enter the main room.
Caridad Bolton throws daises as the family walks down the aisle with people watching them in confusion.
Jason himself smiles sadly as they reach him. After reading the letter Gaby hands him, he shakes his head. "I should have known. I still had to try." He smiles at his friends, who have all gathered around him to support him, even though they concur with Kelsi's verdict. Turning, he explains to the priest before turning to the hundred or so guests.
As chaos and indignation rumbles throughout the church, Ryan arrives at Albuquerque Elementary. Noticing the person he's looking for leaning against the chain link fence that surrounds their old play area, he stops the car, and gets out. "Need a ride ma'am?" He removes his top hat and bows.
"I sure do, good sir." Grabbing the package she's left hanging next to her, she follows him to the car and smiles as he opens the passenger's door for her.
"Where to?" he questions, once he takes his place by her side.
"What's a little lady to do in Vegas?"
"I have a wedding to attend." Untying the knot from the bottom of the bag, she reveals a simple, but elegant white dress.
He raises a brow.
"Sales rack for prom dresses," she admits.
Laughing, he leans in and they share their first of many kisses. "I love you Kelsi," he says seriously, looking into her eyes.
Staring back at the same ocean eyes that always seem to take her breath away, not that the kiss helped much…she replies sincerely, "I've loved you for so long, but I was too stupid to say or do anything about it. I thought that by marrying Jason I'd eventually forget about you and learn to love him…"
"And what happened to that plan?"
She leans forward this time. "I realized he's never been for me, we won't ever understand one another in depth, and I'll never grow to love him as much or the same because he's not you." After insinuating their second kiss, she leaves him room to think and drive.
Hitting the freeway, they travel the five hundred and seventy miles, her hand encased within his the rest of the way and forevermore.
I'm finally done! Here's my longest Ryan and Kelsi fanfic yet! I'm so proud! I don't know if this is the way I planned to develop the idea when I first started it. (I only had the first paragraph.) However, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.
Well, I know what I think, but I'd love to know what everyone else thought too!
Thanks so much for reading!