Disclaimer: I do not own 'High School Musical' or any related characters.
A/N: Well, I know I'm should be working on SFM but truthfully, it's been quite hard to actually get the next chapter started. Not because I have no muse though! I think it's because it's such a difficult chapter to write and honestly, there has been nothing to prompt me. Anyway, I was thinking about trying to get away from the heavy stuff that I've been writing lately and write some fluff. Think 'Convincing You To Fall' fluff. It was an inspiration from listening to some of Taylor Swift's songs. I'm not too sure why, but I've recently been getting into her music (I'm not a fan of country) and not here I am feeling inspired! Anyway, I can't be bothered to write a description but I hope you enjoy the first chapter!
Chapter One: Straightened Hair
Did it honestly matter what she looked like for this dinner? Fifteen year old Gabriella Montez thought sullenly as she struggled to straighten her unruly ebony curls. It wasn't like they were going out with her mother's new boyfriend or anything. It was just her sister's newest conquest and Gabriella knew from past experience that she could walk out of her room naked and the new guy wouldn't even spare one glance at her. She wasn't that important to them, after all they were there to make an impression on her mother and not her. She was just the invisible younger sister who Katie, her seventeen year old sister, only ever remembered to mention when she was standing right next to her and there was no other way to avoid it.
Huffing both at her irritation with her older sister and the uselessness of her unruly hair. Gabriella threw down her brush and hair iron and hastily pulled her hair up in a messy ponytail that she knew would have her sister frowning at her in disapproval. Examining herself in the mirror, Gabriella smiled at her reflection, pleased that she looked nothing like her sister and praying the she would be able to leave this stupid dinner early.
Hearing the doorbell ring and her sister's excited shriek, Gabriella's smile instantly turned into a resigned look. Pushing away from the bathroom counter, Gabriella took a deep breath and opened the door. Wrinkling her nose as she made her way downstairs to the living room where she could hear introductions being made, Gabriella wondered who Katie's new boyfriend was and why she seemed so excited to see him. It wasn't like she hadn't seen him at school.
Unless, of course, he was way too old for her and had all kinds of piercing and tattoos, which meant her mother would freak out and Katie's new perfect life would be ruined.
"There she is! Gabriella, where have you been?" The relief in Katie's voice had Gabriella looking at her curiously, wondering why on earth her sister would care why she was late at all.
"Huh?" She asked and then shook her head at her sister's glare. "Sorry. I mean, I was in the bathroom trying to straighten my hair. Trying being the operative word." Gabriella explained quickly when her mother glared at her warningly.
"Oh. It didn't work, did it?" Katie asked, her brown eyes running over her sisters messy ponytail critically. Gabriella looked pleadingly at her mother at Katie's comment, wanting to not leave a comment that stupid unpunished. Christina Montez rolled her eyes at her youngest daughter.
"No Katie, it worked perfectly, can't you see how straight all my curls are?" Gabriella shot back and Katie stared at her, apparently confused with what she had said. Before Katie could retaliate, Gabriella heard a low chuckle and watched in disgust as Katie's eyes lit up in excitement.
"Troy!" She exclaimed and Katie brushed past her sister, in such a hurry that Gabriella couldn't help but raise her eyebrows and open her mouth to comment on the rush when she saw the warning look on her mothers face.
Screwing up her face at the warning look, Gabriella counted to three before she turned around, just to make sure that nothing sarcastic flew out of her mouth when she saw her sister. Turning, Gabriella suddenly found herself swallowing hard as she met bright blue eyes that twinkled at her curiously.
"Gabriella, this is my boyfriend, Troy. Baby, this is my little sister Gabriella." Katie's voice seemed a little too smug for Gabriella's liking as she introduced her new boyfriend to her little sister.
Narrowing her eyes, Gabriella suddenly realized why her sister was so smug. She'd managed to snag the most popular guy that went to East High and, as she looked at him, Gabriella suddenly wished she'd managed to straighten her hair.
That, as far as seventeen year old Gabriella was concerned, was one of the only times she had ever been self-conscious. It had been a feeling she had neither appreciated nor known how to handle. So she'd spent the entire dinner pushing food around her plate and pretending that she couldn't hear anything that was asked of her. A very immature move she'd been reprimanded for after Katie and Troy had gone outside to say goodnight. Something she had deliberately interrupted ten minutes later because her sister's cell phone wouldn't stop ringing and she was beginning to get annoyed. Unfortunately, she had ended up being scarred for life at what she had walked in, or out, on and ended up telling Katie that next time she'd better take her phone with her or risk losing a hair extension. A threat that had amused Troy to no end. It was something that he had often repeated to her sister during their one year relationship and something her sister had told her off for the duration of their relationship.
It had been an enjoyable cycle that Gabriella had chosen never to repeat again, which had led to her avoiding all of her sister's later boyfriends.
Hearing someone sit down on the bench opposite her, Gabriella looked up from the calculus homework she had been in the middle of doing before she had been pulled into the memory of meeting Troy and met inquisitive brown eyes that belonged to none other than Sharpay Evans, the Ice Princess of East High and Gabriella best friend.
"You've got that I'm-thinking-about-Troy look on your face again." Sharpay stated conversationally and Gabriella frowned slightly at the blonde's bluntness. Honestly, was it so hard for her friend to start a conversation with a simple 'hello'?
"Good morning Sharpay. How are you?" Gabriella began pleasantly and couldn't help but giggle as the blonde rolled her eyes at Gabriella's attempt at acting serene. However, Sharpay smiled pleasantly at her friend and replied.
"Good morning to you, too, Gabriella. I am feeling quite happy this morning. I presume you feel the same?" The English accent that accompanied her reply caused both girls to erupt into giggles a few seconds after she had spoken.
Still giggling slightly, Gabriella shut her calculus book and put it, along with her pencil case, away. Facing her friend again when she was finished, seeing Sharpay's attention occupied elsewhere Gabriella couldn't help but admire her friend. Sharpay had a sense of style and air of elegance that was hard to pull off for anyone who didn't hold Sharpay's personality. Gorgeous in her own right, Sharpay had always known how to take herself from one level of beauty to another and Gabriella knew that even when she was at home surrounded by only her family, Sharpay would still look gorgeous. It was in her friend's nature to look her best at all times and her own self-teaching that had her looking it every time she stepped out of her bedroom.
"Anyway, wanna tell me why you were thinking about your sisters' ex?" Sharpay's question snapped Gabriella out of her admiration of her and Gabriella blinked twice as she tried to wrap her head around the question.
"I honestly don't know. I was sitting here doing by calculus homework and all of a sudden I was thinking about the first time I met him." Gabriella replied, cradling her chin in her hand as she watched her classmates greet each other exuberantly. Sharpay wrinkled her nose slightly at Gabriella's words.
"Wasn't that the time you walked out on the making out against his car or something?" She asked, watching her friend who apparently seemed far away again. Gabriella's attention shifted from the greeting kids to her friend and she shrugged.
"Uh-huh. It was. I'm still never going to recover from seeing his hand up her skirt. Seriously, it was gross." Gabriella shuddered at the mental image of her then seventeen year old sister and her boyfriend.
"Of course it was. You just had to ring me up to tell me all about it, too." Sharpay agreed and Gabriella giggled at her slightly affronted tone of voice. It was just like Sharpay to pretend that she hadn't wanted to know anything of the sort and still be the one who asked questions about it all.
"Duh. Who else was I going to call who would appreciate the grossness of the situation? Kelsi? She would have hung up the moment I mentioned my sister." Gabriella shot back good-naturedly and Sharpay could only make a sound of agreement. Silence fell over the two as Sharpay looked away from her.
Looking around, in search of something of vague interest too her, Gabriella caught sight of her two other friends, Ryan Evans, Sharpay's twin and Gabriella's closest male friend, and Kelsi Nielson, Gabriella's oldest friend, Sharpay's songwriter and Ryan's crush, heading towards them. Their heads were bent together and Gabriella, as she looked more closely, could have sworn that the two of them were holding hands.
"Hey Shar, look over there." Gabriella nodded towards Ryan and Kelsi, who had yet to notice that they had an audience. Sharpay looked over and her mouth dropped open in shock at the sight that was presented.
"Are they holding hands?" She whispered to Gabriella as they came closer. Gabriella, who could see a little more clearly now, nodded in excitement. Unable to believe that maybe after three years of nothing, progress had finally been made.
"I think so." Gabriella murmured back as the two came closer. Before Sharpay could squeal excitedly or Gabriella could interpret anything from their body language, Ryan and Kelsi abruptly dropped hands and approached where they were sitting.
"Good morning." Ryan Evans smiled pleasantly at his twin and Gabriella fought back a giggle at the reproachful look on Sharpay's face. Apparently, Sharpay wanted to dissect their body language as well.
"Good morning Ryan." Gabriella smiled back at him, secretly pleased that he had chosen to wear jeans and a green t-shirt that made him look like a regular teenager instead of his sister's dress up doll. It had taken her the better part of seven years to convince him that it was okay to wear something simple to school that didn't have pink, rhinestones on it or was an exceptionally tight fit. Now that Ryan had taken the first tentative step, Sharpay was beginning to complain that it was hard to get him out of jeans.
"Hi Gabriella, Sharpay." Kelsi spoke up, glancing between her two friends and knowing almost instantly that they'd seen her and Ryan walking up. Sharpay shot her an appraising look before replying.
"Hey Kelsi. How were those new songs you were writing going?" Sharpay asked, smirking slightly when Kelsi simply blushed. Gabriella glanced at Sharpay confusedly, unsure if she was imagining a double meaning to Sharpay's question.
"Well, has anyone heard anything new?" Ryan cut in loudly before Kelsi could reply. Gabriella glanced at Sharpay who was glaring at her brother and then offered a smile to some freshman who looked startled at the loudness of Ryan's voice. They glanced from him to her and the hurried away.
"Gabriella's been thinking about Troy Bolton again." Sharpay said causally and Gabriella wanted to groan as Ryan's eyes widened and Kelsi narrowed hers to look at Gabriella. Gabriella shot a venomous look in Sharpay's direction.
"Really? Gabriella, you haven't spoken to the guy in what? A year, maybe two?" Ryan asked incredulously and Gabriella wanted to huff like a child who had gotten caught with their hand in the cookie jar at his accusing tone.
"It's no big deal guys. I was just remembering something about when I first met him." Gabriella tried to brush it off, not really wanting to admit that she'd been remembering how she had been worrying about her appearance when she'd first met those bright blue eyes.
"Not a big deal? Gabriella, you've been thinking about the guy since he left Albuquerque." Kelsi argued and Gabriella couldn't help but roll her eyes. Standing up, she glanced at Sharpay who stood up as well, before smiling tightly at Ryan and Kelsi.
"Guys, seriously, it's not a big deal." Gabriella's tone warned all of them off any further lecturing or arguing and Sharpay suddenly nodded.
"Okay. Its not. Lets go. Leave the lovebirds alone." Gabriella was too aware of Sharpay's habits to not know that her ploy had simply been to get Ryan and Kelsi out of the conversation so she could lecture Gabriella on the wisdom of thinking about Troy.
Without waiting for an answer from either Kelsi or Ryan, Gabriella stalked off, not quite sure why she was so annoyed. It wasn't that they had annoyed her as such; more like told her that she shouldn't be thinking about someone who had been such a good friend to her during his relationship with her sister and afterwards. Not that they'd been best friends. He'd just been really good to her before he had left for college. Being there for her when no-one else could be or at least, when she didn't want anyone else to be. That was all.
So what if every now and then she'd catch herself thinking about him? Even if it had been nearly a year since she had last seen him, she was allowed to think about a good friend right?
Especially because she knew it was highly doubtful she'd ever see Troy Bolton again. He'd gone off to college at the end of the summer last year and Gabriella hadn't heard from him since. Though they had both assured each other that they would stay in touch, after all he had her email address and cell number and she had his. So, it shouldn't have been that hard to stay in touch, right? Wrong. As soon as he'd left, Gabriella had found herself to afraid to try and email him or text message him that she had put it off and put it off. Until it had been halfway through the year and she hadn't heard from him either and that's what had stopped even the thought of trying to contact him. Troy not emailing or messaging was enough for Gabriella to convince herself that he wasn't going to ever and that she shouldn't worry about it either.
"Gabrieeeeeella! Wait up!" Sharpay's singing her name was enough to get Gabriella to stop in her tracks, unsure how to handle having her name become a musical number. Sighing, she turned around to face her friend, who immediately brightened when she saw Gabriella was looking at her. Smoothly, Sharpay slid her arm through Gabriella's and began steering her towards the entrance doors to East High.
"Shar, I'm not sure how comfortable I am with you turning my name into a song." Gabriella said, trying hard not to sound like she whining as she let herself be steered towards their homeroom. Sharpay simply smiled and patted her hand.
"You'll live." She said and then continued. "Now, are you going to tell me why you got so annoyed at Ryan and Kelsi when you and I both know its kind of your fault that you're only thinking about Troy and not talking to him?" Sharpay asked pleasantly and Gabriella couldn't help but frown at her words.
"I don't know. 'Cause I could, I guess. I mean, it's not like they can tell me that I'm not allowed to think of a friend, right?" Gabriella asked and missed the way Sharpay rolled her eyes at the question. She'd heard the same question whenever she had called Gabriella out for thinking about Troy.
"Of course not. Its just the way you do it kind of makes it seem like your pining for him and not just thinking of him in the friendly way you want it to mean." Sharpay stated matter-of-factly and Gabriella shot her a nasty look, not liking what she had said.
"I am not pining for Troy. I just happen to think about him every now and then." She snapped and Sharpay managed to just hold back a snort at her denial.
"Okay. Whatever." She agreed resignedly. Gabriella just smiled at her friend, happy that they had reached an agreement and feeling quite pleased that they'd made homeroom just as the bell had rung.
Quickly finding her seat and sitting down, Gabriella pulled out her notebook and schedule, unsure of what she had first period. When she found it, she nearly interrupted Miss Darbus, her dramatic homeroom teacher who most probably would have handed her a detention for making such a rude noise in the middle of her speaking, when she realized that she had PE first period. Great, Gabriella found herself thinking sarcastically, just something that she needed to get her mind off Troy Bolton, seeing his father, Coach Jack Bolton.
Frowning, Gabriella found it hard to pay any attention to Miss Darbus during homeroom. Unsure whether it was because she was annoyed that she had to go to gym or because she'd only just realized that Sharpay hadn't actually lost the argument, she stared out the window. Realizing as she thought back to her conversation with Sharpay that they were going to continue it at a later date, which meant at lunch, and that Sharpay would probably be backed up by Ryan and Kelsi. Who, in turn, were confusing Gabriella. She could swear they'd been holding hands that morning, but if they had, they hadn't wanted her and Sharpay to know. Which was strange. They'd told each other everything from the time they'd first met.
Gabriella smiled slightly as she thought about when they'd first met. They'd all been in grade two and Sharpay had decided that she and Ryan needed friends outside each other. That was when she'd told Gabriella that she was her new best friend and then turned to Kelsi, who was friends with a small Gabriella that she and Ryan were going to be best friends. It hadn't been the best way for Sharpay to make friends but at the same time, they'd become a group and had stayed that way through the rigors of primary, middle and now high school. All four of them held an understanding that was so solid that even when Sharpay had become the Ice Princess of East High, they'd stuck by her or when Ryan had become interested in baseball (a sport Sharpay found barbaric) they'd been there to cheer him on. It was a solid connection that couldn't be broken and right now, Gabriella couldn't understand why Kelsi and Ryan wouldn't share what was going on with them with her and Sharpay.
"Gabs? We have gym. You ready?" Gabriella jerked slightly at Kelsi's soft voice. Looking at he friend, she shook her head, clearing her thoughts and nodded.
"Yeah. I forgot my clothes though. Reckon Coach'll kill me?" She asked, standing up and joining the line filing out of the classroom. Kelsi shrugged slightly, smiling as they joined the throng of students heading in the direction of the gym.
"Nah. He likes you, remember? You're the 'responsible Montez'." Kelsi quoted and Gabriella laughed at the words. She'd forgotten Coach Bolton had disliked her sister with an intensity that had made it not safe to be around him whenever Katie was in the room.
"I totally forgot about that." Gabriella said and Kelsi giggled as they turned a corner and the throng of students thinned to their classmates.
"How could you? He always praised you for it. Especially in front of Troy. It was so funny when he did 'cause you'd go all red and Troy would cough and rub his neck." Kelsi teased her and Gabriella blushed slightly, nodding along at her own memories of Coach Bolton's disapproval of her sister.
"I think I used to get so embarrassed about it I just blocked out the painful memories of it." Gabriella said and Kelsi laughed as they pushed open the gym doors and headed for the wooden bleachers that surrounded the basketball courts.
"Gee, what a surprise." Kelsi taunted and Gabriella just shook her head, ignoring the girl and spying Coach Bolton standing at the far corner of the gym, talking rapidly to someone with their back to her.
"There's Coach. I'm going to go and tell him I forgot my uniform." Gabriella said, dumping her bag next to Kelsi. Kelsi nodded, pulling out a sheet of music paper and beginning to read over it.
Gabriella dodged the guys that were throwing around a rubber band ball, laughing slightly when one of them accidentally bumped into her. She waved to a girl she knew from her Chem class as she approached the coach. She could see that he was smiling, which was a good sign. It meant that maybe she was going to get into too much trouble for not having her gym gear. Gabriella came to a stop right behind the mystery man and waited patiently for the Coach to notice her.
"I need these copied for – yes, Miss Montez?" Coach Bolton interrupted himself when he noticed her. Gabriella smiled hesitantly at him, wondering why his eyes seemed to twinkle mischievously at her.
"Uh, I kind of forgot I had gym first. So I don't have my things here." Gabriella said and Coach Bolton just continued to look at her, his eyes twinkling in amusement. Gabriella was about to repeat herself, not sure if the coach had heard her and confused as to why he seemed so happy about it when the other person spoke.
"Now that's a disappointment, Brie. I was looking forward to seeing you run the track." Gabriella froze and her eyes widened as nineteen year old Troy Bolton turned around to grin down at her, apparently amused with her as she stared up at him.
For a moment, all Gabriella could do was stare up at Troy. Unsure whether or not he was there. He didn't look that different from when she had last seen him, maybe his hair was a little longer but he still had the same strong jaw, the careless hairstyle and blue, blue eyes. She watched as his mouth curved even further and Gabriella shook her head.
"Troy!" She suddenly squealed. He let out a surprised laugh as Gabriella launched herself at him, her arms wrapping around his neck in an exuberant hug that caught the attention of nearly everyone in the gym.
Gabriella bit her lip when she felt his strong arms encircle her waist, holding her suspended as he chuckled. Pulling away a bit, she grinned as she met his amused blue eyes.
"Hi Brie." He said when he saw her looking at him. Gabriella couldn't help but let her grin spread further across her face.
She felt even happier when she remembered that she'd managed to straighten her hair that morning too.
A/N: I hope that wasn't too terrible for a first chapter. Remember, I want to keep it of similar length and style of 'Convincing You To Fall'. I don't want to go over nine chapters and I don't want to go into any drama (if any of you have been reading MTLFM, you'll understand why). So please, I hope you enjoyed it and I won't say I'll update soon but I hopefully won't leave you all hanging for a few weeks!