Okay folks…so a few things to say… This is the result of a night spent with a crying daughter until 4am…that's right I typed it when she finally slept as I then couldn't lol…Next up is a WARNING…this contains SPOILERS so if u HAVEN'T seen HSM3 DON'T READ THIS….. This is new to me writing in the first person and I have struggled with it but had to give it ago…It supposed to be a one shot but is now actually a two shot because of it's length…. yes this is very obvious and clichéd but I had to write it, it was buzzing around my head all the time I watched HSM3 for the 2nd time…. Lastly this is very heavy on dialogue and not all of it is my own, lots taken from HSM3 for context……..Look out for the sequel to this "It's like catching lightning"…..And last but not least let me know what you think…As always Love Tink. XXX
"I had to escape
The city was sticky and cruel
Maybe I should have called you first
But I was dying to get to you
I was dreaming while I drove
The long straight road ahead."
"I love you Wildcat", I heard Gabriella's soft voice choke out seconds before the line went dead and ice crystallized in the pit of my stomach.
"Gabriella" I began but it was too late, she was gone, only the soft rush of static meeting my ears. I knew then that she had made her choice, a choice we had both been avoiding since the start of our senior year. But as usual in our relationship my Brie was one step ahead of me.
I stepped through the door of my bedroom, closely followed by Chad, an enquiring look on his face.
"She's not coming back man" I said dully, unable to believe what I was saying.
" She's not coming back at all" I replied and hurled my cell angrily across the room, pain almost choking me.
I flopped onto my bed, furious and heartbroken all at the same time.
"Wow! That's lousy man" Chad said "But hey everyone knows that you don't bring the girl with you after high school…look Gabriella is already one step ahead… as usual" he said echoing my earlier thoughts "But right now man, you gotta snap out of this, she's off at Stanford…But I am right here with you dude, you and me and are going to U of A, it's like a whole new ball game"
I rolled onto my stomach and my eyes fell on a picture of Gabriella on my nightstand, my heart hurting so bad I wanted to scream. Suddenly everything I had seemed so sure of in my life was fading away and all I could think about was Gabriella.
"Maybe I don't see my life as a ball game anymore man," I told him quietly, ignoring the pained look he gave me.
I heard him sigh as he sprawled on the bed beside me" Look, you're gonna go to prom with us, with your friends and your gonna have a great time…right" he prodded, wanting reassurance that I would be there.
"Well I'm not planning on missing my senior prom," I said, placating him. I wanted to be alone, to think. I saw him smirk and he got to his feet, slapping me around the head as he went. Guy speak for "you'll be okay man".
I heard him leave and a thought suddenly occurred to me, as I played back my conversation with Gabriella in my head, it was the first time she'd said 'I Love You'.
I felt sick with the thought that I would never get to hear her say it again. It seemed like my future was suddenly here now, my choices all gone, Gabriella had made them for us both.
Like Chad had said, she was always one step ahead. Was that it though? Was I really gonna just accept what she said without argument? Was I gonna just let her walk away? Accept that she was at Stanford and I was going to U of A. Accept that this was it the final act? No more Troyella?
I thought about what I'd said to Chad, I wasn't gonna miss my prom, it was Gabriella who would be missed, missed by all of us, me most of all. I didn't think I could face walking into the gym without her, seeing the stares and the pitying looks, hearing the whispers. I couldn't watch as all my friends danced together, made out in darkened corners of the gym and posed for photographs for the yearbook. I wanted to be with her.
And right then and there it became so simple, I had always done what other people wanted to me, what they expected me to…Chad expected me at Prom and I was gonna have my prom, just not in the way he meant.
I rolled to my feet and before I could question the wisdom of my decision, I jerked open my closet and began throwing some clothes in a bag. I wasn't ready for this to be over yet, I wasn't ready to let her go. She might have been ready to say goodbye to East High but East High wasn't ready to say goodbye to her….
I thought about my friends, about Chad, Jason, Zeke, about how disappointed they would be when I didn't show up at Prom. I felt a brief flash of guilt; I was missing my senior prom. But then I caught sight of Gabriella's photograph again and thought about not saying a proper goodbye to my girl, the pain I felt outweighing my guilt.
Basketball and the Wildcats had always come first in my life, always been my first love and never in my life had I found anything to compare with that. But now there was something else, something deeper, something I couldn't turn away from, even if I had wanted to. I loved Gabriella with everything in me and nothing I did would change that. If I gave up now, that would be it for us. Neither of us had dared talk about what would happen after school but staying together wouldn't be an option, deep down we both knew that. The distance was too far despite what we pretended.
"Honey are you okay?" My Mom's voice cut into my thoughts as she stepped into my room, her eyes widening as she saw what I was doing.
"I'm fine mom….In fact I'm great" I said, knowing I sounded pleased with myself.
She blinked at me, obviously expecting another reaction "Troy, honey, what are you doing? Chad told me what happened…are you okay?"
I looked at her blankly.
"About Gabriella…missing Prom" she prompted.
I flashed her a smile "She's not missing prom"
I watched as a puzzled expression crossed her face.
"Prom's going to her"
My Mom shook her head "Now Troy, honey-"
"Mom!" I sighed, knowing where this was going "I have to go….in a few weeks I'll be off to college and I won't get a chance to say goodbye….she's not comin back Mom" I told her, unable to disguise the pain in my voice," I need to do this" I looked her straight in the eyes, willing her to understand. "I love her Mom"
I saw her grow misty eyed "Oh Troy, honey you have college and there's a whole new world out there waiting for you "
I nodded "I know that Mom, but right now in High School my whole world is where Gabriella is….I need to say goodbye Mom"
She smiled a little sadly, as though knowing what I was going to say, "What will you do?"
I smiled at her grateful she understood and accepted my decision; it was hard for her, letting me go, trusting me.
I sat on the edge of bed and rubbed a hand through my hair "I'm gonna drive to Stanford, give Gabriella her prom and then" I shrugged "And then I'll come home…alone"
My Mom crossed the room and sat next to me, pulling me into her arms in a way she hadn't since I was a little boy, ruffling my hair.
"My baby…all grown up" I heard her wistful tone "Just promise me you'll be careful Troy…take plenty of rests and call us often"
I hugged her back fiercely "Mom, it's okay, I'm not stupid…I'll find somewhere to sleep"
I thought it best not mention to her that it would likely be my truck.
"Will you talk to Dad?" I asked tentatively.
"There's no need" I heard the sound of my Dad's voice and turned to look at him. He stood braced in the doorway for a moment before stepping into the room.
"Troy" he interrupted "I understand I really do but are you sure about this? You'll miss your senior Prom Troy, your last dance as a Wildcat," he said urgently.
"I know," I admitted quietly "But my prom is wherever Gabriella is"
My Dad nodded "Then all I can say is be careful son" and he stuck out his hand.
I grasped it in mine and he pulled me to my feet, embracing me a bear hug, patting my back. I felt strangely emotional. I knew I was depriving my parents of one of the great American rites of passage, depriving them of their chance to see me at my senior prom, to take pictures for their albums, to see me leave East High properly. But I had to do this, for me Troy Bolton, not Troy Bolton co captain of the Wildcats but for me Troy Bolton, just like Kindergarten, boyfriend of Gabriella Montez.
I grabbed my tux from it's hanging place and threw a handful of toiletries into my bag, before heading outside into the sunshine.
"Are you sure you know where you're going?" My mom worried as I loaded up my truck.
"Mom it'll be fine" I tried to reassure her.
"Well make sure you get plenty of rest stops and don't forget to sleep and call us and text us" she fussed, brushing my hair out of my eyes.
"Mom" I protested, sounding like a whiney little boy.
"Here take this" she stuffed a wad of money into my hand.
"What? Mom, no"
"Troy take it for emergencies…. or to buy Gabriella diner…we would have spent on you to anyway"
I looked at the rolled up notes in my hand and had to swallow a lump in my throat, did I have the coolest parents or what?
"Thanks Mom" I kissed her cheek and nodded to my Dad who wrapped an arm around her waist, pulling her in to his side, as she began to tear up.
I climbed into my truck feeling another pang of regret for denying them their big senior prom moment. Something of what I felt must have shown in my face because my Dad banged on the hood of the truck and with a smile said
"Go get her Wildcat!"
With that I put the truck into gear and rolled down the windows, in deference to the late afternoon humidity. Giving them a last smile, I set off into my future to say goodbye to the only girl I'd ever loved.