Disclaimer: I still don't own High School Musical. If I did the movie would have ended a little differently.
Life After the Happy Ending
One Day Down
Sharpay pulled into the last open parking spot and cut the engine immediately killing the music and engulfing her in overwhelming silence. Taking a moment to gaze pensively through the windshield watching all the distant students as they strolled by with relaxed smiles on their faces and schedules in their hands. Yanking her rear-view mirror so that she saw her own reflection she took a deep breath and studied the nervous creases between her eyebrows. Closing her eyes Sharpay counted to ten and forcibly relaxed every muscle in her body so that when she opened her eyes the creases were gone and a fake but pleasant smile was painted on her face.
With a sigh Sharpay opened up her notebook that had been sitting in the passenger seat and pulled out her own schedule to study it once more as she quickly checked the time. Not wanting to be late for her first university course, she hastily shoved her notebook into her hot pink Louis Vuitton bag, placed her Coco Chanel sunglasses on top of her head and stepped out of her Convertible onto her Christian Louboutin heals. Slamming the door closed, she smirked her traditional smirk and looked around to acknowledge with condescension all who were visibly gawking.
But nobody had taken any notice of her.
With a slight pout Sharpay stomped her foot in frustration and strutted to her first class ignoring the fact that she was alone for the first time in her life.
After the final events of her senior year with Ryan beating her for the scholarship and Tiara sabotaging her final performance, Sharpay took a lot of time to reexamine her position along her path to success. Sure, she was disappointed that she wasn't at Julliard but Ryan certainly deserved to go. And, yeah, she always wanted the roles that Gabriella got but Gabriella had been pretty decent at them too.
Ok, nope, that's just taking it too far. She definitely deserved those roles.
Anyway, she certainly didn't regret anything from high school (except maybe befriending Tiara, that is) but she had decided that college was going to be a new beginning. A time of excellence in her life and her career. She wasn't going to obsess over the little things and she was definitely going to take everybody around her a tad more seriously now that she knows competition can arise from the most unlikely of people.
It is for this reason that Sharpay strutted into her class fifteen minutes early, sat in the front seat and pulled out an actual notebook and pen. All with a nervous smile clouding her beautiful features and causing her to fidget in her seat.
Troy heard his alarm though the grogginess that accompanies sleep. Exhausted and unwilling to wake up just yet he was about to pick up his alarm and throw it across the room but remembered that he has a roommate now. A stranger living within the same ten-by-eight cell of cinder blocks as him. It may not be the best way to break the ice between them if he introduced himself by smashing his alarm into hundreds of pieces.
Reluctantly, Troy pressed the off button and sat up in bed, rigorously rubbing his eyes hoping to wake up his brain along with it.
And here it is: the first day of college. Well, of classes, anyway. Unlike his roommate who had just arrived last night, Troy had already been there a week for a special basketball team freshmen introduction program. It was basically a week of intense practice and hazing by the seniors. Not exactly Troy's definition of fun but traditions must be maintained.
Getting up, Troy tried his best to find his things in the dark making as little noise as possible. Whoever convinced him that 8:30 classes were a good idea was really in for it.
Beep, beep, beep.
Troy started at the unexpected noise. He thought he'd turned off his alarm already. But then he saw the light on his phone flash and he quickly realized that he'd just gotten a text. Reading the display and seeing that it was from Gabriella he grabbed it and flipped open to read what she said.
You up yet?
Troy smiled at the fact that his girlfriend still cares from 40 miles away and that she remembered his schedule. He barely even knew his schedule yet.
He hastily typed back 'sure, no problem' then grabbed his clothes and headed to the bathroom to get ready, no longer tired.
"So my friend and I were at this party yesterday, we go so drunk! I think we might have made out at one point in the evening."
"I am so good at beer pong, it's my favorite game ever."
"Hey man, you coming to my party Friday? We already have so much booze, just gotta hope it lasts till then."
Sharpay rolled her eyes as she was forced to listen to the inane conversations taking place behind her. 'Yes, we drink alcohol at parties. There's breaking news.' She thought sarcastically. She thought this was such a high school way to talk about drinking but as it turns out there's only one summer separating a high school senior from a college freshman.
Resisting the urge to moan in exasperation, Sharpay remained facing forward waiting for class to start as the clock slowly approached noon and her professor finally strode confidently through the door and to the front of the room. Straightening in her seat, Sharpay smiled slightly, excited to begin her first serious venture into university life and higher education. She was finally ready to participate in voluntarily lively debates with her cohorts, to eat lunch with a new group of friends under the changing fall leaves discussing important political matters and ethical dilemmas. She was ready, for the first time in her life, to become a serious student.
Placing his briefcase on the desk at the front of the classroom and shuffling his loose leaf papers around until he found the ones he needed, the professor looked up at the class for the first time with a bright smile on his face.
"Good afternoon class!" he said in an annoyingly chipper voice. The kind of voice that old Sharpay would have cringed at and made fun of outside (and let's face it, sometimes inside) the classroom. 'But not new Sharpay,' she thought, struggling to keep her pleasant expression on her face, reminding herself that she was here to take this seriously.
"Welcome to death and dying, one of your theme requirements. I'm professor Frey," he continued, smiling through his nose as he spoke. "Now, as a general requirement I know this class isn't in the field of many of your majors but I do expect the same level of commitment and effort. And don't worry, we'll be having some fun too!" He continued to beam at the class, Sharpay returning in kind.
"We'll be discussing the ways in which different cultures around the world cope with and view death and dying. We'll be debating the merits of different viewpoints and I do expect everybody in here to be able to form and express an opinion."
By this point Sharpay was bobbing in her seat, her excitement rendering her incapable of holding still.
"But first, let's play the name game!"
Sharpay immediately stopped bouncing, her smile fell from her face and she glared at her professor in disbelief.
"You have got to be kidding me."
Troy dumped his bags onto the last available table in the student union and slumped into his seat. It was only two o'clock but he was already exhausted. Not that his classes were that taxing, on the first day they just go over the syllabus, but he was simply worn out. Troy would never admit this out loud but he was scared as hell to be going to Berkeley. He was a thousand miles away from home for the first time in his life. In a life where he didn't even go to basketball practice without his dad being present. Even summer camps he had a parent along with him.
Add to that the simple fearful anticipation of college. Troy had never been the best of students but he was no longer in an environment that would accept his excuses. What if it was too hard?
And then there is the basketball. Usually the stress reliever of his life, his Zen, his escape. But even this had stress printed all over it. All his life Troy had been the basketball prodigy, the coaches son. It had all come naturally, easily. But all of a sudden he was no longer the best and that is a situation that Troy had never anticipated and he certainly didn't know how to deal with it.
So, for the time being, Troy was perfectly content with burying his feelings, working through the stress and avoid going to his dorm because that was just one more area of mystery and stress that he wasn't ready to face.
Instead, Troy took a deep breath, pulled out his phone and gazed contentedly at the screens picture. It was of him and Gabriella the day he'd moved in. She'd come down to help him move then took him for a relaxing picnic in the campus arboretum. They looked so happy in that picture, so carefree, so normal. Hard to believe that had only been a week ago.
"What about if I took a crack at writing the musical, Ms. Darbus? I have composed before, you know." Sharpay suggested nonchalantly, following closely behind her former teacher as she strode swiftly down the hallway.
As always there were huge banners and larger-than-life posters of the basketball team decorating the hallways but Sharpay was slightly perturbed by the fact that the features of these signs were no longer Troy, Chad, Zeke or Jason. In just a couple of months this school had already forgotten her entire senior class.
"You?" Ms. Darbus asked skeptically, slowing to a stop and turning to face Sharpay. "Compose? How come I never knew about this?"
Sharpay smiled through her embarrassment, "Well, I never showed anybody. Ryan doesn't even know." Ms. Darbus raised her eyebrows questioningly. "But that doesn't mean I'm not good. I can totally do this Ms. D. Please? Just give me a chance."
After a moments silence, Ms. Darbus lowered her eyebrows and fixed Sharpay with a steady gaze. "Have a rough draft of the first act on my desk by Monday." Without another word she turned and continued down the hallway leaving Sharpay grinning with excitement despite the anxious nerves that were collecting in the pit of her stomach.
Closing his textbook with a tired sigh, Troy drained the last few drops of his coffee and looked around. He was the last person left in the student union.
"Hey, we close in ten minutes."
Troy jumped at the harsh voice of the Janitor cutting through the silence. Looking at his watch, Troy was shocked to see that it was almost midnight. "Ok, I'm leaving," he grumbled, not sure if the Janitor was even still there. Quickly shoving his books into his bag, he headed outside into the humid night air. He'd somehow managed to avoid going to his dorm at all today. That can't be healthy.
Troy kicked a pebble in frustration, slowly making his way to the dorm when his phone started ringing. Looking at the screen he couldn't help the smile that instantly spread across his gloomy face.
"Gabriella, hey! How was your first day?"
"It was absolutely posolotutely the bestest day ever!" she screamed into the receiver barely able to control her giggling amongst her stumbling words.
"Oh my Gawd, Troy! College is so much fun, you should try it!"
"Gabriella? Have you been drinking?" Troy asked in amazement, completely bowled over at the thought of Gabriella doing anything illegal.
"Nooo," she replied in a fake, high pitched tone. "But this jungle juice is a whole lot better after the sixth glass."
Troy chuckled. "Yeah, I bet it is. You be careful, Gabby. I gotta go."
"Fine. I miss you Troysie!" Gabriella gushed.
"Yeah. I miss you too."
Troy hung up his phone just as he was taking the last few steps to his dorm room door. Putting the key in the lock, he slowly opened the door to find the room plunged in darkness except for the illumination of Zim Avatar on the television.
"Dude! Close the door! You trying to get me expelled or something?"
"Sorry," Troy mumbled, quickly stumbling over a soft, wet object at his feet as he entered his funny smelling room, a smell that wasn't there this morning, and closed the door. What was that wet thing? Troy looked down just as his roommate strolled over and shoved the wet, rolled up towel back into the crack beneath the door.
"Don't want the R.A. to find out, do we?"
"Find out what?" But as he was asking it, Troy finally put the pieces together. The funny smell, the towel blocking the air flow, the redness of his roommates eyes. But this can't be happening, if Troy is associated with this he'll lose his place on the basketball team. Which means he'll lose his scholarship. Which means he has to move back home and make his life decision all over again.
Completely caught off guard, Troy just continued to stand in the entrance of their room, clutching his book bag in his hands and staring at his roommate. His roommate, on the other hand, was now lying on his bed with his head hanging off the side so that he was watching the television upside down, holding a crudely rolled joint between his thumb and index finger and giggling as the colors on the TV changed.
"Hey man. Didn't mean to be rude," he said looking over at Troy with his bloodshot eyes. "You want a hit?"
Troy stared at the marijuana that his roommate was holding out to him with mild horror and could only think one thing:
Sharpay sprinted from her car into her house, up the expansive staircase and directly to her room, not even bothering to find her mother and tell her that she was home. Pulling out her cell phone from her purse, Sharpay excitedly dialed Ryan's number and tried to control her breathing as she counted the rings.
Breath in, breath out.
"Hey guys, you've called Ryan. I'm doing something more interesting right now so leave a message and I'll ring you later. Peace."
Sharpay scoffed at his new voicemail message. He's certainly gotten an ego since he went off to Julliard. Not that she was jealous, of course. Waiting for the beep, Sharpay shoved these negative thoughts to the back of her mind and instead remembered why she was calling her brother in the first place.
"Hey Ryan! It's been a couple day's, I wanted to check in. See how Julliard was going. And I have major exciting news to tell you. Call me back as soon as you get this. Toodles."
Hanging up, Sharpay sat on her bed clutching her phone in her hand and savoring the silence. One day down, just the rest of her life to go.
So I'm finally out with another story! It feels good to be writing again. I had a whole bunch of different story ideas that I was debating doing but after seeing the movie I decided this was going to be it. High school is hardly your whole life.
Please leave me a review, whether good or bad. I always like to read your comments.