Troy smiled up to his girlfriend. Time seemed to slow as he gazed up to where Gabriella was sat, next to his best friend Chad. Whooping and cheering, clapping and screaming, the rest of the crowd fought it's way back into Troy's conscious. He blinked, and threw his head back into the game.
He put his friends out of his mind as he turned back to the court. He put his team mates and this important game into the forefront of his mind.
However, he was soon distracted once again. He glanced back up and Gabriella and Chad. He couldn't help but hold a feeling of dismay that Chad was not on the court with him. Sadly, a sprained wrist counted him out of all games for at least two weeks. Stupid baseball injury. Troy was a bit irritated when Chad joined the baseball team. He said nothing, though. He knew it was silly to be jealous on behalf of basketball.
Troy realised that at this rate, he was going to lose his team the game. He turned his attention once again back to the game. This time, however, he managed to keep it there.
"It was hard watching you from up there, man." Chad said in hushed tones, from the back seat of Troy's car.
"I can bet." Troy said back from the driver's seat, not taking his eyes off the road. "You'll be back on that court before you know it. Maybe you should stop coming to games, and spend some time catching up on homework?" Troy giggled at Chad.
"Maybe." Chad smiled back, before looking down to where Gabriella was asleep, head on his lap.
"We're nearly at Gab's house." Troy advised, prompting Chad to gently wake Gabriella.
Gabriella sat up. Rubbing her eyes, she grabbed her purse. She kissed Chad on the cheek as she climbed out of the car.
"Night baby. You were great tonight." She smiled, leaning in Troy's window.
"Night Gab." Troy smiled back, pouting for the kiss inevitably coming his way. Gabriella obliged, before walking off towards her front door.
"Can you believe it?" Chad said, as he climbed into the front passenger seat next to Troy. "Senior year is nearly over."
"I know." Troy sighed. "How crazy? Only three games left, too."
"I hope my wrist is better for the last game, at least. Can't believe I sprained my wrist on my last baseball game."
Troy smiled sympathetically and let out a small laugh.
"Yeah, you went out with a bang."
"Funny." Chad glared. He leaned back on his seat as Troy made his way to Chad's house.
"Troy?" Chad started, a couple of minutes later. "Where do you think we'll all be in five year's time?"
"Who knows, man. But I do know that in one year's time, all three of us will be living it up at U of A."
Chad smiled and nodded.
"see you Monday." Troy said to Chad as the pulled into his driveway.
"Later." Chad patted Troy on the shoulder and climbed out of the car.
The next night, Gabriella was snuggled up to Troy on his couch. The movie they were watching ended, and the two sat in silence, just enjoying each other's company.
"Um," Gabriella broke the silence as she sat up. "Troy - I have to tell you something."
"Uh oh." Troy said, inquisitively. He sat up into a less reclined position and nervously looked into his girlfriend's eyes.
"I really don't know how to say this." Gabriella fidgeted and started to bite her nails. "Um… you know there were talent scouts in to see Ryan and Sharpay last month at the musical?"
"They called me. I've been having meetings with them and other people and… anyway, uh… I've been offered a record deal."
"Oh my gosh!" Troy gasped. "That's huge! What did you say?"
"I said yes!"
"Wow. This is…" Troy trailed off, and frowned. "Wait, what about college?"
"That's really what I needed to tell you. This is a big opportunity and, well… I just thought maybe I'll start college next year. Or the year after…"
"Gab… are you serious? You're giving up going to college to be a pop singer?"
"I'm just saying. Showbusiness is such an uncertain world, and you're so intelligent…"
"It's no big deal, Troy." Gabriella started to raise her voice, frowning. "If it doesn't work out I'll start college next year. What is your problem?!" Gabriella jumped to her feet, crossing her arms and pacing the floor.
Troy sighed and also climbed to his feet. He approached Gabriella from behind and put his hands on her arms. He placed his head on her shoulder.
"Gab, honey. I'm sorry, I just want what's best. Anyway… I can't imagine going to college without you."
"Is that what this is about?" Gabriella sighed and turned around to face Troy. "Nothing is gonna change, Troy. I'll still be here. It's not as if we can see each other every day for the rest of our lives, anyway. We have to go our separate ways eventually."
"I guess." Troy sighed, looking at the floor. "I just… can't remember life without you by my side."
Gabriella wrapped her arms around Troy and pulled him close to her.
Despite Gabriella's reassurance, Troy couldn't get the worry out of his mind. He had an impending feeling of dread about going to college without Gabriella. She was his rock, she was just… always there. When he was with her, he felt like nothing bad could ever happen to him and he was always happy.
He took a breath, and tried to bring himself round. At least he'd have Chad. He was there for him before Gabriella came along. And he'll be there once Gabriella goes her own way.
Troy got into his car, and made his way to Chad's house. As he mindlessly drove down the streets, he searched his mind for sense and reason. This anxiety he felt himself engulfed in was completely out of character. Troy Bolton was the confident, independent, basketball superstar with no fear and no faults. Yet - the thought of having no one constantly by his side terrified him.
As he arrived at Chad's house, he got out of his car and had a quick check of his cell. He had a text message.
"Hope ur ok. Big baby ;) love u. G x"
Troy smiled at Gabriella's text. He typed a sweet, reassuring reply as he walked up to Chad's front door. He knocked as he pressed send.
"Hey man." Chad greeted his friend, who ignored him whilst he stared at the screen of his cell until it confirmed delivered. Chad rolled his eyes, leaned on the door frame and looked at his wrist at an imaginary watch.
"Hey." Troy finally replied, ignoring Chad's display.
Troy entered the Danforth household, greeting Chad's mom as he passed through the kitchen. He grabbed a couple of sodas from the fridge whilst Chad got the chips. The two then made their way up to Chad's room.
Troy broke from their idle chit-chat to talk about the matter he so very much wanted to.
"I need to tell you something Gabriella said to me." Troy threw himself on Chad's futon.
"Do I wanna hear this?"
"Just listen. Get this: she's been offered, and accepted, a recording contract. So… she will not be joining us at U of A."
"What? Are you joking?" Chad exclaimed. "But… but it was meant to be the three of us. Three amigos. Three musketeers. And.. So on." Chad frowned and folded his arms.
"Tell me about it." Troy followed suit and also folded his arms. "I guess it will be just the two of us."
A moment's silence followed, leaving both boys uncomfortable. Soon enough, though, Troy had to break the silence.
"Yeah," he nodded, continuing on from nothing. "I told her she's in for a world of uncertainty and that she's intelligent but she insists she's got it all worked out. Like, if pop stardom is a flop she'll start college next year."
"I guess. It's gonna be weird seeing you around without her attached to your hip. Or… wherever."
"Yeah. It's gonna be weird." Troy felt a sudden vulnerability. He didn't want Chad to know how scared and anxious he was about the whole thing.
"Still, man, you gotta branch out sometime. Be your own man. Live your life." Chad said, with a grin.
"Shut up, Chad." Troy laughed back.
The next week, Troy was starting to ease regarding Gabriella's decision not to go to college. He was the only one, however; her parents and most of the teachers were pretty angry and dismayed.
Chad's wrist was almost healed, but not yet enough for him to play basketball. His baseball team mates were holding a charity game and he was completely bummed he couldn't join in. Instead, Troy and Gabriella accompanied him to watch the game from the bleachers.
After the game, the three had agreed to accompany the team to the diner. After conversing with them at school for a while, Chad seemed to disappear. Troy told the team to go ahead and he'd be along in a while. Gabriella went along with the team, whilst Troy tried to find his best friend.
"Chad?" Troy called, confused, wandering the hallways of the school grounds. As he left the current building and cross the concrete to the next building, he looked out to the baseball field that just an hour ago had been occupied by the game. He stopped in his tracks and rolled his eyes at himself, and nodded. Sure enough, he saw the outline of his curly-haired friend standing on the pitcher's mound.
Troy approached him, quietly at first but then decided he shouldn't spook Chad. He started to veer round so that he was coming towards Chad from the side. Chad looked up and smiled.
"This was the last game that team will ever play." Chad sighed. "And I couldn't be a part of it."
Troy put his hand on Chad's shoulder.
"You were a part of the last game of the season. Anyway, you were here to support your team mates. You were on this field, if not in body, in spirit."
"Whatever." Chad laughed at his friend's sweet speech. "I guess things are just changing a bit faster than I can keep up with." Chad lowered himself to the ground and sat down. Troy joined him.
"Tell me about it."
The boys sat in silence, each thinking of their own situations.
"You know…" Troy nudged Chad. "It won't happen with basketball. I promise. If you're not better for the last game of the season… we'll hold our own charity game. Yeah?"
Chad laughed, and shook his head.
"It is not gonna come to that, man." Chad stood to his feet. "It's a week and a half away. I'll be fine."
"And you're gonna come and watch the game tomorrow?"
"I'll be up there next to Gabs. And maybe next week we can play some one-on-one. Help me get back into my rhythm?"