Disclaimer: I do not own, nor am I in any way associated with, HSM.
Kelsi sat at the piano, sighing over the pieces she'd been given for the Ladies' Tea that afternoon. It wasn't that she disliked classical music, but not even Beethoven would have listened to this.
Someone stomped in from the kitchens and collapsed into one of the plush chairs.
"Something wrong?" Kelsi asked, not bothering to look up to see who it was. The wildcats were all pretty prone to emotional upheavals.
"Like you don't know," Zeke muttered. His tone made Kelsi curious, and a bit defensive. She bent over to see him around the piano.
"What was that?"
Zeke rested his elbows on his knees and bent forward to glare at her. "Like. You. Don't. Know," he ground out.
Something about the way he said it rubbed her the wrong way and Kelsi slammed her hands down on the keys, startling Zeke into a more healthy posture. "What is wrong with you?" she demanded.
"Sharpay didn't call."
Kelsi's tension eased a bit and was replaced by sympathy. The basketball team didn't have much tolerance for Zeke's infatuation but Kelsi had always been a romantic at heart. If Zeke needed a sympathetic ear, he could always come to her.
"Was she supposed to?" she asked.
Zeke ran a hand over his close-cut hair. "Well … not exactly. Her friends have standing manicure appointments every Friday at three and Sharpay watches movies while they're gone. A few weeks ago she called down to the kitchens for a chocolate soufflé and chef had me deliver it." He looked up at her and she was reminded of a sad puppy. She nodded encouragingly and he continued. "She let me stay and watch Clueless with her, even let me eat some of her soufflé. And then she did it again the next week and the next and …" He shrugged.
"You have a standing date," Kelsi said.
"I'm sure something just came up. Sharpay has a very active social life."
Zeke slouched in the chair, looking the very picture of teenage heartache. Kelsi couldn't stand it. She quickly started playing "Oh, Susanna." It wasn't the hippest of tunes, but Zeke didn't need hip right now, he needed the musical equivalent of comfort food. After "Oh, Susanna" she segued into "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah," and finished with a greatly stylized version of "Old McDonald." By the end Zeke was smiling and even singing a bit.
"Thanks," he said, "I needed that." He shoved his hat back on and headed for the door.
"No problem," she laughed gathering her song sheets. The Tea would start soon. "Hey, why did you think I would know?"
Zeke's hand froze over the door handle and he turned slowly. "You don't know."
"Well, I do now, you just told me."
He shook his head. "No, you don't know about …" He motioned vaguely about the room for a moment as if that would somehow enlighten her. "Man," he said, dropping his arm to his side, "you really don't know."
"Are you going to tell me?"
"No," he said, eyes going wide, "not a chance."
"Come on!" she cried, chasing him into the kitchens.
Zeke gently placed the sheet of cookies on the middle rack of the oven and slowly closed the door. In thirteen minutes Sharpay's favorite cookies would come out to cool, five minutes after that Sharpay would come out of her dressing room to head for home, and two minutes after that she would find Zeke waiting beside her car with a plate of heaven in his hands. All he had to do now was wait.
The door to the Home Economics room slammed open and Zeke jumped in shock.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Kelsi asked, taking a seat on the counter between the sinks.
"What?" Zeke asked in confusion. He was used to girls being weird, he was semi-dating Sharpay after all, but Kelsi wasn't usually this hard to understand. She gave him a hard look and gestured vaguely around the room. Zeke leaned back against the oven beside his own and crossed his arms.
"The girls all thought you already knew."
"How was I supposed to know?" Kelsi whined. "We work together. I write the songs, he sings them. It's simple and it works and how was I supposed to know there was any more?"
Zeke shrugged. "I knew."
Kelsi rolled her eyes. "You knew the minute you saw Sharpay. I remember. You almost got hit by a bus because you were so out of it."
Zeke smiled, his eyes going slightly hazy. "That was a good day." He shook himself a moment later and met Kelsi's annoyed gaze. "Listen, I'm sorry, okay. But what does it matter? You figured it out eventually."
"Yeah, about two seconds after he asked me to Prom!"
"He asked you to Prom?" Zeke demanded. "Go, Evans," he muttered. Seeing the look on her face he quickly stopped smiling. "So, what's the problem?"
"How come everyone else knew except me?"
Zeke looked at anything but her. He wasn't good at relationships, the only one he'd been in was with Sharpay and that was a train wreck that was hit by a nuclear bomb and sprinkled with daisies. Finally, he saw the answer to Kelsi's question, the answer to all questions, at least where girls were concerned.
"Do you want to lick the bowl?" he asked, holding up the chocolate stained dish and spoon.