Disclaimer: I do not own, nor am I associated with, HSM.
They had gone out late in the afternoon on the pretense of one last round of golf, but they hadn't even made it through the first three tees. Now they just sat in the back of the golf cart, watching the sky fade to black and the stars come out.
Sharpay was leaning sideways in the seat, uncharacteristically solemn, Ryan sitting beside her. Her hand reached for his on the seat and he took it without comment.
"You're gonna love U of A," he said after several long minutes.
A small smile tugged at her mouth but it didn't reach her eyes.
"Chad's happy that you're going there, you know. At least there's one of the old gang still around."
Her head dropped forward a bit and he held back a sigh.
"And don't think I've missed hearing all of Darbus's plans for next year," he tried and squeezed her hand. "I don't know how she'd manage if you weren't staying."
Her only response to this was her hand tightening in his, gripping so hard it hurt.
He wanted to yell, to shake her and remind her that he was leaving in the morning! How could she just sit there when there was so much they still needed to say? They weren't going to be the Evans Twins anymore, they were just going to be themselves, separate and apart, and that scared him more than anything.
"You're not the only one hurting," he said finally, careful to keep his voice low, his tone soft.
If he thought the grip she had on his hand was strong before, it was nothing to what it became.
"You're going to be great," she said, still not looking at him, keeping her eyes on that distant horizon that would swallow him up come morning.
"Don't forget to call Mom -- a lot. She's gonna miss you. And Dad too, even though he tries to hide it."
Ryan smiled. "I know. And I will."
"And the Wildcats. They may all be peppy dorks, but they're our --" her voice broke -- "they're … they …"
He wrapped his arms around her and her head fell onto his shoulder.
"You're gonna be really great," she repeated.
"So will you," he said. "We're twins remember? The world can't love one of us without loving the other."
She squeezed him close before standing so quickly that he almost fell out of the cart. She smoothed her skirt and wiped quickly at her eyes.
"And you be nice to Kelsi," she added, taking her seat at the wheel, "she's the best composer you'll ever get and I don't want you breaking her heart."
"Good." She turned back over the seat to smile at him. "Now we'd better hurry back. Boi is gonna miss you most of all."
"Right back at him," Ryan said.