Title: Lightning Only Strikes Once
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters, names, places, anything from High School Musical or Disney. This story is copyright to the owner and may not be used without permission. I in no way affiliated with any of the High School Musical Cast, Disney, Kenny Ortega or Peter Barsocchini. I also don't own anything from Stephanie Meyer, or anything from the Twilight series. The quotes that appear before certain chapters belong to the movies, books, and people who spoke them. All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Note: Alright, I know what everyone's thinking right now "Oh damn it... she's back.". Well, as I knew what would happen, I couldn't last that long without posting. So anyways, thanks so much for at least taking time to read the first chapter. Forgetting to Love and Never Let Go were extremely dark, and it took a LOT out of me. I wanted to go back and do something just... fun again. This is just a story that's been circling my head for about a month and a half. Of course it will have drama it in, but there's not going to as heavy as NLG or FTL (I know a lot of people might be mad at me for that, but I really just want to do something extremely fun again). Thanks for understanding! :) This, unlike my past stories, is going to be mostly Gabriella centric. I'll have a couple times when I'll write through another character's perspective, but it will mostly be from Gabriella's. I know my first chapters are always boring, but thanks for sticking with me!
This story PARALLELS a lot of events and characters from Twilight. But I'm saying this now so there is no confusion, THIS IS NOT A CROSSOVER! So people who haven't read the books, don't worry about it! You really don't need to know anything to understand it, but you might miss little comments or parallels from the series. But don't worry, Troy is not going to suddenly have amber eyes and glisten in the sunlight. No one is going to turn into a vampire... (okay, a REAL vampire). Anyways, I know it's different then what I've written before, but thank you so much for giving this story a chance! I really hope I don't let anyone down. So just sit back, relax, and thanks for reading Lightning Only Strikes Once.
"It's not like love at first sight, really. It's more like… gravity moves. When you see her, suddenly it's not the earth holding you here anymore. She does. And nothing matters more than her. And you would do anything for her, be anything for her…"
- Jacob Black, Eclipse
There were only three words to describe being new. It sucked ass.
Not only did everyone stare at you like you were the curious frog they were dissecting in biology class, but they then decided to discuss that frog and point to the frog as though the frog had no idea they were talking about it. Of course, that was ridiculous. The frog was not stupid. It did have ears, no matter what they said. Being new was a horrid thing that most sane people avoided at all humanly costs. Especially right before starting the final year of high school.
In a town that was practically flooding in water every winter.
A pair of dark liquid topaz eyes stared hollowly out of the glossy window, listening to the heavy rain that patted lightly down on the strong hood of the black pick up truck. Somewhere off in the stormy sky, a rumble of thunder gave a soundtrack to the bumpy ride on the lone road. Her slender legs put gentle pressure against the dash board through her ripped jeans on the knee. The meager body covered in a jet black hooded sweatshirt attempted to relax while her long, midnight cascading waves danced around the middle of her back. The blemish free, olive toned skin radiated in the shadows of the truck.
The atmosphere was… wet. There was no other way to describe it. The rain outside gave a dreary outlook to the next year of her life. Glancing silently backwards, the teenager noted the secure ocean blue tarp covering her belongings as the pouring rain rushed to large puddle in the bed of the truck. Her flawless completion cringed at the thought of every item she owned coming out like it was thrown overboard in an ocean. Great, not only did she have to start a new school in two days, but she would look like she walked out of a fishbowl. Welcome to Crescent City, California.
"So your flight was good?" A deep, booming voice questioned as the seventeen year old ripped her eyes away from the storming sky to look at her father.
Gabriella Montez shrugged her boney shoulders before turning away from her father, Jose, once again. "Fine… minus the part that I hate planes."
Jose chucked the throaty laugh that Gabriella remembered so well. "You've always hated them, ever since you were five."
She shrugged loosely again before staring down at the black slim tennis shoes she was wearing. Jose's light skin that was a contrast to Gabriella's Filipino color, which she got from her energetic mother. It was one of the few things she actually gained from her. Unlike her outgoing mom, she hated uncomfortable moments. Small talk was never her forte. Especially in awkward situations where neither one really wanted to say anything. That was a trait she picked up from the jet black haired man sitting next to her.
For not living with him since she was seven when her parents were divorced, Gabriella was much more like her father than her mother. Maria Tyson was more of a best friend to Gabriella then she was a mother. The two living in Albuquerque made them a power family. Though the new home of her mother, LA, would mirror her character. The large city itself seemed to reflect Maria's personality. Bright, energetic, and busy. For years it had been just the two of them in New Mexico, taking on any challenge they were faced with head first. That was, until three years ago when she met her new husband David.
Gabriella liked him. She really did. He was a great guy but at first it was hard getting used to the complete change, having to share her mother, but she got over it. Now it was like David had always been part of the family. Though this year seemed to turn things around completely, for since he was in management for famous bands, his job abruptly switched this summer and he got a new one all the way in Los Angeles. Maria, being the caring mother she was, decided that LA was an awful place to go to school. So after calling her ex husband, which she was on relatively good terms with, Jose jumped at the chance to be able to spend time with his only daughter. Gabriella had no choice in the matter.
It wasn't that she didn't like her dad, that wasn't it at all. It was just, uncomfortable to be around him when she hadn't lived with him for so long. Though she made frequent visits to Crescent City up until she was twelve years old every summer, it still wasn't the same. As she had gotten older, the length of the trips was shortened, until age thirteen when she just didn't come at all. Of course, she called her father every once in awhile, but neither liked to talk on the phone at all.
"How's your mom?" Jose questioned hopefully, Gabriella well aware that on some level, he still loved her.
A small, lazy smile crossed her features as she unconsciously began to draw a heart on the icy window. "She's really good." The image of her mother's slender body pressed play in her head, causing Gabriella to see her poised figure. Her straight as a board black hair cut off at the shoulders and her flawless face almost mirrored Gabriella's identically. She didn't look like a mother, not really. It could have been because she and Gabriella's father decided to get married a year after graduating high school and had Gabriella a year later. They seemed to be young and stupid at the time, which might have drove them apart.
Another heavy silence filled the creaks of the tough as nails truck while they squished through the wet pavement. The nature swallowed them whole as the vegetation began to thicken. Gabriella knew that only meant they were getting closer to their destination, for the bright green trees began to grow so dense that Gabriella couldn't see the painted setting sun in the distance. She couldn't deny how beautiful it really was here, how almost mysterious it was.
As the trees became opaque, the gigantic houses that were brought in view. Large homes that seemed to take up more than two of the houses back in Albuquerque. Maybe not that large, but they were mansion worthy. Gabriella let her childhood memory wash through her brain like the pounding rain outside, thinking about how extravagant she remembered they were. And the tan house closing into view was no exception.
It was about five minutes off where all the other houses had started to form. This was set back, almost secluded from the rest of the town. The shutters were black, giving the old Victorian style such an appeal to the naked eye. A large, wrap around porch hugged the front door. Gabriella saw a hint of another black balcony from the side view of the house. It wasn't as big as the other houses she saw, but its elegance was so elite that the other newer houses were nothing compared to this.
"Home sweet home." Jose smiled as they pulled into the medium sized driveway. She noted the small, sleek green car stationed in a spot under the familiar willow tree she used to play on when she was little. The other car sitting there was somewhat rusty white small pick up truck that for some reason didn't look stable. Miniature weeds growing around it like it hadn't been driven in a few weeks, but it was a car, something she hadn't had in Albuquerque. That was all that mattered.
"Dad?" Her head perked up when she gazed upon the old vehicle. "You didn't buy me a car did you?"
Jose sleepily grinned before turning his head away embarrassed. "Not really. Do you remember Joe Shock?"
She searched her memory and suddenly found a tall man with a limp from being in the army and long black hair that was tied into a tight black ponytail match with the name. "Right… you're friend you always go hunting with right?"
He nodded his head. "Yeah… after he fixed the white one up a bit, he gave it to me, knowing that you were coming…"
The muddy truck parked just as Gabriella sighed deeply. Home for the next year of her life. It couldn't be that bad could it? Plus, a car that ran. Not the best looking at, but it still drove. "That's really sweet, thanks Dad."
She wasn't really sure if it was appropriate to hug him or not, so instead she just flashed him a bright smile. He seemed to except that well. "No problem kid."
Gabriella took in a deep breath and then jumped out of the car, careful not to get her black flat tennis shoes soaked in mud. Together, they managed to pull the tarp off and gather every bit of the items she brought before sprinting to the dry house. Gabriella giggled the laugh that made her famous at her now soaked locks. She inhaled the moist earth before Jose jiggled with the keys and finally let the door swing open to her childhood.
Before she could even walk through the door, she was almost blown backwards by a force of a tornado. "You're back!" The intelligent voice chimed against her shoulder. Her stomach flipped as she recognized the sound, and then pulled the seventeen year old girl into a tighter embrace, if that was even possible.
"TAY!" Gabriella exclaimed enthusiastically before her grin radiated from her face.
Taylor McKessie pulled away from her with her bright white smile beaming. Her midnight hair fell just above her muscular shoulders in a straight bob. The chocolate paint of her skin fell over her defined arms smoothly. Her eyes were black to match her hair, and her bottom lip was slightly puffier than normal. She had a shocking look of excitement on her soft face. "Five years and you don't visit once?" Taylor shook her head at Gabriella who blushed embarrassedly.
Taylor was her best and only friend she could remember in Crescent City ever since she was eight years old. They had stayed in contact through email and on the phone; she talked to her around every two weeks. "Well… I'm staying now."
"Which you better!" Taylor hugged Gabriella tightly again. If it wasn't just her looks that made her stunning, from what Gabriella heard, Taylor was ranked first in the class of 200 so far. For the small town of 4,000, other tiny towns around seemed to go to the same school, East High. "I missed you so much!"
"Missed you too Tay." Gabriella responded before they both broke apart and she reached down to grab her condensed bag again.
"Here, Mr. Montez I'll take that," Taylor reached politely for the large black duffel bag which Jose gave to her willingly. "I'll help you take this to your room."
Gabriella smiled coyly again. "Thanks Tay."
"So… how was the flight?" She questioned as they walked into the breath taking house.
It was airy, with light peppered colored carpet on the floor of the living room to the left of the grand stair case in front of the door. It stopped at a landing and then turned left to make it to the second floor. The family room was around the corner to the right, with a large plasma screen TV stationed on the wall. The kitchen that was covered in light wood and brown granite was a step up from the family room but separated by a fence that would come up to a little higher than Gabriella's waist. She always had to admit, the house seemed like a castle to her. For a man, her father really did know how to decorate. It probably helped that her mother was an interior designer. It must have rubbed off somehow.
"Alright I guess. Maria was sobbing her eyes out though." Gabriella shrugged carelessly as she walked down the narrow sandy colored hallway before stopping in front of the door she remembered belonged to her. After inhaling deeply, she pushed the door open to reveal the same clay like colored walls and wooden floor. Her bed was a beige color with black outlined pillows and a jet back flat screen computer was sitting on a glass desk in the corner. It was huge, much larger than her room in Albuquerque. Two glass doors held the balcony that was being pelted with rain outside.
"I bet. You two have been inseparable," Taylor pointed out before dropping her black bag carelessly to the floor. She had no idea why she called her mother and father by their first names, habit maybe? Of course never to their faces, but when with friends. "You ready for Monday?"
Gabriella groaned annoyingly before dropping her own bag. "Can't I just graduate now? I have enough credits!"
She did. Much like Taylor, she was ranked third in her class back in Albuquerque, being beat by the president of the chess club and a girl whose face she had never seen since it was in a book everyday. "No, because I've been waiting for you to move here forever. You'll love East High, you like school remember?"
Gabriella nodded and lifted her light head up to let her long locks drape over her bony shoulder. "It's not the school I don't want to go to. It's the whole 'staring at the new girl' thing." She wasn't shy once you got to know her, but that was the key. You had to first meet her, where then she never knew what to say.
"Everyone will love you okay? Just stick with me alright?" Taylor smiled brightly as she brushed a tiny bit of hair out of Gabriella's pouting face.
"Promise?" Gabriella questioned like a four year old.
"And welcome to East High Miss. Montez."
She was getting extremely annoyed with that line.
After smiling politely, Gabriella scrunched down her seat further to hide from the curious eyes she knew were on her. Three hours and the teachers had all acted the same. They introduced themselves, and then welcomed her, and Gabriella sat bored through the rest of the class. Calculus was no different, especially with the teacher that had a shining bald head with a ring of gray hair beneath his ears. She almost regurgitated at the sight of the sick stringy gray strands that stuck out of his lobes.
If she didn't look at the other students, she could then pretend that they weren't looking at her. Taylor was wrong; everyone was staring at her like she was from some other planet. Maybe she was. The only thing she knew was that the only people she actually talked to today were all over the age of twenty-seven, minus Taylor whom she had seen briefly before school started.
This class was just a boring as the others were, for since she only came to East High a week after classes resumed from summer vacation, the teachers still seemed to be in lazy review mode. The school was large, but still slightly smaller than her last one, and was practically draped in red and white. Spirit was definitely important at East High, Gabriella could tell already. More than at her last high school. She had barely looked up all day, so she had no idea if the students were nice. All she knew was that the whispering that echoed through the small classroom was only about one person. And she was sitting in a teal colored knit that clung to her thin frame tightly with a smoky grey long beater revealed in the V neck shirt and light washed jeans.
Her silver ballet flats tapped impatiently against the hard ground as she continued to stare off into an empty space of nothing. Her long, silky black hair had large waves fell over her chest as she did her best not to raise her dark chocolate eyes. It was difficult when she could feel the twenty eight other pairs drilling holes into her small body. It was a complete change from her other school though. The one where she seemed to be invisible.
Well, not invisible. Invisible would be a bad word. She was just… there. The past three years of high school had been fairly plain and boring. She had her group of friends and was invited to parties when large groups were invited. Gabriella danced around the edges of the popular group at her last school. She was friends with all of them, which was around forty people in the "group", but on weekends she really wasn't invited out to hang out with anyone else. She stayed in at night unless she went to one other person's house or someone else slept over at hers or there was a large party where all forty people were invited, which only happened for an occasion like Halloween, start of summer, birthdays, or Christmas. Other than that, though, she was just there.
After what felt like four hours, the bell finally rang through the school and droned the old man's voice into nothing. Gabriella leapt from her seat in surprise since she was lost in her own swimming thoughts. Her swift hands clumsily collected her books before realizing that practically everyone had already exited the class. With a defeated sigh, Gabriella scurried out of the classroom, only to take a sharp turn to the left and crashed violently into a hard chest. She expected to fall and land on harshly on her butt, but instead felt a burning hand grasp her elbow to steady her.
"Whoa!" A deep voice called out just as Gabriella almost received whiplash as the person brought her to her feet. The hot hand seemed to smolder her smooth skin.
"Oh!" she let slip as her ballet flats slid beneath her. "Oh my gosh I'm so sorry!" Gabriella quickly apologized before feeling her face flush in a crimson red that matched the nearby lockers.
The tenor voice chuckled lightly, continuing to hang onto her as though she might tumble and fall again. His hand was bubbling her skin; she had never felt a touch so hot before. It was comfortable which caused her dark eyes to raise and meet an eager visage. His tan face was long and grinning, happiness bouncing through his features perfectly that made her question why someone this attractive was looking at her. He towered over her by at least a head and a half, his muscular arms forming as he cautiously gripped her slender arm. "Walk often?" The guy joked lightly in a rough tone that could have made any girl drop to her knees, but Gabriella just found it slightly amusing.
Gabriella blushed the color of a red delicious apple again before letting her black ripples shield her eye protectively for a moment. Her clumsiness was always an embarrassment to her. "I'm so sorry." He was cute in an obvious way; there was absolutely no denying that. So why was this mystery guy talking to her?
His dark brown eyes sparkled as he gazed upon her. They were almost as deep as her color, but seemed to be a slight shade lighter than her mocha. The dark coffee hair was cut close against his hair in a jock style. Everything about him seemed dark, tall and handsome. His arms were long with toned muscles that didn't bulge, but they were lengthy to match his calves as well, for she could see them since he was wearing brown shorts and a green shirt to match that much reminded Gabriella of the vegetation outside.
"Don't worry about it Gabriella." The guy shrugged, before he slowly let go of her hand, a whips of icy air tickling where his scorching skin just was. He knew her name?
"Err…" Gabriella stuttered awkwardly as they began to mix into the flow river of students all marching in the same direction. "How…?"
"You don't remember me do you?" The striking figure asked as Gabriella bashfully shook her head, her curls bouncing fluidly as she did. He chortled throatily before giving her a crooked grin.
She was taken aback by this question. Should she? "Ummm… I…"
"I figured you wouldn't," he assumed playfully before turning his melting brown orbs to her. "I'm Eric. Eric Shock. My dad's friends with your dad."
Shock. Joe Shock. The guy who worked on her car and whom she had fond memories of. Oh yeah! How could she not see it before? The black hair that reflected his Native American culture. Of course. She had spent a summer or two with him while she was younger. How could she forget him? Eric smirked happily as the realization twinkled in her eyes. "Right! I'm sorry, I just…"
"Forgot?" he mused jokingly, causing Gabriella to move her gaze embarrassed. "You really say sorry too much."
Gabriella bit her bottom tender lip. "Sorry," Eric glared at her teasingly. "I do remember you though… you had longer hair."
He nodded smirking. "Yeah, the ponytail really wasn't working for me anymore. So where you headed off to?"
Her tiny arms hugged the cumbersome books her the swell of her chest tighter. Why did she have to be so shy when first meeting people? Here was this nice guy who she had actually talked to before she arrived here, trying to strike up a conversation and she couldn't form English words. They arrived at her bright snow white colored locker before reaching her tiny hand out towards the lock. It took a moment before the numbers flooded back to her head. 14, 28, 2. "Um…" Gabriella pulled out the tiny piece of paper with all her classes marked down on them. "Loonch. Oh! I mean lunch."
"Can't read or walk huh?" Eric questioned bemusedly.
"Gabs!" Another voice bounced off her eardrums as Taylor bounded towards Gabriella from the sea of students. "How's your first day, honey?" She asked curiously before giving her a small hug.
"Okay." Gabriella mumbled softly before glancing back at Eric.
"Eric! You found Gabriella!" Taylor eyed him carefully. Obviously the two had talked about her return.
"Yeah… she was just in the calculus class across the hall from my stats class," Eric shrugged his flat shoulders lazily. The warning bell to the next class rang as he gave a sparkling smile towards the two girls. "And that's my cue. I'll see ya later Gabriella… later Tay!" He waved a large hand before turning on his heels in the opposite direction.
Gabriella watched his retreating figure. Eric Shock: Super friendly. She was going to have to remember that. "His dad told him you were coming back. He asked me about it last week."
Gabriella turned back to Taylor and grabbed her brown smooth paper bag from the top of her locker, reaching on her tiptoes to grasp it. "I vaguely remember him."
Taylor smiled as the final bell rang, making Gabriella close her locker and walk side by side towards the cafeteria. "He's Quarterback for the football team. Super funny, and hot. Obviously. Girls would kill to have him as their boyfriend."
Gabriella raised a black eyebrow. "Player?"
Taylor shook her head with a warm smile. "A flirt is a better word. Only had one girlfriend for about two months like sophomore year. He's great, but sometimes a bit cocky."
They turned a corner to stare at the four large doors that stood open into a busily almost New York City type of noise. Gabriella's figure shrank slowly, not wanting to draw any more attention to herself as they walked carefully towards the lunch room. Taylor saw her nervous figure before grinning brightly again. "You ready?"
She bit her glossed bottom lip and nodded shyly, just before timidly stepping through the red threshold into the jungle of East High's cafeteria.
Gravity was about to shatter beneath her feet.