"If I'm gonna have a last dance at East High, it's gonna be with you."

-Troy Bolton, High School Musical 3

"I'm really… REALLY sorry about the headboard, Mom."

Gabriella listened to the beautiful sound of Maria giggling besides her as they continued to sit on the beach aimlessly, eyes staring out into the easy current of the soft blue Pacific that reminded her of Troy's perfectly cerulean eyes. The air was calm, with a gentle breeze pushing against them and the gentle crash of the waves matching the slightly solemn mood. She glanced at her smiling mother before Maria's slim arm wrapped around her dainty shoulder.

"That's alright sweetheart," she kissed her black curly locks before gazing off into the large paint of orange and yellows that made up the beautiful sunset. It was bitter sweet, really. Troy and Gabriella would be leaving LA the next morning. She was excited to see her friends, especially Eric and Sharpay together as an official couple and her father as well. She couldn't deny that she missed him, even though she had spent half her life without him being around. She really couldn't wait to get back to Crescent City and see him. "That headboard was way too thin anyways. I should have known you'd break it with your reputation."

Or Troy's apparent strength.

Gabriella grinned distantly with her olive skin radiating like the setting sun. She still had the "after glow" sex over her body, even if had been almost nineteen hours since she and Troy made love together. It was still unreal, and Gabriella felt as though she was… different now. Not in a huge way like she had transformed into someone different, but she just felt… connected. She felt as though she and Troy were as one now, not two separate people.

"Thanks for letting us stay here." Gabriella leaned her heavy head against her mother's shoulder, remembering the feel of waking up nude in Troy's strong arms, never wanting to be let go of.

Maria glanced at her daughter, bringing her tighter to her thin body. "Sweetie, I missed you. You two can stay here anytime you want. David's probably gonna miss having a guy in the house."

Gabriella glanced down at her slim Puma sneakers that matched her black gym shorts and red "Wildcats" long sleeve. "He loves him doesn't?" Gabriella giggled softly before Maria matched her tiny laugh.

"I'm probably gonna hear about how much he misses him for weeks. Not that I'll mind," Maria added quickly at the end, Gabriella feeling her slim finger begin to doodle randomly on the grainy surface of the beach. David and Troy were playing basketball at the gym and Maria and Gabriella had decided to bond at the beach for the final evening. "I'm gonna miss him just as much. He's a good guy Gabriella."

She smiled lazily again, almost able to feel the cool brisk of his skin over hers, even if they weren't around each other. "I'm lucky to have found him." She replies coyly as Maria gives her another squeeze.

"And he's just as lucky to have found you." Her mother reminded as Gabriella's mocha eyes rolled obnoxiously.

"You have to say that, you're my mother." Gabriella pointed out before Maria looked at her with sparkling eyes that matched her own.

"Well… just promise me that you'll come visit or let me come visit you in college before you and Troy get married alright?" She nudged her breakable shoulder which made Gabriella beam happily at her mother. She couldn't lie and say that she hadn't daydreamed about walking down the aisle with Troy at the end and her father handing her off. But they were seventeen years old, they weren't going to be irrational and get married right after high school. If they were together though, she couldn't help but feel shivers, it was a dream she would have definitely wanted to come true.

But if there was something she had realized within these last months with Troy, it was that sometimes, reality could be much better than dreams. Last night she could say that she didn't dream at all, and it didn't phase her that she didn't attend that gorgeous fantasy lake. Her first time with Troy was better than anything she could have created in her mind.

"I promise. And you still have to come up for graduation!" Gabriella reminded her mother before feeling something come to life at her side. An immediate smile crossed her perfectly smooth visage as she gripped it, Gabriella grinning knowingly at her.

Come back to the house. I miss you. :(

She couldn't help the ruby flush that flooded her cheeks just imaging her boyfriend sweaty and about to hop into the cool shower. It was probably good that they were spending a couple hours apart, because ever since they had gotten up this morning, it was as though they had moved together. Troy hadn't let her out of his sight unless it was in the bathroom. Not that anything else had happened since the union, but just being around each other seemed to be enough now.

"You know, it's like you were made for each other." Maria complimented sweetly. It was nice to have a mother who was more like her best friend; it reminded her how much she missed her. Slowly, she stood up, Gabriella's cue to rise as well, but instead of making it to a total stance, she stumbled slightly and fell backwards onto her but, causing rounds of hysterics to come out of both of their throats in harmony.

"Ugh… I need to learn how to stay up right." She practically sung while still giggling as her mother finally managed to get the youngest to her feet.

"But that's what makes you my Ella," she kissed her forehead in a protective way. "And I don't want you to ever change."

Gabriella glanced out to see that there was only a sliver of sun left. She had changed though. Much more than many could have imagined. But she changed for the better. She wasn't the innocent little girl she once was. She was human, a teenager who had desires and needs that needed to be taken care of. Her values were still intact. Not once had she drank or done drugs since moving, but she had given herself fully to the guy she loved.

And you know what? She had never been happier.

"I'm just growing up." Gabriella sighed contently before slithering her meager arms around her mother's comforting neck, feeling her support system hold her tightly.

"You'll still always be my little clumsy baby girl." She whispered like a proud parent would, Gabriella grinning brightly before feeling a tiny tear trickle in her eye at the thought of being away from this incredible woman again.

"And you'll always be my insane mom who's my best friend."

Maria laughed airily before smirking at her only child. "You got that right."

"You know, I thought I told you that you could only come home if you brought the good weather with you." The large man stationed on the couch commented with an amused chuckle on his pale face. Jose took a swig of his almost empty Coke before setting it back down on the coffee table, placing his feet up and stretching out, clearly enjoying the moment with his daughter.

"I tried Dad…" Gabriella giggled her sweet honey laugh as she set down a shiny silver bowl of fluffy white popcorn down in front of him and joined him on the couch, turning towards the illuminating TV. Her mocha eyes then turned curiously to the threatening sky outside. She heard a rumble of angry thunder shake the large white house. "Are you sure you don't want me to stay home with you tonight?"

The two love birds had arrived back in Crescent City a little over twenty-four hours ago. Already, Gabriella missed him terribly. She missed waking up and knowing that Troy was in the other room already eating breakfast, or being able to eat dinner with him every night. Though Troy had the perfect opportunity to come through her balcony last night, he told her on the phone this morning he wanted to spend time with Jack and Lucille, whom were ecstatic both had such a fantastic time. Now, she was just fifteen minutes away from heading over to Taylor's with the gang to welcome Troy and Gabriella home.

"You kidding? We spent all day together Els! You deserve to have a night with your friends," Jose smirked with his tight black mustache hugging his bottom lip. "Besides, Joe and I are headed over to Moe's tonight."

"Make sure you drive responsibly Dad." Gabriella scolded jokingly at the fact that her father was going to a bar with Eric's dad.

"Always do." Jose chuckled before shoving a handful of the buttery and delicious popcorn into his large mouth.

Suddenly, her butt began to rapidly vibrate, making her brown eyes light up with delight. Jose's dark eyes rolled before Gabriella slid her sleek phone open, excitement glittering over her delighted visage. "What?" She asked innocently as Jose shook his large head.

"You spend the entire week with him and you still can't have five minutes alone?" Jose teased.

Gabriella smirked triumphantly. "It's Eric, Dad… he's excited to see me."

"Oh!" Jose embarrassedly responded before popping more of the food into his mouth. "Well, tell him I said hey then. I heard he's got a girl now."

Gabriella shrugged her thin shoulders, though her insides were glowing with an almost pride. She couldn't be more than happy for Sharpay and Eric, since it had been going on for so long that they had been dancing around each other. Now it was almost exciting to see how they would act together. "Yep, Sharpay."

"The Evans girl?" Jose raised a suspicious eyebrow.

"Yep. He's got a lot to handle." Gabriella giggled her honey laugh again before glancing at the clock. Her boyfriend would be here any minute.

"Well, I'm sure you'll have fun. Just don't stay out too late alright?" Jose warned carefully as Gabriella nodded, before looking down at her slim hands.

When she first moved to the wet town, she was insanely nervous about being with her father whom she never really talked to that much. But as she looked back up at beaming Jose with his soda in one hand and popcorn in his lap, she wouldn't have had it any other way. They had become closer than she had ever imagined, and was so thankful for that as well. He was a great guy, father, and friend.

"Hey Dad?" Gabriella called to him while standing up from the squishy couch slowly. Jose glanced at her curiously.

"What's up?"

She bit her puffy bottom lip before giving him a gracious smile. "Thank you. For letting me move in with you, and for everything."

In the moment, Jose's dark eyes lit up like the LA sun. He immediately jumped to his feet, towering over her as his strong and protective arms engulfed her in a father daughter hug that made Gabriella's rapidly beating heart swell. She snuggled into his warm chest, again thankful for taking her in. "I wouldn't have it any other way.

They let go of each other and Jose gently kissed her forehead, just the way a proud father would. She gave him a watery smile just before the sound of the doorbell echoed through the large house, making his brown eyes dance with delight at who was on the other side. "Get out of here, alright?"

Gabriella nodded eagerly before giving her dad one more squeeze, then dashing towards the kitchen to grab her purse in her black track jacket and tight green graphic tee. "Love you Dad!" She raced to the front door, only to slip on her slim black sneakers and listening to her father's deep chuckle.

"Love you too Ella!" She heard just before grabbing the cool handle of the door and ripping it open, to be exposed to the love of her life on the other side with a bright smile beaming off his radiant bright white teeth.

"Hey!" Gabriella asked while jumping into his muscular arms that were surrounded by his navy blue long sleeved shirt. Troy chuckled softly as he pulled her tightly to him, letting her inhale that intoxicating scent she loved so much. Another roll of thunder vibrating so much it almost knocked her off her small feet.

"I missed you." He whispered adoringly before pulling her to him, letting her view his sparkling blue eyes and his lips leaning towards her for an earth defying kiss.

Even after having sex, kisses like these still made Gabriella's toes curl. She cupped her smooth hand on the side of his bronze neck, feeling his thumbs begin to draw circles over her lower back just before he broke apart from her eager grasp. Gabriella smiled lovingly back before Troy's cool nose nuzzled her own. "I missed you too."

With that, Troy wrapped his frigid arm around her thin shoulder and let her out towards the awaiting sleek Audi. Her mocha eyes glanced up at the sky at the sound of another bang of thunder, but the rain and lightning refused to reveal themselves. Gabriella then glanced over to the beaten up chucky trunk hidden behind the lush tree, and back at the bright white house where he life for this senior year had been.

A life that she wouldn't have traded for the world.

"You're home! You're home! You're home!" The gigantic football captain sung annoyingly while jumping excitedly up and down in Taylor's neatly decorated living room. Gabriella's brown eyes almost popped out of her head as Eric squeezed her petite frame even tighter, causing oxygen to be insanely limited.

"I know! I've been in the same goddamn room with you for two hours! Would you fucking let me go?" Gabriella ranted with amusement threaded into her honey voice, but that seemed to only cause Eric to grip her even tighter to his hard body.

"No! Damn it I missed you Ella!" He chimed before leaping up and down again, bringing Gabriella with him. Man, he was worse than Maggie was and she was five!

"Shock, dude let her go before she dies." Chad chuckled amusedly while sitting lazily on his girlfriend's couch with a lazy arm draped over her shoulder.

The small party was just perfect for Gabriella. There were bright yellow and blue streamers and white cups that had "Happy Birthday" written across them. Well, it was no one's birthday, but Gabriella couldn't deny that she appreciated the effort. All of her best friends had shown up, Kelsi, Taylor, Chad, Jason, Eric, Sharpay and Zeke were all there. Zeke also brought a pretty dark skinned girl with luscious chocolate hair that he at his work about a week ago. Gabriella smiled softly at the two who were chatting quietly in the corner about baking. Of course, he was still sneaking jealous glances at the clay skinned boy who just let go of Gabriella, but at least he was making an effort to move onto the new friend in his life, Michelle.

The storm outside pounded against the windows, illuminating the room even more than the original bright lights gave off.

"He hasn't fucking shut up about you coming back for the past two days." Sharpay, in her sparkling lime green halter that showed off her toothpick shoulders and the denim mini skirt. Her legs looked miles long in her white stilettos that began to tap impatiently. Eric obnoxiously rolled his light brown eyes while glaring angrily at her.

"You're just pissed that I wouldn't buy that stupid bear for you last night." Eric hissed at her which made her own eyes narrow into blackness.

"You PROMISED me you'd get it for me!" Sharpay complained.

"No…I said I'd get you that fucking ice cream. You're so damn selfish!" Okay, so apparently even though they were dating, they wouldn't stop arguing either. Chad and Taylor rolled their eyes at the angered couple, and Gabriella was just about to butt in but instead she felt two strong muscles grip around her body tightly. Her heart raced as hot electrical waves raged through her body.

"I swear you guys look like idiots." Troy chuckled huskily while holding a glass of peach colored lemonade in front of Gabriella's slim stomach. She immediately gripped Troy's icy hand and took the glass, interlocking their fingers that fit perfectly for each other.

"Shut the fuck up Bolton!" The both screeched at the same time, almost making Gabriella choke on her sweet lemonade. Well, they had one thing in common, they both snapped at Troy easily.

Gabriella giggled honey as she spun around in his arms, smacking his cold lips with her own that made his bronze face radiate and his sparkling blue eyes shine adoringly down upon her. "At least someone loves me." He mumbled sexily against her lips before leaning in for the kill again.

"That I do…" She whispered teasingly back before Troy let his two pieces of flesh send sparks through her nerves again.

"Ugh… do we seriously have to compete with that?" Sharpay complained, making the couple lost in their own little world turn slowly around to see the blonde grab Eric's long neck and slam her over glossed lips against his. All other pairs of eyes in the room rolled and Gabriella snuck a glance to see that Zeke was attempting not to look at them, instead focusing his full attention on Michelle. She gave him a lot of credit for trying.

"Gabriella and Troy could make a fairytale; you two would just make a porn movie." Taylor snapped, causing the new couple to finally pull away from each other and glare at the valedictorian.

"Fuck you," Eric mumbled before Gabriella laughed lightly again, feeling Troy's lips connect with the knot of her black hair. "We're not the ones screwing like rabbits now!"

Troy took his empty cup lying in his brisk hand and chucked it playfully at the taunting football captain, hitting him square in the protruding chest. "Dude… you've got to work on receiving." He mocked jokingly as Eric sent daggers into Troy's ceruleans. Even though both were kidding around, Gabriella knew they would never fully be friends again. But hey, at least they were being civil and joking. She knew it was for her though.

She had her best friend on the right side of her, beaming brightly at his new found girlfriend. She couldn't ask for a better companion in her life. Though Eric had not always been giving, she knew that without him, she would be no where. She was so thankful to have someone like him, to be able to lean on. He grinned at her eagerly, lowering his chocolate eye in a wink that made Gabriella smile like the sun. He may be an ass, but he was her best friend. Always.

"Fuck off man." Eric grumbled, just before the storm outside thundered, the rain pelting against the thick window glass. The lights flickered, causing Gabriella, Kelsi, and Michelle to gasp in surprise. Troy pulled her closer protectively, being her "knight and shining armor".

"It's really raining out." Kelsi commented, scooting ever so slightly closer to Jason.

Troy's glistening eyes glanced to the window, before a devious smirk crossed his beautiful face. Uh oh, that smile was never anything innocent. "Hey… do you trust me?" He turned to her, beaming like a little kid on Christmas.

Gabriella narrowed her black brow. What was he up to? "Umm… if I say yes will I regret it later?"

Troy chuckled heartedly before rubbing his cool thumbs on the long-sleeved shirt she was wearing. "Probably…" he muttered before kissing her warm forehead lovingly, then turning back to the rest of the party, staring curiously at the giddy couple. "We'll be right back."

With that, Troy's hand laced with hers reflexively as they practically skipped across the warm living room, all eyes on them. He slowly opened the large door, the crash of thunder almost tipping the house over as a rush of icy wind blew into the entry way. Taylor's eyes enlarged as she jumped to her feet fearfully. "Where they hell are you going?"

Sharpay's model worthy eyes rolled as she flung her hand pitifully. "You and your damn lightning Bolton."

Gabriella's swelling heart stopped beating as her mocha eyes turned into the size of two huge moons. Was he insane? She stared fearfully out into the frigid storm. The wind was at a minimal, but the sky illuminated sensually with the perfect dance of electricity. As Troy pulled her onto the dark porch, her olive face radiated the awesome power of the storm. The creaky door slammed shut behind them, leaving the only sound of symphony of the heavens over power her.

It was magical.

"Come on…" Troy's velvet like voice coaxed just before he took a defining step forward, carrying her delicate palm.

He let go gingerly, keeping his ocean blue eyes on hers as he gracefully stepped backwards on the slippery stairs. Immediately entering the sheets of hammering rain. The god like figure became soaked, instantaneously. His normally sandy brown silky hair transformed into black pieces, his tan skin collecting the sexual water droplets and landed gracefully onto his long eyelashes. Even through the chilled air, the heat between them was escalating as his perfect cobalt orbs remained on her glistening coffee colored eyes.

It was just like the first time they ever spoke to each other in the rain when her truck broke down. And nothing had changed; she still wasn't able to breathe around her dream guy.

A crash of blue lightning from above, radiating the love beam between their earth defying gaze.

And that was it. Gabriella charged towards him, completely forgetting anything and everything else. Not the curious teenagers in the window, or the lush green vegetation around them. Especially not the slippery surface of the wood that she had fallen on so many months before when chasing this same love after a panty raid. Of course, her tiny feet slipped and she violently smashed into his soaked stone chest.

"Shit! Can I ever get it right?" She groaned, yet still giggling as Troy slipped his strong hands below her tight jeans, letting her lengthy legs wrap around his rock of a torso. The concrete like rain smashed against her porcelain face harshly, but it didn't matter. Her tight midnight curls became soaked instantly, but she didn't care.

Troy laughed loudly, over the pounding of the heavens above. Their soggy clothes mashed together as he fluidly spun her in the slimy grass. "I love you're clumsiness. Just like I love you."

Gabriella beamed while leaning her body back, catching the waves of thunder and frozen water droplets in her mouth while Troy continued to twirl her. Finally, he let her skim body wiggle down his, keeping her slender arms around his frozen neck, lacing her smooth hands into his drenched hair. "Love you too."

She had moved to Crescent City never expecting to find love.

Well, she found more than that. She found herself.

Troy's dazzling white smile lit up the sky brighter than the crackling lightning. His beautiful head leaned towards her, lingering inches away from her slick lips. His raging blue sapphires locked with her dark chocolate orbs, love, lust, and everything in between shooting through her sensitive nerve endings. Everything she had every wanted, dreamt of, fantasized about was in her palms.

Reality was so much better then fantasy.

"I'm always there to catch you baby, always." He promised before their lips met each other in a knee crashing kiss that overcame the magnificent storm above them.

A crack of electrifying beautiful fire bolts illuminated the sky just above the blissful couple, lost in each other, and only each other.

Love hits like lightning, and for Gabriella Montez, it would never strike anywhere else but in Troy Bolton's arms.

A/N: Thank you a zillion times over for everyone who stayed loyal through this entire story. THANK YOU! I especially want to thank the non Twilight fans who still gave this a chance even though you're not fans. And of course the Twilight fans too who put up with my references. This story was insanely fun to write, and very up beat. It was a good break after writing a heavy story like Forgetting to Love, so I'm glad that people enjoyed it. It was a different tone than I am used to, and I think it was beneficial as a writer to try different genres. It made me realize that I'm never going to make everyone happy, because a lot of people like lots of fluff and a lot like angst. That's okay though. But I appreciate you sticking by me! So, HUGE thank yous for staying with me through my roller coaster of a story. Truly, your reviews, criticisms, and just reading in general were everything I could ever ask for. So thank you, thank you, and thank you!

If you're looking for something else to read by me, I'm currently writing an action story called With My Life that is much shorter than usual since it's almost done too, but if you want to check it out, it's in the profile. And the banners are working again, since there was a problem with them previously.

Thanks for reading again and I really hope you liked this story!