"A Moment of Madness" copyright didumissmeofcourseudid; November 8th 2008

This is a derivate piece of fiction featuring characters copyrighted and trademarked by Disney Enterprises Inc. It is based upon High School Musical, copyright 2006 by Walt Disney Enterprises Inc., all rights reserved; and High School Musical 2, copyright 2007 by Walt Disney Enterprises Inc., all rights reserved. The author is not connected with nor is this work authorised by Walt Disney Enterprises Inc., or any other motion picture studios. This work is solely intended for posting on Fanfiction, for the benefit and enjoyment of its intended audience. No commercial or financial benefit accrues or is intended to accrue to the author as a result of said posting. Any unauthorised copying or redistribution of this work might subject the party responsible for such unauthorized copying or redistribution to legal action by the owners of the aforementioned copyrights and trademarks.

Summary: If only she had listened to her subconscious, if only she had said no from the outset and not been swept along by her friend's insistence that they needed a break before their finals; her solution – a weekend in the city that never sleeps amongst the glitz and glamour that could only be Vegas. It had indeed been a moment of madness when she accepted.

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters mentioned above, I just have them on secondment. Thanks to my hero, the wonderful John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls for the loan of the lyrics to 'Naked'.

A/N: This idea has been buzzing around my head like an irritating fly for a couple of weeks now and I just need to let rip with it. Happy Holidays to one and all.


Naked

"How do I get myself into these situations? Am I that gullible?" Gabriella thought for the umpteenth time from the confines of the small space she found herself in. The answers were Sharpay and yes. Through all her years on this earth the only times she landed in embarrassing or life threatening situations were when she was around Sharpay. She was the nucleus, the pivotal point of her downfall. Things never happened to Sharpay, they just happened around her, with Gabriella usually catching the brunt of the fallout.

The oxygen around her was becoming stale, the temperature growing hotter by the minute as her body hyperventilated with nerves, throwing heat around the Styrofoam enclosure. Fortunately, her attire or lack of, helped to keep her body cool despite the beads of sweat forming in her cleavage, behind her knees and under her arms to say nothing of the noticeable drip that was sliding down her spine. She only hoped her make-up and coiffed hair was holding up just as well in the restricted space; she knew her legs weren't, scrunched up like she was, sat on a purpose built shelf that would rise shortly, catapulting her out of her safe haven but there was nothing she could do about that.

"Why, oh why, couldn't Sharpay do this again? Oh yeah, she was too tall or so she claimed, unlike Annabel who would normally cover this type of venue except she was in hospital having her grumbling appendix removed. Damn it! Why me?" Thoughts continued to swirl around Gabriella's head. She was going to kill Sharpay when this was over. She knew it wasn't what she did.

The deal, when they started this venture, was for Sharpay to front the operation, run the day to day end of the business, pitch the sales, source the bookings, come up with the scenarios and deal with the employees; Gabriella would remain in the background, acting as a silent partner almost, taking care of the bills, the advertising and all the financial aspects; their roles had been clearly defined by Sharpay from the outset when she started her cajoling tactics and Gabriella, pressured and sweet-talked, buttered up and pestered had finally succumbed to Sharpay's seemingly hair-brained idea and Sharpay had been only too happy to finally get the venture off the ground; thus Sharella was born.

It had all come about when Sharpay had been to a hen night over two years ago and she'd come back ranting about the ineptitude of the kiss-O-gram they'd paid good money for. She'd come up with the idea of providing a similar service only better, more professional, glossier and glitzier. For once she'd done the leg work, investigating the ones already established and finding them all wanting. She'd looked into the costs involved, the feasibility of the operation and had finally presented her business idea to her father who had been impressed enough with his daughter's in-depth analysis, and surprisingly for once backed her madcap scheme on the proviso that she took on board a partner with some business acumen. Armed with the promised funding she had gone to Gabriella with a sound proposition, all she needed was a partner, someone to look after the books she said, and she'd do the rest. Gabriella had grudgingly taken the bait. It sounded easy, something that she could always fall back on if her contract with her publisher wasn't renewed or she had, god forbid, a writer's block for an indefinite period, and it did give her a much needed second income, a safety net if you like if the unthinkable did happen. Surprisingly, for Gabriella, the business had filled a niche, offering a quality service as their discerning clientèle soon discovered; recommendations by word of mouth were always a compliment and saved them a fortune on advertising.

Gabriella was a published author albeit children's books; still it paid the bills, kept the wolf from the door and allowed her the freedom to choose her own hours and work pattern, giving her precious time to spend at home, time that was sorely needed. Consequently she only came into the office twice a week, once for the weekly meeting when they discussed upcoming events and staffing requirements and once to collect the bills before she escaped, back to her wooden framed house overlooking the Pacific Ocean to the north side of Santa Monica. Sharpay knew her time was limited, time she could ill-afford to waste by being called in to cover emergencies like this but she'd played on her kind nature as always, pushing the right buttons and Gabriella had buckled under her whining and cajoling.

So that was how and why she was in this hell of a predicament now, about to be flung to the wolves from center stage? It had been years since she had stood up in public and sang. She'd hated it then and she hated it now. She did not like being the center of attention with all eyes on her. It just wasn't her. It made her feel uncomfortable, naked even. "Ha! As if I don't feel that already," she thought wryly looking down her ample cleavage, that was more out than in, to the crystal encrusted red bra top she'd poured her body into only twenty minutes ago. She and Annabel may be the same size in height but there the resemblance ended. Trying to fit her C cup into a B had been a tight squeeze and she'd be glad when she could free herself from the constriction. Now she knew how her descendants must have felt in their whalebone corsets.

She felt the dais she was perched on start to move and she let out a shaky breath, part of her was glad to be on the move knowing that it would soon be over, part of her shrank from the task she was about to do. Thank god it was a private function with only invited guests present; At least it was a safe bet that none of her neighbours or acquaintances would be there to see the spectacle. The murmur of voices laughing and talking, clinks of glass upon glass, muffled to Gabriella from her hiding place grew louder, warning her of her impending mission and her heart thudded loudly in her chest. The revelry stopped abruptly as a drum boomed out, scaring the shit out of Gabriella who visibly trembled. Her suddenly moist hand clenched tightly around the microphone as her shaking forefinger flicked the switch. Sharpay must have also pressed the button to start the contraption as the shelf beneath her shuddered into life and she took a deep breath as it began to rise, her arm pushed back the flap at the top, allowing her to burst through the opening and she welcomed the cooler if not fresher air.

The lights blinded her to the audience but the cheers and wolf whistles at her entrance let her know they were there, watching and waiting. The background music kicked in and her voice shook as she started singing the birthday ditty she herself had penned in a rash moment eighteen months ago but it quickly grew in strength by the fifth word, her sweet melodic tones filled the club as she lost herself in the song staring blindly at the back wall of the club, not daring to look downwards to the crowd below. She finished her ditty to follow in with the traditional song but her brain blanked for a moment as she tried to remember the name of the person she was supposed to be singing to.

"Oh hell! Come on Gabs, you can do it. Think woman, you did the paperwork." A small hesitation, barely discernible to the waiting crowd, brought a gasp from the side of the stage where Sharpay stood watching nervously, a frown marring her features when Gabriella flicked a nervous glance her way before facing the lights again, a bright professional smile pinned to her face as she broke into the traditional song to mask her error, giving her an extra precious second or two before a flash of inspiration hit her and she finished the song with an exuberant flourish. "Happy Birthday, Coach Norton, Happy Birthday to you," spilled from her lips as she threw her arms wide in relief and the unthinkable happened; her bra top pinged off and flew into the audience.

She felt like she was having an out of body experience, watching from above as everything moved in a freeze frame mode like a movie, her smile slipped, her horrified eyes widened in dismay, a deep blush infused her cheeks as self-preservation finally kicked in and she wrapped her arms around her heaving breasts. It had only been a matter of seconds but it felt like a lifetime to her. She wanted to die.

A movement from the front row drew her panic stricken gaze as a tall, broad shouldered man in a charcoal suit stood up, the errant top dangling from his fingers, just as the place erupted into claps, wolf whistles with various lewd and ribald comments flung at her. The sounds dissipated as her eyes locked with glacial blue orbs that seemed to look into her very soul and she felt like a deer caught in the headlights of a fast moving car. "It couldn't be" flashed through her mind. She couldn't move, couldn't think; time suspended for what seemed like hours but only lasted for a few moments. Her eyes clouded with worry as the man allowed his eyes to slide deliberately down her body, taking in every curve and niche before slowly gliding up again. She felt violated as they lingered on her lips before returning to stare into her deep brown eyes; a sliver of fear ran down her spine at their promised retribution and her breath caught in her throat. He was letting her know, in no uncertain terms, he hadn't finished with her, that there would be a reckoning.

Letting out a cry of fright, she dropped the microphone, sprang from the giant cake and ran.

You're naked inside your fear

You can't take back all those years

A/N: Sorry this one is a smidgen short but the next one is longer, I promise.