Hello All! I'm back! This is the sequel to 'We Love Pretending' - my most successful story yet. The poll results told me you wanted this, and you got it. It follows on about a year and a half after we left them and centres around the idea of their marriage.
It was hard at first to delve back into a story I thought was finished, but what my readers want, they get. I really hope this lives up to WLP standards because I know a lot of people were fans. This isn't going to be as long as WLP either. It has six parts, with this being the first. And I'm hoping to finish it in a month, before the dreaded prelim exams begin.
Anyway, without further ado, welcome to Chapter 1...
Down The Aisle.
Gabriella took one last look at the stately home she was visiting, thoughts going over and over in her head. Was it big enough? Did it sit enough people? Was the ballroom big enough? And would the caterers approve of the kitchen area? She sighed; there were so many things to think about and do, but not enough time to do them, it seemed. Gabriella's life definitely hadn't slowed down. If anything, the last two years had been even busier than the ones before it. The publicity the movie her and Troy had starred in had collected her many awards, as well as a fuller career in music, and more jobs on the big screen. She couldn't be happier right now, and with Troy rightfully by her side, nothing could slow her down.
She just wished the days would slow down instead. Everything seemed to be happening at once. If she wasn't on set for a movie or television programme, she was either in the studio or in choreography classes. And now, with the most anticipated Hollywood wedding of the year to plan, things were up in the air.
She opened her car door, sliding inside and dropping her various folders and notebooks on the car opposite. Her phone rested on top of the pile, Troy's glorious face shining up at her until the phone's little lights dimmed.
Yes, that's right. Troy and Gabriella were getting married. Every time she thought about it, little bursts of joy shook in her stomach, and a huge smile would spread across her face. After being together for two and half years already, they felt it was time to settle down. They had already made a life together in both Britain and America, so it seemed like the logical next move.
Trouble was, he wasn't here to go through all the organising with her. She understood now what she'd been told time and time again: 'Organising and wedding is stressful.' They had hit the nail on the head. She was extremely tired of trailing around locations, picking colours for napkins (that people were only going to wipe their dirty hands on), getting the musical selection sorted, etc. Troy also had some jobs, but his were more of the fun kind; the cake tasting he did on a regular basis was his favourite.
She laughed as she remembered talking to her cousin Catherine, and how she had offered to hire her a wedding planner for an extra gift. Stupidly, she'd shot down the idea. But now she wished she could hand over all of the duties to someone else, and just concentrate on not being nervous on the day. Unfortunately, there was so many other things to do.
She started the car once more, pulling out of the stately home's driveway, and out onto the road, currently deserted. It was an old house, on the outskirts of the city. They had agreed that they wanted to get married somewhere out of the way, and not in the centre of London where the paparazzi were free to roll around. She had to admit the place was beautiful. Old, but modern; simple. It was the perfect location, but somewhere in the back of her mind something was telling her… not this one.
Turning off the road and onto another, she looked at the map as she drove, trying to catch her bearings of the next location due to be viewed under her critical eye. She didn't want just any place. She wanted a place that was special, and had something extra to give. Somewhere that her and troy could go back to and remember their wedding without any regrets.
She jumped slightly as her phone began to ring, blasting to her right. She looked over, smiling when she saw who it was. He was with her at times like this, even if not in body. Settling the phone into it's case on the dash board, she pressed 'loudspeaker' and began their conversation.
She heard a small chuckle from the other end of the line. "You sound tried, Brie. How many places have you got left?"
She sighed as she flicked through the remaining sheets. "Um… just two."
"Then you can go home and rest."
Her smile slipped off her face, and she felt the sadness seep into her. Her shoulders sagged and she felt as if her body was collapsing, but she kept her hands carefully on the wheel. "But you won't be there." She whispered so quietly, her lost voice giving her away.
He was in America right now, but he'd rather be with his fiancé. He missed her terribly, just as he did every time he had to go away. When they had got engaged, he had wanted to spend every minute up until he wedding with her. But their careers had other plans. They were constantly busy. And just two months ago Troy had been whisked off to his previous home to finish some scenes of his new movie which the director thought 'were just not right'. It hurt her every time she saw him leave, and the only thing she held on to over those days, weeks and months was the reminder that he would return. He'd always come back to her, because he was nothing without her. Being apart was hard for the couple. And that's why he'd vowed that after the wedding he was taking some time off to be with her. She clung onto that thought like her heart depended on it. When in fact, it did.
She heard rustling coming over the line and in her head she saw him moving, readjusting the way he sat. She remembered all the little things he did, and this was one of them. Then his voice came back again. "I know, I know. And I'm so sorry about that. Only a month and a bit now."
"37 days; I've been counting."
He laughed. "Yeah, that seems about right." Silence fell upon them, blanketing them and reminding them of their distance. In their minds they thought of each other, wishing they could be together. It was the one thing he wished he could do: be with her in the run-up to their wedding; to watch her glow as she got ready to tie the knot.
All those thoughts made him regret his decision to leave in the first place, so he changed the subject. "Tell me, how was location number fifteen."
Gabriella turned down yet another street before she replied. "In truth, it was beautiful. A large stately house, literally in the middle of nowhere - it took my half an hour to find it!' Troy chuckled at this, and then listened intently to his fiancés excited words. '… and chandeliers, and the ballroom was to die for. As I was standing in it, with the woman who rents out the place, I just closed my eyes and I could see us all there, dancing away. With the band in the background. It was just… perfect."
She heard his tap his fingers in the background. "Sounds like you've found your location, honey."
Gabriella pondered this for a second. "It does, but…"
She slowed down to the lights, leaning her head to the side, balancing her head on her hand watching the colours change. "I just… something is telling me it's not the one to choose. I don't know, I just get this feeling…" She dragged off, feeling a little stupid. Troy was right; if she thought the last place was perfect she should go for it. So why couldn't she?
Troy's clam voice came through the phone. "Brie, if you think that, then just go and see the other two. You've booked to see them, so you have to go. And maybe, you'll be right. Maybe the next location is the one you really want."
Her mind was completely full of thoughts now. "What about you? What do you want?"
"I want to marry you. I don't care if you do it in Buckingham Palace, or in your garden. I just want to marry you. Because I love you."
His words were so simple, not even poetic. But they still managed to hit her right in the heart. Every sweet word that came from his mouth she clung to. He was perfection in man form, and she too loved him to pieces. But most of all, he was correct once again. She felt selfish for being picky on the location. For all he wanted to do was marry her, and she knew now that as long as on that day they said 'I do' she'd leave with a smile.
"You're right." She whispered, still in awe of the man she would marry.
He laughed lightly. "Yes, but… I also know that everyone is expecting an over the top, beyond marvellous wedding. So that's where you come in: you have to pick the right location, for everyone else's sake. But for me, all you have to do is let me put that ring on your finger."
She giggled, his sweet words making her eyes water. "I'd never stop you from doing that."
"Just one of the reasons I love you, Gabriella."
She sighed, longing for him. "I love you too."
"I'll let you go now, but you'll phone me about the next one?" He asked, hope creeping into his voice at hearing her voice again.
She nodded to herself. "Sure. Bye."
"Bye, my love."
And the phone call closed.
She pressed 'end' on the phone were it stood, and then turned her eyes back to the road. In front of her, the road went on for miles, with trees on either side. She could see nothing of buildings in the distance, and her brow creased as she wondered if she was on the correct path. Looking back at the directions, she realised she had gone the right way, but if this was leading her to her next possible wedding location, why did it look so out of the way.
Yet, she kept driving, sure it would lead to somewhere. She let her hands sit lightly on the wheel, while she thought about the wedding that would happen in a few months. Almost everything was ready. All that was needed was for the location to be found, the invitations to be sent, the dress to be picked, and the cake to be made. To some she might seem unorganised. But to her, this was the only way. She had other things to do rather than spend every moment on wedding details. All she really wanted was a small church, a minister, a few family and friends, and her with her man. She didn't want the millions of guests, the paparazzi trying to find the location and get photos, and she didn't want the papers broadcasting her news. She wanted simplicity; something which was very hard to grasp in her line of work.
She turned another corner, which led onto another long road. This one had more promise as a little row of houses could be seen at the end. After travelling down the long road, she ended at the small houses, finding that there were no other directions on her map. She cocked her head around, looking for a building that would resemble something of significance. Finding none she exited her car and went for some assistance.
A woman in her late forties appeared out of a nearby shop. Gabriella crossed the path and ventured up to her. She put on a breezy expression. "Hi. I'm wondering if you could help me?"
The woman smile, small wrinkles at the corners of her eyes. "Yes, dear. What is it?"
Gabriella pointed to the address she had written down on the note card. "I'm looking for this building. I'm booking a wedding and----"
"You're Gabriella Montez! You are the woman I've been waiting for. I can't believe someone like you,' She pointed at Gabriella, such excitement flowing from her every pore. 'might be betting married at my little chapel.' She took Gabriella's arm and turned her in the direction of the chapel. 'Let's get going! Oh, I can't believe this."
She let herself be led by this overly excited woman. They entered a small house through the front door, and the woman held Gabriella's hand as she was taken throughout the house, into the back yard. The woman stood, proud, an pointed into the distance.
"There. That is my chapel."
Gabriella nearly choked when her eyes landed on the building. 'Chapel' was a little too over-exaggerated. There was nothing remotely church like at all. To Gabriella it looked like a small barn. Made completely with wood, there were only a few windows, and it looks like it could only fit five people, let alone the 500 that would be attending her wedding.
She turned to the woman. Instantly, guilt washed over her as she saw she would be shredding the woman's hopes. It had to be done.
Gabriella coughed before replying. "Um… I was expecting something a little… bigger?" And nicer, and with more style. For the woman's sake she refrained from adding to the list.
The woman's face dropped. "It can fit around 100 people."
Gabriella felt the urge to roll her eyes. If 100 people were able to fit in there, she'd give each of them £1000. It was impossible. She sighed, gesturing to the woman's small property. "Ah, you see. I have 500 and more guests. It simply wouldn't work. I'm sorry; it's such a lovely little place too."
The woman looked down. "Yes. I've spent a lot of time and money on getting it ready for the public. It's a shame it wasn't what you're looking for."
Gabriella nodded. "Yes. But I'll tell you what. If I hear someone wants a small, yet romantic setting for their wedding, I'll pass on this address."
"Thank you very much." Her face seemed to brighten considerably.
After apologising once again, she made her way back through the house and over to her car. Sitting herself down, she felt all her energy leave her. After a few seconds rest, she pulled away and began the tiring journey again.
On the way to the next location, she dialled Troy's number.
"Hello?" Troy's voice sounded muffled.
Gabriella laughed. "It seems you are enjoying your duty of cake tasting a little too much Troy!"
Troy chuckled after swallowing yet another piece of cake. "True. Anyway, how was number four?"
She ran a hand over her forehead, groaning in annoyance.
"That bad, huh?" Troy asked.
"Worse.' She stated, before explaining. 'It wasn't even a 'chapel' as she describes it. It was a barn. Made of wood and everything. It looked like it houses horses.' Troy's laugher was all she heard, and it was all it took her not to giggle and let go of the wheel. 'She said it could fit 100 people, which was good because I didn't know how else I was going to break this woman's heart. She wanted us to get married there so much. But it would have been impossible."
After his laughter died down, he replied, "Well, at least you have the next location to look forward to."
Gabriella smiled. "And then I have my bed to look forward to."
"That, you do."
They continued talking for another few minutes, with Troy updating her on his duties and her to him. The they relaxed into normal conversation; something that Gabriella craved since he had left for America. She missed the times when they would sit together and talk about anything that popped into their mind. She missed their small arguments over the smallest things, which ended up in many apologizes produced in different way. She missed his touch, his embraces, his laughter. And she missed not being able to go home to him after a tiring day - such as this - and have him hold her until all the stress that had gathered within her vanished.
She just had to remember that they had the rest of their lives together to make up for lost time.
After they cut off again, the rest of the journey was peaceful for Gabriella. She turned on the radio, and listened to the various announcements and songs. There was a new song from Rihanna, now a close friends of hers, and news about a baby being born to a Princess in France. And then, as if she was cursed, the inevitable happened - as it always does whenever she touched electrical appliances.
"And now, for more news. Gabriella Montez and Troy Bolton's wedding is just a month away. As the date draws nearer, the couple seem to be still apart. What could this mean? Troy has been finishing filming his new movie in home town Albuquerque, while Gabriella resides in her home just outside London. The pair were seen a few months ago shopping for Troy's tux, assuring their adoring fans that the wedding is still on. More news on the hottest couple as it comes in…"
She switched it off immediately, telling herself never to touch it again. It was the same with the television. Every time she put it on something about either her or Troy would flash up onto the screen. They were everywhere, and she should of got used to it now, but it was hard. She'd been in this business for years and the publicity became no more easier to handle. She just hoped that on the biggest day of her life, it would be turned down just slightly, and they could enjoy it without someone writing a commentary to their lives.
Checking the map once more, she turned a corner, finding herself near the end of a small, secluded road. She turned off the ignition, in turn slowing the car to a halt, and as it stopped her breath in took rapidly.
It was perfect. In a wooded area, with sycamore trees surrounding them and the birds whistling sweet tunes. Cream walls and large windows, letting light stream into the building. Flowers decorated the outside and the inside, and the light bounced off the shiny wooden floors. There was a stand at the other end of the room, from what she could see, where the minister would stand, and an aisle, with many benches on either side. And as she looked into the room she saw herself descending down the aisle, with her mother on her side, and Troy standing at the bottom, grinning at her. This was where she wanted to be married.
She grabbed her phone from where she had placed it in her pocket and rang Troy.
Before he had even answered, she said, "I've found it."
"You have?" Troy sounded surprised.
"Yes. It's beautiful, and perfect, and I can see us getting married there. It's just… simple. But elegant. And It's everything I wanted. I want to get married there."
Troy cleared his throat, a smile in his voice. "Are you sure?"
She heard him clap his hands in the background. "Okay, let's run through the basics. Where is it situated?"
"In a secluded, wooded area."
"Sounds good. Parking?"
She smiled as she looked around while she replied. "A long road leading up to the building with also a large gravel area to park on."
"Great. How many rooms does it have?"
"A few; just as many as we need."
"And what about the caterers?"
She eyed the place hopefully. "There seems to be a small kitchen, but the main area is a extremely large patio, which you could put all the tables on. Oh, and imagine. Eating our dinner and listening to the speeches in the sunshine!"
He laughed. "Perfection. And how many people does it seat?"
She paused, before whispering. "250."
Troy sighed, "Brie, you know we have 500 guests."
She groaned. "Can't we just cut the list in half. Please."
"You know I'd love to do that for you. And you know how much I'd rather have just a small intimate wedding with just us. But I also know that we have to have this wedding because it's what is expected. As for cutting the list, we won't have many friends if we do that, will we?"
Gabriella's shoulders slumped, admitting defeat. She looked at the building longingly. She so wanted to marry there, but it seemed, like so many things, it was impossible. She took one last look before, turning back and slotting herself into her car. "I know. You're right."
"So you know what to do now, then?"
She sighed. "Yep. Location number 3 it is."
And she ended the phone call, driving away from a dream location to another one, that would hopefully suit the standards of all their admirers.
She wished she could marry the way she wanted to, rather than the way the world wanted.
AN; Hopefully I haven't disappoint anyone. It took me a long time to get this out, mainly because I was unsure of where to start with this. But, this is what I came up with. Hopefully you enjoyed it. Sorry for any spelling errors.