She took a deep breath, trying to get rid of the nerves that were causing her body to shake. She wiped her sweaty palms on the smooth fabric that clung to her thighs so she wouldn't drop the microphone she had just been handed. It was finally her chance to have the duet that would cause her to finally break free from her icy exterior. It was her moment.
The obnoxious ring of an alarm clock echoed throughout the one bedroom apartment. Sharpay sat up in bed with a groan, not ready to start the day. She moved towards the bathroom sleepily. She fumbled to turn on the shower but eventually succeeded in getting a roaring stream going. She stripped out of her comfy pj's and stepped into the welcoming hot water, allowing it to cascade over her head and wake her up. She tried to scrub away the memories of the dream that had been haunting her sleep for years.
She wrapped a fluffy white towel around her body as she exited the shower. She wiped the fog from the mirror then pulled her hair dryer out from beneath the sink. Once it was dry, she decided to let it hang in its natural loose waves and proceeded to apply a minimal amount of make-up to her flawless skin. With her beauty routine complete, she headed to her closet to pick out today's outfit. She decided on a black high-waisted pencil skirt and a silk black and white blouse to be topped off with a pair of peep-toe mary jane pumps.
Sharpay was greeted by the aroma of freshly brewed coffee as she entered her kitchen. She poured the steaming liquid into a thermos then grabbed her purse, tote bag and car keys and headed out the door to start another day as the drama teacher at East High.
She pulled her silver Lexus convertible into her spot in the East High parking lot, having traded in her pink Mustang a while ago. Making her way to the glass entrance doors was easy because it was still early and very few students were in the building. She walked past the main office and greeted the receptionist, "Morning Marcie!"
"Oh good morning, Sharpay!" the middle-age woman responded. "We get our new physical education teacher today."
Sharpay leaned on the entrance door. "Right, but it won't be the same without Coach Bolton." She smiled at the brief memory of the man who had led many boys in her class to back-to-back championships.
"I wouldn't be too sure about that dear." Marcie interrupted her thoughts.
"What do you mean?"
"You'll just have to wait and meet him later today."
"Oh Marcie, you're no fun." Sharpay gave a fake pout then waved good-bye as she headed to her classroom.
She walked into the empty drama room, placing her belongings on her desk. She walked over to the windows to open the blinds, letting sunlight brighten up the room. This was her life now. Sharpay Evans was the drama and an English teacher at East High, taking over the role of the now retired Ms. Darbus. She couldn't say she was happy, but she couldn't say she was sad either. She lived alone in a one bedroom apartment in downtown Albuquerque. Her parents had moved to Tokyo a few years ago. Ryan was a choreographer for a theater company in New York. He was very busy but always made time for their weekly phone calls. He was a family man as well now. He and his wife, Kelsi, were the proud parents of a six-month old boy named Cameron. Sharpay couldn't wait for Christmas to arrive so she could go visit her godchild again.
Lost in thoughts of her nephew, she didn't hear a couple of her homeroom students enter the classroom. "Good morning, Ms. Evans" greeted Shanye Murphy, president of the drama club.
"Oh good morning, Shayne. I didn't realize it was almost time for the day to start." She took a seat at her desk and watched the students stroll into the classroom.
As she took a head count, she noticed one student was missing. Just as she was about to mark him absent, Reed Douglas came skidding into the classroom in an attempt to slow himself down from his sprint down the hallway. The final bell rang as he took his seat.
"You just made it, Reed." Sharpay said warningly. She had a problem with him frequently showing up late and was going to discuss it with the principal later that day.
"Sorry Ms. Evans." Reed gasped as he tried to get his breath back.
"You should really consider the trying out for the track team. I'm sure they'd love you for the 100 meter dash."
"Basketball is more my sport." He responded cockily.
"Of course it is," mumbled Shayne under her breath. Unfortunately for her, Reed heard it since he was sitting right next to her. He stuck out his tongue in retort.
Sharpay rolled her eyes remembering when she was their age and how she acted with a certain blue-eyed boy as the morning announcements came over the loudspeaker.
"Excuse me, Ms. Evans?"
Sharpay looked up from her grade book. "Yes, Reed?"
"I noticed on the basketball try-outs sheet that Coach Bolton was still listed. Is he coming back?"
"I'm afraid not, Reed. It was probably just a minor error."
"Oh." Reed's face fell as he resumed talking with his friends.
Sharpay felt bad letting the basketball players in her homeroom down. She knew how much they loved the coach. The entire school adored him. Especially Sharpay, he was so sweet to her when she was a student, and he pretty much adopted her as his daughter when she became a teacher. At that point, her entire family had left Albuquerque so Coach Bolton insisted that she have weekly dinners with him and his wife. She didn't have parents in the country and their only son was in North Carolina so they created their own little family. Sadly Coach Bolton suffered a heart attack about two months ago, forcing him to retire from his beloved Wildcat team.
Sharpay sighed as the bell rang. She could tell it was going to be a long day, and it was only first period. The afternoon's faculty meeting couldn't come soon enough.
After teaching four English classes and two drama classes, Sharpay was ready for the day to be over. However, she still had the faculty meeting to attend. Looking at the clock, she realized she had five minutes to get to the faculty lounge. Sharpay grabbed her notepad off her desk that contained her memos for the upcoming musical and headed off, locking her classroom door behind her.
Sharpay was one of the last teachers to arrive. She took the nearest empty seat next to Mr. Drake, the computer science teacher. A quick glance around the room indicated that the new gym teacher had yet to arrive. She assumed they would arrive with Principal Henderson.
As soon as she thought his name, Principal Henderson walked through the door alone. No one noticed the tall man slink into the back and lean against the wall.
"Alright everyone let's get down to business." The principal took his seat at the front of the room.
The various department heads took turns mentioning their plans for the coming semester. The majority of plans were the same as every year. Biology was starting out with basic cells; Chemistry was starting with the periodic table and so on and so on.
Sharpay had tuned out and had to be nudged by Mr. Drake when it was her turn. She got up a bit flustered to address the group. "After careful discussion with the drama club, this year's winter musical will be a piece that East High never performed." Sharpay looked around the room to make sure everyone was listening. "We will putting on Anastasia. Auditions will be held in two weeks." Sharpay took her seat.
"Thank you, Ms. Evans." Principal Henderson cleared his throat as he stood up. "And now I'd like to introduce our new phys ed and basketball coach. He's an alumni and legend here at East High, Mr. Troy Bolton." He gestured to the back of the room to the man leaning against the wall.
Sharpay's palms started sweating and her heart rate sped up when Troy stepped forward. He was taller and even more built than he was in high school. His hair was the same sandy brown color, but it was shorter, though it still fell into his eyes, the eyes that Sharpay imagined getting lost in for hours while in high school. They were the same crystal blue that melted many hearts. Sharpay panicked a bit when she realized those blue eyes were staring at her.
She didn't even realize that a majority of teachers had already left the room. She was basically in the lounge alone with Troy except for the math teachers who always lingered around waiting to see if they could pick up any gossip.
Hoping to not be the subject of their gossip pool, Sharpay grabbed her notepad and headed out the door towards her classroom. She walked so quickly, she didn't notice the tall figure following her. She collapsed in her desk chair with a heavy sigh. "Holy crap, Troy Bolton?" she questioned out loud. "This cannot be happening."
"What can't be happening?"
Sharpay looked up startled by the booming voice. Troy was standing in the doorway looking at her expectantly.
"Oh, uh," Sharpay looked down hoping to find an answer, "I got a scuff mark on my new shoes." She shrugged her shoulders sheepishly.
"I guess that can happen when you're rushing down the hallway trying to avoid someone." Troy entered the classroom that once served as his homeroom for two consecutive years and leaned against his old desk.
"I wasn't trying to avoid anyone." She tried to keep her voice calm but wavered on her last word. She knew Troy would be able to see right through her.
"That's not the impression I got. I tried to approach you to say hi and catch up, but you ran off before I could even get a word out. If I didn't know any better, I would guess you aren't very happy to see me."
"I just really want to get out of here." She stood up, placing her purse and tote on her desk. "It's been a very long day, and I still have to come up with the rest of my lesson plans for the week." She glanced up and was met by his piercing gaze. She hoped she had given a good enough excuse to avoid any further questioning. It was only wishful thinking.
Troy noticed the only item that would make her excuse plausible lying on her desk. "Then you better make sure you don't leave your lesson book behind. Though I'm probably right in assuming that your plans for this week's classes are complete, and you're just looking for a way to leave here in a hurry again. Why won't you talk to me Sharpay?" His eyes were pleading with hers.
Sharpay felt her exterior melting to his puppy dog eyes. His appearance had been such a surprise, she couldn't help but be a bit hesitant. "It's just," she paused, "it's been a long time, Troy. I haven't heard from you in six years."
Troy hung his head low. "I see your point." He stood upright and turned to leave.
Sharpay was not about to let him walk away thinking that she wanted nothing to do with him. "Troy?" His name came out more like a question than an exclamation, but he stopped all the same. "Don't go," she sighed.
"Are you willing to hear me out?"
"Maybe someday, but right now I just want to catch up with an old friend." She placed her purse on her shoulder and swung her tote back and forth in her hand.
Troy smiled a hopeful smile. "Want to go grab dinner somewhere?"
Sharpay was about to agree when she remembered she already had plans for the evening meal. "Oh, tonight I was supposed to resume my weekly dinners with your parents since your dad is back from rehab. Can we grab dinner together another night and just head over to the house right now?"
"Yeah, um, about that." Troy rubbed his hand over his neck nervously. "You see…my parents don't know I'm in town."
Sharpay was floored. How could the Boltons not know their only son had moved back home again? "But you took over your dad's old job."
"Look, I know it sounds really crazy, but I just got back to Albuquerque two days ago. I haven't been able to get back until now."
Sharpay opened her mouth to ask questions but was cut off.
"It's a really long story that has to do with hearing me out. There is a very good reason why I left six years ago and never came back, but it's something I need to discuss with my parents first."
"You can tell me when the time is right. I'm not going anywhere anytime soon." Sharpay glanced around her classroom indicating it was her life now. "As for your parents, I really think it's time you see them. You should especially let your dad know that the Bolton coaching legacy has not ended at East High, and that team may actually stand a chance this year."
Troy snorted slightly at Sharpay's reference to how badly the basketball team had done since the team he had played on graduated.
"So we'll head over to the house then?"
"I guess there's no time like the present. I've only been putting it off for six years."
Troy walked out first so Sharpay could lock the classroom door behind them. As they made their way to the parking lot, Sharpay noticed her car was the only one left. "Did you park your car somewhere else?" She glanced in the direction of the student lot as she opened the car.
"I took the bus." Troy opened the passenger door. "I don't own a car at the moment." He sat down and immediately began admiring the interior of the Lexus. "Nice car," he commented.
"Thanks." Sharpay pulled out of the lot, heading in the direction of the Bolton house, which was only a few blocks from the school.
"You traded in the pink Mustang then?"
"Yeah, I had to give it up in order to get this as my college graduation present. It was definitely a small sacrifice to make for the beauty I get to drive now." A hint of bragging echoed in her voice. A moment later she was pulling into the driveway of 2414 Spring Road.
Troy's shoulders tensed once the car was in park, but he still followed Sharpay up the front steps of his childhood home. Sharpay couldn't help giggling at his surprise when she merely opened the front door and walked right in. He followed behind at a safe distance, unsure of how his parents would react to seeing him again.
"Sharpay, is that you dear?" came Mrs. Bolton's sing-song voice from the kitchen.
"Yes, Lucy! Do you need help with anything?" Sharpay placed her bags on the sofa while kicking off her shoes. She had spent too many hours in the painful heels.
"No, but could you please check on Jack in the garage? God only knows what kind of trouble he's getting into."
"Of course." Sharpay looked in the direction of Troy who was still standing in the foyer. "Just so you know Luce, I brought a guest for dinner. I hope you don't mind."
Troy gave her a freaked out look. He didn't want his presence to be known yet.
"You know the more the merrier, dear." Lucy came out of the kitchen wiping her hands on her apron and primping her hair trying to make herself look nice for the "guest." She gasped in shock, placing a hand over her racing heart when she caught sight of her son lurking in the doorway. "Troy, is that you?" Her voice quivered as she choked back tears.
"Hi, Mom." Troy took a few steps into the living room so his mother could see him. He was afraid to get any closer not knowing if she was crying tears of anger or happiness.
"After six years you're going to just stand there and look at me? I'm your mother! Get over here and give me a hug!" Lucy demanded.
Troy happily closed the distance between himself and his mother. Since he was much bigger height-wise, he ended up engulfing her in his arms. He gladly accepted the sloppy kiss she placed on his cheek, not caring that it left lipstick marks behind.
Sharpay found herself a bit misty eyed as she watched the mother-son reunion. She figured it would be best to do as Lucy asked and check on Jack so they could be alone together. She quietly slipped out the back door.
A loud curse from Jack caused her to walk a bit faster towards the garage. There was a loud clanking of metal as she opened the door. Looking down, she saw that she had just missed being hit with a wrench. Jack was leaning over the open hood of the old classic Mustang he had bought years ago as a high school graduation gift for his son. After six years, it still wasn't running.
"Something wrong, Jack?" Sharpay inquired as she entered the garage.
He looked up and smiled. "Sharpay, I didn't hear you come in. Did you just get here?"
"Pretty much. Lucy sent me out here to check on you."
"Am I doing anything I shouldn't be doing?" He gave her a grin that could get him away with murder. Troy had inherited the same cheesy Cheshire smile.
"Not that I can see." Sharpay pretended to look past the open car hood. "Though I might change shirts before you head inside." She pointed to the grease stain in the middle of his white t-shirt then headed over to the bottom drawer of his tool box where he kept a supply of t-shirts in every color so his wife would never know he was tinkering with the car. Sharpay had actually given him the idea a few years ago.
"Thanks, sweetie." He accepted the shirt with a smile. "I'll change before I head in. I just need to put things away in here. I'm assuming dinner will be on the table in a few minutes?"
"You can take your time. Lucy was talking to the guest I brought when I came out here."
"Did you finally get yourself a boyfriend?" Jack asked with mock horror, though he really would be saddened if Sharpay brought a guy around.
"No, it's the new basketball coach."
"My replacement, huh?"
"I think you'll like him."
"We'll see. Speaking of basketball coaches, did you know the school had my name printed on the try-out fliers? I saw it yesterday when I went to drop off the gym key with Principal Henderson." Jack shook his head in disbelief.
"Yeah, the basketball players in my homeroom were very disappointed when I broke it the news to them that it wasn't you who was running try-outs."
"I can't believe they made a mistake like that."
"It actually wasn't a mistake."
"There's a new Coach Bolton?" Jack asked surprised.
"Yeah, Dad, me." Troy leaned against the doorframe with his arms crossed over his chest acting completely casual.
Jack dropped the screwdriver he was holding. It landed on the floor dangerously close to Sharpay's left foot.
Sharpay immediately ran to his side afraid Troy's entrance had possibly given the man another heart attack.
Troy, realizing his mistake, rushed to his father as well. "Dad, are you okay?"
"Of course he's not you idiot!" Sharpay smacked his bicep and ended up getting more hurt than he did since it was solid muscle. "Ow!" She shook her hand to get rid of the stinging that was running through her palm.
"You should know better than to smack a basketball player in the arm, Sharpay." Jack said warningly. He had come out of his state of shock and appeared to be perfectly fine.
"You okay, Dad?" Troy asked again.
"I'm fine, son. You just gave me a bit of a shock that's all." He patted Troy's shoulder reassuringly.
"Why don't we get you inside anyways, Jack. I'm sure dinner is ready by now." Sharpay suggested while still shaking her hand. She looked to Troy for support.
"Yeah, mom said to come get you two." Troy agreed.
"Alright, I guess I can clean up this mess later. Sharpay, you better put some ice on that hand when we get inside."
Troy and his father chuckled, while Sharpay glared. She wanted to hit Troy again, but figured that it would be pointless so she just followed father and son into the house that was filled with the aroma of Lucy's home cooking.
Dinner was uneventful. Everyone spent the majority of the time eating and not talking, a typical meal in the Bolton household, though the grease stain on Jack's shirt didn't go unnoticed by Lucy.
Once dessert was finished and Jack and Troy did the dishes, Sharpay and Troy decided to head out since they had work the following morning. Sharpay walked out first hugging Lucy then Jack before heading out the door. Troy was right behind her, promising Lucy he would be over again tomorrow and the day after. Jack followed Troy out onto the porch where Sharpay was descending the steps. As he pulled his son into a hug, he whispered, "You found her?"
Troy nodded his head yes, and Jack nodded in acknowledgement. He yelled, "Drive safely!" to Sharpay while Troy joined her in the car. She smiled and waved then backed out of the driveway and onto the street. She was very curious as to who "her" was. Was that the reason explaining Troy's disappearance? She wanted to ask but chose to remain quiet, knowing Troy would tell her when he felt the time was right.
A/N I do not own HSM or its characters. I'm just borrowing them for awhile.
This was an idea I had, and I had to get it written down. So is it good? Bad? Let me know in a review!!