Hey guys! Here's my first ever one-shot! I'm so excited because I've wanted to write this for a while, but also a little nervous too because I haven't written one of these before.
I know I haven't updated the Road Not Taken in forever, but I do have the next chapter half-way finished…I just don't like the beginning, so it's hard to keep working on it. I promise I will update it, though, don't worry! I just had to get this out first.
Summary: Post HSM3 – Troy and Gabriella have settled into their colleges and started their freshman year. Troy chose a school in California to be closer to Gabriella, but what happens to their relationship when she can't find time for him anymore? One-shot T&G!
Disclaimer: I do not own anything except the plot. I thought of this story idea, and if it is like yours, that is extremely coincidental. I have not read another story like this. Also, I'm not a college student. I have gone on a couple of visits, but if I mess some stuff up, I apologize.
"Hey Sam, what was your answer for the second question?"
The tall blonde quickly took her eyes away from the TV to glance at her worksheet.
"That makes sense. Thanks." The brunette muttered while typing in the answer on her laptop. She saved the document and shut the computer.
"Done with your homework, Gabriella?" Sam joked, walking over to the mini fridge on the other side of the dorm room to grab a bottle of water.
"Very funny." she muttered, picking up a law textbook that was lying on her desk.
Since the start of her freshmen year at Stanford, Gabriella had been completely overwhelmed with school work. The pre-law program required an intense workload out of school and Gabriella was struggling to get all of her assignments done, while still being able to socialize.
Her roommate, Sam, was in the same program as Gabriella, but didn't have the pressure riding on her to maintain an academic scholarship. The blonde would always be off with other friends and could go to parties while Gabriella was constantly cooped up in her dorm room, trying to finish all of her work.
It had to have been at least a month since Gabriella had done anything fun. Although, the brunette was trying to be optimistic because winter break was right around the corner. She couldn't wait to fly home to Albuquerque to see her mother and all of her friends. It would be nice to spend some uninterrupted time with her boyfriend, too…
Troy. She hadn't seen him in at least three weeks. He was busy with his basketball practices and his preparation for the winter play at Berkeley. And it wasn't like she had the time to drive over thirty miles just to see him for a night.
Sure, she felt guilty, but she also knew that school came first. He knew that too. However, she had noticed within the past week that he was getting upset at the predicament they had gotten themselves into – never seeing each other. It was especially noticeable when he had called Gabriella a week ago to remind her that his first basketball game was this coming Friday. She had had to cancel on him because of a presentation in one of her classes that couldn't be moved, and could hear the frustration in his voice as he told her that she had promised to be there. But there was nothing Gabriella could do, because the presentation was a significant part of her grade.
Gabriella loved Troy with all of her heart, and it hurt her that she couldn't see him, but this was just how it had to be for the time being. They were both busy people, and regardless of the fact that Berkeley was only a little over thirty miles from Stanford, it was still long enough that she didn't have the time to drive that distance once a week.
"I'm going to head out and get some dinner in the dining hall. You want to come?" Sam asked.
Gabriella glanced up and her friend and smiled softly. "I don't really have time. Would you mind sneaking a cookie back up for me?"
"Not at all. I'll get you as many as I can carry in my bag." The blonde smiled, "But Gabriella, if you don't leave this room soon, I'm going to drag you out of it. It's a Wednesday, lighten up!" she said before leaving the dorm.
Gabriella smiled softly before glancing back down at her textbook, continuing to take notes on important things she suspected would be on her test the following day. She was flipping through the pages when suddenly there was a soft knock on her door.
Glancing up at the clock, the brunette noticed that only ten minutes had passed since Sam had left the room. Weird. "Come in!"
Gabriella was absorbed in her book once again as the door opened, trying to memorize the case study that her professor had discussed that day in class. "Thanks, Sam. You can just set them on my desk." She muttered, while reciting the information in her head.
"Set what on your desk?" she heard a familiar voice and her head whipped up from her book to see her boyfriend standing at the door with a small smile on his face. He was dressed in nice faded jeans and a dark blue polo that brought out the color of his eyes.
"What are you doing here?" Gabriella asked, still astonished that he was in her dorm room after not seeing him for three weeks.
"I was in town, and I wanted to see you." He said quietly, crossing the tiny room and kneeling down next to where she was studying on the floor. "I missed you."
"I missed you, too." She muttered before he gave her a quick kiss on the cheek.
Gabriella set her textbook off to the side as she brought her hand up to cup Troy's face. He removed a strand of hair from her cheek before leaning down to capture her lips. Gabriella felt herself give in at the feeling and wrapped her arms around his neck. This felt so good after not being able to see him for so long.
He wound his arms tightly around her waist and brought her closer to him before gently breaking the kiss and nuzzling her head with his nose.
"So, I thought that maybe we could go out to dinner tonight." He mumbled into her hair, kissing it softly.
"Oh…" Gabriella sighed, suddenly feeling extremely guilty that she was going to have to turn him down again. "I thought that you were really busy with basketball and the play?"
Troy sank down to the floor and pulled her into his lap. "I am, but basketball practice ended early today and we didn't have rehearsal for the play, so I decided to ditch homework and come see you because I missed you so much." He explained, kissing her softly on the cheek again.
"Troy, you really didn't have to do that…" Gabriella felt the lump in her throat grow. She couldn't believe that he was generous enough to blow off homework just to see her. She was so selfish.
"I wanted to." He muttered, lifting her face so that she was looking him in the eyes. "I love you." He said gently.
"I love you, too." She whispered before quickly kissing him again. "But I don't think I can go out to dinner tonight. I have a major test tomorrow that I still need to study for."
"Oh." Troy said quietly, glancing at the open text book lying on the floor. "That's okay. We can just hang out here."
Gabriella glanced into Troy's eyes again, seeing the love for her pouring out of them. He just wanted to spend time with her. That's all he wanted, and she couldn't even give him that.
"Actually, I really need to study for this. You shouldn't have blown off your homework, Troy. You have to maintain your GPA in order to keep your scholarship." She muttered while looking at the floor.
Troy was quiet for a moment. "Well, homework is kind of boring, but I brought my books with me. They're in the truck, so I can go get them." He said before making a move to stand. Gabriella quickly grabbed his wrist and pulled him down.
"Troy…I'm sorry, but I can't have any distractions."
"But I thought we could…" he broke off his sentence, suddenly becoming still next to the brunette.
She knew that he had realized the hidden meaning in the words she spoke to him. She wanted him to leave. It wasn't that she didn't want to spend time with him; it was just that this test was important, and she really needed to study for it – something she couldn't do if Troy was around distracting her.
"Troy, I'm really, really sorry. I feel terrible, but there is so much material to review for this test…I don't even know when I'm going to get to bed tonight." Gabriella explained, desperate for her boyfriend to realize that it wasn't him, it was school.
Troy took a deep, shaky breath. Gabriella's heart crumbled at the sight of her boyfriend so depressed. She wanted to chuck her book out the window and kiss Troy until she had no breath left. She wanted to cuddle up to him on her bed while watching a movie. She wanted to go out to dinner with him…all the things that she could have done in high school, but didn't have time for anymore.
"It's okay." His voice broke the long silence that had been between the couple. "I know how important your school work is." He carefully unwrapped his arms from Gabriella and stood up.
Gabriella made a motion to say something, but Troy beat her to the punch.
"Please don't feel bad, baby. I'll call you later."
Before Troy left, he gave Gabriella a quick kiss on the lips. She noticed how he lingered slightly longer than normal, and immediately felt tears well up in her eyes at the fact that she was hurting her boyfriend.
Troy gave her a small smile, but it didn't mask the slight amount of pain in his eyes. He walked out of the dorm room and closed the door gently. Gabriella wasted no time in letting out the tears that had been threatening to fall for the past five minutes. Her tears began to flow harder when she looked at the clock and realized that Troy had spent a total of seven minutes in her dorm room. He had driven over an hour to see her, and she made him leave after seven minutes together.
She was a monster. She really was.
The brunette turned to the door to see Sam standing there with a plate of cookies. "Are you okay?"
Gabriella quickly wiped the tears from her cheek and forced herself to work up a small smile. "Yeah, I'm fine. Thanks for the cookies."
"No problem. Just a quick question, though. Why was Troy here?" Sam asked while crossing the room to set the plate on Gabriella's desk.
The brunette tried to brush off the sensitive subject. "He stopped by to see me, but I have this test to study for so he couldn't stay long."
"Oh. Well I saw him walking down the hall, so, I was just curious." Sam sat down on the carpet next to Gabriella. "He looked kind of upset…"
"Please, I don't want to talk about it…" Gabriella begged her roommate. She didn't need to hear what a terrible person she was for not having time for Troy.
"Oh. I'm sorry… Do you want me to quiz you? I still have to review, too." Sam offered.
"I'd love that." She smiled while handing the textbook to the blonde. Although Gabriella still had many hours to study before she went to bed, she would spend that time thinking about what a terrible girlfriend she was, and how Troy deserved better.
"I thought the answer was A! We had talked about the Homicide Act of 1957 in class so I figured it had the best chance of being the right answer!" Courtney groaned.
Gabriella giggled at her classmate. She had just gotten done with her dreaded test and now she was looking forward to what she considered a light homework night.
"No. It was the Police and Criminal Evidence Act of 1984. We talked about that one in class, too Court." She joked. "Besides, they're two totally different things!"
Gabriella, Sam, and their good friend Courtney were eating in dining hall. It was a Thursday night so the crowd wasn't too bad around 4 pm. A lot of kids would come and eat later.
"Well, whatever. It was just one question. Hopefully that's all I got wrong." The three girls laughed, attempting to stay somewhat below the level of obnoxious loudness.
After about thirty minutes of catching up with her friends, Gabriella felt her leg vibrate. Quickly glancing down at her phone, the brunette smiled sympathetically at her friends.
"I have to take this." She said, before getting up and walking out of the dining hall.
"Hello." She greeted into the phone, a smile already forming on her face.
"Gabriella, sweetheart. I'm so happy to hear your voice, mija. You need to call me more often!" Maria Montez greeted her daughter cheerfully on the phone.
"Sorry, Mom. I've just been really busy lately. With finals coming up, it's getting pretty crazy." Gabriella apologized sincerely.
"So I've heard." Maria stated gently.
Gabriella stopped walking and sat down on a bench outside the cafeteria, suddenly confused at the change in her mom's tone. "What do you mean you've heard?"
"Well, I was at the Bolton's last night, because they invited me over for dinner. Lucille made a wonderful noodle dish, you'll have to try it sometime." Maria started.
Gabriella tried to hide the smile at her mother's aside topic.
"But anyway, we were eating dinner when the phone rang. So Jack got up to answer it and stayed in the kitchen for a while before he came back into the dining room to hand the phone off to Lucille. Apparently it was Troy."
She had been trying to forget about last night, but found it nearly impossible. While she didn't mention it to Sam or Courtney, Gabriella was sure that she didn't do as well on her test as she had hoped. The entire time she was taking it, all she could think about was Troy.
"Really? Did they tell you why he was calling?" Gabriella asked slowly. She was almost afraid to hear what her mother had to say.
"Well, it seems that he was sitting in a fast food restaurant eating dinner when he phoned." Maria explained.
Gabriella's stomach immediately clenched into a knot. She could picture Troy sitting alone in a restaurant, and it was all her fault. He had asked her if she wanted to go out for a bite to eat last night, and she had completely rejected him because of homework.
She was such a bad girlfriend. Him eating alone! Just sitting there, probably wondering where he went wrong as a boyfriend to deserve this kind of treatment he was getting from her.
God, she wanted to fix it. She loved him more than anything, and he made her so happy. He deserved a hell of a lot more than what she had been giving him lately.
"Jack told me that he was on his way home from seeing you." Maria continued. "Apparently he had abandoned his homework and drove over an hour to Stanford, but wasn't able to spend a lot of time with you because you were too busy with homework."
"Mom, I know I'm such a terrible pers-"
"And it appears that yesterday was the first time he had seen you in three weeks. Gabriella, would you like to explain? Are you just not into Troy anymore?" Maria asked her daughter, hoping for an answer. Troy was like another son to her, and he made Gabriella so happy…or at least she thought he did.
"MOM!" Gabriella gasped. "Of course I'm still into Troy. I'm in love with him. I just can't find the time in my busy schedule for us to get together." the brunette took another breath, "And even when I do have an hour or two to spare, it's still not enough time to drive over an hour to see him, and then stay for twenty minutes before I have to drive over an hour back!"
"Well, it seems like Troy was able to do it in a decent amount of time. He's trying, Gabriella. He wants your relationship to work. For goodness sake, he chose to go to Berkeley because it was closer to you! Normally I wouldn't get into these things, but I'm worried about how wrapped up in school you've become. It's not healthy to be that stressed out." Maria commented.
"He stayed a total of seven minutes Mom! Of course he made good time!" Gabriella automatically went into defense mode. She couldn't deal with the fact that she had made a major mistake right now. "And I am trying to make the relationship work, too. I'll text him with good news when I have it, and wish him luck at his play rehearsals and basketball practices. It's not like I don't care…"
"He only stayed for seven minutes?" Maria asked in an astonished tone. "Gabriella…I can't believe you would send him home after he had driven over an hour to se-"
"Mom, it's not like I had a choice! I just wanted to study for my test and it is so distracting when he is near me, because I always want to focus on being with him. If I hadn't sent him home, I probably would have gotten a bad grade!" Gabriella argued, trying to hold back the tears that were starting to form.
"Oh, honey. You really feel bad about last night, don't you?" Maria assumed in a soothing tone.
Of course she knew what was going on. She could read her daughter like a book.
"Mom…" Gabriella choked out. She quickly turned around on the bench to face the wall behind it so that no one would see the tears starting to trickle down her face. All she wanted was for Troy to hold her right now, and that thought alone caused more tears to fall.
"I love him so much, and I can't believe I sent him home like that. I had already canceled on his first basketball game this Friday because I have a presentation during the same time, and he had called me a couple of weeks before to see if we could get together one weekend and do something, but I rejected him. I am such a monster." Gabriella quietly sobbed.
Maria desperately wished that her daughter was home right now so she could comfort her. "Mija, you are not a monster. You are just enrolled in a program that requires a lot of outside work. You are trying to balance both a social life and school, and that gets hard to do your freshman year. Don't ever call yourself a monster."
Gabriella sighed, wiping away a stray tear that fell down her cheek. For the most part, she stopped crying. "Thanks Mom, but it's true. Did Troy say anything else?"
"Nothing much more than that. Lucille was upset because of a comment that Troy made, though. She wants to fly out for his game tomorrow, but couldn't get tickets."
"What did Troy say? Did she tell you what he said?" Gabriella questioned.
"Don't get upset sweetie, but he basically said that his birthday wasn't going to be very much fun this year." Maria relayed.
What? Oh, no!
Troy's birthday was this FRIDAY!
"Oh my God, Mom! Troy's nineteenth birthday!" tears were running down the young brunette's face once again. "I completely forgot! How could I forget…?" Gabriella mumbled into the phone, now completely distraught.
"Sweetie, you have a lot on your mind. Why don't you plan something for him sometime soon? If you can't get together until winter break, then make sure to do something special, okay?" Maria suggested carefully, trying to keep her daughter calm.
In that moment, Gabriella got absolutely fed up with herself. This type of situation was never going to happen between her and Troy again.
"Don't worry, Mom. I have something planned." She reassured. "Thanks for the help. I'll make sure to call you this weekend…promise."
"Thank you, honey. Just call if you need anything. Love you."
"Love you too, Mom." Gabriella ended the call and immediately stood up. Her entire being was so determined that nothing was going to stop her from redeeming herself and going back to the way things were in high school.
She was going to be the best girlfriend in the world – the girl Troy deserved.
"Now, I know that this is the first game of the season, and that everyone is a little anxious because we haven't played as a team in a competitive setting yet. But…I know you guys are good. You know you guys are good. We've worked hard in practice and dedicated our free time to developing new plays and strategies that will crush the competition. So let's not waste all of that time and effort, alright? Go Bears!" Coach Montgomery lectured the boys, and the entire Berkeley team put their hands in a circle and did their pre-game chant.
"Alright boys! You get five minutes and then I want to see you out on the court warming up!" The coach yelled at his team as he left the locker room.
Troy walked over to sit down on a bench across from his locker. He grabbed the black phone from his duffel bag and flipped it open to see if he had gotten any messages.
He really couldn't believe that she had forgotten about not only his game, but his birthday as well. Troy didn't even care that he wasn't going to get a present from her. It was more of the fact that he wasn't going to get to spend time with her like he wanted to. His birthday usually meant that Gabriella and him could spend the entire day together, and enjoy each other's company.
Troy let his head drop into his hands. He couldn't believe what was happening to him and this entire relationship that he had worked so hard to keep. He hadn't picked Berkeley just because of Gabriella, but she was the deciding factor when he got accepted. Somewhere between the time she had left for Stanford and graduation, Troy had realized that he couldn't leave her. She meant so much to him that he wasn't ready to let her go and never see her again.
"Hey Bolton, you okay?" Anthony, the starting center on the team, walked over to the bench Troy was sitting at.
"Yeah, I'm fine." Troy answered quietly while taking his head out of his hands. "I'm just kind of stressed out about some stuff. Personal issues and all that…"
"Gabriella?" Anthony asked with a knowing look. He was easily Troy's best friend on the team, and knew all about his relationship with his high school girlfriend.
"Yeah." Troy admitted. "It sucks. I can't get my mind off of how our relationship is nearly non-existent. It's taking away from my game concentration."
"You can't look at it like that. The game is an entire chunk of time where you are free from thinking about your relationship. It's just you and the court. You can't let your mind wander." Anthony stated, slapping Troy on the back before running out of the locker room to start warming up on the court.
Troy stared at the ground for a moment before picking up his cell phone again.
"Damn it!" He groaned. All he wanted was a little acknowledgement that she knew he still existed. Even if it was just a smiley face or a "good luck". Troy didn't care anymore about whether or not she remembered his birthday. He just wanted to know that she was still going to be his girlfriend in a week.
As Troy left the locker room, he glanced back at his cell phone once more.
How am I supposed to forget about her?
Gabriella quickly sat down in her seat in the second level of the Haas Pavilion. She set her purse on the floor as her eyes scanned the court for the one person that she wanted to see more than ever before. The Bears were warming up while the Arizona State Sun Devils were grouped together with their coach. There were a decent amount of people in the venue, and enough in Gabriella's section to hide her well.
The young brunette reached into her purse as she continued to glance around the court. She quickly pulled out her cell phone.
She should have been giving her presentation in eight minutes.
The momentary butterflies that filled her stomach, along with a strong sense of panic and regret, all disappeared the moment she laid her eyes on her boyfriend.
Gabriella couldn't believe how sexy he looked in his new navy blue and yellow uniform. She could tell that he was nervous by the way he was scratching the back of his neck, but knew that he was ready for the game.
Gabriella watched as Troy's eyes kept glancing back towards the locker room, as if he wanted to run in there. She couldn't imagine why. Basketball was his favorite sport and he loved to play. Sitting on the bench wasn't an option.
The Bears' coach called the team in for a huddle, and Gabriella moved to put her cell phone back in her purse before she realized that she had forgotten to do the most important thing that she always did before one of Troy's games.
She forgot to wish him good luck.
Gabriella silently swore to herself. Damn it! She was trying to be a better girlfriend and she forgot one of the most important parts of her job – offering encouragement to her boyfriend. No wonder Troy was looking back at the locker room every few seconds. She had never forgotten to text him, and he was probably itching to check his phone one more time.
Gabriella sighed, holding her breath for a moment in hopes that her watery eyes would not produce tears. After tonight, she prayed that everything would be better between them. She didn't want to ruin what they had, and hoped that Troy would forgive her for being such a bad person.
The whistle sounded and she watched Troy walk out on the court, quickly glancing at the locker room door and then around the crowd with a slightly dejected face. As the referee blew the whistle once again, the expression went away and Troy's game face took over.
"Alright guys, you're doing amazing! Troy, keep it up out there, and Anthony, make sure to continue blocking their center. Good job guys. Let's finish this right and kick some Scum Devil ass!"
The Berkeley team cheered and quickly wiped the sweat pouring down their faces with towels. Troy felt himself being patted on the back as he made his way toward his duffel bag.
"Great job Troy!" Craig Pullman, another player on the team, yelled from the other side of the locker room.
"Thanks man!" Troy smiled back before dropping onto the bench across from his bag. He took a deep breath and tried to calm himself down. His heart wasn't racing because of how great he had played during the first half. Although this was turning out to be one of his best games, he wasn't nervous or excited about that.
The reason why his heart was racing was because this was the moment that would decide whether or not he and Gabriella were going to make it. If she hadn't text him by now, then she had completely forgotten about him and their relationship. Troy didn't want to check his phone, because he had a feeling that it might be over between them. He couldn't accept that.
Slowly, Troy reached into his duffel bag and grabbed his black phone. Glancing up at the clock he noticed that it was now 7:54. Gabriella's presentation had to be over by now.
The young basketball star took a deep breath before opening his cell phone. He raised his eyes up from the ground slowly, dreading what he knew he was going to see.
2 new text messages
Troy couldn't contain the smile that broke out onto his face as he stared at the screen. Their relationship wasn't over after all. She still cared about him! Troy felt relief spread through his body and closed his eyes to calm himself down. Gabriella still loved him, just like he loved her. They were going to be fine.
Troy opened the first text message and his grin disappeared, noticing the number was not his girlfriend's.
Hey man! Happy B-day! Kick ass tonight. Let me know how it goes! – Chad
Troy felt himself smile slightly once again. He missed his best friend and couldn't wait to see him over winter break. In only two more weeks, he would be back in Albuquerque with all of his old friends and family.
The young man closed the message and prepared to open the other one, a larger smile forming over his face once again.
Hey honey! So sorry I didn't text earlier, I completely lost track of time! Happy 19th birthday and good luck in your game tonight. I love you so much! Call me and tell me all about it once it's over. Your father wants to hear all about it as well! – Mom
Troy's floating heart crashed through the floor after reading the text message. Gabriella hadn't text him after all. It was only Chad and his mother.
The sense of dread swept over the basketball star once again. Gabriella hadn't text him. She never forgot… she… how could she… it couldn't be over, they were…
"Troy! Game time! Let's go!" Coach Montgomery shouted at his starting guard and pointed toward the door. The young man sat frozen for a couple of seconds, willing the tears that were about to flood his eyes to go away.
It took a lot to make Troy cry, and he was trying to push aside his crumbling emotions in order to regroup and head back onto the court with a fresh brain.
He forcefully threw the cell phone down into his duffel bag and turned around the walk out of the locker room. Coach Montgomery gave him a questioning look before he too jogged out onto the basketball court.
Gabriella was so important to Troy. She was his entire life – his future. She was his everything, and now… Troy couldn't even think of the possibility of there not being a "Troy and Gabriella" anymore. It crushed him – both emotionally and physically.
Shaking his head to rid his mind of the crippling thoughts, Troy's focus returned to basketball. Although it wasn't his first love, he was going to make sure that it didn't disappear as well. He needed to show himself that basketball would never be taken away.
As the final buzzer sounded, Gabriella couldn't help the wide smile erupt on her face as she witnessed the Cal Bears jumping up and down in excitement. They had just beaten the Arizona Sun Devils 92 to 71, thanks to Troy's amazing play. She was thrilled that he was on fire that night, making just about every shot he took.
All of the dread and panic that had filled her at the beginning of the game seemed silly now. She had never been so glad to take a lower grade on a presentation because she had to move it.
The brunette remembered being slightly intimidated as she had approached her Criminal Law professor on Thursday, but knew that changing her presentation time was something she had to do. Professor Bronson had clearly stated that he would not tolerate any time-slot changes, but after Gabriella begged him to switch her time to anything but seven to nine p.m. Friday night, he had given in. Gabriella was able to switch her presentation to two p.m. on Friday, but she had to take a ten percent deduction on her grade.
Although it killed Gabriella to do it, she knew that there were more important things in life than school.
As the crowd stood up from their seats and made their way towards the exits, Gabriella carefully gathered her purse and phone and walked over towards the almost empty basketball court. Both teams had retreated to their locker rooms, and a few officials and staff remained.
The young brunette walked in the direction of the men's locker room before she was stopped by an older man.
"Excuse me, miss. We generally don't allow spectators in the locker room area." He said kindly with a smile. Gabriella recognized him from sitting on the Berkeley bench. He must be the head coach.
"Oh." She blushed slightly. Of course she couldn't just walk in there. "Sorry. I was just hoping to see my boyfriend. Could you tell him to meet me outside? His name is Troy."
The man's eyebrows raised and then a knowing look came over his face. "Actually, you can just wait in the hallway across from the locker room. You don't need to wait outside."
Gabriella glanced around the dimly lit hallway as she walked towards the locker room with the coach. He motioned for her to stay outside when they reached a blue door, and then went inside.
If it was even possible, Gabriella was more nervous than when she was talking to her professor. Sure, Troy had called her Thursday night and text on Friday morning, wishing her good luck on her presentation, but it was possible that he was fed up with Gabriella's lack of time for him.
Gabriella didn't know what she would do if she got rejected by Troy. If they… broke up. She never wanted that to happen.
The brunette's head snapped up as she heard the locker room door open. Several players walked out in fresh clothes with wet hair, but there was no sign of Troy.
She looked up quickly to find Anthony, the center on the team, glancing at her with a slightly shocked and curious face.
"Hey." She smiled softly.
His grin grew wider. "Hold on a sec, let me go get Troy. He's going to be so surprised-"
"No!" Gabriella whispered forcefully, as the locker room door was open. I want to keep it a surprise." She explained.
"Oh, okay. Well, it was great to see you!" Anthony said cheerfully before walking away.
Gabriella took a deep breath and glanced down at the ground. She tried to mentally calm herself down. This was Troy. Her boyfriend. The man who she was most comfortable around. The guy who she would always run to if something was wrong. She shouldn't be nervous. It was just Troy.
The brunette's heart came to a halt as she heard her favorite voice in the world say her name. Looking up from the floor, her eyes met his piercing blue ones – eyes that were full of love and confusion.
"Hi." She mumbled quietly, becoming extremely shy. Gabriella watched Troy's shocked face as he stared at her. After a lifetime of silence, he walked across the hallway to where she was standing.
"What are you doing here?" He asked softly, continuing their intimate tone. Troy set his duffel bag down on the floor next to their feet and looked back at his girlfriend.
"I wanted to congratulate you on your amazing game. You played really well." Gabriella smiled, and was tempted to brush her hand against his cheek, but restrained herself.
"You watched the whole game?" Troy questioned with shock in his tone. "What about your presentation?"
"I moved it, and my professor only took off ten percent of my grade for doing so." Gabriella answered, still staring at her boyfriend. Neither had touched the other yet, which was highly unusual. Normally, by this time, Gabriella should have been in Troy's arms.
"Why would you do that?" he asked, shaking his head slightly, still completely confused.
"Because I love you." She answered forcefully, and gauged his reaction.
Troy shook his head once again, and then locked his eyes with Gabriella's. "I love you more than anything in this world. You are so amazing." He praised before taking a step forward and dropping his forehead onto hers.
Gabriella closed her eyes at the intimacy of the moment. Maybe everything would be okay after all. "I'm really sorry I haven't had enough time for us, lately. I'm going to try to change that from now on. I hate not seeing you. I've missed you so much."
Troy's face broke out into a small grin. "I've missed you too." He mumbled before dropping a kiss onto her forehead. "Are we okay?" he asked cautiously, and Gabriella could tell that he hadn't been sure of their relationship status that night.
The brunette nodded her head and let the small tears escape from her eyes. "We're perfect." She muttered, before wrapping her arms around Troy's neck and pulling him down to kiss her.
Her heart exploded with joy at the fact that she and Troy were going to be fine. She couldn't contain her excitement and satisfaction of being in Troy's arms, and pressed herself as close to him as possible.
Troy couldn't believe his good fortune that night. He had really thought that their relationship was over when he returned to the locker room at the end of the game and found that Gabriella still hadn't text him. The young man was so happy with the way things turned out. He could never lose his girlfriend.
Troy gripped Gabriella tighter and pushed her against the wall, removing his lips from hers to attack her neck. Gabriella couldn't help but moan at the sensations that Troy was giving her. He slowly trailed kisses up her neck and connected their lips again.
"Let me take you back to my dorm." He mumbled against her skin, and Gabriella could tell that he was completely turned on and wanted her…badly.
Gabriella tried to hide her smile as the first part of her plan came into play. She forced herself to remain composed, and then put on a sad face.
"Troy." She said quietly, pulling away from him. "I'm so sorry. I can't. I had to move my presentation to ten p.m. tonight."
Troy stared back in disbelief. "What?" he asked. "You've got to be kidding me!" He groaned and then dropped his head into the crook of her neck. "What kind of professor stays at school that late?"
Gabriella noticed that Troy's arms contracted around her a little bit more. She smiled at the fact that he didn't want to let her go.
"I know. It's a ridiculous time, but he was generous enough to move my presentation, and I don't want to get on his bad side…" she explained, watching as Troy let out a sigh.
He stared at her sadly, but she knew that he accepted the idea. "I guess it was nice of him to move your presentation. I really appreciate you coming to the game tonight. It means a lot." He said, before pulling her closer to his chest in order to get one last kiss.
"Love you." He said, looking straight into Gabriella's eyes.
"I love you too. I'll call you later tonight, okay?" she promised before stealing one more kiss from the reluctant Troy. She knew that he didn't want her to go, but Gabriella had to lie in order for her plan to work.
As soon as the brunette made it to the outside of the Haas Pavilion, she broke into a run. She had a feeling that her plan was going to work, and it was going to be one of the best nights of her life.
Troy walked down the hallway towards his dorm room. Although he was upset that Gabriella had to leave, he couldn't help but be grateful that their relationship had survived this rocky time. If they could get through something like this, then they could get through pretty much anything.
Troy dug around in his bag as he reached the door to his room. He knew that his roommate Steve was out for the weekend, as he always went home to visit his parents, and the door would be locked. Troy hated this, because he could never seem to find his key easily.
After searching for another minute, Troy found the key at the bottom of his duffel bag, and let out a sigh of relief. At least he wasn't going to have to walk across campus to get a new key again.
Troy turned around and shut the door, tossing his duffel bag on the black sofa near the window, before turning on the light.
Troy stood there in shock as he looked at his girlfriend standing in the center of his room with a big smile on her face.
"What the hell?" Troy asked, completely confused.
"My presentation was actually at two this afternoon. I just wanted to surprise you. Steve gave me a key before he left." She said excitedly. "Happy nineteenth birthday Troy!"
So she hadn't forgotten.
Troy couldn't believe it. A huge grin erupted on his face as he crossed the room quickly and wrapped Gabriella in a massive hug, spinning her around before setting her back on the ground.
"Thank you." He said genuinely, before pressing a kiss to her lips. "So…does this mean you're spending the night?" Troy asked hopefully.
"Actually, if you want…and only if you want… I can spend the entire weekend here." Gabriella said shyly.
Troy's jaw dropped and he pulled Gabriella tightly to him. "The entire weekend? Of course I want you to stay." He said before pressing his lips forcefully against hers. "Mmmm…God, you taste so good." He mumbled.
"As long as no one finds out." She laughed. "Don't you want to see your birthday present?" Gabriella asked, smiling at her boyfriend's sudden distraction as he looked around the room, trying to find a wrapped box.
"Of course." He said, before dropping his forehead to hers. "You didn't have to get me anything, though. Just being able to have you is enough." He muttered.
Gabriella kissed him quickly and then walked over to his closet, taking out a small box and handing it to Troy. A huge grin came over his face.
"What is it?" he asked, wrapping an arm around her before leading her to his bed so they could sit down.
"You have to open it silly. I'm not going to tell you." Gabriella laughed, loving every minute that she was spending with Troy.
"Right." he mumbled sheepishly, before tearing into the present. "Plane tickets…to Albuquerque during spring break!" Troy exclaimed before wrapping Gabriella in a crushing hug. "Thank you so much!"
The brunette smiled and cupped Troy's cheek. "I know that you thought you weren't going to be able to go back during March, but I wanted to make it happen. Happy birthday."
"I love you so much. Thank you." Troy praised before boxing up the tickets and setting them on the nightstand right by his bed.
"Well, there is one more part to the present." Gabriella tried to contain her smile as her boyfriend's eyebrows rose, immediately catching on to her tone.
"And what would that be?" he asked gently as he lowered Gabriella onto his bed.
Troy wasted no time in connecting their lips. Gabriella gripped at him tightly, desire raging through her body. She had missed Troy so much, and this seemed like the most perfect reunion they could have.
The brunette pushed on Troy's chest to get him to stop kissing her neck long enough for her to pull his shirt off and throw it on the floor. She felt her blouse being unbuttoned by Troy's eager fingers before he tossed it aside.
"You are so beautiful." Troy kissed Gabriella so lovingly that she nearly fainted.
"I'm sorry about before, Troy." Gabriella apologized, slightly out of breath while Troy was trailing kisses down her body. "I can't go that long without seeing you anymore – oh!"
Troy smiled as he once again found the sensitive spot on Gabriella neck. "It's okay baby. I was just hoping that you hadn't forgotten about me."
Gabriella closed her eyes at the feeling of Troy's body on top of hers and then kissed him quickly. "That's not possible. You're extraordinary."
Gabriella let her entire body feel the pleasure as Troy kissed her soundly. He was all she ever wanted. Troy was the man who cuddled up to her when they were watching movies; who drove over an hour to see her the first night of college when she became homesick; who broke the status quo in order to be with her; who always text her and wished her good luck for a big presentation or test; who told her he loved her over and over again; who protected her from every bad thing in the world; who chose a school in California because he wanted to be with her…
And even though she had screwed up as a girlfriend, he was the guy who had still forgiven her.
No. There was no way she could ever forget Troy.
He was simply unforgettable.
Thanks for reading! I really enjoyed writing this one, so I hope you like it! The idea came to me after I had a college visit and I felt the need to write something like this.
The Road Not Taken will hopefully be updated sometime within the next couple of weeks – so sorry about the lack of updates on that one.
Hope you enjoyed it!