A/N: Okay, I was doing my maths coursework and I was listening to the song 'my best friend's hot' by the dollyrots and this thing came to me. I don't know if you like it but ZZ9PluralZAlpha did :) lol. Thank you so much to ZZ9PluralZAlpha for helping me out with the title. You're awesome!
Summary: With her mother's company transferring them so much, Gabriella never thought she'd had a real friend. But, then she met Troy Bolton.
Don't own HSM x
Maybe I was being ambitious that I would get away with reading whilst my mom hosted some dinner party thing for her new employers but a future lawyer shouldn't give up without a fight. And, boy, was I going to fight? I'd basically grown up with these stupid dinner parties and they weren't fun when I was five, and they're not fun at fourteen years old. It's not that I don't care about my mom's career – she's my best friend so of course I do – I just don't see why all of her employers would want to meet me and then go through my entire life history.
"Gabby?" My mom asked sweetly as she entered the room.
I lowered my book Twilight by Stephanie Meyer and peered curiously at my mother. I knew what was coming. It was pretty predictable and we had literally the same conversation every time we moved which was pretty much every summer. We had moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, just before my freshman year. While it seemed a nice, quiet place to live, I had yet to make a single friend – a downside to moving every five freaking seconds.
"Mom…" I replied, regarding her appearance in a crisp, smart, black dinner dress. A white apron was tied around her dress and she was wiping her hands with a tea towel.
"The Boltons' will be here in half an hour. I've laid out your best clothes. Come, get ready." She held her hand out to me.
I returned my gaze to the page. "Can't I just stay in my room, please, Mommy?"
My mom pried the book from my hands and I reached helplessly for it. "Gabby." She warned. "Please? Its one little dinner. They've got a son around your age."
"So?" I shrugged. I got to my feet and sighed. "I guess I've sat through a million of these dinners, I might as well make it a million and one."
My mom smiled sadly. "I know moving is very hard but I'm sorry, mi hija."
I shrugged and took my book back off her. "It doesn't matter. You're doing so well in your company. Without that, I doubt that we would have as much food as we do."
She chuckled heartily and kissed my forehead. "Go and get changed, Gabby."
I rolled my eyes playfully and walked slowly out of the lounge. As soon as I turned the corner, however, I opened my book and began reading again on my way to my bedroom. We had only been in Albuquerque a little over three weeks and I'd already memorised the house. I knew where every corner and crevice was. I climbed the stairs much more quickly than someone would think possible considering I was reading and entered my bedroom. It was pretty big considering the size of the house. To make it up to me for moving so often – and considering the amount of books I own – my mom always allowed me to have the biggest room in the house.
I spotted the clothes suggested by my mom immediately on my bed: a nice lilac summer dress. The spaghetti straps were white along with the little flowers embroidered on the skirt of the dress. Pretty nice although I knew I'd be pretty uncomfortable considering I'd spent the entire day in my pyjamas.
My mom was everything to me. Since I grew up without my dad, she had had to step up a notch and found a job which pays extremely well considering the small number of hours my mom always worked, no matter where we moved to. Luckily, the entire company was very flexible and allowed my mom to work very few hours during the day and she never had to work on weekends. As it was, she had been promoted quite a few times during her fourteen years of employment from them.
My mom taught me how to talk, how to walk, how to read, how to write, how to ride a bike, how to shoot a basket, how to dance, how to sing and pretty much every other thing I know. She helped me with my homework whenever I needed it. We always cooked dinner together and I wasn't afraid to tell her anything. On the very few times I had got myself in trouble, my mom had been so cool about it because I had always admitted it. She'd never been angry with me…just disappointed. I hated her disappointed tone more than anything, therefore staying clear out of trouble's way.
I made my way downstairs, clothed in my dress and my hair curled in neat ringlets, and entered the kitchen where my mom was and I smiled at her. "What are we having for dinner?"
My mom grinned at me with raised eyebrows and we both answered together. "Montez lasagne." It was like our signature meal. Ever since the first dinner party, news had spread throughout the many branches of the company and we soon became well-known for the lasagne.
I joined my mom at the counter and began to chop vegetables up. "How long is your contract here?" I enquired, predicting that it would, as usual, last for a year until she was transferred again to someplace different.
My mom was preparing the oven and I noticed that she furrowed her brow. "I'm not sure. Jack was pretty vague on the phone."
"Jack? You're already on first name basis?" I teased.
My mom glared at me. "He's very laid back and informed me straight away that he preferred to be called Jack by his employees. He's also the gym teacher at your new school, East High. His son goes there."
I rolled my eyes. I wasn't completely devoid of guy knowledge like she was making it sound. I'd dated a couple of guys before. 'Couple' being the operative word. Nothing had ever happened with any of them…except they all broke up with me. Put it this way: at fourteen years old, I was living as a kiss virgin. I was okay with that. My heart belonged to books and my dream of being a lawyer. But, maybe that was it: I'd been brought up with books and guys simply didn't understand that. And with the constant moving, it was difficult to keep up a strong relationship that would survive.
"Mom, what if he's ugly, stupid and a face full of zits?" I asked jokingly.
"What if he's…nice…and charming…and sweet…and read books?" My mom asked.
I laughed out loud. "Right. Which high school guy reads for the fun of it?"
My mom shrugged. "I'm not sure. Hopeful thinking?"
I nodded. "Most likely."
* * *
I was late. I was super late. I was so late, my mom would be so mad at me. All because Chad 'lost' my truck's keys when they were in the stupid pocket of his pants. That is the last time I trust my best friend…ever. I had had to run about three red lights to get home and then I couldn't find the suit my mom was, unfortunately, making me wear. I was pretty sure I need a new one considering she had had to sew the seam of the inside of the right leg, like, ten times. My parents were going to have dinner with their new employee and I was forced to go along because…well, to be honest, I don't know why. All I know is that I was always forced into the formal things my parents went to.
Where the hell were the black shoes my mom said she had laid out for me? If I have to resort to my incredibly comfortable and stylish converse sneakers because I can't find my smart shoes, who is at fault? Clearly not me. My mom told me that she had put my shoes out for me. I tried my room, my parents' room, the guest room, the utility room and even my bathroom and nada. No shoes.
My converse sneakers – which were a little worn with overuse – felt snug and comfortable against my feet as I slipped them on with a practised ease. I entered the kitchen and opened the pantry and pulled out a bread roll. I began eating it hurriedly as I noticed a post-it stuck down to the island. Basically, my mom was promising that my late little butt was grounded as soon as this dinner was over and done with. She sometimes reminded me of Ron Weasley's mom from Harry Potter.
I continued to eat the bread roll in case the new employee's food was horrible. I had had this evening all planned out. There was a Lakers vs. Knicks game on TV and I had worked out that if I watched the game and left as soon as it finished – and placing celebrations as the Lakers had won on hold – I'd be able to get home without running red lights and changing in time for me and my parents to leave.
Like I said: oh well.
My dad knew Chad almost as well as I did. He'd understand. He wouldn't ground his only son, would he? Just because my best friend had forgotten that I'd given him my keys when I went to the bathroom?
Who am I kidding? I'll be lucky if my parents send me to college un-grounded.
I pulled the post-it from the counter and turned it over to find the address of – well, I assumed – my parents' new employee. My mom had obviously figured that I had not listened to one damn conversation about this new employee. The only thing I had picked up on – and don't blame me, I'm a hormonal teenage boy – was that she had a daughter.
I could've started fantasising about what kind of girl she was, but instead I stopped in front of the hall mirror and checked I looked presentable. My tie was done up somewhat crookedly and loosely but it would have to do. My hair was incredibly messed up due to my mad rush but, once again, it'd have to do. I was running out of time.
I hurried into my truck, surprised that she hadn't fallen to pieces through my haste to get home, and drove speedily towards the house my parents were at. I was eternally grateful to whichever god was watching over me and making sure there were no cops around to catch me doing about twenty miles per hour over the speed limit and when I ran a stop sign and two more red lights.
I pulled to a sudden halt outside of a large house with my parents' car outside and a smaller, more practical, car on the driveway. My truck nearly crashed straight into my parents' car but stopped just in time. I climbed out quickly, locked my truck and was soon ringing the doorbell.
A woman who I was pretty sure was Spanish opened the door and smiled broadly at me. "You must be Troy."
"Yes, I am." I replied somewhat nervously.
"I'm Eva." She shook my outstretched hand and smiled warmly. "Come on in."
I stepped through the door and she led me through to the dining room. I paused in the doorway to take in what I saw. My parents were on one side of the table and the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen was sitting opposite my dad and looking up at me with big, brown, innocent eyes. I guessed Eva sat at the head of the table next to my dad. I flinched under his glare.
My mom rose from the table and placed her napkin on the table next to her plate. "Oh, my gosh, Eva I'm so sorry. I warned you he'd be late."
"I'm sorry, Mom. Chad lost my keys." I mumbled, shuffling my feet.
"You gave your keys to Chad?" My dad asked slowly.
"I went to the bathroom." I muttered, scratching my neck.
My dad rolled his eyes. "And you trusted that boy with your keys?"
"It made sense at the time." I exclaimed.
"You are so grounded when we get home, Mister!" My mom threatened as she sat back down.
Eva laughed and walked around the table to sit down. "Be easy on the boy. It doesn't matter. Sit down, Troy. This is my daughter, Gabriella."
I took a seat next to the girl and smiled at her as we shook hands. "It's nice to meet you."
"Same here." She whispered, turning back to her food.
I looked in front of me to see a plate of lasagne already waiting for me. Gabriella was obviously not like other girls. Usually girls were falling all over me before I'd told them my name. And Gabriella simply silently ate her meal. I began to copy her, eating my own lasagne, as my parents told Eva that I was sixteen, apparently two years older than Gabriella.
If Eva was my parents' employee, I hoped that there'd be a lot more dinner parties.
* * *
I leaned back in my chair and folded my arm as my mom talked with Jack and Lucille. They had moved from business – my mom's contract was negotiable – to me and Troy. Troy seemed nice. Honestly. But, I said that my heart belongs to books and that's wear it's staying. Jack boasted that Troy was the captain of East High's basketball team – the first sophomore ever to make varsity and is still the captain now that he was going to be a junior in a few weeks when school started. He was a jock. Like he'd give me the time of day.
He was, admittedly, kind of handsome. He was tall – albeit lanky – and judging from his appearance, he wasn't one for the formal gatherings. His eyes were baby blue and his cheeks were still slightly rounded from childhood. I spied some light stubble on his neck but I was pretty sure I only saw it because we were sitting so close to each other. When he had talked, his voice had been slightly scratchy as though his voice had just finished breaking. He was sixteen. It was probably the case. Judging from his status of being basketball captain and taking in his appearance, he wouldn't want to spend time with me. He probably had a girlfriend. A girlfriend who wasn't obsessed with books.
I reached up to curl some of my hair behind my ear before re-folding my arms again. I tried so very hard not to move. The slightest move would make us touch and it was best that way. I looked across to the wall behind Jack and Lucille's heads. It showed pictures of me right from the beginning of my life. It showed me as a baby, when I had braces and when I received an award for a piano performance.
I sighed wistfully. In almost each of those pictures were taken in a different place. Whilst I was born in Kansas, I now lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico. One of the hottest places I've ever lived. It seemed the sun never went to sleep!
"Mi hija, why don't you and Troy go and watch some TV?" My mom suggested.
I nodded and stood up. "If that's okay…"
"Sure it is." Lucille smiled. "Just don't let Troy watch any basketball."
Troy got to his feet beside me and rolled his eyes. "The game has already finished, Mom."
"Who won?" Jack asked excitedly.
Lucille hit him over the head. "Gabriella, Honey, you'll soon realise that nearly everyone in Albuquerque is obsessed with basketball."
"Oh, you play, don't you, Gabriella?" My mom grinned.
I blushed deeply and pushed the chair under the table. "Mom…"
"You play?" Troy asked.
I shrugged as I lifted my head. "A little bit."
"Do you have a hoop?" He asked eagerly.
I shook my head. "We've moved so much it got pretty boring after a while to take the hoop down and put it back up…" I mumbled.
Troy's face fell slightly. "Oh. Okay. Well, if you ever want to play, there's one at my house."
"There are three at our house." Lucille pointed out.
Troy shrugged sheepishly as he pushed his own chair under the table. "What can I say? I'm a guy!"
Without my immediate consent, a giggle bubbled from between my lips. "Makes sense." I whispered. "Are you sure we can watch some TV, Mommy?" I asked, having the gut feeling that she would say no.
She smiled at me. "Its fine, Sweetheart. But, if you pick up that book while Troy is here, I will burn it."
I gasped and frowned at her. "Hmph. That's not fair."
"You read?" Lucille asked.
I nodded and felt the heat rise in my cheeks. "Yeah."
"That's something I never hear in my house." She grumbled.
"That's all I hear in mine." My mom rolled her eyes at me.
I glared playfully at her. "Whatever. Come on, Troy, the lounge is over here." I smiled politely at him as I led him through to the lounge. I sat down on the sofa and picked up the remote, immediately switching it on. Troy sat next to me and I shuffled away so our thighs wouldn't brush against each other. I crossed my legs one way…and then the other.
I felt someone staring at me and I turned to see Troy smiling at me in amusement. "Sorry." I muttered, settling into the couch.
He chuckled. "If you're not comfortable, sit how you want."
I hesitated before I crossed my legs. "Thanks. When I sit on a couch, I'm usually reading so I generally sit like this."
Troy reached forward towards the coffee table and picked up Twilight. "You're reading this?"
I nodded. "Yeah. I'm actually re-reading it. I've read the whole series and love it."
"Well, they are good books." Troy admitted.
"You've read them?" I asked unsurely.
Troy nodded. "Yeah. My friend, Taylor, persuaded me to try them and I got hooked. Yeah. Maybe somewhere in the world, there's my own Bella."
"Maybe there's an Edward for me." I whispered. "But, anyway, so what's East High like?"
Troy seemed to ponder the question as he flicked through my book to wear my bookmark was. He quickly scanned the page, obviously curious as to where I was up to, and then shut the book suddenly. He turned to me and grinned. "Not your average high school. How do you imagine every high school to be?"
I shrugged. "Well, I can't say I ever really thought about it. I was just going to take it as it came. But, I assumed they all had cliques. You know," I gestured to him, "jocks," I gestured to me, "nerds, skaters, drama people…You know the works. But, I don't know." I admitted, looking back towards the TV where Two and a Half Men was showing.
Troy chuckled. "Well, put it this way: the girl I think of as a little sister is the school's composer. My best friend's girlfriend is on the scholastic decathlon team. And then there's Sharpay…but she's in a league of her own."
"So…let me get this straight: you're friends with…nerds?" I gasped. "Why?"
Troy shrugged. "Like I said, East High's different."
I nodded slowly. "Right…"
Troy scratched the back of his neck, obviously nervous. "So, as we're pretty much going against the rules of high school and stuff…maybe…you know…I was wondering if…uh…"
"I'd like to be friends with you?" I asked quietly.
"Yeah. My mouth dysfunctions when I'm nervous. It's like a disease but…yes. I was wondering that." He replied.
I giggled at his words. "Well, I mean, Troy, you're two years older than me. I'm a freshman. You're a junior. I'm not fifteen until Decmeber."
"I'm seventeen in October." Troy replied. "But, I was thinking you'd have a friend to start off with…"
I thought his suggestion over. Troy seemed genuinely nice…and funny. Comedy was always one to win me over. He seemed generally fun and if he had other friends like me – translation: nerds – then I wouldn't be alone. They were all probably juniors, too, though. But, if Troy was there, it couldn't be that bad, could it? Even if he was a junior, it was better than starting without a friend, right?
I looked back towards him, only then realising how I had been somewhat hypnotised by my book which was sitting in his lap. The direction of my gaze could've been taken in the wrong context but Troy seemed unaffected by it. I sighed before shrugging.
"I guess starting with the most popular guy in school as a friend has got to get me a good start, right?" I asked whilst shrugging again. "I'll be your friend."
Troy grinned broadly as he wrapped his arms around me and pulled me towards his chest. He felt warm and protective…which he probably was if he treated one of his friends like a little sister. "Ella, I'll be the best friend you ever have."