Landing time, 2:30 in the afternoon. Time she woke up in LA, 7:40. Time she got the phone call to come home 9:15. Time she got a plane to get here, 11:30. Last time she was here, 2 and a half years ago.
It was still the same airport it was when she left. Same people working there, same magazine racks. But she was a different person. She had a different outlook on life this time around. She regrets leaving here everyday of her life. She made a mistake. And the person that she hurt, still hasnt talked to her since.
The taxi cab pulled up on the side of the curb and she got in. The cab driver drove her to her destination.
"What brings you to New Mexico?" The driver asked from the drivers seat.
"Family." She told him. He smiled at her through the rear view mirror. 20 minutes later she was there. She looked out the window. The house still looked the same. The driver came out and helped her with her bags. She paid him and thanked him and he got back in and drove off. The luggage clunked on the walkway to the door. She parked the luggage and rang the door bell.
The door opened to a blonde and a brunette.
"Oh my god." The blonde said when she saw her in the door way.
"Hi." She said.
"Thank god you're here." Taylor said pulling her into a hug. "Come on, get in here." She told her. Sharpay and Taylor grabbed her luggage off the front step and brought her into the house. It was still the same.
"How was your flight?" Sharpay asked her taking a seat on the couch.
"Fine." She cleared her throat. "It was fine." The three of them sat in silence for a little while.
"How is he?" She asked breaking the silence. The other two looked at each other.
"Hes ok." Sharpay told her taking a sip of her diet pepsi that sat on the counter.
"As soon as Chad called me I got on the first flight here." She told them.
"He would want you here." Taylor told her. She shrugged.
The front door flew open and Chad walked in.
"Gabriella." He said when he walked in. She turned around to see her best friend. "You actually came." She ran up to him and gave him a hug.
"Of course I came. Why wouldnt I?" She asked. He hugged her tighter.
"You have no idea how good it is to see you." Gabriella closed her eyes and took in the moment. After two years finally someone has told her that. She broke them apart.
"Where is he?" She asked him.
"Hes at the house with his mom." Gabriella turned towards the girls.
"What time is the.." Gabriella couldnt even get the words out of her mouth.
"Its starts at three but we should get going soon." Taylor told her.
"Ill take you upstairs." Sharpay told Gabriella and she followed her up. Taylor turned to her boyfriend of almost six years.
"Did you tell him she was coming?" Taylor asked him. Chad shook his head. Taylor slapped him on his arm.
"Why not?" She asked.
"Because he said he never wanted to see her again, but Taylor shes the only one who knows how to deal with Troy when hes like this. When his grandfather died a few years ago she was the only person that he wanted by his side at all times. If I told him she was coming he would have said no." Chad told her. He put his hands on her shoulders. "Just please trust me on this one."
Her room was still the same. The same pictures up on the walls, same bed spread. The teddy bear that she left here was sitting on the bed.
"Taylor and I decided that we didnt want another room mate when you left. This was your room and it always will be." Sharpay explained to her. Gabriella nodded and sat down on her old bed. Sharpay came and sat down next to her.
"How have you been? Hows LA?" Sharpay asked her.
"I've been ok. LA is great." Gabriella told her.
"Is it everything you dreamed it would be?" Sharpay asked her. Gabriella wasnt sure how to answer that question. LA had everything that Gabriella dreamed of, but it was missing one person.
"More then you could imagine." Gabriella told her. Sharpay smiled.
"Hows the music industry?" Sharpay asked.
"Its really good. I love my label and my manager is amazing. Its a dream come true." Gabriella told her. Sharpay smiled. She was so jealous of Gabriella. Gabriella left and started all over on her own. Sharpay didnt think that she could have done that.
"I better go and finish getting ready. Ill let you rest for a little bit." Sharpay said standing up and walking towards the door.
"Thanks Shar." She nodded and closed the door. Gabriella stood up and walked to the wall with all of the pictures on it.
A lot were from high school. The musical, the road trip they took after graduation. Troy and her after one of his basketball games. The three girls, the three guys. The six. Thats what they were and always would be to Gabriella. But when she left, the six became the five. And that tore everyone apart. Gabriella continued to look at the other pictures on the wall. The Mexico trip that they took three years back, her and Troy at New Years, and then the picture that she didnt want to see ever again. Her wedding picture.
They eloped. They were 23 when they got married. They didnt want to wait any longer. They were head over heals in love with each other. They wanted the next step but didnt want to wait any longer. They both wanted the big house in the suburbs with a white fence. A few kids running in the backyard and a dog chasing after them. They wanted it. They wanted it more then anything else in the world. But some things dont have a way of working out.
She had enough of the pictures.
She went to her dresser. The jewelry box was in the same place that she left it. She opened it up and took out some of the jewelry. The necklace that she brought out first was a necklace she wore everyday for six years. The T necklace. She left it here because she didnt want any trace of Troy with her when she left. She put it back in the box. The rings. In high school Gabriella had so many rings she couldnt even count. She had a little bag full of them. She dumped them all out on her bed and looked through them. She remembered them all, one a little to well.
Her wedding ring.
It was a sliver band with my forever branded in the inside of the ring. Gabriella held back tears as she put it back in the box.
She had enough of this room. She walked downstairs back to Taylor and Chad. They were getting ready to go.
"You ready?" Taylor asked her. She nodded.
"SHARPAY LETS GO!" Taylor yelled up the stairs.
"Tada!" Sharpay announced when she came down stairs. In a little black party dress with black heals and really big black sunglasses.
"Really?" was alll Taylor asked.
"What?" Sharpay asked. She found nothing wrong with the outfit she was wearing.
"We are going to a funeral." Taylor told her. "And you were that?"
"Just because someone died doesnt mean I cant look good." She told them walking out the front door.
"She looks ridicoulous is what she looks." Chad mumbled. Taylor hit him and they walked out the door. Gabriella was the last one out to close the door.
They took their seats at the church. Gabriella looked around at all the people walking in to pay their respects. She looked for Troy but he was no where to be seen. She slumped back in the few and nugged Chad.
"What happened?" Gabriella asked him. He sighed.
"He was getting ready for a game and he collapsed in his office. Troy was the one who found him. They took him to the hospital but it was to late. He had a heart attack." Chad explained to her. Gabriella felt guilty. She should have been here. She should have been home for him when it happened.
"I should have been here." Gabriella told him. Chad put an arm around her. "I shouldnt have left. I should have been here for him." Gabriella said.
"There was nothing they could have done for him though Gab." Chad said.
"I know how close he was to him. I should have been here for other things to. I shouldnt have left him." Gabriella said. After seeing the ring and the pictures, it put Gabriella in a guilt trip. She should have never got up and left. She left without telling anyone. They all woke up and she wasnt there. Chad stood up and pulled Gabriella up with him.
"Lets go outside." He told her and guided her out. They were in the back of the church. It was a georgeous day. Not a cloud in the sky. The wind blew just a little bit. Gabriellas curls flew in the wind as she talked to Chad.
"Deep breaths." He told her.
"Im sorry. Its just that it all hit me. I went into my old room and the wedding picture was on the wall and the necklace and the ring were in my jewerly box." Chad hugged her.
"Its ok." He told her. She shook her head.
"No its not. I should have never left. I should have never come back here." Gabriella told him.
"You needed to come back here. You are needed here. Troy needs you." Chad told her. She looked up at him. "YOu were the only person that got him back when his grandfather died. He needs the same thing now." Gabriella nodded her head.
"Lets go back in. The service is going to start." Chad lead Gabriella back into the church and to her seat. Everyone sat down as the pastor went up and said a few words.
"Now Jacks son would like to share a few words." The pastor said. And a brown haired guy stood up in the front row and walked up to the pulpit.
"On behalf of my mother and I we would like to thank you for coming. My father was my idol. Everything he did I wanted to do. He was the person who put a basketball in my hands and taught me how to use it. He taughed me the skills to be a great player. He made me the player I am today. He was always there to give me advice." He said looking down at his paper. He looked up into the crowd and his eyes landed on the girl with the brown ones.
What was she doing here? How did she even know? What was his next line? Troy couldnt speak. He forgot the words. Those eyes just brought him back to a worse place from where he was before.
"Im sorry." Troy said and got down from the pulpit. He ran down the aisle out the double doors. She stood up and ran after him.