Okay – so I know that I posted the final chapter, but someone pointed out that I'd missed a scene – and also, I watched HSM3 last night and thought of another place a kiss could've occurred even though there wasn't anything that suggested there would've been one…if that makes any sense…
Anyways – for one last time, enjoy.
Chapter Five – Pro 'Can I Have This Dance' 2
Falling into the hammock, Gabriella curled into Troy's side as they set the hammock in motion, the gentle rocking calming and comfortable.
"You know, they're all happy along as we're all talking about U of A," Troy sighed. "You chose Stanford…U of A was sort of chosen for me." He paused slightly before continuing. "I haven't talked to anyone about this but, I've had offers from other colleges – I'm really listening."
Gabriella nodded her head in understanding, her voice gentle. "I get it, Troy. I still have decisions to make, too."
Troy faltered slightly. She did? "About what?"
Gabriella hesitated slightly but just as she was about to answer, the back door opened and her mother appeared.
"Oh, I thought I heard you," she announced, unknowingly interrupting a rather serious conversation. "I was just making some snacks inside; you guys hungry?" Maria halted as she acknowledged to brief look passed between the two teenagers, and at once she felt guilty, bringing her hands up to her face. "I interrupted something, didn't I?"
Gabriella smiled ruefully before answering. "Just talking, mom."
"Homework," Troy elaborated, motioning between the two of them.
Maria nodded her head, smiling wryly as she took in the bag full of books on the table, unused. "Okay…" she said, before turning towards the door, mouthing 'I'll be inside'.
As soon as her mother disappeared into the house, Gabriella sighed before talking. "Speaking about homework…" She rose from the hammock before holding out a hand to her boyfriend who was looking incredulous. "Come on."
"I was joking," he protested, smiling brightly in attempts to dissuade her.
Gabriella's fingers twitched, beckoning him, and she sighed. "Troy, you asked me to help you study – now come on." Her fingers twitched again, this time more insistent, and Troy sighed in defeat. He lifted his hand and gripped Gabriella's outstretched but before she could do anything, he tugged suddenly, and Gabriella squealed at the sudden movement as she fell forward, back into the hammock, and back in her boyfriends embrace. Her hysteric giggles made Troy grin softly and he pulled her closer to him, digging his nose into her curls.
"Shh, we've got all evening to study," he murmured as he wrapped his arms around Gabriella. "Let's just relax for a bit."
"Okay," Gabriella conceded after a moment. "But can we please talk about something else other than universities?" Troy could detect the subtle urgency in her voice and nodded, smiling softly.
"So, does waltzing with you on the rooftop count as the most romantic prom invitation?" He asked, grinning cheekily and Gabriella giggled as she settled further into his arms.
"As if you didn't already know it," she teased and Troy chuckled softly before frowning as Gabriella winced slightly.
"Hey, what's wrong?"
Gabriella looked up. "Hmm? Oh, my feet are a bit sore. These shoes are new and are slightly uncomfortable." Gabriella brushed it off with a wave of a hand but Troy was unconvinced.
Reaching down, he unbuckled her shoes ignoring her giggling and squirming and then lifted her feet into his lap where he gently began to rub and soothe her sore skin. Gabriella sighed blissfully at the heavenly sensation and leant back, watching with an affectionate smile playing on her lips. There was a look of…something on Troy's face that Gabriella couldn't quite decipher. She'd seen it once or twice before – and his serene smile and intent eyes indicated that there was something more, something deeper hidden amongst his feelings for her.
The thought made her heart swell.
Gabriella wasn't quite sure at what point she'd fallen in love with Troy. To be honest, it was as if she'd loved him ever since she first met him…and it was probably true. She had been miserable during the days following brief encounter at the ski lodge – her hopes of seeing him one last time before she left were diminished as there seemed to be no trace of him anywhere the following day after New Year's Eve.
But alas, a couple of long weeks later and BAM, there he was with his sparkling blue eyes and cute grin, just as she'd remembered him. And it had been since that moment on that Gabriella knew she was falling for him; she just hadn't expected to fall so deep so quickly. The thought of leaving him earlier than expected for the Freshman's Honour Program at Stanford caused her heart to ache torturously, and she avoided that thought as much as she could...only it wasn't easy when she had Taylor and her mom on her case any and every time the subject was brought up.
Blinking dazedly, a soft pink hue painted her cheeks as she realised that she'd been caught staring at him twice in one day. "Yeah?"
"You okay?" Troy asked, his fingers ceasing their heavenly actions. Had his forwardness made her uncomfortable?
Gabriella smiled softly, leaning forward towards him. "I'm great," she replied, her fingers gently running through his hair.
"There's something on your mind…" Troy trailed off; raising his eyebrow at her and Gabriella rolled her eyes.
"There sure is, Wildcat. I'm thinking about that homework that needs to be done…" She giggled as Troy groaned before chuckling lightly.
"Fine, fine," he sighed. "Let's get this over and done with…"
"You don't need to sound so melodramatic, Troy," Gabriella teased softly as she scrambled out of the hammock, tugging on his hands. Troy stood, grinning down at her before winding his arms around her waist.
"At least I've got you to help me," he said, snickering at the mock indignant expression that crossed her face.
"So that's all I am to you? Someone to help you with your homework?" She responded and tried to break free of his embrace, her expression juxtaposing the mirth dancing in her eyes. She'd barely taken two steps before she was pulled back against his chest, his arms gripping her tightly against him. Unable to prevent the wild smile that grew on her lips, Gabriella giggled as Troy swiftly turned her around, not a single centimetre of space between their bodies. Looking up, she bit her lip as Troy gazed down at her, his expression not as teasing as it had been moments before.
"Nah, you're way more than that," he whispered. "You're everything to me."
Stunned at his hesitant confession, Gabriella felt tears prick the back of her eyes and she swallowed heavily before standing on her tiptoes, bringing their faces closer together – all hints of teasing gone.
Leaning in, she gently nuzzled her nose against his cheek before turning her head slightly to capture Troy's lips in a lingering kiss, her own moving softly yet soundly against his in silent yet meaningful response to his confession, and Troy gripped her to him tighter, his fingers digging in to her hips slightly. Humming gently in the back of his throat, he forced himself to break the kiss – reluctantly aware of the fact that Gabriella's mother was in the kitchen and possibly spying on them – and he grinned softly down in awe at his girlfriend.
"You're amazing, you know that?" He mumbled gently against her head as she tugged herself against him, her head burying away under his chin.
"Shh," Gabriella replied, her cheeks flushing – a normal reaction to Troy's frequent compliments – and Troy laughed lightly, giving her a quick squeeze before releasing her from his embrace.
Gabriella stepped away from him, her hand outstretched, an impish smile tilting her lips. "Homework?"
Nodding, Troy grinned and placed his hand into hers, their fingers interlocking naturally. "Homework."
Okay, this is the last chapter. Thanks again for the amazing support, guys – you're fabulous :D