And here's part 3 of the Troyella college woes! Now, in this one I address a couple of thoughts that crossed my mind - and again, thank you Dani for the chapter(s) idea! 1) What really happened to Troy's leg - why'd he have to wear a brace in the big game in HSM3? We all assume it was a basketball injury...don't we? But was it? and 2)More reasons why Gabriella didn't tell him about the early admissions opportunity when she first learned about it. :)

I own nothing of these wonderful characters or the storylines of HSM, other than numerous tubs of trinkets and memories that just won't fade! I hope you'll enjoy this chapter and please let me know what you think! KTZLF! -adc


Parental Consent - College Woes - Part 3

The light on her phone caught her attention along with the digital block sound. She could ignore the incoming text but she had a feeling it would be followed by another, and likely a phone call, if she didn't respond.

At 9:30 on a Friday evening she wasn't out with Troy or her friends, she was in her room staring at a sheet of paper that basically held the next four years of her life – if not more. She had held in her tears for hours, since she opened the letter with her mother that afternoon.

That was why, after making the call to Stanford and leaving the message in the appropriate voice mail, she excused herself to her room, closed the door, locked it and lay down on her bed to let the tears flow.

Excited? Ecstatic? Over the moon? Yes, yes she was – on one level. But, over the past year there was a new, completely different level of her life that had formed and taken hold of her heart. That's where her sadness came in.

For the first time in her life, since before her father's death, Gabriella felt at home in a town, at a school, with real friends and with a boyfriend who cared for her deeply. After a lifetime of dreaming of Stanford and what that level of education would mean for her, the young genius was suddenly struck with the fact that she wasn't ready to go to college. She wanted more time as the teenager she truly was. Suddenly Stanford was on the horizon and all she wanted to do was backpedal to New Years Eve of the previous year and relive the moment that she'd met Troy – over and over again.

Each time she thought of his encouragement, his touch, his smile, his eyes and being held in his arms, more tears escaped. How on earth was she supposed to give that up? She had just discovered him!

Gabriella looked back at the sheet from Stanford. Early admissions…May… What were the chances that perhaps she wouldn't make it into the program? That was a possibility, right? She had called; left the message. But there was no guarantee that she was one of the first thirty to respond, or that she was one of the top thirty to respond. She took a deep, wavering breath. Her mind was at least made on one front after that bit of mental revelation.

Troy wouldn't know anything about the early admissions until she knew something for sure. She would swear Maria to secrecy. The same would go for Taylor. She would have to show her best girlfriend the letter from Stanford. Taylor always wanted the full, visual proof which meant she would see the entire note about Gabriella's acceptance, and the early admission opportunity.

Following that, if Troy heard one word about that program, someone's head would roll, courtesy of one mild-mannered class valedictorian.

The light continued to blink at Gabriella so she wiped her eyes and sat up on the bed. The words on the screen only surprised her a little, even though she had hoped and suspected she would see them tonight.

"Unlock the balcony door."

'Well, that's quite forward,' she thought. Usually Troy's 'let me in' messages from the back yard went something to the effect of "Beam me up…" or "I see you…" But, considering his mind might just be on the same slightly deflated wavelength as hers tonight, she figured she would excuse his blunt order.

She wandered, with a sigh, over to her doors and looked out at the moon before flipping the latch that kept her safe from the outside world. She had a momentary flashback to the first time she had spotted Troy on that balcony. He had serenaded her after climbing up the trellis and worked his way right on into her heart.

That, she suspected, was the night she had fallen in love with him, although the words hadn't been shared truthfully until much later. That's why their summer squabble had hurt so much and the 'making up' from that squabble had been so meaningful. Who knew old, beat-up, pickup trucks could have such comfortable seats…

She felt the blood rush to her cheeks, the warmth throughout her body, and had to steady herself on the foot-board of her bed as she remembered kissing Troy as thoroughly as she possibly could in that truck, and the groans he had released while trying to be as gentlemanly as possible. Her eyes blurred slightly. 'Speaking of being forward…' Gabriella took another deep breath and blinked her eyes. She knew they had a long way to go before going all the way but, man, had she enjoyed kissing him senseless – and that slight bit of power that came along with knowing that she could!

She glanced up to see the college letter still sitting on her comforter and jumped slightly to retrieve it and put it away before Troy climbed over the railing. Their relationship wasn't one she would give up easily, but with a thousand miles between them she would have to learn to miss his kisses … or somehow kiss them goodbye, altogether.

Her momentary good mood soured. She didn't want to think about giving him up right now. She also didn't, really, want to imagine what Troy was going to say; coming over after their dual-family dinner; sneaking in to avoid Maria; and considering the subject matter on both of their minds. But, she pressed her lips together and sat down on the bed to wait for him.

Whatever he said, it would be worth it just to see him again.

Then, instead of the normal thump of her boyfriend jumping over the rail, the next sound to hit Gabriella's ears was a painful shriek in a low voice that sounded a lot like Troy. She immediately jumped off the bed and opened the doors only to be met with groans – similar but different to those she had recalled in her mind just minutes before.

"Troy?" She attempted to yell in a whisper.

"Son of a –" She heard his voice and the noisy breath that followed it.

Gabriella quickly went to the rail and looked over, only to see him lying on the ground gripping his leg which was slightly twisted under him.

"Oh no! Troy, are you okay?" She debated whether or not she should try to climb down the tree to get to him more quickly.

"Crap, it hurts," he winced in pain and didn't even look up at her.

"Don't move, I'll be right down," Gabriella insisted.

"Not going anywhere…" Troy held his breath and spoke through gritted teeth.

Gabriella wasn't surprised to meet her mother in the living room as she practically jumped down the stairs.

"Did you hear that?" Maria's eyes were wide and slightly fearful.

Gabriella nodded but the look in her eyes wasn't a frightened type of fear. Maria turned her head slowly, looking toward the kitchen and wishing she had x-ray vision to see what on earth was happening in their back yard.

Her daughter didn't hesitate to go on into the other room and head toward the back door.

"Gabriella! What are you doing? Don't go out there! I'm calling 9-1-1." Maria exclaimed.

"No!" Gabriella stepped back and shook her head at her mom. "Don't call them yet, please. It…it's Troy. He...he fell out of the tree."

"He – he what?!" Maria's eyes narrowed slightly. "Is he okay?" Her mothering air took over instead of the bit of anger that initially hit her senses.

"I don't know," Gabriella filled her cheeks with air and blew it out slowly. "I've gotta check on him. I think he hurt his leg."

"Go," Maria motioned her head in the direction of the back door. "I'll be there in a moment." She looked down at her nightgown and shook her head. "I knew I should've cut that tree down after his first climbing caper," she pouted slightly and went to pull a robe from her room.

Gabriella hurried through the door to the base of the tree where Troy was simply breathing in and out slowly. She knelt beside his shoulder blinking her dark eyelashes with worry.

Troy could see her brown eyes glistening as she looked down at him. He couldn't help but smile in between breaths but then pressed his lips together and swallowed. "I lost my footing on the limb as I was trying to climb over the rail. I landed on my feet, but I wrenched my knee when I hit the ground and then it twisted as I fell," he explained.

Gabriella shook her head. "Are you okay, Wildcat?"

"Give me a minute," Troy closed his eyes and tried to relax his muscles.

"Gabriella?" Maria's voice appeared at the back door. "Is Troy okay?"

"I'm toast," Troy muttered.

"Shhh," Gabriella instructed. "Can you sit up?" she gently slid her hand behind his shoulders and pushed as he used his abdominals to pull him into a sitting position.

Maria came over and crouched down on Troy's opposite side. "Troy Bolton, what are you doing here at this time of night? What on earth happened?" She scolded with the gentlest of tones.

"I wasn't done talking to Gabriella," Troy explained softly. "Dinner and everything was great, but… I just wasn't done talking to her." He propped himself up using his hands behind his waist. He tried to scoot himself back but grimaced profusely when he tried to use his injured leg. "Not good…" he held his breath again.

Maria looked up at the tree, the balcony, and then at her worried daughter. "Troy can you stand up? Do we need to call an ambulance or can we at least get you into the house? It's chilly out here. A midnight picnic isn't a great idea."

Troy chuckled. "I could use a brownie. I'm sure that would help." He smiled his boyish grin at Gabriella's mother and fully accepted her raised eyebrows, head tilt and unamused eyes looking back at him.

"Do you think anything is broken?" Gabriella asked as she touched his face gently and then slid her hand down his arm squeezing lightly on his bicep.

"I don't think so." He looked at her and met her eyes, matching her bit of worry. "But my knee… I think I've got problems there." He tried to bend the joint and nearly cried out in pain at the movement.

"Okay," Maria pointed at them. "Just hold still. Let me see if I've got a board or anything in the garage that we can use to stabilize your leg so we can at least get you inside. Then we'll decide what we need to do next – starting with calling your mom and dad."

At that thought Troy's head fell backwards, "Oh no…" he closed his eyes, "No, no, no," he said quickly and then raised his head and looked toward Maria. "Dad's gonna kill me."

Maria crossed her arms over her chest and again gave him the motherly look of concern and yet warning. "Out after curfew, Mister?"

Troy shook his head and gave her a woeful smile, "Even worse… Injured leg before the basketball tournament. Just go ahead and shoot me now." He hung his head in defeat as Gabriella did her best to wrap her arms around his neck to try and console him.

Maria shook her head. She truly did feel sorry for Troy. And she truly hated to call Jack and Lucille at this hour. But considering their athletic, yet in love and trespassing son probably needed x-rays, she didn't see any way around the issue.

By the time she returned with a piece of wood and a couple of Ace bandages, Troy and Gabriella had managed to get him on his feet – at least one of them. Troy was leaning against the tree, both of them looking up longingly at the balcony.

Maria handed her daughter the small plank and helped Troy steady himself as they attempted to create a makeshift brace that would help them get him into the house. With a hefty effort from all three of them, Troy found himself on the Montez couch, head in Gabriella's lap, watching Maria pick up the phone.

"Jack? Hi, I'm sorry to call so late. It's Maria Montez," she began. The kids strained to try and hear the other side of the conversation but knew they'd be out of luck until Jack and Lucille showed up at this location.

"Well, no, Gabriella's fine, I'm fine. Troy, on the other hand…" she took a deep breath and glanced back to see Troy putting his hand over his eyes and shaking his head. "He's taken a fall over here; twisted his knee. I wouldn't call, but I think it's somewhat serious. He can't put weight on it. I didn't even check for swelling, but I'm guessing he needs some x-rays at the least."

She listened for a moment as Jack relayed the information to Lucille. Maria leaned against the small table and watched as Gabriella ran her fingers through Troy's hair and whispered to him that everything would be fine. Troy continued to shake his head slowly back and forth. Maria felt for him, even though she, too, wanted to punish him in a way, she knew his intentions were good but his plan of attack apparently needed a little more thought.

"What? What's he doing here at this hour?" She reacted again to Jack's voice and looked at the kids on the couch. "Well, I'm not completely sure. Can we talk about that when you get here? He's on the couch, resting somewhat comfortably, all things considered, I suppose, so take your time. We're not going anywhere." She smiled as she glanced back at Gabriella who pouted her lip and then bent down to place a kiss on Troy's forehead.

"Hope this isn't a glimpse into the future," Troy whispered out loud as Maria hung up the phone and headed toward the kitchen to get a bag of ice for him.

"What d'ya mean?" Gabriella asked as she continued to run her fingers over his forehead and cheeks.

"You're not going pre-med because you're worried about taking care of patients and getting too close to them?" He asked.

"Yeah?" Gabriella looked down into his eyes.

"Well, I was hoping I'd get to be one of your patients one day…after we get to know each other even better…way better," he added and somehow managed to wink at her.

Gabriella rolled her eyes at him. "Well, then this may be a true test for us, Wildcat. Cause if you're a bad patient now, I may not even play nurse with you down the road."

Troy's eyes widened along with his grin as her words sunk in. He watched her neck and face turn red as she stared down at him, knowing that her words held a much deeper meaning than the playful tone that spoke them.

TGTGTG

Troy stayed still, ice on top of his pants, shoe off and head remaining in his girlfriend's lap until the knock sounded on the Montez's front door. He began to strain to sit up, hoping he would look less guilty without the somewhat intimate connection to Gabriella.

There had been a discussion, when Maria returned with the ice pack, about actually getting a look at his injured leg. Troy's face had turned blood red when he looked at Gabriella's mother and told her that he would have to remove his somewhat tight, straight-legged jeans in order for that to happen.

Maria had shrugged her shoulders. "I think we've both seen more than you want to admit," she watched Gabriella's eyes widen and her cheeks absolutely flush in a split second at her mother's implication.

Troy couldn't deny what she was saying. But, he wasn't quite ready to share his boxer briefs with Gabriella in the presence of her mother. "Can we just try putting the ice over my jeans? That'll give me a little cushion against the cold," he suggested.

Maria looked at him skeptically but went along with his wishes. The next few minutes were filled with silence, while Maria went to change clothes. Troy closed his eyes, he and Gabriella both trying to mentally prepare themselves for the onslaught of questions that would begin as soon as Troy's parents arrived.

Troy gave a painful groan as he pulled his leg backwards, trying to sit up when Maria opened the door. Gabriella gripped his arm and told him to stay still, thinking of his comfort more than facing the coach and Lucille.

"What the –" Jack looked at his son on the couch, quickly moving past Maria and eying his son's outstretched leg.

Lucille offered Maria a quick, "Hi again, thanks for calling," before hurrying to play mediator between her two family members.

"Troy, Honey, what happened?" She placed a firm hand on Jack's arm and pulled him backwards slightly. She could feel the tension in his muscle but wasn't sure if it was worry or anger.

Troy looked between his mother and father with a defeated appearance. "I needed to talk to Gabriella." His eyes focused on Lucille, needing her to recall their earlier discussion. "I've climbed the tree a hundred times – well, a bunch, at least," he stopped to retract the numerical portion of his statement.

Gabriella rubbed his back and offered pleading eyes to Troy's mother. "I know, I should've just come to the front door. I know that. But I was just going to talk for a little while and then come right back home, I swear."

Jack rolled his eyes. "I don't need the sob story, Son. For now just tell me what's hurt."

Troy met his dad's eyes. "My knee," he admitted like a scared little boy. "When I hit the ground it twisted under me. I can't put any weight on it, Dad. It's messed up."

Gabriella felt Troy's muscles tighten under her fingertips. She hesitated for just a second before putting her chin on Troy's shoulder to offer her silent support.

"Alright," Jack breathed out. "Let's get you to the car and we'll go get some x-rays."

"Dad?" Troy spoke quickly and with obvious remorse.

"What?" Jack responded while trying to figure out how exactly to maneuver his practically grown son.

"I'm sorry," Troy mumbled.

Lucille, Gabriella and Maria all felt the pain from his words and hoped Jack would accept Troy's apology.

"I know," Jack looked at his son without a smile but let out another breath to mark his attitude change.

"Let's see if we can get you to the car. Hopefully it's not too serious and we can get you up and going again," Jack offered Troy his arm while Maria, Gabriella and Lucille worked to help him actually stand from the couch.

Between the nine good legs they were able to get Troy to Jack and Lucille's car and slid him uncomfortably into the back seat. Gabriella looked at him sadly as he grimaced and moved to try and get situated.

"Can I –" Gabriella began to request permission to go with them before seeing Maria's glare.

"You're staying here, Young Lady," Maria's voice instructed. "I'm sure Luce and Jack can call us in the morning to let us know how he's doing."

"Absolutely," Lucille agreed. Jack closed the door on the back seat and climbed into the driver's side.

"Let's get going. This is gonna be a long night as it is," he glanced toward his wife and then at Gabriella and Maria. "Thank you," Jack nodded at Maria and then focused on the younger woman. "He'll be fine. Don't worry,"

Gabriella nodded but all of them could see the tears in her eyes. She looked directly at Troy through the window. "I love you," she mouthed the words.

"It's all good," Troy nodded back at her. "I love you, too." He spoke the words out loud, letting the adults react however they chose.

The mothers present just smiled at each other politely. Jack rolled his eyes and then smiled toward all three of the women. "We'll keep that in mind," Troy's father's unrequested response was actually better than what all of them had expected.

TGTGTG

It was around 2AM when Gabriella heard her phone buzz. She had kept it on her pillow knowing that Troy would get in touch with her as soon as he could. The text was simple, "Sprained knee, pulled tendon. Coulda been worse. Crutches and brace for 4-6 weeks."

Gabriella breathed a sigh of relief. "I'm so sorry!" she typed back. "What can I do to help?"

"Come over as soon as you wake up in the morning? Dad won't let me outta the house and I'm supposed to stay off the leg for a day or two."

Gabriella pouted. "If Mom will let me come over I'll be there. What about basketball?"

Troy looked into the front seat where his mom and dad were quiet and just happy to be on their way home. "One thing at a time. I have to survive the followup lecture from Dad about why I was climbing the tree to begin with. "

"Speaking of that…" Gabriella sent the simple line knowing Troy would know her question.

"I missed you. ;)" Troy typed back, his pain medicine kicking in.

"Sweet Talker."

"I'm finally getting sleepy. Please come over tomorrow?" Troy's eyelids felt heavy as he made his last plea.

"Hopefully," Gabriella responded. "Get some rest. I love you, Wildcat."

"LY2," Troy answered and then leaned his head against the back seat of the car.

"Is Gabriella actually awake at this hour?" Jack glanced over at his wife, whose eyes were closed and head was resting against the passenger window. He then looked back at his son to get an answer.

"I didn't mean to wake her up but she must've had her phone close to her." Troy kept his eyes closed as he spoke to his Dad.

"Troy, what was so important that you felt the need to go over there and climb up the tree, Son?" Jack took the chance to finally ask his burning question.

Troy shook his head without opening his eyes. "I don't even remember right now," Troy lied.

"Mmm-hmm," Jack glanced into the rearview mirror. "First their trellis and then the tree…Maria is a very understanding woman, Troy."

"Yes, I know." Troy moved his head and blinked his eyes open to look at his dad in the mirror.

"She could've had you arrested for trespassing at any point. Do you realize that?" Jack continued.

"Yep," Troy nodded his head slowly.

"What were you thinking, Troy?" Jack pressed.

Before Troy could come up with any excuse, Lucille adjusted her position in the passenger seat. "Maria is not going to call the police on Troy. If she wanted to deter him she would've cut down that tree last year after their first run-in. After this, I'd say she's more likely to give him a key to the front door. Now, both of you, hush. I'm trying to sleep."

ParentalConsent-CollegeWoes-Part3