Disney would be offended at the insinuation that they'd actually allowed me to objectify their characters like this. I am not affiliated. I gain no profit from writing fanfiction otherwise I'd quit my job and just write full time. Lyrics belong to Nickelback.


I think this will be a three shot. It was gonna be a one shot but it seems I'm not capable of literally writing porn without plot and I need some substance. It'll get updated when it gets updated. ;)

Dedicated to Kelly who continually says things like 'Dani should write that!' and gets my brain ticking. I say Zachary is my muse, but really, it's awesome supporters like you babe :) (Kelly, sorry it's not Animals. That wasn't going to work with the other specs I gave myself. Hopefully you'll like it anyway. I'll tell you what the specs were when it's finished.)

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No is a dirty word, never gonna say it first

No is just a thought that never crosses my mind

S is for the simple need

E is for the ecstasy

X is just to mark the spot coz that's the one you really want

S.E.X. by Nickelback




Gabriella Montez hesitantly stepped into the bar, grateful to escape from the chilly February weather in New York City but nonetheless feeling like a fish out of water. She wasn't particularly into the bar scene.

"Hey there darlin', need a hand with your coat?" a somewhat inebriated patron asked, stepping up to awkwardly grope at Gabriella's shoulders.

She clutched a little tighter to the black woollen trench and stepped back. "No thank you," she said, politely rebuffing the advances she knew were hidden among the seemingly innocent offer.

She didn't quite understand what men found attractive about her; she wasn't able to go to a bar or nightclub without receiving copious attention. But it was attention that she almost always rebuffed. The men who would drunkenly sidle up to her weren't particularly her 'type'. However any objective third party would be able to see the beauty she possessed, the attractiveness of her clear skin, sparkling light coffee coloured eyes, dazzling smile. She exuded a vibe of innocence and purity, however five minutes of conversion with her was enough to confirm that there was a whole lot more to the package which made her all the more appealing.

She glanced around the room. It was a nice bar, cosy, almost pub like. There were instruments set up on an elevated platform for the band that were due to come on in about fifteen minutes time. The vibe in the room was pretty good, a loud hum of chatter over the rock music that was playing over the speakers – currently Addicted by Saving Abel was playing. She spotted her newfound acquaintances – she hadn't known them long enough to label them as friends – standing around a table on the opposite side of the room with two of their friends. It was their regular hang out on a Friday night, a friend of theirs was in the band who had a regular Friday evening gig. They'd spotted her, and the afro headed male had risen to his feet and was waving madly. Gabriella waved back and tentatively began to make her way across the room.

"Gabriella! I'm so glad you came!" Taylor gushed. The scattering of glasses on the table suggested they'd already had a few drinks.

"Yeah well, my cable isn't hooked up yet and even if I owned any decent DVDs, I wouldn't have any idea where they might be," Gabriella said, smiling at the girl.

"These are our friends Sharpay and Zeke," Chad said, gesturing to the stylish blonde and tall black man.

"I absolutely love your shoes!" Sharpay exclaimed in greeting.

"Oh... thank you," Gabriella said, glancing down at her silver Manolo Blahniks. "I don't normally buy expensive things – I mean, I've had this coat for about six years - but I do have a bit of a shoe fixation. Besides, heels tend to hurt my feet but I've found that the more you spend the less they hurt; and at my height I need to wear heels if I want to be seen in a crowd."

"So you just moved into town a couple of days ago?" Zeke asked.

"Well, I've been in town since December but staying at a hotel," Gabriella said. "I have a bit of an inheritance that I wanted to use to invest in buying an apartment so I took my time looking. I only just moved into the same building as Chad and Taylor on Wednesday."

Greenwich Village was an area that Gabriella had visited a number of times throughout her youth; one of her mother's sisters lived there and Gabriella loved it. So when she'd been offered the contract by NYU, she'd consulted a friend who was a property specialist, made a call to her accountant, and quickly made the decision to buy rather than rent.

She'd moved into her apartment in a building on the corner of Bedford and Grove two mornings prior. Her removalists had done the majority of the grunt work of moving the few items of furniture she owned up the stairs of the elevator-less building to the third floor. She just had a series of boxes that she'd brought in her car for the drive down south from where she'd been living for the past eight years since high school, Boston, Massachusetts. She didn't quite trust the removalists with some of her more precious items with sentimental value. So she'd snagged a park right outside the building and was moving boxes one by one from her trunk up the stairs. On the fourth trip – as she was beginning to feel puffed and ragged with beads of sweat on her forehead even though it was freezing outside – she ran into some of her neighbours.

"I cannot thank the two of you enough for helping me to move my boxes up. The lack of an elevator was a major downfall of the building but I just fell in love with my apartment and the area and I figured that the exercise would be good for me. I didn't contemplate the ramifications on moving day," Gabriella said to Chad and Taylor.

"You've already thanked us, and it wasn't like we were doing anything else," Taylor said, waving her hand away.

"Okay, I'm going to the bar, what does everyone want," Chad announced.

"Margarita," Sharpay requested.

"Make that two," Taylor said.

"Beer," Zeke said simply.

"Gabriella?" Chad asked.

"Oh... um.... just a cola thanks," she said awkwardly.

"Nooo!" both Taylor and Sharpay protested simultaneously.

"Have a drink. Unless... you don't drink for some reason. Which would be fine," Taylor said quickly, covering herself.

Gabriella smiled. "No, I drink just... not often."

"Have a drink, really. They do really great cocktails here," Sharpay encouraged her.

"Oh all right... make it another margarita, I suppose," Gabriella said, a little dubiously. As a result of her physical make up and rarely drinking, just one cocktail had the potential to severely loosen her inhibitions.

The girls clapped excitedly. Zeke excused himself to go to the bar with Chad to help him with the drinks, leaving Gabriella with Taylor and Sharpay.

Chad and Taylor Danforth were recently newlywed, as Gabriella had learned a couple of days earlier. They'd kindly offered to help her with her boxes after seeing her struggle to move them all up the three flights of stairs. They'd faced the exact same predicament a few months earlier when they'd moved in, except they'd had the assistance of both sets of parents who had come into the town to visit and assist them with the move. So they took pity on the petite woman, helped her with the move and then invited her to their apartment for lunch since the only items in her fridge were currently a few apples, a tub of yoghurt and leftovers from the pizza she'd ordered in the previous evening.

In the process the trio had struck up an immediate camaraderie. Both women had strong academic backgrounds – Taylor was impressed with Gabriella's fast track through her undergraduate and subsequent post graduate studies at MIT and then Harvard, and even more impressed that the 26 year old woman was taking up a post at New York University, conducting medical research and lecturing in mathematics and chemistry. Chad and Taylor had attended the same high school but never really interacted a lot. They'd both moved to New York for college; Taylor matriculating at Columbia and Chad having been recruited by NYU to play college basketball. Chad had run into Taylor after a basketball game at Columbia in his third year playing for the Bobcats – literally run into her. He'd been calling out to a teammate who was heading in the opposite direction, Taylor had been talking on her cell phone and the two had barrelled into each other. After apologising and realising they knew each other, they'd arranged to meet up for coffee, after which they organised a lunch, after which they set up a dinner. One thing led to another and friends became dating became living together and they'd gotten married in October back at home in Albuquerque in a small, intimate wedding surrounded by their closest family and friends.

"So Taylor, you're working for the New York Post?" Gabriella asked, confirming the details she'd been told during her brief meeting with Taylor and Chad a couple of days earlier.

Taylor nodded enthusiastically. "I really fell into journalism. In high school I was involved with so many academic competitions but I found it was student politics and the yearbook that I really enjoyed working on. So I studied political science and journalism as my majors at college and ultimately I'd love to do high level political journalism. But I'll have to work my way up there."

"You have to start somewhere," Gabriella said with a firm nod. "And Chad is teaching PE at a primary school?"

"The Neighbourhood School," Taylor said, again nodding in confirmation. "Actually it's pretty close to NYU. It's on 3rd Street, which is one block up from Bleecker? But on the east side."

Gabriella though to herself. "And just past 1st Avenue?"

"Yeah, that's the one!"

"I went for a long walk one day, just exploring. I think I did go by there."

Gabriella was impressed with herself, the time she'd spent in New York throughout her childhood had been more so as a tourist than a local. Every time that she managed to navigate her way on the subway without studying the map intensively she cheered internally. This was yet another accomplishment that was making her feel like she could really fit in within this Manhattan bubble.

"And so you and Zeke are dating?" Gabriella asked the blonde. "How do you all know each other?"

"Funnily, we went to high school with Chad and Taylor, but I didn't really talk to any of them. Zeke had a bit of a crush on me back then but I played hard to get," Sharpay said proudly. "I finally agreed to go to prom with him. We both happened to move to California for college, I was studying dramatic arts at UCLA and Zeke studied at a culinary college. We stayed in touch and dated casually." Sharpay went on to explain that she and Zeke had been on again off again for many years and it was only after they'd both coincidentally moved to New York that things had become serious.

"I now work in PR for a fashion design firm," Sharpay said. "I always wanted to perform but I fell into business studies according to my father's wishes and while I was doing the theatre audition circuit he used some of his contacts to get me PR work and its all just sort of gone from there and I really love it. Zeke works as a pastry chef and had an opportunity with his work to come out here to work on establishing a new franchise."

"That's so sweet, and now you guys are all friends in this perfect foursome," Gabriella said, smiling at the irony that they'd all wound up at the same place in two couples and getting along as friends.

"Well, fivesome sometimes," Taylor said. "We hang out a bit with the guy I told you about, the one in the band who is playing tonight."

"Oh yeah, what's his story?" Gabriella asked conversationally, glancing around the room as the bar became more and more filled with people – and a large proportion of those people women. They were gravitating toward the stage, anticipating the band coming on shortly.

"His story is... complicated," Sharpay said tactfully.

"Chad and I used to hang out with him a lot, the guys were all best friends in high school But I think he gets weirded out that we're all couply and so he just goes off and does his own thing."

"He's gotten a bit... moody... over the years," Sharpay said, rolling her eyes.

Gabriella's eyes flew backward and forwards between the two girls, as though watching a tennis match. She could sense there was more to what they were saying, a whole lot more, and one of Gabriella's pet hates was being forced to witness a conversation that was veiled with so much history that she had no hope of following the true meaning of their words.

"Well he's been through a bit," Taylor pointed out.

"Oh boohoo," Sharpay said, rolling her eyes, clearly not as sympathetic to the troubles their friend had experienced as being an excuse for some of his behaviour.

Before Gabriella could press them to elaborate about what they meant, Chad and Zeke returned with the drinks to deliver to the girls.

"What did we miss?" Zeke asked.

"Just explaining to Gabriella how we all went to school together," Sharpay said, pressing a kiss to his cheek. "As well as Troy."

'Ah. A name is finally attached to this elusive Troy character' Gabriella thought.

"You looking forward to the band?" Zeke asked, looking at Gabriella. "What music do you normally listen to?"

"My music taste is fairly eclectic. I like everything from Keith Urban to the Black Eyed Peas to Taylor Swift to listening to old school Beatles and Rolling Stones. But I guess if I had to pick a genre, rock."

"You'll probably like these guys then. They do mainly contemporary rock covers," Zeke said. "They have some originals but they leave those for the occasional gig they do where they actually charge entry."

"So they mainly perform at bars?" Gabriella asked.

"And they've done some college parties and even some high school dances. I think they might have done a 21st also," Taylor mused.

Some movement happened around the stage area and some girls up the front began to shriek.

"That's Steve, he's the drummer," Chad said.

"Do they have a lot of shrieky fangirls?" Gabriella asked, amused by the grown women at the front.

The bar had decent security, she'd been ID'd at the front door and she'd observed a bartender also IDing a few people. She'd never been a shrieky fan of any actor or musician and so the concept of being this crazy over a local covers band was beyond her area of comprehension.

"A few regulars. They're good looking guys," Taylor said.

"Hey!" Chad exclaimed.

"Don't worry, I still love you," she said, rolling her eyes.

"You'd better, Mrs. Danforth," Chad chided.

As the rest of the band members made their way out on stage, the shrieks escalated. There was Steve who had come out first and had taken his seat behind the drums. Sharpay pointed out, the lead singer, who tapped on his microphone and merely saying 'testing' elicited a shriek. His name was Andrew, and to make life confusing Andrew was also the name of the bass guitarist who was also the keyboardist when required. The former was referred to as Drew and the latter as Andy, to clarify things for everyone.

And then the final member of the band came out on stage. He picked up a guitar and stood behind the back-up vocals microphone. If the shrieks had been loud before, they were now deafening. But rather than wincing, or rolling her eyes, or commenting about these grown women acting like fourteen year olds – Gabriella felt a lump form in her throat. The mere sight of this man was eliciting a reaction that she'd never felt, not with any man, not even any of her ex-boyfriends.

He was wearing black and white converse that were scuffed up and appeared a little worse for wear. His blue denim jeans were straight leg. There was none of the skinny leg business that Gabriella detested; nor were they so baggy that the crotch hung around his knees. They were hanging low around his slim waist, revealing the top of his white cotton boxers with thin red and white striped detailing. His simple black v neck t-shirt had short sleeves that clung to his well defined biceps. Although the shirt wasn't tight, it was fitted enough to indicate the man spent a decent amount of time pumping iron at the gym. His facial structure was almost perfect. He had an almost youthful appeal, skin that looked as though puberty had never touched it. She couldn't quite decide whether his chestnut hair was meticulously styled to appear as though he woke up and left the house or if he literally hadn't touched it, with side swept bangs and an almost mop top cut.

However after ogling at the overall Adonis who stood before her, there was one feature in particular which stood out. Even from across the room, it was his striking blue eyes which captivated Gabriella. They were piercing, mesmerising,

Gabriella had already done the math, counted the instruments, realised that none of these other three men were Troy so this had to be Troy. Somewhere in the background she heard Sharpay leaning over and murmuring a confirmation of this, informing her that their friend Troy was the back-up vocalist and lead guitarist, but Gabriella wasn't listening. She wasn't capable of listening, of concentrating on anything but him.

"Is it hot in here?" Gabriella murmured, her cheeks suddenly feeling very flush.

"Take off your jacket," Zeke suggested, attempting to be helpful but oblivious to the real reason for her heat.

He gestured to the lone stool they'd commandeered - chairs in a bar were scarce and valuable property – and piled their coats onto. She complied, not breaking her stare, convinced that if she looked away from him for even one moment then something pivotal might take place and she would be the girl who missed out on seeing it. Her trench pulled away, now revealing the sparkly black scoop neck halter top she'd teamed with dark grey denim jeans.

Taylor glanced at Gabriella, taken aback by the intense, lustful stare toward the stage. Certainly she didn't know Gabriella well but this was a far cry from the vibe she'd been emitting thus far.

"They're all pretty hot, huh?" Taylor remarked.

"Yes, he is," Gabriella agreed absentmindedly.

Taylor was a little taken aback but she too became swept up within the beginning of the set, applauding for the band and decided to not worry too much about Gabriella. The opening song of the night began to play, a cover of Nickelback's 'Figured You Out.' The lead singer's voice was rough, perfectly apt for covers of Nickelback and the multitude of bands that had since emerged with a similar sound. It didn't surprise Gabriella when Sharpay leaned over and told her that they did quite a few Nickelback covers.

Gabriella wasn't paying much attention to the voice of the lead singer, although she could tell that he was good. The whole band had a great sound, they weren't mimicking the song note for note, it was their own version but without destroying the spirit of the original. Gabriella's attention had yet to shift away from this 'Troy' character who suddenly had become her favourite person on the planet, although she had never communicated with him. She was staring at his dextrous fingers as they flew across the strings of the guitar, her mind wandering to thoughts of whether his fingers would be skilful in other areas – thoughts that her mind would normally not experience and yet they were coming to her so naturally. In contrast with the roughness of his counterpart, Troy's voice was silky smooth and refined and on the whole sexy as hell.

Many women in the room were enthralled by the bands performance, in particular the performance of the guitarist. Troy was accustomed to the ladies who made regular appearances at their gigs and he wasn't ashamed to admit that it was largely because of him. In fact he'd been known to brag about the fact, and to even take advantage of it. Gabriella was transfixed, taking in everything that she physically could about this man. Occasionally he would glance toward his adoring fans, flashing a small smile or a wink in their direction and causing a momentary frenzy. He knew the power of reserving those actions to be used sparsely. He wasn't shy, rather he was focused. If anything his demeanour suggested an aura of cockiness, the proud smirk on his face when the girls would shriek. He was a picturesque example of a brooding, smug muso.

Gabriella considered herself a good judge of human behaviour and she sensed that the cocky exterior was merely that – an exterior, a guise. There was intensity within his expression as he became caught up within the music, executing a riff or hitting a powerful note. His performing style was fairly introverted; there were no outlandish or show off rock star moves. Instead he was focused upon playing each and every note with utter perfection. The man could get by on charm alone if he chose to do so, but he didn't.

Taylor nudged Sharpay, gesturing to Gabriella's stare which had officially escalated from lustful into a different place. It was beyond lust however, her head cocked to the side and eyes narrowed a little as she gazed at him, almost as though trying to see deeper inside. Sharpay smirked. They were used to women reacting to Troy in this way, since high school he'd had this inherent ability to spellbind members of the finer sex. But never would Taylor have anticipated that the woman she'd invited along in a gesture of good faith would become so awestruck.

"Gabriella?" Taylor said.

The petite brunette merely responded with, "Mmm?"

"Gabriella!" Taylor said, a little more harshly.

Gabriella finally tore her eyes away from the stage, cheeks flushed as she realised just how crazy she was acting and the impression she must be making upon Sharpay and Zeke who she'd just met, and Taylor and Chad who she only knew slightly more.

"Sorry..." she apologised automatically. "They're um... they're really good."

"We figured you thought so, you've hardly looked away in four songs," Sharpay remarked, glancing sideways at Taylor knowingly. "The guys are going to the bar again, do you want another margarita?"

"Oh no, I'm still..." Gabriella glanced down, about to gesture to the margarita that she'd hardly touched – or so she had thought. In fact the glass was now empty; she'd guzzled it down without even realising.

"Um... sure," she said decisively, finding herself wanting another beverage and not particularly wanting to argue that a cola was more appropriate.

"And a margarita for Miss Has-the-hots-for-Troy," Sharpay told Zeke loudly.

Zeke and Chad smirked; they too were not oblivious to the behaviour of the newest member of their group.

"Coming right up," Zeke said, chuckling lightly.

Gabriella's gaze went straight back to Troy but she was attempting to remain somewhat more aware of the company she was with, not wanting to make a complete fool of herself – although she was aware it may be too late to alter the impressions they'd already formed.

"Troy's single, you know," Sharpay commented.

"Huh? What?"

"He's single. Available. On the market."

Gabriella's eyes widened. "Oh! I um.... I just think he's a very good musician. And attractive. I wouldn't... I'd never... he's... he looks like that and I'm..."

"And you're a hot young woman who is presently raping him with your eyes," Taylor said bluntly, surprised by her own verbosity – but that's the result of a handful of margaritas.

"I'm doing no such thing!" Gabriella protested, cheeks flushing.

"He's a good lay, I don't blame you," Sharpay said. Taylor glanced sharply at the blonde, who rolled her eyes and clarified, "So I hear. I would never go there with him. I have my Zekey, after all."

The set continued in much the same way for the next few songs, Gabriella gazing lustfully, Sharpay and Taylor being amused by Gabriella's fixation. They attempted to make small talk but Gabriella's ability to engage in conversation was somewhat hampered.

Intermission arrived and the girls escaped to the bathroom – travelling in packs as women do – leaving Zeke and Chad to guard the table.

. . .

It was the intermission and Troy was feeling grateful for the break. He had felt like he was under additional scrutiny that night although the crowd wasn't any larger than normal. While he performed he preferred to remain oblivious to the presence of his friends, although he knew that they were out there each and every Friday and during intermission he would always go over to acknowledge them for showing up.

All the years and experience and rejection and heartache hadn't hardened him completely, he wasn't oblivious or complacent of the support his friends gave him, support which he perhaps didn't entirely deserve. He shut himself off from them, one too many broken relationships and a disappointed father leaving him feeling a twang of bitterness toward his friends for the happiness that they'd all managed to reach. It was easier to exist within his own bubble than to pretend to be a part of theirs. He was happy for his newlywed best friend, he was happy for his friend who he knew carried around a diamond ring and was waiting for that perfect moment to pop the question. But he couldn't pretend to feel happy whilst subjected to their land of perpetual domestication and bliss.

"Hey guys," Troy greeted Chad and Zeke.

"Sup man," Chad said, a one armed half hug half pat on the back being exchanged. The same physical greeting occurred between Zeke and Troy.

"Great show tonight buddy," Zeke said. "Even if you are pretty much just a Nickelback tribute band."

A cocky smile spread across Troy's lips. "The ladies love it," he said matter of factly.

"They'd love it even more if you got rid of Drew and you just took over," Chad pointed out.

"Nah. I prefer it back there."

"Why, with the whole mysterious guy vibe thing," Zeke said, rolling his eyes.

"Something like that. Keep them wanting more, that's my motto," Troy said, innuendo running high.

"What about satisfying needs?" Chad asked continuing the innuendo.

"Oh believe me, I do that too," Troy smirked. "Very well. So well that they crave it over and over."

Chad and Zeke exchanged that look that Troy was familiar with, that judgemental look. Sometimes it came with a speech of, 'when are you gonna stop fucking around and get serious' but Troy wasn't in the mood for it that night and so he decided upon a quick change of conversation.

"Are your other halves here with you tonight?" he asked, gesturing toward the empty margarita glasses.

"Yeah, they went to the bathroom. We actually invited someone we met with us, she's new in our apartment building," Chad told him.

"Oh yeah, she hot?"

"Yes," both Zeke and Chad answered simultaneously.

"She uh... appeared to be enjoying the show," Zeke said coyly. "If you know what I mean."

"They all do."

As if punctuating the point, two bubbly blondes approached the table. They were two of the more forward regulars and would approach him each week.

"Hi Troy, great set so far tonight," Blonde #1 cooed.

"Thanks Jennie," Troy said cooly, flashing her a grin.

"I don't know if it's possible but your fingers seem more talented each and every week," Blonde #2 said flirtatiously.

"Yeah well.... they get a lot of practice," Troy said, continuing her innuendo, flexing his hands.

Both of the girls burst into giggles. Troy wasn't oblivious to what each of them hoped her advances would achieve, but truthfully he wasn't particularly interested in committing himself to either as a prospect.

"I hope you enjoy the rest of the show," he said, flashing them each other smile before turning back to his friends, sending the signal that he wanted to be left alone.

"Oh, here are the girls," Zeke said, spotting Taylor and Sharpay coming back across from the bathrooms with Gabriella in tow.

They'd encouraged her to plump up her hair and put on lip gloss, although she hadn't quite been sure why. But looking up and seeing the Adonis himself standing beside Chad, a lump formed in her throat and all she could do was pray that she didn't do something stupid like trip over with her Manolo Blahniks and fall on her backside. Up close he was even more beautiful than he had appeared the distance they were congregated away from the small stage. His eyes were brighter, his skin was smoother. He wasn't too tall – a plus in Gabriella's book, even with her heels she was short and she was now just a little shorter than him. And yet in person, he was that bit more real. Just as Godly, and yet more real.

"Why hello there superstar," Sharpay said, giving Troy a kiss on the cheek and a hug.

"Loving the new stuff from Dark Horse," Taylor complimented, hugging him a hug herself.

"Thanks," Troy said simply.

He was eyeing up the petite beauty with the brunette hair so dark it was almost ebony. It fell in gorgeous waves past her shoulders. Her eyes were widened, looking at him in slight shock and slight awe.

"Troy, this is Gabriella. She's just moved into our building. Gabriella this is Troy," Taylor said, then adding unnecessarily, "He's our friend who is in the band."

"Hello," she breathed; her voice raspier than usual.

Troy was all too familiar with this gaze, with the eyes that stared into his cyan orbs as though trying to determine whether they were in fact real. However there was something about the gaze from this woman that was different to that which he would usually be subjected to. He couldn't quite pinpoint what exactly it was that was different. He did know, however, that it was different in a good way. As much as he played up to the attention, sometimes it got old, sometimes the lustful stares played off as desperate. This woman however... from this woman, the attention was more than welcome.

"Why, hello there."

"It's nice to meet you," she managed to say, stuttering a little.

"I believe the pleasure is mine," Troy said, offering her his hand.

She tentatively accepted it and Troy lifted her hand to his mouth, pressing his warm lips in a kiss to the back of her palm. Gabriella shuddered slightly involuntarily, a good shudder, an amazing shudder. Just a kiss on the back of the palm was shudder worthy – she couldn't help but wonder what more this man was capable of.

A gaze passed between Troy and Gabriella. His stare penetrating into her, almost as though trying to read her thoughts. She swallowed, trying to think of something, anything, vaguely intellectual or even sensical to say.

"Um... I... the show is awesome," she finally said.

Troy smiled. "Thank you. Glad you're enjoying. I love performing."

Silence fell between them again. Her eyes were now downcast, avoiding looking directly at him. Gabriella was a little afraid to look at him, afraid that looking was staring. She didn't want her attraction to be so blatant.

"So, Chad, come with me to get more drinks," Zeke said, tugging at Chad's arm.

Troy turned. "Wait... hang on..." he glanced around and spotted a bar staff member collecting glasses onto a tray.

"Jimmy!" Troy called out.

Jimmy glanced up and grinned, coming over to the group. "Hey Troy," he greeted the musician. "Great set so far tonight, man."

"Thanks. You remember my friends, right?"

Jimmy nodded and smiled at Troy's group. "Hey guys."

"Don't suppose you could organise a round of drinks for my friends." Troy's tone wasn't hopeful, it was knowing. It wasn't the first time that they'd scored some free drinks at Troy's persuasion. The fact was that the small bar had average popularity every other night, and it was Troy and his band which brought the customers in. The guys would stay after their performance to socialise for a few hours, which kept the clientele around as the bass pumped and the dance floor became filled. A round of drinks for the star of the show and his friends was the least they could do.

"Of course."

"A Bud for each of the guys, margarita's for Taylor and Shar..." Troy paused, flashing Gabriella a smile. "Another margarita for you beautiful?"

Her eyes widened slightly, cheeks flushing, and she nodded. She hadn't particularly wanted to drink another but 'no' wasn't exactly a thought that was to cross her mind in conjunction to anything he might ask her.

"Three margaritas," Troy confirmed.

"And your usual?" Jimmy asked.

"Of course."

Zeke and Chad followed the bartender over to the bar so they could carry the drinks back over. Troy leaned in a little closer to Gabriella. "You blushed," he stated.

"I... what?" she asked, panicking slightly, worrying that he'd noticed her staring at him whilst he'd been performing in the first half of the set.

"When I called you beautiful," he clarified. "You blushed. I don't tell many women that they're beautiful."

"You don't normally tell this to women?" she repeated, a small smirk and disbelief in her tone. "Why do I find that hard to believe?"

Troy smirked at the insinuation that he flirted with many women – he couldn't exactly deny it. He enjoyed flirting, he oozed charm and wasn't afraid to turn it on and reap the rewards if he felt so compelled to do so.

"Well, I don't say things that I don't mean. I'm not a liar. If I say it, then it's true. And you are beautiful, beautiful," Troy said, a cheeky smile on his face.

Her cheeks flushed yet again and she dipped her head shyly. He sensed that it wasn't just being 'star struck' and that rather flirting with strangers wasn't a common past time for the young woman, which was appealing to Troy. He felt drawn to her innocence, drawn to her guardedness. It wasn't as though she were bland – he'd already been struck by her wit, calling him on his flirtatious ways. Like a moth to a flame, he knew that this woman was someone he had to get to know a little more.

"So. No boyfriend?" Troy asked.

Gabriella's eyes clouded over a little. "You think I'm not the kind of girl a guy would want to be in a relationship with?" she asked, a little too quickly.

He was taken aback, charm and cockiness falling away for a moment. "No," he said genuinely. "Quite the opposite."

"Then why did you assume that I don't have a boyfriend?"

"Well... Gabriella... you wear no ring on this finger," he said, reaching over to gently graze his right index finger against her left ring finger. "So I know there's nothing official. And you said you were new in town. And frankly, I think if you were taken, any guy would be crazy to allow you to go to a bar without him there to fend off the hordes of men who undoubtedly are stunned by your beauty."

"I could be in a long distance relationship," she countered.

He was worried. Despite any questionable morals Troy may live his life by – he wasn't in the habit of hitting on taken women.

"Are you?" he asked bluntly.

She faltered. "Um. Well, no."

"So you're single?" he asked, lips curving upward.



Gabriella's eyes narrowed a little. "Good? You make it sound like..."

"I just like to know these things about beautiful, sexy, witty women who I am engaging in conversation with," Troy said innocently.

Normally, Gabriella would have been able to acknowledge that Troy was attractive, begin to converse with him and realise he was a charming flirt who possibly had an agenda behind his flirtation. However on this occasion, it was more than acknowledging that he was attractive. She was attracted. Big time. And she had two margaritas in her and the charming talk she might normally use the rational part of her brain to be dubious of – well she wasn't so much hesitant and rather it simply formed an additional level to his charm.

Zeke and Chad returned with the drinks; Zeke was carrying the three margarita glasses and Chad was carrying the two beer bottles and a bottle of water.

Gabriella was a little fascinated – yet another morsel of information to file away in her list of things that she officially knew about this man.

"You don't drink?" she asked, as Chad handed the water over.

"Not while performing. I prefer to keep a clear mind."

"You really love music, don't you?"

"Why do you ask?" he asked carefully.

"You just... when you play. There's this... passion... in your eyes," Gabriella attempted to explain, a little smile on her face as she thought back to the expression she'd witnessed in Troy's eyes as he was playing. "It's really quite beautiful."

Troy was a little taken aback. He was accustomed to music being utilised by women he met at the bar as a conversation point. It was the obvious place to start. He'd been asked about whether he liked singing or playing more, if he wanted to do more of their own music, how long he'd been playing. But he couldn't ever remember being asked about his love of music, his passion. He'd also never heard it described as beautiful. Talented, sexy, hot – brilliant even. But 'beautiful' was a term that was a bit foreign being used in conjunction to his music. It threw him – not in a bad way, but for the second time in their short conversation, he found himself feeling stripped of his ability to put up the cocky front and instead being stripped back to... well... to just Troy.

"Umm... thank you. I... yeah. I love it. Music was never something that anyone expected I'd be doing but..."

"It happened for a reason, I guess," Gabriella mused.

"Something like that." Troy was closed on the subject, and Gabriella sensed that, choosing to not press him about it.

"So uh... it appears that my friends have abandoned us," Troy remarked.

Gabriella glanced up. Truthfully the moment that Troy had spoken to her, she'd forgotten that she was even there in the company of other people. She saw that the two couples had segregated themselves, giving Gabriella and Troy privacy. Gabriella was a bit mortified at the insinuation.

Inherently, she knew what was going on. She didn't date a lot but she wasn't a recluse and she wasn't oblivious to when a man was making advances on her. His tone, his body language, his stance, the way he was looking at her – it all accumulated to tell her that he was interested. But there was that part of Gabriella that was in disbelief. She was hit on a lot, but never by guys who she was interested in. The guys she was interested in were taken or gay or in professions that would make a relationship inappropriate – she'd had a bit of a crush on a professor at MIT, and her GP back in Boston was rather attractive as well. Gabriella was rational and practical and logical, she planned her life. That evenings plan had been to politely come along, socialise for a little while, and then make an excuse that she was tired from all the moving and unpacking and escape back to her comfortable apartment and curl up with a good book. It was difficult to fathom that a man who she was desperately yearning, a man who she was having R rated thoughts about, seemed to be reciprocating attraction at least on some level.

Troy had experienced a rough week, and he would be lying if he'd said that he hadn't come to the bar with the thought in the back of his brain that tonight might be a good night to keep his eyes peeled for what potential was out there. He had standards, no matter how stressed or horny he was, he wasn't going to sleep with just anyone. But he was in the frame of mind where Gabriella's potential was more than just potential. Even if he'd come that night wanting an early evening, she would have caught his eye. There was no doubting his physical attraction to her and as he spoke with her, there was no doubting that there was an entire package there was that appealing. Sex, even on a physical level, was about a bigger package, a vibe that he got from a woman. Gabriella was sweet, but with bite. Each time she blushed, each time she giggled, each time she shuddered in response to his hand grazing conversationally along her arm – Troy was becoming more determined to ensure that the thoughts floating through his mind would actually come into fruition.

Sixteen minutes it had taken. Sixteen minutes for Troy to decide that this girl was going to be his that night.

"Hey Troy, dude." He glanced up to see Andy, the bass guitarist, approaching. "Time to meet backstage."

Troy nodded. "Give me a minute." Andy's eyes flickered toward the woman that Troy was presently talking to, and smirked slightly, knowing what was taking place.

"Okay. Take two," he said slyly, and disappeared toward the door that headed to the backstage room.

"Are you staying after the show tonight?" Troy found himself asking rather directly.

Normally he might be a little more coy, but time was of the essence and at that point, he suspected that he may need to be a little direct otherwise risk her deciding to leave and him missing his opportunity.

"Um... I really hadn't planned on it."

"You should. It's awesome. They pump some dance tracks, the dance floor gets hot. It's a lot of fun."

"Hey Troy!" A pretty girl with dark auburn hair approached, glancing at Gabriella, her brown eyes glinting with shades of green from jealousy. "Do you remember me? I'm Tanya. We were chatting a few weeks ago."

Troy gave her a smile. He was appreciative of his fans, but he wasn't so appreciative of girls coming up and interrupting him while he was talking with someone. It didn't surprise him to see a slightly hurt look in Gabriella's eyes, she slunk away toward where Taylor and the others were standing.

"Of course I remember you, babe. Listen, I'd love to chat but I'm actually due backstage to get ready for the next half of our set."

"Oh okay. Well, good luck, and I'll talk to you after the show?"

"Maybe I'll see you around, I'm here with some friends," Troy said, not indicating commitment but not wanting to be rude.

She looked a little dejected, picking up on the hint and backed away. Troy spotted Drew indicating to him impatiently from across the crowded bar. He held up a finger, asking for another minute. Well, not really asking. Short of coming over and dragging him away, there wasn't much they could do if he was late. Troy reapproached his friends.

"Hey, so, enjoy the second half of the show," he said to them.

There was a chorus of 'thank you for the drinks' and 'good lucks' from his friends. Troy gently grazed his finger tips down Gabriella's bare arm and then back up again. She was avoiding eye contact; the 'visit' from the auburn haired girl had broken her from the reverie of feeling like this was actually something that she could do; go out to a bar, chat with a gorgeous guy and see where it could lead. But she couldn't deny the feeling inside as his fingertips grazed against her skin; they gently reached to her chin to tilt her head up slightly, her chocolate eyes lifting from where they were staring at his worn in Converses to look into his bright eyes.

"Stay after the show. Please," he murmured.

He didn't want to beg, but he'd officially run out of lines and he knew that the interruption had been detrimental to his progress.

"If I do... are you going to save a dance for me?" Gabriella found herself asking, knowing – but not caring – that she sounded just like the airheads who were glaring at her with jealousy.

"A dance?" Troy asked, emphasising the singular form of 'a'. "There is no one else I'd rather be dancing with. I'll be monopolising your time tonight."

She swallowed, her top teeth clamping onto her lower lip for a moment before asking somewhat shakily, "What if... what if I don't want to only dance with you?"

He leaned over, hot breath tickling against her ear, and murmured, "Believe me. You want to dance with me. I'm very good at... dancing."

"Are we still talking about the same type of dancing?" she asked.

He smiled. "We're talking about whatever type of dancing it is that you want to be talking about."

Troy pressed a chaste, lingering kiss to her cheek, wanting to have kissed her properly but concluding that perhaps it was better to follow his own advice and leave her wanting more. If the look in her eyes was indicative of what she was feeling, he knew he'd been successful.


S is for the simple need

E is for the ecstasy

X is just to mark the spot coz that's the one you really want

Sex is always the answer, it's never a question

Coz the answers yes, oh the answers yes

Not just a suggestion if you ask the question then it's always yes

S.E.X. by Nickelback