"I Feel Sparks"copyright hollybaggins; January 2008
This is a derivate piece of fiction featuring real people. The author is not affiliated, nor knows any of the following people - including their friends and family - on a personal level - Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu, Kenny Ortega, nor any other celebrity mentioned throughout this piece of work. This work is solely intended for posting on Fanfiction, for the benefit and enjoyment of its intended audience. No commercial or financial benefit accrues or is intended to accrue to the author as a result of said posting. Any unauthorised copying or redistribution of this work might subject the party responsible for such unauthorized copying or redistribution to legal action by the owners of the aforementioned copyrights and trademarks.
One: A Perfect Portrait
"…and when I watch Vanessa and Zac, I smile because it's so cute." – Ashley Tisdale
Ashley Tisdale is the perfect portrait of what a best friend should be.
She's honest and caring and she always knows exactly what to say in any situation. She has the most infectious laugh and comes out with the most weirdly-wonderful jokes known to mankind. She makes a mean chocolate-fudge sundae to brighten up your day and knows the importance of retail therapy. After only one sip of a cappuccino she turns mega crazy and is almost uncontrollable. She can pull the weirdest facial expressions and know that she'll get a laugh out of you and when she gets really irate and starts swearing frantically, you can't help but giggle. She loves a good cry over a chick-flick and random girl-talks are simply a must. She's a brilliant – even if a little embarrassing – matchmaker and adores romance. Sometimes, she'll have insane random moments like doing cartwheels in the middle of a busy movie set or hiding behind doors in order to scare you shitless as you walk past.
And what's more, she's always there for you. Come rain or shine; she's always there.
I'm quickly pulled from my trance by a flying potato chip.
"V, it's a good bit. Turn it up." From her lying position on the couch opposite me, Ashley digs deeper into the large bag of Wavy-Lays and stuffs a handful in her mouth in an unlady-like fashion.
I roll my eyes and tuck my legs underneath my body; reluctantly reaching for the remote control. "He meets her on top of the Empire State Building, Ash. They smile. They hold hands. They walk to the elevators. No kiss. The end."
Ashley frowns in my direction, looking more than annoyed. "Don't ruin it."
"It's not like you haven't seen it before!" I exclaim, rolling my eyes again before briefly wondering whether my eyes will involuntarily drop out of their sockets with my incessant eye-rolling. When Ashley shrugs off my comment with a careless sigh, I drop back against the couch, hugging a pillow to my chest with one hand and holding up my cell with the other.
"He won't call if you keep staring at it." How the hell does she do that? She hasn't even turned her gaze away from the television but there's a knowing smirk on her face. I'm sure she's proud of her abilities to be psychic; that smug smirk is more than enough to give me a hunch.
"I'm not staring. Who says I'm staring?" I feign innocence.
"I say you're staring – ooh! Ooh! Good part! Good part!"
I roll my eyes again – surely this is becoming a bad habit – as Ashley leans forward and glares wide-eyed at the television as Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan set eyes on each other for the first time. It's not that I don't like the film; in fact I absolutely adore it – falling in love with a person you've never even met and then finally meeting them in such a clichéd but romantic way and just knowing that you're meant to be. Perfection. They don't make them like they used to. But with Ashley's constant eyelash batting and girly sighs at every starry-eyed moment while I was currently pining after my own boyfriend was seriously taking the romance out of the film.
Okay, so I wasn't exactly pining. Just missing him. A little bit.
I take another glance at my phone.
"I'm not staring!"
Ashley takes another mouthful of chips and with puffed-up cheeks she gives me a childish smile. "Sfo aref!"
In some sort of attempt for further my point, I slam my phone face-down against the couch and fold my arms. A small smile works its way to my lips and I know that she can see straight through my frustrated exterior.
Ashley chews frantically, her hand spinning in small circles mid-air as she tries to speed up her consumption. After finally swallowing, she gazes at me knowingly; a small piece of chip sticking to the corner of her mouth. "He won't call any quicker if you keep looking at the damn thing. Anyway, he'll still be shooting, right? Or maybe that's not the reason you're checking at all." She narrows her eyes in a suspicious manner. "Maybe Little Miss Tizzy has just gotten too damn boring for you."
"You? Ashley. Never!" I answer dramatically. "Tizzy and boring doesn't mix."
"So why are you checking your cell every few seconds?"
Ashley Tisdale is the perfect portrait of what a best friend should be. It's so damn annoying that she just seems to know everything and see everything about you. And she knows exactly how to wind you up to an extent that you start hyperventilating and jumbling up your words in a pathetic attempt to prove your argument. And she loves every second.
I can see her from the corner of my eye; a grin plastered on her face and a knowing gaze in those eyes. I can't help but grin.
"Okay, okay." She sits up and crosses her legs as she digs deeper into the bag of chips. "Orlando Bloom. Elf or pirate?"
I let out a small chuckle; her random changes of subject never failing to make me smile. "Hmm… Tough one, Tizzy. Very, very tough."
"Well." Ashley licks her fingers one by one. "Would you prefer for him to save you with a bow and arrow or with a sword?"
Questions like these are very important in life. You know; if you're ever held at gun-point and the crazy being that's got his hand wrapped around your throat asks you that all-important question and you have to give a convincing answer or you're screwed. Simple as.
"Tough. Still tough."
"You're a picky woman, V." Ashley sighs with a grin. When I shrug, she puts on her best thinking face and I can almost see the light bulb flicking on in her ever-crazy mind. "Okay, would you rather be saved by Orlando Bloom the Elf with Viggo Mortensen and John Rhys-Davies by his side – in other words, a dirty man and a hairy dwarf – or by Orlando Bloom the pirate with a fit-looking Johnny Depp by his side?"
"Pirate. Definitely the pirate." Throw Johnny Depp into the mix and I'm a weak, weak woman.
Ashley nods her agreement; a telepathic high-five passing between us. "Okay, let's say Zac doesn't exist. Let's say…" she drifts off and I pull a bemused expression. "Let's say he gets abducted by aliens or something. And then Johnny Depp dumps that glamorous wife of his and tracks you down. But there's two Johnny Depp's. Yes, brace yourself, Vanessa Hudgens; there're two! You've officially entered Heaven. Anyway, the two Johnny Depp's are Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow or Johnny Depp as Gilbert Grape. And they both walk up to you and say 'Vanessa, Baby, let's kick-start the Hummer and elope!' and you have to choose only one. Which Johnny Depp do you go with?"
"Okay, first off," I point my index finger upwards as I analyse the situation. "Captain Jack Sparrow has a boat."
"It's a ship."
"Whatever. He doesn't own a Hummer."
"Now he does. He got promoted. And the prize was a Hummer to use for eloping with Vanessa Hudgens purposes. If you so choose him."
I shake my head in defeat. "Secondly, the aliens who abducted Zac wouldn't keep hold of him long enough for me to choose. He'd piss them off so much they'd fly back to earth in a heartbeat and literally throw him at me." I picture the scene and it is amusing, I have to admit.
Ashley laughs knowingly. "That is a good point. And it causes everything to work well for me! I'd definitely take Gilbert Grape in the Hummer. And since you'll be busy with the alien rejection, I'll have to look after Captain Jack as well. Sweet."
"Oh, how I wish our random fantasies would come to life." I roll my eyes again. I should stop doing that so much. But then Ashley does cause a hell of a lot of eye-rolling situations.
I'm tired. I'm exhausted. I'm absolutely fucking shattered.
We've been filming non-stop for nine hours and I'm sure I'm starting to smell seriously bad. Both cast and crew are restless and are desperate for this final scene to go according to plan – but then some stupid bad lighting pops up and we have to cut while the experts sort out the situation. Filming is fun but can be draining. Oh, so draining.
"What time is it? Summer time…" Lucas waves his arms up in the air; his feet tapping constantly on the hard floor. Each male member of the cast go through what we girls have named 'Annoying Pain in the Ass' syndrome, and each guy experiences this 'illness' on separate days. As of now, it's official. It's Lucas' day. "Anticipation…" more tapping of the feet, more waving of the arms…
I groan and lean my head back against the locker; my tired and annoyed state making me wonder whether I can pull off the innocent Gabriella Montez character for the rest of the day. On my left hand side, there's Ashley shooting Lucas death glares which clearly are not reaching his attention. On my right, there sits Zac, undoubtedly immune to Lucas' incessant foot tapping and arm waving activities. He stretches his legs, staring at nothing; ignoring Ashley's sharp threat to Lucas which involved a consequence that included an axe and his head.
He's tired too. I can see it in his face. Zac has never been one for getting up early in the morning – especially for a day full of non-stop dancing and high school romance. We all seem to forget our tiredness when the cameras start to roll and its funny how one minute we're sat in silence seriously contemplating running out to find our beds and then in the next moment, we're up and dancing, grins on our faces and hearts thumping wildly – enjoying ever damn second. Would I change any of it for the world? Not a smidgen of it.
Corbin sits opposite with Monique; both of them leaning back against the lockers that occupy that wall and thumbing through the script. For what…I don't know. All day we've been filming 'What Time Is It?' and the dancing and the singing just bursts out of you. As much as I love it, I can't wait to do dialogue part of the musical – acting is my first love after all.
"Oi." Chucky and Bonnie appear in my line of view and I give them a half-hearted smile as Chucky nudges my feet with a skateboard. "No time for slacking, losers. You need to be warming up… getting your heads in the game."
"Enough with the puns." Ashley shoots back not amused with Chucky's choice of using humour in this tiring time. Chucky and Bonnie are, without doubt, the coolest choreographers known to man. Their passion and dedication to what they do is inspiring and motivating. But at this moment in time, I'm not feeling motivated. Or inspired. I'm feeling… bleh.
Chucky just laughs as Bonnie wanders off in the direction of where Kenny is trying desperately to get the camera crew back in order. "Is Zac still on this planet?"
I gaze over to my boyfriend and gently poke his side. Being as ticklish as he is, it does bring him out of his trance and he blinks a few times before looking at me.
He sighs loudly, ignoring Chucky nudging his legs with the skateboard and lets his head fall against my shoulder. "Not quite sure. Ask me again after I've had a sleep."
"Sleep? Dude, you can't possibly want to sleep! Aren't you just full of energy?"
Zac and I shoot simultaneous death glares in Chucky's direction. I swear this guy never sleeps – he's like this supernatural being that never needs to rest and spends his entire life dancing and singing. Sometimes, on days when he's really working us down to the ground, we all want to whack him over the head with something hard just so we can rest our worn and battered feet. At this moment in time, that skateboard looks like a perfect weapon choice.
Chucky laughs at our expressions and shakes his head in mock defeat. "It's gonna be a while, guys. Some of the lighting equipment has seriously fucked up and if we've got any hope of shooting the last part of the routine before five, those guys are going to have to get a move on."
"I'm so bored." Monique closed her eyes and tilted her head back against the locker.
"Yep. Me too." I shoot her a smile and feel ready to fall asleep again. And I would have too, if not for Zac suddenly lifting his head from my shoulder and standing up. I look up at him with a curious frown but he just smiles and reaches down for my hand. "No…" I moan with a small smile as he tugs on my arm.
"No what? You don't know what I'm going to do!" He chuckles and turns to Chucky. "You using that skateboard?"
"Nah uh!" I protest as he finally succeeds in lifting me from the ground and Chucky hands over the skateboard. "It's obviously something to do with the skateboard and there's no way on this planet I'm getting on that skateboard!"
I should really know better by now; I mean, we have been dating over eighteen months and I should have realised by now that when Zac's got his mind set on something, it's pretty much going to pan out his way.
So I'm not totally surprised when Zac takes me to a quieter corridor and points at the skateboard confidentially, gesturing me to get on it. "Are you insane?" I snap at him, folding my arms tightly. "I'll die!"
He rolls his eyes and takes a hold of my wrists, pulling them out of their current position. "You're not going to die! You said the same thing when I taught you to surf in Australia and you survived that!"
I huff stubbornly. "Yeah. Just."
"You said you were going to get eaten by a gigantic huge great white shark and then it would use your leg as a toothpick."
"It could have happened." I smile, defiant. Zac used his foot to position the skateboard between us, a laugh escaping his lips.
"Well it didn't, did it? You rode those waves surrounded by thousands of sharks and other creepy sea creature things and you loved it. Just get on the skateboard!"
My mouth hangs open agape as I take in what he's just said. "What do you mean I was surrounded by thousands of sharks? You said there were no sharks where we were surfing!"
He looks at my guiltily, a guilty smirk appearing on his face as he rubs the back of his neck sheepishly. "Y-eah." He finally answers. "I lied."
"I didn't think you'd fall for it! It's Australia! There're sharks everywhere!"
"I was joking when I said it! And then you grabbed the board and went into the water. It took me ages to get you that far so I thought I'd just… keep up the act." He was laughing now; the fire I felt burning in my eyes so obviously amusing him.
"I could have been eaten!" I try and look as completely pissed off as humanly possible but I know I'm failing when he laughs harder. I did actually enjoy the surfing and he knows that, so anything I say now to try and convince him otherwise would only make him laugh harder.
"But you weren't." He places his hands on my hips and guides me towards the skateboard, keeping it in position with one foot. "And you're not going to get eaten now. And nothing else is going to happen. There will be no Death By Skateboard or anything else you're currently thinking up as a pathetic excuse!"
I let out a sigh when he puts on his best puppy-eyed look. I know he's not going to let up. "Fine." I finally reply and he kisses my cheek softly as he takes my hands and guides me up on top of the skateboard. "But if I die, I'm coming back to haunt you."
"It's a deal." Zac grins victoriously.
I place both feet on the skateboard and as soon as Zac moves his foot away it starts to shift back and forth. In a panic, I wrap my arms tightly around his neck, causing him to chuckle at my actions and hold my waist tighter.
"Ness, calm down." He tries to steady me as the skateboard starts to shift more uncontrollably. This is fucking fantastic; I've only just got on the damn thing and we haven't even started moving yet! "Stop wiggling! It's making it worse!"
I only hold onto him tighter and his grip on me doesn't loosen. He kisses my cheek in reassurance but I can still feel his smile against my skin. I bet he's loving every moment of this!
"Nessa, you're going to have to let go of me; I'm running out of oxygen."
"Are you crazy?!" I look down nervously at my feet, my cheek still pressed up hard against his. "If I let go of you, that's it! I'm a goner!"
"I'm not going to let go of you." Zac runs his hands up my sides and tries to gently coax my arms from around his neck. "Just hold onto my hands and I'll guide you along." I start to panic again when he unwinds my arms and hold my hands up so they're parallel to the floor. "No, don't look down." He gently scolds with a small smile as I gaze back down at my feet. "It's all about the balance."
"You suck," is my only response. My fingers dig into his skin as he starts to walk sideways, the skateboard moving slowly under my feet. I know I'm going to continue to sulk over this for the rest of the day – after all moving at a glacial pace holding onto my boyfriend isn't much of an achievement. And I'm not exactly seeing the point of this little exercise. Zac's always had this thing about teaching me new things; especially things he's passionate about and ninety-five percent of the time, I'm very grateful for it. This instance, however, is one of those rare moments where I'm not totally convinced I'm going to make it through alive.
"You're doing great." I manage a weak smile as I attempt to look down at my feet again. "Here, see if you can spread your arms out…"
"Are you completely insane?!"
He laughs whole-heartedly at my expression and I grip his hands tighter to assure him that he's not leaving my side.
"I'll keep hold of your waist, Ness." He tries to pry his fingers from my grasp. "Just spread your arms out; you'll feel more balanced."
"I hate you."
"I love you, too." He pecks the tip of my nose and succeeds in removing his fingers from mine. Before I have a chance to get into my usual panic state, he latches gently to my waist, allowing me to timidly spread my arms out on either side of me.
Okay, I'll admit I'm feeling slightly proud of myself at the minute. I'm allowing my mind to wander off and consider the possibility that soon I'll be doing twisted flips and thinking that heaven is a half-pipe.
"See if you can give yourself a push-off."
"A what?" I frown, my confidence level slipping downwards as I contemplate what he's suggesting.
"Put one of your feet on the floor and push off."
"It's official. You've gone stark raving bonkers."
"Nessa." Zac rolls his eyes as he laughs at me. "I love you so, so much. I do, really. But my god, you can be such a drama queen!"
"Well excuse me for wanting to get through this with all my limbs still attached to me."
"You're doing great; just give yourself a push off. You can't still be scared at travelling at one mile an hour!"
"Who said I was scared?"
"Fine, fine." Zac shrugs it off and his fingers grip my waist a little tighter. "If you're not scared you won't mind me doing this…"
Before my eyes can widen and my mouth can open to stop him, he speeds up his walking pace, therefore increasing the speed of the skateboard. I wobble slightly from the pure shock and surprise but keep my arms spread to balance myself out and thankfully, it's not that bad. The humour and mischief is dancing in Zac's eyes but I don't scold him. I just look up and him and smile softly; silently admitting defeat and giving him confirmation that I am enjoying myself really.
But less than a second later, I want to take it all back.
Less than a second later, Zac is laughing almost hysterically and I'm squealing.
Less than a second later, Zac lets go of my waist and I'm riding on this damn skateboard solo. Nothing to hold onto for comfort and safety; nothing to stop me on my terrifying path down the corridor.
"Zac! Stop me!" I scream, my arms flapping wildly like some deformed bird as I try to keep my body up right. I can still hear him laughing and jogging up behind me. "Stop me! Stop me! Help!" My knees buckle and the skateboard drifts off to the left as my body leans to the right. I feel myself falling and my feet leave the skateboard and then I find myself in mid air. Before I can totally lose control of the situation, Zac's arms grasp me by the waist before I can hit the ground in an embarrassing manner as the skateboard hurtles into the lockers.
"Hey." He laughs as he pulls my upright. "You okay?"
"No!" I push him away from me. "I was nearly turned into mince! Splattered against the locker and turned into a human pancake! You let go and you said you wouldn't!"
"Ah, come on," he continues to laugh. "You were doing so well. You underestimate yourself all the time."
"Underestimate?" I put my hands on my hips and question him in total annoyance. And this only seems to fuel his amusement. "I was like a deformed duck!"
"A cute deformed duck."
"It's not funny, Zac." This phrase only adds to his hilarity. "It isn't! What if I had… like… broken a bone?"
"You were travelling at two miles an hour. You wouldn't have even scored a bruise."
"But still…" I can't stop my own smile from erupting wildly. "It could have happened."
Zac grins that delectable goofy grin and runs his hand up and down my arm affectionately. "Now you know I wouldn't have ever let that happen."
When my grin matches his own and I scrunch my nose up sarcastically, his eyes widen in mock insult. I know I'm in for it and I try and keep in a giggle but fail miserably.
I feel tired. I feel exhausted. I feel absolutely fucking shattered.
But those feeling suddenly leave my mind and body as I race down the corridor as fast as my tired legs will carry me, giggling profusely like a six-year-old schoolgirl and shouting calls of distress to every member of cast and crew that I pass.
Zac's catching up, riding that damn skateboard; a grin and a look of determination hanging in his eyes.
I run past Kenny and look at him desperately amidst my titters and beg him for help as I pass him. He chuckles as Zac follows suit, balancing himself perfectly on top of the skateboard and catching up to me effortlessly.
"Play nice, Children!" Our beloved director calls towards our retreating backs and I can still sense the smile on his face.
I squeal a loud-pitched squeal as Zac's arms tightly encase my waist and he leaps from the skateboard, twirling me around continually until I feel I'm going to be sick.
"Oh my God! Oh my God!" I laugh as he finally sets me down and pins me against the locker; his face so dangerously and tantalizingly close to mine. Why the hell was I annoyed with him again?
Zac rubs his nose softly against mine; his hands braced against the lockers on either side of my head. I'm breathless, my chest heaving up and down and my eyes blinking rapidly. And all I can think about is wanting to kiss him right now.
But he's teasing. I know he's teasing. I know that look in his eyes.
"Haven't you got something to say to me, Hudgens?"
"Um…" I bite my lip. "I'm sorry?"
I start to grin and I roll my eyes. "You rule all?"
"Yes." His eyes twinkle. "And?"
"You are the master of skateboards and no dude can kick your ass?"
"Um…" I shrug my shoulders, but he's cheekily awaiting my answer. "I love you?"
"Hmm…" Zac scratches his chin and gazes at me with his eyebrows knitted. "I was thinking along the lines of 'I should be King and all should bow down to me' however…" he drifts off again and my breath hitches. "I'm prepared to settle for that answer." He winks. Man, I have excellent taste in men. Give yourself one big pat on the back, V; well done.
"Oh, do you now?" I joke but I'm cut off as he kisses my mouth gently and as wonderful as it is, I still can't forget my duties to Marie, the wonderful make-up artist who has to put up with so much from me. "Zac…" I gently push him off; reluctantly of course. "I'm wearing lip-gloss. Marie will kill me if we smudge-"
I'm cut off again. And the kiss intensifies this time.
And I don't even care. Who's Marie again?
For some reason, we both smile into the kiss. My arms wrap around his torso and his arm is around my waist; the other hand pressed against my cheek. Distantly, I can hear members of the crew walking by us, not taking notice. It's as though we're not even there and its amazing that we can do things like this and not feel like the whole world is watching us.
I feel elated. I feel breathless. I feel happy and I feel contentment. I feel like the worst skateboarder known to mankind. I feel giddy and I feel anticipation; excitement, bliss, adoration. I feel that its completely impossible for one person to feel so much at one precise moment – a moment that embraces simplicity and admiration.
Clearly, it must be impossible. How can one person function right with all these emotions racing through them at one hundred miles an hour?
But yet here they are, racing through me. I feel everything.
I feel sparks.
Ashley Tisdale is the perfect portrait of what a best friend should be.
She unwittingly has the worst timing known to man.
"Snap out of it, V!" She snaps her fingers in front of my eyes, bringing me from my daydream and back onto the couch in her front room. "Major zoning out happening here!"
"I'm back, Ash; I'm back." I assure her, shaking my head and blinking swiftly to completely bring me out of my trance.
"Where the heck did you go off to? I had the best question planned and you zoned out majorly. I feel so insulted!" She grins in my direction and she knows I know she's only joking and that she knew exactly where I'd zoned to.
"Sorry, Tizzy." I rub my face vigorously and try to suppress a yawn. "What was the question?"
"Okay." Ashley sits forward, a bright smile playing on her lips. "Captain Jack Sparrow begging you elope with him on his ship… or in his Hummer… or Zac Efron first thing in the morning, stinking like a basket of dirty socks, looking as haggard as an old man and growling because his voice doesn't start to function properly until dinner time?"
I smirk at my best friend, twirling a lock of hair around my index finger as my heart pounds rapidly in my chest. I open my mouth to speak but the ringing of my cellphone causes an interruption. I pick the phone up, smiling contentedly as I see Zac's face gracing the background.
"A tough one, Tizzy. An extremely tough one…"
Ashley chuckles loudly as I answer the phone and press it to my ear.
"A haggard-looking, growling and smelly Zac Efron in the morning? Yeah, I kinda figured."