AN: It's weird putting this at the beginning, but I think it needs to be explained. I love oneshots, but I had yet to write one for HSM. Every time I set out to do it, it turned into a full length story of some kind. But this is my honest attempt. I started this awhile ago when my muse refused to help with my stories in progress, and I thought what the hell, let them have their way. I've been holding back finishing but the other day seemed like a good time. It's just a vent of energy, so just enjoy it!
Disclaimer: I do not own HSM.
"Melt down, it's not a crush; In a hot hot room, we're in a rush."
-Headstrong, Ashley Tisdale
The room was dark, hidden at the back of the reception hall. It was better described as an alcove, with no door present, yet the only people to have passed it in the last half hour were staff who were too busy serving food and filling wine glasses to notice the two people inside. Even if they had noticed, they would be too far removed from the situation to find anything out of place. Noise drifted back to the darkened corner, muffled and muted with only spontaneous spurts of laughter. If anyone had realized that they were missing, they had yet to think to look for them.
It had been easiest for her to get away. The maid of honour always had an excuse to check on something. The cake, the wine, the limo that was scheduled to pick up the bride and groom and drive them to the airport for the honeymoon- a quick word to the bride and she could duck out with her cell phone in hand without a second thought by those around her. This time it had been to make sure all the wedding gifts had been placed in the best man's car for safe keeping, and although she knew exactly which car in the parking lot was his, she never so much as glanced in its direction as she sought to make her way to the back of the hall undetected. As she waited, her finger tapping anxiously against her cell phone, her black dress kept her from being found until she so desired. Her breath hitched as he appeared in the gapping entrance, striding toward her with haste and desperation, already pulling at the tie around his neck.
He had found it more difficult to slip off and follow her. His job, as far as his best friends and the groom were concerned, had been completed much earlier in the day when he had made certain that the wedding occurred with a groom on scene. Now that he had been successful, they found it odd that he continued to concern himself with things such as flowers and cake and presents. The easy explanation would have been to say that he felt obligated to help the maid of honour, but that would be planting seeds of possibility in their heads and that was the last thing he or the maid of honour in question wished to happen. At last, he simply told them he was going to the bathroom and abruptly left just as dinner was being served. He was pulled to her like a magnet as he desperately fought to find her in the back hallways of the hall. It had been the shifting shimmer of her dress that caught his eye as he reached the alcove, and when her head rose to meet his eyes, he found nothing more enthralling than the blackness of her eyes amidst the shadows.
Seconds passed between them, suspended within a bubble that separated them from the rest of the world. They were strangers to each other on so many levels, and yet they knew it went deeper than that. They knew it was more than attraction and need. Their friends knew nothing. When the moment passed and they yanked both their gazes to the open doorway and back to each other, the unasked question was answered silently. Her shoes were stepped out of and his tie was flung to the corner. His jacket had been left on his chair and she had already rid herself of the seemingly hundreds of jangling bangles that meant so much to her friend and yet made her think of reindeer sleighs. Every motion was hurried, desperate and panicked.
Their lips met and their fingers dug in. The electricity passed between them, sending sparks up and down their arms where they connected. His hands traced the low dipped back of her dress and her nails grazed the open area of his shirt that exposed his throat. Tugging the hem of her dress higher, he gripped her thighs and hoisted her to his hips, settling her back against the wall. Her hands wound around his shoulders and neck, her face dipping to meet his lips in another kiss before moving onto find various places she had yet to mark that night.
"Slow down," she gasped as his hips thrust against her, "We need to get back before someone notices."
"They haven't noticed all week," he mumbled, his mouth busy with her neck for the moment, "It's not about to change."
"Still," she replied, hissing as his teeth grazed the one spot that could distract her at the moment. "Shit, you shouldn't do that."
"Don't worry about what we shouldn't do," he told her, his hands inching higher from where they gripped her legs.
"Fine," she let out, gritting her teeth to keep from attracting attention, "Five more minutes. I'll just make up some sort of crisis."
"Ten minutes and I'll even help you," he joked as one hand braced both of her wrists above her head as she tilted her face towards the ceiling.
"Oh, God," she moaned, thinking that it really was strange that no one had yet to figure it out.
Previous Monday, 3:11pm
Gabriella Montez blinked painfully as she stepped out of the airport terminal and into the harsh Albuquerque sunlight. Taxis lined the curb before her as she squinted and tried to find the person who had promised to be there. People milled around her, brushing past to slide into the backs of the cabs or trailing suitcases behind them as they headed to the parkade across the way. Sighing, she slid out her cell phone and double checked the text she had received a few minutes earlier.
We just left the gas station on Parkway Boulevard. We'll be there soon. Hope you enjoyed your flight.
The message essentially helped little with knowing where her friend was, considering Gabriella had never been to Albuquerque, New Mexico in her life. Her best friend was being married in six days and Gabriella had agreed to fly in early from California to help with the last minute preparations. Looking around, she spotted a guy leaning against the cement wall of the building. His own suitcase lay at his feet with a garment bag draped over the top of the handle. His hair was messy and she suspected he had probably slept on the plane. Biting her lip, Gabriella pulled her suitcase across the uneven sidewalk and stopped a few feet away, hesitant to approach any further. Something about him struck at her heart, as if she knew him, but she shrugged it off.
"Excuse me," she asked softly and his eyes flicked open to reveal startling blue. She stared for a moment before shaking her head and continuing. "Do you know the area well? I'm trying to find out how long I have to wait for my ride."
The guy flashed her a quick smile as he pushed away from the wall and again, she felt something tug on her. He was casually dressed in jeans and a white t-shirt, his hands in his pockets as he turned towards her. She let her gaze follow the defined muscles of his chest and exposed forearms before returning to examine his face. He opened his mouth to answer but frowned before reaching in his pocket and pulling out a vibrating cell phone. He punched a button and glanced at the message before shoving it back in his pocket.
"I grew up here, where does your friend live?" he asked in an easy tone reaching to take her suitcase from her as she tried to juggle her phone and shoe bag along with the bag containing her bridesmaid dress.
"I have no idea," Gabriella confessed, scanning the familiar message, "But she said she and her fiancée were on Parkway Boulevard about twenty minutes ago. Does that mean anything to you?"
"Parkway is about thirty minutes away," he told her, his eyebrows scrunched as he looked her over. "And I think it means more than just a location. Can we try something?"
"Um, sure," she said uncertainly, looking away from his mischievous smile to see an outstretched hand waiting for her to clasp.
"Troy Bolton," the guy replied and Gabriella jerked her eyes up to see that he had already figured out who she was. When he saw the flash in her eyes, his smile widened. "Best man to one Chad Danforth. And since I know every other person attending this wedding, that would make you Taylor's infamous Ella."
Gabriella had been hearing about Troy for as long as she had known Taylor McKessie. She and Taylor had been roommates during their four years at Stanford University. After graduation, Taylor had headed back to Albuquerque to pursue politics and became reacquainted with Chad Danforth, an old friend from high school who had arrived home to start up his own business. Although Taylor frequently visited Gabriella in California, she had never found the time or opportunity to venture to New Mexico. Her job as a fashion editor for Blush magazine meant that most of her time was spent on trips all over the country. She had only met Chad once before, and yet there had been much mention of Troy Bolton. The basketball superstar who had torn up the court in high school, blown out his knee during college and now lived in San Diego where he was finishing his degree in physiotherapy. Thinking about it, Gabriella realized they had probably been on the same plane that day.
"Gabriella Montez," she confessed with a crooked smile. "Maid of honour."
"Nice to finally meet you after all this time," he said.
"Likewise," Gabriella replied.
His shirt had become untucked and the carefully selected and fitted vest in dusty grey had been unbuttoned by hurried fingers and tossed aside, one of its buttons spinning on the ground to never be noticed by the couple. The hem of her dress had risen past her hips as his hands explored the lacy boyshorts of her underwear. Desperation sang in their blood as it pounded in their ears. Music drifted in from the other room and during a five second pause five minutes earlier, they had watched the serving staff carry out the dessert on fancy plates laden with chocolate and strawberries.
Her fingers crawled over the stomach muscles she had admired that first day at the airport, tracing each definition and curve. His skin burned her fingers as his chest heaved. Her hair, tumbling from its pins as he carelessly dragged his fingers through it to keep her mouth closer, cascaded down her back in tangles that would never be tamed to perfection again that night. Her feet, their manicured toes carefully painted, wrapped around his waist and squeezed to allow her to feel his hips jamming against hers in response.
"We're way past ten minutes, now," he whispered into her mouth that tasted of candy apples.
"Fuck it," she told him, her voice ragged as her teeth grazed the underside of his jaw, "The cake sucks anyway."
"Zeke made that cake, don't let him hear you say that," he teased, his tongue twining around hers.
"Then he can make us another one tomorrow," she responded, arching her back as his fingers dug dangerously high on her thighs, "I really don't care right now."
"We have speeches to make," he reminded her, licking his tongue up the cleft of cleavage revealed by the dip in her dress.
"What do you think has kept me in this dress so long?"
"Damn," he growled, spinning so that his back rested against the wall and she leaned over him with her hands cupping his jaw, "You need to stop saying things like that."
Previous Tuesday, 11:23pm
The party had been Troy's idea. After introducing himself to Gabriella at the airport, he had been unable to get her out of his head for the entire ride back to Chad and Taylor's home around the block from his parents' place. With her long curls that looked perpetually windblown and her dark brown gaze that penetrated to his core, she was captivating. He had seen pictures, but they did her little justice. Taylor had told stories, but they had meant little to him at the time. Seeing her seated in the booth a few feet away, being ambushed by his closest friends, he couldn't help but smile.
His idea had been to head for a night on the town to introduce Gabriella to the city and Chad and Taylor's friends, but his plan for an easy, casual night had turned complicated after he arrived at Chad's to find that they had been called to Taylor's parents for an impromptu family dinner, leaving him and Gabriella to use the dinner reservations alone. Taylor had gushed over how happy she was that they were getting along before heading out the door and promising that they and the rest of the gang would be at the club by nine.
Dinner had been enjoyable as Troy explained the intricacies of their friends to Gabriella over their meal. Gabriella in turn chatted about Taylor at university and asked questions about Chad. They talked about their jobs and their lives and Troy's cat named Pansy. They discussed the wedding and the millions of things that Taylor had given them to do that had been alphabetized and listed by degree of importance. They drank wine, paid the bill, climbed into Troy's car and promptly fell on top of each other in an instance of pure spontaneity initiated by Gabriella. It had lasted until a phonecall from Chad asked where they were, since it was obvious they were not at the club.
"So, I'm here, where's the stripper?" came a voice from behind him, and he turned to take in the pink figure beside him.
"Nice to see you too, Sharpay," Troy teased and she shot him a slight smirk before narrowing her eyes on the laughing girl in the booth before them. "Retract your claws, she's perfectly harmless."
"Is she the stripper?" Sharpay Evans asked, cocking a hip and pursing her lips. "If she is, you did a crappy job picking her out."
"She's not a stripper, Pay, there is no stripper," Troy responded, rolling his eyes. "That's Gabriella, Taylor's maid of honour? Your cohort for the week?"
"If she's not a stripper, then why do you keep leering at her like that?" Sharpay asked, giving Troy a quick once over that took in the rumpled hair and sloppy smile. "If you're going to have sex with the guests, at least make sure you or she can dress you afterwards."
"What are you talking about? Where's Zeke, he can always get you to shut up," Troy shot back. Sharpay sighed and waved a hand.
"Your buttons don't match," she told him, poking at the mismatched area near the bottom. Dragging her finger lower, she shot him a grin that he knew was only her being pretentious. "And your zipper is down. Real subtle."
"I didn't have sex with her," he defended, fumbling to fix his shirt as he scanned Gabriella to see if she showed any evidence of their actions in the car before entering the club.
"I almost believe you," Sharpay admitted sadly, before giving him a sneaky look, "Except she's missing an earring."
Her dress was still, technically and by definition, on. However, the zipper was undone and her whole back exposed to anyone unfortunate enough to interrupt them. His pants, despite her low protests, remained firmly buttoned but the belt had joined the other articles of clothing strewn about the room. On the floor, resting in the pocket of the discarded vest, his cellphone vibrated and buzzed, unattended and ignored. Hers, tossed aside with her shoes, flashed with ten missed calls.
"Okay, seriously, we need to focus," she told him, pulling her lips away from his, "We have to have more restraint than this."
"We're weak, it's okay," he replied, nonchalant as his hands slid along her ribs and his lips pushed down on hers.
"But this is like the fourth time today, and we've completely missed dinner," she reprimanded gently, not really upset about dinner but seriously questioning her sex drive. "They are going to come looking for us and we will be naked."
"Please don't use the word naked while you are barely clothed and your hand is where it is," Troy begged, tilting his head back and closing his eyes as she slid her hand deeper into his pockets. "Especially when you are asking me to focus."
"Fuck," she hissed, as his fingers grazed a bruise from earlier in the day. "Wait, what are you doing?"
"Is that from the bathtub?" he asked, leaning down in the dim light to examine it.
"It doesn't matter, you don't just stop," she growled, closing her eyes at how even featherlight touching could send her into a high. "That's just killing the vibe."
"Come on," he joked, finding the zipper on her dress and pulling it back up, "Just a few more hours and then we can go back to an empty house."
"And the vibe is alive again," she told him, grabbing the tie he had draped around his neck and shoulders to be left undone.
"No," he teased as he pried her fingers off and gently gripped her wrists, "We need to go make an appearance before they get really pissed off at us."
"One more minute," she pouted, holding up one finger.
"Fine, but we stay dressed. Even your shoes." His lips found hers and this one was less rushed than the others had been; as if they had all the time in the world.
"Stupid shoes," she muttered.
Previous Thursday, 5:51pm
Gabriella flinched when pain flared along her shin. Lifting her head from her dessert, she sent a glare across the table to where Troy was sitting. She knew what he wanted, but she held to her self control. Glancing from under her lashes, she watched to see if any of the other guests for the rehearsal dinner noticed the not-so-subtle head jerking movement he was making before kicking him back and narrowing her eyes in a silent message to knock it off and hold it in.
She had no idea what had possessed her the night that Troy and Taylor introduced her to everyone at the club. One minute she had been afraid of how awkward dinner would be with a total stranger and the next, they were in the parking lot and his hand was up her dress. Nothing had changed in the last two days. He had driven her home Tuesday night where they held a repeat performance in Chad and Taylor's driveway. Wednesday had been packed with running errands for Taylor that Troy offered to help with since Gabriella had no idea where anything was. They had made out in the bathroom at Zeke Baylor's bakery when they checked on the cake, and in the greenhouse attached to the florist shop. Although Gabriella had never found reason to define certain activities, she was certain that what they did in the dressing room at the boutique where she shopped for a dress to wear to the rehearsal dinner could fall dangerously close to being sex. The woman who served them at the cash wouldn't even look them in the eye.
Without looking up, she could feel her resolve crumbling as her hands grew sweaty on the fork they clutched and her feet began tapping anxiously. She bit her lip and from the corner of her eye she could see his grin grow as he watched her. The fork clattered to the plate and her fingers were shaky as they wrapped around her coffee cup. His eyes bore into her as she tried to avoid meeting his gaze. All will would falter then.
"Ella, did you stop by the church today and find out what time the decorator can go in tomorrow? She's supposed to call in the morning," Taylor asked from a few seats up, extracting herself from her parents' incessant questions and Sharpay's random comments about why bachelorette parties were important and Taylor should renege on her decision to not have one.
"They said someone would be there to unlock the doors around noon," Troy chimed in, shooting a knowing glance at a frozen Gabriella who seemed engrossed in adding sugar to her coffee. "You can call if it doesn't work for the decorator."
"Great, thanks, guys," she said, turning back to say something to Chad.
Gabriella couldn't help it; she looked up and met blue eyes that sparkled with mirth. The church had been another pit stop on their map of 'Places Gabriella Has Kissed Troy'. Apparently, Troy had never been inside a Catholic church and was fascinated by what could occur inside a confessional. Gabriella on the other hand, reminded of the time she made her First Confession to the priest in Santa Monica, was fairly certain that what took place inside the wooden cubicle was not an accurate explanation to Troy's curiosity. Closing her eyes and remembering where they had been when an altar boy had knocked on the door to interrupt them, Gabriella lost her grip on self control.
"Where are you going?" Taylor asked, seeing Gabriella hastily shove her chair back and stand abruptly as adrenaline rushed through her.
"Oh, um, bathroom. I spilled coffee on my dress," she replied awkwardly, gesturing to the part of the perfectly clean dress that was hidden by the table.
"Oh, Dear, there's probably club soda in the laundry room," Chad's mother offered, seeming to forget that Gabriella had never been in her home before.
"Troy can show you," Chad suggested, engrossed with his father in an argument over how much wine his grandmother should be allowed to consume during the wedding reception.
Stiffly pushing her chair back in, Gabriella made her way out of the room, hyper alert of the person who followed her. His hand grabbed hers when they were out of sight, leading her to the bathroom at the end of the hallway. A quick glance around and he dragged her into the tiny room, shutting the door behind them and clicking the lock.
"What are you doing?" she asked, voice catching in anticipation as he turned towards her.
"The door sticks. I'm buying time," he told her in a low voice, his eyes grazing every inch of her.
"Will we need time?" she swallowed, taking a step towards him.
The zipper on her dress had been zipped up, the wrinkles smoothed, and the hemline pulled back down to a decent length. Her shoes were in place, their buckles fastened. The bangles had been returned to her slender wrists and her hair had been tamed to some sort of coif that could pass for more elegant than a bird's nest. Her makeup was shot, but lipgloss had been found in the pocket of one of the coats hanging in their secret hideout. Her cell phone was in her hand and she glanced behind her to cast a second glance at his appearance.
His belt had been retrieved, and his tie hung casually knotted against the open collar of his shirt. The buttons of his shirt had been redone, his stomach and chest covered once again. His vest was on but remained open, and his phone had been cleared of missed calls and texts. He ran his hands through his hair again before leaning down to press one long, simmering kiss against her lips for the final time until another getaway could be plotted.
"Don't get us started again," he warned with a smile and she inhaled sharply as his mouth lingered dangerously close to her ear.
"Like it's always me that loses control," she scoffed, lightly hitting his chest.
In hindsight, she should have known that physical contact was the common denominator in every sneaky escapade they had participated in that week. His hand gripped her wrist and pulled her closer, diminishing the gap that had been between them. Their lips met and his hands wandered until they found their favourite position. Her fingers twined into his hair at the base of his neck and one leg hitched higher to wrap around his hip. The seconds melted into minutes and once again, the other world was forgotten as the tension and rushed need to just feel overtook them. Adrenaline pumped through their veins and the sound of raspy breaths rattled in their chests as each fought to drag air into their lungs.
They moved away from the door without thinking, her back slamming against the wall as he blocked them from the view of the doorway. She sought to cover every inch of him in desire while he focused on letting his fingers trace the smoothness of every curve present under his touch. A phone chirped again and they ignored it, not noticing the figure outside the door pause and scan the void before him. The phone responded again and the figure took another step inside, his gaze catching on the back corner and understanding dawning.
"You have got to be fucking kidding me," Chad announced.
They sprang apart, slower than the impulse dictated due to the intricacy of their positions and the intertwined limbs that had to be dissembled. The groom stood in the doorway, shock and amusement on his face, surveying the view before him. The wrinkled dress and the loose tie. The open vest and the tumbling hair. The smeared lipgloss.
"Hey, man-," he started, wincing at how Chad raised an eyebrow to suggest that excuses would not work at the moment.
"You've been screwing each other the entire week, haven't you?" They shared a quick glance that confirmed the answer by omission. "The club, the rehearsal dinner, here for God knows how long? What the hell is going on?"
"Um..." he tried while she bit her lip and squeezed the flesh above his hip while standing behind him.
"We've been looking everywhere for you," he informed them, glancing at his phone. "We thought maybe there was some sort of crisis or you were worried about the speeches or something. Instead, I find you in the staff coat room ready to undress my wife's best friend who you have known less than seven days." Chad caught the guilty look that passed between them and groaned. "You've already been undressed haven't you? This is the after image?"
"We were on our way back," she tried, her voice small.
"Good to know you had the intention to return," Chad snapped and then he softened and laughed outloud. He should have known. Taylor had casually commented on a number of occasions before the wedding that she had always thought Troy and Gabriella would be the type to just click. She had been so dead on, seeing the two people in front of him. "They are going to start the speeches, so you've got about twenty minutes before you need to appear on the scene. Just...," he flapped a hand at them before turning to leave, "make sure you're there when they call your name."
They watched wordlessly as he disappeared back into the main part of the hall, spinning to gaze at each other before they heard the applause of the audience accepting the first speaker to the podium. An answer passed between them and she looped her fingers around his belt and tugged his hips to hers, tilting her head to look into his eyes. He lowered his lips and drank her in as his hands slid to cup her backside beneath the satin cloth.
"Fifteen minutes," she reminded him.
"Fifteen minutes," he responded absently, faintly hearing another speaker begin.
"Do you think we have enough time to-," he cut her off by kissing the tender spot behind her ear and she moaned in his hair.
"Your dress has to stay on," he informed her, a smile on his face as she melted further into him, "But maybe-"
"No, no time for that right now, either."
"Damn," he hissed.
"We have all night after they leave and tomorrow before our flight," she offered, ignoring the wince as his fingers grazed sensitive spots already tortured.
"Still not enough time," he complained, "Even with the airplane bathroom, it's never going to be enough time."
"Never enough time," she agreed.