Title: The Missed Call

Rating: M

Summery: They took the dangerous step over the line of friendship on a fateful night, and the next day she didn't receive a call. Tortured by his abandonment, Gabriella Montez relives her experiences with the one person who shattered her heart.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters, names, places, anything from High School Musical or Disney. This story is copyright to the owner and may not be used without permission. I in no way affiliated with any of the High School Musical Cast, Disney, Kenny Ortega, Peter Barsocchini or Alexz Johnson. All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.

New Author's Note: I just want to apologize for the confusion with this story. I was not emotionally ready to post it earlier this morning, one because I haven't posted anything in over a month and two because writing this was on impulse, posting was on impulse, and taking it down was on impulse. Honestly, I was scared. I thought people would be confused with this story and upset with me because it's not like my usual work, but i realize that I need to get this out once again for my own sake. So I'm very sorry if I got anyone upset, this is staying up for real this time, and again I apologize for not being ready before. I hope you still enjoy it.

Original Author's Note: Erm... hi.

I do have an explanation to this insanity that I will briefly dapple in before you start reading. First of all, I'm not off my hiatus. You can call this one-shot a hiatus on my hiatus. In the past week, I've been on a pretty rough roller coster and needed a release, so I did it in the only way I knew how. This was not planned, in fact I basically sat down at my computer and started writing without really thinking about it first. It's written from my emotions, so please bare with while you read.

And with that being said, I need to warn you, A LOT OF YOU WILL NOT LIKE THIS. It's angsty, the most dramatic thing I've ever written and that's saying a lot. really. So I'm warning you, if you really just want to read something nice and fluffy and with rainbows and sunshine at the end, I'd suggest you not go any further. As I said, I had a lot on my mind and I needed a way to get it out. Also, my style is VERY different than before. I will never write this way again, but I just wanted to try something new... and it seemed to flow in my mind. Some of you may think it's boring, but as I said... it was purely written out of my emotions.

Oh, and I'm still on date for my new story to come out at the end of October. Keep an eye on my profile for banners and previews and what not in this next month.

As always, I thank you for trusting me and allowing me to post on this site. I hope maybe a couple of you will enjoy this. Thanks so much again, you guys are amazing.

Snow falls on the city, white on white
It's the color of hope on an unforgiving night
You kissed me into ruins, sin on sin
Now i've gotta love your love letters
written on my skin

-Alexz Johnson, "2 AM"

The white truck felt hot, almost as though the air itself held the burning inferno that surged between them as he pressed the brake to the floor and listened to the cough of the broken engine. Her hands were trembling of shock, the blood that rushed through her veins felt thin and weightless. Everything in her surroundings was surreal, as though she was watching the scene from the comforts of her couch instead of vibrating in the darkness next to him. Her puffy lip caught between her two teeth as she avoided his searching gaze.

The mocha colored orbs glanced up towards her ivory home and viewed the delicate branches of the leaf-less trees that danced in the winter breeze. Christmas lights illuminated the short driveway like diamonds and the stars twinkled above the hood of the beaten car mysteriously. The even intake of his breath was the most intoxicating sound she had ever listened to. If she turned her head ever so slightly toward the emerald glow of the dashboard, she would have stolen the sight of his built muscles squeezed beneath a midnight ski jacket. But she was unmovable, frozen by the replay of the past two hours that sped through her brain like a runaway train.

"Um…" she twisted her black fingernails through each other, before her charcoal tresses shielded her tanned face from his stare. "Just uh… call me tomorrow after the interview and let me know how it goes." The awkwardness of the statement felt heavy when she gripped the icy metal of the handle.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw his brunette bangs flick out of his vision, a sheepish smiled curled onto his bronze cheeks. "Yeah… yeah I will." The huskiness of his voice was like a drug, and she inhaled deeply through her nose to savor the scent of his musky cologne that hung in the heavy air.

With that promise, she finally found the strength to swivel her neck around to look at him. She was nearly slammed into the passenger door at the magnitude of the lust that raged through his glittering sapphires. Her breath was sucked violently from her throat, her lungs shriveled of life that only he could steal from her.

She swallowed the grapefruit in her throat before mechanically removed her seatbelt. The last thing she wished for was to leave, after a night in his powerful arms it seemed a few minutes would have dragged out a lifetime without his electrifying touch. The most vital organ beneath the small swell of her breast hammered wildly and she snuggled into the beige cloth of her jacket. "Um… I'll just talk to you tomor…"

"Gabi." He whispered as his palm enclosed her dainty wrist. Sparks exploded through her tender flesh, although he had just licked and caressed every inch of her an hour before. The sensation did not fade as he fiercely pulled her to him, lacing his fingers through her waves and sought her raw lips. They caught and the fire between them raced from heart to heart in an endless circuit when he kissed her zealously, as though he would never see her again.

Her tiny hands gripped the side of his face passionately; yet she was still timid in her intimacy as his tongue trailed along her bottom lip yet refused to pry her mouth open. She whimpered in longing as the pads of his tips ghosted down the side of her fragile bicep. The worn interior of the truck spun when their connection smacked apart. He pecked a chaste kiss to her once more and pulled away to brush her side swept bangs away from her still sticky forehead. "Troy…" She breathed deeply, her gaze lifted through her lids with devotion.

"Promise me you won't regret anything." His stunning ceruleans shifted across her face rapidly, the intensity of his stare was overwhelming, yet hypnotic.


He gripped her hand tighter, desperation swelled through her nervous system at his need. "Promise me."

She took a rib-rattling breath before she nodded furiously. "I promise." She mouthed as though it was sin.

Maybe it was.

He released her reluctantly and the phantom of his embrace flooded over her like a bad dream. Reality was calling, and she finally managed to recognize her body once again. Slowly, she yanked the jammed door open and climbed into the frozen night. Immediately, the icy air penetrated through her coat, inducing shivers from the teenager.

"I'll call you tomorrow." The man of her dreams vowed in the blackness, just before she slammed the door of her future shut.

With one last powerful glance, she watched as he threw the car into reverse and chugged into the haunting night.

It wasn't supposed to be this way.

If she could erase time she would. In the heat of the moment, she would have never imagined that the pain would scorch like a raging fire burning beneath her breast. Every vein contained the overpowering sensation that her blood was fuel to the excruciating inferno rushing through her. Breathing was difficult, impossible to fight for oxygen when her lungs were shriveled into pieces of ash that could flutter away in the wind. And her heart -oh God how her most vital organ was set to a torture, crucified every time the scene replayed in her memory like it was stuck on rewind.

Gentle snowflakes fluttered from the heavens above, taunting her with their beauty and grace as she sloshed through the dirty ice and slush upon the sidewalk, hot tears freezing to her soft cheeks in the subterranean temperatures. Cars sprayed past her, shooting the wet substance into the air while the frigid wind crept against the back of her boots. She shivered into her brown jacket, yet the trembles were induced from the sense of loss that waved over her petite body.

Her skin felt filthy, like she had been dipped into a pool of boiling mud that clung to her flesh like a leech. However, unlike the grime, no amount of washing could rid of the taint. She was invisibly marked, like a tattoo that would never fade.

The ebony locks that spiraled down her head bounced as she sprinted across the busy street, hoping to leave her demons behind in the dust. But they stuck to her, no matter where she went or what she saw, her mind was wrapped in whatever torment was haunting her.

The tiny shops passed in a blur as she stumbled onto the opposite sidewalk, her espresso toned face was swollen with sobs and chapped from the sub-freezing atmosphere. Bystanders sent wary looks a she pushed through the little town that seemed to be crumbling around her. She was certain the mountains that loomed beneath the setting sun were teetering in her helplessness, waiting for the perfect moment to execute the crush that would destroy her completely.

Gabriella Montez wanted to escape her life, and the lake that stood in front of her seemed to be the perfect refuge to sulk in solace.

Her desperate sprint slowed to a jog when she saw the painted purple and orange sky explode into view before her. The petite shops transformed into summer boating stores, useful for a more cheerful day in the opposite season-they opened opportunities to fish and swim and create excuses to be gleeful. But now they stood abandoned with ghostly vibes that threaded through the thin air as their bass shaped signs creaked eerily and provided a soundtrack to her depression as she walked her zombie march towards the rickety pier.

As she pressed her chocolate colored boots against the damp wood, the eighteen year-old was suddenly bombarded with a foreign memory of her father chasing her along this dock when they first moved to the town. She had been seven- a shy child who was extremely intelligent for her age and curious about the world around her. It had been intimidating to readjust in a town where the growth of population was challenged and a secret was not hidden for more than an hour. But she was never a daughter to question the logic of her parents, so she remained silent the entire car ride from Albuquerque, New Mexico with her Beauty and the Beast coloring book in one miniature hand and a box of animal crackers in the other. After becoming settled in the two-story home, her father, Jose, had brought her to this very spot to dance with the seagulls; she had felt invincible back then. Life had been simple.

Two weeks later, he entered her life for the first time.

Even as she approached the edge of the walkway, she could still see the image of the stringy-haired boy she had been introduced to that very first day at her new school in the swelling, violet waves that crashed against the post of the boardwalk. She would have never guessed the stained burgundy carpet of the first grade homeroom would set the scene for their first encounter. Gabriella vividly recalled the way the large teacher beamed brightly beneath her bugged glasses, pointing to the different stations with her sausage finger that the new student would be able to color at during free time and what desk she would be assigned to. The fearful girl cowered in the seat next to a chunky bully who picked his nose in the back of the mismatched room and was immediately hounded for her muteness by the bulldozer beside her.

"Do you even know English? What… are you too stupid to say anything? I bet you got your tongue cut out…" The blonde boy had mocked when Miss Younker's back was turned; the remains of his chocolate bar from snack time were smeared across his face like battle marks as he did so. The other children had been much too intimidated to stand up for the Latina and continued to sharpen their pencils in silence, catching glances with each other in the process.

Just as she had cried that first entry into first grade, the tears began to crystallize on Gabriella's lengthy lashes as she sat upon the icy wood, the starless sky rumbling with a distant frozen storm. Her butt immediately numbed at the sensation, the power of her depression overwhelmed the cold that squeezed around her on the pier. Her normally delicate mascara and eyeliner were smudged, heightening the possessed appearance of the dead. Abandonment seemed to cause the empty shell she was breathing through as the last crest of sunlight beamed upon her sobbing face.

He hadn't abandoned her the fateful day he spoke to her back when she was seven. They were scribbling with multiple hues of crayons while the instructor prepared for their spelling lesson. Her tablemate had leaned over her tiny shoulder, snickering with pleasure at her stick figures that represented her pathetic attempt to paint a portrait of her favorite Disney princess, Belle, and her beloved beast. "Your picture's ugly. That guy looks like a turd." He mocked her with a maniacal laugh, before he chucked her yellow crayon across the room and watched it shatter against the purple painted wall. Her eyes had bled silent cries as she stared down at her miserable excuse for a drawing. The petite hands that rested against the cherry wood of the desk vibrated with despair, knowing that she would never fit in on this earth.

But then a holy hand danced in front of her winced visage, holding a golden crayon before her like the savoir he was.

Gabriella had lifted up her blotchy face and suddenly absorbed the soft smile that curled on the cheeks of an angel. The greasy, sandy colored mop fell over his boyish shape in an awkward, bang style. There was a gap where his two front teeth should have been and he was wearing a baggy jean jacket that appeared five sizes too large. And then she saw the two pieces of heaven shining down at her, the twinkle of his cyan irises glistened in the florescent lighting.

It was the first time she drowned in his oceanic orbs, the intensity of his cobalt gaze was enchanting and it was at that moment that a piece of her fell in love with him.

"You can have mine." He offered with a cheeky grin, the coils of Gabriella's black curls draped timidly over her olive cheeks. Their fingers brushed as she gripped the offering, her palm much tinier than his.

"Thank you." The gratitude was the first words she spoke in the establishment. The first words to him.

Gabriella reached inside the warm cloth of her russet coat and enclosed the ochroid crayon into her black glove. The water chopped against the posts of the boat launch while the sky swirled in a tormented rage. Her swollen eyelids fluttered closed and squeezed at the coloring utensil she had kept that was hidden from the frosty world. For a brief moment, she wished that he had never donated it to her, for if he hadn't, she wouldn't feel this shattering heartbreak beneath her chest as she did now.

"Why did you do this to me?" She whispered against the blackness, cursing his name in silent hatred for her pain.

Deep within the denim pocket of her skinny jeans, her Samsung cell phone illuminated to life. Gabriella trembled at the sensation of her heart lurching, a habit she had collected in the past two days when she had begged for his text, his call, any voicemail that would prove that he hadn't betrayed her as her heart informed her he had. She had been waiting for the contact that would never come, the reassurance that what they had done was not a mistake. But it was not him, her hope had been shattered too many times and she knew it was most likely her worried friends or panicking parents who had no idea of her whereabouts. She couldn't face them, any of them and preferred to weep over her heartbreak in silence.

They hadn't become friends that day he offered his coloring instrument, Gabriella remembered as she stared blankly into the depths of the frozen water that appeared inky and dense. Throughout elementary school, he had been the sweet boy that all the teachers fought to belong in their class. He was polite, yet fun loving. And athletic. Oh how he had been blessed by the Nike god. She had watched from a distance as their butch gym teacher praised his skills, whether it was with a foot, ping pong, or soccer ball. However, none of these matched to the young Michael Jordan when he first stepped onto the hardwood. Shot after shot, practice after practice it was easy to see that his dedication swished within a net. Anyone with eyes knew he was destined for greatness on the basketball court, even as young as eight.

Middle school had brought a charm to his already flirtatious personality. Gabriella hadn't thought much of him at that time, for they ran in separate social circles. His natural beauty began to shine, even through his metal mouth and slim body. He hadn't been tall, but his dusty mop suddenly darkened to a chestnut shag. Females gravitated around him like satellites, while Gabriella found her two best friends in pre algebra, which didn't instantly label her as a geek, but she was far from royalty where he and his jock friends climbed. She focused on her school work and spent giggle-filled sleepovers with her best friends Taylor McKessie and Kelsi Nielson, while he was skyrocketing into popularity.

The wind began to howl against the barren trees, matching the empty feeling in her heart. Gabriella shivered again and listened to the clank of the flagpole at shore clattering. Her short breaths escalated as she fought against the frigid cold, yet she wouldn't move. In her tormented mind, she prayed that her slim body would turn in a hypothermic state. Maybe then she would become numb of his desertion.

The witch-like evening set the scene for Gabriella's rewinding memory of the beginning of their doomed relationship. It wasn't until sophomore year that she considered them friends. Gabriella had found her social group had branched when she met two boys from an opposite middle school, Zeke Baylor and Jason Cross. They had been on the basketball team with the superstar, but he had once again powered the school with grace in the highest regime. The world bowed to him, but Gabriella hadn't found her thoughts running in his direction until the first day of her Sociology class.

"Dammit Gabriella, stop staring," Taylor had scolded in the yellow shade of the room that was squeezed between two other classes in the middle of Albuquerque East High. Gabriella had blushed pink when she hid her face from the football player and new crush, Tyler Wranger, as they waited for their seating charts. The feminist rolled her beady eyes at Gabriella's hope to be placed beside him. "Really, you don't need to waste time on the lunk-head sport's slaves like him."

Gabriella had shifted on the balls of her black ballet flats as the instructor, Mr. Darrell, pointed to random places and shouted names in his dark voice. The furry mustache appeared more like a rat above his lip than actual facial hair. He proclaimed Taylor's name, and Gabriella watched as her best friend marched defiantly to the seat on the opposite side of the room.

She adjusted the peachy button up above her grey cami as the seats were assigned, not aware that a pair of cyan orbs had trailed approvingly over her slender body. Her hair was tossed into a partial pony, with tendrils that swirled down her back. Her glossed lips frowned when Tyler was placed in the back of the room in the second to last row, and surrounded by an annoying speckled boy with mountainous acne that covered his skin and a stutter.

"Gabriella Montez." The teacher jabbed his finger in the first seat with the dirty, faux wall to her immediate right. She sighed in disappointment; it would be her luck that she would be placed under the hooked nose of Mr. Darrell.

Her feet strode across the ugly tiled-flooring with a purpose. A blush of rose flooded her face as she brushed the desk of Tyler Wranger, a sudden desire to run her fingers through his black, cropped hair assaulted her thoughts until she found her place in the corner of the room. She placed her flowered folder on the wooden desk and let loose a dramatic breath, too wrapped up in the fight to keep her eyes away from Tyler to notice the curious basketball player behind her.

After passing out the syllabus of the year, Mr. Darrell stood at the front of the room before the shining overhead and ordered someone to flick the lights. Even as an honors student, she became bored at the droning tone of the instructor and discovered doodling on the edges of her lime printed paper was much more entertaining than each unit they would cover. Her jean clad legs crossed at the ankles as she perfected the outline of her bubble-designed name just when her fate suddenly took a drastic turn.

There had been a discrete tap on her shoulder, and she curled her head around to be bombarded with a sparkling smile and the bluest eyes she had ever witnessed.


The present day senior seated upon the rocky wood choked back a sob when the rush of wind slapped against her raw cheeks. Her heart stabbed with a violent thrust at the memory of when he first spoke her name. The stormy water was rising viciously as the ice storm intensified. But she was lost, completely consumed with the remembrance of his silky voice. "Dammit." She cursed against the howling air, as though maybe he could hear her pitiful cries and know how deeply she despised him for his relinquishment.

From that first day on, their friendship slowly budded. She could recall the countless times she was caught twisted around in her seat, gazing upon the chestnut shag and his ocean eyes. Their laughter had interrupted numerous lessons that year and hundreds of threats to divide them had been unleashed. However, the duo never separated, and instead they attracted warily glances by fellow students. Gossip began to mill about their flirtation in Sociology, and cheerleaders of Albuquerque East High suddenly felt threatened by the intelligent girl's hold on the superstar.

He had been there for everything, Gabriella recalled, once he had become her best friend. Somewhere within her heart, an attachment deeper than companionship etched its way to her unconsciousness. They rarely saw each other outside of class, for he was still the jock god of the school and she was still the normal nobody. He had been there for her first C on a test, which he had to bite on his black pen to conceal the burst of laughter that leaked at her depression. They had been joined as partners on a project about social norms, receiving an A- on the presentation because he tripped over his Adidas sneakers and screamed, "Fucking laces!" It was lucky that they hadn't dropped a lower score, but Darrell was fond of the two, even if they caused him grief.

Gabriella's lungs squeezed in the polar temperatures at the thought of when he was there for her first break up.

At one point she may have thought that it was the end of the world, yet in hindsight she knew the end of her world was on a vacant boat launch a frosty evening two years later. But Gabriella had entered the squished classroom that Friday afternoon with blood shot eyes and powdered blue sweat pants. Her top consisted of a black, basketball t-shirt she managed to swipe when the varsity was destined for state that year. The hidden body cowered behind Taylor's protective will, which -as a best friend would- hadn't left her side all day. That was… until now.

"Are you gonna be alright?" Taylor softly inquired, her chocolate skin radiated under her mango vest. Gabriella hesitated, the tears that had leaked were now dried, yet she had a slight residue of puffiness to her face. She sucked in a hot breath and nodded, the tight tresses pulled into a high ponytail flopped as she did so.

"Yeah… I'll be okay." She whispered in a tiny voice before she hugged her floral belongings closer to her petite chest.

The walk to her seat was almost unbearable. It wasn't as though everyone was staring and gossiping, she was not popular enough for that, but the ache in her stomach didn't seem to dissipate no matter how hard she attempted not to think of the conversation the previous night. Her slim, black sneakers led to the hidden seat and gently placed her supplies on the desk. A burn was drilled against her forehead and she finally found the courage to lift her thousand pound head.

The power of his ceruleans almost knocked her off her wobbly feet. She wasn't sure if the emerald zip up amplified the color or if passion had just leaked onto his visage so caringly that his face was filled with pure concern. He met her caramel in an earth defying stare that almost mended her broken heart.

"You've been crying." His voice was like glass, delicate yet deadly.

She hadn't been in front of him for more than ten seconds before he spoke. Gabriella trembled as she eased her way into the seat before him, his sparkling irises dancing over her face warily. The story of the previous evening had not left her lips yet today; yet opening her dry mouth had been like a second nature in his presence.

"Um…" Gabriella swallowed the wad of bile that collected behind her tonsils. "Derek dumped me last night."

He didn't tilt his head in sympathy as all the other had when she had informed them the news. Instead, the straight line of his mouth never faltered as he tenderly reached his hand out and tickled his fingers along the back of her hand. Gabriella couldn't help but feel immediate sparks rush through her system. "Gabi…"

The loving caress was enough to flood Gabriella's eyes with tears again; that he actually cared about her was an endearing feeling in itself. "He um… he said he didn't like me enough and uhh… he just wants to be friends," Gabriella flushed in embarrassment. "I know we only dated for like a month but…"

His thin lips gave her a warming smile as he leaned forward, palm brushing the joint of her wrist. "He was still your first boyfriend. Time doesn't change how you felt about him."

Gabriella sent him a watery smile, thankful that Darrell was engrossed in the topic of deviance and didn't notice the silent sobs coming from the first row. "I'm sorry. I don't mean to be a baby." She flicked tears away from her cheeks with the hand that wasn't being soothed by his.

"If it means anything," he stared at her with devotion once again. Gabriella's stomach dropped at the beauty of the blue in his eyes. "The guy's a fucking douche bag for letting you go. He'll come crawling on his knees, I guarantee it."

She shook her head in disagreement. "No, you didn't… you didn't hear him last night. He won't, it's over."

His magical digits trailed through her prints and laced through the empty spaces her hand left. A perfect fit. He squeezed her supportively, foreshadowing to the epic bear hug she would receive at the end of class. His dark brow narrowed, so he was gazing at her through his thick eyelashes and Gabriella's shattered organ beneath her chest jumped unevenly.

"Then he's a fucking idiot and doesn't deserve you."

Even two years later, Gabriella shivered at the thought of his perfect fingers gliding across her bare skin that day. She had always had a hidden crush on him that she wasn't even aware of herself. But he had been taken throughout that sophomore year at East. He was claimed by the Wicked Witch of the North, Sharpay Evans. While she passed in the crowded hallways, she watched the blonde princess sashay her stick-like hips and toss her golden mane while she flaunted her hold on the superstar like he was the sparking, fuchsia tops she modeled throughout the school.

She never had a personal problem with Sharpay, yet she couldn't help but feel a sour pang whenever the drama president would strut around with him on her pampered arm. It didn't make sense to her why such a mellow guy would be attracted to a girl so high maintenance. He had been dating her before he began his friendship with Gabriella, but he constantly bitched and moaned about their petty fights. She questioned why he hadn't broken up with her almost daily, in which he would turn away and stare back down at his crossword puzzle without an answer. It wasn't until the summer of junior year that he had severed the ties with her, and he had called Gabriella ten minutes after to inform her of the ground breaking news.

The snow's dance on her shoulders began to mutate into heavy slaps. She knew it was foolish to sit out in the storm that swirled before her, yet she didn't want to leave this spot. In theory, she hoped that the now ripping lake would wave so powerfully that it swallowed her whole. Her eyes couldn't collect images more than three feet in front of her, but she could hear the thrash of the water rise against the pier.

Junior year came and left easily, and although Gabriella didn't see him in class anymore, he made an effort for them to meet for coffee after his intense basketball practices or run to the mall to try on as many outfits as humanly possible. Eventually, she stopped denying to herself that she had feelings for him, and he had a few to return. As a captain of the state winning basketball team and their own groups of friends, time for them was cut short and they savored every precious moment they had together. The only real member of his elite clique who gave her the time of day was Chad Danforth, his coil-haired best friend who waved to her in the hallway. Even into senior year, they waltzed around their raging hormones and emotions, not daring to take the step that both wished for desperately…

And then Saturday night happened.

"Oh god…" Gabriella choked when the flashbacks overtook her tiny frame. The spinning atmosphere suddenly was sucked of oxygen, her lungs shriveling up into dust and breathing was impossible. The stretch of her skin was burning with an excruciating flame. Every inch he had kissed that night, every taste of his tongue was haunted by the pain he threw upon her when he hovered over her. The tears poured down her face, the trails freezing to her cheeks when she pulled her knees to her chest and began to rock back and forth. In the distance, her cell phone was shrilling the noise of the devil. She didn't have the strength to answer, the power to have her heart smashed at the one on the other line. The one who wasn't him, who would never be him.

He promised he'd call… and he never did.

The memory enclosed her with the deadly wind, though she fought desperately to push all thoughts of that day away. Yet she was inevitably stripped from her current fetal position and anamnesis encompassed her vision. She struggled like a creature was suffocating her, but inevitably she had to succumb to the remembrance that controlled her cognition. The ice storm faded, the howl of the.

Gabriella had been sprawled across her lavender bed with the matching shades drawn to shield the setting sun. The soccer sweats that hung loosely over her curved bottom were crossed as they lay flat on the squishy surface of the mattress. Her forefinger and thumb squeezed the rosy shade of her bottom lip while her mocha eyes scanned the words of the novel she was engrossed in. Her dark brow furrowed with concentration when her slim fingers turned a page evenly.

The day had been long, for both of her parents had been running around like headless chickens preparing for the visit of her intermediate relatives to visit for her cousin's sweet sixteen next week. Gabriella had managed to avoid the cleaning frenzy by escaping to Taylor's for a rigorous study session for an AP Biology exam she had to trudge through on Monday. Her brain had been exercised to the point of exhaustion that now she was surprised she could even recognize the English language printed in her leisure book.

Sounds were unrecognizable, until she realized that there was a distant ringtone fading in the distance. Her dark eyes glanced onto the purple comforter and suddenly grasped her phone's ringing. Gabriella snatched the Samsung just in time to save the caller from the voicemail. "Hello?"

Her stomach flipped in longing when she recognized the husky tone of his voice on the other end. "Hey you… busy right now?"

Gabriella couldn't help the rapid heartbeat that jumpstarted in her chest, yet she forced herself to remain calm. "I'm reading."

He chuckled on the other end, the sound of angels flooded through her ears. God, how she loved his laugh and the way she could imagined his grin was stretched up to his ears on his bronze cheeks. "Yeah? Well you wanna run to the mall with me? I got an interview for a Berkeley scholarship tomorrow night. They've flown in from California to talk to me and I need a new tie and socks."

She shot up on her bed with excitement sparkling through her smile, even if he couldn't see her. "You got an interview? I'm so proud of you!"

He was attempting to stifle his enthusiasm, Gabriella could tell by the way his voice level elevated as he spoke. "Yeah… yeah I'm really pumped. So you wanna go?"

She was already on her feet when he asked, sprinting over to the white dresser and ripped open the drawer with such force that even the floor rumbled. "Of course! I gotta make sure you look good for them."

"Trust me Gabi… it's not hard," he cockily replied while Gabriella tore apart her wardrobe in a desperate search for her lucky distressed jeans. She snatched the pair of lacey pink underwear from her top drawer and wedged the phone between the crevice of her neck and shoulder. "You wanna head back to my place and watch a movie after?"

Clothes were flying across the neat room as though a tornado was raging through her house. Gabriella chucked the sweats to the snow colored carpet and stumbled into the tight squeeze of her jeans, yet once on they hugged each curve with perfection. "Um… yeah. Sounds like a plan."

The tidiness of her living quarters suddenly became a hurricane of clutter. Fabric, make up, and shoes were scattered across the floor when she was finally dressed. Along with her light washed jeans, a flowing tangerine top tied just below her rounded bust. A smoky cardigan hung lazily off her slim shoulders and her black hair curled flirtatiously down her back. It wasn't long until the beaten up truck she had become so familiar with chugged into her paved driveway. She sprinted out the front door into the frigid night, carelessly waving to her parents while slipping on the glassy patches of ice, the basketball captain in the front seat laughing at her clumsiness as she hopped in.

The quick drive to the mall was filled with teases and jokes that sent Gabriella's heart into a jitter. But even as she climbed out of the clunker and walked side-by-side with him, she felt at ease. He was her best friend, even though she had fallen madly in love with him. The visit was short, they easily picked a blue tie that matched perfectly with his eyes and a pair of black socks before hopping back into the truck and began the ride to her demise. The swiftness was almost hurried, and Gabriella knew both were eager for moments alone together.

If only she knew what would come of it.

His house was empty when she walked inside, with a faint glow of a light flickering in the kitchen. He kicked off his Adidas' and spun around to her in the threshold of his house, a mischievous grin painting over his golden face. Gabriella's breath was caught in her throat when she absorbed the black long sleeve that covered his muscles, the collar of his white tee peaked at his neck. His chestnut bangs crossed deliciously over his forehead when he nodded towards the dark stairs. "We can head up to my room."

Gabriella swallowed at the deadly words. "Oh, uh okay…"

She had hung out with him hundreds of times, spoken to him for hours on the phone, yet the idea of being in his room with him petrified her. It was innocent, she knew nothing would come of the venture, but she couldn't help tremble with fear when she slowly followed him up the stairs. "Watch your step." He warned when they leveled on the flat surface of the second level and walked straight to the open door on the left side of the hallway.

It was the first time she entered his most vulnerable sanctuary. His room was cozy, with a queen sized bed tucked into the right corner covered in a scarlet comforter. The carpet was white, to match the walls yet they appeared gray in the dim of the night. His flat, 24" television screen stood on a black, wooded stand on the opposite side. A closet was on the left side of the room, where excess jerseys and basketballs spilled out of the open doors. A poster of The Lakers hung above his bed, and a scandalous image of a nearly-nude Megan Fox covered his door and a laptop was closed on the floor.

He tossed the silver bag casually against his black night stand and turned to face her. Gabriella crossed her arm shyly over her chest and felt her face taint ruby with a blush. "So um… what movie?"

Gabriella watched as he spun around and snatched something from the bedside table. "Chad and I were gonna watch The Uninvited with some people last night after the game, but then Sanger had a party."

She shivered even in the swelling heat in his room. "You know I'm gonna cry."

His muscular shoulder nudged hers playfully, sending electric sparks through her body as he passed. "You're not gonna cry." He crouched down to turn on the TV and place the DVD into the player. Gabriella watched awkwardly, not quite sure where to take a seat because the bed appeared hungry and she was quite certain if she sat upon it, it would swallow her whole.

"You know I hate scary movies!" She whined and dropped her purse carelessly to the floor beside his laptop. "I'm gonna cry."

He snickered before standing up and Gabriella tried her hardest not to drool at the sight of his toned body. "Fuck Gabi, stop whining and just watch the movie."

The Abercrombie model look-alike leapt onto the bed, the fitting fabric of his shirt revealing a hint of his tanned stomach. She gulped when she felt a tingle of sexual tension on her skin, before spinning around and sitting on the floor. "I'm watching it from here."

"Hell no you're not, come here…" Before she knew what was happening, she yelped in surprise when a pair of two warm hands gripped below her armpits, pulling her easily onto the bed as though she was a stuffed animal. Immediately, she snuggled between the crook of his neck and gently placed her hand across his built abdominals. His bicep contracted around her in an embrace and she felt a tickle of his nose against the top of her head. "You smell incredible." His lips mumbled in her hair, simultaneously as a tremble rippled down her spine.

The movie began, though Gabriella was barely watching the images that flashed across the screen. Her heart was wildly slamming into her chest at the feel of being this close to him, horizontal on his bed. The heat of the room was escalating to astronomical levels so beads of need were clinging to her exposed skin. The gray cardigan slipped from her shoulders, allowing him a peak of her collarbone. Her rosy cheek was pressed against his right pectoral and his toasty fingers gliding along the small of her back.

She was in heaven.

Gabriella's breath was unevenly panting, but she fluttered her eyes closed and begged her frame to stop vibrating. She couldn't be vulnerable, and although they both knew their feelings were reciprocated, terror still washed over her at the sensation of being this close to him. She could feel him, every inch as she slowly maneuvered her slender leg so her kneecap slightly rested on his. Her eyes dared to gaze up into the angelic face, only to watch a flicker of a smirk curl on his lips just before he reached to the connection of their bodies and gently pulled her leg further over his shaped quad.

Within the ten minutes since the movie had commenced, not a word had been slipped between them. However, Gabriella was completely blind to the screen, even if her eyes were drilling holes into the surface. All she could recognize was the feel of his hand swirling around her back, dipping dangerously close to her curved bottom and then returning to the safety zone again. Every swish of his fingers made her arch closer to him, until her foot hooked around his.

Her lungs hitched when she felt a hesitant weight at the top of her skull. His sturdy chin dug into the strands of her hair, a soft hum sung from his mouth. Gabriella couldn't take the tension much longer, for goosebumps were beginning to rise over her flesh. She took a steady breath and glanced up at him, suddenly startled by the slam of his sapphires pounding into hers. She lifted her meager body carefully higher, fearful as his stare shifted over his face as though he was memorizing every inch, every cell of it.

Time rushed by her like a speeding train when their lips first brushed. A foreign tingle surged from her orifice to her toes, like a hot ball of light traveling through her veins. She collected his bottom lip between hers, completely clueless to what she was doing when he fitted his arms around her and tenderly rolled her petite body on top of his.

Her stomach was knotting with fright as he languorously deepened the kiss. Pure panic raced across her mind. She had no idea what she was doing, for she had never actually been in a make-out session before, let alone with him. Her hormones and instincts seemed to be controlling her actions however, for her arms shimmied up his chest and rested upon his stiff shoulders. She threaded her digits into his stringing shag and gripped gently, inducing a growl of need from his throat.

His hands trailed down her back, bumping over the strap of her bra before she felt his palms cup her ass tightly. Gabriella gasped in both surprise and pleasure, in which he took the opportunity to dip his probing tongue into the cavern of her mouth. A fiery palpate burned somewhere inside of her, an alien pang that needed to be stimulated built. It was a moment until she located the source of the longing... a call within her core.

He briefly released her lips from their capture; the ghost of their touch tickled her skin. His chest huffed with desire and Gabriella became lost in the depth of his glowing ceruleans. Lust bored through each fleck of turquoise into her as he warily pushed back the mess of her curls, slithering his hands into her cluster of tendrils and silently requested permission to kiss her once again. Gabriella obliged without a breath of hesitation and their exploration continued.

The animalistic instincts that controlled her actions propelled her performance to increase its pace. Their kisses became friskier, zealous as Gabriella absorbed the concept that she was lying on top of him. They had danced around this for so long that it almost felt natural, comforting to finally be able to take a step towards a destination both wished for.

Some sort of pressure began to condense between her legs, a thirst that begged to be quenched. It wasn't quite a pain, but contact suddenly became imperative in her survival. It was an unconscious impulse, but before she could stop herself, Gabriella pushed her hips into his, rubbing their groins together. The thrill jolted her system, yet she found herself grinding her firing center against his leg again and again.

"Gabriella…" He breathed desperately, the hitch in his voice only driving Gabriella further towards the unknown. His hands stroked down the sides of her slender waist, shaping her butt once again and aiding her gyrations.

He shifted below her and cradled her head as though it was the fate of the world before safely settling her on her side. Their limbs intertwined into a spider formation as she listened to the soft crinkle of his comforter as they repositioned. His palm ghosted over the curve of her hip, just as Gabriella heard something distant and high pitch.

"Shh… Gabi…" He purred between kisses, and Gabriella finally realized that the moan was developing from her.

"I'm sorry." She mumbled, ducking her head away embarrassedly into his midnight pillow at her callowness and squeezed her eyes shut in pure mortification.

Her head didn't rise in the blackness until she felt sprinkles of titillating kisses upon her neck. The coral glow from the television heightened the desire that spelled from the two, for the rest of the room was a pitched shadow. She whimpered quietly again, just as he carefully eased her spine to the mattress, sliding his torso between the division of her legs.

It didn't seem possible that she was below him at that moment, pressing her perked breasts against his mighty chest and her calves curled around his. The pleasure running swiftly through her veins elevated with each kiss of his lips, each caress of his tongue. "You don't… know how… long I've waited…" She knew. She more than knew, because she lived his same torment daily until this night.

They found a pace, an erotic beat to their synchronization that only heightened her lust for him. She couldn't help herself and allowed her caramel eyes to flutter open while he furiously kissed her. But she wasn't focused on his lips, for the arousing sight of his hips rising and thrusting against her clothed nub was unbelievably intoxicating. He rolled his covered erection against her while her pelvis met his, like a seductive cyclone threatening to thunder. She was lost in the sea of him, relished in his embrace.

His muscles tensed and switched their angle yet again to the face to face approach on their sides, yet she was still slightly blanketed by him. The magical fingers crawled over her bottom once again, just before they traveled even further south and arched upwards. Gabriella gasped at the ecstasy, a million and five emotions flooding through her blissful brain. His lips suddenly worked with a hungry drive as the digits crept forwards, barely missing the hot spot by inches.

Her fingers wrapped around his and carried his ministrations to the trigger point. He rubbed gently over her jeans at first, while Gabriella's body began to tremble at the stimulation. She released him, immediately digging her painted black nails into his scalp. "Does that feel good?"

Gabriella panted in response, "Yes… yes…"

Her self-control of her cries demolished, her palm cupping the base of his neck when he pulled his touch away. Her eyes widened in almost horror at the cold air that flushed over her, until his gaze penetrated deeply into hers, once again asking for permission to venture further than she ever had before.

The staggered heart in her chest rammed violently as he held tightly onto her stare. His palm quivered on the plane of her stomach, the intensity of his irises drilling exceedingly into hers. They were a contrast to the crimson on flashing from the TV, yet the azure color could have illuminated all the lights of New York. His breath was ragged and met her gasps as his forehead connected against her own, the arm not floating above her sex propped himself to be careful not to crush her.

"Say my name." He ordered defiantly.

Of all the moments she could have lost her voice, it seemed to be the worst second to do so. Taking in oxygen was impossible, her throat had closed and her blood ran as cold as the frosty snow outside his window. His pointer finger circled the curve of the button on her jeans, and it suddenly dawned on her what he was requesting.

It wasn't a demand for her to speak his alias. It was a yes or no question if he could advance things to a dangerous level.

He was experienced, she was a virgin. He was outgoing, she was shy. They were best friends, they weren't dating. She could dig a hundred reasons why it would be idiotic to give her body to him. He could exploit her, he could take advantage of her, he could gossip about her performance, he could make love with another woman the next night...

He could not call the next day.

The air was thick with tension, the deaf sound of smashing and screams from the movie blared unheard. Nothing else in the world existed as he held her, nothing else would ever compare to the dire grip he clasped around her. He wouldn't do anything she didn't want, she knew it. It would be so much cleaner to halt the progress, to shield away from the suicide she could commit by uttering the word.

But none of that mattered when she slowly opened her swollen lips, "Troy."

In less than a second, Troy Bolton's fingers had thrust aside Gabriella Montez's soaking panties and jabbed into her blazing core. "Again."


In less than a minute, Troy Bolton had shed Gabriella Montez's clothes. In less than an hour, Troy Bolton had plunged himself into the bath of Gabriella Montez's purity. In less than two hours, Troy Bolton dropped Gabriella Montez off in front of her house and promised he'd contact her the next day. In less than twenty-four hours, Gabriella Montez hated Troy Bolton for not speaking to her. And in less than forty-eight hours… Gabriella discovered that she would never receive a call from Troy Bolton again.

Two and a half days later, her whimper pierced through the night like a dagger in the dusk. The snow storm's fury was nothing compared to hers. Clouds of carbon dioxide puffed around her, imitating a smoker's worst vice as she struggled to grasp any sort of air. The memory's vivid haunt choked her until she hugged her knees and succumbed to the sobs that coughed from her petite body. The crash of the lake against the pier and the trembles that rippled through her vibrated the icy surface of the wood.

Gabriella's cell phone never dimmed as it lay pathetically beside her. The wind fought to push it over the edge, but the heavy weight of its existence cemented the devil communication device in place. Whether her parents had sent out for Missing Persons or not did not matter. She couldn't face their pitiful stares, their worried glances, and their failure of hugs. No one understood, no one would ever grasp the emptiness and depression she had felt for the past eight hours.

No one knew she gave Troy Bolton her virginity thirty-five hours before he died.

She wanted to scorn him for driving the broken truck that afternoon. Never had she wanted anything more than to despise him for venturing out in the blinding snowfall. She needed to hate him for spinning out of control on the patch of black ice and wrapping around the pine tree.

But she couldn't. She loved him too much.

She had waited the previous day, her phone squeezed in her palm as she ran around the house to distract herself from the whirlwind of emotions that controlled her thoughts. Her chocolate eyes had glittered like diamonds when her cell exploded to life, but all that had been received was a text from Kelsi or Taylor inquiring her whereabouts and if she was alive or not. The day had rolled on and Gabriella suddenly began to fear what she had believed to have been the worst; that he had not wanted to speak with her.

At eight in the evening her will power had broke and she texted him, but all it left her was an empty response. Plagued by her worries, she hadn't slept a wink that night and instead spent the evening replaying the scene over and over again, obsessed with discovering her mistake and where she had pushed him away. At 9:16 AM, she received the fateful call from Chad Danforth that Troy Bolton had been in a coma all evening and was pronounced dead in the hospital that morning.

Gabriella buried her head into her knees frostbitten knees and bit painfully into the denim fabric, as guilt and angst washed over her. She never got to say goodbye.

"Troy." Gabriella whispered when her eyes were suctioned of tears and she couldn't cry any longer. At the exact moment as the voice was sounded, she reached inside her pocket and suddenly fingered the yellow crayon.

The crayon that had first given her strength.

His named echoed off the barren trees and burned through the slamming snow from above. Yet, there was something when she said it, like when she uttered the four letter word that night to give him permission into her. Saying his name almost caused the clouds to appear a little less dense, the snow to ever so slightly dissipate. She clutched the tube and carefully pulled it out, twisting it delicately in the blackness, like the light to guide her. Troy's final words wrapped around her once again at the sight of the coloring instrument.

"Promise me you won't regret anything."

Gabriella's heavy lids closed and her frozen face became placid. Despite the cold, against her raging pain, and even if she was pealing away on the inside, she wouldn't have traded their last night together for the earth or the stars. Regret was useless, for she lived. For the first time in her life she didn't watch others experience situations. She had felt his lips, she had tasted his skin, and she had given him her most precious gift.

She had loved, and that was all that mattered.

Something within her breast called to her, a rush of fortitude that exploded through her veins and reminded her to rise from the tundra of the pier. That she could not die out here alone in the subterranean temperatures. That people still loved her, whether they were dead or alive, she was cared about. It was going to hurt, these next years were going to be pure hell, yet she had to push through it. She had to do it for him.

"I promise." She repeated to the falling sky, in hopes that maybe he could hear her against their boundaries.

Clasping the crayon tightly into her palm, Gabriella slowly steadied herself to a stance. She allowed her gaze to sink once more to the wooden flooring of the pier, only to watch the vibrating cell phone shake with a vengeance, yet, she didn't retrieve it. He wouldn't have wanted her to.

With one last glance, her mocha eyes cast over the hurricane of the lake once more before she spun on the heel of her boots to face her nightmares with the confidence he gave her to fight through the storm.