Welcome to my new story! Thank you so much for choosing "Across A Minefield," and I really hope you enjoy it. It's a bit of touchy or sore subject for some people and I completely understand that. So if you don't like it or can't handle it, don't read it, please. If at any time there is something that seems off or wrong about any of the material, don't hesitate to click that 'Review' or PM button. I'd love to hear from you. =)
Thanks for choosing it and please read and review! Enjoy!
Across A Minefield
Chapter One: Bad Blood
Bad Blood- An idiom used to express the hate felt by some people because of things that happened in the past. Example: Troy and Abby had a lot of bad blood between them, but no one actually knew why.
When you think of the way relationships are supposed to be, what comes to mind? If you're one of those hopeless romantics, you might think of having a suave, caring boyfriend who dotes on you and believes that you are his everything, his love, his life. Even if you're a skeptic, there is still a certain kind of significant other that you desire to find, whether it's the boyfriend who brings you flowers and candy, or the guy who takes you to dinner and for long walks along the shoreline. This is the happier side of the relationship; the cheesy but adorable 'lovey-dovey' moments that every little girl lives for.
Of course, with every great relationship, there has to be a healthy dose of arguments. Whether it's about the petty things, such as leaving a mess behind in your tracks or the major things, like serious accusations, the aforementioned arguments are necessary to cleanse the relationship and make it that much stronger. Once they're over, it's back to the happy-go-lucky stage with your love. Now, this is how relationships should work, right? Especially in high school, when nothing is ever too serious. But there's always that one couple that is the odd one out. One couple that doesn't fit and makes you feel uneasy when you're near them.
In East High School, that couple was Troy Bolton and Abigail Miller.
Troy and Abigail- known to all her friends and family as Abby- had known each other almost their entire life. Abby moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico in the seventh grade and Troy was her first friend. He had helped her find her classes in the great expanse that was middle school, sat with her at lunch, and then walked her home. By the end of the day, Abby had already told Troy that he was her best friend. Sure, they had just met. But they had clicked, and that was all that was important to the two of them. Troy introduced her to his friends- Chad, Jason, and Zeke- and they had all been a little bit skeptical. She was different, they noticed, but she was nice enough. They accepted her as part of the group.
Abby was intelligent and outgoing. She was tall and blonde and beautiful, but even though her physical description fit that of a cheerleader, she wouldn't ever acknowledge them. Abby was a gymnast, strong and agile, and always maintained her thin frame. She was a spitfire, though; one false word and you could set her off. She didn't like to be reasoned with and she absolutely had to get her way. And she usually did, until she met Troy Bolton. Troy wouldn't give in to Abby, and that's what ignited most of their arguments.
In the middle of their sophomore year of high school, Troy and Abby went through a period of absolute infatuation with one another. It was during this period that Troy asked her to be his girlfriend and she of course said yes. There were only two weeks where Troy and Abby were a normal couple. They held hands lovingly and kissed romantically and went on dinner dates into the late evening. But after that infatuation period was over, they argued and called each other awful names and just simply didn't get along. And that's how it always was with them. Not a good time, but it's what they had.
Now, why didn't they just break up? They asked each other that same question all the time. The truth was, now, as they were entering their senior year in high school, Troy and Abby just figured it wasn't worth it. They'd been together for so long, why bother giving it up? Sure they had some ups and downs- mostly downs- but when they faced a period of time without each other, they were actually a bit afraid of life alone. Their friends thought they were insane. Why stick with someone who annoys the hell out of you? To Troy and Abby, it made sense.
To everyone else, however, it was a jigsaw puzzle they could not solve.
Troy and Abby spent their lives tip-toeing around each other. Anything they said could potentially tip the other off and send them spiraling into an intense, screaming battle. One wrong step and they were forced to endure the yelling and horrid disputes. Don't say this, don't say that. Don't step here, don't step there. It was almost like a game. How much could they bend without breaking? How far could they go without the other one getting angry? One false step, and it was all over.
Their relationship was like a minefield, and they were forever just trying to safely cross it.
Most students, despite the grade level, are extremely excited and anxious on the last day of school. It not only means the end of work and the beginning of summer, but it's also a symbol of a new beginning. People change over the summer- they get jobs, they mature, they become adults in more ways than one. Sure, summer is filled with barbeques, pool parties, and sun-soaked days with your friends, but it also means preparing for the next, and in this case final, year of school. However, most students wouldn't look at it this way. Most students wouldn't even think of the next year, because they're too excited about their summer of lazy days and enjoyable nights. Most students aren't even worried about responsibility and determination.
But Gabriella isn't like most students.
Gabriella Montez had lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico since fifth grade, when her mother's company transferred them to the great desert state. Her parents had divorced when she was eleven; her father had remarried and had had two more children. They lived in Montana, on a horse farm. Maria Montez claimed she didn't even know the kind of person her ex-husband had become. Gabriella had never visited her father- she hadn't even attended the wedding. She preferred to live with her mother and pretend her father and his 'other family' didn't even exist.
She was a bit of a genius. Gabriella excelled in math and science, but her true passion was writing. She loved when her teachers gave them writing assignments, which always much more interesting than essays. She wrote poetry- but that was kind of boring- and some fiction pieces for the creative writing projects. Her English teacher that year had told her that tragedy was her strong point, but Gabriella really loved writing romance. It was her favorite genre, mainly because she was a hopeless romantic herself and somehow, no matter how hard she tried not to, the main character always seemed to resemble herself.
It was the last day of her junior year in high school, and it was the most challenging year yet. Colleges always said that junior year was the most important grade-wise. Gabriella always tried her hardest. She and her friends- Taylor, Kelsi, and Martha- had studied incessantly during finals week. It was funny how people became friends. She and Taylor had been best friends since fifth grade. Gabriella met Kelsi through an English project in eighth grade, and Martha on the Scholastic Decathlon team in high school. Though they talked mainly about school and clique gossip, they also talked wildly about boys.
Gabriella had never dated before. She supposed if her father was still around he would make a joke of this, saying, "Good! No reason for me to go to jail for killing a guy, then, if you've never dated one!" She sometimes let her mind wander to these thoughts and found that they didn't upset her as much as she'd expected. There really was no reason for her not have dated. She was sweet and kind and involved in her school's community. She was pretty enough, with her deep brown curls and ebony eyes. But guys didn't seem to see her as anything but a tutor. She couldn't count on one hand the number of guys who came to her wanting a better grade in calculus or chemistry.
It made her feel a little dejected.
She was ready for the year to end, but she was also ready for the next to start. Gabriella couldn't wait to go to college. She was a little bit nervous about being all on her own wherever she decided to go, but she was excited to start that new chapter of her life. She didn't even know what she wanted to be yet. Would she go for pre-law or pre-med like her mother wanted her to? Or would she settle for something simpler, something she wanted, like creative writing? It was a difficult decision to make when you're just seventeen years old.
This summer, Gabriella planned to hang out with her friends and not let anything hold her back. She was going to see Taylor and Kelsi every single day, they'd decided a few weeks back. Martha had scored a camp counseling job at a sleep-away camp a few hundred miles from home, so she would be out of reach for the two months off. And although they would miss their friend, Gabriella, Taylor and Kelsi couldn't dwell on that fact. They were too excited to start their last summer of freedom before senior year began. It would be fun and carefree, they hoped. Nothing in the world would bring them down.
Gabriella had her eyes fixated on the clock the entire last day of school. When would summer begin?
The bell rang and classrooms emptied into the hallways, students hugging their classmates and saying goodbye. They all hurried to their lockers for the last time, collecting their belongings and either heading to their cars or the buses. Taylor McKessie was waiting by her best friend's locker, as they were going to walk home together. They couldn't wait for the next year when they could drive in to school. This was such a hassle.
"Hey," Gabriella greeted her best friend, giggling slightly at the impatient look on her best friend's face. "What's up?"
"How long does it take you to get to your locker from pre-calc?" Taylor asked. "I've been standing here forever."
"You know, you do look about twenty years older," Gabriella teased and Taylor rolled her eyes playfully. "I stopped to talk to Martha on the way out. Relax, we'll beat the traffic."
"It's not really the traffic I'm worried about," Taylor told her. "I just want to get home before my sister and her friends. They're planning a graduation party and I don't want to get suckered into helping."
"You can come over to my house, if you want." Gabriella offered. "I don't have anything to do later."
"You know what? I may take you up on that," Taylor grinned. "Thanks."
"No problem. What do you want-?"
"Hey Taylor," A male voice called out. "How you doin'?"
"Fine," Taylor responded shyly. "Have a good summer, Chad!"
"You too." The bushy-haired boy grinned genuinely at her before walking off with his friends.
"Taylor!" Gabriella nearly shrieked. "Since when does Chad Danforth even acknowledge your presence?"
"We may have bonded over acids and bases in chemistry this year," Taylor blushed and glanced at her feet. "But it isn't totally a big deal."
"Seems to me like it's a big deal," Gabriella smiled. "Do you like him?"
"Who doesn't like him?" Taylor responded nonchalantly. "We'll see what happens. Are we going or not?"
"Yeah, yeah, we're going, we're going." Gabriella said, slamming the locker shut and turning around. "Let's go before-"
Her sentence was cut off as Troy Bolton and Abby Miller walked down the hallway at that second, hand in hand but not at all in sync with each other. They looked uncomfortable and Abby looked as if she were going to be sick. Actually, she'd looked that way for a while now. Maybe it was the poor relationship she was stuck in and couldn't get out of. Gabriella watched them and tried to hear what their current argument was about, but couldn't make out a word.
When Gabriella turned back Taylor, she was sending her a pointed stare. "What?"
"I'll admit that I like Chad," Taylor began, shaking her head as they started out of the school. "When you acknowledge your crush on Bolton."
"I don't have a crush on Troy," Gabriella insisted. "We may have been in the same English class this past year. And we may have been assigned partners for the poetry project. And we may have gotten an A plus. And... where was I going with this?"
"I don't know," Taylor said in a sing-song tone. "But I think you do have a crush on him. No matter what you say."
"Maybe I do," She sighed. "But he's taken. As are all the rest of the guys worth liking in this school."
"Hey, maybe Troy and Abby will break up over the summer," Taylor assured her. "You never know."
"Yeah," Gabriella watched as Troy and Abby stepped off the sidewalk and onto the street to cross it. "Maybe."
"Round-off, back handspring, finished with a back tuck," Coach Harding dictated. "Go."
Abby ran to the other side of the mats, pausing in the middle to take a breath. She was so winded and so worn-out, and she didn't know why. Ever since making the competitive gymnastics team, Abby had practice three times a week all year round. But she had never been so tired and so out of breath in her entire life. She performed the given tricks her coach wanted her to, but she stumbled upon landing and fell to the floor. She wasn't in pain, but her lungs were begging for the oxygen that Abby just couldn't seem to find.
"Abby," Coach Harding knelt beside her. "You okay?"
She couldn't find the energy to speak. She simply nodded and sat up, feeling light-headed but well enough to stand. Her coach eyed her. "Have you lost weight, Ab?"
Abby glanced down and examined herself. Had she? If she had, she didn't intend on it. She had always thought her body was lean and strong. There was no need to lose any weight. "Maybe."
"Why don't you go sit on the sidelines, okay? Take a drink, a breather. Come back when you feel ready."
Abby sighed and stepped off the mats, heading directly for the bathroom. Once inside, she stared at herself in the mirror. She looked god-awful. Her hair was thin and straggly, her skin was a deathly white, her eyes were dilated and glossy. What had happened? When had she become like this? Running the cold water and splashing some on her face, Abby tried to remember any past illness, but hadn't come up with anything. What was wrong with her?
When she finally emerged from the bathroom, Troy was waiting at the sidelines for her. She knew he was there to pick her up, as she didn't have her license yet, but it wasn't time to go. She scowled. "Why are you so early?"
Troy sighed. "Oh I don't know, Ab. I thought maybe I'd come by a little early so I could see you flip or whatever it is you do here. You always complain about how I never support you. Well here I am. Why aren't you out there?"
"I needed a break," Abby said shortly. "You can sit here. I'm going back out now."
"Wait," Troy reached for her, an arm catching her stomach. "Abby, stop. Let's just talk."
Abby winced and jerked away. "Don't touch my stomach."
Troy glanced at her, an odd expression coming over his face. "What? What's wrong?"
"Nothing, okay? Just drop it." She turned and without looking back, shouted, "Just sit. I'll be done soon."
Troy did so but couldn't get his mind off of Abby. He knew that their banter was nothing out of the ordinary, but the way she'd reacted to his touch scared him. She'd never pulled away before and she'd never told him not to touch her. He was confused, but he knew that he couldn't do anything about it. It was a vial of emotions that was not to be disturbed; Pandora 's Box at it's finest. He and Abby would continue across their minefield of a relationship one weary and cautious step at a time.
Bad blood and all.