Disclaimer: I do not own 'High School Musical' or any related characters nor do I own Taylor Swift's lyrics.
A/N: Okay, new project, totally different to what I've tried before. I actually came up with the idea when I was listening to Tim McGraw by Taylor Swift. I am going through another Taylor Swift phase and it's driving my friends insane. Truthfully, I just like listening to her songs. At the moment, I'm only listening to Matchbox Twenty and Taylor Swift, which is a bit of an odd combination but it's good. Anyway, enjoy this new story of mine.
The Letters Never Read
Chapter One: Receiving
Troy Bolton had never been very good at getting up early. He'd always struggled with it on and off through out the year and today was no exception. He didn't know what time it was, nor did he particularly care. What he knew was that it was probably some ungodly hour and that if the person banging on the door didn't leave him alone soon, he was going to have a very bad moment, very soon.
Hearing someone shout, Troy opened one eyes and was met with cheerful sunlight that made him slam his eye shut again. It was sunny. This meant that he should probably get up and go for a run. Instead, he picked up the pillow lying beside him and pulled it over his head, blocking out the sunlight and, hopefully the incessant knocking which hadn't stopped since he'd woken up.
Instead of disappearing, like Troy had hoped it would, the knocking became more insistent and louder. Though Troy wasn't sure whether that was because it was in his head or because the knocking had actually gotten closer to his second floor bedroom. Either way the knocking was beginning to get on his nerves.
Hearing his door open, Troy flew up and threw the pillow at whomever it was that had dared disturb his peace. "What the fuck do you want?" Troy exclaimed as his pillow slammed into the face of his best friend, who looked shocked that Troy was awake.
"Dude, I thought I'd have to throw water on you or something to get you up." Chad Danforth's shocked tone was not something Troy wanted to hear this morning. Instead he groaned.
"Chad, why the hell are you at my house, now?" Because he didn't have a clock in his bedroom, Troy wasn't sure what time it was but because he was awake, he assumed it was early.
"Because you, my friend, got mail delivered to me." There was something about Chad's tone that had Troy's slowly awakening brain perking slightly. Throwing back the covers, Troy pulled himself over to the edge of the bed and picked up a discarded shirt.
"Why would I get mail that's delivered to your apartment? I'm pretty sure everyone knows I live here now." Troy gestured around the huge house he'd bought at the request of his parents before pulling the shirt over his head.
"Yeah, well, this person didn't. Will you please hurry up? I'm dying to know what's in this package and I don't really want to find out in your room." Chad said waving the bulky package in front of Troy's face as Troy rose from the bed.
"Sure. Why do you want to know what's in the package?" Lifting his arms above his head, Troy stretched his back out as Chad moved from one foot to another impatiently.
"Because it was delivered to my door and because I saw the sending address and I want to see you're reaction." With that taunt, Troy watched as his best friend of twenty years spun on his heel and left his bedroom and wondered why the sending address was so important.
With a sigh, Troy followed Chad slowly. As he wandered slowly out of his bedroom, bare except for an expensive looking bed and a night table, Troy wondered if he should maybe think about calling his parents. They had, after all, been the one who had told him to buy this house so he could accommodate themselves and his brother's family. Not that they had come to visit since he'd bought the house and moved in. He supposed that had something to do with the fact that he'd only gotten around to unpacking his bedroom, the kitchen and part of his living room. But then, he hadn't been here that long and between training and tournaments unpacking had been bumped to the bottom of his to-do list.
As he began to walk down the stairs, Troy gazed at the faded green walls and wondered how long it would take him to paint the house by himself. As he walked, he figured that it would probably be more than he could handle and knew that if he didn't paint the house before his mother arrived, he wouldn't only be hearing about the unpacking but the color of the walls as well.
As he walked into the kitchen, Troy snorted when he found that Chad was already busying himself with whatever he could find in the fridge. Knowing that it would take Chad a while before he found something that could satisfy his friends huge appetite, Troy dropped into a chair at the kitchen table and watched as his best friend made a strange grunting sound, his head still in the refrigerator.
Tall, good looking and funny, Chad Danforth had been his best friend since he was eight when they had bonded over their eight year old aspirations to become rich and famous by becoming famous sportsmen. At the time both had wanted to play basketball, become LA Lakers legends and then live in a huge house, playing the latest play station games and eating whatever they wanted. As they grew older and girls became part of their world, they'd worked girls into their plan of becoming basketball stars.
Their plan and friendship had hit a bump when Troy, who as he had gotten older had become more and more involved in tennis, had decided to pursue tennis, quitting the basketball team and gaining attention as he worked his way to a junior national tennis tournament when he was barely eleven. Chad hadn't been impressed with the decision but, after Troy had said that tennis players earned heaps, had simply decided that it might be cool if one was a basketball star and another was a tennis star. That way neither of them had to worry about losing the spotlight to each other.
They'd recovered and despite their success in their chosen professions, neither had lost contact with each other and the two men had the ability to pick up where they left off even if they hadn't seen each other for over six months.
Hearing something slam down onto his scarred table, Troy jumped. "Dude, are you going to open the damn package or not?" Chad asked as Troy stared at the day old pizza that Chad had found in his fridge. He wasn't quite sure when he'd eaten that pizza or if he'd even ordered it but assumed that if he hadn't, then Chad had.
"Chad, how did you get in?" Purposefully ignoring the fact that the package was sitting in front of him, Troy decided to inquire as to how Chad had managed to get in his new house when he hadn't seen him in the last month and couldn't give him his new key.
"Um…luck?" Chad replied, lifting a piece of cold pizza. Troy sent him a look. "The window to your living room was partially open. I climbed through." Troy tilted his head back and closed his eyes. Of course, which meant that whatever had piqued his interest in the package was enough to have the burly basketball player to climb through a window.
"Christ Chad, you couldn't have gone to get coffee and then waited until I was awake?" Troy asked and Chad shrugged as he shoved the slice of pizza into his mouth. "You're disgusting dude." Chad rolled his eyes as he swallowed.
"Troy, seriously, you need to get your shit together. You don't even have a coffee pot and we all know that's your vice." Chad took another bite of pizza and swallowed. "Besides, your living rooms got boxes lined up against the wall. You need to get all of that shit out of them before they collapse." Troy groaned.
"Shut up, Chad. You sound like mom and she hasn't even seen the damn house yet. Besides I haven't even got around to it." Troy didn't bother to add that he had only been in and out of this new house since he'd bought it.
"Dude, you've been on break for what? A week and you haven't gotten around to it?" Chad sounded incredulous and Troy shrugged.
"Uh. No. Obviously. Can I point out that I've unpacked the living room, my bedroom and the kitchen? I thought I was doing well." Troy said, glancing at the package sitting on the table and, now that his brain was beginning to function properly, found that he was curious about it.
"Yeah. In parts." Chad snorted and Troy sighed. "Dude, open the package. I want to know what's in it and I know that you do too. Now that you're awake." Chad added as an afterthought and Troy grinned slightly.
"You are pretty desperate, aren't you?" He asked and Chad nodded. "Fine." Troy reached over and grabbed the parcel.
Grinning slightly as he watched Chad slow his chews down in concentration. Troy tore open the package; not bothering looking at the sending address in case he found that it was from someone he didn't want to answer. He paused when he found a small, plain, elongated wooden box. Glancing up at Chad who had stopped chewing, Troy knew a frown marred his features.
"What is it?" Chad asked curiously and Troy pulled out the small shoebox, hearing a shifting noise that sounded suspiciously like paper. Placing it back on the table, Troy tipped up the package and an envelope fell out.
For a moment, all Troy did was stare at the wooden box and the envelope that had his name written on it in hasty writing.
"And the plot thickens." Chad's teasing whisper made Troy snort with laughter as he relaxed slightly, having a feeling that the wooden box and letter was a prank being pulled by his brother. A payback for all those years Troy had pulled a prank on Andrew without room for retaliation.
"Oh yes, the plot thickens." Troy agreed in a stage whisper. Chad grinned. "It's all a mystery as he reaches across and grabs the envelope, lifting it and examining it closely." As he spoke, Troy picked up the envelope, glanced at his name before flipping it over to open it. Chad picked up the running commentary where Troy had left off, both conveniently forgetting the fact that they were grown men in favor of acting like they were eight years old again and looking for the evil men in the bathroom.
"He opens the envelope, a nice clean tear. He peeks in, makes sure there's no white powder or evil device that will eat his brain out instantly," Chad's voice was low as Troy pulled out the single sheet of paper in the envelope. "He unfolds it slowly, it's nice paper and has been carefully folded, anticipation mounts as he what he expects to be in the letter…dude? Are you all right?" The change in Chad's tone didn't make Troy glance up from the piece of paper, nor did it make him move.
Instead, Troy stared at the words on the paper. Reading them over again frantically, forcing himself to control his breathing as he read it once again. The letter was a note, short and to the point. It explained the box and the reason for writing to him clearly and held a hint of exasperation at the sender's efforts. Slowly, Troy placed the paper on the table and turned his attention to the wooden box in front of him.
He stared at it even as Chad picked up the sheet of paper and read over it. Troy continued to stare at the plain, slightly worn box as Chad reread the letter before he glanced up at his friend.
"Dude, is that –" Troy cut him off with a curt nod.
"And you haven't seen her in –"
"Why is –"
Chad carefully placed the letter down on the bench and turned his own gaze to the wooden box sitting on the kitchen bench. He supposed that it looked worn out, like it had been in use for some time. Though he'd seen the senders address on the back of the package, he hadn't expected it to be something like this nor had he expected Troy to react like this.
"Are you going to –" Again, Troy cut him off with a sharp shrug.
"I don't know." He replied curtly and Chad wondered if the curtness was coming from shock or from something that ran much deeper.
"What if she –" this time it wasn't Troy's nod that cut him off, it was his eyes. They cut sharply from the box to him and Chad snapped his mouth shut at the flat, blank look of Troy's eyes.
"Don't know if she did. Don't care if she did either." The words were harsh and Chad opened his mouth to protest when Troy shook his head. "No, Chad. I may have fucked up, but she's the one that left me." With that, Troy pushed away from the table and headed out of the kitchen. Leaving his friend and the plain wooden box sitting forlornly at the scarred kitchen table without a backward glance.
Sighing, Chad glanced back down at the letter, reading it over once again.
I have no idea if you remember me. I don't really care if you do or you don't. But I know you remember my best friend, Gabriella Montez and that's why I'm writing.
She's moving and I found the shoebox that's hopefully sitting in front of you right now. In the shoebox is letters, nine in total, all addressed to you. I read only one. Some random one that I'm pretty sure she doesn't remember writing but all these letters are important. To her and to you. You need to read these Troy, before being apart kills you two.
I know you're probably mad at her and most likely depressed but you've got to read these letters, Troy. They're important. They're in chronological order so start at the beginning (of the pile, but you're an intelligent guy, you probably already knew that) and, well; I hope you see something that everyone seems to see but you two.
I hope these find you because I couldn't find your address and the closest thing I had was that of your friend Chad.
Please read those letters, she won't ever say it but she loves you more than you know.
As he finished the note again, Chad hissed out a breath and got up. He wasn't sure what he was going to say to his friend but he knew that he'd better say something in case Troy did something stupid.
Hearing a thump come from upstairs, Chad followed it cautiously. There had been more hurt in Troy's eyes than anger and he knew that Troy was more likely to react to the hurt than the anger. Stepping into Troy's bedroom, Chad chose to ignore the blood on the wall and concentrated on the way his friend was hunched over the window.
"Dude? You okay?" Troy heard Chad's voice and kept his eyes squeezed shut for a second longer. His hand throbbed from where he'd punched the wall and Troy ignored it as he drew in one deep breath before turning to face his friend.
"Fine." He replied tersely and chose to ignore Chad's raised eyebrows. "I've got to go for a run." Even though he said it, Troy made no move to pull on his clothes.
"Are you going to read the letters?" Chad asked and Troy sighed.
He wanted to say no. To completely eliminate any sort of curiosity and need to touch something that had come from her. But he couldn't do that because he knew that once he managed to control the hurt and anger, he'd pick up one letter and read through it. Just to see what she had to say.
"I haven't decided yet." He replied finally and Chad raised an eyebrow that told him his friend didn't believe him. Troy shrugged his shoulders and then sighed, looking out the window. "I don't know Chad because I don't know if I want to know what she has to say." Chad's face stayed still at that, but Troy could tell that Chad didn't believe him.
Chad nodded slowly before speaking. "Alright. Can I read one then?"
"No!" The word burst from Troy's mouth before Chad had gotten the question out of his mouth and Chad nodded again, this time with a shadow of a grin.
"Alrighty then. Just checking to see if you'd care."
Damn it walked right into that one, Troy thought sourly as Chad grinned at him complacently.
"Shut up Danforth." Troy hissed. "You can't read the letters because I'm not reading the letters." The way Chad raised an eyebrow at Troy's words had him understanding how juvenile he sounded when he'd spoken.
"I didn't say anything about you reading them, did I?" Chad asked calmly and Troy scowled at him. "But seeing as you're not going to read them, I'm going to leave them sitting on the kitchen table, lid off, just waiting for you to come over and stare at them before deciding to read one, just one, and then going on to read the others because you just can't help yourself." Chad smirked, pleased with himself, when Troy aimed a dirty look over his shoulder.
"No. I will not do that. Leave them on the kitchen bench for all I care. I'm going for a run." Troy snapped out the words before stalking over to his closet and slamming the door of the walk-in behind him.
Chad stared after his friend for a moment and then, shaking his head in part amusement, part sympathy, left the bedroom. Though he doubted Troy realized now, he knew that Troy was going to read those letters partly because he was curious and partly because she'd written them.
He wasn't going to read those damn letters. He wasn't even going to pick up one and stare at the envelope. There was absolutely no way that Chad's goading and the lure of what she had to say was going to make him pick up one of them and scan, just scan, through it.
So those stupid letters could stop sitting there looking desperate for him to read them.
Troy slammed his beer, an indulgence on a good day and desperately needed today, down on the kitchen table and scowled at the box of letters sitting in front of him. He'd avoided the kitchen after Chad had left. He'd gone for a run, had a shower and then tried to distract himself with the play station before trying to unpack some of the boxes.
He'd given up midway through the afternoon and had stared at the ceiling until he had decided to give into his craving for a beer.
Now there they were, sitting tauntingly in front of him, forcing him to relive every single moment of the relationship that had been ended for good the minute she'd let her insecurities take a hold of her after their final argument. He didn't want to open them; he didn't want to know what she had written, if they were written over time or if they were written all at once.
"Screw it." He muttered under his breath. It couldn't hurt to read one. Just one. To see what one of the letters were about. To see what was written on the pages.
Setting his beer down on the scarred table, Troy reached over hesitantly and pulled the box over to him.
Remembering what Sharpay had said about starting at the top, Troy flipped open the lid. Staring down at the first envelope, he cautiously reached down and slid it out from under the string that tied the bundle together and pulled it out of the box.
For a moment he only stared at the white envelope with his name written on the front in her neat handwriting.
Taking a deep breath, he flipped it over and slid his finger under the flap. Pulling it open, he pulled out two lined sheets and unfolded them. Picking up his beer, Troy took one large gulp before setting it back down and beginning to read the letter.
A/N: This is just a heads up about this story. It's actually prewritten. I've got four chapters already written and for every chapter I post, there will be a new one written so I don't fall behind in this story. So I hope you enjoyed the first chapter of this and I promise it won't be put on hiatus!