I love relationships. I love observing them, I love writing about them and I love hearing about them. I am lucky in the sense that I am surrounded by people who are all in lovely relationships and some of their stories of how they met their significant other make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
These are those stories. Stories from my parents, my teachers, my neighbors, friends and family. Short little drabbles with various ways that different Troy and Gabriellas could meet all based on true tales of love, romance and happily ever after.
Most Definitely (Love at First Sight)
She was meant to leave for California in a week, but Sharpay Evans, her colleague at the law firm they worked at, wouldn't have it. Gabriella was leaving because she wanted a fresh start, she wanted to move on and completely forget about her stupid ex-boyfriend and his stupid cheating ways. She wanted lots of sun and lots of beaches and she wanted to say good riddance to Albuquerque and all it didn't have to offer.
You can't just leave because of a stupid break up! Sharpay had said, you can't just pick up and start all over again! Don't leave Albuquerque, you're doing so well here!
Yes, Gabriella was doing well here. She had a great job, a lovely apartment and wonderful friends. But she had no prospects, there was no where to grow and certainly no one to share it with. Albuquerque was chock out of romantic prospects in her opinion; she had seen the good, the bad and the ugly.
Surely California had more on the table to offer her.
Look, Sharpay had said diplomatically over dinner one evening. She had started staging mini-interventions daily as a last resort not to get Gabriella to leave, insisting that she could certainly become partner in the law-firm in just a few years, marry here and settle down just as easily as she could in California. Quite frankly, Gabriella had no idea why her blonde friend was so adamant that she stay put, but she was. She suspected it had something to do with having a constant shopping buddy, but she pushed it aside and decided that she'd probably just really miss her. Sharpay was beautiful and rich, and the combination did not make her someone people wanted to approach.
But yes, she had said, look, in that diplomatic tone and Gabriella knew she was in trouble. Look, she had said, go out on one more date before you abandon us completely. Decide that you have truly seen everything Albuquerque has to offer.
I have seen everything, Gabriella insisted and Sharpay shook her head.
I have a friend, Sharpay explained, one who has just moved back to Albuquerque and I guarantee you haven't met someone like him. He's single and a firefighter and completely good looking, I'm sure you'll hit it off.
Gabriella had raised her brow skeptically. A firefighter?
Sharpay had rolled her eyes. I already gave him your number, she said with a toss of her hair, he's probably already left a message on your voicemail at home.
Sure enough, when Gabriella returned home, her answering machine was flickering. The unheard message played back a man's voice, saying his name was Troy Bolton and that he was new in town and a friend of Sharpay's, and if she wanted, she was welcome to call him sometime. He left a number.
She had no intention of calling him back.
But it would be rude to just ignore him, wouldn't it? And if Gabriella Montez was anything, it wasn't rude. So she decided to call him.
She was going to tell him that she appreciated him calling, but neither one of them had to play into Sharpay's games. To tell him that she had just finally moved on from her ex and needed a fresh start, and she just wasn't interested, nor was she really available right now. Brief and to the point.
Then he answered.
"Hello?" a smooth, deep voice said and a chill ran down her spine. His voice was wonderful, warm and polite, a hint of charm seeping through his greeting. She swallowed.
"Um, Troy Bolton?" she said timidly, her heart suddenly pounding in her chest. All because of his voice! What was she, some silly high school girl? "This is Gabriella Montez."
There was a pause on the other end before he chuckled. "Oh, Gabriella!" he said enthusiastically, "Sharpay's friend! I was hoping you'd call!'
She curled her hand over the phone tightly, before taking a seat on the couch in her apartment. It was suddenly hard to stand straight. "Oh, well, I was just returning your call to say—"
"This is kind of awkward, isn't it?" he interrupted and she stiffened.
"I, um," she stuttered, "a little, yes."
He laughed again and she felt warm all over at the sound. "Well, just tell me a little about yourself."
She opened her mouth to tell him that she was indeed very busy and couldn't chat, but thank you for the offer. This was what she was going to say, she was determined. However, when the words fell out of her mouth, they didn't resemble anything of her plan. Instead, she asked him what he wanted to know, and he said for her to tell him what she did for a living.
Gabriella finished her conversation with Troy Bolton, the firefighter, five hours later.
She knew that he had lived in Albuquerque his whole life and had known Sharpay from high school, that he had been a firefighter for the past five years and that he loved basketball. He was an only child, hated biology and chemistry in school, had a golden retriever named Reba and played a little bit of guitar.
He knew that she, too, was an only child, that she had been working at the law firm for a little over a year and a half, that she loved the sciences in high school and that her favourite book was 'Sense and Sensibility'. She had lived in Albuquerque for the last six years and they marveled over how they hadn't met before. He knew that she was leaving for California next week.
When she hung up, the phone hot against her cheek, she had an invitation for a date later that week. So much for being brief and to the point.
This was ridiculous, Gabriella thought two nights later as she sat beside Troy at a local concert hall. He was incredibly attractive, that much was apparent from the very second she saw him. He was of average height with a muscular build and short, light brown hair. His eyes were sky blue and she decided that she would probably fall in love with him based on those alone. His voice was the same comforting sound she remembered from the phone, the only problem was...he wasn't using it.
Maybe picking a concert was a bad idea. It was a local jazz band, and while their music was wonderful, Troy wasn't even talking to her. They had been there a little over an hour and the conversation had gone no where, her date too focused on the performance in front of him. Which was fine, but how the heck were they supposed to connect at all this way?
Quite frankly she was bored, and if this was Sharpay's brilliant idea of keeping her in Albuquerque she definitely failed. Troy Bolton was beautiful and had a fantastic speaking voice, but apparently in person he was duller than cardboard. While she would gladly like to keep him in her pocket just to stare at forever, she needed more than that in a relationship.
And she sure as hell needed more than that to not go to California.
Half an hour later, he still hadn't said more than, 'This is a good song,' and Gabriella was ready to check out. She had given him a chance; she called, they talked, they met—they peaked on the phone. Game over, she was leaving and calling Sharpay to come get her. The piece of blank paper beside her would have to deal.
She reached into her coat pocket for her phone, having every intention of calling Sharpay and asking her to come to pick her up when she felt a hand on her wrist. She glanced up and was met with Troy's gaze. The look in his eyes made her pause. He smiled sheepishly.
"You want to maybe get out of here?" he asked carefully, "go get some coffee?"
Gabriella bit her lip. He said it with earnest and she debated as to whether he had realized how lame things were going, as if this was his last attempt to salvage whatever kind of night they were going to have. She discreetly glanced at her phone. Sharpay hadn't called.
What did she have to lose, really? Nothing; on one hand, it would prove to Sharpay what she had been saying all along about leaving for California and she could say goodbye to Albuquerque knowing there was absolutely nothing left for her.
He seemed like a good guy, and he was terribly good looking. Plus they had had such a great conversation. She shrugged.
"Sure," she said, grabbing her coat off of the back of her chair, "why not?"
Maybe it was the quiet atmosphere of the coffee shop just after eleven at night. Maybe it was how they sat in comfortable arm chairs across from each other instead of hard, metal stools like they had at the hall. Maybe it was how they were really forced to talk; the silence that would settle between them wouldn't be filled with saxophones this time.
Whatever it was, something clicked in the coffee-shop and Gabriella was more than delighted to find that they fell into easy conversation all over again. They talked about their weeks, they talked about their days. She loved the way he moved his hands when he talked, the way he thought about what he was saying, the way he smiled. He admitted he liked the sound of her laugh. She admitted that she liked the sound of his voice. They both chuckled, both averted their gazes, and both moved their chairs a little closer to each other's.
"So sorry if you felt the night got off to a rocky start," Troy said casually. "I was just...I don't know. Nervous, to be honest."
She nearly choked on her coffee at that statement. Nervous? Him? About her? Why?
"You were nervous?" she said quickly, so fast that some of the words blurred into each other. "Why?"
He smiled shyly. "To be blunt? You're gorgeous. It was easier to talk to you when I didn't see your face. I got...distracted."
Gabriella raised an eyebrow. "I...um, thank you?"
"I..." he trailed off, "I don't know, actually. I do like talking to you, though. A lot."
She looked at him curiously, his blue eyes sparkling as he sipped his coffee slowly, looking back at her with equal interest. She felt him nudge her foot with hers, and she felt a smile slip onto her lips.
Something in her had snapped, a cord had been struck, something had burst. In that moment, staring at him across the table, she just knew. She averted her gaze, focusing instead on her coffee.
"I'm not going to California, am I?" she asked, tracing the rim of her mug. She couldn't see her reflection in the liquid, but she was fairly positive she was flushed a hot red.
When she looked up, she saw an identical smile dancing on Troy's lips, his cheeks also flushed. He bit his bottom lip, trying to contain his grin, before shaking his head.
"Nah," he said, easily, yet nervously all the same, "we're gonna be together forever."