A/N: Hey! *wave* Yes, I know, another oneshot. Sorry, I just couldn't help it. Enjoy!
"I smell snow." ~ Lorelai Gilmore
Gabriella Montez was a winter person. She had been her entire life. A lot of it stemmed from her childhood, back before the moving started, back before her parents got a divorce, and back when she and her parents were a family living in New York. She had fond memories of her and her mother baking cookies, her and her father putting up the Christmas tree, and especially the snow. The snow had been the one thing that had saved her love for winter during the breakup of her parents' marriage and the moving that sequentially followed. Her only reprieve during the humid summers in Florida and Missouri and the hot summers in Texas and New Mexico was her one escape a year, back to New York in all its wondrous snowy glory, to see her father. Her friends called her weird, her boyfriend thought she was crazy, but Gabriella didn't care. Snow was magical. Anything could happen when it snowed.
"Have you ever heard the expression 'a watched pot never boils'?"
Gabriella's head snapped over, her eyes tearing away from the window she had been watching diligently, secretly praying that the clouds would open and release her long awaited snow, and back to the computer sitting in front of her. A small blush crept onto her cheeks and Gabriella was thankful that the Boston cold already had her flushed. "What would you know about cooking?" Gabriella asked her teaser.
From seven hundred miles away, Troy Bolton rolled his eyes, a small smile toying at his lips, "Boiling, not cooking." Troy clarified, "I may not be able to make any of the fancy things you do, but I can make a mean bowl of mac and cheese."
Gabriella propped her hand up on her fist, "Right." She said unconvincingly. Troy lifted his head, sending her a look, and despite that it was via webcam, she felt its intention, "I mean, of course you can."
"Damn straight." Troy retorted, refocusing his attention on the book sitting in front of him, his pencil scribbling across the notebook next to it. Normally, they had a strict no homework policy when it came to their calls each night, but Gabriella understood how crunched for time he was, she was in the same boat. Gabriella bit her bottom lip in an attempt to stop herself from smiling. She loved watching him do homework. It was as appealing to her as watching her sleep was to him. She would never get sick of it, she'd never grow tired of it, and even after six year of watching him do it, it still made her feel giddy inside. Gabriella watched him pause, his blue eyes scanning the textbook as he lifted his hand up to run through his messy brown hair that stuck out every which way.
"You look stumped," Gabriella observed, "something I can help with?"
"No." Troy shot back immediately.
Gabriella grinned, "But…"
"No." Troy cut her off.
She wasn't giving up that easily, "But we're both doing the same area."
Troy shook his head, "I know Duke is not quite the caliber of school that Harvard is, but last time I checked, the brain is not a bone."
Gabriella pouted, sticking out her bottom lip for added effect, "But Troy," she started, dragging out his name, "neurology and orthopedics aren't that different."
Troy chuckled, still not looking up, "If you think that, maybe you should reconsider this whole doctor thing."
Gabriella's jaw dropped open, "Troy!"
"It's okay, baby." Troy placated, "Everyone knows that I'm the brains in this relationship."
Gabriella scoffed, "Uh…I'm sorry, Duke Medical School is ranked number what in the nation?"
Troy pursed his lips, "Depends who you ask."
Gabriella nodded, "Right, eighth. And Harvard Medical School is ranked what?"
"Ninth." Troy quipped.
"First." Gabriella corrected, "And you go to…"
"Duke." Troy finished for her.
Gabriella gestured to herself, "And I go to…"
Troy sighed, "Harvard."
Gabriella smiled victoriously, "Right, which makes me smarter than you, so you should be the one to give up the doctor thing." Gabriella punctuated her statement by sticking out her tongue at him, and Troy rolled his eyes, shaking his head slightly.
"Nah," Troy started, a sly smile on his lips, "chicks kinda dig it when you're a doctor." Gabriella should have probably felt a little jealous at his statement, or at least feigned it, but she couldn't. She felt this way every time, which wasn't often, Troy talked about becoming a doctor. She felt a wide smile stretch onto her features and her heart fill up with pride. It didn't matter if he was talking about how much he loved it or hated it; she felt it every time. Her boyfriend was becoming a doctor. Troy Bolton was becoming a doctor.
How, might you ask, did this come to be? How did the self-proclaimed basketball guy who had a secret passion for theater end up going to medical school? Gabriella always liked to think that she assisted him in picking his future, but in reality, she really didn't. Sure, she had wanted to be a doctor ever since she could pronounce stethoscope, and Troy was well aware of this when they went to attend Stanford and Berkeley. But it wasn't so much what she wanted to do, but that she knew what she wanted to do. Troy didn't. Yes, basketball was an option, and so was theater, but there were other things Troy was interested as well.
His freshman year, he had taken an array of classes, stemming from art to theater, to history and science. He dabbled with becoming a teacher, a lawyer, a cop, for a brief period he wanted to be an architect, but it wasn't until the middle of the semester that it hit him what he wanted to be. In high school, Troy had always naturally excelled in biology and chemistry, but because he never really had to apply himself, it never really showed in his grades. But in college it did. Even if he was on the basketball team and had a girlfriend to distract him, he still did well in his math and science courses. And after a week of meetings with his advisor, conversations with his girlfriend, and one long phone call to his parents, it was decided. He was becoming a doctor.
He quickly got his schedule rearranged for the following semester, making sure he was on the right track to go pre-med, and four years later, after graduating from Berkeley and Stanford, he and Gabriella packed up their belongings and moved across the country to attend Duke and Harvard's medical schools. Things had been shaky at first between the couple. They went from being an hour car ride away from one another to twelve and a half. They did both have jobs, but neither made enough to visit as often as they wanted to, and whenever they did, it was only for a short amount of time. And if that wasn't enough, they were both adjusting to medical school. But they made it. It may have been a tough three years, but they made it.
Troy chuckled, "Sticking out your tongue at me?" he questioned rhetorically, "What are you, five?"
Gabriella smile dropped to a frown, "You're such a mean boyfriend."
Troy's eyebrows shot up, and for the first time since they had begun their conversation, she had his undivided attention, "Um, excuse me, what did you call me?" Gabriella's frown dissolved into giggles, however, Troy's stern look didn't falter, "I didn't fucking get down on one knee to remain your boyfriend."
Gabriella grinned as her thumb instinctively began twisting the one and a half caret princess cut diamond attached to a white gold diamond encrusted band resting on her left ring finger, "Sorry," she apologized, "fiancé." Her heart still fluttered at the word, despite that it had been two weeks since he had gotten down on one knee in front of their family at thanksgiving, she still felt giddy inside every time the name fell off of her lips. She was Troy's fiancée. Troy was her fiancé.
She was interrupted from doing her happy dance fiancé dropped his head, letting it smack against the wood of the desk. He groaned, "I hate homework."
Gabriella leaned forward, "When's it due?"
Troy sighed, lifting his head, "I have a meeting with my mentor on Tuesday, but I have until eight tomorrow morning to finish it."
Gabriella sent him a look, "You have to be at the hospital at eight."
"Okay," he started sarcastically, "sorry, seven thirty. I'd finish it after I get off since I've got nothing after twelve, but our plane leaves at one." Gabriella smiled. Troy and a few friends from Duke were flying to New York to see a concert. He had been ridiculously excited for weeks, and although Gabriella had never heard of the band, she was happy that he was taking a weekend to relax; he didn't get to do that enough. Between being a third year medical student, working his mandatory internship at the hospital, and having a girlfriend seven hundred miles away, he was always on the go. Spending a weekend doing nothing but getting drunk with friends was exactly what he needed.
"Don't forget to make the reservation for next weekend." Gabriella reminded him.
He rolled his eyes, "God, don't remind me. Why does your dad have to ruin a wonderful day like your birthday by murdering me?"
Gabriella laughed, "Come on, it's just my dad."
Troy sent her a look, "Yeah, and he's gonna want to shoot me for taking his little girl away from him."
"He already knows we're engaged," Gabriella pointed out, "I told him, you asked him. Plus, we've been dating for eight-ish years. This is just for my birthday."
He shook his head, "Doesn't matter, all dads are the same. They always want to kill the person that takes their daughter away from them. You'll see."
Gabriella lifted her eyebrows, "And are you going to be that way?"
"Hell yeah," Troy shot back immediately, "no one's touching my little girl. Our daughter is becoming a nun."
Gabriella chuckled, "Whatever you say."
"I do say." Troy said with confirmation, leaning back and flipping his textbook closed. "I've done ¾ of it. It's not even anything really due, just a discussion on my thesis. I'll polish it Monday night."
"Don't forget." Gabriella warned, "Your mentor likes you so far, don't show him the real you."
"Oh ha ha." Troy laughed sarcastically, "By the way, have I mentioned that we have snow outside?" Gabriella's expression dropped, "All pretty and white."
Gabriella pouted, "It's not fair that you got snow before me!" she perked up excitedly, her head snapping over towards the window, "But it is supposed to snow tonight."
"I still can't believe you guys haven't gotten any yet." Troy mused. It was odd. Usually by December, Boston had long since had its first snow, but not this year.
"It'll come tonight." She inhaled deeply, "I can smell it."
"I still don't believe you when you say you can smell snow."
"I can." Gabriella confirmed, her eyes still closed.
Troy lifted his eyebrows, "Then how come I can't smell it?"
Gabriella shrugged, "You're a non-believer."
"Right." Troy commented, his voice laced with disbelief, "You look really pretty tonight." Gabriella opened her eyes at his words, "I don't remember if I told you that, yet."
Gabriella flushed, "Thank you." She returned, instinctively reaching up to tug at the thin strap of the black dress she had purchased just for that night. It dipped into a low v-neck, and clung to her curves, ending at the middle of her thighs to reveal enough of her tanned and toned legs to drive him crazy. You know, if he could see it.
Troy sent her a curious look, "You didn't wear it for phone sex, did you?" Gabriella's shoulders dropped and she smacked her hand over her face, "Cause, my roommates are right outside. I mean, I can ask them to leave, but then I'll just get teased mercilessly the rest of the weekend."
"No," Gabriella laughed out, "not phone sex."
"Then why are you wearing it?" Troy asked, "Are you and Anna going out?"
As if on cue, a knock sounded at Gabriella's door, the brunette turning her head just in time to see the door open and reveal her roommate, Anna. "Hey," Anna said with a cautious smile, "sorry to interrupt."
Gabriella waved her in, "No big deal, what's up?"
Anna had her winter coat on and looked to be prepared to go out, "I'm gonna meet Carl and Jenna for dinner," she told Gabriella, referencing two of their friends from med school, "did you wanna come."
Gabriella pointed to the computer, "Actually, I'm talking to Troy, so…"
"It's okay," Troy piped up, Gabriella looking back over at the screen, "I gotta pack anyways. Go, have fun. I'll talk to you tomorrow when I get into New York."
"We weren't gonna stay out late." Anna informed her, "Not all of us have Fridays off."
Gabriella grinned at her pointed comment, "I don't have every Friday off, just tomorrow." She glanced towards her laptop, "Give me just a second." She turned her attention back towards the screen, "I have something to tell you, do you have something to tell me?"
Troy nodded, "Yes, have fun tonight. I'll call you tomorrow morning when I get in, and don't worry. I already know I have get you a t-shirt or something." Gabriella's smile faded and she swallowed hard, her gaze dropping down to the desk as she felt her heart break in her chest. Troy noticed, "What?"
Gabriella couldn't seem to bring herself to make eye contact with him, "Happy anniversary, Troy." If she'd have cared about his reaction at that moment before she exited out of the program, she would have noticed Troy's eyes widening as the realization dawned on him. Closing the lid of her laptop, Gabriella stood from her chair, "Give me ten minutes to reapply my makeup."
Anna was staring at her wide eyed, "Oh, Gabi, I didn't mean to interrupt, I didn't know it was your anniversary…"
Gabriella shrugged, "It's okay, Anna, neither did he."
She began heading towards her bathroom, pausing when her phone began ringing an all too familiar ring. Anna glanced at the phone on her desk, taking note of 'Troy' written on the screen, "Oh sweetheart…"
"It's fine." Gabriella said dismissively, "Just do me a favor and let's not get separated tonight. I don't think I'll be taking my phone."
The phone had stopped ringing, but Anna deduced that it was only a matter of time before it started ringing again, "I've got a better idea," Anna started, "let's just you and me stay in tonight." She suggested, "Order pizza, watch girly movies, and eat lots of ice cream."
Gabriella gave her a small smile, "Do you mind?"
Anna shook her head, "Absolutely not. Change into sweats; I'll go get my movies with half-naked men." Anna turned and hurried out of the room, leaving Gabriella to head towards her closet and retrieve her pajamas, ignoring the phone as it began to ring again.
Troy called fourteen times that night, left fourteen voicemails, and twenty three text messages.
Gabriella glanced over at her bedside table as her phone buzzed for what seemed like the millionth time.
Make that twenty four text messages.
Inhaling deeply, Gabriella continued to stare at the ceiling of her bedroom. She hadn't been able to sleep. Even after retiring from her night of movies with Anna and a quick shower, she hadn't been able to fall asleep. She was afraid he had forgotten. She had been afraid for a little while that he had forgotten, but up until last night, she hadn't admitted to herself the possibility that he could forget. Troy had always been such a glowing example of what a boyfriend should be. From getting her flowers when she is down, to the big surprises when she least expected it. Normally, he was mentioning their anniversary weeks before it happened, sending her flowers the day before with little notes like 'this is the day I almost asked you to be my girlfriend' and other cute little things like that. But not this year. Then he proposed. Any thoughts or worries were thrown out the window once that happened. After that, she just assumed he hadn't mentioned anything in fear that he might screw up the proposal. She never actually thought he had forgotten.
Gabriella shifted onto her side, pulling the covers up over her shoulders in an attempt to fight the bitter cold. It shouldn't bother her this much. It was just one anniversary, and in the grand scheme of things, only forgetting one anniversary in the time they'd been together was not that big of a deal. Except it was a big deal. It was a big deal because this was supposed to be the perfect year. The one where they started fresh and could put all the fights, angry feelings, and most especially their breakup behind them.
It happened a year and a half earlier, towards the end of their first year of medical school. The pair had been fighting a lot, the distance taking its toll on the young couple. Gabriella hadn't been able to make it down for one of the weekends they were supposed to spend together, Troy had picked an argument, one of them said the wrong thing, and suddenly they found themselves not speaking to one another for six months. It was painful, incredibly painful, and Gabriella was thankful that she rarely ever had to think about that time. It was a week-long medical conference that brought them back together. Gabriella hadn't known he was planning on attending, she almost didn't go herself, but she would forever be grateful that they attend. They met for coffee after the conference, coffee led to dinner, dinner led to a movie, by the end of the week he kissed her, and a year later they were blissfully happy and looking forward to spending the rest of their lives together.
This didn't change that. They were still engaged, they were still getting married, she still loved Troy, and he still loved her. She wasn't going to break up with him; this would all work itself out. But just because they would eventually get through this didn't mean she had to pick up the phone right now. They'd talk on Monday after his concert. She have time to think and so would he, it'd be good for him.
Her bedroom door flew open and Gabriella shot straight up in bed, half of her prepared to scream at the top of her lungs, sighing in relief when she found her roommate standing in her doorframe. Her red hair was pulled up into a messy ponytail on top of her head, the mask she slept with to cover her eyes was pushed up and she looked ready to kill someone. Her arm shot out, pointing in the direction of her bedroom, "Your boyfriend is throwing rocks at my window."
Gabriella's eyes widened and she practically jumped out of bed, "He's what?"
Anna turned on her heel, Gabriella a step behind her as the pair marched over towards the other bedroom in the apartment. Once inside, Anna pointed at the window just as a small rock hit the grass, "I'm pretty sure he thinks its yours, and I'd find him groveling adorably cute if I didn't have to wake up in three hours." Her eyes were closed for the most part, and Gabriella was certain she would fall back asleep any minute.
"I'm so sorry, Anna, just…give me a second." She rushed over to the window, staring down at the empty street and resisted the urge to roll her eyes as she found her fiancé standing down at the bottom, a supply of rocks in his hand. Unlocking the window, Gabriella shoved it open, sticking her head out into the bitter cold. "What are you doing here?" she hissed out.
Troy's eyes widened and he dropped the rocks as soon as she became visible, "Gabi!" he said in a loud whisper, "Gabi, I'm so sorry. I am so unbelievably sorry. Please forgive me."
"Troy, it is two in the morning!" Gabriella told him, "You have to work at eight in the morning!"
Troy shook his head, "I already called them and told them I'm not coming. Please let me in, we need to talk about this!"
"Let him freeze." Gabriella turned her head to look at Anna, already snuggled back in her bed, "Show him what happens when he forgets the important days." Gabriella rolled her eyes, glancing back down at Troy before retracting her head inside. She slammed the window shut, locking it in place, and turned to walk out of the bedroom, "If you are going to lock him out there, at least put a muzzle on him." Anna mumbled as Troy's voice calling her name filtered through the glass. Gabriella ignored her, walking swiftly over towards the closet, fishing out her heavy coat and exiting the apartment. By the time she reached the main level, her coat, gloves, hat, and boots were in place, prepared to battle the cold. Gabriella stepped outside, letting the door shut behind her, and she didn't even have a moment to locate Troy before she heard footsteps running towards her.
"I am soo sorry." Gabriella barely registered that it was Troy before she felt his arms around her, hugging her tightly, "Baby, you've gotta believe me that I didn't mean to forget."
Gabriella pushed him back, separating from his grasp, "Do I?"
"Yes," Troy pleaded, "come on, let's go inside and talk about it."
Gabriella shook her head, "No, I'd rather you be cold."
Troy shut his eyes momentarily and sighed, "Fine, but at least go inside and we'll talk on the phone or through the door. I don't want you to freeze."
"I'll be fine." Gabriella said simply, "What you did is irresponsible, Troy. Calling in sick to work is stupid. You have a certain number of hours you need to fulfill to graduate, Troy."
"I know," Troy started, "but one day…"
"And you're friends will expect you to be in Durham." Gabriella continued, "The concert's tomorrow night."
"I'm not going to the concert." Troy said firmly.
"You're not going to the concert?" Gabriella repeated, "Troy, you haven't been able to talk about anything but this concert for months now."
"I don't care," Troy shot back, "I forgot our anniversary. After making such a big deal about starting fresh a-a-and making everything right, I forgot our anniversary!"
Despite the stab of pain she still felt, Gabriella couldn't help but feel her anger lessen over the sight of Troy. He was obviously beating himself up over this, "Troy, it'll be fine…"
"No, it won't be fine." Troy cut her off, "It shouldn't be fine." He took a step back and brought both of his hands to cover his face, obviously distraught, "God, I just proposed two weeks ago and I forgot our anniversary."
Gabriella crossed her arms over her chest, feeling the cold settling in, "Now you see why I'm so upset."
Troy stepped back to her, grabbing hold of her hands, Gabriella attempting to ignore how cold his hands were even through her gloves, "I'll do anything to make it up to you." He vowed, "I'll take you anywhere you want to go, I'll get you anything you want to get. I love you so much, please. I cannot do what I did a year and a half ago. I can't do it again."
Gabriella sighed, "Troy, I'm not going to break up with you over one fight." She explained, "I'm still wearing my ring, we're still getting married." Troy shut his eyes, obviously relieved, "It doesn't mean I'm not upset, Troy."
"I know," he nodded, "but I'll make it up to you. Anywhere, anything, I promise."
Gabriella shook her head, "Troy, I don't want you to buy me anything or take me anywhere, I don't need those things. If the only thing you did was tell me was that you loved me and happy anniversary, I'd have been fine with that. I just want to know that these stupid dates that mean everything to me mean something to you as well."
"They're not stupid." Troy defended, "They do mean everything to me, I was just so worried with the proposal, your birthday, and meeting your dad…it just slipped my mind. You've gotta believe me."
Gabriella glanced down, "I do." She looked back up, "We should go book you a flight to New York."
She turned but Troy caught her arm, "Gabi…you do forgive me, right?"
Gabriella paused. Did she forgive him? This was their fresh start. This was supposed to be the start of their new life together, and two weeks in, he's forgetting the only date he's required to remember until their wedding date is set. Two weeks after thanksgiving, one week before her birthday, it wasn't a hard date to remember, so could she really forgive him for simply forgetting? In high school, and still to this day, Taylor always told her that Troy was too perfect, and she was beginning to see what she meant. He set himself up for failure. By being the epitome of what a boyfriend should be, it amplified his mistakes.
Gabriella didn't turn towards him, "We need to get you on a plane, your friends will be worried."
She yanked her arm from his grasp and walked back to the door, pulling her keys from her pocket, "I'm not going to the stupid concert." Gabriella looked towards his voice, her eyes widening at the sight of him tearing the ticket in half.
He tore the pieces in half one more time, "The concert means nothing to me, you mean everything, and I'm staying here until you know that."
Gabriella walked over to him and yanked the remains of the ticket from his hand, "We can tape these back together, they'll never know the difference." Troy snatched the pieces from her hand, and before she could stop him, threw them into the air. Gabriella gasped, watching the pieces fly up into the night sky. He stepped forward, and before she could stop him, Troy's frozen hands were cupping either side of her face, "I love you, baby. Look at me, you know me, I'm not lying to you. What reason would I have to lie to you?"
Gabriella could feel her resolve crumbling, "I know you're not lying to me."
Troy rested his forehead against hers and Gabriella shut her eyes, "Then please forgive me…" Gabriella remained silent, the walls of protection she had built up crumbling easily. Although, it wasn't like she really ever thought they'd stay up, she could never resist Troy, even when he screwed up. She heard Troy inhale deeply, "What's that…" he pulled his forehead away from hers and Gabriella opened her eyes to find Troy looking up, "Is that…"
Gabriella lifted her head just in time to feel a cold flake hit her cheek, "Snow." She finished. Gabriella took a step back, holding out her hands as the flakes began to fall, landing on the empty streets, and sticking to wherever they could. "Oh my god, it's snowing!" she exclaimed, "It's snowing," her eyes widened as she looked at Troy, "it's snowing and you smelt it!"
Troy shrugged, "I guess."
Gabriella sent him a small smile, "I'm sorry, Troy."
Troy's eyebrows shot up, "You're sorry?"
Gabriella nodded, "It was one anniversary. It's been a hectic season. I should've understood."
Troy shook his head, "No, it's my mistake. I'll make it up to you, I swear."
Gabriella stepped over to him, wrapping her arms around his waist, "You being here is already making up for it. Or…it will, once you've gone upstairs and thawed."
A smile tugged at the corners of Troy's mouth, "So you forgive me?"
Gabriella nodded, "I forgive you."
Sighing heavily, Troy pursed his lips, "Happy second first anniversary."
"Happy second first anniversary." Gabriella repeated, "Just make sure you don't forget the third first anniversary."
Troy sniffed, "I won't." he promised, "I love you, Gabriella Montez."
A grin split onto her face, "Hey," Gabriella teased, "you didn't get down on one knee so that I could remain Gabriella Montez."
Troy's lips parted into a wide smile, "Sorry, Gabriella Bolton." He may not have been able to feel any of his extremities, lips included, but the moment they touched Gabriella's it wouldn't have mattered if it was thirty degrees or negative thirty degrees. All that mattered was the two of them, kissing in the snow.