Hey! This is my submission to the Writer's Anonymous Self-Insert Challenge! Please tell me what you think of it, as I tried to improve my writing with this story, which will probably be a twoshot eventually:)
Word Count: 2589
Self-Insert Character: Julia
"It's like catching lightning, the chances of finding someone like you. It's one in a million, the chances of feeling the way we do."-Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez: "Can I Have This Dance?" from High School Musical 3
"I'm sorry, Troy. I just can't be in this relationship anymore."
I heard those fateful words echo in my mind, those same words that a certain brunette girl had said to me exactly a year ago, tears dripping down her beautiful face as she spoke them. I recall that she had received a scholarship to Stanford University, while I, on the other hand, was planning to go to the University of Albuquerque. And although I could almost visualize her throbbing heart crumbling to pieces right in front of my eyes all over again, I knew she strongly believed her decision had been the right one to make, and I told myself that I needed to respect that.
Her name was Gabriella Montez, and, though I never had the courage to reveal this information, I was in love with her. And I still am. She was everything I could ask for: smart, independent, gentle, and loving. Whenever she kissed me, I would feel as if my very lips were burning were fire, and when she wrapped her delicate arms around my waist, I would feel as if I could just melt at any time.
When Gabriella and I were dating, I remember thinking of her as the bolt of lightning I was so fortunate to catch. Just as lightning is a source of electricity, she was a source of my power. The power that kept me going. The power that made me feel like I could get through anything in life. But when she had gone, that power faded, just like when lightning strikes a tree and it falls on an electric wire, the power gets extinguished.
I still remember the evening of senior prom, even though it was dull and uneventful. And why was it dull and uneventful? Because Gabriella was at Stanford-as she was one of the students selected for the college's Freshman Honor's Program-instead of holding my hand, dancing in my arms. So instead of spending an evening with her, I got stuck having several dances with the drama princess of the school, Sharpay Evans, who had abandoned her date, Zeke Baylor, for me.
I always wished I had gone after my bolt of lightning. Looking back, I see it would have saved me from running out of power. Without Gabriella by my side, I feel like I fail at everything. Taking a peek into the past, I see that she was my life. And without her, I'm no better than a corpse.
If I were with her now, I imagine I would be getting ready to go on a romantic dinner date, feeling nervous at the thought of that all too important question I would be preparing to ask. I would be making sure the delicate gold ring was secure in my pocket, ready to bring out after our kiss at sunset.
But of course, that won't happen. It can't happen. Gabriella is over one thousand miles away from me. And my beat-up pick-up truck would never be able to drive further than the first hundredth of the journey.
The next morning after I woke up, I decided to go out for a jog. It's all part of training to become a basketball player. Staying fit is just as important as being able to dribble, shoot, and guard.
As soon as I got out the door, I noticed a lovely brunette girl taking a walk across the street. I smiled, as she reminded me immensely of Gabriella, my one and only love. As she got closer, I noticed that she didn't only remind me of my ex-girlfriend, she also made me feel as if she were ten feet away from me!
I listened as the girl opened her mouth, allowing a sweet, dulcet tune to come forth. As she sang, I kept my focus on her. Her voice, her figure, the way she walked...she was Gabriella! I couldn't be mistaken about that! I knew her too well.
"Gabriella!" I called out impulsively.
I held my breath, anxious to see how my ex-girlfriend would react. For a split second, her soft, chocolate irises slowly melted with my ocean ones as she abruptly became silent. Then, she started to run, as fast as her smooth, tanned legs could carry her.
I let out a crestfallen sigh. The only chance of reconnecting with Gabriella I had, and the only one I would probably get, had been burned. Like lightning, she had come and gone. Like lightning, she had struck me. She was still the same girl I had known before. Lightning's double; it's twin.
I went back inside, my morning exercise completely forgotten, and hurried up to my bedroom. There, I scrolled through the contacts list of my scratched and dented Blackberry until I came across the name of the person I hadn't talked to in forever, but was never able to sum up enough courage to call. My finger lingered on the 'talk' button as I debated about whether or not I should push it. If I did, two things could happen. Gabriella could accept a meeting with me, or she could grow upset all over again, like she had done when she had broken up with me. And I truly didn't want to be the cause of misery. However, if I didn't press the button, there would be no fifty-fifty chance. It would all be over.
Holding my breath, I permitted the 'talk' button to be lowered, then held the phone to my ear, waiting with bated breath to see whether or not Gabriella would answer.
One ring. No answer.
Another ring. No answer.
A third ring. No answer. But what could I expect? I mean, she ran away when I had tried to talk to her outside.
The phone almost slipped out of my sweaty palm as a mixture of excitement and nervousness swept through my body. "Hi, Gabriella," I greeted.
"Troy, we broke up a year ago," Gabriella reminded me. I could hear the regret in her melodious voice.
"No, actually it was a year and one day," I corrected.
I pictured the smile that was probably growing on Gabriella's face despite her fierce efforts to not allow it to show. "You remember the exact date of our..." She trailed off. I couldn't blame her for not wanting to say the rest of the sentence.
"Yes," I replied. "I do."
"Wow," Gabriella breathed.
An awkward silence settled over us. After a minute, I decided to break it. "I saw you across the street a few minutes ago."
"Yeah. I saw you, too."
"What are you doing in Albuquerque?"
"Visiting Taylor. She just got back from college for the summer today." Taylor McKessie is my best friend Chad's girlfriend, and one of Gabriella's closest companions.
"Troy? Are you still there?" Gabriella asked when I was silent for a little while.
"Yeah, yeah. I'm still here. And I want to ask you something."
"Please don't," Gabriella pleaded in an almost tearful tone.
"Why not?" I wondered.
"Because I don't want my heart to be in pain again." Searing pain echoed in the voice that met my ear.
"Gabriella?" I asked after a minute of silence.
No answer was given. It was then that I realized Gabriella had hung up on me. Dejected, I trudged out of my room and down the carpeted stairs. Once on the lower level of my boring home, I saw my sister, who had just finished her senior year of high school, sitting at the kitchen table. She was filling out the papers needed to enter Julliard University, the performing arts college she was going to be attending in the fall.
"Um, Julia, could I talk to you-just for a minute?" My sister and I are one of the rare pair of siblings that people envy for having a good relationship.
Julia raised her blue-gray eyes to me as she put down her pen. "Sure," she answered. "Sit down."
I accepted the offer, drawing up a chair beside Julia and seating myself on it. "Do you remember Gabriella Montez, the girl I dated during my junior and senior years of high school?"
I proceeded to spill out the entire story of the day's events so far, not excluding anything.
"I see," Julia responded in understanding.
"So, what do you think I should do? I know Gabriella still has feelings for me, and I would really like to date her again. But what can I do to get her to go out with me?"
"Leave her alone."
"Leave her alone?" I repeated, absolutely incredulous at the reply I had just received. Every other time I needed help, my sister had always given good, efficient advice. But this time, she'd basically told me to dump the problem and forget about it.
"If she really likes you, she'll come around eventually," Julia explained. "And I've seen you two together. She most definitely loved you in high school, and from what you said she told you on the phone today, I have no doubt that she still loves you now."
"How long will it take for her to accept me again?"
"I don't know. Maybe hours, maybe days, maybe weeks, maybe months, maybe years. But-"
"Years? You're telling me to wait years for Gabriella to call me up and say she wants to be with me again?"
"Troy, if you love her, you'll wait."
I took a deep breath and drummed my fingers on the table, many thoughts swirling around in my muddled mind. Sure, I loved Gabriella, but would I be able to wait years to be with her? I allowed my eyelids to close as I began to picture the future. My future. A small wedding with immediate family and close friends the only guests present; the type of wedding Gabriella had told me she wished to have when the time came. A night in bed with my new wife, our exposed bodies brushing together as we poured out our passion to one another in the most special way we could, the faint glow of the moon spilling in through the closed blinds the only light available. A baby with hair the color of a raven's feathers, naturally curled into perfect ringlets, and eyes the exact shade as mine, sleeping in the arms of the girl I loved. Yes, if I got all that, waiting for Gabriella would be completely worth it.
"Troy?" Julia started.
"I will, I'll wait," I responded, snapping out of my fantasy. "No matter how long she takes to come around. Thanks for your help." After embracing my sister, I made my way upstairs and back into my bedroom, where I grabbed my basketball. I then returned downstairs so I could exit the house to go to the park. When I'm stressed, shooting some hoops is my favorite thing to do. It enables my mind to process thoughts better, and any anger or frustration I feel is taken out on the old, faded, beaten-up ball that I've had since middle school.
Once at the park, I went straight to the basketball courts and chose a hoop. I then practiced tossing the ball into the tattered basket from every angle, Gabriella not leaving my mind even for a split second. By the time I was finished, sweat soaked both my light brown locks and my forehead. My lips were parted, deep, rapid breaths emitting from the space between them. My shirt was practically stuck to my skin. This is what I call a workout.
"Troy, we need to talk."
Oh, great. Now I'm imagining Gabriella's voice, I thought with a suppressed groan. My goal was to try not to think about my ex-girlfriend too much, just in an attempt to make the time pass faster until the moment for her to want me again came. However, upon turning around, I saw her. She was standing right in front of me. Tear stains coated her cheeks; her eyes were red and puffy. Mascara and eye liner were smeared all over her eyelids, and her curls were in a disheveled state. So I wasn't imagining it.
"Troy," she repeated, a catch in her voice.
"Yeah?" I acknowledged.
"Why did you call me earlier?"
I took a deep breath before connecting my eyes with Gabriella's and saying, "Because I miss you. And I want you back with me. My life just isn't the same without you in it."
"That's just what I thought," Gabriella considered quietly.
"Well, did you want to...try our relationship again?" I shuffled my feet and mindlessly rotated my basketball from one hand to the other.
"Yes, I do, but I can't," Gabriella answered boldly as her sad eyes grew moist. "I have a life. I only came here because I wanted to say an official good-bye, since I don't think I said it properly last year." By this time, tears were flooding down her unhappy face.
"Okay...good-bye, then." I tried my hardest not to let the intense longing which was burning on the tip of my tongue show in my voice. However, I was pretty sure I had failed at the task.
After a minute or two of silence, I started to walk away, assuming Gabriella was finished with me.
"Troy, come back."
I wheeled around.
"I-I love you."
She loves me! My heart skipped with exhilaration. She really loves me!
"D-Don't you...don't you love me, too?"
"Yes, Gabriella," I began. "I love you."
A smile momentarily settled on Gabriella's lips before she continued speaking. "I-I'm sorry I can't take this relationship on again. But I really need to just worry about college. Besides, we're over a thousand miles apart, and I don't like the idea of being together with someone so far from me."
"We could make it work."
Gabriella shook her head. "No, Troy. I want to be the best scientist there ever was, which means I have to live differently from others. I don't think I would be able to handle the responsibilities of advanced college courses-and then an intense job-while trying to be faithful to someone."
I looked at the ground, not knowing what to say.
"So please, Troy, just go."
I set back on the path I had started following, not daring to utter another word. Gabriella clearly didn't want me anymore, and I wasn't going to push the situation, as it would only upset her further.
As I walked back home, I thought for the second time that day about how Gabriella was still like lightning, only in a different way than before. She had just struck me with the fatal strike: one filled with pain rather than power. She had basically killed me, as I knew I would never be the same again. A part of me would always remain torn, crushed, and unable to be repaired.
No matter how doubtful it seemed, I still fiercely hoped that Julia's prediction would come true, and that sometime in the future, Gabriella would come back around to me. And if she didn't, I would just stay single until the day of my death, because I could never settle for a different girl. Gabriella's one of a kind, unique, and special. She's my bolt of lightning, and nothing will ever change that.