Hey all, thank you for following me to my new story (or welcome if you're a new reader!) and thank you for the comments from before.
I know the end disappointed some of you and I can see why; so I'm sorry for that. I know I'm not always 'on it' as much as I'd like to be.
Still this is an older story so forgive me any mishaps, I'm getting there :)
Love always (flakegirl taught me that)
Gabriella Montez didn't have a date to the mixed Easter ball. She didn't have a date because she was ugly. Oh, her family might say kind things and try and tell her otherwise, but she knew the plain truth.
Her face was ugly.
The ball was three weeks away. It seemed like a lifetime but the whole of East High School for Girls had been talking about it since Christmas. 'What dress shall I wear?' 'What shoes?'- they were questions Gabriella had heard over and over; never being part of those shallow conversations and never being invited into them.
She walked the halls hugging her books to her chest, her long, black, curly hair covering her face the best she could arrange it. Even then, she still heard the whispers and the comments directed at her.
'Look at her…'
'Here comes scar-face…'
She knew who they were; the people that talked about her. And everybody seemed to know her. Everybody knew Gabriella Montez, the ugliest girl in school.
Troy Bolton lit a cigarette and cupped it under his fingers to disguise his activity, the high gate of the school housing him from the sight of the teachers. Every break he and Chad snuck out for a smoke, sharing naughty smiles and cawing at their courage.
It wasn't the first time he'd seen Gabriella as she walked home while he enjoyed his last smoke of the day, before having to walk home too. West High Boys School was situated about half a mile from East High and the two schools-and sexes- were kept separate as much as possible.
Every now and then the Principals would set up social events to allow them to 'mix' but even then, they were chaperoned heavily. The latest was the Easter Ball. Everyone was talking about it. Everyone had a date.
Everyone except Troy.
He pushed away from the gate and trailed the small Latina, intrigued by her fast walk, her hunched shoulders and the way she covered her face with her hair.
"Hey, hold up…" He called eventually.
"Stop following me." She didn't turn around and he felt like he had scared her.
"I'm not…" He frowned, taking a drag of his cigarette. "I'm not following you. We walk the same way home every night."
"Then why speak to me tonight?" She turned and he caught a glimpse of her face, only the very tip of her arched cheek and a flash of her black, black lashes. Her brown eyes- or the one eye that he could see- spoke of a very deep pain. The other side of her face was hidden, protected. She tipped it away, not wanting him to see.
"Because I wanted to ask you something." He answered easily, stepping up to her, blowing out his smoke toward her, then wincing as she coughed and fanned her hand in front of her face.
"Then do it quickly before you die of lung cancer." She barbed.
He looked at the last quarter of his smoke and took a sigh. He'd never give up the last three drags for anything normally but he figured this was worth the loss. He dropped the burning tobacco and twisted his toe on the ground to put it out.
He licked his lips. "Do you have a date to the ball?"
Gabriella didn't even bother replying. Some people's idea of fun was beyond her realm of understanding but the cruelness of some hurt her beyond words. Why would he do a thing like that?
Because he thought he was cool? Just because he wore a hooded sports jacket and smoked cigarettes did not mean he had the right to humiliate her like that.
"Hey!" He was still following her and she began to run.
"Go away! Leave me alone!" She felt the tears wash down her face and she panicked at the thought of her make-up melting.
"Gabriella…" He stopped, calling her by her name.
She gasped, stumbling to a standstill, turning her wide eyes on his, the chocolate depths reflecting her shock.
"How..?" She went to ask, and then smiled wryly. Who didn't know her name? It had been all over the newspapers. When she had become the misfit she was, they had published her weakness for everyone to see.
Troy squinted through his lashes. "At least give me a chance."
She squinted back, self consciously grooming her hair forward as he looked into her face.
"How do I know you're for real?" She asked.
His eyes were blue like the sky she noted. They bored into hers with intensity. She waited for his reply, the one that would win her over.
"You have to trust me." He replied.
Trusting was not something Gabriella did lightly. It was not something she was accustomed to giving; or experiencing. She didn't trust anyone. She couldn't. Whenever she had made the mistake of trusting anyone, they stabbed her in the back.
The girls' school was a boarding school, but there were a limited amount of students who attended as day students, Gabriella being one of them. Her father was a renowned doctor which gave her special privileges but that didn't exactly go in her favour, either. She didn't want to be one of those who stayed there every night, week after week; she would be torn to pieces if that happened. But she didn't look forward to going home every night, either.
Her father worked long hours, gaining good pay and a good reputation; so much so that she didn't feel like she could complain. But since her scarring, she felt like she had been abandoned. And she had. Her mother had walked out a year ago when she could no longer look Gabriella in the face and call her pretty.
And her father had felt he'd failed by not being able to 'fix' her. So the empty, cold house she came home to was a living enactment of the loss in her young life. She had no-one to care.
Troy had gone home after she had asked him to leave. She was frightened and bewildered and nothing made sense to her about his approach.
He had never spoken to her before, why now? Why ask her about the dance? Wasn't it obvious she didn't have a date? Didn't everyone know why she was treated like a leper?
She took deep, desperate breaths as she grasped the basin in the hall lavatory and stared into the mirror. Slowly she pulled back the hood from her coat, and then she swallowed, peeling back her hair to reveal her face.
Jagged, criss crossed, uneven lines patchworked the entire right side of her face, sprawling toward her nose, skimming her upper lip and stretching to her ear. Her upper lip pulled up a little in that corner and she watched the reflection with a sorrowful gaze, blinking to erase the image from her mind.
Who would want to dance with her looking like that? No-one. Troy couldn't be trusted. He was part of the game.