So, hey guys! Sorry for the mini Hiatus. It really wasn't planned, and we both kind of jumped when we realized it had been a while since we had updated this story. We just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has reviewed so far. 3 chapters and 19 reviews…we still can't believe that this story has been so well received. I hope you guys continue to enjoy it.
Disclaimer: We do not own High School Musical, or its characters. All parties, however realistic were not drawn from out of our heads—to our knowledge— and no similarities to your parties are anything but coincidences. No teenagers were harmed in the making of this chapter, although some reputations were tarnished and one heel off a very pretty shoe was damaged by splashing...punch. Enjoy!
The rest of the week went by slowly for everyone. Because every student was still getting used to the fact that they had to now wake at six instead of twelve, a prospect hard to grasp by some of the less…worthy in the school, classes were relatively tame, at least by the more sympathetic teachers, so that students could re-assimilate themselves to the tedious schedule they were now stuck with till May. However, some of the harder teachers were giving homework every night, and her sleepless hours after work completing her homework had started to show as dark crescents on her smooth skin underneath her dark eyes. Several times, Gabriella had commented on how ugly they made her look, although surprisingly Sharpay hadn't said much about them, only commenting that she would get her some better concealer to help hide them.
In fact, Sharpay had become nothing but quiet since her fight with Troy. Their tension had manifested to the whole group, and there were signs of cracks in the relationships of everybody. Ryan and Gabriella were finding it increasingly difficult to gauge when their voices were needed to break the ugly silence. If they were wrong, then they were met with dark glares from Sharpay and Troy and shifting gazes from the rest of them. If they were right…it usually paid off by lightening the general mood. And, since Troy and Sharpay had moved to opposite ends of the table, their whole group had to be reconfigured. Now, Taylor and Chad no longer sat together, and Ryan and Gabriella had been crunched together with herself on the end.
Sharpay no longer commented on the ugly dress choices of the freshman population below her. She no longer cackled at the lunch table, with Gabriella and Taylor about the social hierarchy around them. And, she was quickly becoming the silent, slumbering giant everyone was afraid to awake.
Troy on the other hand, seemed to be getting along just fine without her. He flirted with girls in the hallway—she noticed how Sharpay seemed to deflate a little more with each girl she saw him with—and his Cheshire cat smile seemed broader. There was a weight lifted off of his shoulders and a new bounce in his step and he took every opportunity to show Sharpay exactly how well he was doing. However, according to Chad, Troy was actually doing much worse without Sharpay.
During practice, he was now frequently missing his shots. And, in the locker room he no longer joked with his friends while dressing before and after games and practices. His grades were starting to slip—which surprised even her, not because he was particularly smart to begin with but simply because it was the first week of school dammit—and he was realizing more and more that he needed her.
From this fight, only a few good things came; the first was that Troy stopped smoking pot. Because of this, a few others in the school that had been smoking more to try to fit into Troy's back alley social club ceased their activities as well. A few even signed up in the guidance office for support meetings to help them with their addiction. Now that he had quit, he smelled a whole lot better, and, if she could say so herself, he looked damn well better. His skin was beginning to shine brighter. His teeth were whiter, and he seemed more positive. The next good thing was that she was beginning to have a voice. Just the other day, Chad had asked her a question about sports, and although her answer on which defensive linebacker was better for the fantasy football team was totally wrong apparently,—how was she supposed to know that Gary Brackett was not the right pick to ensure victory when placed in the same category as Reggie White?—it surprisingly didn't end there like it would have usually. In fact, the debate and subsequent detailed explanations of what a defensive linebacker really was—Ryan was surprisingly good when it came to this, drawing on detailed examples involving, she noted, poor geeks in the sophomore class sitting within earshot—helped her immensely because it finally gave her a voice at the table. The final good thing about the breakup was broken up into two parts. The first part was just that now that they were no longer dating, Sharpay didn't t talk about trivial matters that made her want to pull her hair out and kill herself with her pencil. Instead, they had long and detailed discussions over text during math about issues, however trivial, that brought her closer to Sharpay. One such discussion just the other day had been on hangnails, and how she prevented them, and how she herself should start preventing them. The second part was that now during projects Sharpay actually asked if she would like to be her partner.
"So…I mean…although this project's really super easy, and we have the option of working by ourselves, I was wondering if maybe you'd like to do it together?" Her face was slightly scrunched as she impatiently awaited an answer. And for once, she genuinely smiled at Sharpay.
"Sure. I'd like that. We can work on it after school at my house."
Sharpay smiled back, just as happy to not be rejected like she had been with Troy only a few days ago. "Great!" Realizing she was much too excited by the prospect of working on a math project she tilted her head and nodded. "I…mean…that's awesome. Sounds like fun. When should I…?"
"Come over? Right after school's ok."
She nodded. "I might be a little late. We hang out by the tree in front of school." She twirled her pen and wrote out some more notes in that handwriting that would make John Hancock jealous. "I wonder why I never see you there…well, most of us wonder."
That piqued her interests and she froze, looking over at Sharpay sitting next to her. "You guys notice when I'm not there?"
She shook her head. "Yeah, we're missing one twerp." She grinned. "Seriously, why aren't you there?"
She frowned. Wasn't it obvious? "Well…because…nobody has invited me."
She frowned. "No one has...that's because nobody needs to. You sit with us at lunch. We talk to you. That IS your invite to these things. The fact that you hang with us in every other place implies you get a free pass to The Site."
She felt her cheeks heat up, and she started getting confused. She could have joined them any time she wanted? She had been invited, unbeknownst to her, because she had been a 'part of the group'? She felt so stupid, she wanted to smack herself. In fact, she felt so stupid she wanted to kill herself. She had been making a horrible plan based on her assumption that nobody cared about her, but in reality she had just been to blind to see the obvious right in front of her. These people did care about her, at least Sharpay did. Maybe she wasn't so bad after all.
When the day ended, she packed her bag slowly, mulling over what was about to occur. This would be a triumphant day. She was finally going to act on her dream and sit in the coveted area only those privileged enough to be asked could come. Her heaven had been attained, and all by the revelation brought forth to her by her savior. Bouncing down the stairs, she slowed when she neared the glass doors, smoothing out her pink blouse before stepping outside into the heat.
Albuquerque was in another heat wave, and with temperatures soaring, everything was wilting. In fact, by the time she had made it down the few steps to the sidewalk—only 5 quick bounces—her hair laid dead and her clothes had stuck to her body.
She saw the gang appear like from a curtain directly in front of her, and she quickened her pace until she was in front of them, smiling in anticipation. "Hey guys."
Their reactions were mixed. Taylor and Sharpay both beamed at her. Ryan didn't even bat an eye, and Chad only nodded his head before resuming his talk on offensive linemen-not another sports position she knew nothing about again, please…. Gabriella rolled her eyes in her direction, before waving at her, but at least it was in the ballpark of friendly. Troy's greating, was all too nasty though. "Who the hell said you could come over?" He glared down at her.
She lost the moisture in her mouth, and her tongue ran dry, sticking to the roof of her mouth. She parted her lips to speak when Sharpay's voice ran cleanly out into the air. "I did."
Troy frowned and turned. "Why? She does nothing for us. And already I feel the coolness being sucked right off of me."
She rolled her eyes. "You'd have to be cool to feel that effect."
He rolled his eyes. "Oh, cut the shit Sharpay. Everyone here knows that I'm the coolest one here. Right Chad?"
Chad mumbled something from his position, the corners of his mouth downcast and a shadow, cast over his face when he lowered his head, shielded the rest of them from seeing the sadness in his eyes.
Sharpay rolled her eyes, refusing to speak any longer and turned to Gabby as a soft wind blew through the trees, a few cherry blossoms swooping down around them as they returned to their normal behaviors.
Not going to lie, but the house was fucking small. Like seriously, it could fit in her attic space above her room and there would still be space over for her to fit half of her things in there.
The house was really an apartment. That was evidenced by the sign half submerged in shrubs and weeds out front facing the road. The buildings were arranged in a semi-circle, all sharing a common parking lot and, depressingly, they all looked the same; bland and imposing and the shadows in the parking lot were all consuming. The effect made the area look all too bland and unhappy, and she felt bad for the people who lived here every day, and experienced the same amount of sun when leaving and returning from work.
A few kids were playing soccer in a narrow grassy alley directly to the left of her car, and she wondered if her car would be alright all by itself. If someone broke in then there would be hell and blood in this parking lot. She would cut the little bastards to bits with a pair of worn out shoes lying haphazardly in the trunk. They could take that threat right to the bank. This week had not been her week, and she was about ready to explode.
Troy wasn't paying any attention to her anymore, and if he did it was to rub it into her face how well off he was doing without her as he flirted carelessly with all the tramps in the school. If not that, then he was throwing some poorly planned snide comment at her, which mostly hit their mark on cue. On top of that, her relationship with her brother and friends were becoming increasingly strained, she was starting to lose focus in her classes—something she hadn't done since the sixth grade, when grades apparently started counting for Ivy League schools.
And, if that wasn't enough, the drama department had made her head of the whole fucking department and now she was picking up the pace with the floundering Mrs. Darbus, because seriously she loved the woman but she was born before World War 2 and she was starting to lose energy by just walking from her car in the staff parking lot to Coach Bolton's office where she would bitch to him for the next half hour. Because of that, she was stuck helping making the decisions for what they play would be for the fall, and although it sounded fun when she was first told that she would be….assisting…it was quickly turning into more homework than it was a fun project. She was broken from her thoughts by Kelsi's call.
Kelsi was already by the door, punching in a secret code in the keypad by the doors. When she arrived, Kelsi only smiled and pulled open the door—it was heavier than it looked—and she nodded, slipping off her sunglasses as she entered.
The hallway was a bland white, the carpets thick blue and worn and the building was freezing. Kelsi led the way up twists and turns and flights of stairs until they found themselves on the top floor—floor four, naturally— because nothing could be fucking easy this week at all, could it—before they were standing outside her dirty door to apartment number 453. The lock was stuck, and Kelsi jangled her keys several times before the door finally popped open with a small thump. She would have asked if she was alright had it not been for the fact that she was already straightening her hair and clothes, before flashing a smile.
"Please, make yourself at home.
I seriously doubt I can… and she was right. The carpets, while clean, were slightly off white. The furniture definitely had a used look to it, and the TV sat on an old, false wooden base. The sight was a little discomforting for her. After spending her whole life in a house that was more museum than childhood home, Sharpay had been used to everything in its place and daily dustings by the maid. So the fact that she could look at a worn coffee table with last month's magazines, unpaid bills, and the remotes strewn across it was both a foreign and daunting thought.
Nonetheless, she sat down with a sigh, releasing breath she hadn't realized she was holding. The couch was surprisingly comfy, and as she sank back into it she felt as if it was trying to hug her. Although that was a foreign feeling for a couch—usually they were new, and even thinking of sitting on them was uncomfortable—it was a pleasant one. She yawned, and put her mussed hair into a pony tail before she turned to Kelsi, who was now behind the island of her kitchen, which was located both behind and to the right of the couch she was sitting on. She was pouring two Cokes into glass cups, while raking through the cabinets for anything good to eat.
She returned a few minutes later, with her arms full of delicious garbage she would work off in dance the next night. Besides, she would most likely be working it off just by running the errands Darbus wanted her to accomplish for her lazy ass anyway.
"Thanks." She smiled an encouraging smile, and reached for the cool liquid. The glass was already sweating in the sun, and it felt wonderful as the liquid slid down her throat. She was trying to show Kelsi that she could be friendly. After all, she knew from experience that she hadn't been the warmest person to Kelsi. But then again, she had been born an Evans, and as much as she hated her family for all it stood for, she was a part of it and so had acquired certain…dispositions.
"No problem." She sat down on the floor across from her, munching on a few pretzels before cocking her head. "Sharpay…what's the real reason you wanted to do the project with me?"
She froze. She hadn't been that obvious had she? She had thought that she was being pretty damn sly—almost as good as 007 she thought—in the way she was acting. Apparently not. She shrugged.
"Nothing…why would this need a reason?"
Kelsi paused, and she wondered what Kelsi was about to say that warranted such a response. "Well, it's just…no offense or anything but…well…you aren't exactly the nicest person in this world to me."
She nodded, sighing and flopping back on the couch. If she was going to get a disease in this place, then bring it. She had her vitamins and protein shakes every morning. And hey, as the doctor said, a Starbucks a day keeps the insanity away. How she was even supposed to respond to the question to begin with, she had no clue. If she answered it truthfully, then she not only sounded like a bitch—which she could be, granted—she would also sound like she was trying to play the pity game. And she NEVER played that game. It was a cheap move. One that only people like Troy played.
She had obviously been silent for too long, because Kelsi was starting to look uncomfortable. She shrugged. "I've been pretty lonely. And it hasn't helped that Troy had been a total jackass to me ever since Monday. I just…needed someone to talk to…?"
It sounded pathetic even to her ears.
"What about Taylor and Gabriella?" Kelsi looked genuinely confused now, and she couldn't help the feeling of arrogance that swept through her and left her all at once.
If only she knew…her life was no fucking picnic. Maybe she could tell her. It's not like anyone else would ever find out. Who the hell did she talk to anyway?
It's always super awkward when a blonde bombshell is lying on your couch in your living room refusing to answer a very compromising position. Then again, she had never asked a question like this before, and she had never been, in fact, in a situation quite like this before.
"Kelsi…you should know by now. Gabriella means well, but she's a bitch. And bitches can't be trusted. Ever. That's why you keep them closest. It's the only way you survive this hell called High School. And Taylor…god I love her but I swear sometimes she the most oblivious girl in the whole damn world." Sharpay paused, while her head kept reeling. "And, no offense, but you are kind of the odd one in our group. You neither belong, but at the same time you fit. And you're the prime example of a best friend. If our lives weren't revolving around eat or be eaten, I'd have you sitting on my left."
She nodded, confused. "I don't quite understand."
Sharpay sighed, but she only internally rolled her eyes.
"Gabriella is the type of person you keep close to you because if you don't she'll burn you. Taylor is someone a step up from you. She's the same amount of sweetness as you are, without all the naivety as you. But, she's still a player in this big chessboard game of High School, and her role is slightly more elevated than yours is. So I can't tell her stuff like this, because I could get burned. But you…you're practically invisible." She paused, then frowned. "Sorry."
"It's fine. Continue."
"Because of this, you're the perfect one to talk to. Because nobody has anything to lose by talking to you. You are the kind of person who could be truly put under the category of 'trustworthy'. You won't tell other people because your social game has been corrupted before you even got a chance to fully play the game. And anyway, because of your rank, nobody would listen to you anyway. So what I'm trying to say to you is, that while you are invisible and mostly unimportant, you're invisible enough and uncorrupted by this game that you are the person most favorable to talk to. And because of that, you are a truly vital asset to a friendship. Because I can let off steam with you."
She nodded, letting a small amount of hurt cross her face. "That's not very nice."
Sharpay smirked and nodded her head, her eyes tracing patterns on the cracked and stained ceiling. "I know."
"Why not talk to Ryan?"
She raised an eyebrow. "Because. Ryan is….well…he doesn't have all the pieces of chocolate on the chip. He's not the sharpest tool in the shed. You know? And plus. He's mindset is practically the same as my parents; we're better than all the commoners and we should be in charge of everything they do because of the fact our money could crush everyone in town. I don't agree with it. That's why I can't tell him stuff. Because even though we act like we have this perfect relationship, there's cracks. And my getting a job almost severed that connection."
"So, because you got a job your brother hates you?"
"No. My brother doesn't hate me. He just thinks, I'm not the most important person in the world because I want to act more like a regular person than we've been brought up to be. I don't just want to be this blonde, stupid heiress. I want to do something with my life that I love."
"And your brother?"
She shook her head, then glanced at the clock. "I have to go, shit. I'll be late for work."
She opened her mouth to ask, but Sharpay was already up with her books in her hands and at the door. When she reached it, Sharpay turned with her mouth shaped like a small o, before she opened her bag and reached inside, pulling out a golden envelop.
"It's that invitation to the party of Friday. You know where to go, right?"
"Great. I'll see you there?"
She nodded, and waved as Sharpay left.
Closing the door, she leaned against it and sighed, closing her eyes with the biggest grin in the universe plastered to her. Sharpay had just opened up and spoken wonders on how she truly felt on the whole group, as well as including some fascinating little tidbits on her family life, which was more screwed up than she thought it was. She should store this info down somewhere, just in case. You never know when you'll need to dredge something up.
Tada! This chapter was really part filler, part necessary to show that not everything is perfect in Sharpay world. And to show the subtle hints of things to come. I left a couple subtle hints you have to really look into to get. It'll be fun to further develop this. I was planning to write in the party, but I realized that it was its own character almost. SO…that's next. What do you think is going to happen?
Sharpay: I know, Troy's going to make a royal ass of himself, and then come crawling back to me.
Troy: Huh. That's funny, that almost sounded like you thought I would EVER go back to…you.
Sharpay: Huh. You're right. Like I'd want you back.
Alice: You couldn't get him back even if you wanted to with THIS around.
Sharpay: You're right, the diseases would be so bad, I just wouldn't be able to risk it.
Kelsi: Need to shut them up…please guys shut them the fuck up!
Chad: There's food in the back fridge you guys, Josh and Julie just restocked it for us!
All run back and start to fight for the food.
Alright then. So that's my little side note for you guys. I'll try to put these little fun things in every once in a while. Just to amuse you, so keep looking out for em. On another note, thanks so much for all of your reviews. We can''t believe how many we have for this story, and we hope we don't disappoint you as the story goes on. Keep reviewing, please, it makes our day with everything we get. And hey, if you guys have anything you're dying to see just pm us and we'll try to see what we can do.
We love you guys. Thanks for everything so far!