Author's Note—So I've been gone for a while and there's no excuse for that other than I've had writers block for quite a while. This story that I am releasing is something that has been on my mind for forever! So I figured today was a good day to post it. This first chapter is very short compared to what I usually do, and this is me informing you guys that later chapters will be longer. If you have any question feel free to message me and review.

Troy licked his lips while accepting the ball from the referee. He still had ten seconds to think, however, he was hardly trained to think. Instead, he was trained to run, shoot, and win.

Troy's dad, Coach Bolton, expected the most from Troy. If his son made twenty baskets then Coach expected thirty. When Troy made five steals then Coach wanted ten. Sometimes the younger Bolton felt nothing was good enough for Coach.

The doors to the gym opened, and Troy turned his head, his shaggy brown hair hardly moving considering how much sweat had collected in the strands.

Dark, blue eyes narrowed in confusion before widening in amazement. His eyes looked over her small body, taking in the light holy jeans, white long sleeve shirt, and black sandals. Her hair was the longest he had ever seen and her face was the only one in the gym without emotion.

Gabriella Montez was never as beautiful as she was in that moment. Troy figured he was amazed by her because she had been gone for nearly a year. In fact, a strange feeling settled in Troy as he thought about being the last person she talked to before she disappeared.

Did Anna Montez know Gabriella was back? Did she send her daughter to the game? This question was a long shot. If anything, Anna was already at the game and the only reason why Gabriella came was because she was looking for her mom this summer night.

Suddenly, disappointment settled in Troy's stomach. Of course there was no way Gabriella came to the game just to see him. The last time they talked was when Gabriella was crying because of him. Troy had fucked up her relationship with Kyle and that was the straw that broke the camel's back.

So many things were piling up in Gabriella's life, and out of everything and everyone Troy was the one who pushed her to leave. He ruined her junior year of high school; her chance to have the big senior year with all of her friends, and Troy was pretty sure nothing would be the same between Anna and Gabriella again.

"Troy, let's go!" Jason Cross, one of the multi-talented athletic kids yelled.

Troy snapped out of it and found the open man easily. Chad and Troy always had a different bond with one another. They grew up as next door neighbors, living on the East side of town. Lucille, Troy's mom, worked shifts at the hospital, and so Troy was more often than not baby sat by Tracy Danforth from the age of four until eleven. By the time Troy turned twelve it just became natural for Troy and Chad to hang-out together.

It was because of Troy that Chad practiced so routinely. They ran together, did cardio together and they play against each other. It was as if they were twins who could anticipate every move. If Chad shot a ball outside of his comfort zone then Troy would be there to get the rebound. If Troy passed the ball a little too wide then Chad would catch the ball before it even touched the ground.

With only twenty seconds left in the game everyone was on the edge of their seats if they weren't already standing. Every time-out, every basket, and every pause Troy looked for Gabriella standing in the archway of the door.

Troy didn't notice before but Gabriella's eyes weren't searching the crowd for a familiar face, but instead, she was watching the game.

Knowing Gabriella was paying attention meant more to Troy than he could say. The feelings bottled up burst through his veins, giving him the extra drive to shoot a three pointer, making the Wildcats take the lead by six, making the game end successfully. The town saw him as a champion, and that was exactly what Troy felt like.

As the two thousand people came rushing from the stands it was nearly impossible for Troy to keep his eyes on the one girl who moved him. Gabriella made Troy burn with lust, desire, and need. The only problem that stood in Troy's way of telling Gabriella this was Troy's other love: basketball.

"Son, congratulations!" Coach shouted over the commotion. Hundreds of people tried to make their way to at least one wildcat team member, thinking about how important it was to shake someone's hand. The ten boys were superstars.

Troy nodded his head, the Bolton smile adorning his face. "Thanks Coach, this was a close one." Troy chuckled, wanting to impress Coach with his casualness.

"We'll just have to practice harder," Coach concluded before people from town pulled the son away from the father to show their basketball spirit.

"That was amazing Troy!" Emily screamed, curling her hand around Troy's building biceps.

His head nodded, eyes scanning the crowd for the girl taking over his thoughts.

"So Zeke's having people over. Are you going?" Emily knew she couldn't hold Troy's attention for long, and so she tried to gain his attention with the one thing she knew she was good at. "I hear his parents are gone. I'm sure you'd enjoy what I have to offer…again."

Troy had spotted her! He couldn't believe he had missed her; after all, she was still standing in the same spot as before.

Emily couldn't figure out who had captured Troy's attention like that, but when she looked towards the doorway she nearly had a heart attack.

"Is that Gabriella Montez?"

"I have to go. I'll see you aground," Troy murmured distantly.

Troy left Emily, pushing through random people who all tried to stop him. The basketball captain didn't know if Gabriella had spotted him or not, but she seemed to be walking away very swiftly.

"Hey!" Troy called out, but there was no wonder why Gabriella didn't stop. Troy could have been yelling to anyone in the gym.

The moment Troy reached the outside doors was the moment he knew that if he didn't get to Gabriella quickly than he was going to miss his chance. A chance at what? Troy hadn't figured that out yet because his mind could only process one thing at a time, and at the moment, he was concentrating on running.

"Ella!" Troy called out.

The small girl froze in her spot, her back facing Troy. He came up behind her, sweat still on his skin.

"God, you move fast," Troy slightly panted. Gabriella turned around, wincing slightly as she took in Troy's appearance.

"How did you know it was me?" She questioned quietly. She was hoping there would be too many people in the gym so that no one would recognize her. Gabriella, however, forgot that the city of Albuquerque never stayed quiet. By the next day, the return of Gabriella Montez would be all over Albuquerque.

Troy had so many questions of his own, but he had no place in asking them. He probably shouldn't have run after her either.

"You've been gone for only a year. You're pretty easy to recognize still," Troy honestly said.

A sigh escaped her mouth. Her delicious mouth that had cheery Chap Stick on it the last time he had kissed her. When their lips had connected small puppies, rainbows, and everything that is good flooded Troy's body. He was lit on fire when tongues brushed and he sucked on her bottom lip.

"You don't know me anymore. Reality is you never really knew me." Gabriella's words were like cold water; however, they were the truth.

"I beg to differ," Troy took a step closer to Gabriella, making her take a step back, effectively running into the brick stadium's wall.

"We kissed Ella. In fact, we've kissed twice. You broke up with Kyle because of me. I was the last person you talked to before you—"

"I get it Troy!" Gabriella exploded, her balled up fists shaking at her sides. "Those things mean nothing to me. Kyle and I were happy, and then I fucked it up with you! That means nothing to me now."

"It means everything to me," Troy murmured. People could still be heard inside, celebrating, and cheering. He took another step forward, his one hand moving up to tug at Gabriella's curly strands. "I waited for you. I waited days and nights. And when I finally talked to your mom, and she told me you left, I didn't know what to do."

"Troy," she was panicking," you have to go inside now. People are going to notice that you're gone."

He leaned his forehead against her own clammy skin. "Do you really want me to leave?"

Gabriella took a long time to answer. Her body craved his touch, but her mind and heart couldn't take the risk that was called 'Troy Bolton.'

"I need you to go inside and go be the person everyone expects you to be."

Troy knew she was right. Everyone on the East side of town expected him to be this great leader, drowning in the glory they offered him.

It was as if Troy was just waking up from an unrealistic dream. Had he really come that close to spilling his guts out? He nearly shuttered at the words that came to his mind. Only girls spoke their minds like that, and he most certainly was not a girl.

"You're right," Troy pulled back slightly, wanting to create space between their bodies. "I don't know why I came out here."

Gabriella had witnessed the change overtake Troy. Before she left she knew Troy, like most boys at her school, had two personalities. In front of everyone he was this cocky, arrogant basketball player, however, when alone with no one watching he was this goofy, sweet boy who would do anything for the people he loved.

The brunette felt bad for being the cause of Troy's switch at the moment. Her hand reached up to cup his cheek, and when her hand connected with his face, Troy leaned into her touch.

"You came out here because you care."

"But I shouldn't care." Troy turned his head so that his mouth nuzzled against her hand. "You made that clear a year ago."

"You have to go Troy," Gabriella pulled her hand back. This conversation seemed like it was going around in circles. Right now, they lived in two different worlds. Troy was this basketball God while Gabriella used to be the perfect cheerleader who led the crowds, but now she had no place. The city people didn't care, schoolmates replaced her, and Gabriella knew for sure that Troy should most definitely not care…even though deep down he did.

Troy ducked his head, his chapped lips blowing hot breath on Gabriella's lips.

"Welcome home Ella," Troy whispered before kissing the corner of her mouth.

Emily glanced around the gym for the tenth time since Troy left. His exit was unnecessary and not appropriate since he was the captain. He should have still been in the gym, and the crowd should be hoisting him up in the air with yells and cheers.

Although, his disappearance only confirmed Emily's earlier thoughts: Gabriella Montez was back.

She smiled victoriously as she spotted Sharpay standing over by Zeke, Jason, and Chad. Emily made her way over to her four classmates. As she approached in her all too revealing cheer outfit her smirk changed into a mock sympathetic look.

"Shar, I've been looking for you everywhere."

Sharpay looked at Emily with an odd expression. Sure, they were on the same cheer squad junior year and over the past summer they performed together, however, since Troy and Emily broke up, no one in Sharpay's group really liked Emily.

"What's wrong?" Sharpay asked, dropping Zeke's hand.

"You mean you don't know?" Emily exclaimed. "Well, I hate to be the one to break the news, but—"

"Yo, hoops!" Chad called out, cutting off Emily, causing her to go red in the face with irritation. Chad always seemed to get in her way.

She was just about ready to chide Chad for rudely interrupting her; however, no one corrected an East High Wildcat. Sometimes, teachers didn't even have the guts to correct and discipline basketball players. And if a cheerleader was really lucky, then they could even find a teacher who would be lenient with them also. No one wanted to be the reason why the Wildcats lost a game.

Troy looked to be in a daze, Emily noted. She remembered when she used to make Troy look like that.

"You look like you've seen a ghost," Zeke joked, while earning him a few chuckles. Troy did nothing but nod his head slowly.

"Ella is back."

Out of all the noise in the gym, the five friends, excluding Emily, were dead silent.