Hey everyone, welcome to my new story- Partners.
I hope you love it as much as the others :)
"Did you forget you have work today?"
Troy Bolton's amused tones accompanied his even more amused face, his eyes alight with teasing. Gabriella Montez chose to ignore his arrogant stupidness while she smiled thinly, her mouth full of the breakfast pastry she was consuming as she slid into the car.
"No, I ran late. Sue me," she arced back at him with her equal wit.
"Are you sure you should be eating that? You're hips are quite big already…"
Troy pulled up his shoulder to pre-empt her strike there, his laugh hidden even if his lit-up eyes weren't as he looked back at her, trying to fight his smile down.
"You are the most insulting man I have ever met," she commended.
"Why thank you," he accepted the barb gracefully.
"Just because you choose to date sticks that look like little boys, doesn't mean the rest of the world can't appreciate a female figure once in a while," she told him knowledgably, biting into the last part of her snack with a goading grin, as if to say 'there'.
"Oh I date women," he assured, looking over his shoulder before he pulled out into the road, flicking her another look. "Just they don't have to wear that uniform every day and you do."
Was he serious? She wondered. Truly, actually serious? Because if he was, she might just strangle him and they hadn't even started their first assignment of the day yet.
"I can't help that this uniform was not created with Latina's in mind," she smiled tightly, fed up of his constant jibes about her weight. "I'm a size 2, last time I checked, that wasn't considered fat by most standards."
Troy watched as the fiery, raven haired woman at his side folded her arms, a huffy sigh exiting her lush lips as she did so and he smiled lopsidedly, knowing he had driven her crazy again and she had only been in the patrol car five minutes. But whoever's idea it was to partner him with the most attractive female on the force had a lot of explaining to do. Because whenever she got into the car; hair swinging in her high ponytail, sweet perfume wafting over him; he felt the evident kick of desire hit his groin and the only way he had managed to master his very physical, very embarrassing reaction to her was by being as rude as he could.
Then, just then, he could pretend she was unattractive and fight his arousal with every ounce of his control. Only he knew he had overstepped the mark this time. His comments hurt her and usually, he didn't care all that much. As long as she didn't guess how he felt- as long as she didn't see the bulge residing in his lap, then he considered his objective complete.
Only today he didn't feel satisfied at all. He felt sick. His nervousness swallowed him as he desperately thought of something to say to retract his earlier insult, knowing deep down that her curves were exactly what he found most beautiful about her. And she wasn't fat in the slightest.
"No, size two is not fat," he nodded, keeping his chin up to aid his nonchalance. "Just think when you're having babies, those hips will be a godsend."
He winced, closing his eyes briefly, wondering what in the hell had made him say that. He wasn't exactly making things better here, only worse.
Her glare told him as much.
"Well thank you, Bolton. I'll remember that when my beloved husband is in the waiting room while I push out our child. 'Do you know what honey? Troy said my hips would be a godsend and he's right, godamnit!'" She derided, rolling her eyes as he laughed uncontrollably.
"Oh, you're funny," he complimented. "But that's not what I meant to say…"
"You know what?" She twisted, pulling a fitting face as she did so. "I really don't want to know."
"I was just trying to say…"
"Don't even think about it, Bolton…"
"Would you quit calling me that? I don't call you Montez."
"Well, you should." She irked her brows pointedly.
"Fine," he squinted, flashing her another glimpse of his sky blue eyes. "What I meant to say, Montez, is that-"
"I think I know perfectly well what you think of me," She interrupted knowingly, a smile painting on her face and confusing him. "You think I'm fat and that my uniform is too small. You really don't need to keep saying it."
"I did not say you were fat…" He counter-acted, digging a deeper hole with every attempt he made to rectify his first dig.
"You didn't need to. You said my hips are big, that's what you meant and don't even try and deny it," she smirked, launching out of the car as they made it to work- the Denver Police Department.
She strode with a purpose, her small arms striking back and forth with her anger and he followed quickly, his unease evident in his awkward shadowing.
"Come on, don't be angry. We didn't even get started yet…" He begged.
"You started it, Bolton," she told him, her dark eyes fired with swirling colours as she refused to look at him.
"Well we all know I'm an idiot," he divulged in a whisper, looking around to make sure no-one else had heard him. "Don't listen to me."
"You know who I feel sorry for?" She whirled and caught him off guard, his thick brown brows rising on his face as he stuttered to a stop and waited for her to finish her sentence. "Your girlfriends, or bed buddies, or whatever the heck they are. They have this delusional idea you're Prince Charming even if it's only for one night and yet if they knew you went around pulling women down for their weight, they'd drop you in a flash…" She mused, her own dark, arched brows lifting in superiority as she turned to walk again, leaving him standing, his sigh preceding his creased look of regret.
"You have a great ass, Montez," he whispered to himself, closing his eyes against the pain he felt at having upset her. "And great everything else besides."
"Are you talking to yourself?" A large hand clapped in his shoulder, making him jump with fright.
"Jeez, Chad, are you trying to kill me?" Troy sighed, holding a hand to his heart, his navy uniform fitted over his muscled torso.
"No…but you're heading for disaster by talking about Gabriella's booty," Chad said knowingly, pursing his lips as he let out a low whistle.
"Tell me about it," Troy derided as he headed into base with his buddy.
"So, what's the assignment?" Troy asked eagerly as Gabi took the driving seat, her anger still evident in her silence toward him since they'd been dismissed from morning meeting. He hadn't listened to a word their boss had said and now he was in the dark as to the day's events.
"Mrs Connell- lost dog." She told him in clipped tones, her eyes hidden behind aviators as she drove, her ponytail swinging back and forth as she checked for traffic.
Troy found himself distracted by her dark curls, wondering what they felt like to touch. But he knew he wouldn't have that luxury- couldn't if he wanted to keep his job and his sanity. There was a reason he only did one night stands and it was because Troy Bolton didn't do long-term. He was bachelor through and through. He didn't care if he was gone thirty and at an age he should be settling down. The women wanted him and well, just who was he to say no to them?
He just wasn't used to them saying no to him though…or not being interest full stop. And ever since the day he had met Little Miss Montez, he hadn't seen one flicker of attraction in her eyes, not one melt, one smile or one flirt. He had decided then that she must be a lesbian, it was the only thing that made sense but then she had gone and confused his conclusion.
She had dated the Mayor's son, Peter Phillips for a short while. That had been hell, watching her all happy and dreamy and excitedly talking to her girlfriends about her dates only to get in the car with him and refuse to discuss any of her personal details whatsoever.
He attributed that particular resistance to his own bragging about his sex life. She was right, he did date endlessly, he did partake in the odd –ok frequent- one night stand and he did love women. But not one of those skinny, bland girls got under his skin the way she did and that irked him even more. Because she was right. He didn't like skinny women. He just dated them because they were there.
Given half the chance, he would much rather be sinking his teeth into the tempting womanly flesh that Gabriella boasted than banging a woman who had nothing to hold.
But that's the way it was. And it wasn't going to change. Because no matter how much he itched to bed the raven haired beauty he was partnered with, he could never commit to her or give up his bachelor ways for just one woman. It just wasn't in him.
He came back to the present from his thoughts as the car slowed to halt outside a suburban town house, the unkempt garden and cracking paint of the porch pillars telling him that Mrs. Connell was an old woman, one who didn't hire help around the house. No wonder she'd lost her dog, he mused. He was probably fed up of taking a piss in a garden full of weeds.
"Since when is a lost dog an investigatable crime?" Troy asked beside Gabi as they walked up the pathway, Gabi pulling on her cap just the same time he did.
"Is that even a word?" She bounced back, quick as a flash.
"It is now," he smirked.
"You are one unimaginable arrogant bastard," she muttered to herself, leaving him gaping on the path as she went ahead and knocked the door, shocking him with her claim.
He was not! At least, he never used to be. Had his ex- Taylor- really done that good a job on him, he wondered? When she had screwed him over- literally- to get to the top, he'd been more hurt than he ever remembered and he considered that maybe ever since then, his trust in women had gone, too. But when did he become the kind of person that people couldn't stand being around?
Sure, he was charm itself when he wanted something- most especially when he was trying to get into some woman's pants. But with the people close to him, the ones he worked with- did they all think the same as Gabi did? Did they all think he was an arrogant bastard?
"Bolton?" She called, tipping her head to gesture him up to the veranda, the door apparently answered by said old woman while he had been standing there, gazing into thin air. He loped up onto the wooden platform, removing his cap as he noted Gabi had done so, too.
"Hey, how you doing, Mrs Connell?" He asked holding out his hand with his famous Bolton grin. It worked wonders, that grin. It melted women's knees, forgave him sins beyond redemption and even earned him the odd impromptu kiss once in a while.
"Hattie's missing," she told him distressfully, her tearful grey eyes meeting his and he softened, looking into them with a sympathetic smile.
"I know, we heard. And we came right away. We're going to find her," he assured, feeling the hot glare from Gabi's eyes as he looked to her and mouthed 'what?' as Mrs Connell showed them in.
Gabi turned to him in the hallway as they walked side by side and shook her head, looking to him again, seemingly outraged by his show of concern. "Two minutes ago you said this was stupid!" She reminded him in an angry whisper.
"Hey! You told me I was being a prick; I'm just trying to do my job, ok?" He argued back, the pair of them pausing as the older lady in front of them turned to give them a look.
"Is everything ok, Officer?" She asked Troy predominantly.
He quickly smiled. "Everything is fine. Thank you for asking, Mrs Connell."
"You can call me Valerie," she offered as she turned back to leading them into her lounge. "Most people do."
Troy stared at Gabriella with a gloating smile before he answered. "Well, thank you, Valerie. That's very kind," he sat down and put his cap beside him, watching as Valerie sat in the small chair opposite him, leaving Gabi no choice but to sit beside him, the small love chair causing her thigh to rub his as she sat.
"Sorry," she cleared her throat, blushing as she shifted away. "Must be my fat ass," she added in a whisper their host wouldn't hear.
"I never said you have a fat ass," he whispered back through his teeth, keeping up a smiley appearance for Valerie as she poured them tea from a tray of tea-making things.
"At least I don't have a fat head," she whispered back, smiling beautifully for the elderly woman as she passed Gabi a tea cp. "Thank you so much, Mrs. Connell," she told the woman, keeping her formality.
"Do you like cream?" She asked Troy, making Gabi splutter on her first sip of the hot liquid. Troy bit his tongue to keep from laughing at the insanity of it all, his body shaking with his trapped giggles.
He managed to nod his head while he grinned inanely, earning an elbow in his ribs from his sidekick.
"Stop that," Gabi chided.
"What, you didn't get cream?" He teased. "Upset are we?"
"What are you two whispering about?" Valerie asked, flicking her gaze between the pair of them to which they both blushed sheepishly.
"It's a long story," Gabi excused, laying her tea cup to the table, half finished.
"A love story?" Valerie perked up and Gabi choked on her own spittle, glad she had deserted her drink or that surely would have been spat out ungracefully had she had a mouthful.
"More like hate," Gabi corrected amusedly. "But that's not important. What's important is what happened to Hattie."
"He's a good looking young man," Valerie shared with Gabi, ignoring her attempt to get down to business. "Beautiful eyes."
"Mm?" Gabi lifted her brows and twisted, pretending to study Troy for the first time. "Isn't it funny how looks can be deceptive?" She enquired.
"Did you hurt her, young man?" Valerie turned to Troy and he opened his mouth in shock, holding up his hands in surrender.
"What? No, I…"
"You should apologise." Valerie decided and they both sat there, dumbfounded at her insight. "Well, go on…" She added impatiently.
"I'll apologise later," he assured with a low voice, one that spoke of his shame.
"This interview won't happen until you have," the older woman insisted and Gabi smiled in glee, folding both her hands on her crossed knees, pointing her fingers as she lifted her brows expectantly.
"Yes Troy, apologise like the lady told you," she added making him squirm.
"I'm sorry," he muttered quickly, casting his eyes down and not meeting her gloating gaze.
"Oh, heaven above that was no apology. Try again. Look at her and mean it this time," Valerie crossed.
"Jeez," Troy sighed, rubbing his hand over his face, then sobering, looking at Valerie first. "You see an awful lot, you know that?"
She merely nodded once, waiting for him to comply.
Troy turned in his seat, his knees touching Gabi's as he did so, his eyes reluctantly duelling with hers as she sat and grinned like the cat that got the cream. He swallowed, his cheeks flared with embarrassment, his throat tight with emotions he couldn't divulge and finally, he took a breath, blocking out everything except him and the beautiful woman beside him.
"I'm sorry Gabriella," he husked; swallowing again against the block in is throat. "I should never have said those things earlier."
Gabi took in a shocked breath, drowning in the blue of his eyes as he continued to stare; the deep pools showing his utter sorrow and pain, only she couldn't quite work out what for. Sure, he was an ass, but he was an ass most days. Why did he suddenly care about her?
"And you're going to accept his apology…" Valerie broke her from her thoughts, her mind hazed by confusion.
"Oh…sure," she cleared her throat. "Thank you, Troy. I accept your apology."
"Right. Now can we please get down to business?" Valerie barked, rousing them from a strange moment neither of them had expected.
"Absolutely, ma'am," Troy obliged, taking his pad and pen out and flicking the end to instigate the ink.
"Jeez, that was insufferable," Troy groaned, plopping into their shared cop car, laying his head back against the seat.
"Oh, please. You had practically charmed the pants off her by the time we left!" Gabi contested.
"Are you jealous, Montez? Do you want me to charm your pants off too?" Troy enquired, returning to his obnoxious self now that they didn't have an old woman to kick him into line.
"My pants aren't going to be going anywhere where you're concerned, Bolton," she arched her brow self righteously.
"But you dropped them for Peter," he teased knowingly.
She squinted him an evil look at his accusation but didn't respond for fear of appearing as prissy as he assumed her to be.
"Maybe he asked nicely," she murmured two seconds later, smiling richly at her perfect timing.
Troy flicked her a look and set his jaw, not liking the images that came to his mind of the feisty, voluptuous temptress beside him dropping her panties to anybody, especially not the conniving weasel that was Peter Phillips.
"Who broke it off then, him when he found out your panties are locked, or you when he deigned to dive below your knicker line?" He quipped rudely, smirking as her eyes widened along with her mouth. Her perfectly ovalled mouth and soft, tempting lips that would swallow him whole and end the ache of need he felt right now. He winced as he closed his eyes to that image, too, the thought of it all too much to bear when he knew he couldn't re-enact it.
"You are just beyond, Bolton. You disgust me." She added for good measure.
"Well we still have a domestic bust up, a possible child-abuse case and a food poisoning epidemic to investigate at Bernie's diner so you better get over yourself, Princess, because we have a long day ahead of us."
"You know what might help?" She wondered innocently, bypassing his jibe.
He looked to her, setting her up perfectly for her punch line.
"If you didn't talk. That would help."
"Just because I tell the truth doesn't mean you shouldn't hear it," he grumbled to himself at her put-down.
"Oh, you want the truth?" She asked, smiling as she turned a right on Main Street. "How about this for truth? You have a small wiener, Bolton. Tiny in fact. Because men who belittle women the way you do, they're usually lacking somehow, and it's usually in their pants. So don't think I don't know what you're all about. Just do me a favour and leave your ego at home. I have enough to think about without little pricks like you making my life even harder…"
With that she swerved into the driveway that housed several cars for the flats above the shops just off the main road, the families that lived there renowned for their fighting.
As she rose from the car and placed on her cap once more, her perfectly rounded backside visible through her driver window, only one thought came into Troy's mind.
Touché, Montez. You got me good.