A/N: Okay, I'm going to be as blunt as possible: You guys are the shit.

I'm serious. I expected to upload this thing and have two people read it. It's so incredibly endearing to know that you guys are still excited about some shriveled up old writer who thinks more like a teenage boy than her female age. The response was really thoughtful and sincere, and I'm so blessed to have such kick ass readers, as I always had been. Thank you, so much, thank you.

So anyways, blah blah blah sentimental emotional shit blah blah here's part two of boredom insanity. Hope you like it, I know it's a quick turnaround, but I figured it was supposed to be a oneshot so why wait to post it. And not sure if I'll write anything else this summer so I'm not promising anything but hell, stranger things have happened.

Stay sexy my readers, it's been real.


Let's lay up until the sunrise

We could dance the night away

It could be like this forever

'Til tomorrow is today

-Timeflies, "Until the Sunrise"


Saturday, October 22, 2011

10:48 p.m.

I didn't recognize the girl reflected in the Uker and Allen Dentistry building windows. She had black tresses that had been finger-combed loose, smoky eye shadow and silver flip flops. Her bandage dress glowed aqua under the street lamp as she ran towards her barefooted friend, which made her sparkling earrings glimmer every time they jingled. She also tugged at the dress's hem every seven steps to keep her ass from giving cars a peep show.

The girl – woman, rather – reflected in the Uker and Allen Dentistry windows looked nothing like the sweatpants wearing gym rat who passed the same building every Tuesday morning for class.

"I'm so… happy… I didn't wear… heels." I panted when we reached the sidewalk's edge. Tires washed against the pavement. Sharpay, however, was too busy pouring back the raspberry Smirnoff and lemonade mixture she concocted in our kitchen moments before we left. Her eyes had already blackened, her cheeks flushed to a rose – she was tipsy. In the hand not carrying the drink, a pair of white heels dangled from her polished fingertips.

She didn't say anything. Instead, she bolted the second the light flickered green. Long legs striding under her magenta pencil skirt, she looked like a beauty school gazelle.

"God dammit," I muttered under my breath before taking off after her. Tiny water droplets dotted the earth. Although I was more worried about insuring the gold Chevy Malibu didn't miss its breaks and take me out, the inner girl in me prayed the rain didn't waste the forty-minute curling iron job. "Shar! Sharpay can you chill for a second?"

She looked at me, though I'm not quite sure if she actually saw me. She immediately whipped out her phone from her purse, tapped buttons and then snapped her head towards the direction she was headed.

"Chad said it's 1150 Carson Street." She said, though I don't know if she was actually talking to me. Her voice was an octave higher than her bouncing tone.

"Of course he did, Shar!" I yelled when she took off in the direction her nose pointed her to.

If I had wanted a workout, I would have gone to the fucking gym.

I finally caught up to her in front of the white house decorated with a rickety porch and bicycles locked around the green railings. In typical college fashion, there was neither a garage nor outdoor mailbox. It squeezed between two other beaten up homes.

"This is it." Sharpay said. The sound of a distant base provided confirmation to her proclamation.

She plopped down on the porch step without a word. A gentle breeze floated over my arms, but the drizzle had stopped. I crossed them, shivered and watch her buckle the heels over her pink toes. When she stood, I had to tilt my head upwards to look at her face.

"Let's go."

We hurried in the alley between the houses to the backyard. I looked up to see the same robin's egg color painted on the square back porch. Below it, a staircase buried into the ground. The black light's violet hue glowed through the basement door's window. I followed Sharpay as her heels thudded against the wooden stairs. A brief fear that I would fall through the steps crossed my mind.

There were more people than I anticipated at a party before eleven o'clock. Tyga's latest hit thumped wildly against the off-white brick walls that lined the basement. Like most college houses, the floor was stone and grey, apart from the occasional stain. A bar laid at our immediate left. I noticed Chad behind it with his MacBook propped and plugged into the speakers. A keg sat several feet back. Already, a crowd circled around it like some religious sacrament. Clusters of people scattered throughout what would soon be the dance floor.

Sharpay wasted no time. She weaved between the small crowds, me on her heels, until she reached the bar. Under the black light, Chad's grin dazzled white against his chocolate skin.

"Hey blondie." He greeted. I felt like I didn't exist until after Sharpay stretched her long torso over the bar to fling her arms around his neck. When she settled herself, he finally remembered there was a universe outside. His eyes met mine, "Sup Gabs."

He offered each of us an arm to lock into, which we gladly accepted. I tightly squeezed his shoulder and giggled. He smelled like cheap beer.

The heat escalated and I suddenly realized we had company. Turning around, my heart stuttered. Jason stood, looking at me with a pale button up rolled to his elbows and a red cup brushing his lips. Zeke lingered at his immediate left, next to him Brooks' drunk eyes already drooped along with Kevin, Josh and Eric – also my ex fellow floor mates. Troy acted as the final link to the circle that enclosed us.

"Hey, I thought you said you weren't coming." Jason said and dropped an arm around my shoulder.

My fluttering butterflies– actually, the alcohol substituted as steroids and made them monsters – scratched their wings against the delicate skin in my stomach. I tried not to show how much it hurt that he wasn't more excited to see him.

I shrugged, but couldn't control the way my arm wrapped around his waist, "Well, I'm here."

He let me go. I looked away when he also hugged Sharpay, who was now too drunk to push him off or tell him how much she wished his hand would find its way into a cheese grater. My eyes found Troy, who smirked when I raised my eyebrows in greeting.

"Where are the other girls?" Zeke asked.

"Kelsi said all of them were staying in," I referenced the five person apartment Kelsi was a part of. "Good for them for being responsible."

I felt Troy's eyes before I saw them looking at me, "You're not even drinking." He teased, "What is that, water?"

"Yes," I played along. "Wanna chug it?"

"I don't wanna be a lame ass like some people," he said and took a long draw of his beer. "You should give that water to LeBron, since you love him so much, and drink real stuff."

LeBron was his pet swordtail fish, which sported sunburst orange and I drunkenly adored when I had been in his apartment, despite that he was named after one of the cockiest NBA players in the history of history. Pretending to be offended at his first comment, I smacked his bicep as hard as I could. He didn't flinch. Instead, he caught my eye. Like the reflex I had when I returned Jason's hug earlier, I couldn't control the way my cheeks burned when my smile grew.

"Gabi!" Sharpay suddenly blocked my view. Her hand squeezed my upper arm and she began to drag me away, "I gotta break the seal."

I didn't have much of a choice. The last thing I saw before we turned the corner, however, was Jason's eyes watching us.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

12:24 a.m.

Sweat. Everything fucking smelled like sweat.

I danced with Zeke in the throngs of students. Every time we swayed left, my arm bumped against some girl's flat butt. When we switched directions, my hand grazed some bearded boy's thigh. I could barely breathe without hitting someone else. My eyes occasionally flickered to Sharpay shoving her way through the masses, reached over the bar to grab Chad's neck and suck his lips off. When I wasn't keeping tabs on my best friend, I glared at Jason's grip on the skinny brunette who had Kim Kardashian's ass and hallow eyes.

I felt euphoric. My BAC was at that perfect level that anymore would tip it over the edge and stupidity would start to creep out. I was, however, intoxicated enough to feel endorphins flow through the river of my blood and surge through my muscles. The only thing in the world that mattered was dancing.

Oh, and the boy whose lips moved against the Kardashian bitch's ears.

"I'm gonna head to the BP table, wanna come?" Zeke asked me. I turned around to face him, whipping his chest with my hair. Brooks' arched to shoot, Troy did some victory dance that looked like he was trying out for a Beyonce video.

I remembered my best friend. Chad's afro bounced up and down to the music and he waved at me when he saw me staring, but no Sharpay.

"Umm, you go ahead." I spoke quicker than I would when I was completely sober, "I'm gonna make sure Sharpay isn't puking her guts out."

He glanced at Sharpayless Chad and furrowed his eyes, "Want me to go with you?"

I shook my head, "No. She's pretty drunk, but I'll find her."

My hunt began with Chad. I wiggled my way between dancing couple and approached the bar. His hands flew wildly in the air, offbeat to the base. When he noticed my elbows rested on the bar, his eyes widened with delight as though I had studied abroad in Madrid and he hadn't seen me in months.

"Gabi, Gabi, Gabi! Sup kiddo?" He yelled over the music. "You want a shot! Let me get you a shot…"

"Chad, Chad!" My hand pressed against the top of the Svedka bottle he magically conjured. "I'm drunk enough. Where's your squeeze?"

He blinked, confused. Without moving his head, his eyes rolled downwards and then back up to me, "Uhh, you want to do what?"

I jumped up and balanced on the bar – kicking some chick's calf in the process – to smack the back of his head. His ringlets flew in a haphazard array.

"Ow…"

"God dammit Danforth, you have the attention span of a fucking goldfish," He crinkled his nose at the impossible task. "Sharpay. Where is my roommate?"

"Uh, I dunno," He slurred. Then he grabbed my arm, pulled me towards him so hard that my feet fluttered an inch off the ground. "I have to tell you… I like her Gabi… I really really like her."

"I know, Chad, I know you do. But I need to find her…"

"Danforth!" Brooks' booming voice thundered over the music. He bulldozed towards the bar, nearly knocking me over, "Shots!"

I would have thought it was Christmas Eve, the way Chad leapt up and down and clapped his hands, "Yeah! Yeah! Shots! Yeah!"

He was useless.

I could have been just too drunk, or time really could have stopped ticking when I turned around and saw the grey shirt swoop his grasp to snatch the unmistakable magenta skirt passing his way.

I knew it was coming before Jason spun Sharpay in his arms. Reflexes, like blinking and breathing, suddenly erased from my memory. His hands gripped her waist and directed her towards the wall. The numbing effects of the alcohol in my blood caught a green flame and ignited. My face, eyes and heart exploded with hot tar when Jason's head tilted. He went in for the kill.

It didn't matter that even in her drunken stupor Sharpay shoved his chest the moment their lips brushed. I didn't feel her when she squeezed her nails into my arm. I couldn't move, speak or inhale the thick oxygen. The apologizes stumbling off her tongue were Chinese to me. Something foreign that sounded like "I saw it… he kissed you… not your fault…"came from an unknown place, and I didn't realize it came from my mouth. I couldn't feel her when she grazed past me on her pursuit to the bar to reach Chad.

Then, breaking me from my catatonic state, Jason turned towards me.

The surge of anger and pain reached a boiling point when he stepped forward. The two emotions in my heart swirled and blended until they rooted a thought I never thought would plant in my head.

I wanted nothing to do with Jason Cross.

Confession: I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. There was a reason I skipped a studying night to go to Allie and Clare's that night. There was a reason I turned around from the bar at that moment to see Jason kiss Sharpay.

There was a reason that the first thing I saw when I whipped around and started to storm away was Troy Bolton leaned up against the bar laughing at something Zeke just said.

Something stirred in me. Troy became gravity: no matter how hard I resisted, he forced me to him. I don't know if the alcohol, my pain from the kiss I just witnessed, or some greater force that willed me, but I suddenly shoved past the grinding college students. I squeezed and stepped on girls' feet, making them shriek. Fuck them, I didn't care.

Troy didn't notice me until I breeched the final barrier between him and the dry humping sea. Without a greeting or even time for a smile, I grabbed his cheeks and pulled him to me.

In hindsight, I wish I could say our first kiss that night had nothing to do with Jason. Honestly, however, it wasn't out of spite or to make him jealous. I wrapped my arms around Troy's neck and reached for his lips because, at that moment, I needed to forget about Jason. I needed fun. And every moment with Troy leading up to that kiss – first meeting him on the boys' couches during a Dallas Cowboys football game, the first Redhawk game where we stood next to each other, our first hook up, this day – exploded with fun.

To my surprise, he returned my kiss with as much fervor as my lips moved. His breath tasted hot, rather than like his PBR. My fingers toyed with the tiny hairs at the back of his neck; his forearm crushed me against his chest: stable, a rock.

I panted when he finally released me. Through my eyelashes, I gazed up into his crystal eyes and smiled.

"C'mon, let's get our grind on." Troy said. His hand wrapped around mine and we disappeared into the crowd.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

1:58 a.m.

Jason didn't creep into my night again until after the basement cleared out and I stood, shivering with crossed arms, in the backyard while talking to Zeke and Brooks.

"Hey guys!" Jason walked up the slight incline and greeted us all too excitedly. Zeke and Brooks gave him each a lame head nod. I trained my eyes on Brooks' awkward red bush growing under his chin.

Careful not to look at the boy I used to be unable to stop staring at, I caught a glimpse of Troy and Chad perched on the back porch. Sharpay was wound around Chad's waist, trying to snatch the laptop in his opposite grasp. There was no question that Sharpay would be dead to the world the second she laid in Chad's bed for the night. Troy looked in my direction. It was impossible for him to catch the blush race to my cheeks, but I quickly turned away.

Someone kicked my shoe. I glanced up at Jason, my eyes glowering black.

"Am I in trouble?" He asked, innocence laced in his voice.

Given that I hadn't drank since the last sip of my water bottle I brought, I didn't realize I was still tipsy until I mumbled under my breath, "You've got to be fucking kidding me…"

I was thankful Brooks and Zeke were currently rehashing the afternoon game's highlights and didn't see the way I jerked away when Jason reached for my arm. In my almost-but-not-quite sober-haze, I couldn't tell if I was angrier that he disrespected his roommate by attempting to kiss Chad's girl, or that he was trying to smooth talk his way back on my good side.

I made it clear I would have shoved his apology in a toilet and flushed by immersing myself deeply into the other two boy's conversation. After two minutes of not responding to Jason's attempt at my attention, he finally sighed and tightly announced that he was heading home. Brooks and Zeke called out their farewells; I continued to stare at the broken leaf squeezed between my foot and my flip flop.

"Gabi?" Zeke's soft voice brought me out of my thoughts. I looked up at him.

"Sorry, what'd you say?"

"I asked if you wanted me to walk you back." He said. Though I'm pretty sure he regretted it when a rush of wind frosted our bare skin. He shivered. I crossed my arms and scissored my legs together, creating friction.

Maybe it was coincidence, maybe it was fate. Maybe Sharpay really just needed to puke. Whatever the reasoning, I glanced sideways to catch Chad's fingers pulling a stumbling Sharpay towards the road. Balancing his laptop with Sharpay's heels dangling from his other hand, he looked in our direction. Our eyes caught.

The little fucker smirked, jerked his head back towards where Troy came bounding down the stairs alone and winked.

When Troy's eyes lingered on me for a moment before he assumed I wasn't going to come over, I realized then that I had a decision to make.

Swallowing, and ignoring all subtly, I shook my head and said, "Nah, I'll ask Troy."

I'm sure there were wolf whistles after I waved to my friends and ran towards the side of the house, where Troy disappeared to. I didn't give a shit.

What I did give a shit about was how Troy's stride didn't falter once when I dropped to his side. He turned and smirked coolly, but I could see the way his eyes sparked excitement when he spoke, "Now what do you want?"

"Well…" it surprised me how easy flirtation sounded on my lips, "You live like two blocks from me and I was thinking you could walk me home. Same direction and everything."

We approached where the sidewalk interrupted the grass, "Well, what if I told you I was goin' left?"

On cue, he spun in the opposite direction of our apartments. I rolled my eyes, forgetting about the cold and followed him.

"Please?" I didn't like begging, especially while flirting, but between chancing abduction by walking home alone or pleading a little, my pride wasn't really a priority.

Troy must have noticed and disproved of my disappearing flirtation, because he looked at me in the eyes and said, "Only if you give me a piggy back ride home."

My eyebrow quirked upwards, but before I had chance to respond, he walked behind me with his hands on my shoulders. His fingers tickled the sensitive spot, just where my neck met the bone.

"I'm five-two Troy! I'm not going to be able to carry you all the way back."

"So? I'm five-eleven. Height has nothing to do with it. C'mon, Short Stuff, show me some muscles." His hand trailed down my shoulder and gently squeezed my bicep.

I whirled around to face him again. By some grace of a higher power, I managed to step easily as I walked backwards, gazing up into his face through my eyelashes. His smirk shined down on me under the street lamps. Under my skin, a glowing sensation trickled down my veins.

We approached the main street that Troy lived on, though there were at least eight blocks we'd have to walk until he dropped me off and I could make it to my bed. In normal daylight hours, cars would zoom by and gangs of students swarmed the sidewalks. Instead, drunken twenty-something year olds scattered across the street. High pitched giggling and the clicking sound of too-high heels polluted the night. It had stopped raining. The stars could vaguely be made out above the city lights.

"Sorry, I'm not the kines major here. Shouldn't you be carrying me home, muscles?" I inquired and mocked him back. Someone shouted at us from across the street as we passed a closed bar.

"I'm preparing you for the real world here. When you're in a court room and have to size up against murderers and drug dealers."

I tried not to let it show that I was surprised –and impressed – that he remembered my major. Since I was too busy maintaining my cool, I forgot to hide the nose scrunch that indicated I'd rather jump into a pile of cow poop then pursue this betrothed career path. Troy's eyebrows pulled together.

"What's that look?" He said: the most serious statement out of his mouth all night.

Still walking backwards, I almost tripped over the curb when we made it to the street. Troy's hand shot out, prepared to capture me in case I tumbled to the floor. Thankfully, I didn't. Instead, I shook my head.

"Don't worry about it," I mumbled.

It didn't seem to be a good enough answer for him. Just as he opened his mouth to rebut, a blonde in a pink shirt that was stretched so far her neon bra showed on the perpendicular sidewalk yelled, "Oh my God, you two are the cutest couple I've ever seen!"

The comment from the drunken stranger forced me to slow my backwards strides. Troy was suddenly inches away from my body. Heat radiated from his skin, and I found myself frantically flying through the files stored in my brain that had an image of what his bare chest – and not to mention other organs – looked like under his current black t-shirt.

For the record, those files were saved in a desk with a warning label that read "Must Take Cold Shower After Viewing".

After a quick smile, I turned and faced forward, finding myself in front of Troy's brown-brick apartment building. Black stanchion connected by black chains hugged the walkway leading to the parking lot his building overshadowed. Given it was close to 3 a.m., no windows from any of the four stories were illuminated. I glanced sideways at him.

"Well, even though my entire walk back kinda sucked," I teased. "Thanks for-"

Before I could finish my sentence, Troy snatched my arm and leaned against the pillar. Lightning struck my heart the moment I stumbled in between his legs.

"You're not going anywhere."

While he smiled down at me, with his hands on my hips and drew me to him, I realized everything about Troy Bolton smoldered. He hadn't immediately captured my attention like a flame that erupted in the dead of the night. Instead, he burned with low embers; appearing innocent by sight, but far too hot to touch.

It was like our first encounter erased from my memory: I suddenly saw him for the first time. His body carried different brown hues like a Pueblo painting: golden skin splashed by the Arizonan sun, chestnut hair and amber highlights brushed through his spiky bangs. The only splatter of color came from his eyes. They were memorizing – like chips of stained-glass that glittered sapphire when held up to the light.

He was far more beautiful than the Mona Lisa up for exhibit on a Caribbean beach at sunset.

And then his lips found mine.

Kissing Troy felt like a wave washed over your skin and left you helpless. Even if I wanted to resist the under pull, it was impossible. All other organs in my body shrank while my heart swelled. The cold, the lights, the sidewalk beneath my feet disappeared. My senses only recognized Troy's hands running over my back and waist and cheeks and neck. Nothing else mattered, nor had anything before that moment.

He kissed beneath my eyes and left me breathless before he whispered, "C'mon Short Stuff, LeBron's dying to see you."

I rolled onto my tip toes, sucked his bottom lip and yanked his hand. We raced towards the door.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

6:04 a.m.

Troy shuddered and fell onto my chest. The opposite hand that hadn't been stroking his – well, insert whatever body part you want it to be here – ran through the silk tips of his hair while he panted into my neck and groaned, "Holy shit, where'd you learn to do that?"

His praise shocked me. My confidence flirting with him had disappeared. I laughed, unable to think of a clever response. He kissed my sticky skin with a steady rhythm. A noise in between a whimper and a sigh escaped my lips when I pressed my cheek against his hair. Lucky for him, the male anatomy allots easy finishing. Piss – I was still horny.

"Let me get you tissues or something." He said after his chest stopped heaving.

He sprung up and returned with Kleenex. I thanked him, cleaned my stomach and felt him slide into the queen next to me again. After I finished and tossed the remnants, my legs straddled his thigh and sparks popped on my skin when he kissed me.

That lazy swapping-spit game went on for ten minutes – or something like that, I wasn't exactly timing. It ended when my eyes flitted open and I caught sight of the red clock glowing on his nightstand.

I almost bit his tongue when I said, "Fuck."

He kissed under my chin, "What?"

"It's almost six-thirty."

"In the morning?"

I rolled my eyes, "No, at night."

He twisted up so his head peaked through the window my shoulder provided. I pressed my lips to his deltoid muscle when he said, "Damn." Slowly, he fell back to the bed and brushed a curl out of my eye.

I should have realized it previous to the clock check: Troy's skin started to grow golden rather than gray from the sunrise shimmering through the window.

I was losing him quickly. Troy stopped kissing me, but his fingertips traced every bump on my spine. I couldn't stop tasting him, like finding water in the middle of the desert. Finally, after showering his chest with pecks, I slipped off of his body and turned to the side. He swooped an arm around my stomach and gently stroked my belly button until we fell asleep.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

8:44 a.m.

A leaf blower's rev woke us with a start.

"- the fuck?" Troy groaned into the pillow his face planted in sometime while we were asleep. I nearly jumped, given that I hadn't been allotted enough time to fully complete several sleep cycles. After blinking several times, I found myself facing Troy's very naked image running a hand over his nose to wipe away sleep.

The pang in my chest surprised me when I realized I was disappointed that we weren't spooning anymore. Trying not to make it obvious, I snuggled into the covers and squeezed my eyes shut. The weight shifted on the bed. Three minutes later, a toilet flushed and the facet ran. Troy's feet padded against the floor when he peaked around the doorless entry way to the bed, which was tucked behind a wall that didn't quite reach the ceiling, giving his bed more privacy.

He smiled at me when my eyelids flew open. Sitting on the edge of his bed, now clad in his boxers, he handed me my white-and-black laced bra and PINK thong. My heart sank.

Troy was kicking me out.

I felt like my body shrank to the size of a pencil. It was so stupid – I shouldn't be feeling like my stomach twisted inside out, right? The previous night was just a drunk hook up, again. Of course Troy didn't want anything more.

Why did it hurt?

I swallowed thickly, clasped my bra and wiggled into my panties. I then started to slide towards the end of the bed when Troy quirked an eyebrow.

"Wait, are we getting up?"

His question caught me off guard. I stared at him expecting his neck to sprout four more heads. When I finally determined it wasn't going to, and Troy was not kidding, I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Only if you want to."

He tugged on my arm when he returned back to his side on the bed. My heart became the location of a Mexican fiesta when I followed suit and laid next to him. His fingertips stroked my stomach.

"Careful," I cautioned. "LeBron could get jealous."

"LeBron can suck it. I'll buy him a goldfish to play with."

My hair tugged. Troy nose buried itself into my curls and I thought, with prayer, that he was going to kiss me again. He didn't, but given the fact that I wasn't currently beginning my walk of shame home yet, I couldn't really push my luck. Last time we hooked up, I bolted the minute I awoke to hide from my shame that I jumped into bed with him so soon. Now I regretted that decision.

"Troy?"

"Do you ever sleep, Short Stuff?"

I giggled, assuming he was referring to the fact that I refused to allow him a couple minutes of shut eye last night before we went in for round three.

"No… why'd you transfer to U of A?"

The bed shifted. Above my head, he leaned onto his elbow. The aqua specks in his eyes glittered when he furrowed his eyebrows. Deep purple shadows bruised beneath his lids.

"Uh, I wasn't challenged at Phoenix. Here has an awesome kines program," he seemed embarrassed by his answer, given that it was the most serious conversation we had ever exchanged. I gently ran my thumb over his forearm, urging him to go on. "And U of A is famous. This school is awesome."

I smiled, agreeing, "So you're happy you switched?"

He gave my waist a squeeze, "You could say that."

"What's it like living in a studio by yourself?"

Troy fell back behind me again, rubbing his leg against mine.

"I have no energy for this right now," he mumbled into my neck. "You can ask me my entire life story and you can tell me all about why you hate your major when we go get ice cream at the union tonight."

The fiesta in my heart started doing keg stands. Ninety-eight point seven percent of hook ups never follow up with a sober date. I almost shivered with anticipation when I asked, "We're getting ice cream tonight? Like a…?"

"Shhh… less talk, more sleep."

I smiled so hard my cheeks burned.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

10:01 a.m.

The apartment smelled like burnt butter.

I shut the door quietly behind me, figuring that I would be greeted to Taylor making a gourmet breakfast just to rub it in our face that she was not hung over and we were. Imagine my surprise, then, when a blonde ponytail flipped from the stove and Sharpay stood looking at a ghost. White soup puddled on a frying pan and something that looked like bacon snapped in the microwave.

"Oh my god, you're home." The caramel in her eyes shone brightly in the doe reflection.

Before I could react, Sharpay choked me with her hug. Since she was significantly taller than I, I had to brace myself from tumbling to the floor. I blinked several times, confused, and patted her back.

"That's a good morning I'm not used to…"

"You hate me. Oh my god, Gabi, I'm so sorry. I understand if you never want to talk to me again…"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa…" I finally pried her fingers from my arms and looked up into her flustered face. My eyebrow quirked, "I know you're not exactly Zeke in the kitchen, but I'm not going to throw you out over a little burnt bacon."

It was clear that she didn't hear me when she said, "I'm so sorry. I didn't even realize it what Jason was doing until the asswipe raped me with his lips."

Oh yeah, that.

I expected the onslaught of anger to rage through me, to curse her and slap her across the face. It never came. Instead, I placed a drawstring backpack holding Sharpay's dress and my earrings onto the counter. The black basketball shorts falling off my ass also needed to be hiked up.

"Oh yeah. Is Chad pissed?" I asked, and jumped up on the barstool. The blue Redhawks t-shirt I wore pooled in my lap.

"The fuck what Chad thinks. Gabriella," she sprinted around the counter and grasped my hand. "You are my best friend. I was a stupid drunk idiot and should have kicked him in the balls the second I saw him."

I swallowed and didn't believe what came out of my mouth when I said, "Shar. It's okay. I don't care."

She looked at me like I just told her I was moving to Alaska.

"What?"

"I said," I patted her fingers. "It's okay. I saw what happened and it was all him. And I don't really give a shit, he's a douche bag for kissing his roommate's girl anyways."

I'd never seen Sharpay speechless before. She stood, jaw dropped and befuzzled. I guess I didn't blame her. At the time, I didn't really understand it myself. The past year had wasted hours upon hours obsessing about Jason or daydreaming about him waking up one day, sprinting to my apartment and begging for me on his knees. I imagined he would someday surprise me in our Legal Studies lecture, slipping his hand into mine.

I never imagined I'd be sitting in Troy's clothes, smelling like his sweat and praying for his name to light up on my scratched cell phone screen. Sharpay's mention of his name was the first time I remembered Jason existed on this planet.

Then the realization dawned over her pointed features, a morning sun. She leaned her chin onto her palm. Pink shimmers reflected off the cabinets when she tapped her nails against her swollen lip.

"You were with a boy last night."

I blushed before I answered, which seemed to be enough for her.

"If you say you were with Troy…"

I didn't understand why my voice dropped and my heart skipped a beat. "Then I won't." I replied. Did I giggle? What the hell?

In typical Sharpay fashion, instead of rushing over and jumping up and down with me, she simply smirked in an 'I told you so you little naïve bitch' sort of way. A pancake became black on the skillet.

"Did you have sex?"

I rolled my eyes, "No."

"Did you at least get his number this time?" She asked, ripping a grape off the stem and popped it into her mouth more suggestively than a porn star.

There was that stupid grin plastered on my face again when I fingered the broken keys on my cheap phone.

"Well," again, instead of squealing with excitement, Sharpay slid a crispy pancake that still smoked in front of me. She grabbed an equally black one for herself and raised her fork. "This calls for a celebration."

We both laughed, choked on the charred fluff, and raced each other to spit in the sink.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

7:58 p.m.

Seeing Jason walk towards me sitting on the bench in the union that night was somewhat of a dream. First, I spent the entire day in a haze sloppily pulling a speech from the gravels; therefore I hadn't had time to nap at all. I would be lying if I said that I watched him without a tiny flip of my stomach or a pang in my heart. It didn't rampage over my body, shaking my mind and soul, like it might have twenty-four hours ago, but it did exist.

His smile was too perfect after he stopped in front of me. No hesitation or nerves existed in his shining black eyes.

"You look nice." He said cheerfully.

That was crap. I looked like shit and I knew it. Between the massive purple sacks beneath my eyes and the glazed stare that made me look like I smoked seventy ounces of weed with Bob Marley, I was rough. I at least managed to wiggle myself into a pair of tights, boots and a tunic instead of the typical sweats I wore to class or the library.

A tight smile formed. I knew Jason's game: he wouldn't admit he did anything wrong but instead would sweet talk me into caving and forgiving him.

"How'd the speech turn out?" He asked, putting his hands into his pockets.

I shrugged, flicked my eyes towards the door and then back at him, "It went fine. I finished like an hour ago."

"Damn, how good does it feel to be done?"

"I still have to give the thing." I said, making figurines with the bottom hem of my purple tunic.

Jason's laugh sounded fake, "Oh yeah, kinda an important part."

I never believed that someone's heart could actually skip a beat when someone walked in the room, but the flutter in my stomach when the entrance door swung open proved it could be pretty damn close. It didn't take long for Troy's eyes to find me. He immediately started strutting over, a charming – if Troy Bolton could be charming – smile wiped on his lips.

And, of course, he teased me by nodding to Jason first. Little brat.

"Troy! Wow, everyone's here tonight." Jason looked surprised by Troy's presence. I couldn't help but stutter my breath when I realized this was the first time I had seen Troy in something other than a t-shirt or a cut off shirt. Maturity was present in his button up shirt and jeans.

And he dressed up for me. Boom.

"What's up man?" Troy asked, though wasn't looking for an answer. He then turned to me, smiled and said, "Hey."

"Hi." Why the hell did I suddenly feel shy? Granted, the last time he saw me I had just surfaced from his bed after being naked for hours.

"Allie and Clare's last night was insane, right? I was fucking shitfaced." Jason told Troy, but I saw him look at me.

Ah, there was the excuse. Classic Jason Cross, never admitting to his mistakes, but alluding to the fact that he royally fucked up.

"Really?" I asked. Venom hissed in my voice. "I've seen you way more drunk before."

"Yeah, man, the party was sick. The walk home last night kinda sucked though." Troy said, smirking at me.

"Hey, now! I made it way less boring." I snapped. Troy snickered again.

"Nah."

"Yeah."

His eyes twinkled, "Only a little."

Jason's head jolted between the two of us like Nadal had sized up against Federer. Some shorted wires in his head seemed to connect, for realization that we were here together suddenly burst across his face. I didn't really notice until he hiked up his backpack and sighed.

"I should go study," he placed a hand on my bicep and said, "I'll see you later, Gabi. Troy."

Troy did his lame head nod again, "Later dude."

As I watched Jason walk towards the entrance doors, I knew that I'd eventually forgive him for kissing Sharpay. It may have not been that night, or for another week, but we would fall back into friendship once again. College is a time that people are allowed to make mistakes, whether they may be relationships, majors or accidentally picking the wrong flavor ice cream on a first date. Thankfully, we're all in that same 'fuck up' boat together, so we can enjoy that beautiful ride. Besides, had Jason never kissed Sharpay, I would have never given Troy a chance, and we would have never eventually dated and moved in together after our caps had been thrown.

But that's another story.

"So Short Stuff," Troy elbowed me after I finally stood. "Tell me why you hate your major."

We started walking towards the ice cream stand. A jolt electrocuted my nerves when our fingers brushed against each other.

"Oh god. It's a long story."

Troy smiled, "I've got time."

"Well I'm running on approximately two hours of sleep," I noted the way his blue eyes sparkled in remembrance. "And we could be talking til dawn... erm, again."

"I'm all about round twos," he winked and nudged me again. "C'mon, race you to the chocolate."

I looked up at him through my eyelashes and, before sprinting to the front of the line and pissing off half of the campus in the union, said, "In your dreams."