Age Appropriate

Previously

"Brie…" But Troy didn't get the chance to finish as he stood up to make his way over to me and the two heads of the figures on the couch turned in my direction, my mouth opening wide with the realization that Troy's parents were situated in my Aunt's living room.

"Oh God."

Dislaimer:: I don't own High School Musical or its affiliated characters, but trust me if I did own it or Troy's Mom (the version I wrote in this story) I'd make HSM a TV series and kill her off in the pilot (:

Authors' Note: I almost forgot to update this I swear! I came home from work, finished off the rest of my homework and studied a bit for my Spanish and English tests tomorrow and then I logged off and layed down to read my book and then BAM! I remembered I never updated. So thanks to my memory for reminding me to update before I fell asleep. Hope you enjoy the chapter and don't forget to REVIEW! Until the next update! (10/7/12)


And for all our inventions in matters of love loss, we've no recourse at all.

-The Shins


Chapter 6

Now don't get me wrong, I've met Troy's parents before, of course when we first started dating and my Mom was super nervous about the age difference and invited both his parents and him over for dinner to talk it out before she gave her approval, and they're not bad at all. To be honest, I actually like them, but I'm not sure how they're gonna feel about me being impregnated by their son. We might have gotten along pretty well and the feeling of fondness might be mutual, but I'm not sure how long that's gonna last in this situation.

"Uhm…hi?" I said as more of a question as I looked from Troy to his parents and then over to my Aunt.

She smiled. "I figured, we'd have Troy and his parents and talk out the whole situation."

I felt Taylor nod beside me. "And that's a great idea, Ms. Grant. I know I'm no longer needed, so I'll just go on home now…"

I turned, gripping Taylor's elbow and turning my head to her, wide eyed as my aunt started a conversation with Troy's parents. "Don't you dare leave me," I murmured to her through my teeth.

"Gabi, you'll be fine," she whispered back, squeezing my hand.

I shook my head. "No, Tay. I need you here."

"Troy's here."

"And his parents too, in case you haven't noticed. Taylor, please!"

She sighed, rolling her eyes and giving up. "Fine, but if I miss Pretty Little Liars, I'm kicking your ass."

I could feel the smile growing with my relief. "I'm recording it so feel free to stay and watch it."

"I will be taking you up on that offer," she assured before walking away behind Aunt Mel who was ushering Troy's parents into the dining area to the table. It was then that she noticed Troy had still been standing behind her.

"Did you know about this?" I asked, staring up into his stressed face.

He shook his head. "I uh…my parents were visiting when your aunt called. I was in the bathroom and my mother felt free to just pick up my cell phone, which I wasn't even sure how your aunt got the number anyway?"

I looked away. "I gave it to her as a just in case type of thing. I figured since we'd started talking and we were figuring it out together that we might be hanging out a lot and…"

"It's okay," he cut me off with a smile, his arm resting on my hip as his thumb caressed across my hip bone. "I'm not upset, it makes sense. This is just…" he looked toward the dining room where was aunt was trying to awkwardly entertain his parents but I could tell there was tension. She looked over at us with a look that could kill. "It's weird and I can tell it'll be a long night."

I nodded, understanding my aunts' angry facial message she was sending and tugged on Troy's shirt as I started in the dining room. "Yeah, but let's go before she pops a blood vessel. Then she'll be complaining about being too young for it later."

He laughed, his hand never leaving my hip as we went to face the music.

-XOXO-

Only twenty minutes into dinner and everyone was already pretty silent. The 6 people at the table had been picking at their food since they sat down to eat, conversation pretty much nonexistent.

Suddenly Melissa stood up, grabbing the bowl of pasta that sat in the middle of the table. "So…who wants more pasta?"

There was a cough from the direction of Troy's mother as she put down her fork. "Melissa, I think we all know why we're here, so maybe we should stop avoiding the subject and talk about that."

The woman who had previously been stalling, placed the bowl back on the stable and glanced down at her niece, who was sitting twirling pasta on her fork as she stared at her plate. "Right, uhm…"

Lucille Bolton glanced at her husband Jack and he looked back at her with a look that told her she would be doing the starting of this conversation and she sighed. "Okay, well obviously the issue at hand needs to be solved…"

"It's already being taken care of Mom," Troy tried to calm her, but she shook her head.

"By whom?" she asked him, an eyebrow raised as Jack sighed, knowing this was not off to a good start. Gabriella sat silently on the other side of Troy, in between him and Taylor, watching the interaction.

"By me – by us, who else?"

She nodded. "Right, because you two are capable of taking care of this all by yourselves?"

His jaw tensed as he put down his fork but continued to stare at his plate. "We're supporting each other, we're in this together!"

There was a sarcastic laugh from her mouth seconds after hearing his statement. "Oh, because that puts me at ease. And just how is that going to work out with you living in an apartment with 3 other guys, paying rent, working, going to school, and soon to be paying off student loans? Do you have any idea how hard this is going to be? Have you two even decided if you're together or not? At this point I'm confused…"

Gabriella's hand immediately reached to grab Troy's, squeezing it while resting their hands on his thigh; attempting to calm him down before he got too worked up. Melissa didn't give him the chance to.

"With all due respect, Lucille, I think they're on a pretty good path. She's not even four months along yet and yes they might still be figuring it out, but Troy just found out…"

"And whose fault is that?" she asked, looking over to Gabriella, her head dropping at the accusation.

"Gabriella's not at fault here. She's 17, she was scared, and honestly she tried to make the best decision she knew to make at the time."

"That's exactly the problem, she's 17…"

"Lucille," Jack went to stop his wife but she shushed him quickly with her hand.

"What do you mean that's the problem?"

The older woman sighed. "Have you processed what this will do? How much this will complicate? Not only is Gabriella's life pretty much in the dumpster, but now Troy's. She's not even done with high school and neither he with college. They won't know how to support a baby even if they plan to do it together, which might I add, they don't even know that yet. Where's the baby going to live? What does Gabriella intend to do about college? And not to mention this is the first time you're even meeting my son…"

"It will all be figured out!" Melissa responded firmly. "Give them a chance!"

"A chance? I did that when Troy called me shortly after his 20th birthday to tell me he'd met a girl. And then when I came to meet her only to find out she was 16 soon to be 17. I gave them a chance when they both pleaded about wanting to be together and then we all sat down with her mother as well to talk about the relationship. They had the chance and obviously it was abused."

"It's not we did it on purpose," Gabriella tried to defend, but Melissa had other plans.

"Ella, please. Lucille, I am trying my hardest here. Gabriella made a mistake – Gabriella and Troy made a mistake together. And I understand that everyone makes mistakes because I've made many in my lifetime that I'm not proud of and it's not even over yet. But everyone's entitled to a mistake or 10, it doesn't matter, but they shouldn't be punished like you think."

"I…"

"I'm not done," Melissa stopped her, catching the eyes of everyone sitting at the table. "I may not her mother and I may not be old enough to have a teen of my own, but it wasn't too long ago that I was once was and making plenty of big mistakes of my own. I did a lot in high school that I'm not proud of, but Gabriella, she's achieved so much more than I ever did and the fact that she's owned up to this mistake and she's handling it with every inch of pride that she has makes me have so much respect from her. So while you may not think this is the best thing for them, I think it's a learning experience. And if you're not willing to try and help them or at least give them moral support, then you're not welcome in my home."

There was a stunning silence that fell over the table as Melissa stood and grabbed the pasta bowl, stomping away into the kitchen without another word. Taylor, feeling awkward and out of place, stood as well, reaching her hand out to grasp Gabriella's. "I've got to get home," she whispered to her friend apologetically. "But call me tonight okay?"

The Latina nodded, feeling the squeeze of her hand before her best friend disappeared with a silent close of the front door. Following another long silence where it appeared her aunt was not going to reappear anytime soon, she excused herself to the kitchen as well, leaving the Bolton's to themselves at the table.

"Well," Lucille started with a clearing of her throat. "That was certainly not what I expected when we first planned to come over."

Jack chose not to speak as Troy glanced over at his mother incredulously. "Are you serious right now Mom?"

The only female in the room snapped her head around to face her son. "What?"

"What? Do you not hear yourself when you speak?"

"Excuse me?"

"The things you say, the way you act. Why was any of that necessary?"

Lucille smiled. "That was not my intention. She just misread my words and got upset. I can't help the way she feels."

"What about the way I feel? Or about how Gabriella feels?"

"Gabriella is not of my concern. She is not my child and the only relation she could possibly have to me is being the mother of my grandchild. And the future of that child still unsure because of the immaturity of its parents…"

"What the hell is wrong with you?!" Troy asking, pushing his chair away as he stood.

"Troy, that is still your mother," Jack warned, but his son wasn't having it.

"Are you sure? It looks like her and it sounds like her but she's sure as hell not acting like my mother. My mother wouldn't have said all the shit she just said and insulted the girl I love."

Lucille rolled her eyes. "Oh, please. Love? I don't even understand how you can say that, she's 17 for Christ sake…"

"And what does that have to do with me loving her? Age is just a number and honestly I could care less how old she is."

"You can't mean that. Believe me, if she wasn't pregnant…"

"If she wasn't pregnant I wouldn't have realized it! Everything that's happened in the past month between has made me realize what I'm missing out on. I love her Mom, and if you can't handle that then I'm sorry, but I'm not sure how much I want you involved."

The older woman swallowed the words she was attempting to speak and glanced at her husband who had his head focused on the table. She stood. "If that's how you feel, then I guess I'll just be going. Tell Melissa I'm sorry that things panned out the way they did and as for you and Gabriella, I hope that I'm wrong about things working out, although I doubt it very seriously."

Troy watched silently as the woman who birthed him gathered her things before seeing herself out of the apartment door. His father walked over to him, still silent, clasping a hand to his shoulder. "I have faith in you son and I've learned to trust your decisions, both good and bad, so I hope things work out."

When his father disappeared behind his mother, Troy made his way to the kitchen finding Gabriella standing silently next to the sink as Melissa scrubbed at some plates angrily, mutters escaping from her mouth every few seconds as her niece stood not knowing how to react.

When she turned, she caught Troy out of the corner of her eye and sighed, turning off the water. "I'll be in my room. I trust you can handle the dishes?"

Gabriella nodded quietly, sending a weak smile in her aunt's direction before turning to face Troy as she scurried out of the kitchen.

"Not what we expected huh?" Troy asked, trying to joke, but he could see that Gabriella wasn't in that type of mood.

"Your mother hates me…"

He laughed. "And at the moment, I'd say she probably hates me too."

"Troy, this is serious. What are we going to do? You know she was 100% right about everything. We have no plan and no clue what to do. We're going to fail miserably at this and I don't…"

"Need to worry," he finished for her, grabbing her hands and bringing her body closer to his. "I don't care what anyone says, including my mother, we will get through this. I'm making this promise to right here and right now on everything I am, that it will be okay. Can you hold out for me? I need to know that you trust me and you have faith in this, in us. Are you in this for the long run?"

She nodded, pressing her head to his chest, burying her face in his t-shirt. "Of course I'm in this and of course I trust you."

"Good," he answered, dropping a kiss to the top of her head, the words he wanted to say sitting on the tip of his tongue, but he hesitation on whether or not it would be a good time to say them.

"Troy?"

"Hmm?"

"I'm glad it's you. I'm glad it's with you and I glad I have you here. It may not be the ideal situation, but I'm happy you're here to make it at least a little bit better."

"And I'll always be here."