(Flashback)

"Gabriella Montez to the gym office."

'That's weird,' she thought, 'why would Coach Bolton need me, I'm passing gym and I don't do sport.' She continued walking to the gym office and knocked on the door. She heard a faint "come in" and she entered. "You wanted to see me -" Her eyes widen, seeing Troy Bolton leaning against his father's desk.

She sighed, "what do you want Bolton, I thought you were leaving me alone." She sighed, speaking quietly. "Just hurry up and do what you planned so I can go back to class."

"I haven't planned anything." He said and she scoffed.

"Right, just get it over with. Punch me, hit me, humiliate me, what is it this time?"

He sighed and stood up properly. "I know I've hurt you in the past Gabriella, but I would never physically hurt you or anyone."

"I wouldn't put it passed you - wait... Did you just call me Gabriella?"

"Yes I did." He said as he walked towards her, stopping in front of her. "Do you want to know why I've stopped messing with you?" She nodded and he took her hands, making her flinch. "I started picking on you because I was a stupid guy too scared to admit my feelings for you. I thought it was easier to bury those feelings away and pick on you than to actually admit to myself and everyone that I like you. That was until I saw the guys picking on you. Seeing the pain and fear in your eyes hurt me and all I wanted to do was stand up for you and protect you. I never wanted to see those emotions in your eyes again."

Her breath hitched and she finally noticed his thumb caressing the back of her hand. "But... you hate me."

He sighed, "I never hated you, I was just... confused. I know that's no excuse but I don't know how else to explain it."

The intensity of his eyes became too much for Gabriella, she looked away and let out a shallow breath. "All the things you said and did. It really hurt me Troy."

He flinched at her words. "I know Gabriella. I feel terrible about it and I'm so sorry."

"How do I know you're telling the truth? How do I know I can trust you after everything?"

"I know my past actions have given you no reason to trust me but I'm so sorry for everything I've done and I'll make it up to you. I'll do anything to make it up to you if you'll give me the chance."

She could see the sincerity in his eyes. "Ok Troy, just... just don't hurt me again."

"I won't I promise." He grinned and pulled her into a hug. "Thank you Gabriella."

She was frozen in the embrace until she realised how safe she felt in his arms. 'Maybe this is the start of something new.'

That was halfway through freshman year. They had decided to keep their friendship a secret and keep the pretence of hating each other. Troy kept his promise and worked hard to gain Gabriella's trust. Her mind drifted back to a memory that occurred two months after they were in the gym office. Though it wasn't an ideal situation, Troy had made her feel so much better, though she never figured out how they got into that situation in the first place.

The door of the classroom clicked locked, Troy tried to open it but it was jammed. He heard Gabriella's heavy breathing behind him, making him turn. "Gabriella, are you ok?" She shook her head and tried to steady herself using the desk. Seeing this and hearing her breaths become shallower and quicker, he stopped in front of her, grabbing her hands. "What's wrong?" He asked softly.

Her breathing became quicker and she could barely speak. "Claus-claustrophobia."

His eyes widen, "oh crap." He pulled her into his lap and placed his hand on her cheek, forcing her to meet his eyes. "Just look at me Gabriella, right at me." Their eyes connected. "You're ok Gabriella, just take some deep breaths with me." She followed his breathing and slowly started to calm down, her own breathing returned to normal. "There's nothing to worry about, we're in a big classroom and the windows are open. It's just us and we're free to do whatever we want."

She buried her head in the crook of his neck. "Thanks Troy."

"You don't have to say thank you Gabi."

Her head snapped up, her eyes wide with fear. "No, not Gabi, please, don't call me Gabi."

He was confused by her actions but was more concerned about soothing her. "Ok, it's ok Gabriella, I won't call you that." They sat in silence for a few minutes before Troy spoke. "Can I call you Brie?"

She looked up and smiled, nodding. "I like Brie and no one else calls me that, it can be your nickname for me."

He smiled at her cuteness. "Sure, I like it too, I think it suits you well." He smiled at her blush. "So Brie, what do you wanna do?"

She rested her head on his shoulder. "Could we - can you keep holding me?" She asked timidly.

"Of course, anything you want." He responded, resting his head on top of hers.

Troy had been so sweet that day, he did everything he could to make sure she was comfortable. He had a way of making bad situations into happy memories. Her mind drifted back to the dance at the beginning of sophomore year.

Gabriella ran into the cafeteria, wiping furiously at the tears streaming down her cheeks. She felt weak, she shouldn't be crying over this. Jacob Davidson, the captain of the football team had asked her to the dance, she was skeptical but agreed anyway. He was a perfect gentleman for the first half of the night until Gabriella overheard him talking to his friends about the bet. She was just a bet, Jacob had to invite her to the dance, fool her then embarrass her in front of everyone. But she ran out before he got the chance, leading to her current situation: sitting in the East High cafeteria at one of the tables, makeup smeared from crying and her blue dress wrinkled as she hugged her knees to her chest.

She heard the door open and quickly wiped at her tears as Troy walked towards her. "Brie?"

"Hey Troy." She said slowly so her voice wouldn't break.

He kneeled in front of her and placed his hand on her calf. "What's wrong?"

She shook her head. "Nothing's wrong Troy, I'm fine."

His other hand reached up and wiped the stray tears off her cheek. "I saw you run out Brie. If everything was fine, you'd still be in the gym enjoying yourself, not alone in the cafeteria. Now tell me what happened Brie."

She explained everything. "Oh Brie." He stood up and embraced her tightly in his arms.

"I'm so stupid, I should've known better, how could I be so naive to think that someone like him could actually like me."

"What do you mean someone like him?"

"Someone popular, someone important, someone who means something in this place. How could I be so stupid to think anyone would take an interest in me?"

He pulled back and cupped her cheeks. "Gabriella Anne Montez, never ever think that about yourself. Any guy would be lucky to have you. You're amazing and if the guys here are too stupid to see that, it's their loss Brie, not yours."

She hugged him tight and whispered. "Thanks Troy."

"No problem Brie, you know I love you." He froze at his reveal.

Gabriella pulled back. "What did you say?" She whispered, at his silence, she was scared he'd take it back. "Troy?"

He snapped back to reality at her timid voice and took her hands. "I love you Brie, I have for a while, I just didn't want to scare you or go too fast because we've only been friends for a few months. But I'm in love with you Gabriella Montez. You're beautiful, smart, sweet and so much more. You're perfect Brie and I love you so much.

Her eyes watered at his admission before whispering. "I love you too Troy, you're such an amazing guy and I'm lucky to have you."

"Not as lucky as I am." He whispered as he leaned in and kissed her.

She was hesitant at first but she wrapped her arms around his neck as his went around her waist. When they pulled apart, they rested their foreheads together. "Wow."

"You said it Brie." They stayed in that position until Troy broke the silence. "Brie, will you be my girlfriend?"

Her smile shone brightly. "Yes Troy, a million times yes."

He chuckled. "I love you Brie."

"I love you too Troy."

Troy had made it such a memorable night. They left the dance early and he took her out for ice-cream before walking her home.

Gabriella was startled out of her thoughts when she felt a new weight on her bed and a familiar arm wrap around her waist. She turned over and smiled at her boyfriend of 18 months. "Hey Wildcat, how was the party?" She asked, pecking his lips.

"Hey Brie, it was a party, it sucked without you, though I'm more concerned about you. You were zoned out for about five minutes, you didn't know I was here."

She giggled, "sorry Baby, I was just thinking about us, our memories."

He smiled softly, placing a light kiss on her lips. "Which memories Baby?"

She blushed. "The classroom freshman year and the sophomore dance."

"I love that I can still make you blush, you're so cute when you blush." He teased, kissing her cheek. "Those are good memories Baby, they may not have started well but I think we made them special."

"Me too." She whispered and he kissed her. When they pulled apart, they readjusted their position. Troy laid on his back with Gabriella snuggled into his side, she rested her head on his shoulder as his arm went around her waist. "Does my mom know you're here?"

He grinned, "nope, I used your balcony."

"In that case, I should probably get up and -"

"I already locked your door in case she came in."

She smiled. "Thanks Baby."

They sat in silence until Troy hesitantly broke it. "Brie, can I ask you something, about that day in the classroom?"

She cupped his cheek, subconsciously playing with his ear. "Of course."

"Well after you calmed down, you kinda freaked out when I called you Gabi, why is that?" He felt her hand freeze and her face pale slightly.

"I...um."

He sat up slightly and cupped her cheek. "Baby?... Look I'm sorry, I'd just been wondering about it since that day but I didn't feel our friendship was strong enough during that time to ask and I've been hesitant since."

She seemed to snap back into reality, she sat up slightly and covered his hand on her cheek. "You deserve to know the truth Troy, it's just really hard for me to talk about."