(Credit to Disney for the characters and Anna Todd for the idea of the lake)
Gabriella sat on the sandy bank looking out at the clear lake. This secluded area was all her own. The beauty of this small lake in the East Albuquerque forest kept her mesmerised.
Troy walked to the edge of the jetty to the lake, his secret place (or so he thought). His eyes widen at the sight of a gorgeous guru sitting on the bank. He stood in awe of her beauty, the light blue of her dress looked gorgeous against her tan skin as her long ebony hair cascaded down her back.
He slowly sat down next to her noting her gasp, the girl spoke. "Wh-what are you doing here? No one knows about this place."
Troy smiled. "That's what I thought too. I'm Troy Bolton."
She sighed, nodding. "I know who you are Troy, everyone at East High knows who you are."
"You go to East High?" The girl hadn't looked up yet but he didn't need to see her face to know her beauty. "I would've... you're gorgeous I mean, I would've."
She smiled sadly. "It's ok Troy."
"What's your name?"
She took a deep breath before finally looking up and whispering. "Gabriella Montez."
He was dumbfounded, he had bullied this girl for years because of the team, he never would've imagined that the girl next to him was the school nerd but as he looked into her sad chocolate brown eyes, he knew it was true.
"It doesn't matter Troy, this is the one place where nothing matters."
He smiled. "This is the one place I'm me, not the fake egotistical captain."
"You don't like it?"
He laughed, "I hate it, I hate the fame, I hate being the basketball guy and I hate that I have to hurt people, it's just not me."
"I get it, I mean school is definitely important to me, especially for my future but the rest of it is so fake."
"I guess we have more in common then we thought." He said as he gently bumped their shoulders together, both sharing a smile. "I like talking to you Gabriella."
She smiled. "Me too, you're a cool guy Troy but not for the reasons your friends think, away from all that, you're really nice."
After a few moments silence, he grabbed her hand and they walked to the edge of the jetty. Troy took off his shoes, socks and shirt, leaving him in his black board shorts.
"What are you doing Troy?"
"Going for a swim." He jumped in the water and turned to her. "Come in Gabriella."
She looked down at her dress and shook her head. "My dress will go see through and I have to walk home."
"Wear my shirt and I'll drive you home." He watched her bite her lip and inwardly groaned. "Come on, it's nice in here and I have a lot to make up for."
He saw her nod and turned around so she could get changed. He turned when she gave him the ok and smiled as she stood nervously in his red t-shirt that went down to her mid-thigh. "Has anyone ever told you that you look amazing in red."
She blushed as she walked to the edge and sat down, putting her feet in. Troy swam closer and stood in front of her, they both smiled. He placed his hands on her waist as hers went to his shoulders and he slowly lowered her into the water.
They both swam out away from the jetty to where Troy could still stand but Gabriella was treading water. "So Wildcat captain's not as keen as everyone thinks?"
He laughed. "Truth be told, I'm not as keen on basketball as everyone thinks." At her shocked expression, he continued. "It made my dad happy."
"I guess you could say the same for me, my mom's been talking about Stanford basically since I was born. Especially now that my dad's gone, I feel like..."
"You have to do it to make them happy."
She nodded and they both smiled until he noticed that she was treading water. "can you not touch the bottom?"
She shook her head. "I'm not that tall Wildcat."
She blushed. "I umm I mean -"
"It's ok, I like it." He realised she was still treading water. "Come here." He said as he grabbed her waist and got her to wrap her legs around his own. "Is this ok."
She smiled and nodded shyly, making him sigh. "I'm sorry for everything I've done to you, for how I treated you."
"It's ok Troy."
"No Gabriella it's not, I hurt you and I promise I'll make up for everything."
She smiled and leant her head on his shoulder. "You really are a great guy Troy."
He smiled and nuzzled her neck. "You're an amazing girl Brie. You're beautiful, smart and kind. I think a part of me always knew that, I just didn't understand it until now."
She looked up and smiled shyly as she kissed his cheek. "Can I confess something?" She continued at his nod. "I like you Troy, regardless of what you had done to my, I like you and I have for a while." She whispered.
"I like you too Brie." They slowly leant in for a kiss. She wrapped her arms around his neck, playing with the back of his hair as he reached one hand to cup her cheek.
When they released, he tucked a loose strand behind her ear and smiled. "You truly are amazing Brie. I know my actions haven't proven that and it broke my heart to treat you that way but I promise that I'll spend everyday trying to make it up to you."
She caressed his cheek. "Troy, I don't want you to beat yourself up over it, it's in the past."
"I'm still gonna make it up to you. I know this is a long shot and I probably don't deserve it but Gabriella, will you be my girlfriend?"
She smiled and whispered, "yes," before she kissed him. When they pulled apart, he buried his head in the crook of her neck and she held him there. She took a deep breath and hugged him tighter. "This is the safest I've felt in a long time."
He smiled and placed a kiss against her neck. "I'll keep you safe Brie, I promise."
After a few moments silence, Gabriella spoke. "Troy, what happens when we go to school tomorrow?"
"Whatever you want to happen Brie, I'll do anything you want. If you want to walk into school holding hands we'll do it. If you'd rather keep it a secret, we'll do it."
He saw the hurt flash through her eyes and her voice break as she spoke. "You want to keep us a secret? Am I that bad?"
"Of course not Baby." He said as he hugged her tight. "Listen to me, that's not what I meant at all." He tipped her chin up to look at him. "I would love nothing more than to tell the whole school that you're mine. I am in no way ashamed of you nor do I have any reason to want to keep us a secret. But I would if that was what you wanted, to keep you safe and unharmed. The choice is yours Brie, I will do whatever makes you feel more comfortable. I just don't want you to get hurt Baby."
He wiped her tears and she leant into his touch. "I don't know Wildcat, I want to tell everyone but I don't want to get hurt more and I don't want to ruin anything for you, I'm afraid of everyone's reaction."
He sighed, "how about we keep quiet for now and in a few weeks, we see if we'll be comfortable telling everyone but Brie, no matter what happens, what anyone says, we'll be together. And you're not ruining anything Baby Girl." He kissed her forehead.
"Troy, can I... can I ask one thing?"
"It's just... the girls are all over you at school and - I don't want to sound jealous or needy but I just, I don't know -"
He interrupted her with a kiss. "Don't worry Brie, I won't let them do it, you're the only girl who's allowed all over me now." He kissed her cheek. "And I want to stop you from worrying about one thing. I'm going to do my best to stop the others from doing anything, I wish I could promise you but I refuse to promise you something that I can't guarantee won't be broken and I refuse to lie to you because you're too important. But what I will promise you is that even though we're pretending nothing is going on between us, I won't go back to being a jerk to you, I can't hurt you anymore."
She hugged him and whispered. "Thanks Troy, I don't think I'd be able to handle it."
He kissed her ear and looked up to see the sun setting. "I better get you home Brie, I don't want you to get sick Beautiful."
She nodded and they swam back to the jetty before getting out and walking to his truck. As they got to the truck, he noticed her looking down at her feet and nervous, almost as if she was trying to cover herself. He walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist, whispering gin her ear. "You're beautiful Brie, please don't forget that."
She leant against him. "I don't know Wildcat, I just feel so... uncovered."
He stroked his thumb over her hipbone. "Well you don't ever have to hide from me Baby Girl, you're perfect."
She smiled and pecked his lips before they got into his truck and drove to her house. As they stopped outside her driveway, she turned. "Thanks for today Troy, I had a lot of fun."
"Me too Baby Girl."
"I guess I'll see you tomorrow." She said as she got out of the truck.
"And Brie?" She turned back to him, "I promise everything will be ok."
She smiled and kissed him before they said their goodbyes.