Hey this is a one shot I've been working on for a while so I thought I'd post it since my update for 'So I've fallen in love' is taking a while. It's based on 'Thinking of you' by 'Katy Perry' and I was actually inspired to do this by 'ylc' and her story 'Just a little crush'. If you haven't read it… what's wrong with you? Read it now!
This is my first one shot so please tell me what you think of it. Hope you like it.
Thinking of You
Comparisons are easily done once you've had a taste of perfection.
Kelsi smiled contently as she felt a pair of warm arms wrap round her. She turned her head to smile at the newcomer and started as she found herself meeting brown eyes instead of the wide blues she had been thinking of. Fighting back the urge to sigh she carefully kept her smile in place and pecked her boyfriend on the cheek.
"What are you thinking about?" he asked her, fondly playing with her hair.
"You." Kelsi replied quietly. Jason's eyes lit up and he gave her a small affectionate squeeze. Taking her hand he started to walk her to class. There was always a silence between them on occasions such as this. Jason never seemed to mind, but Kelsi did. She wondered what he would be saying to her right now. First of all he would know something was wrong with her right away. He would probably be coaxing it out of her in his own charming way right now. Or singing embarrassingly cheesy musical songs loudly beside her until she told him. She couldn't help but let out a small laugh at this.
"Something funny?" Jason asked her, an innocent smile on his lips. Kelsi just shook her head.
Like an apple hanging from a tree, I picked the ripest one…
Kelsi remembered the first time she had noticed him. It had been in her sophomore year, the day after Ms Darbus had found her in the music room and frantically informed her that the drama department needed a new rehearsal pianist for the winter musical auditions the following day. The next day Kelsi found herself entering an auditorium full of strangers that were staring at her curiously. Probably because they had never noticed her at school before. No one ever noticed her.
When she played for the students auditioning she was tentative at first, worried that these amazing performers wouldn't like her playing. However, everyone seemed to appreciate her being there, even the students that were tone deaf.
Auditions were plodding along. Some students could sing, some could act, some could dance and some were simply incapable of performing. Kelsi was starting to relax into the music and felt that she might actually enjoy working with the drama club. They seemed to find her useful and she had such a soft spot for musicals. Then the door at the back of the auditorium slammed open. Everyone looked round to see a blonde girl, dressed head to toe in pink, confidently striding down one of the aisles. A boy scurried through after her and quietly closed the door after her.
"Wait up Shar." he hissed. The girl sighed and made a scene of halting in the aisle to wait for the boy. Kelsi instantly noticed a liking between the boy and the girl. Both were blonde and had a confident air about them. In addition they both donned what looked like expensive clothes, though the boy's fashion sense seemed a bit more laid back. He was a lot less dressy than the girl, wearing jeans, a polo neck T-shirt and a blue plaid newsboy cap. Kelsi smiled at this a little. She owned a similar hat.
"We are Sharpay and Ryan Evans." the girl announced confidently to Ms Darbus. We just moved to East High from Rhode Island and we would like to audition for the musical."
Brother and sister. Twins even. That explained the likeness. It seemed that Ryan was considerably quieter to his sister though. He simply nodded after Sharpay's speech.
"Why of course." Ms Darbus said, a little taken aback by Sharpay's confidence. "Well our winter musical is 'Grease' and…"
"Don't worry Ms Darbus, we've prepared something." Sharpay said enthusiastically whilst climbing the stairs onto the stage. Kelsi was about to speak to the intimidating girl when she cut over her.
"'The one that I want'. B flat please!" Sharpay called out with a click of her fingers. Kelsi didn't stop to think and simply obeyed. She started to play for the twins. Ryan started to sing first and her jaw-dropped. His voice was so clear and powerful. It wasn't just his voice that was beautiful. He danced so fluidly, as if it was the most natural thing to him on earth. His sister was also a great performer, if not a little over-dramatic. But the boy was… different. It was as if he had this aura surrounding him. A strong charisma that made Kelsi unable to take her eyes off him. After they had finished Kelsi automatically began the applause. Sharpay beamed and strutted offstage, accidentally flicking her hair in her brothers face. The pianist couldn't help but giggle as Ryan pulled a strand of his sister's hair from his mouth distastefully. He looked up as she laughed and smiled.
"Sorry about her." he said in an undertone as he approached the piano. "She gets really excited about performing I guess."
"It's alright." Kelsi said vaguely, finding herself staring at Ryan's friendly smile. "You guys were really good." she managed to say enthusiastically. Ryan grinned at her comment.
"Thanks. You too. You must be really good at the piano…"
"Ryan." the boy said, that charming smile still on his face. Kelsi smiled as he held out his hand and she shook it.
"Ryan!" a shrill voice snapped from the back of the auditorium. Ryan looked almost fearfully behind him.
"I… well I gotta go." he said sheepishly. "Hope to see you in rehearsals." Ryan jumped off the stage quickly and jogged over to meet his sister halfway down the aisle.
"I thought I told you to dress nice for the auditions." Kelsi heard Sharpay say to him harshly as they walked out the auditorium. Kelsi watched them leave and sighed. She'd never really had a crush before… but this felt like one. And despite his sister, he seemed like the best guy ever to have a crush on.
I still got the seed.
That all seemed so long ago. It had been just over a year since the day she had met Ryan Evans. After that day she learned that Ryan wasn't just a friendly person. Oh no. He was caring the day he had helped her up after she tripped over her piano stool. He was funny when he over-dramatised his 'Danny Zuco' role to make her laugh. He was sweet on the musical's opening night when he kissed her cheek 'for good luck' and he was romantic a few days later when he asked her to be his girlfriend at his family's Christmas party. Kelsi always knew she had picked the best person she knew to fall for. According to her, there was no better guy than Ryan. But even the ripest of apples have a seed…
She had known something was wrong that day. They were in rehearsals for the Spring musical. He was distant, almost cold and Sharpay kept shooting meaningful glances at her brother. They were sitting together at the piano. Usually the scene would be full of laughter or Kelsi's playing and Ryan's singing. Instead there was silence. Cold, dead silence.
"This isn't working out." Ryan murmured. Kelsi had almost been expecting it, but the shock still sliced cut through her.
"W-what?" she asked, though she knew fine well.
"Well… us." Ryan said nervously. Staring at his feet.
"Oh." said Kelsi thickly, quickly glancing round the room to check no one was watching. "Okay…" she said quietly blinking feverishly to stop the tears that were threatening to fall. How was she supposed to react to what he had said. Ryan at least showed her the courtesy of leading her into the wings and out of view of the other students.
"You're a great girl Kels it's just… I really need to concentrate on performing right now. I can't be distracted." She saw Ryan nervously glance back on stage.
"Well I could help you with all that." Kelsi stammered. She couldn't let him go that easily. "We can rehearse more and…"
"No Kelsi." Ryan said firmly. She saw him close his eyes for a minute, almost painfully. When he opened them they were determined.
"We're not GOOD for each other ok. We're not…"
Kelsi knew what he was trying to say. Why she thought a plain boring little girl like her could ever be right for someone like him was beyond her. The tears were now blinding her vision.
"I get it Ryan." she said, trying to subtlety choke back a sob. "You don't need to say anymore." she quickly turned to leave to save the last ounce of pride she might have but he caught her arm.
"Kelsi are you ok?" he asked worriedly. She pushed her hair in front of her face.
"Yeah." she whispered. "I'm just not sure what we do now…" Kelsi wasn't sure why she said it, but Ryan seemed to understand her.
"Move on I guess." he said softly.
With that Kelsi gave a swift nod, turned and marched backstage to the bathroom. She didn't hear Ryan walk away and assumed he was still standing there. It didn't matter. The point was he didn't want her. She knew the whole 'need to concentrate on performing' thing was his sister. She knew Ryan well enough to know that. And that was Ryan's fatal flaw. He wasn't his own person. Until he was they would never be able to have a happy relationship. Not if he could shoot her down so easily to please his sister.
You say move on where do I go? I guess second best is all I will know.
Kelsi sat in a corner in the bathroom backstage, desperately trying to make herself look like she hadn't been crying.
"Move on?" she thought mockingly. Did Ryan really think it was that simple. How were you supposed to move on from someone who was perfect for you. He was everything she wanted and needed. The catch was she was completely WRONG for him. Kelsi had never really been noticed by anyone in school, let along the guys! As she stood up and looked at her reflection in the mirror, Kelsi knew that if by some miracle another boy did take a liking to her… he would never be Ryan. They would always be second best.
Because when I'm with him I am thinking of you.
Thinking of you.
In the present Kelsi and Jason were sitting in her room, Kelsi helping Jason with his English homework.
"Now if you look at your essay plan, you just need the conclusion." Kelsi explained to her boyfriend.
"Ok." Jason said determinedly. "What do I write for that?"
"Just sum up everything you've already written." Kelsi giggled. "Maybe sneak another few quotes in."
"Got it" Jason said proudly, starting to scribble down the last paragraph of his essay. "Oh, and you're amazing." he grinned, pecking Kelsi on the cheek. Kelsi smiled back at him fondly. She enjoyed helping Jason with his school work. Her assistance really seemed to benefit him and it was nice to see him trying so hard. She had plenty of practice at that sort of thing. Ryan as dyslexic and always appreciated her helping with homework, notably English. He would read out what he had written for her so he could practice. He was so worried that he would be awful at reading scripts and that it would affect his future. Whenever he had new lines to learn for the drama club, Kelsi would always, without fail, be there at his house and to hold his script and prompt for him whilst he recited his lines. And he in turn would thank her in his own special way. But then there were so many times when a kiss of thanks soon turned into a kiss that made them forget everything about lines or English homework. Sometimes Kelsi would even write a paragraph for Ryan so they would be finished sooner…
Her thoughts were interrupted by a nudge to her shoulder.
"You okay?" Jason asked her, looking up from his essay worriedly. Kelsi smiled and nodded her head. It was a lie. She had been thinking about him again.
What would I do if you were the one who was spending the night? I wish that I was looking into your eyes.
After the homework was done and dusted, the couple settled down to their usual pastime… watching a movie. This night they were sitting through 'Monty Python and the holy grail'. They sat in silence, laughing together at the constant stream of funnies. It was normal to be silent like this… they were watching a movie after all. However, it was harder to tell herself that when she had a memory of her and Ryan watching that same movie. It was a favourite for both of them. The whole way through they had sang along with the songs, chatted about the jokes and gushed about how much they wanted to see 'Spamalot'. Ryan had got so enthusiastic he had vowed to take her one day. Kelsi had joked that he's maybe be in the show one day. She had wanted him to succeed as much as he did back then… When she watched a movie with Ryan she either found herself curled into his lap, asleep on his chest or in the middle of a food fight with whatever snack they had decided on… which usually resulted in someone's hat landing in some sour cream and chive sauce.
The movie in the present day ended and Jason smiled at her. Kelsi smiled back and reminded herself that she wasn't watching movies with Ryan anymore. And while she was at it, she reminded herself that she was looking into Jason's eyes, and not a pair of big, bright blue ones.
Three months earlier
You're like an Indian summer in the middle of winter, like a hard candy with a surprise centre.
Kelsi sat low in her seat, nervously watching the scene before her. She was in the midst of the rehearsals for the winter musical. Well… her version of 'in the midst' which was in the shadowed side of the stage behind the piano. Ms Darbus had just left the room and therefore Sharpay was currently grabbing the opportunity to unleash her wrath upon Gabriella who was struggling with the dance routine the two girls had to perform with Troy and Ryan. Ryan had also gone to get some water which meant this mountain lion was un-caged.
Gabriella had been standing her ground thus far, but Kelsi could see her resolve slipping.
"This is why I told Ms Darbus there should be dance auditions." Sharpay snapped, looking down on the brunette opposite her with a dangerous look in her eyes.
"I'm doing my best Sharpay." Gabriella protested. Her eyes didn't leave Sharpay's but her voice faltered slightly. "I just need a few more practices, it's not a big deal."
"Oh because you would know all about what is or isn't a big deal." Sharpay scoffed, folding her arms mockingly. "Here in the theatre we have to work to those little things called deadlines. If you couldn't pick this up in a professional show, you'd be out the door!"
Sharpay walked slowly towards Gabriella so they stood nose to nose.
"And personally I think we should treat every show professionally." she said menacingly. Kelsi for the first time ever saw anger flash in Gabriella's eyes.
"She was given the part for a reason Sharpay." Troy argued, finally stepping in and marching over to the girls. "So stop giving her a hard time just because you didn't get the lead."
"And what reason was that?!" Sharpay spat, now projecting her anger at Troy. "She can't pick up the dances, I've been giving her vocal warm-ups so she can hit her notes and she still trips over her lines after three weeks of rehearsal!"
At these words, Gabriella finally looked at the floor. What Kelsi could actually see of her face looked crestfallen.
"She's not had as much experience as you and she's trying her best!" Troy was shouting now.
"Well her best evidently isn't good enough!" Oh yes this was the ice queen at her coldest.
Everyone turned to look to the wings as Ryan casually strolled onto the stage. The tension in the room was suddenly broken. Probably because of his light-hearted tone, his warm smile and his easy going look. Kelsi smiled fondly as she took in his appearance. In black slacks, blue shirt and black fedora, he looked perfect. But as always, it wasn't his clothes that captivated her, but his smile. The ever-present smile that demonstrated that nothing ever got him down. Ryan was one of those people that could instantly light up a room. Ryan looked around at the sombre cast and frowned.
"Who died?" he asked confusedly.
Gabriella giggled, but still looked upset.
"Oh Sharpay was just taking out all her spite and jealousy on Gabriella." Troy said matter of factly, glaring at the blonde.
"She's a disaster Ryan! We've been at this for three weeks and she's STILL not picking anything up!" Sharpay shouted.
"I'm trying my best, I just need a little more time." Gabriella said in a defeated voice. Ryan looked at the three performers with a look of concentration. Then he looked over to Kelsi. She knew he needed the jist of what had happened in a single look. They used to always do that in rehearsals with Sharpay so she didn't yell at them. Kelsi glanced at Sharpay and rolled her eyes and Ryan nodded in understanding.
"No worries." Ryan said optimistically and clapping his hands together.
"I'll help Gabriella with the choreography at lunch. She'll be dancing like a pro by next rehearsal." he said happily. Sharpay glared at her brother ferociously.
Ryan pulled Sharpay aside, though they were now closer to Kelsi and she could hear the exchange.
"You're not going to get her part sis." Ryan said calmly. Sharpay let out a small laugh.
"Even if Ms Darbus wanted you to take Gabriella's place it's too late now." Ryan explained rationally. "You might as well just be amazing at the part you have."
"I could play that part so much better." Sharpay growled, glowering across the stage at Gabriella.
"And if she plays her part badly it'll make the whole show look bad." Ryan said with a big sigh. Kelsi forced herself not to giggle. This was the voice Ryan used when he was using reverse psychology on his twin.
"Which will…" he paused dramatically for effect. "Make you look bad." he said seriously. Sharpay looked at him in shock.
"I've been in seventeen school productions Ryan! I can't afford…"
"It's too late to change her part. Pity we don't have someone to tutor her in theatre arts." Ryan said thoughtfully. He was actually rubbing his chin now and Kelsi couldn't understand how his sister was actually falling for it. "But we'd need someone who LIVES to perform. Now where would we…"
"Gabriella! Let's take it from the top of the opening number!" Sharpay announced marching onstage.
"Good job." Kelsi said without thinking. She and Ryan hadn't really been talking much. Actually, it was more like Ryan was avoiding her but… she couldn't resist it. To her surprise he looked up and smiled at her. That was Ryan. Able to bring warm happy summer to the ice cold of winter… and always full of surprises.
How do I get better once I've had the best? You said there's tons of fish in the water so the waters I will test.
"I'm an Evans." Ryan chuckled, wandering over to the piano. "Scheming comes naturally. Except I use if for good." he shrugged happily.
"You make it sound like you're a superhero." Kelsi replied playfully. She couldn't remember the last time conversation had been so easy for them. It was refreshing.
"To be honest, I thought she was going to try and break up the happy couple, not shout at them." Ryan said thoughtfully. "I think she was hoping to get Troy on the market again before the valentines dance." he joked. Kelsi forced a laugh. She was dreading the valentines dance. She wasn't so keen to go to an event that celebrated the very emotion that was hurting her every single day. And she certainly didn't want to be surrounded by happy couples all night, especially if Ryan brought a date… However, her friends would no doubt force her to go. They were all hell-bent on getting Kelsi to socialize more, which was both a blessing and a curse.
"Speaking of which." Ryan said, a cheeky smile playing on his lips. "Got a date yet?"
Kelsi stared at him. What was this? Ryan looked at her in puzzlement for a few seconds then his eyes widened.
"Oh no! I wasn't going to… I didn't mean…"
"It's ok Ryan." Kelsi said a little shakily. "No one. I think I'll be too busy to go anyway, with the show and everything." she said quickly.
"Aw c'mon it'll be fun." Ryan said cheerily, plopping down to sit next to her on the stool. "There's tons of fish in the water. I'm sure there's someone you wouldn't mind going with."
"Kelsi! Ryan! The opening number!" Sharpay yelled from onstage.
"Oops, see you later." Ryan murmured and jogged off to meet his sister onstage. Kelsi shook herself a little as she arranged the sheets on her music stand. She had lied. Someone had asked her. Jason Cross. Kelsi was often not aware of people's affections for her, but it was hard not to be aware of Jason's. He had been offering to drive her home after rehearsals, despite not having any part in them. He bought her lunch every other day, or at least tried to. Kelsi rarely let him. He had even managed to be her partner in gym for the last fortnight. He was kind, funny and shy like her. He often managed to make her laugh when she had been feeing low about Ryan. Not that he knew about it of course. Despite this, Kelsi couldn't get ride of the niggling thought that she would never find someone better than Ryan. Part of her was hopeless and wanted to give up on love forever. Part of her was defiant and wanted to show Ryan (and herself) that she could be happy without him and with someone else. Part of her was scared to death…
Ryan had moved on. If he could talk to her so freely about who she dated then it was clear he had no feelings whatsoever towards her now. As Kelsi started to play the opening number of her musical on the piano, Kelsi decided it was time to get on with her life, or at least to try. Ryan said there were tons of fish in the water, and so the waters she would test.
He kissed my lips, I taste your mouth. He pulled me in I was disgusted with myself.
"You didn't need to walk me from the car Jason."
"Yeah I did. What if you'd been attacked on the way up here?" Jason gasped, as if this was the most obvious thing in the world.
"And what would manage to attack me on the ten yards from the sidewalk to my door?" Kelsi asked playfully. Jason shrugged and faked a look of concentration.
"I dunno… that garden gnome." he said, pointing at the small gnome with a fishing rod next to Kelsi's garden path. Kelsi laughed out loud.
"A garden gnome?" she giggled. "I know I'm short Jason, but I'm sure I cold fight off a gnome…"
"Excuse me! Have you READ Harry Potter?!" Jason asked her in complete sincerity. Kelsi's laughs doubled. She had to give it to him, the boy was endearing.
"You like Harry Potter?" she checked. She hadn't really had Jason down as much of a reader. Jason's face instantly reddened.
"Well… yeah." he said nervously. "I know it's kinda lame but…"
"No! I love those books." Kelsi replied excitedly. "The only other person I know that likes them…" Kelsi instantly stopped talking, realising that the end of that sentence was, 'Dumped me'. Jason looked at her expectantly and she just stared back at him, having no idea what to say instead. She opened and closed her mouth a few times then realised too late that Jason wasn't waiting for her to speak anymore. In fact his eyes were elsewhere. Oh God… her lips. Kelsi's mind was asking her a million questions as Jason's head moved in closer. Questions she didn't have time to answer. Her brain seemed to give up the inquisition and simply flashed Ryan's face before her eyes as Jason's lips finally moulded into her own. But Ryan was still there. Jason was kissing her and she was kissing him back, but all she could think of was the boy she was still desperately in love with. Kelsi felt tears behind her closed eyes. She had loved him. She had never told him and now it was too late.
The kiss ended. He said goodnight. She used every ounce of willpower she had to smile charmingly and hold back her tears. Then as soon as the front door closed behind her she sank to the floor and wept. It wasn't just sadness she felt. Not just longing and heartbreak… but disgust. Jason was such a kind and sweet person, and she had used him. She had used his liking for her not only to try and forget her heartbreak, but to remind herself of romance. Of another sweet guy that had cared for her. How dysfunctional was that?! Jason didn't deserve it… yet she couldn't let go. Despite what she thought about her actions, Kelsi was going to keep using him. She wanted to forget, yet remember at the same time.
Because when I'm with him I am thinking of you.
Thinking of you.
What you would do if you were the one spending the night.
I wish that I was looking into your eyes.
Kelsi let her fingers flow over the music room's piano keys, occasionally letting her eyes close slightly in contentment. She was practising for the Spring Musical which happened to be 'Sweeney Todd'. Kelsi had heard of the musical but had never heard the music. After hearing how morbid the story was, she hadn't expected to enjoy the music all that much. However, she had taken one look at Sondheim's score and fallen in love with it. On the other hand, it was VERY difficult. Therefore she had taken to hiding in the music room much more often in an attempt to perfect her playing in time. She was currently losing herself in 'Not While I'm Around', one of the sweetest songs she had ever heard or played.
On hearing the door creaking open Kelsi froze slightly but kept playing. The only people that ever came into the music room when she was playing were Ms Darbus and Ryan. Or at least Ryan used to… She listened carefully to the footsteps. They were too heavy to be Ms Darbus'. Surely it wasn't…
Kelsi felt her heart sink as she felt Jason's arms wrap round her shoulders. She stopped playing and twisted round in her seat to smile at him.
"Hey yourself. What are you doing here?" she asked. Jason just grinned.
"Can't a guy pay an innocent trip to see his girlfriend?"
"You're never here Jase." Kelsi replied, giving him a knowing smile.
"Yeah but I figured I'd give you some company. Plus it's Sweeney Todd!" he said enthusiastically, sitting down in a nearby chair. Kelsi frowned at him.
"You know a musical by Stephen Sondheim?" she asked in disbelief. There was no way…
Jason nodded incredulously then laughed when Kelsi gave him a look.
"Okay I didn't until the movie came out" he joked.
"There was a movie?!" Kelsi exclaimed. She followed new movies just like Jason followed musicals… not at all. She preferred older film musicals. Like Fred and Ginger movies, 'Singing in the rain', Mary Poppins… that sort of thing. It wasn't that she didn't enjoy contemporary film musicals. Ryan had taken her to see 'Chicago' at the movies and she had adored it. He followed what was in the cinema a lot better than she did. He'd probably seen Sweeney Todd. Wait… why had Jason seen it?!
Kelsi snapped out of her internal ramble to see Jason gaping at her.
"Hello! It was Tim Burton!" he gasped. "Only one of the best directors around!"
"I like Tim Burton actually." Kelsi smiled. 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' was another movie Ryan had got her into.
"I'm just glad you've heard of him." Jason joked. "We can watch it next time you're over. I can appreciate the cinematography and you can enjoy the songs. Deal?" he asked, his eyes twinkling. Kelsi smiled and nodded. It wasn't that she wasn't happy with her boyfriend. They had fun and they never argued. But then again… that was probably because they weren't passionate enough to argue. As Taylor always said, "Arguing is healthy."
"Thanks for the help last night by the way. The essay got a B." Jason said proudly. Kelsi smiled and gave him a swift kiss on the cheek. She was gad she could help him out. He wasn't stupid. He just tended to be better at creative subjects like art and media. Kelsi knew exactly how he felt, being much highly skilled at music, mediocre in almost everything else and awful at maths and science.
"You finishing up soon?" Jason asked her, a glint of hope in his eyes.
"I was just going to play one more song." Kelsi grinned. "So yeah, you can hang around."
Jason grinned appreciatively and settled down in his chair.
Kelsi began to play 'Joanna' from the show. It was her favourite one to play. Troy would be singing the song in the show but Kelsi had heard Ryan sing it in his audition. It had been beyond beautiful but Troy's acting skills weren't developed enough for the lead. Therefore, Ryan was playing Sweeney Todd and Troy was playing Anthony. Troy was definitely doing the role justice (despite having to serenade Sharpay in thr show) but the way Ryan had sang the song… Kelsi almost got shivers remembering it. She heard he words clearly in her head.
"Do they think that walls could hide you? Even now I'm at your window. I am in the dark beside you, buried sweetly in your yellow hair."
Kelsi let out a deep sigh at how the voice in her head almost sounded wistful, but kept up her playing. It was such a beautiful song…
"Are you okay Kelsi?"
Kelsi jumped in the piano stool but kept her fingers playing.
"Yes." she squeaked guiltily at her boyfriend.
If she was honest with herself, she had forgotten he was there.
"I was half convinced I'd waken, satisfied enough to dream you."
Kelsi and Jason looked at the opening door at the same time. One face curious, one alarmed. For the voice of Ryan Evans was reverberating through the music room. Kelsi saw his blonde head emerging through the door frame and snapped her head back to face the piano, determined to keep playing.
"Happily I was mistaken Johanna. I'll steal you Johanna, I'll steal you."
Kelsi didn't even have to force the friendly smile, but she had to prepare her confidence. Then she turned to face Ryan.
"You're at the wrong part I'm afraid." she said teasingly. Ryan raised his eyebrows at her then shrugged.
"Oh well that's my version." he grinned. There was a silence between the three teenagers until Jason cleared is throat.
"Uuh… Kelsi, are we…"
"Oh God! Yeah we're going. I'm just… getting my things." Kelsi stammered, feverishly gathering her things from around the piano. She kept her head at the floor, not wishing to see Jason's face. He knew Kelsi had once dated Ryan Evans, but she was sure he didn't know the extent of what her feelings had been… or were still.
"Here I'll help." Ryan murmured, helping her gather up her music while Jason stood awkwardly at the door.
"Did you want to use the room?" Kelsi asked, trying to sound casual.
"Umm, no. I heard you were here and I was going to ask you if we could practise but…"
"Tomorrow?" Kelsi blurted out without even thinking. Then she had to tighten her grip on the side of the piano as Ryan gave her one of his award winning smiles.
"Biology?" he smirked mischievously.
"Definitely." Kelsi replied, a little breathless. There wasn't much room between them in the space between the piano stool and the piano.
"We'll… we'll meet then." Kelsi managed to say before scuttling off to take her boyfriend's hand. And she swore Jason held her hand a little tighter than usual as they left the building.
You're the best, and yes, I do regret how I could let myself let you go.
"Ugh I keep mis-pitching that bit." Ryan groaned, taking off his hat to run his hand through his hair. Kelsi observed him from her place at the piano. His hair was getting long. It looked nice…
"Do you want me to play the melody for you while you sing?" Kelsi asked, smiling amusedly at how flustered Ryan was getting over one line of the song. His cheeks were starting to go pink and he kept removing his hat then putting it back on.
"Would that be too much trouble?" he asked tentatively. The pianist shook her head gratefully. She loved that Ryan actually asked her about these things. Rather than ordering her around like Sharpay. Ryan was also musical enough to know that was she was playing was very difficult. She started to play again, playing the melody line for Ryan, and he hit each note perfectly. She carried on and let him sing the next part.
"Come let me hold you. Now with a sigh, you grow warm in my hand. My friend. My clever friend…"
Ryan had been keeping his eyes on her constantly while he sang. She knew it wasn't for any romantic reason, but because he wanted to make sure he was singing everything right and that they were in time. However, those beautiful blue eyes boring into hers while he sang was sometimes too much. At the end of the phrase she managed to mess up her chords.
"Sorry." Kelsi muttered, quickly looking at her music instead of Ryan's face. Out the corner of her eye she saw Ryan looking at her curiously. Kelsi was naturally a very introverted person, and he used to give her that look when he was trying to dig up something she wouldn't tell him. Panic sliced through the girl. Had he realised? How many times had she teased him about distracting her from her music when they had been a couple?!
Kelsi looked up at Ryan tentatively, dreading what she would find. But she only found a neutral expression.
"It's ok." he smiled. "It's a really hard piece. Just relax a bit." he said comfortingly.
"That might be hard." Kelsi said bitterly as Sharpay's voice rang through the room.
"Ryan! It's free period now! We're supposed to be in the auditorium going over lines!" Ryan's twin screeched as she marched over to the piano.
"Oh Sorry Shar." Ryan said quickly, looking at his watch. "We must have run over."
"Yeah obviously. Oh , hey Kelsi, why don't you come to and run my song." Sharpay said, her voice sickly sweet. Kelsi gave her a small smile and started to gather things.
As the twins walked together in front of her, Kelsi let herself glower at the girl in front of her. Deep down she knew that Sharpay had been the reason for her and Ryan's break up. If she hadn't got all that stupid stuff into Ryan's head. If she didn't control him like…
If you had tried actually fighting for him?"
Kelsi almost stalled in the corridor and had to blink away the burning sensation in her eyes. That was her deepest regret. More than using Jason. Above all she regretted not fighting for Ryan when he had broken up with her. Instead of defending their relationship she had let her low self esteem get the better of her and had laid down to let Ryan crush her. It probably wouldn't have worked in the end, but then at least she'd know she had done everything she could have to save the relationship. Instead she had crawled away and selfishly taken refuge in someone else's kindness.
Now, now the lesson's learned. I touched you I was burned.
"You stay away from him."
"What?" Kelsi asked anxiously, looking up at Sharpay's angry face.
"You know what." the blonde hissed, inclining her head to the other side of the stage where Ryan was putting his script back in his bag.
"Honestly Sharpay." Kelsi stammered, quite frightened by the look the girl was giving her. "I don't know what…"
"You like him. In fact, my guess is you were never over him." Sharpay said in a dangerously low voice. "I don't care what pathetic façade you're putting up for that jock but leave my brother out of it."
"He. Is. Over. You. So don't waste your…"
"Sharpay!" Kelsi eventually hissed over her. Ryan looked up at the girls curiously but they just smiled sweetly at him then bent their heads together again.
"Sharpay…" Kelsi began again in a lower voice. "I'm not going to go near your brother again. I… I've learnt my lesson." Kelsi said softly, looking straight into Sharpay's brown eyes.
The blonde studied her for a few seconds then smiled with satisfaction.
"Yeah, you have." she said in fake sweetness. "Well, until tomorrow Kelsi. Toodles!"
With that she grabbed her brother's arm and stalked out of the auditorium, leaving Kelsi alone on the stage.
I think you should know that when I'm with him I am thinking of you.
Thinking of you.
What would I do if you were the one spending the night.
I wish that I was looking into your eyes.
"And these last three songs need to be transposed into my key as well." Sharpay concluded, dumping a pile of papers on top of the small brunette opposite her. Kelsi staggered a little under the weight but managed to stay standing.
"Okay Sharpay." she squeaked through the papers as she attempted to walk off with them. She miraculously managed to make it to the music room and gratefully threw the large pile of music down on the floor. As she looked down at the never-ending pages of music Kelsi resisted the urge to cry. This was only the beginning of her problems. She was failing nearly every single class apart from music and English. She had writer's block therefore she couldn't compose. Her parents had decided to tell her the other day that her only choice of study after school would probably have to be U of A because they couldn't afford anywhere else. The show was looming and she still couldn't play half the music, not to mention several of the 1st instrumentalists were ill and wouldn't be able to play in the orchestra. She was desperate for a job so that she could start saving for college but nowhere would take her on. Oh yeah… and she was using her boyfriend as a hopeless way of getting over her unattainable, yet completely perfect, ex-boyfriend.
Kelsi sat down at the piano and stared at the keys for a few moments. Then, almost robotically, she started to play 'What I've been looking for' slowly and emotionally. However, it wasn't long until she felt herself transition into 'When there was me and you'. It was as if she had no control over her hands. As if they were forcing her to free her emotions. Sure enough, a few tears started to roll down the small girl's cheeks.
Music was always what Kelsi turned to when she was feeling this low. It had been that way since she first touched a piano, and even before then when she had first been entranced by classical music as a child. However, for a few months, Ryan had filled the position of her safe haven. Throughout the first show they did together, Kelsi had experienced more stress than the average sophomore student. It was the first show she had played in and she had more music to learn than she had ever before. Most of the orchestra members were older than her and therefore a little resentful that she was held in such high esteem by Ms Darbus and the head of the music department. Sharpay was being… Sharpay. With her studies on top of all this, she was often close to just hitting the piano several times and bursting into tears. But Ryan, before they were even couple, had always been there. An aura of happiness just seemed to always be around him. He made her laugh when she felt at her lowest and kept her more or less sane throughout the show.
And when they were a couple… Kelsi found that whenever things felt wrong, no matter how trivial, Ryan was always the best medicine. He was always around for a comforting hug, a reassuring pep talk or even just a friendly phone call. If they were together now she would already be texting him, asking if he wanted to hang out in the music room. In fact, he'd probably already be with her there anyway, stroking her hair and telling her she just had to calm down and remain positive. Then he'd kiss the top of her head and…
Kelsi stumbled on her notes as a small sob escaped her.
Oh won't you bust through the door and take me away. No more mistakes.
She couldn't express how much she wanted a fresh start. How much she wanted Ryan to just take her away from this stupid senseless lie she was living. What she wanted more than anything was to show her genuine feelings towards the man she loved.
"Kelsi? Are you in there?"
Kelsi started at Jason's voice and rapidly wiped the tears from her face.
"Yes!" she called, twisting in her seat to face the door. Her boyfriend entered, a warm smile on his face. The expression was so full of affection that Kelsi felt a fresh new wave of guilt pass over her. The boy walked over and sat down next to he on the piano bench.
"You okay?" he asked anxiously, his eyes raking her features. "You looked really stressed out today."
Kelsi nodded and let her head drop onto Jason's shoulder. As horrible as it was, despite what she felt for Ryan… Jason was comfort. He wasn't a safe haven. She had crawled back into hiding behind her music for that. But his warm arm around her shoulders was enough to keep her tears in at least.
Unknown to the couple in the music room, a blonde boy stood in the corridor round the corner, nervously spinning a fedora in his hands.
"Just go in and say you want a word." he muttered to himself. "Easy as that."
But it wasn't that easy. Ryan knew he had hurt her. He still saw it daily in her eyes how much he had hurt her. However, he also knew that he was tired of waiting for Kelsi. He had tried letting go, and when that hadn't worked he had waited… and waited. But she was still unattainable, and he was still miserable. Now was the time to man up and reclaim the girl he never should have given up. Pushing aside the troubling thoughts of Sharpay and Jason, Ryan strode purposefully towards the music room. It was free period, therefore she was guaranteed to be there. He marched in the room without even knocking then froze at the scene before him. Kelsi and Jason were sat side by side on the piano bench, her head on his shoulder and his arm round her, stroking her hair affectionately. Ryan closed his eyes for the split second he had before the couple acknowledged his presence. But his attempt to will the dead feeling in his chest away was in vain. He started to back out of the room when the pair turned round curiously.
Ryan winced as he hard her small voice and looked up. She had disentangled herself from her boyfriend and was looking at him curiously. Ryan instantly wished he had kept looking at the floor as he inevitably fell into Kelsi's expressive blue eyes.
"Sorry." he mumbled. "I thought… I was just… I was going to play the guitar but I guess I'll go to the auditorium."
All the while their eyes remained locked. The girl opposite him was giving him such an endearing look of concern that he simply couldn't look away.
"Well… do you want a guitar?" Jaqson cut in coldly. Ryan dragged his eyes from Kelsi's and met Jason's look of disdain. He couldn't blame the boy. There was no one to blame but himself for losing Kelsi after all. He knew that if he had been in Jason's situation he would have reacted the same way. In fact, he now felt extremely guilty.
"Um… no. I'll just leave it today. I think they're using the auditorium anyway." Ryan said lamely and went to leave.
"Well I was finishing up anyway." Kelsi stated kindly. "If you wanted…"
"It's fine." Ryan said quickly, making a beeline for the door before things got anymore awkward.
"Ryan!" Kelsi called after him, and he had no choice but to turn and face her. God how he missed those eyes. They were still full of concern but Ryan could also tell she had been crying. Her eyes weren't red or anything he just… knew. He instantly wished he could have got to Kelsi earlier to find out what was bothering her. Would his presence still calm her like it had before?
"It doesn't matter." he thought glumly. "That's not your job anymore… It's Jason's."
"Will you be at rehearsal later?" she asked, causing Ryan to snap out of his internal monologue. Ryan simply nodded before indulging in one last gaze in her eyes and leaving the room silently.
Kelsi watched him leave, trying to ignore the feeling of loss that his absence brought. It was so much harder when she knew she could have been alone with him. When he was so close, close enough to touch, and she knew she couldn't have him.
And it was so so much harder when he kept those beautiful blue eyes locked on hers for so long.
Because in your eyes I'd like to stay.