Author's note: Hello! I'm sorry it took so long for me to update this fic. I finally have the inspiration and time (thanks COVID-19) so there is one more chapter and then I am officially done with this fic. These two chapters are more epilogue than anything. So there will be time skips and such. As usual I own nothing except plot and original characters.
Gabriella was growing more and more uncomfortable and inpatient as she neared her due date. She had more than a week to go before she was able to take maternity leave and her demeanor in the courtroom had changed as well.
Where she used to be quietly waiting for the other attorney to finish their statements she would now make uncharacteristic facial expressions. Everyone in her office had been extra careful to make sure that she was happy. Even today she was getting things ready for her leave and had been sitting for most of the day as her back ached.
"Gabriella your mother is on line one for you," Alexia paged back to her from her desk in front of her office.
"Tell her I'll call her when I get home," Gabriella dismissed. She was in the middle of making sure that her settlement offer was iron tight before it needed to be sent at the end of the week.
"She wanted me to remind you that her flight gets in later tonight and that you have to get some rest," Alexia's voice came back through the phone a few seconds later.
The woman let out a frustrated sigh and placed her head into her hands. She loved her mother but at the late stage in her pregnancy she was becoming irritated at even the simplest of gestures. She had practically bit off Troy's head on her lunch break when he called to check on her.
It wasn't his fault that she was irritable. That wasn't entirely true, he was mostly the reason that she was so uncomfortable. Her first pregnancy had been slightly easier as she was in her early twenties and only had school to worry about. This pregnancy she had a firm to manage along with keeping up with a seven-year-old who more and more was growing almost as impatient to meet her new sibling. The stress had been making her a bit stir crazy.
After about another hour of working along the legal document she was finally done. Deciding that she had enough of trying to pretend that she wasn't in any kind of discomfort. The baby sitting in her womb was pressing into a particularly sensitive part of her back that was making it harder for her to concentrate.
Gabriella made her way home and had picked up her phone to call in a pizza for herself. Jazz had been in LA for the past week since it had been her spring break and Troy had time off before playoffs were in full swing. It was getting easier to manage their still blooming relationship and being parents at the same time.
Waiting for her pizza Gabriella reflected on the last few months of her life. Taylor and Chad had welcomed another girl, Josie, much to Taylor's pleasure knowing that she still was good at being right. Although Gabriella suspected that Chad didn't mind incredibly too much that he had another daughter.
Zeke had opened up a bakery after finding a spot right in the heart of Albuquerque. It had become a huge success, it had everyone in town wanting to make sure that they got their daily treat. Sharpay had embraced being a stay at home for the time being and even started a blog to share her experience with other mothers as well.
Labor is surprisingly easy the second time around Gabriella found. Once her contractions had started she hadn't been as caught off guard as she had been when she had been when Jazz had been born. In fact, she had been so grateful almost to the point of tears.
Thankfully her mom had been in town and made all the necessary calls while Gabriella made sure that her hospital bag had everything she needed inside. Once she had been sure and her contractions had gotten closer together she made her way to the hospital with her mother and Jazz along with her.
Troy had managed to fly out from where the NBA finals were being held. He had shown up a few hours into her labor. By the time he showed up Gabriella had been trying to get some kind of comfort since she wasn't yet dilated to have her epidural.
A few more hours had gone by before the doctors even consider giving Gabriella her epidural. As soon as they said it was okay she's sure she cried tears of joy. It was the best news she had heard all night. Gabriella is able to sleep for a couple of hours, before she feels the strong urge to push come over her.
After that her labor seems to snowball and moved along faster, not that she had cared. At that point in time she was approaching about ten hours in labor. It's worth the pain and exhaustion she feels once she heard her baby cry.
Since Gabriella hadn't bothered to find out Jazz's gender before she was born, Troy decided that he could wait as well. They both were greeted to a little boy. He was slightly red in the face from crying but he was perfect.
"What's his name?" Jazz asked a few hours later. Chad and Taylor had made sure the girl was taken care of before while Troy, Gabriella and Gabriella's mother had been in the hospital during the labor.
"Nathan Jackson Bolton," Gabriella smiled as she watched Jazz carefully holding her brother.
"I love it," the girl smiled as she placed a small kiss on the infant's forehead.
"Jazz make sure you have everything you need," Gabriella told the ten-year-old girl as she tried to distract Nate from trying to put a marker in his mouth. The mother and son were sitting on the floor of the boy's room.
At three years old he was the spitting image of his father while Jazz looked like her but with Troy's eyes. Jazz had been gathering her things to spend the night with Taylor and Chad since it was winter break and the girl had started to feel cooped up in the house.
Troy was supposed to be home but had gotten some delays due to weather in Chicago. It was going to be at least another two days before he made it back to New Mexico.
Troy had made the decision that he wanted to be traded to a team that practiced a little closer to where his family was. The Lakers had been reluctant to lose one of their best players to the Phoenix Suns but they all understood his reasonings behind it. Since Phoenix was only a 6-hour drive from Albuquerque, Troy stayed in Arizona during the week for practices and would come home for the weekends that he didn't have a game. It had been hard in the beginning after Nate had been born since Troy did have to spend most of his time over a thousand miles in another state.
Gabriella had been sure that their relationship wasn't going to last but somehow, they had been able to make it work.
"I've got everything mom," the girl looked at her mother a bit exasperated as she walked into the bedroom. "When's dad coming home?"
"He won't be back until tomorrow night. You'll be home by then," the woman said as she reached down to pick up the toddler. "You are going to need a bath mister."
"Hey Montez you ready?" Chad's voice floated up to the family from downstairs.
"What you don't knock?" Gabriella teased the man as she walked out of Jazz's room and looked over the banister.
"What's the point of having a key if I can't use it?" the man looked up at the woman. "Besides Taylor is waiting for the Chinese to get to the house while I pick up Jazz."
"Sweet. Did you get chow mien?" Jazz asked the man as she made her way down the stairs with her overnight bag.
"Who do you think I am?"
"You guys have fun and not too much sugar Chad," Gabriella followed the girl and set Nathan down.
"You worry too much," Chad rolled his eyes at the woman but then turned to wink at the girl. "We'll be on our best behavior."
"Sure," the woman rolled her own eyes as well. "Have fun Jazz and make sure you brush your teeth."
"Bye mom. Bye Nate."
Gabriella hugged the girl and then watched as her friend and her daughter made it to the car safe and pulled away. It was now just going to be her and Nate for the rest of the night. Thankfully the toddler was out of his terrible two phase which made it easier to get him to go to bed at a decent time.
Of course, as soon as Gabriella had prepared herself for a calmer night Nate had decided to prove her wrong by resisting both dinner and bath time. By the time she had fallen into bed herself she immediately fell asleep for the night.
Gabriella wasn't sure what time it is when she hears the stirrings of Nathan from his room next door. She had started to get out of bed when a hand pulls her back into the bed.
"I've got him," Troy's voice comes from her behind her.
"When did you get in?"
"Late last night. Get some sleep."
The woman didn't need to be told twice to get some extra time to relax. Since most of the week Gabriella is just on her own to care for both Jazz and Nathan as well as be in charge of the law firm that she cherishes the moments that she can get to herself.
It's a few hours before she wakes up again she can hear both of her children and Troy downstairs. Gabriella slowly got out of bed and headed downstairs to see what her children and Troy were up to.
Walking down the stairs both of her children and their father were in the kitchen preparing what looked like to be breakfast. Looking over to the clock on the stove the time read 10:45 a.m. meaning she managed to sleep a lot longer than she anticipated.
"Mommy!" Nathan's sweet voice greeted her as she fully stepped into the kitchen.
"Good morning love bug," Gabriella bent over to kiss the top of the boy's head. Gabriella noted quickly that it was about time for a haircut when the boy shifted his head down to concentrate on the sheet of paper that she noticed in front of him. "I'm sorry I slept in."
"Don't apologize. You needed it and I was happy to have more time with these two troublemakers," Troy smiled as Gabriella walked over to the side of the kitchen island where both Jazz and he stood. "Besides Chad and Taylor were more than happy to give me back our daughter."
"Did you have fun?" Gabriella turned to her daughter who was in the middle of mixing a bowl of what appeared to be pancake batter.
"Uncle Chad and I played basketball and I managed to sink ten three-pointers in a row," Jazz shrugged nonchalantly. "He said he's not going to play with me anymore but it's not my fault that my dad plays in the NBA and currently hold two MVP titles."
"He has always been a sore loser. You should have seen him when we were younger," Troy quipped before he started on a story about Troy and Chad that Gabriella knew all too well.
Breakfast passed smoothly after Gabriella helped to speed the process along. Both Troy and Jazz had a habit of getting distracted and she helped to redirect their focus back to the task at hand while also making sure that Nathan didn't try to destroy the kitchen table with his drawing as he had recently made the transition from sitting in a high chair to the table.
The family of four had been sitting enjoying their breakfast and idle conversation before they had all finished and now they sat at the table just catching up on their lives while Troy had been away for games.
"You guys know that I am not playing this year for Christmas and have a little break before I have to be back in Arizona for the team," Troy looked at his family, in all honesty he was growing tired of always traveling while his children were growing up at a rate that seemed to be moving so fast. "Uncle Chad and I decided we would have a family vacation to the Sky Mountain ski lodge."
"Yes, snow for Christmas!" Jazz exclaimed showing her excitement at the plans.
"Snow!" Nathan yelled following his sister's example.
"You and Chad decided that we were going to pack up four kids and head to Colrado?" Gabriella slightly glared at her boyfriend. "When did you decide this?"
"After Thanksgiving," the man replied not offering to give anymore information than what he supplied her with. "We're leaving at noon."
"I'm going to kill you both. We haven't even packed yet."
"The rooms are paid for, and I packed us and the kids the last time I was home. All you have to do is relax by the fire with a nice book," Troy smiled at the woman, he knew it had been a risk to just announce plans but he had wanted to surprise her and the kids.
"I guess we better start cleaning up then and then get ready to go."
"We'll have fun. I promise."
About six hours later both families are checked into their large suite so that the kids could spend time with one another while the parents also had their own space as well.
"Okay, how about we change for the night and we can all hit the slopes for the morning?" Chad spoke mainly to the adults as both Nathan and Josie had been asleep for the last few hours of their journey.
"Sounds good to me," Gabriella yawned as she helped both Maddie and Jazz carry their luggage to the bedroom that was behind the sitting area in their suite. The two families were used to going on vacations together and it had been an unspoken rule that whenever they had shared a suite that the kids would get the room more towards the middle while the adults took the rooms opposite of each other to have privacy while also being close enough to their kids.
After settling the kids down for their respective bedtimes, the adults had decided to sit in the sitting area to unwind from their day of travel.
"So there is something else we haven't told you both," Chad looked at his wife who had been settled into his side with her eyes closed.
"What more could you two have planned without telling us?" Taylor spoke without opening her eyes, Gabriella knew that if she had Chad would have been fixed with a glare that would have him rethinking planning surprises for a while.
"Everyone else is arriving tomorrow," Troy spoke quickly enough that Gabriella had to take a moment to process the words that had been spoken.
"What do you mean everyone?" Taylor said as she finally sat up. The woman was not used to being left out of any planning of any kind.
"Zeke and Sharpay, Ryan and Kelsi and Martha and Jason," Chad continued as he looked at his wife.
"You mean to tell us that the two of you planned a Christmas with all our friends in a month and didn't even think to tell us until today?" Gabriella said in disbelief.
"Yes?" Both men said as they looked at another. Both knowing that they would be in hot water for a while.
"I don't have the energy to be mad right now. We'll continue this in the morning. Come on Gabby," Taylor got up from her spot on the other couch in the sitting area and walked over to the bedroom that she and Chad had claimed earlier.
The two-woman walked away leaving the two men alone to have their own conversation.
"You sure you want to still do this?" Chad looked over at his best friend.
"She'll stop being mad at me by tomorrow and then we can enjoy the rest of our vacation with everyone," Troy said confidently. He knew it was a long shot that Gabriella would be so forgiving so fast but he had to have some hope.
The two families had enjoyed most of the next out in the snow. Maddie and Jazz had been learning how to snowboard from their fathers while Josie and Nathan had played with their mother's before becoming exhausted and needing a nap after both had thrown a tantrum about having to go inside for lunch.
Taylor and Gabriella relished in the quiet for a while and took the time to have time to themselves respectively. Gabriella had decided to get some reading done that she had put off for a bit while Taylor had made her way to the spa for a relaxing massage.
It was hours later after both toddlers had woken up from their afternoon naps before any of the rest of their friends had made an appearance at the ski lodge.
Gabriella had run into both Ryan and Kelsi who were trying to make their way to the elevators while their kids had been trying to leave to find the other kids. Deciding to help her friends to their room before heading back to her own to change for dinner that night.
Whenever the former classmate would get together it was almost as though no time had passed since they were last together. They would still joke as though they were in high school and reminisce. The only evidence of their aging had been the presence of the various children belonging to the group at various ages.
The night continues on and as kids start of fall asleep the group of friends decide to call it a night with a promise to meet for breakfast in the morning and to decide the rest of the day from there.
The rest of the trip is filled with chasing kids and spending time with friends that New Year's Eve had snuck up on Gabriella.
The only reason she had realized the day had been because of two teen girls who were discussing the party that the Freestyle Club would be throwing for any kid from the age of thirteen to eighteen while the adults had their own party in the lounge.
Gabriella smiled thinking back to her own experience at the same party that the girls had been discussing over a decade. Part of her cannot believe that she was with Troy again at the same ski lodge in which they met all those years ago.
"Alright time to get dressed," Sharpay announced as she entered Gabriella and Troy's bedroom. The latter had been spending time with the guys in the gym downstairs.
"For what exactly?" Gabriella looked at her friend. The blonde was wearing a subtle pink mini dress and had been walking to the small wardrobe where she had hung up some of her clothes and started to pull out a dress she wasn't even aware that she had packed.
"The party duh," Taylor said as she made her way into the bedroom as well. The woman was dressed as well. Taylor had chosen a much more modest dress compared to Sharpay's.
"And what about the kids? We can't leave them here by themselves," the Latina woman protested as she looked at her friends.
"Taken care of. Now get dressed no complaints."
Thirty minutes later after much complaining from Gabriella the group of friends find themselves at the lounge with the New Year's Eve party in full swing. Grabbing a flute of champagne from a passing waiter.
"You look gorgeous," Troy's baritone comes from behind her and she can feel his warm breath on the back of her neck.
Gabriella feels a small smile grow on her face before she turns around to look at the man. He's dressed in a fitted suit that Gabriella recognizes from one of the many events that they have attended over the years.
"You don't look too bad yourself," the woman compliments as she feels an arm wrap around her waist pulling her into the orbit that is Troy Bolton. As she reaches up to give Troy a kiss she can hear laughing that vaguely sounds familiarly. Turning her head to look in the direction of the laughter Gabriella can see that her friends are gathered not far from them at a table.
"Why did I think inviting them was such a good idea again?" the man questioned out loud. He really did love his friends but when they were all together they were just as immature as teenagers sometimes.
"Free babysitting?" the woman suggests as she grabs onto the man and starts to pull them to the fore mentioned table.
"That has been a perk."
Gabriella laughs a bit at the joke but she too had been grateful that her friends were willing to take both Jazz and Nathan off their hands.
"Alright you two, save the kissing for midnight," Zeke teased as the couple reached the table where all their friends were seated around. Sharpay was seated in his lap enjoying engaged in a conversation with Ryan.
"Can you believe we survived another year?" Martha questioned to the group.
"Honestly I am just grateful to have survived Jonathan's terrible two stage," Kelsi chimed in as she took a rather large sip from her own champagne glass. "He figured out how to get off his diaper this year so it's been fun potty training."
"Tell him that the monster in his closet will eat his toes every time he takes off his diaper. It worked for Nate," Gabriella laughed thinking about the lie she had told her youngest child.
"You told me you promised him a trip to the toy store," Taylor looked at her best friend.
"Well that makes me sound like a better mom than threatening my son with a monster eating his toes."
The rest of the conversation from there moves to various hopes of what they were all expecting in the new year as well as their own individual resolutions.
"All I'm saying is that I would love for the garage to be cleaned out of all the junk," Taylor argued with Chad. With Josie and Maddie now running around the house Chad had been forced to move his trophy case from their den to the garage.
"I already had to move that case from the den Taylor. I am not putting it anywhere else," Chad defended his choice. "Besides I am saving some of that stuff for when we have a son."
"Not with me you won't. Twice was enough," Taylor asserted as she got up from the table. "I'm going to the bathroom."
"I'll join you," Gabriella followed not far behind her best friend. "Why haven't you told him yet?"
"What if we have another girl?" the other woman questioned as she started to pace the length of the bathroom.
"Have you seen Chad play princess tea party?" Gabriella reached out to grab the other woman as her pacing was making her anxious. "He makes a great girl dad, besides boys are gross."
"I just don't want him to be disappointed," the other woman looked at her best friend.
"He could never be disappointed," the Latina pulled her friend into a hug. "Chad loves you and the family you have given him."
"You know, we could be pregnant at the same time again," Taylor suggested as she looked at her best friend.
"Do you not remember me being an emotional and hormonal mess with Nathan?"
"I'm just saying."
Gabriella rolled her eyes as she headed towards a bathroom stall. "You and everyone else."
About five minutes later the two women made their way back to where their friends were. Taylor had pulled Chad away for what Gabriella hoped would be her friend telling him that they were going to have another baby in the new year. Looking around Gabriella couldn't help but notice the absence of her boyfriend.
"Where's Troy?" the woman asked as she sat in what was the man's vacant chair.
"He wanted to check in with the babysitter," Ryan supplied from across the table.
Gabriella was pulled into a conversation with Martha and Kelsi about how her most recent court case had gone. Just as she had been explaining that she was able to advocate for a reduced sentence for one of her clients she had spotted a crowd of people head towards the balcony.
"It must almost be midnight," Gabriella said as she started to look for Troy again. He had still been missing. "Troy should be back by now."
"He probably got swept into the crowd," Martha moved to pull the woman up from her seat. "Let's go look for him."
Allowing herself to be pulled out to the balcony by her friends Gabriella couldn't help but think about the last time she had been out there it was over ten years ago with Troy. It was the night that they first met and Gabriella had a feeling then that he would grow to be someone important in her life.
"Alright everyone we've got about thirty seconds until the New Year. So, grab that special someone," A voice calls over the PA system.
Gabriella had managed to make her way to the front of the crowd in hope of finding Troy. Looking around quickly she hadn't spotted him but had managed to spot her friends in the crowd. Letting out a sigh the woman couldn't help but to think that she would be missing the countdown to the New Year.
"Gabriella," Troy's voice came from behind her.
"You're cutting it close Wildcat," the woman slight scolded slightly as she turned around. Once she has she is surprised to find Troy kneeling behind her with an open engagement ring box. The ring is a modest princess cut diamond with a simple band that is covered in smaller diamonds.
"Gabriella Marie Montez. I messed up all those years ago but these last few years with Nathan and Jazz has shown me that you have such an amazing capacity for both love and forgiveness. I would be not only honored but willing to prove to you every day that I am worthy of your love. Will you marry me?" Troy declared as he turned his eyes towards her.
"Yes," Gabriella exclaimed as she bent down towards Troy and wrapped her arms around the man and pulled him into a kiss
"Happy New Year!" The crowd around exploded into cheers as the fireworks started to explode as well.
The ending is a bit abrupt but the next part will hopefully be up shortly.