Sharpay hummed to herself as she fished through her purse, one eye searching for her nail file, the other keeping a watch on the road, looking out for the over-the-top (even by Evans' standards) Bugatti Veyron that had this tacky paint that changed from green to gold in the sun.
As she dragged the nail file along the tips of her nails, she concentrated on sharpening the tips just a little, just in case. Sharpay huffed her hair out of her face as she dug through the emergency travel make-up case she'd pulled out from under the seat of her car.
Thatcher. Seriously. His name was Thatcher. Her brother was bringing a date that had the same name as a person who made roofs. Which her brother hadn't even realized until she'd pointed it out. And, yes, she'd aced the writing portion of her SATs, fuck you very much. And, besides, the only reason she'd bothered to learn his name was that for, some reason that she couldn't understand, her brother seemed to like him or something. She had a personal rule that she only ever bothered to commit the names of her brother's boys to memory when they showed up more than 4 times. And, that had only happened one other time, so far.
His name was Garrison Walker the Third. Ryan had met him at Yoga class. He went to Ambrose Day School a half-hour from East High. It was the private school that Sharpay and Ryan were originally going to attend when they moved to Albuquerque. Then they had learned that the Ambrose Day drama department only did plays and she would have had to join show choir if she ever wanted to sing a show tune again. Show. Choir.
Sharpay shuddered as she touched up her mascara. They hadn't even made it so far as filling out her name on the registration form. Because Sharpay Evans was not in anybody's show choir. Matching sequined vests and white gloves were so not okay. Thankfully, her parents had agreed with her. As they so often did.
She smacked her lips together, spreading out the gloss. As she was packing the contents back into her makeup case, she spotted the horrific green car in her rearveiw mirror.
She stepped onto the sidewalk, bumping her car door closed with her hip and adjusted the top of her dress downward and the bottom of her dress upward. Her Gucci mini-dress was made of so little material that she had actually changed in the pool house after she said goodbye to her parents for the night. She couldn't recall ever having to do that before. But, as it were, desperate times and all that. You gotta do want you want to do. And, Sharpay does things that she wants to do. All things.
She gave Ryan and Rooferboy a wide smile that kind of hurt her cheekbones a little as she waved. "You get lost?"
Ryan smiled. "Just took someone a little longer to get ready than estimated."
Sharpay clenched her jaw when she watched Rooferboy look at her brother all annoyed, like Ryan was tattling on him, instead of the playful joking that Ryan's tone actually implied.
"Is this the house?" Rooferboy asked, tilting his head towards Troy Bolton's house.
"That's the one," Sharpay said, plastering her smile back on her face. "Can't you hear the sounds of generic pop music assaulting our eardrums?"
Rooferboy rolled his eyes at Sharpay and she just kept smiling until the two of them headed up to Troy's house. She kept smiling and watching as Rooferboy led the way to the front door and watched as Ryan tried to reach for Rooferboy's hand and watched as Rooferboy slid both of his hands into his back pockets, obliviously.
"Hey Ryan?" She waited until both Ryan and Thatcher were looking back at her. "Have you heard from Garrison lately? I mean, I was just thinking, he kind of fell off the grid there after that whole nasty incident at his school and that whole transferring to boarding school in Massachusetts thing." Sharpay adjusted her hair clip and waited. She idly found herself hoping that it was really cold in Massachusetts this time of year. Hoping that there was even some snow on the ground. Lots of snow.
"You coming?" Ryan asked, somehow managing to raise an eyebrow questioningly and roll his eyes at her in exasperation at the same time, finally settling on his hands in the pocket of his jacket.
"Just a sec. I just have to" she bent down and started pretending to fiddle with one of the buckles on her boot. "Go ahead. I'll be right there."
She heard them start to head up the path and replaced the strip of leather back into the buckle. She took one more look at her fabulous reflection in the glass of her car window before heading up the sidewalk to Troy's house.
She had no idea why her brother was still with this piece of ridiculousness. I mean, sure, he was pretty enough, she guessed. You know, for someone who seemed to be completely devoid of a personality other than hanging out at their house, lounging around their pool and making Ryan run back and forth from the pool to the kitchen for drinks, to the pool house for snacks, and to Ryan's room for his laptop so he could make a new playlist on Ryan's iPod - carefully excluding all Broadway and movie soundtracks from the mix. Her brother also seemed charmingly naive about the fact that Rooferboy had a rather large number of "extra-curricular assignments" that seemed to cut into a lot of potential date nights. Although she didn't have hard proof - yet - she was fairly convinced that the only type of extra-curricular that people spent that much time on usually involved nakedness.
Okay, so she didn't like him. At all. But, her brother seemed to like him well enough and, while that wasn't good enough for her, it was enough to keep her interested. For times like this. When her brother decided that he was going to show up at an East High party with a date - a male date - for the first time in his time at East High.
And, okay, so she also really hadn't wanted to go to this party, but again. She was interested. And, someone needed to look out for Ryan's well-being. And, it was a well understood fact that this person was usually not Ryan. She wasn't above making someone else's life miserable for making her - or, by extension, Ryan's - life miserable. An eye for an eye and all that. And, through the window in the front hall, she could see a few people whispering to each other and glancing sideways looks at Ryan and Rooferboy.
Tossing her hair over her shoulder, she smiled. A real, scheming, Sharpay smile.
She slipped a hand into her purse and pressed the button on her emergency alarm. The blaring noise, combined with her insistent ringing at the doorbell resulted in the sounds of the party coming to a dead halt and a very flustered Troy Bolton pulling open the front door to his parent's house. She quickly released the button on her alarm and the siren stopped dead.
"Where's the food? I'm starving. Please tell me you have something that isn't processed, packaged, or rhymes with "smaloney". I know it would be too much to hope for a truffle canape, but what are the chances of, say, finding something edible around here?"
Sharpay waved her hand in front of Troy's face as she walked into the front hallway. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed the corner where Ryan and Rooferboy seemed to have ended up. She noticed a few curious glances were still being thrown Ryan's way and well, that wasn't the way this was supposed to be going. She spotted Zeke, the somewhat bumbling tall baking basketball player, across the room and she winked flirtatiously before striding through the middle of the room towards him. The party lights highlighted the shiny pink of her dress and the thin stiletto heels of her boots clicked loudly in the otherwise silent room.
"You," she said, pointing at Zeke and then hooking her finger under the seam of his shirt and pulled him with her across the room, pleased that he followed so willingly. "Show me where the food is."
"And you," she said, pointing to where Kelsi and some shaggy brown haired Neanderthal-looking fellow were seated next to the elaborate stereo system. "Music."
She watched as Kelsi jumped and hurriedly hit the play button. Sure, Sharpay wouldn't normally have chosen Rhianna as her exit music, but at least "Shut Up and Drive" had a decent beat.
She huddled in the kitchen with Zeke for a while, eating an admittedly impressive spread of crackers with brie and cranberries and orange peel and cinnamon that Zeke had seemingly created out of thin air approximately 45 seconds after they arrived in the kitchen.
Zeke, when managing to form entire sentences, was actually fair company for her surveillance operation. He'd even managed to find her a bottle of San Pelligrino and a lemon. And, while the whole thing would have been better with filo pastry instead of triscuits and Chinotto instead of a lemon wedge, it was far above any of the expectations she'd had before arriving here tonight. She'd mentally prepared herself for some sort of breaded meat on a stick and fluorescent orange beverages. Not that she would have eaten any such things, but she was afraid she might have become contaminated by proxy.
Sharpay kept both her eyes and one ear on the party, listening to Zeke tell a supernaturally boring story about the basketball team with her other ear. It wasn't a terribly complicated story, so one-quarter of her attention and the occasional nod and "uh-huh" seemed to be enough to keep him going and keep the two of them located leaning against the kitchen counter, giving her a view of pretty well the entire party. Including her brother and Rooferboy. And, while the initial novelty of her brother showing up to a school party with a boy seemed to have more or less worn off, she also had a really good view of a certain basketball player with out of control hair who seemed to have not quite adjusted to the idea. Though, the longer she watched, the more apparent it was that he wasn't staring at them. He was staring at Ryan.
And, when Ryan left Rooferboy and headed towards the kitchen, presumably to grab them both drinks, since Rooferboy apparently still wasn't capable of getting off his own lazy ass, she noticed Chad Danforths's eyes following again. She hid her smile behind the rim of her glass when she noticed that he took exactly the count of 5 Mississippis before he pushed himself off of his patch of grass and headed for the kitchen as well.
"Hey Ryan!" she called, waving her brother over. "Heaven on a cracker?" she said, holding out one of Zeke's creations out at her brother. She looked over at Zeke and gave him a smile. He was making this entire evening possible, and he really could make heaven on a cracker, so she could forgive him his boring obsession with balls and hoops.
Ryan smiled as he took a bite.
"Uh, having a good time?" Zeke asked Ryan, somewhat awkwardly, but sincerely. Yet another point in the plus column. He was doing rather well for himself this evening, actually.
Ryan shrugged. "It's, you know..."
Sharpay busied herself with looking completely uninterested while swirling her lemon around in her glass when she noticed Danforth walking towards them, 2 red plastic cups in his hands.
"Zeke. Sharpay." Danforth was smiling, though it was kind of nervous around the edges.
Sharpay flicked her hand at him and kept swirling.
"Um, Ryan. Hi." His voice was also kind of pathetically nervous sounding. "I um. Noticed you didn't have a chance to grab a drink on your way by. Diet coke, right?" he said, awkwardly holding out one of the plastic cups.
Ryan grinned. "Yeah, you remembered!"
Danforth grinned back, this time without all the nervous energy. "Well, you know, I did take your drink orders for an entire summer."
Sharpay could almost hear Ryan flush. Smart play, Danforth, she thought to herself, looking over her shoulder for the bottle of sparkling water. Zeke had apparently noticed her searching looks and her glass had been refilled before she barely had time to register what was happening. Smiling, she settled back against the counter, allowing her hip to rest alongside Zeke's for the first time all night.
God, if she'd had to listen to Ryan ramble about that summer or that baseball game or dance rehearsals or the star dazzle award for one minute longer than his moping and pining had lasted, she was going to become homicidal. Or suicidal and drive her car into a brick wall, just to make it stop. But, then he'd met Garrison Walker the Third and mostly stopped talking about Danforth. Except after basketball games.
Of course, she'd made Ryan shower the stench of the mascot uniform off of himself before she'd allowed him to open his mouth. A girl had to have limits. Not even the twin bond was enough to overcome the power of the aroma of gym locker.
As the night wore on, a crowd had gathered in the middle of the yard and there was a spontaneous gathering of people that kind of resembled a freshman dance, but Sharpay allowed herself to be pulled into the mix. From her position on the makeshift dance floor, Sharpay could see where Rooferboy was sitting, alone since Ryan had taken off for, presumably, the bathroom a few minutes before. She could also see when he got up and started chatting up Allison Strathan.
She narrowed her eyes at him. Rooferboy was, blessedly, oblivious. It had taken him exactly one minute and 12 seconds of her brother being out of eye- and ear-shot to start chatting up the only girl at the party who was wearing less clothing than she was.
And, if she turned herself and Zeke just a little bit to the right - easy enough to do, since Zeke was pretty much letting her lead their dances - she could also see Danforth's eyes on Thatcher, but flicking off towards the direction of the house, presumably keeping an eye out for her brother.
Danforth spotted Ryan coming out of the house at the same time she did. She kept her face in a schooled expression of indifference, something Danforth was seemingly unable to do, and started marching over toward where Ryan was coming out into the yard. And then watched as Ryan was intercepted by Gabriella Montez. Sharpay couldn't recall ever being happier to see that very sweet and very boring stick of a girl more than she was at that moment. There was a time and a place for a gay white knight. A high school, mostly jock-filled party was probably not it. Even if the white knight was one of those mostly-jocks.
Sharpay could see Ryan and smiling and laughing as Gabriella told a presumably very sweet and very boring story involving a lot of hand waving. Until he looked over her should and saw his supposed boyfriend cozying up to Allison. His face went pale and his smile disappeared and she just knew that he knew. And, she knew that this party was over.
Sharpay cracked her knuckles where her hands were looped around Zeke's neck. "I'm thinking you should take me to a movie tomorrow," she said, rising up on her toes to get as close to Zeke's ear as she could manage.
She could feel the heat coming off of Zeke's face as he nodded.
"Great. Meet you at the megaplex. 7:30."
He nodded again.
"And, hey, bring Danforth." She nodded her head very subtly towards where he was still staring alternately between his cup and Thatcher and Ryan, looking for all the world like he still wanted to get in on that action and pick a well-intentioned, but poorly thought-through fight.
"I um. Well. He's." Zeke wasn't saying anything. Which said everything, really.
Sharpay cut him off by pressing a finger to his lips. "Totally obvious, is what he is."
Zeke flushed and nodded.
"Okay. So, movie tomorrow. You bring Danforth, I'll bring my idiot brother. You just have to do one thing for me."
Zeke nodded quickly. She was pretty sure that he would have agreed to pretty much anything. She almost felt bad about taking advantage of that. Except that this was actually for a really good cause that in no way benefited her. Except for hopefully never having to see that hateful green-gold car again.
"Ignore everything I'm about to do for the next five minutes."
He scrunched his eyebrows together in a comical way that was slightly endearing.
She took a deep breath and let out an ear-piercing shriek. "You did not just step on these boots!" She leapt back from where she was standing and waved her arms in front of Zeke's face emphatically.
She could feel every eye at the party on her and she tossed her hair dramatically. "You do realize that you just stepped on over $1000 of Prada leather? I know your brain is, like, a mile and a half from your feet, but you think you could manage to do the straight-arm shuffle with enough coordination not to completely ruin my brand new shoes." She turned away from Zeke, crossed her arms, shut her eyes, and let out an ear-piercing "Ryan!" that echoed through the entire party.
She heard her brother scurry up beside her. "Yeah, sis?"
"We're leaving," she turned and glared back at Zeke. "Now." She fished her keys out of her purse and thrust them at her brother. "You're driving."
She pulled her cell phone out of her purse as she looked back over her shoulder and gave Rooferboy the iciest glare that she could possibly summon.
"Tomorrow. 7:30. Movie. Be there. -S" she texted to Zeke, grateful, not for the first time, that she had his number programmed into her phone in case of some sort of unexpected pastry emergency.
She allowed the satisfying click of her heels to echo down the sidewalk as they headed towards the pink convertible, switching over to the web browser on her phone.
"Sharpay. Did you --? Do you --?"
She held up her hand to shush him. "So, apparently it doesn't snow in Massachusetts this time of year," she said, consulting the Weather Channel's website as she slid into the passenger side of the car.
She looked over at her brother, who smiled a small smile at her, seemingly in spite of himself.
"What do you think?" Sharpay asked, sliding her phone across the dashboard over to Ryan so he could read the weather information for Durango, Coloardo.
"I think you're a very scary girl, Sharpay Evans," Ryan said, handing her the phone back as he started the car.
"Thank you," she replied with a smile, emailing websites to herself for reference. "Apparently there's snow on the Rockies all year round."
"What's with you and snow?" Ryan asked.
"Well, I am the Ice Princess, you know," she said sliding her phone closed and slipping it back into her purse.
"Shar, I don't think "
She looked over at him and smiled, shaking her head with a wink.
"So, what are we doing tomorrow?" he asked, changing the subject.
"Movies," she replied, pulling her hair up and stabbing it into place with the pen she found in her glove compartment.
"Movies," Ryan repeated. "Sounds good." He paused. "So does a little snow, actually."
She grinned over at him and saw that he was wearing a devious smile that rivalled her own.
"Well, you know what I always say," Sharpay replied, reaching over and squeezing her brother's shoulder a little as they headed for home. "A little snow would be nice."