The fall had been mistimed and all things considered it was a distraction she didn’t need. It came upon Kelsi in between bursts of creativity. In fits and starts.
It was inevitable really. This pas de deux they did because they couldn’t help it. Because she wrote the music and Sharpay sang it. The notes precise and correctly placed to enhance the range and depth of one voice.
She didn’t specifically write for Sharpay. No, that would be too much, even for her. She wrote when the mood struck and her inspiration moved her. From the beats, seventh, octave, half step, Largo, and Lento they all danced across her mind. She wrote for Gabriella and Troy. A little jingle just for Ryan. She wrote the music notes for a poem Mr. Tucker their Principal had written for his wife. It had not been a very good poem but written to music it had improved immensely.
She didn’t do it because she had to or even because she wanted to be well liked. She did it because she felt compelled to do it. The b flats melded into the g sharps and blurred inside her mind until she had to write, had to play, had to find a way to free it from her mind.
She’d often felt alone in this singular pursuit. Her mother thought that she was being kind and encouraging when she’d quote Longfellow to her.
“Music is the universal language of mankind, honey. That man knew what he was talking about,” given with a cheerful smile and a warm pat on the back.
Buck up kiddo had been left unspoken.
She didn’t bother to point out that she was in high school and mankind was generally not to keen on a universal language that didn’t involve sex just yet.
Music put her into a sphere that separated her even more than her odd sense of style and her penchant for solitude.
She’d been aware of Sharpay Evans long before she met her. They had not attended the same elementary school or even the same middle school. But where there was music there was sure to be two things. Herself and a blonde whirlwind that went by the name of Sharpay.
They’d been introduced briefly years ago as she’d been fiddling with the piano at her parent’s country club and Benny the Piano Man had introduced them.
Sharpay had demanded to hear The Gal from Oklahoma.
That year Sharpay had wanted to be a singing-dancing cowgirl dressed in pink.
She learned from then on what Sharpay Evans wanted she most definitely got. Most of the time that was true at least where her father was concerned. Sharpay was exclusively a Daddy’s girl and her mother knew it. So the mother-daughter bond was cool to say the least.
Kelsi counted on Sharpay to keep her on her toes. She never knew what would be next with the blonde. Would she be warm, nice, or ice cold? Would she yell, whisper, or scream if things didn’t go her way?
Kelsi didn’t want to be intertwined with Sharpay. Didn’t want their names to be synonymous with the same thing. She loved what she did. She did what she had to because she had no choice. She didn’t scream or throw tantrums and she didn’t treat people like shit just because she could.
She was nothing like Sharpay and hearing the two of them compared made her pale in anger. The anger though covered the truth that she denied because she could. No one would call her on it.
She felt the same as Sharpay.
East High was a large school.
That didn’t matter because she knew that she was better than almost everyone in it.
She had arrogance.
She had the same damn superiority complex that Sharpay had.
They could be the same.
Kelsi just hid it so much better.
They were both alone because they chose to be. Oh, Sharpay had Ryan to drag along and malign, but he would be gone from her one day and she would be alone. Because Sharpay didn’t feel the need to make people she looked down upon her friends.
Another difference between them. Kelsi didn’t care per se but it was better for her to make the effort than to appear completely indifferent.
She watched Sharpay chase and try to cajole her way into Troy Bolton’s heart only to be dismissed. Sharpay had wanted him to be like her and be above everyone else they associated with. She’d wanted him molded in her image.
Kelsi would have told Sharpay it was a pointless pursuit for a boy who wouldn’t know what to do with Sharpay once he had her. She listened to the wrath that threatened to shatter the tentative truce they’d called after Twinkle Towne, and rolled her eyes when Sharpay declared in all her dramatic glory that Troy Bolton would be hers one day.
Sharpay might as well have raised a fist and cried to the heavens that tomorrow was another day and she’d never be hungry again so dramatic was she.
Kelsi laughed because she couldn’t help it and watched that vengeful wrath fall down upon her. She ignored the threats and the curses and rolled her eyes again as she always did when Sharpay went on a tangent.
She supposed their little farce could have gone on for all of high school. Perhaps it would have been better if it had, she often times thought.
But such is life and change had made its way through East High.
She was dating Jason the slightly dim basketball player. It hadn’t been a big deal and she found herself slowly drifting away. Not so alone anymore. Not when she was seated at a table with people who’d ignored her for the past three years. The pace and intensity that had consumed her waking hours lessened to a crawl. She could laugh, kiss, and hang out without the need to write, play, and write some more. Her inspiration did not wan but it was not the same.
And still as she changed Sharpay remained the same.
She had not been completely aware of the change, but Sharpay made sure that changed as soon as senior year began. It wasn’t that Sharpay was nice to her. No Sharpay was hardly ever nice for any good reason. But things had shifted the past two years.
Sharpay was on a mission.
The end objective remained elusive to Kelsi but even she could see that something was dogging the blonde’s steps. Sharpay made a point to greet her at lunch while she was surrounded with the scourge of the universe, Sharpay’s very own words, the smile seemed genuine and the warmth to the words real.
Kelsi suspected some sort of trick and prepared herself for one of Sharpay’s stinging put downs and mockery. The waiting ate away at her. There was no buffer between her and Sharpay any longer.
She hardly wrote any music and Sharpay wouldn’t deign to sing it.
There were little glances and hidden meaning in everything Sharpay did for the first three months of senior year. And then the fourth month came and still more glances and added to the repertoire were touches.
Now Kelsi was as tactile as the next person and didn’t mind too much for the most part. She allowed Jason to touch her because he was her boyfriend.
That did not however explain why she let Sharpay.
Sharpay liked to run a finger along her jaw line while tucking a stray strand of Kelsi’s hair behind an ear. Sharpay liked to slip an arm through her own as they meandered down the crowded halls of East High. Sharpay would kiss her cheek while saying hello and goodbye.
She noticed the worried looks Ryan sent her way.
She noticed the angry looks Troy and Chad sent Sharpay.
She wasn’t blind.
She just didn’t quite understand why Sharpay had chosen now for this to start.
She noticed the distance between Jason and her last of all.
The echo, the bass, the beat of the intervals that had quieted surged back to life with a vengeance. She once again carried a spiral pocket notebook with her. She couldn’t not write. Her dates with Jason eased off until he stopped asking and she stopped caring.
And still Sharpay remained, as all was right in her world.
The only ones surprised about the break up had been Kelsi’s parents. They had adored Jason and had encouraged the relationship as their daughter got to experience a bit of high school life outside of music.
Ms. Darbus selected the annual play through a random drawing that only she cared about. Mr. Tucker with persuasion from Kelsi and Sharpay vetoed the selection and they picked West Side Story instead.
Kelsi knew that Sharpay thought that she’d won. Managed to keep her little faithful pianist by her side with nary a trick. Throw the girl some attention and presto everything was as it should be.
Sharpay could have asked to spend more time with her. Could have asked for more music. Could have demanded that Kelsi do as she bid or else. Kelsi was intrigued as to why Sharpay had taken the path she had.
Subtle was the manner in which Kelsi turned the tables on Sharpay.
Her steps echoed the style in which the score she was creating around Sharpay revolved.
Amoroso. A hand on the small of Sharpay’s back. Lightly resting against her shoulder.
Calando. The words Kelsi spoke held more depth and their meaning not as clear. Sharpay was not as sure of her as she had been.
Con Fuoco. The manner in which Kelsi treated every rehearsal. The way her eyes lingered on the pale column of Sharpay’s throat.
Deciso. Inquired about the flavor of lip-gloss Sharpay favored. Cinnamon to be exact. Kelsi bought her vanilla.
Dolce. The way in which she informed Sharpay that she was singing the F sharp when it should be flat. With a smile and a quick example of how it should be sung. Ignoring the furious glare Sharpay sent her.
Staccato. When Sharpay began to rant a few well-chosen words put an end to it. Even divas had to be put in their place. After rehearsal ended she stayed and toyed with the keys of the piano and Sharpay came to her. Upset with the manner in which Kelsi told her so succinctly to shut up and sing. They weren’t there to cater to her was what she told Sharpay as she walked away.
She drove Sharpay home because Sharpay’s car had an incident with a telephone pole. Something about stupid little kids playing in the middle of the street, per Sharpay’s version. Ryan was sick with a cold so that left Kelsi and since Sharpay hadn’t asked, she’d taken it upon herself to pick up Sharpay in the mornings and drop her home after rehearsal.
The kiss wasn’t planned and Kelsi liked it that way.
Sharpay had been going on and on and Kelsi had learned to tune her out for the most part. But then Sharpay had given her this look. This sharp-eyed pouty little look and she had been glad the light was red.
This dance. These steps. The intricate patterns they’d weaved all came to a stop when their lips touched.
“If you were jealous you should have told me,” Kelsi told her months later stretched out comfortably on Sharpay’s bed.
Sharpay sniffed in disdain and the effect was the same even with the disheveled hair and smeared lipstick.
“I’m never jealous.”
“I wouldn’t have minded,” Kelsi told her gently, smiling to herself.
“I’m sure you wouldn’t have. I’m sure you were ecstatic to have two such devoted lovesick fools vying for your affections. How very libertine of you, Kelsi.” Sarcasam dripped from every word and Sharpay looked at her balefully.
Sharpay was disgruntled that her plan had backfired and Kelsi knew this. Sharpay had meant to tease and lure and reel Kelsi back into her proper place. Back onto her piano bench and off of Sharpay’s stage left.
“I am a very lovable person,” Kelsi bit back with a rare hint of arrogance. “To know me is to love me.”
Sharpay sent her a rather impressed look.
“I’m rubbing off on you…” she sounded quite pleased.
Kelsi stretched placing a hand on Sharpay’s bare hip and smoothed her fingers against the soft flesh.
“No,” Kelsi corrected her, “I’m just settling into myself.”