Ryella's Winter Carols

Surprise

Late last night, Ryan had called Gabriella and invited her to his apartment to help decorate the tree. It was his first time living by himself since divided ideas about their futures had separated Ryan from his twin. Coincidentally, Ryan ended up going to a performing arts school not too far from where Gabriella studied biology at a university. They hung out together often and Gabriella found herself spending more and more time at his apartment than at her own dorm on campus. Neither was going home for Christmas this year.

Ryan had bought a six-foot Christmas tree the week before and had yet to decorate it. Unfortunately, without Sharpay to keep him on track, Ryan was quite the procrastinator. He figured that if he wanted to get the decorating done before the morning, he'd do well to bring in extra help: that meant Gabriella. Of course Gabriella jumped at the chance to spend another long night with Ryan, especially if she was spending it doing one of her favourite Christmas activities.

When Gabriella arrived she came well prepared. In her hands were two large bags filled with ribbons, tinsel, glass ornaments, glitter, glue, paint, and many other craft supplies. Ryan laughed and shook his head at her in amazement.

"When I asked you to come decorate the tree, what did you think I meant?" He asked her as he led her into the living room.

"Well, since this is your first Christmas away from home I figured that you might want to get creative. My mom and I always try to make at least one new ornament for the tree each year," she explained.

Gabriella sat on the floor of the living room in front of the tree which already had a few presents underneath it. She began to unload the spools of ribbon and things as she asked, "So your family is coming in the morning, right?"

Ryan sat down next to her and unloaded the other bag saying, "Yeah. Sharpay is getting in at ten I think and my parents should arrive soon after that. Isn't your mother coming in tomorrow as well?"

"Yes, at ten like Sharpay."

Ryan checked his watch, "Well, that gives us approximately twelve hours to get this tree together; if we don't sleep of course."

Gabriella giggled, "There will be plenty of time for sleeping, Ryan. You bought ornaments right?"

Ryan jumped up off of the floor and grabbed the bag of store bought ornaments that he kept in his closet. Gabriella inspected the ornaments and said, "These will do fine. Let's put these on first; then we will know how many extra to make."

Ryan began to open the boxes of ornaments as Gabriella rifled through her purse. Ryan hadn't noticed it before because she had been carrying the bags of crafts supplies. When she found what she was looking for, Gabriella stood up and made her way to the CD player.

"What are you putting in?" Ryan asked curiously. Gabriella hid the CD from Ryan's view on the floor as she put it into the player. That wasn't really necessary as it was a burned disk and wouldn't have been recognizable anyway, but she liked the secrecy of it.

"It's just a little something to get us in the decorating mood," she said cheeky.

At first Ryan didn't understand why Gabriella didn't want him to know what was on the CD because so far all he had heard was Christmas carols, and they were already about five songs in. As he grabbed a few more ornaments for the tree White Christmas began to fade and a new, much more upbeat song began to play.

Ryan slowly turned back to the tree as the familiar drum beat and guitar pattern made up the intro. Gabriella, who was trying very hard not to look at Ryan, was bopping around to the music as if she hadn't noticed the very un-Christmas-y song that was now playing. Ryan looked at her suspiciously as the first few words were sung by a male tenor: "Oh. Oooh. Oh. Oh….Oooh. Oh."

Gabriella could no longer resist the temptation and she turned around to look at Ryan with a big grin on her face. His jaw had dropped and eyes gone wide and she knew that he recognized the song. Gabriella's grin threatened to stretch beyond its limitations until she let out a burst of laughter which turned into a fit. She was doubled over within seconds and rolling on the floor.

Ryan couldn't believe that she had put this song in her mix of 'decorating mood' music. He hadn't heard this song since he and Sharpay were probably around ten years old. Sharpay had had a huge crush on the youngest brother of the band and played the album non-stop. The song brought on memories long forgotten of him and his twin sister dancing around their living room to the CD.

"Where did you find this song, Gaby?" He finally managed to sputter out.

Gabriella was still rolling on the floor when Ryan asked this question. She stopped her laughter long enough to say, "I've had the album since I was ten. It always makes me happy when I hear it, so I added it without a second thought."

"Sharpay and I used to dance around for hours to their CD. I don't think we ever found out what the chorus meant." He laughed and bent down to help Gabriella off of the floor.

"Yeah," Gabriella said as he helped her up. "Oh hear it comes." They had already missed the first verse and chorus, the second verse was now ending and the chorus soon began. Together they sang, "MmmBop. Ba doo, dapa doo bop. Dooba dapa doo bop, badoo, dapa doo. Yeah…"

Halfway through the chorus, Ryan and Gabriella abandoned their ornaments and began to dance around the living room as if they were ten again. When the song ended they remembered that they were supposed to be decorating and quickly resumed their festive activity. Soon they realized that the atmosphere wasn't quite the same with the same old Carols that had been playing before Hanson's Mmmbop and, with a deciding glance between the two, Gabriella replayed Mmmbop and set it re-play. For most of the night and into the early hours of the morning, that one song kept Ryan and Gabriella awake and in good spirits as they finished the tree.

Ryan placed the very last ornament on the tree with a flourish at 3 am, a hand made cardboard star tree-topper. He and Gabriella stood back from the tree admiring their handy work before taking a look around them and grimacing at their mess of ribbon, glitter, cardboard, and construction paper on the floor. With another glance at each other, they agreed to put off the clean up until they had had a nap.

Leaving for the bedroom, Ryan turned off the lights in the living room and the room went pitch black.

"Ryan!" Gabriella cried in indignation. "I'm still in here!"

Confused, Ryan flipped back on the lights. "What are you complaining about? It's not even that dark," he said continuing down the hall, oblivious.

Gabriella furrowed her eyebrows and stalked after him, "What are you talking about? It was pitchblack."

Ryan turned around to face Gabriella. "Oops. We must have forgotten to plug in the lights," he said with a shrug.

"What lights?"

Ryan put a hand on her shoulder leading her back to the living room. "The Christmas tree lights, silly."

He walked over to the wall by the tree to plug in the lights when Gaby said, "We didn't hang any lights, Ry." At this revelation they both groaned.

Gabriella looked at the digital clock on the CD player: it read 3:15 am

"Can we do it in the morning after we get some sleep?" she yawned.

Ryan stood up and began to walk to the closet where he had stored the ornaments, but halfway there he realized something else. Stopping in the middle of the hallway he groaned and smacked his forehead with his hand.

Gabriella followed him into the hall, "What now?"

Ryan didn't dare look at her. "I forgot to buy lights."

"Ryan…" she whined. "It's the day before Christmas Eve. Where are we going to find Christmas lights?"

"Technically, it's already Christmas Eve," Ryan said.

"Yeah, because that makes everything much better."

"Look, some stores are still open the day before Christmas. One of us can go in the morning after we've gotten some sleep while the other cleans up. Deal?"

Gabriella sighed, "Deal."

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