Early Morning Confessions
By Jeune Ecrivain
Rating: T (just to be safe)
Summary: Miley Stewart was never a morning person, but when her best male friend wakes her up at 3 AM, she finds that it's one kind of wake-up call she doesn't mind at all.
A/N: This turned out a bit more dramatic than I'd intended, so I hope I put in enough light-hearted touches.
Miley Stewart groaned softly as she rolled over in her bed, greeted by the bluish-black dimness of her night-bathed bedroom. She blinked groggily, irritated by whatever it was that had caused her to wake up in the middle of the night. Miley was not exactly what one might call a morning person. Trying to get her out of bad any earlier than eight o'clock was most often a suicide mission. She considered it a crime against humanity that something had disturbed her slumber while the morning sun was still nowhere to be seen. The hiss of the persistent rain outside did nothing to help her mood. Yet it wasn't the rainfall that had apparently awoken her, as she found out when a distinctly different sound reached her ears.
She looked towards her large bedroom window and waited for the source of the mysterious sound to manifest itself once again so she may have a better clue as to what it was. Sure enough, what looked like a beachside pebble struck the glass pane with a clink before falling away again. With another groan, she rose from her comfortable bed and walked over sleepily, determined to locate whoever or whatever was launching those wretched stones and then stuff the next one down its or his/her throat…or maybe up the other end.
However, surprise suppressed her aggravation as she took in the sight below her. Staring up at her, apparently oblivious to his own drenched condition, was a lone male figure. His eyes met hers the second she made herself visible through the window, and she gasped ever so softly. His pajama pants and muscle shirt were soaked beyond recognition, and his black hair was dripping like a mop. He looked strangely like an abandoned puppy, except that the look in his eyes had an element of determination.
Miley's best friend was standing in what could hardly be called a light drizzle, looking up at her with an unspoken request to talk. What about, she could only guess, but she knew it had to be serious. Oliver Oken was even less of a morning person than she.
Before she knew what she was doing, she was rushing down the stairs, intent on finding out what had possessed her best male friend of five years to pull such a stunt. She sighed in preparation for whatever conversation awaited her and opened the door. There he stood, his expression unchanged from her first sighting of him. He looked so pitiful she didn't know whether to chuckle or wrap her arms around him in a sympathetic embrace.
Ten minutes later, Miley arose from having sat cross-legged on her bed as Oliver emerged from the bathroom she shared with her older brother Jackson. His own soaking attire abandoned for now, he had discretely borrowed some of Jackson's shorts and a T-shirt. They held each other's gaze for a few moments before Miley finally couldn't take the drama. "Oken, you donut!" she said, a warm yet teasing smile gracing her lips. "You'd better have a darn good reason for this!"
He chuckled amusedly at her. "Trust me. This has got to be the earliest I've ever been up in…ever."
"Then what gives?" she said, the last word punctuated with a stifled yawn. "It's three AM! What's your story, boy?"
His response was to laugh softly albeit whole-heartedly.
She shot him a glare. "What's so funny?"
"Your accent," he replied, referring to her subtle country-western twang. "It's even cuter when you're sleepy."
Miley grinned as she felt the faintest blush creep into her cheeks. "If you came over here at this ungodly hour just to make fun of my accent, all I have to say is don't bother sending me a postcard from the Pearly Gates."
Oliver laughed for a moment before all humor dwindled from his voice. "No, I…I would never really make fun of you."
Miley sensed the change in his mood. He looked so serious, which was highly unusual for him. "What's up?" she asked softly, concern flavoring her voice.
"You're gonna think this is silly," he said.
"Just tell me," she replied, hoping she could convey enough warmth in her tone that he would continue.
"I had a dream."
Miley eyed him quizzically. "Okay," she breathed tentatively. "I'm guessing it wasn't a good dream."
"Not really," he confirmed. "I mean, it wasn't horrific or anything, it just…wasn't something I'd like to see happen in real life."
Oliver paused before taking a seat on the edge of her bed, and she instinctively sat down gingerly beside him. "We were older," he began. "Like, late 20s or something. You were married to Jake. He was still a big-shot movie actor. You were still Hannah Montana. I was at your wedding. You were beautiful, and you looked so happy dancing with Jake at the ceremony. Then you went on your honeymoon. Flash forward a few years, and you have a couple of really cute kids. They called me Uncle Ollie."
Miley giggled softly, and a gentle chuckle escaped Oliver's lips as well. She gave his arm gentle squeeze, wordlessly telling him to continue.
"I had a wife of my own, but our relationship was kind of on the rocks. I spent a lot of time at you and Jake's house just to get away from it all. Lilly helped out sometimes, too."
He sighed and pursed his lips, which Miley took as a signal that the climax of his tale was approaching.
"Then, one day, you went to pick your kids up from some extracurricular activity. But you never made it. Some drunk ran through a red light and hit you head on."
The nature of his tale now clear, Miley squeezed his arm again and rubbed his back with her free hand. She had little doubt about how his dream ended, but something inside told her that he needed to be the one to voice it.
"I got the news that you were dead, and I was hysterical. I went to your funeral. After it was all over, people were slowly walking away from your casket. I turned to follow them, but it was too much. I dropped to my knees, and I was about to give off this devastated scream when I woke up."
He had recounted his tragic dream with surprisingly little difficulty. He looked serious and crestfallen, but never actually mournful. Miley hardly noticed this, though, as she immediately began comforting her longtime companion. "Oh, Oliver," she said softly. "It's okay. I'm right here. I'm fine. I'm not going anywhere anytime soon. Believe me, I'm not going down that young, at least without a heck of a fight." She said the last statement with a confident smirk, injecting some humor into the situation.
He smirked back and stood up, looking out the window at which he had been throwing pebbles just a short while ago. Miley watched him for a moment in silence. He looked content, solemn, and nervous all at the same time. "As bad as you dying was, I don't think that was the point of the dream."
She gave him a look that blended concern with puzzlement. "Then what was it?"
"Sometimes, I think…a dream is meant to help you put things in perspective. You know?" He turned to face her again. "Your death was the icing on the cake as far as nightmare criteria goes, but that wasn't what made it a bad dream to begin with."
"You relationship with your wife?"
"No," he answered. "Yours and Jake's."
Miley tried to deduce his meaning. "Did he abuse me or something? I thought you said we were happy."
"No, he wasn't abusive. He didn't always seem to be as attentive as he should've been, but it was nothing like that."
"Well, then what was it?" she asked, somewhat confused.
Oliver hesitated, and Miley saw an inner battle raging within him. One second, he looked resolute. Another, he looked tempted to say "Forget it" as casually as possible and march out the door. She waited patiently, trying her best to convey with her eyes that he could tell her anything. Finally, he got a hold of himself and spoke, albeit not without some apparent self-coercion. "Look,…do you remember when I found out you were Hannah Montana? After we talked things through, we hugged, and you asked if I still felt anything for you?"
Miley nodded, a fledgeling awareness arising within the depths of her mind about just where this conversation might be headed.
"I said no," he stated the obvious, a hint of self-derision in his voice. Opening his mouth again, the words hung in his throat for a moment before he choked them out. "I lied." Miley hardly had time to realize that her previously slight suspicions were rapidly gaining credibility before Oliver continued. "If anything, it just made my love for you more real" At this Miley gasped softly, but Oliver forced himself to go on. "When I came up with that cover story about you being in love with me to keep Becca snowed about Hannah Montana, in my own little way, I was trying to live a fantasy of mine as best I could."
Miley was now staring at him in shock, but she intuitively remained silent, somehow knowing that he had more to get off his chest.
"In my dream, whenever you kissed Jake, I wanted it to be me. Whenever he wrapped his arms around you and nuzzled your neck, I wanted it to be me. Everytime your kids called me Uncle Ollie, I wished for them to call me Daddy instead. Whenever you helped me through my problems with my wife, I couldn't help having thoughts about you that a married man really shouldn't have about another woman. I knew I really wanted it to be you I woke up to every morning, not her. Basically, life just didn't seem quite right. And you know why?"
Miley by now had a pretty good idea of what the reason was, but she couldn't bring herself to say it yet. He surprised her, however, with an unexpected answer.
"I was a coward," Oliver stated simply. "I was too afraid to tell you how I feel, so I just stood by and let these things happen." He sighed before going further. "Maybe I'm being melodramatic about this, but I think this dream was kind of like the Ghost of Christmas Future showing Scrooge how things would be if he didn't straighten up his act." He reclaimed his seat on the bed and caught her gaze once more. "I don't want to be the guy that missed out on what could have been the greatest thing in his life because he was too afraid to go out on a limb. I don't want to be the guy who goes through life regretting that he never got the chance to tell the girl he loved how he felt. I don't want to be that guy from some tragic love story."
Oliver shushed her with a gentle forefinger on her lips. "Now, I know the chances of you feeling the same way aren't the greatest,…" At this, Miley opened her mouth to protest, but he shushed her once more. "…but I know now that I couldn't live with myself if I didn't tell you how I feel." He sighed once more and smirked. "So, being the donut that I am, I rushed over here to do just that." At this point, he gripped her shoulders gently and looked into her eyes as if peering into her soul. "I love you, Miley. As a friend…and so much more."
Miley sat there, speechless. She would have been happy if she hadn't been so busy being stunned. Over the last couple of years, she'd found herself entertaining daring new thoughts about Oliver. She knew despite herself that she had developed feelings for him that matched at least some of his for her. She hadn't intended to, nor had she expected to, but it had happened. Although the thought had never occurred to her to actually take these feelings seriously and do something about it, she now wondered why she had never done so. Suddenly, his confession incited within her a feeling of warmth and contentment, and she could think of no one else in the world from whom she'd rather have heard it. Slowly but surely, she found her voice. "Oliver…I…don't know what to say." He opened his mouth to respond, his face betraying his growing nervousness, but she cut him off. "You know what? I do know what to say. How could you be so sure I didn't feel anything for you?"
He looked at her in confusion. "Well, after all that stuff about brothers and pet fish, you kinda made it pretty clear."
"Oliver, we were 14! That was three years ago! Sometimes things change!"
For the first time, a trace of hope shone in Oliver's eyes. "Wait a minute. Are you saying you do have feelings for me?"
"Of course I do, you donut!" she blurted.
Oliver's face took on a distinctly new expression, a blend of elation and skepticism. She could tell he still couldn't quite decide if he dared believe it or not, so she decided to make it easy for him. She slapped him on the arm.
"That was for all the time you wasted not saying anything!" she explained in mock admonition. "And this," she continued, her voice softening dramatically as she leaned in and touched the tip of her nose to his, "is for the sweetest declaration of love anyone's ever given me." With that, she kissed him tenderly on the lips, drew back but a millimeter, and captured his lips with hers once more in a much more passionate liplock. He responded immediately, causing her to moan in pleasure as he massaged her lips with his own. After several heated moments, he broke away and cupped her face in his hands. "Are you sure?" he whispered, shaking with anticipation.
She looked him in the eyes and nodded. "I love you, Oliver. Get that through your thick head."
He laughed out loud in ecstasy as he circled his arms around her waist, pulled her into his lap, and seized her lips with his own, holding her as if to never let go. Miley wrapped her own arms around his neck and kissed him back fervently, hoping to drive all remaining doubt from his mind with her lips. For once, she didn't mind being woken up at three AM. She didn't mind at all.