Miley Stewart bustled noisily around the house, trying to find her slippers without tripping over all of the boxes that littered the floor. The light pitter-patter of the rain caught her attention and she stopped to glance out the window at the slowly darkening sky. Sighing lightly, she continued to search for her elusive slippers and mentally scolded herself for picking an awful day to move.
Finally finding her slippers hidden beneath her bed, she smiled triumphantly and stuffed them in a large cardboard box labeled 'Sleep'. Having finished that task, she set about packing the remaining knick-knacks in her room, laughing out loud when she discovered her old Spice Girls CD hidden beneath her University of Southern California: Marine Biology diploma. Deciding to take it with her, she stuffed it in her box of CDs and taped the flaps closed before returning back to work. When she got to her dresser, she paused to look at the pictures covering every available surface and smiled slightly as she looked into the faces of her family and friends. Her eyes landed on one picture in particular, causing her face to break out into a large grin.
It was the picture of Lily, Oliver, Jake, and herself at their graduation five years ago, wearing the proud school colors of blue and white. Golden tassels hung on the left of their caps, shining in the sunlight. Their bright smiling faces reminded Miley of the 'good old days', before everyone finally went their separate ways.
Oliver grew into his looks, becoming quite a handsome man during his senior year. After graduation, he moved to the east coast and attended Virginia Tech, where he finally bloomed into the social butterfly he was destined to be. Miley was surprised to hear that he had become the resident playboy at the University, where girls flocked to him like a moth to a flame. Apparently his California tan, charming personality, and handsome looks were a hit with the ladies and it was said that he would sometimes have multiple dates in one evening. He graduated with a degree in automotive engineering and was now interning with the BMW Corporation, where he hoped to permanently work. Miley still talked to Oliver on occasion through email and text messaging, but he was constantly busy with work and couldn't always find the time to talk.
Lily turned into a lovely young woman during her senior year and had finally learned to fit in with her gender. Although she was still a tom-boy at heart, her wardrobe and tastes changed to fit her new girly attitude, catching the eyes of a few males. She never dated anyone, but their continued interest in her boosted her confidence. She attended The University of Texas in Houston, where she met Adam, her boyfriend of three years, and graduated with a degree in business management. The rumor from the Truscott family was that Adam was planning to propose to Lily once he got a promotion in the advertising agency he worked in, which was supposedly coming soon. Miley had met Adam the few times Lily came home for the holidays and knew they were a perfect match. Their goofy and mischievous personalities were too similar to ignore. Although they weren't as close as they once were, Lily and Miley still talked to each other constantly; at least twice a week. Lily would always make sure to stop by whenever she was in town and Miley made the trip to Texas a few times to visit her.
Miley smiled at the memories that resurfaced and placed the picture into the box. Her eyes slid over to the photo of her and Jake on the beach and her fingers caressed the frame lovingly. Her image was straddling Jake's back, her arms linked around the front of his neck as his strong arms held her legs around his waist. Both were smiling up at her and she was compelled to smile back, gliding her fingertips over Jake's handsome face.
Jake and Miley spent two beautiful, love-filled years together. After that day in Oliver's backyard, the two was nearly inseparable and they were known as Seaview High School's 'it' couple. Because Jake's near suicide was due to unreasonable amounts of stress, the four friends decided never to bring it up again with the expectation that if one of them ever reached that point, they would talk to each other instead of withholding their feelings and thoughts. Jake never felt the need to repeat the actions of that afternoon, however, since he always had Miley to make him feel loved and wanted.
During their last summer together before college, Jake and Miley mutually broke off their relationship and decided to remain friends, knowing that long-distance relationships never worked out. Although they loved each other very much, they knew it was for the best and departed with a chaste kiss and a promise to call. Jake moved to France, where he attended the American University of Paris and graduated with a degree in French language and literature. Throughout his education, his acting career grew larger and larger and he was now one of Hollywood's hottest actors, starring in at least one movie a year. How he managed to balance his career and schoolwork was beyond Miley, but she was proud of him all the same. They had tried keeping in touch over the years, meeting up at Hollywood events and celebrity parties while she was still Hannah Montana, but as time passed by their communication became less and less until it disappeared altogether. Miley couldn't blame Jake, though, since USC was a long ways away from Paris.
As Miley looked at Jake's smiling face, she wondered where he was and what he was doing at this very moment. It had been a year since he'd graduated from college and she had no clue what he'd done since then. Running her hands over the frame one last time, she sighed softly and gently placed it into the box with the others. She knew she still loved him – there's no way she'd ever be able to forget her first love – and she wondered what would have happened if they never broke up that second time. Would they still be together? Or would they have drifted apart anyway? Closing her eyes, she tried to keep her thoughts and emotions in check.
'The past is the past,' she thought, 'and nothing is going to change that.'
Packing up the remains of her photographs, she taped the box shut and, deciding to take that box out first, picked it up and headed toward the door. When she reached the door frame, she paused and looked back into her now-empty room. Her gaze flicked to her bare bed in the corner and she smiled softly at the memory of her and Jake making love for the first time. Her eyes moved to the balcony, where Jake had climbed into her room a few times in the middle of the night. Lastly, her blue eyes settled on the once purple and pink doors that had led to her Hannah Montana closet. It was now empty of course, since she had retired Hannah once college began, but the secret that still connected her to Lily, Oliver, and Jake allowed a grin to erupt on her face.
Having had enough memories for a day, Miley quickly exited the room and made her way downstairs toward the front door. The shades were drawn to deter thieves from thinking the house was empty, since Miley was by herself and didn't want to be in danger if a thief did decide to come in. Mr. Stewart and Jackson were out getting the furniture for Miley's new apartment and told her they'd meet her there in a few hours.
Hoisting the box onto her hip to help balance it, she grabbed the door handle and opened the door, revealing a damp Jake Ryan with his hand poised to knock. Miley nearly dropped the box in her hands as she gasped in surprise. He was just as she remembered him – handsome and tall, with a halo of golden hair and bright, sparkling sea-green eyes. He slowly lowered his poised hand and smiled lightly at her, his eyes twinkling with joy at seeing her after so many years.
Miley felt all of the tension in her body slip away as a feeling of comfort swept through. Smiling softly, she leaned against the door frame, box in hand.
Maybe the third time will be the charm.
A/N: AND THAT'S THE END! GAHHHH! It feels both fantastic and depressing that this fic is finally finished (whoa, alliteration much?) I want to thank you guys so much for your reviews and support of this story - it was flipping AWESOME! Now, to provide you with some Stats...
MOST REVIEWED CHAPTER: 10
LEAST REVIEWED CHAPTER: 3
MY FAVORITE CHAPTER: 16
MY LEAST FAVORITE CHAPTER: 3 (which is why I completely understand the lack of reviews for that chapter...)
Last but not least, I'd like to thank Wolfwhisperer and Aprilrainer15 for being amazing and reviewing every chapter. I'd also like to thank everyone who gave me ideas and feedback for this story and I hope to see you all during my next story! Cheers! 3