My disclaimer is that I own not the show nor the characters, but merely wish to. My warning is that this will end up a in homosexual relationship. Lilly/Miley. I doubt there will be strong language, but there may, eventually, be nudity. (Gasp, I know). I have the next 30 or so pages of this story prewritten, but that doesn't mean I don't want to hear from you. Please, leave a review.

---

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music. - Aldous Huxley

---

The guitar, she felt, was mocking her. It was perfectly in tune and yet she couldn't make it sound just how she wanted it to. Each sweet tang was torture – it sounded right but she couldn't fathom the right words to put to it. The song she was trying to write was very important to her and it needed to be perfect. This single song could make or break a relationship. It needed to be clear and concise, almost blunt, but at the same time she wanted every word to come directly from her heart.

She strummed the guitar's taut strings idly, gazing out at the ocean. It glittered in the fading sunlight. She was seated on the bench on the back porch enjoying the cool salt air and the rhythmic crashing of the waves on the shore. As her father had told her so many times, it was a great place to think.

Speaking of her father, he and Jackson were out in the front shooting hoops and Miley could vaguely hear Jackson's indignant howls as Robby Ray continuously stopped him from scoring. It brought a small smile to her face; Jackson probably wished he'd never told Robby to stop taking it easy on him.

Her thoughts turned to the subject matter for her newest song; unconsciously she smiled at her memories. There was just something cheery about that smile, those sparkling eyes, that loose blonde hair. Lately it was hard to look at her crush without wanting to run her fingers across that tanned skin, kiss those inviting lips. But currently acting on those impulses would be detrimental to the friendship she shared with Lilly.

She hummed a few chords under her breath before opening her mouth. It was disappointing – she expected at least a few lines of something useful to pop out, but nothing did. Frustrated, she went back to strumming the strings and thinking quietly. So deep in thought was she that she didn't see Robby Ray settle down next to her, spinning a basketball between his thumbs.

"Mile, what are you doing out here?"

His voice snapped her to attention and the faint guitar music ceased. She smiled sheepishly up at her father.

"Thinking, mostly."

"Trying to write a song?" He held onto the ball and tried spinning it on one finger with mild success.

"Trying." Miley eased the instrument off her lap and onto the ground by her feet. "Not succeeding, really."

"What's the occasion?" He rolled the basketball back towards the house. "No new recordings coming up, no birthdays, no holidays." He took the guitar and strummed a few bars.

"It's complicated." She wrung her hands nervously in her lap. This wasn't something she wanted to discuss with her dad just yet.

"I'm listening." He lazily tossed an arm over her shoulders, awkwardly giving her a hug.

"It's for someone special. A song that nobody else will hear. I just can't put how I feel into words. It's really frustrating! It's not supposed to be this hard…" She leaned her head on his chest.

"So it's a love song, eh?"

Miley blushed, though he wouldn't see it in the rapidly growing darkness. "A private love song."

"Are you telling me you won't tell your dear old dad who it's for?" He rubbed his little nub of a goatee thoughtfully, "It's not Oliver, is it?"

"No!" She cried. What would make him think that, "Never!"

He grinned good-naturedly, "Just makin' sure. You've never written a song for someone before. Must be someone pretty special."

Miley stalled a moment by reaching for the guitar and stealing it back. "I'll tell you when I'm ready."

He rubbed her back for a moment before a large crash coming from the living room sent him flying inside. Miley had to smile as Jackson's lame cries floated to her ears.

"It wasn't me! I swear that vase wasn't there the last time I flipped over the couch! It got in my way. Miley did it!"

She closed her eyes and took a deep, calming breath. The words she needed were there; she just needed to let them flow without thinking too hard about it. And slowly, like drops of water from a leaking faucet, they came. She caught them on a scrap of paper, scribbling madly to make sure she got all of it down.

Just a short ways down the beach, a certain blonde male grimaced at the sand gathering in his shoes. He wished he had worn a pair of sandals but it was too late to harbor regrets. He gingerly stepped through the sand heading inland. It had been quite a few months since he'd sent the rose to Miley and he felt that he'd changed enough for her to consider dating him again.

The faint strains of Miley's new melody danced through his ears. It was catchy, that was for sure, and he knew exactly who was singing it. That was a voice he wouldn't forget for years to come. It brought a dashing smile to his lips.

The song itself was captivating. It spoke volumes about Miley. Slow and heart-felt, yet the words were full of longing with a small touch of passion. His smile widened; Miley obviously had been missing him since the last time he had spent time in Malibu. It was heartening to find out that she wanted him as well. How surprised she'd be to see him at school tomorrow. Then, perhaps, she'd present her song for him. Who else could the song be for? Miley would be pining for him, Jake Ryan, or his name wasn't Jake Ryan.

He conveniently ignored the fact that it wasn't his real name.

Miley clutched the guitar to her chest, unaware of her audience. She folded the lyrics up and slid them into her back pocket. It was perfect, and hopefully Lilly would like it. After talking with Robby Ray the words had just come to her, as she had wanted them to. Tomorrow, she promised silently, she'd play this for the object of her affection. She had to get this off her chest before it ate her alive.

She just had to trust that her feelings were reciprocated. Friendship was only one step away from dating, after all. Miley didn't know what she'd do if Lilly reacted badly. She was risking her best friend for something as silly as a petty crush. She'd been ignoring it for months now, and would have continued ignoring it save for the fact that it was getting harder and harder to ignore the butterflies in her stomach when Lilly was close to her.

Sleep that night was filled with tossing and turning and nightmares. In her dreams Miley presented the song only for Lilly to start laughing and walk away. She woke in the morning in a cold sweat. Her mind was full of doubt but she couldn't forget the promise she made to herself. Her distraction led her to school where she dropped her head against a locker and let it sit there, unmoving.

She glanced down the hallway, barely tilting her head to the side. Her heart began pounding wildly and she wanted madly to wipe her clammy hands on her skirt. Her lips felt much too dry but she didn't dare try to apply more lip gloss.

"Miley! Why didn't you wait for me before school?" Lilly stopped a few feet away, hands placed on her hips, eyebrows narrowed accusingly.

Miley glanced up, meeting the eyes of the only female she'd ever been so taken with and tried to smile. The smile didn't turn out very well and Miley thought she probably looked like a dying cow rather than a happy girl.

"I'm sorry, Lilly. I guess I was just really distracted this morning. It was an accident."

Lilly stared at Miley for a long moment, but didn't relent. Her angry glare remained plastered on her face. Still upset, she marched away, "See you in class."

Internally Miley berated herself – that was smooth, real smooth. She shook her head angrily. Only a professional screw up like her could get her best friend and crush upset with one stupid action.

She was knocked from her thoughts as Oliver pounded the locker next to Miley's. It popped open and he shut it immediately, hoping the owner wasn't around to see him. He grinned at her.

"What's got Lilly so wound up?"

Miley's shoulders drooped, "I forgot to walk to school with her this morning."

"Wow, that's rough," he commented, "You've never forgotten before. Is something wrong?"

"Can you keep your mouth shut?" Miley snatched the front of his shirt, drawing him so that their noses were almost touching. She stared into his eyes, trying to act intimidating. Apparently, it worked; he struggled to get away.

"If you can let me go!" He hated that she had such a strong death grip.

"Quiet!" Miley released him. "Remember, this is just between me and you for now, got it?"

He nodded, "I can't tell Lilly?"

"Especially not Lilly. Since… well, it's about her." Miley swallowed roughly, unwilling to go on, but needing to. It would make her feel better to know that she had some support if something went wrong. "I kind of… like her. And I wrote a song for –"

"Me," Jake Ryan tapped her shoulder, lowering his dark shades and giving her a sideways smirk. He just oozed self-confidence. "I heard you singing last night and I can't wait to hear all of it. I'll meet you at the beach, okay? In that little hidden cove."

Miley shook her head and protested to no avail. Jake had already hurried off in the other direction. He was flanked by raving females and it was obvious he enjoyed the attention for all he tried to get away.

"You like Lilly?!" The dam burst in Oliver. He had been holding that back while Jake was around. "You like Lilly, but you wrote Jake a song."

"No, you doughnut! I like Lilly and I wrote the song for Lilly. I don't know how Jake overheard me, but it's not for him. But now Lilly's angry with me. Oliver, you've got to get her to the beach where I'm meeting Jake. She has to hear it. I can let Jake down there, where it'll be private."

"Won't Jake be ticked off at you? For turning him down again?" Oliver was beginning to regret having two female best friends. Girls were so complicated.

"Yes, but I can't tell him in public! I couldn't hurt him like that. And besides, he'd cause a scene and totally embarrass me!" To Miley, her logic was fool-proof and well thought out. Reasonable. To Oliver, the logic was flawed and rushed.

"But Jake already said he wasn't going to spill your secret." He argued back, still sure this wasn't the best way to deal with the current situation.

"But nothing. No movie-star wants to be dumped twice, and in public. Maybe he'd keep his mouth shut about Hannah, but he'd still cause a fuss. Jake was made for publicity. Anything that happens to him gets into the papers."

Oliver shrugged, giving in. It was pointless to argue with Miley when she got worked up. "Alright… If you say so."

She hugged him briefly, "You're the best, Oliver."

"That's why they call me Smokin' Oken." He tried to mimic Jake's smile.

They parted smiling, not sure how this mix-up was going to turn out. It wasn't until later that Miley had time to think about what happened that morning. Oliver had hardly batted an eye over her confession, almost as if he'd known about it before she had. It was a mild shock to her system. Oliver was a great friend, she realized, not for the first time. She hoped that Lilly would be as open minded.

During the course of the school day, Miley reacted politely to Jake's attempted conversations, if a little coldly. Lilly completely ignored her and Oliver was the go-between. Lilly's cold shoulder was getting frustrating; Miley wanted to talk to her, but even during lunch, Lilly remained aloof.

"Tell Lilly that I'm really sorry."

"Lilly, Miley says that she's really sorry."

"Tell Miley that she won't have to worry about forgetting me again. I'm not going to walk with her anymore."

"Miley, Lilly says –"

"I heard, Oliver." Miley slumped down in her chair.

The lunchroom bustled with activity. It was the center for all gossip and rumors, and though it was hard to pick out specific conversations, tidbits rained down from all around them. Miley managed to hear at least five tables discussing Jake Ryan's love life. Her name was mentioned several times. Unfortunately, Lilly heard them, too.

"And now you're dating Jake again and didn't tell me." Lilly seemed to forget that she was ignoring Miley. Oliver, for one, was glad.

"Well, I'm not!" Miley responded hotly.

"He sure thinks you are." Lilly retorted, her temper flaring. She folded her arms defensively across her chest. "I thought we were supposed to be best friends. You said we needed to be honest with each other."

"I am being honest! There's nothing going on!"

And for half a second, Lilly seemed to be relenting. She was starting to accept this as a huge misunderstanding. Her reconciliation was cut short, though, when Jake slid into an open seat near Miley and smiled winningly.

"So, we still on with our date after school?"

Miley wanted to smack her head on the table. Lilly shot them both disapproving looks before stalking away. Jake didn't seem to notice and only smiled harder.

"Jake, this isn't a date, okay?"

"Oh," he didn't change his tone or facial expression. It was almost as if he didn't believe her and for all she knew, he didn't. "Well, see you after school. Don't forget your guitar."

Miley let her head flop onto her arms. "Could this get any worse?"

Oliver glanced around nervously, "Do you really want me to answer that?"

"You doughnut."