Author's Note: And I'm back! Feeling better then last time, thank-you for your concern.
Greyiron-93: It is spelled 'Lilly' but ironically enough long ago when I first started out someone told me it was 'Lily.' And I've used that ever since. In my next Miley/Lilly story it will be correct but for the rest of this story and Paper Cuts it will be kept 'Lily' because I hate changing things like that in the middle of a story. (I'm crazy just go with it.)
To Everyone Else: I love you, truly I do, and your reviews mean the world to me. I know I was away for far too long and you can crucify me later, promise, just let me finish my stories.
I'm closing my eyes now. The darkness sooths my frazzling mind and besides seeing her this way- eyes wide, lips slightly parted- it makes my blood sizzle and burn in an unpleasant nature. I want to touch her warm cheeks and reassure her that no, we are strictly friends. I can't be the one to break her. I can't be the one to tell her that we are (were) in love and the world is against us, hates us.
I open my eyes, slowly. She's still there, sitting at the table, waiting. My knees buckle slightly. I feel like I'm going to be sick.
"Miley… are you alright?" Lily's voice fills me whole but suffocates me with its deep woven sincerity. Oh god.
"I'm… you…" My breathing comes hard and fast, sweat forms on my palms. What do I do? Say? "Where would you get an idea like that?" I smile nervously. Playing dumb never ever works.
"Oh." Lily's face closes, her mouth turns down and she fidgets awkwardly with her hands. "It's just… well…"
"Do you remember something?" That sounded too eager I cringe slightly and back farther away from her.
Lily bites her lip. "I don't know… it's strange."
Her eyes cast down to the floor. "It's embarrassing." She whispers. "Miley, sometimes… it could just be a dream."
"What was it?" I hiss. My tone appears too harsh because Lily's head snaps to me with a hurtful expression. "I'm sorry." I say quickly ducking my head in shame. "It's just…"
"Frustrating." She nods in understanding.
"Yes." I breathe out while finally really meeting her eye. Lily settles back into her seat.
"I saw us in the principal's office…" She begins. "Or I remember it… or something. But I punched a girl… I hit her for you. Why?"
I open my mouth, gathering what is left of my courage. "Lily we-"
The back door swings open. Mrs. Truscott comes stumbling in with her arms filled with two brown grocery bags. "Oh, hello girls." She smiles setting the bags down and flipping a strand of her hair back out of her face.
"Are you staying for dinner Miley?" The question comes as a surprise. Mrs. Truscott and I haven't spoken since the rather awkward short conversation at the hospital.
"No, I should go." I say quickly and like a coward I run away, tail between my legs. Seeing my house comes as a great relief. After closing the front door behind me I walk slowly up the stairs. I need a break.
I like taking hot showers. Let the bathroom fill with breathtaking steam, let the water burn my back, make it sizzle. I need to scrub my skin clean with the soap, rub it till it's raw. I lean my head forward into the pouring water and let my body shake. My teeth chatter. My bones tremble as I feel a new fit of tears rattle up my spine.
The steam rises and I pull myself back from the pounding water and breathe in the humid air. The shower is the perfect place for a quick breakdown/cry. Flipping the handle of the shower I pull the curtain back and dry off. The post warm shower air is cold and runs an icy finger up my back. Shivering I slip into a large bathrobe and begin combing my hair. The fluffy robe on my damp skin feels so good, claming.
"Breathe." I tell myself, hands clutching the edge of the white skin. "Breathe." And for once I take my own advice and breathe steadily. I let a small fragment of hope rise up in my chest. It spews through my body. The warmth gives comfort. For the first time in a long time I feel a smile on my face. She's remembering. She's remembering…
It's funny how school seems to be the least of my worries. I just… don't care. Oliver offers little if any comfort to me. He seems to only add to my distress with his 'sorry' eyes and brief hand squeezes.
Mrs. Fredrick, even now, brings me no joy. I haven't been a loyal student to her. And now sitting in her class one dreadful Thursday afternoon I can't bring myself to paint. Bonnie has been eyeing me strangely again. She looks like she wants to say something. Or at least try and help. I don't need help; I just need Lily, always Lily.
"Miss. Stewart!" Mrs. Fredrick beckons with one of her long fingers, signaling for me to follow her outside of the classroom.
Standing slowly I follow her with my head down. She looks angry as she closes the door. "Why are you not participating?" Mrs. Fredrick asks me with a peeved scowl.
I lean up against the gray way and sigh, my body aches everywhere. "Miss. Stewart, I will not tolerate laziness." She warns, green orbs flashing dangerously.
"I'm… having trouble concentrating, sorry." I shrug off her words with glazed eyes.
"I will not have it! You are in high waters, Miss. Stewart. No student of mine with lounge about, no matter the condition of your heart you will paint." She demands with a frowning brow. "As a friend Miley," My head snaps at the sound of my name, "As a friend I care. I won't let you fail." A hint of a kind smile is traced across Mrs. Fredrick's features for a moment before sweeping passed me.
I pull my thoughts together before following her back in and sitting down. She's right, I need to focus. I pick up my pencil and begin tracing light sketchy lines around the white paper. I'm going to beat this depression, this feeling and find my Lily in the mist of confusion.
"You're wearing make-up."
My blush deepens; it's nice to see her noticing. I haven't bothered with prettying up my face in a long while. But today after school I raced home and rekindled my association with my old friends.
"You like it?" I ask shyly gesturing to my face.
Lily pauses then nods. "I do, I mean you look… different happier… not that you don't look good without make-up, I mean you always look good but… I'm going to stop talking now." She babbles turning red and shaking her head.
I let a laugh fill the empty space and it relaxes the air. We're sitting in her room. Lily is at her desk with one of her legs resting underneath her and I'm standing near the door.
"What are you up to?"
"Oh," Lily looks back to her wooden desk, "I was writing. Just dabbling you know. My doctor, Darcell, she said it was good that I was taking interest in my old hobbies, honestly I haven't been feeling up to writing, or talking, or anything."
"Why not?" I wonder walking closer to her.
Lily shrugs. "It's weird. I've been having these flashes again. Doctor Darcell says it's really good but I can't place what's real or what order everything goes in. I'm all mixed up. It's like a puzzle… I get headaches a lot." She looks so sad. I want to take it all away; I want to give her a release.
"Sorry." I whisper reaching out and stroking her cheek. Lily takes a sharp intake of breath as my fingers come in contact with her cheek. Her eyes close.
"I know your touch." She says to me in a thick voice. "I know this, but it's so vague. Help me remember." Her eyes open.
I pull my hand back. "Lily." I sigh kneeling down in front of her.
"Don't lie to me. You're making it worse… I have all these feelings for you. Tell me I'm not crazy, I did not imagine this." Lily's face scrunches up as her words and eyes become serious. "Please," She begs meekly taking my hand and placing it back on her cheek. I gulp and feel my skin burn. "Tell me." She whispers into my wrist.
The same burning sensation rises inside. It acts much like a building wave roaring in my ears. Mrs. Fredrick was right, high waters are all around me but I won't drown in it. I will pick myself up!
"I- I love you." My words are so raw, so soft all I have ever wanted for the last few months is to tell her this. But now, letting her lean into my touch as I confess my deepest thought, it does not feel right. I feel as though I've cheated her.
"There," She smiles, "That wasn't so hard now was it?" She leans in close to my face. "Is this a-alright?" Her lips brush my cheek.
"No!" I jerk away, almost falling back. "Lily… you don't have to-"
She shakes her head, her hair swaying back and forth. "Miley, its fine, this feels right." She takes both my hands in hers. "I may not remember everything but I know what I feel right now. I know how I want us to be." She runs her fingers across my lips.
"I d-don't understand…" I whisper, voice shaking, heart soaring.
"Kiss me." A quant request she asks and then- soft lips like flower petals closed in on mine. Oh, how I have missed this. I let my hands claim her hair once again. She pulls me in rediscovering my lips, my hips where her hands rest.
"Lily…" I say into her shoulder as she pulls away and kisses the side of my neck.
"Wait." Lily says looking into my eyes, her blues ones a dark navy flaming. "I brought you to poetry night. We… we confessed our secrets to each other on the beach. I brought you to Cat's Music store. You're Hannah Montana! I'm Lola! Miley, Miley!" She's crying now, tears streaming down her face rapidly, but her face lights up with a new realization. "I know, I remember… You're my sunflower girl." She says softly stroking my hair. She's pieced it all together, like a puzzle. But how did this happen? Why now? … Better yet, why does it matter?
Warm tears fall from my eyes as I let out a shaky laugh and dry her face with my sleeve. "You came back." I smile through my wet eyes.
She nods and quickly sits next to me on the floor. Our arms over lap into each other. We come together like one person, no longer separated into two lonely parts. "You drew my picture." She says tenderly in my hair. "You made me feel safe in your bed that night. You love me… you love me. God, Miley," She holds me tighter. "I was so lost…"
I shake my head. "Not anymore… I'm sorry I stayed away for so long."
"I just needed your touch, your kiss." She says, her warm breath on my skin making the small hairs stand to her mercy.
"Like Sleeping Beauty." I laugh softly wiping my eyes. She backs away, but only little.
"I love you." She tells me while tenderly caressing my cheek.
I sigh happily into her hands. "You have no idea how wonderful it is to hear…"
I'm sitting in Mrs. Fredrick's classroom; she's absent today which is very odd. The sun is shinning brightly through the windows it warms my back. I'm gluing down my painted flower pictures from long ago. I'm creating the collage I had for a moment forgotten. I'm cementing all the pictures on a large rectangular piece of cardboard. My hair is tied in a tight bun as I diligently work. The glue dries on my fingers, taking a break, I begin peeling it off.
I hope Mrs. Fredrick likes my work. I'm trying again and it shows in my grades. It's been two weeks since Lily's recovery. She's had to go in for many doctor appointments since then. Doctor Darcell is keeping a close watch over Lily. She's announced Lily's regained memory as a miracle. I personally don't care how it happened just that it did. We've been inseparable ever since.
Although she won't be able to come back to school at least for another month she's making such progress. I can't help but feel proud of her, she's come so far.
"Interesting." Bonnie remarks on my piece as she dries off her wet hands with a towel. "I really like the sunflower in the middle, makes me think of the sun, you know like a solar system of flowers." She laughs.
I nod and take in her words. "I never thought of that actually… but thanks I like that, solar system of flowers." The name feels nice over my rolling off my tongue.
As I'm about to dive back into my project my name is called over the intercom. I'm asked to head to the principal's office. The class snickers as I stand and grab a hall pass from the substitute with glazed over eyes.
As I walk the empty halls I desperately try and remember anything I've done in the past few weeks. This adds up to nothing, I've been an exceptional student, handing my homework in on time, never contradicting a teacher. And I've even been tolerant among my peers, which is a hard task considering I've become a prime target of mockery since Lily's and mine relationship.
The front office has a thick smell of lemon disinfectant today. Mrs. Burros points me to a waiting chair as she answers one of phones and takes a message. I plop down into the plastic chair next to a girl with a giant nose ring, which I' am trying my hardest not to gawk at.
She's smacking her gum loudly and rolling her eyes with her arms crossed over her chest. As time passes I'm growing rather aggravated. I'm missing my precious art class for this? Grumbling I slump into the chair and sigh loudly causing the nose ring girl to acknowledge me.
"Hey," She says between blowing a big pink bubble and popping it, "You're like that lesbian, right?"
It's funny how rude some students are about things, how blunt they are in asking. I'm not just a lesbian, my name is Miley Stewart I' am a singer, artist and yes I just happen to be in love with a girl.
"Yes." I say through a clenched jaw.
"That's totally wicked… how's Lily doing, anyway?" She asks picking at her nails.
It's now that I turn to face her. "You know Lily?" People are funny sometimes.
"Uh yeah, she's like awesome. We chill in drama together. The name's Quinn." We shake hands. "It's cool to finally meet you; all Lily ever talked about was you." She looks around the office. "Is she coming back?"
"Soon, next month." I promise her with a smile which causes Quinn to chuckle.
"Sweet, drama's been boring as hell without her." She smiles and slouches back into her chair and drums on her knees.
"Miley Stewart? Principal Frost will see you now...And Quinn you know the rules spit out that gum!" Mrs. Burros tells me and Quinn peeking up from her desk of ringing phones and mountains of paper work.
"Good luck M!" Quinn cheers holding up a fist and then rolling up her gum in a ball and flicking it out on the floor.
"Thanks." I laugh nervously. It's weird how Lily has affected people, how she can connect with so many other students.
"Have a sit Miss. Stewart." Mr. Frost says standing with his back to me as he gazes out the window.
It's strange being in here again. It feels like so long ago, like another life all together. The room is still the same but as Mr. Frost turns around to face me I see he has grown worse. He looks tired, a little beaten up around the eyes making me realize he probably hasn't been sleeping.
"I'm sorry for taking you out of your class, but I wanted to speak with you one on one." He says taking a seat, his slim fingers folding together and dark eyes settling in on mine. He doesn't look so scary now, not like before.
"I have heard from many sources that Lillian Truscott is recovering and will be attending school shortly. This is correct I hope." Mr. Frost questions.
I nod, "That is true."
"Good," He attempts a smile, "Good… now the reason you are here." Mr. Frost scratches his ear and clears his throat. "If you do recall the last time you were in my office it was under foul circumstances. To prevent this from occurring again, I want to make it perfectly clear to you, Miss. Stewart, that who you associate with is your business and should be kept outside of school grounds." He stops and makes a strong eye contact with me. Okay, now he looks scary, dark eyes burning into mine.
"Once you come to school it is not appropriate to flaunt your relationship, is this clear? I do not permit public displays of affections of any kind, weather that is between a boy and a girl or a girl and a girl." He says. "I want your word that once Miss. Truscott returns we will not have to see each other under these situations."
I'm not sure how to react, or better what to say. Should I be angry? If Lily was here I'm sure she'd know what to do. I long for her here with me. "Yes, Mr. Frost I understand." I reply meekly, what else could I do?
"Thank-you, you may return to class." He says standing up ready to lead me out the door.
"Wait," I stand up, knowing what I want to talk about. "Where's Mrs. Fredrick?"
He doesn't seem to enjoy my choice of topic discussion. "That most certainly is none of your business."
"But, I'm worried; I mean Mrs. Fredrick is never absent. Is something wrong?" It's humorous the way me asking questions actually gets myself all riled up. I suddenly have a picture of poor Mrs. Fredrick sick somewhere dying and it makes my head dizzy. I can't lose a friend not now, not yet when I just found her.
Mr. Frost, taking note of my worried eyes, shakes his head and holds up his hand to silence my questions. "Mrs. Fredrick takes this date off every year. She's in perfect health, I assure you."
He seemed to know my question was coming because he sits back in his chair and runs a hand through his gray hair. "I suppose Jane has already told you of our past history, correct?" Mr. Frost asks with a sad face, the wrinkles of old age more vivid now then ever before.
"Yes." I say softly sitting back down as well.
"Bet she painted me out to be the bad guy." Mr. Frost laughs weakly.
"No, not really." I mutter.
It's silent for a moment. I listen to the clock tick on the wall, and watch the sun shin through the window.
"Today is the anniversary of Molly's death." Mr. Frost informs me looking away from me.
"Oh." I'm so stupid, all I can say is- Oh, so stupid.
"I think you need to back to class now." He says in a hoarse voice. I don't say anything, I just leave.
Exiting the office Quinn smiles and waves I give a short wave back and begin walking back to class. I know Mrs. Fredrick is a teacher and I owe her nothing, but I wish she would have told me. I would have liked to buy flowers or at least given her a little note. Just something to let her know that I care, I'm here.
Time always ceases to exist around Lily; especially now that our lives are once again woven together in deep adoration for one another. Our bond seems stronger this time around; an unbreakable thread through these days of great trails.
I'm down in the warm sand now snuggled up into Lily's side as she wraps an arm around me and pulls me closer. We are being lazy today. Normally on an afternoon like this we would sit inside and try working on the puzzles and quizzes Doctor Darcell gave Lily to strengthen her mind back to its normal state. But the lonely beach beckoned us so we packed up a towel and left the homework tucked away.
I feel Lily's fingers run through my hair. She is gentle and warm in her caress and when she finishes I feel her place a soft kiss where her hands once played. The ocean is relatively calm today. Slow waves wash in and wash out. The ocean smell of salty air fills me and makes me yawn.
"Miley? Is that…" Lily squints her eyes as she speaks, "Is that Mrs. Fredrick?"
My eyes follow Lily's and sure enough on the far side of the barren beach is Mrs. Fredrick standing, tall but broken in a long black dress.
"Come on." I stand up and dust off my legs before lending a hand and pulling Lily up beside me.
We make the long trudge through the sand before reaching Mrs. Fredrick's side. She sees us coming and wipes her eyes quickly and then turns to face us fully. "Hello girls, Mrs. Truscott," She smiles weakly, "It's good to see you in healthy spirits."
"You weren't in class today." I tell her, now wondering if this was a good idea. Mrs. Fredrick seems to be the person to mourn alone and weep in solitude.
"No I wasn't. I take this date yearly for myself. Hopefully the substitute wasn't too dreadful over the years they've given me several… loons."
I shake my head no and try smiling. Lily fumbles with her hands nervously. "We would have brought flowers!" She blurts out and then blushes. "Sorry." She whispers.
I take her hand and Mrs. Fredrick nods while straightening out her dress in the growing wind. "Mr. Frost, right? He was never good at keeping secrets."
"I'm sorry, if you want to be alone…" I begin but she cuts me off with a raise of her hand.
"It's fine, really. I was… Molly loved the ocean. I let her ashes go over that ledge." She points to the large grassy hill that over looks the ocean. As the wind picks up Mrs. Fredrick's dress whips fiercely around her. She sighs tiredly. "Stupid skirt… I don't know why I'm wearing this god awful thing. She hated black."
There is an awkward pause. What could anyone possibly say in a situation as this? I slide my hands into my back pockets and just stand quietly. I never knew Molly, I wish I did. It would be nice to see Mrs. Fredrick happy, alive again, like in the pictures. But we, as merely human beings, can't change the past. We can only look to the future and pray that it holds something good or at least a reasonably satisfying sigh at the end of each day.
I look to Lily, as I always do when I ponder over my life, and watch as her golden curls flow with the wind. Her head is down, taking a moment of silence for the beautiful Molly Goldberg. Mrs. Fredrick takes in a shaky breath.
"Do you want us to stay?" I ask.
Mrs. Fredrick smiles at me and then watches the slow waves crash in. "I would… yes, that would be nice, thank-you."
"What's your favorite memory of her?" Lily asks tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear.
Mrs. Fredrick closes her eyes for a brief moment and opens them with a smile on her pale face. "I couldn't possibly choose. She was my very best friend, the sun on my face. The air in my lungs… And even in death she's still here, like the wind… I wish you two luck, with everything."
Together Lily and I whisper a thank-you. And then… we watch the water, we let the day's ending ambers of light breathe its final breath. I feel connected with the earth as my feet stay rooted in the ground. I'm standing tall grasping Lily's hand.
One day we might fall, one day the world might catch up with us and tear us down. But I know I know with every breath in my body that she will be there, Lily will be there, to pick me up. And I her. Together we will pull through. We will prevail- and that is my pray for the future.
Our love is an art form not of written words or painted pictures it is an art of intertwined hearts and locked hands. It is the one art that I will keep and treasure, even when I become like the wind.
"Lily?" I whisper as we lay in bed, after saying a soft goodbye to the melancholy Mrs. Fredrick.
"Nothing… I just like knowing you're here, that it's not a dream." I laugh quietly in the milky moonlight.
"Never a dream," She says in a hushed voice while tracing an imaginary line around my lips, "I will always find you."
Author's Note: I needed to finish this, sorry. It feels done to me and I like knowing that I've finally completed a Miley/Lily story. And now I need to get back on track with Paper Cuts and after that well… you decide. Which brings me to my question: Would you rather I write an Oliver/ Lily story or Miley/Lily? I'll let you decide because, well, you're the one who will be (hopefully if you don't find my writings too atrocious) reading it.
Anyway, thank-you for reading this and putting up with my horrible up-dating habits. I have taken all of your words to heart and I love hearing and writing with you guys. So, if the feeling awakens within you, rant and ramble to me- Leave your thoughts.