I've had this idea rolling around in my head for a while now. So I thought I'd write the first chapter, just to see what people think. Unsung will be finished before hard work is put in on this one, so don't hold your breath for the second chapter. If received well, I'll try and get chapter two out in four days or so. This work of fiction is completely separate from Unsung. And it won't be as long as Unsung.
Miley gazed at her calendar. Her foot twitched steadily against the side of her bed. That date was coming, and it was coming fast. The bright red ink that she'd used to circle the little twenty-four was almost offensive now. One week away and she still didn't know what she was going to do.
Falling back on her bedspread, Miley closed her eyes in the desperate hope that something good would flash across the back of her eyelids. It wasn't this hard in past years, that was for sure. But this year… This year something had changed. This year she wanted to do something that would blow Lilly away.
"I have less than a week to get her the perfect gift…" Miley moaned quietly. She sat up again. "So. What do I know she likes? Skateboarding… What can I do with skateboarding?"
Getting up from her bed she wandered into Hannah's closet, running her fingers along the clothing inside.
"I could try and get a celebrity skateboarder to give her a one-on-one lesson. But what if she thinks I'm trying to tell her she's a bad skateboarder?" She scratched her head wistfully. Thinking out loud was supposed to be beneficial. Instead, it just made her feel slightly crazy.
"I bet she'd like it if I flew her somewhere exotic!" Miley pondered, getting excited. "But that would mean convincing Daddy to pay for two tickets, a hotel, and all that stuff…"
She stared at her Hannah wigs, trying to think harder, "I could try and set up a Hannah concert somewhere! That way it would be business, kind of. Would Lilly mind if I had to do a concert on her birthday trip?"
Startled from her thoughts, Miley left the closet and ran downstairs. She was afraid something was wrong; Jackson sounded panicked. It was no relief to her to find Jackson safe and sound at the bottom of the stairs holding the phone.
"What is it, Jerkson?" She demanded, crossing her arms across her chest.
"I'm on the phone," he replied, "and I'd thank you to keep it down. I can hear you talkin' all the way down here."
She scowled darkly at him, "Fine."
"Good." He turned and headed back to the couch. "So, Jennifer, are we still on for the Hannah Montana concert this Friday? Of course I have good seats. I could probably get you in to meet her backstage…"
He flashed Miley a pleading look. She didn't soften her gaze.
"Well, maybe an autograph."
Shaking her head, Miley headed out to the back porch and on down to the beach. Out here she'd have to think quietly, but at least Jackson wouldn't be bothered. She found a fairly desolate patch of sand and delicately sat down, crossing her ankles and leaning back on her hands.
The crashing of the waves was distracting and Miley wished that she could just concentrate. She wanted to make Lilly's seventeenth birthday special but couldn't for the life of her decide how. The exotic trip was looking better and better, though.
"Tropical? I'd get to see her in a bathing suit. But I get to see that here. Wintery? She would probably like the snowboarding. But if I took her to a good surf-spot..." Miley whispered, staring out at the water.
Miley lifted her head up and blocked the sun with one hand. She smiled up at Oliver and patted the sand beside her, "What's up, Ollie?"
"You just kinda looked sad sitting here all alone."
"I was just thinking," Miley explained, though it wasn't as detailed as Oliver wanted.
"Oh." Oliver knew about it already. He was there when Miley first discovered that she had developed more than friendly feelings for their blonde best buddy. It was hard for him at first – as much as he denied it, he had liked Miley and it wasn't easy to watch her fall for someone else. It had bothered him slightly that she was interested in the same gender, but he didn't say anything about that. He cared too deeply for Miley to let something like that get between them.
"Her birthday's coming. I wanted to do something special for her." Miley dug a small hole in the sand and buried her fingertips.
"You could always put it off 'til next year." He laughed. "I mean, isn't eighteen a little more important than seventeen?"
"Oliver." Miley reprimanded lightly. "I'm still going to do something for her next year. It's just this year… I want her to… I don't know what I want."
Oliver threw a small chuck of sand at her; it beaned her in the side of the face. "Cheer up, Miles. I'm sure whatever you do will go over well."
"Thanks, Oliver." She glanced down at her wrist, checking the time on her watch. The watch itself was something quite special to her – Lilly had given it to her roughly three weeks ago for Miley's seventeenth birthday. It was a petite silver watch with a gold face and a chain armband that was so light it was almost lace. "I have to go home, though. Dinner's soon."
Oliver nodded, "I should probably get going, too. Good luck with the gift ideas. And hey, if you discard any, I could use a few."
Chuckling, Miley got to her feet. She dusted off the seat of her jeans and waved good bye to Oliver before padding quietly back up to her house. The trip idea was her best bet. All she needed now was Robby's permission.
Inside, Robby had begun fiddling around the kitchen and preparing dinner. He was humming loudly and almost dancing – Miley was glad he was in such a good mood.
"Daddy, have I told you today that I love you?"
Robby winced, "I think my wallet just had a heart attack."
Miley laughed a little too loudly, "Why do you say that?"
"I'm not goin' to answer that. What do you want?" Robby lit the stove top.
"I was hoping to do something really special for Lilly's birthday." Miley walked over to stand near him. She adopted a wounded puppy look in the hopes that Robby would soften.
"I wanted to bring her to, say, Hawaii, or something."
Robby reached for the box of rice that was sitting beside him. He dumped it into the large pot along with a few cups of milk and a cup of water. "Miles, I don't know if we could do that."
"I know it's a little weird for a birthday present but I thought maybe we could schedule a Hannah concert to cover it." Miley grabbed the rice box, tossing it from hand to hand nervously.
"Why do you want to do something so special like that?" He turned his attention from the stir-fry.
Miley blushed. "I just do."
He raised a questioning eyebrow, "You just do. Sorry, bud, I'm going to need a better answer than that."
"Daddy…" She trailed off. Maybe it was safe to tell him. "It's because I… well… like her."
"Baby girl say what?" He stared at her incredulously, "When did that happen?"
"About half a year ago, I guess. She doesn't know, though." Miley hurried to explain, "I mean, when I'm around her, my stomach does flip flops. I can't stop thinking about her. I'm always wondering what she's doing, hoping she calls. I even have her set to a different ring tone on my phone so I know if and when it's her that's calling."
Robby turned back to the food he was prepping. "I still don't know, Miles. That's an awfully big gift."
"Please Daddy! I'll do anything…" She clasped her hands together in front of her.
"Alright, alright. If you can convince her parents to let her go, we'll see about getting Hannah a concert down there."
"Thank you Daddy!" She flung her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek.
"And you'll have to fly down there with me to make plans. Should only take three days."
Her arms fell to her side, "Daddy say what?"
"We need to plan, and since it's on short notice, we need to get down there real quick and set it up."
"But Lilly can't know I'm gone." Miley stated as her mind set to work. How could she hide it?
"We could always call Luanne."
"Jackson would be here. He could stop her from doing evil things." Robby reasoned. "And it's only for three days, max."
She wrinkled her nose in distaste, "Does it have to be Luanne?"
"Do you have any other identical cousins lying around that you haven't told me about?" He responded.
"Fine. Lilly had better like this trip." Miley huffed. She turned around and marched past Jackson and up to her room.
"Miles, are you sure Jennifer can't meet Hannah?" He called after her.
She turned on her heel, staring at him for a few seconds, "For like two minutes, okay?"
He cheered, "I have to call her again!"
Rolling her eyes, she continued up the stairs and into her room. Bringing Luanne to stand in for her left a bad taste in her mouth. Something was bound to happen while Miley was away. Shaking her head, Miley fell onto her bed. Jackson could handle Luanne if things got too bad.
She nestled her head amongst her pillows and sighed. If all went well Lilly would have the best birthday present ever and Miley would be able to spend a few days making Lilly happy.
"Ready to go, bud?" Robby hollered through the house.
Miley dragged her suitcase off her bed. It wasn't necessarily heavy – it did only contain three day's worth of clothing – but she didn't want to wrinkle or damage her clothing. And it was hard to see when the wig drifted down her forehead.
"Coming!" She called back.
Down in the living room Jackson was having a staring contest with Luanne, daring her to do something horrible on his watch. She didn't notice that he was gazing at her and not blinking, preferring to stare around the house and give compliments in a last ditch effort to win Robby Ray over.
"It's so clean, Uncle Robby."
"Thanks, Luanne." Robby sometimes had trouble believing that such a nice kid could have such a big mean streak.
Miley pounded down the stairs and nearly toppled over. Robby caught her and set her up right so that she could give her last orders to Luanne.
"Don't do anything stupid. Daddy already called me out for the three days of school, so you are to stay put in the house and act sick. If Lilly or Oliver calls, I'm indisposed, got it?"
Luanne smiled sweetly, "Of course, Miley."
Miley eyed her warily. Her Miley-senses were tingling. "Be good. And Jackson?"
Jackson was fiddling with his bellybutton, but looked up as his name was called, "Yeah?"
"Please, please, please keep an eye on her."
He saluted, "Can do!"
Robby turned to him, "Jackson, we mean it."
Jackson flapped his hand at them, "Go, go. Before you miss your plane."
Miley and Robby left reluctantly, though Jackson couldn't figure out why. He could totally handle any messes that Luanne tried to create. He hoped.