A/N: This is my second attempt at a Liley fic... hope you like it :) Btw, I completely guessed at Lilly's middle name, so if I'm wrong, feel free to correct me. Standard legal stuff applies - I don't own Hannah Montana or anything remotely connected to it :)
"I CROSS MY HEART"
Miley Stewart, aka Hannah Montana, stood in front of her bathroom mirror, struggling to put on her makeup. Her high school graduation ceremony was only a couple of hours away, and she desperately needed to get ready to go. Try as she might though, she couldn't seem to focus on it. Her thoughts were miles away… far from school, and graduation… and on the uncertain future that lay ahead of her.
What is wrong with me? Miley thought to herself. Everyone else is happy…how come I'm not? She already knew the answer though: after graduation, Lilly was moving away. She had been awarded a great scholarship to the University of California in Berkeley, where she could pursue her major in creative writing. For Lilly, it was like a dream come true. Miley, on the other hand, couldn't get past the terrible feeling that she was losing her best friend.
Stop that! Miley chastised herself. You're supposed to be happy for her! With a trembling hand, she reached for a brush and began to slowly pull it through her hair. For Miley, her future lay with Hannah Montana. She hadn't completely ruled out college, she just wasn't sure she'd be able to do both. Besides, without Lilly/Lola beside her…
Will you STOP that? Miley groaned inwardly. Ever since Lilly had told her about her college plans, Miley had found herself thinking about her best friend in ways she had never expected. She knew she loved Lilly – she was her best friend, after all – but lately all she could think about was much Lilly truly meant to her. Everything they'd done together… everything they'd been through together… and how she could possibly deal with losing the one person she needed with her to feel complete.
Did I… really just think that? Well… she does. She's a part of me. Lilly… completes me.
"What am I going to do without her?" Miley quietly asked herself aloud, her voice little more than a moan. The sudden sound of someone knocking on her bedroom door snapped her out of her sad thoughts.
"Who is it?" Miley called out.
"Publisher's Clearing House!" a familiar voice shouted from the other side of the door. "Let me in!" Miley laughed.
"Come on in, Lilly." The door opened and her best friend Lilly Truscott walked quickly inside, closing the door behind her. Miley's eyes widened.
"What?" Lilly said, confused. She turned about, craning her neck to look at herself. "Do I have something nasty on me?" Miley couldn't help but giggle; only Lilly…
"No," she answered, still smiling. "It's just… you look great!" Lilly was dressed in a pair of dark blue slacks and a pretty white top. Her long blonde hair was up in a ponytail, and her cheeks sparkled with just a touch of glitter. For reasons she couldn't quite understand, Miley felt her breath being taken away by just how beautiful her usually tomboy-ish best friend now looked.
Oh, god… why is she doing this to me?
"Thanks, Miles," Lilly replied, blushing slightly. Then she noticed Miley wasn't even dressed yet.
"What's up with you, though? We're about to finally get out of high school, and you're still not dressed!" Miley flinched at the comment. Can't let her know anything's wrong…
"Oh, yeah; I, uh… was having trouble finding something to wear," she lied.
"Well, with the size of your closet, I don't blame you," Lilly said with a smile. Miley turned around and went back to brushing her hair.
"Is something wrong?" Lilly asked, concern creeping into her voice. She walked up carefully behind Miley.
"Nope," Miley said quickly. "I'm happy as a pig in a sty!" Abruptly, she put down the brush and hurried over to her closet, where she began to rummage through her clothes.
"Miles…" Lilly said gently.
"What?" Miley called from over her shoulder.
"You know you can tell me anything, right? I'm your best friend, and I'm always here for you." Her back turned to Lilly, Miley fought back tears.
"For another couple of weeks, anyway," she whispered. Lilly froze.
"What?" she asked, coming to stand beside Miley. Miley cursed herself inwardly, realizing she'd said it loud enough for Lilly to hear.
"Nothing," she said quickly.
"Don't give me that," Lilly said, a sudden edge to her voice. "I heard you, Miles. Is this about me leaving?" Don't tell her the truth!
"Of course not, Lils; you know I'm happy for you." Lilly didn't answer. Instead, she moved around to stand directly in front of Miley and looked into her eyes. Oh, crap… not the stare! Please, not the stare!
"You gonna tell me the truth this time?" Lilly asked, crossing her arms over her chest. Miley lowered her head, suddenly unable to meet Lilly's unflinching gaze.
"Damn it, Miley, talk to me!" Lilly felt tears of her own stinging her eyes. Reaching out, she gently slid a finger beneath her best friend's chin and carefully raised Miley's face towards her own. Against her will, she felt her bottom lip begin to tremble.
"Please, tell me what's wrong…"
"Bud, you ready yet?" Robbie Ray's voice interrupted, calling out to his daughter. "We gotta get going!" Miley looked longingly at Lilly for a moment, then turned away.
"I gotta get ready," she said quietly. Lilly watched her for a moment, and brushed away a tear.
"Okay," she said at last. "Guess I'll… see you downstairs then, Miles."
"Lilly, wait… you don't have to…!" Lilly was already gone though, the door closing behind her. Miley covered her face with her hands and sank down onto her bed, crying.
An hour and a half later, Miley found herself sitting alongside her classmates, waiting for the commencement exercises to begin. The car ride over from her house had been a very, very quiet one. Lilly had grown inexplicably distant, and now Miley worried that, on top of everything else, she had hurt her best friend's feelings.
Great, she muttered to herself. Is she mad at me now? What if she goes away and doesn't want to talk to me anymore? What am I going to do?! Almost against her will, Miley looked around and caught sight of Lilly, sitting a couple of rows behind her. She was talking animatedly to the two girls sitting on either side of her, and seemed to be having a great time. Heart aching, Miley sat there and watched her.
She listened to the sound of Lilly's laughter, and flinched slightly, the sudden, terrible thought that she might never get to hear it again echoing in her mind. Without realizing it, Miley found herself being drawn into the depths of Lilly's sparkling blue eyes. There was just something about them, something fierce and beautiful, that suddenly captured Miley's attention. Her mouth went dry, and Miley licked her lips.
Whoa… why did I just look at Lilly like that? And how come I never noticed just how incredible her eyes are…? Miley blinked.
"Did I just think that?" she asked aloud.
"Think what?" another girl asked her.
"Sweet niblets…" Miley whispered, fighting not to turn red. She risked one more look back at Lilly. She felt her heart thundering in her chest.
Okay, that's it… I can't do this anymore! Knowing the ceremony was going to begin any minute, Miley jumped out of her seat. A teacher stopped her.
"Where do you think you're going, Miss Stewart?"
"I need to use the restroom!" Miley replied, thinking quickly. "Please, it'll just take a second, but I can't wait!"
"Very well… but make it quick! We're about to start!" Miley nodded and dashed by the teacher. Not caring if anyone saw her, she ran up to Lilly and grabbed her by the arm.
"Hey, what…! Miley?"
"Please… I need to talk to you, Lilly!"
"Now? We're about to graduate!"
"I know, but this can't wait… please, Lilly!" The pleading expression on Miley's face made Lilly's heart melt. She took Miley's hand in her own and squeezed it gently.
"All right… but you better talk quick, Miles! If I'm not here when they call my name, my parents will kill me!" Hand in hand, the two girls rushed off towards the restrooms.
A few moments later, Miley & Lilly took refuge in the shadows on the far side of the stadium where the graduation was taking place.
"All right… what's going on Miles? First you won't talk to me, now you wait until we're about to graduate to tell me it can't wait! What's up with you today?" Miley took both of Lilly's hands in her own.
"I know… I'm sorry!" Miley had to force herself not to cry. "I'm really sorry about before… I was afraid…"
"Afraid?" Lilly repeated. "Afraid of what?" Miley swallowed.
"You know I'm your best friend, right?"
"Of course I know that, Miles. You always will be."
"No matter what?" Miley asked quietly. "Even… even if I did something or said something you might not like?"
"Okay Miles, now you're starting to scare me…" Lilly said, squeezing Miley's hands. Miley closed her eyes. She took a deep breath.
"Please don't go," she whispered. Lilly wasn't quite sure she'd heard right.
"Please don't go!" Miley shouted. She felt a tear trickle down her cheek. "Please, Lils… I love you… I need you here with me!" Lilly blinked, completely taken aback by the sudden outpouring of emotion from her best friend.
"Miley… I…." She swallowed. "You… you really feel that way? You really don't want me to go?" Miley nodded, unable to speak.
"Why didn't you say something before?"
"You were so happy to get into that school, Lils… I've never seen you so excited." A small, sad smile briefly lit up her face.
"Except maybe that one time, when you were all hyped up on sugar," she said with a chuckle. Lilly laughed.
"Says the lady who went spelunking for cotton candy," she quipped. "Seriously though, Miley… we're best friends. You can be honest with me."
"What was I supposed to say?" Miley replied sadly. "I don't want you to go and live your dream, because it'll kill me to be away from you?" Miley's eyes widened.
"Did I just say that out loud?" she asked quickly. Lilly choked back another laugh.
"Sorry," she managed. "Yes, you did say that out loud… and that's really sweet, Miles." Miley lowered her head.
"You're still going to leave, aren't you?" she asked sadly.
"I didn't say that," Lilly replied softly. "It's just…" She was cut off by Miley suddenly leaning forward and pressing their lips together. Lilly's eyes widened. Never, in a million years, had she ever expected Miley to kiss her. Even more unexpectedly, she found herself enjoying it. After a few long moments, Miley wordlessly broke off the kiss. Lilly struggled to find her breath.
"M-Miley?! W-why did you just…" Lilly stammered. Miley panicked.
"Oh, god! I'm so sorry Lilly, I just… I didn't mean to…!"
"Stop," Lilly said gently. She gripped Miley's hands firmly, preventing her from running away. "I'm not upset. Just… surprised." As in, my heart's now beating a million miles an hour and I'm trying to remember how to breathe… Lilly thought to herself.
"You don't hate me?" Miley whispered.
"Of course I don't hate you!" Lilly said incredulously. "You're my best friend; I could never hate you. It's just… Oh, crap! Miles, they've started the ceremony already!" She could hear the principal already beginning his speech in the distance.
"Look, I promise we'll talk more later, ok? Right now we gotta get back before we miss our own graduation!"
One by one, the students of Seaview High walked up to the podium to accept their diplomas from the principal. It was nearly Miley's turn, and all her nervousness and excitement were finally beginning to surface.
"Miley Ray Stewart!" the lady at the podium called out. Taking a deep breath, Miley carefully climbed the stairs and took her diploma from the principal, who smiled and shook her hand.
"Congratulations, Miss Stewart; best of luck to you." Miley clutched the diploma to her.
I can't believe it… I'm really graduating! As she stepped back off the stage, she flashed a huge smile to her family, who she could see sitting in the stands. They responded by letting loose with a storm of happy shouts and whistles. Miley felt herself blush, and wiped away a happy tear. Returning to her seat, she watched and waited for Lilly's time on stage to come. A few minutes later, it did.
"Lillian Danielle Truscott!" Miley grinned as her best friend stepped up on stage to receive her diploma. Lilly gave a great shout of joy and jumped up and down happily.
That's my girl, Miley thought with a laugh. One her way back to her seat, her diploma clutched tightly in her hand, Lilly paused briefly as she walked by Miley.
"We did it!" she whispered happily, and grabbed her best friend in a quick hug. Miley closed her eyes as she felt Lilly's arms wrap around her, silently wishing this moment would never have to end. The hug ended all too quickly though, and Lilly quickly scampered back to her seat.
After another fifteen minutes or so, the last of the graduating students received their diplomas as well, and everyone sat back down again. The principal spoke a few final words, wishing the graduating class luck in their promising futures. Then, smiling, he held his arms out over his head.
"Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pleasure that I introduce to you the Seaview High graduating Class of 2010!" Joyous shouts and applause filled the air, followed by a rain of caps and tassels. Family members and friends of the graduates surged out of the stands to congratulate them. Miley saw her father already coming towards her and ran up to him, throwing her arms around her daddy in a fierce hug.
"I am so proud of you bud," Robbie Ray said, hugging his daughter tightly.
"Thank you, daddy," Miley managed, trying hard not to cry.
"I wish momma could've been here," she said quietly.
"She was, bud," Robbie Ray replied softly, gently stroking his daughter's hair. "She was." Miley closed her eyes, feeling tears beginning to trickle down her cheeks.
"Land sakes, Robbie Ray!" a woman's voice called out teasingly. "Your daughter's supposed to be happy today, and you go and make her cry!" Miley laughed and turned to look at her grandmother, still in her father's embrace.
"I am happy, Mamaw," she said with a tearful smile on her face.
"Good," Ruthie said with an approving smile of her own. "Now get over here and give your grandmother a hug!" Miley did as he was told, hugging her grandmother tightly.
"Lordy, my little Miley is a high school graduate," Ruthie said softly. "How'd you grow up so fast?"
"She had lots of help!" Aunt Dolly joked. Miley laughed and reached out to hug her beloved godmother.
"Congratulations, darlin'," Dolly said. "You've made us all real proud." Letting go of her godmother, Miley turned to look her at her older brother, who was standing beside their father.
"What, are you too cool now to hug your little sister?" Miley teased him. A few years older than Miley, Jackson had already graduated from high school and was well on his way to earning a degree in law, of all things.
"Nope," Jackson replied, pulling his little sister into a hug. "I was just waitin' til you hugged everyone else first." Miley looked up at him, confused.
Gotta save the best for last," he said with a smirk. Miley laughed and playfully socked her big brother in the shoulder.
"Whatever you say, Jerkson!" she retorted. By then, Lilly and her parents had made their way over, and more hugs were shared by everyone. Miley was touched to notice even Jackson and Lilly were hugging.
"Well!" she said finally, wiping tears from her eyes. "What now, daddy?"
"We go home and celebrate the two special young women who just made it through high school!" Robbie Ray said happily. "Lilly, you and your parents are more than welcome to join us. I expect Miley'd be happy to have you there."
You have no idea, daddy… Miley thought to herself, struggling not to let her emotions show. Lilly looked over at her parents, silently asking their permission.
"We'd like that, Mr. Stewart," Lilly's mom said happily. "We'll follow you to your house." Lilly made her way over to Miley and took her by the hand.
"Ready to party, Miles?" she asked excitedly. Her enthusiasm dimmed slightly when she noticed the expression on Miley's face.
"Hey," she said softly. "Party now and we'll talk later, okay? I promise." Miley gently squeezed the hand that held hers and managed another smile.
Okay," she said quietly. "But I get first dibs on the shower when we get back!"
Back at the Stewart house, Miley tried to distract herself from the swirl of emotions surrounding Lilly by helping to prepare food for the party. Every so often though, she would steal glances at Lilly from across the room, feeling her heart ache as watched her beautiful blonde friend.
"Need any help over here?" Aunt Dolly called out as entered the kitchen.
"That's okay, Aunt Dolly," Miley answered distractedly. "I've got it." Dolly arched an eyebrow.
"You all right, sweetie?"
"Huh? Oh, uh… yup, fine n' dandy! Just, uh…" Miley looked down quickly to remind herself just what it was she was doing "…cutting up these veggies! Yup, all up into these veggies right now…!" Dolly shook her head and laughed.
"Miley, honey… what's wrong?"
"What are you talking about, Aunt Dolly?" Miley asked, still unwilling to admit anything was bothering her. "What makes you anything's wrong?" Dolly gave her a look.
"For starters… if you cut up them veggies anymore, they're gonna be pureed!" Miley started and looked down again. The vegetables she'd been chopping up where now a butchered mess. Laughing, Dolly reached over and carefully took the knife from Miley.
"I think you've done enough damage with this thing," she quipped, putting it in the sink. Then she turned back to Miley.
"All right, darlin'… out with it."
"I'm just worried about is you is all, honey. Everyone else is celebratin' and havin' fun… how come you aren't?" Without realizing it, she stole another quick glance at Lilly. Dolly noticed it this time, though.
"Is this about Lilly?" Miley stiffened.
"God momma say what?!" she stammered. Dolly smiled.
"I saw the way you just looked at her, darlin'," she said simply. "Is there somethin' you wanna tell me?" Miley felt herself blush, and turned away.
"Aw, honey, I'm sorry. I'm just tryin' to help."
"I know, Aunt Dolly." Miley swallowed. "Could we… could we go outside for a minute? I don't wanna talk about it here… not where people could hear me." Concerned, Dolly allow Miley to lead her outside, to the patio on the back porch, overlooking the beach. Once she had carefully closed the sliding glass door behind her, Dolly sat opposite Miley at the patio table and leaned in towards her.
"Okay, Miley… no one can hear us now. What's wrong, darlin'?" Miley swallowed, willing the tears not to come.
"I kissed Lilly earlier tonight," she said quietly, avoiding her aunt's gaze.
"Is that all?" Dolly asked.
"Not just a friendly little kiss, Aunt Dolly… I kissed her on the lips. Like… like she was my girlfriend." Miley squirmed uncomfortably in her seat. Dolly was silent for a long moment.
"Did Lilly say anything?" she asked at last.
"Nothing bad," Miley replied.
"Do you think she's mad at you or something?"
"N-no… I don't think so…" Tears started to trickle down Miley's cheeks.
"Oh, Aunt Dolly!" Miley wailed, crying freely. "I messed everything up! It's just, Lilly's going to move away to go to school, and I was so scared I was going to lose my best friend, and all of the sudden I just wanted to take her in my arms and not let go…!"
"Miley, honey… take it easy." Dolly reached out to put a caring arm around her trembling goddaughter. "I didn't know you cared so much for Lilly. Have you tried telling her that?" Miley looked up at her godmother, her face stained with tears.
"W-what?" she managed. "Aunt Dolly, Lilly's my best friend! I shouldn't be having these… feelings for her…"
"Why?" Dolly asked. "Is there somethin' that says you can't?"
"But… she… I…" Miley struggled to put her thoughts into coherent words.
"Honey," Dolly said, leaning forward to gently hug Miley. "Love is a wonderful thing, and the fact you & Lilly both happen to be girls don't mean nothin'. If she's the one you want… you shouldn't be afraid to be with her." She saw the effect her words were having on her goddaughter, and smiled as she saw Miley calm down some.
"Beside, how do you know Lilly isn't feeling the same things you are?"
"She is," a quiet voice interrupted. Miley jumped in her godmother's embrace and whirled around to see Lilly standing behind her.
"How… how long have you been standing there?" Miley asked, sounding horrified. Lilly smiled gently.
"Long enough," she said. "I think we need to have that talk now." She turned to look at Dolly, and was astonished to see the older woman was already walking back towards the house.
"I'll just leave you two alone now," she said with a knowing smile. "I'll make sure no one bothers you, either." Then she stepped back into the house, closing the door behind her.
"Did I ever tell you I love your godmother?" Lilly asked Miley with a grin. Miley didn't reply, and Lilly quickly pulled a chair over and sat down beside her best friend, gently reaching out to take her hand.
"Okay, Miles; talk to me." Miley shifted uncomfortably in her chair.
"I'm really sorry, Lils… this is all my fault." Lilly frowned.
"What are you talking about Miles?"
"Trying to make you stay here, the… the kiss… everything."
"Miley," Lilly said sternly. "You've got nothing to be sorry for, you hear me? You didn't do anything wrong."
"I kissed you, Lils!"
"I noticed," Lilly quipped, smiling slightly. "For the record, Miles… you weren't the only one who felt something there either." She got the last part out with a furious blush of her own.
"Really?" Miley managed to get out.
"Really," Lilly said softly. A sudden thought occurred to her.
"Is that… is that why you didn't want me to go?" Lilly asked nervously. "Everything you've been putting yourself through… it's all been because of me?" Miley swallowed, forcing herself to look into Lilly's eyes.
"I love you, Lilly," she said quietly. "I couldn't stand the thought of you not being here with me, to share my life with. I need my best friend." Trembling, she reached out to brush a dangling hair away from Lilly's face.
"I need my Lilly," she whispered. Lilly began to blink back tears of her own.
"No one's… ever said anything like that to me before." She began to slowly stroke Miley's hand with her thumb.
"Do you think I could… hold you?" Miley asked tentatively. Lilly smiled nervously.
"I think I'd like that," she said quietly. Slowly, carefully, Miley drew Lilly to her, wrapping her arms around her best friend in a gentle embrace.
"Is this… okay?" Miley asked carefully. Lilly smiled.
"More than okay," she whispered back. Willing herself to stop shaking, Miley rested her cheek against Lilly's forehead and closed her eyes. Lilly let her eyes close as well and took a deep breath, inhaling the scent of Miley's perfume.
"Feeling better, Miles?" Lilly asked quietly after a few moments.
"I think I'm in love with you, Lilly," Miley said softly, her eyes still closed. She wasn't sure what Lilly was going to say, but she knew she couldn't deny the feelings any longer. The words should have been a shock to Lilly, but somehow they weren't. Lying here in Miley's arms, wrapped in the warmth of her love, Lilly felt her heart calling out that this was what she wanted.
"I know you have to go, though," Miley said sadly. "It's your dream."
"What if… what if I told you… I think I have a new dream?" Lilly asked hesitantly.
"What are you saying?" Miley asked, feeling a strange kind of hope blossoming inside her. Lilly lifted her head to look into Miley's eyes.
"I'm saying I'm in love with you, too Miley." She smiled, and when she saw Miley begin to cry, she was not at all surprised to feel tears in her eyes as well. Without another word, she leaned in and kissed Miley full on the lips. Their first kiss had been quick and hesitant. This one was full of love and passion, and Lilly felt Miley moving against her.
Heaven help me, but I don't ever want this to stop… Lilly thought dreamily to herself. After a few moments though, air became a pressing need, and the two were forced to part.
"Holy…" Miley began.
"…wow." Lilly agreed. She laughed. "Yeah, that about says it all."
Back in the house, standing at the sliding glass door, Aunt Dolly stole a quick glance at her niece and her best friend and smiled.
"Watcha looking at out there, Dolly?" Mamaw Ruthie called out, and Dolly quickly turned around, shielding the girls from prying eyes.
"Nuthin," she said with a smile, "Just a beautiful night out there tonight."
Miley and Lilly remained in each other's arms, staring up at the silvery full moon in the night sky.
"I mean it, Miles," Lilly said.
"You'd really give up your scholarship and everything… for me?" Miley asked, half feeling guilty.
"Not for you… for us," Lilly corrected happily. "I just found you, Miles, I'm not giving you up." She gave Miley a quick kiss.
"Not for anything," she said quietly. "Besides, I can find a school here in So-Cal to go to; and there's always financial aid." Miley blinked away happy tears.
"I love you, Lilly," she said softly, hugging Lilly tightly.
"I love you too, Miley."
"Hmmm…" Miley said after a moment, sounding thoughtful.
"What?" Lilly asked.
"I was just thinking about an old song I used to hear my dad listening to all the time; it was very romantic." She looked at Lilly and smiled. "I was just thinking about singing it to you." Lilly blushed.
"No one's ever sung to me before."
"Is that a request?" Miley asked teasingly.
"Please?" Lilly asked sweetly. Miley reached out to gently run her fingers through Lilly's hair.
"All right; close your eyes…" Lilly did as she was asked, and shivered as she heard Miley's honey voice begin to sing to her…
Our love is unconditional
We knew it from the start
I see it in your eyes
You can feel it from my heart
From here on after
Let's stay the way we are right now
And share all the love and laughter
That a lifetime will allow
I cross my heart
And promise to
Give all I've got to give
To make all your dreams come true
In all the world
You'll never find
A love as true
You will always be the miracle
That makes my life complete
And as long as there's a breath in me
I'll make yours just as sweet
As we look into the future
It's as far as we can see
So let's make each tomorrow
Be the best
That it can be
I cross my heart
And promise to
Give all I've got to give
To make all your dreams come true
In all the world
You'll never find
A love as true
And if along the way
We find a day
It starts to storm
You've got the promise of my love
To keep you warm
In all the world
You'll never find
A love as true
A love as true