Author's Note: Welcome back! This is the first chapter of the fourth story in my Lileyverse. This story begins about a year and four months after the end of my third story, "As I Am, I Take Thee." We're now in March 2010, when Miley and Lilly are both eighteen and finishing their senior years at Seaview High School. Oh, and I'm thinking this story might have a bit more R-rated moments in it. Just a feeling. I'm kind of in the mood to write this story with a bit more, um, intensity. Hope no one minds.

Here are my standard disclaimers: I make no claims on any of Disney's, Miley Cyrus', Emily Osment's or Hannah Montana's trademarks or copyrights, and no infringement is intended. Be forewarned that this story most certainly will contain femslash. If love and affection between two consenting young adults of the same sex bothers you, I suggest you turn right around and find something else to read. Keep any flames to yourself and remember that what our world needs now is more love and acceptance, not more hate. Reviews are always welcomed and appreciated!

This Is Our Life

by Jo P.

Chapter 1: Healing Hands

I still hear your voice when you sleep next to me

I still feel your touch in my dreams

Forgive me my weakness, but I don't know why

Without you, it's hard to survive

--Cascada"Everytime We Touch"

"ACHOO!" As Lilly Truscott sneezed for what felt like the fiftieth time that day, her headache reminded her that she wasn't dead yet. "Ugh, my head," she groaned as she pressed her hands against her temples, willing the pain to go away without much success.

"Here you go, darlin'," said her father-in-law, Robbie Ray Stewart, as he carried a cup of hot tea over to her, placing it on the coffee table pulled next to the couch that currently held Lilly. "Packed full of sugar with a good bit a' honey, too, just like you like it." He ruffled Lilly's unruly blonde hair, smiling as he wished he could do something to make this flu go away sooner.

"Thanks, Mr. S," Lilly said, managing a weak smile for the man who had been a second father to her for years before becoming her father-in-law for real a year and a half ago. She shifted awkwardly on the couch, flipping the blanket off her abruptly. "I just wish my body could figure out if it was too hot or too cold! This back and forth is really aggravating!"

Robbie Ray carried Lilly's bowl of chicken noodle soup back to the kitchen. He noted that she had been able to eat some of it, but it was still much less than what he was used to from his daughter-in-law. Firstdaughter-in-law, he corrected himself mentally as he thought of his son Jackson and his wife Kaela, away at school in Tennessee. He turned back to Lilly and said, "Lilly, I'm goin' upstairs and getting' ready to run into town later after Miles gets home. You need anything 'fore I go upstairs?"

"Just to get over this darn flu," Lilly said.

"Wish I could make that happen," Robbie Ray said as he climbed the stairs.

"I wish you could too," Lilly muttered. She was frustrated just as much as she was sick. I don't get sick! And I've never had the flu until now. She looked at the clock on the wall, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the one person she wanted to see more than anyone else.

The sound of a key in the front door lock told Lilly that someone was home, but the surge of happiness she felt in her heart told her exactly who it was coming inside. "Hey hon," Lilly said as her wife came in the door.

As Miley Truscott dropped her two backpacks onto the floor, she closed the door as a look of concern flashed across her face. "Aw sweetheart, you still not feelin' any better?" she said as she hurried over to the couch, her accent intensifying slightly due to her concern for her wife. She sat on the edge of the couch cushions, her hip just against Lilly's chest as she reached down and gently caressed Lilly's face, finally resting her hand on her wife's forehead. "You're not as warm as you were this morning," Miley said happily. "I think you're finally startin' to shake this."

"Ugh, I hope so," Lilly said as she reached up and took Miley's hand in her own, squeezing it in what she hoped was a firm grip. "Missed you."

Miley leaned down and kissed Lilly on the forehead, saying, "I missed you too." Before Lilly could protest, Miley leaned back down and kissed Lilly on the lips, lingering for several seconds as she gently licked Lilly's lips with the tip of her tongue.

When Miley pulled back, Lilly said, "I'm not gonna say I wish you wouldn't do that, 'cause it feels like heaven," pleasure in her voice for the first time in hours. "I just hope you don't get sick from kissing on me." As they spoke, Robbie Ray came back down the stairs with his cell phone to his ear and hurried into the kitchen, waving at Miley as he saw his daughter.

Miley smiled as she waved back, then she looked down into Lilly's pretty blue eyes, still slightly red from being sick. "I hope I don't get sick either, Lilly Bear, but I'm not going to stop kissing you. Not for anything." Miley stood, tugging on Lilly's hands. "Come on," she said with a smile, "you look like you're getting those body aches again. I bet a nice warm shower would make you feel much better."

Lilly weakly grinned as Miley helped her to her feet, standing in place for a few seconds as the room spun slowly. She had learned to take it easy standing after she fell two days ago. Before she started walking, Lilly said, "Does that shower come with my own shower buddy?", smiling broadly at the slight blush across her wife's face.

"Not something I need to know!" came Robbie Ray's voice from the kitchen, making Miley blush even more.

Miley smiled a huge smile at her father and said, "Love you, Daddy!" right before she began tugging Lilly toward the stairs.

"Hey, take it easy!" Lilly said. "I'm sick, remember?"

"Yeah," Miley replied, "I can tell," muttering under her breath.

Lilly suppressed the urge to giggle, which was rather strong at that time. The good-natured teasing still came easily to the two of them, which Lilly deeply appreciated. It was what made their relationship so happy, the ability to joke around with each other without either of them getting truly angry or offended. Still, Miley had been embarrassed. Lilly turned to the kitchen as they walked across the living room and cheerily said, "We are married, Robbie Ray. Not like it's anything you didn't know about," hoping he'd get the point. She was more comfortable using his first name now, but she tended to reserve it for when she wanted to deal with him on a relatively equal basis. Such as reminding him that Miley was her wife, and that they had every right to make love in their shower.

As they went into their room, Lilly braced herself weakly for the mild fussing she expected to get about saying things like that with Miley's father within earshot. But when she sat on the side of their bed and looked at Miley, she saw only a look of concern and love.

"Oh sweetheart," Miley said as she ran her hand through Lilly's disheveled blonde hair and finally cupped her left cheek, "you really feel bad, don't you?"

Lilly nodded. It wasn't an exaggeration. This was the fourth day she had been sick and the third day she had missed school that week. Thankfully, today was a Friday, but she and Miley would be missing the Saint Patrick's Day party being held by their senior class tonight. She sniffed, trying to clear her nose without much luck. "My head is so full of crud that I can't breathe," she said as she sighed, wincing at the pain in her shoulders. As much as her shoulders and back ached, she thought Miley's idea of a shower sounded great. "That offer of a shower still good?" she said as she reached up and took Miley's hand in her own.

Miley nodded. "For you? Always." She kissed Lilly quickly on the lips, then said, "Stay right here." She went into the bathroom, where Lilly could hear her turning on the shower. Miley then came right back and said, "Water's warming up." She helped Lilly up and then wrapped her arms around her, pulling Lilly tightly against her body. Lilly's robe and pajamas and Miley's clothes were still on, but Lilly wasn't complaining. Just the feel of her girlfriend holding her securely made her whole day brighter, and she found herself melting into Miley's warm embrace.

"I love you, Miles," Lilly said, her voice muffled by Miley's shoulder.

"Love you too, Lil," Miley said, rubbing Lilly's back. "Now let's get you in that warm shower. I have a surprise for you."

As they walked into the bathroom, Miley started peeling off her clothes, tossing them in the laundry basket in the corner. Lilly likewise took off her baby blue robe and pajamas; by the time she had her clothes off, Miley pulled back the shower curtain so Lilly could get in while Miley removed her underwear. As the hot water sprayed across Lilly's chest, she shivered before she even realized it, her body reacting to the sudden influx of warmth. She heard the shower curtain behind her open, and a gust of cold air signaled Miley's entrance into the shower, a fact that was also confirmed by Miley's hand rubbing Lilly's stomach tenderly.

"Hi," Miley said softly as she stepped up behind Lilly.

Lilly closed her eyes and leaned back against her wife. She heard something slide down the floor of the bathtub, but she didn't even try to look at it. She was too lost in Miley's embrace to care about what it was Miley had dropped. Then Lilly's eyes began to tingle slightly, followed by her nose. "Miles?" she asked. "What's that--" She stopped short as the congestion in her nostrils suddenly resolved, allowing her to smell a minty aroma. "Oh! I can smell! And my nose is unstopped!" Lilly was thrilled. She turned to look into Miley's face, and she noted the smile on her wife's face. "What did you do?" Lilly asked happily.

Miley kissed Lilly on the tip of her very red nose. "It's called a Shower Soother. It's like a big Alka Seltzer that you put in the shower, where it fizzes and its vapors unclog your nose. Like it?"

"I love it! Just like I love you!" Despite how bad she felt, Lilly kissed Miley, relishing the taste of her wife's lips and mouth. She had missed being able to taste anything over the last few days, but she had missed Miley more than anything. Suddenly Lilly was seized with a desire that she knew all too well, one that she knew she could never—would never—resist. As she pulled away from Miley's lips, Lilly bent her neck to the side and began kissing along Miley's neck, first the left side, then the right. As Miley stretched her head back to let Lilly trail kisses up and down her neck, Lilly felt her heart pound fiercely. "I need you, Miles," she said, her voice rough as she forced out the words. "It's been three days since we made love." Her right hand slid down Miley's back until it was gripping her left buttock; as Lilly squeezed, re-establishing her grip on her woman, she said, "Miles, I need you now."

Miley swallowed, her gorgeous throat exposed for Lilly to see as her head was tipped back. "Then take me, Lilly," Miley said, her own voice deep and yearning.

They stepped out of the shower and grabbed one of the oversize towels. As they wrapped it around the two of them together, Lilly seized her opportunity and began kissing Miley passionately. As the two girls tried to dry off using one arm each, they stumbled out of the bathroom, finally just dropping the towel as they reached their bed. Miley reached down to toss back the rainbow comforter—a half-joking gift from Lilly's mother for Christmas—but she couldn't grab the comforter before Lilly pushed her backwards onto the bed.

"Mmmm, I think you do want me," Miley said as she pulled her legs up toward her chest, lifting her knees off the bed as she spread her legs slightly to make room for Lilly.

Lilly crawled across the bed, settling squarely between Miley's thighs as she leaned forward, arms on each side of Miley's chest. Miley reached up and grabbed Lilly's head, pulling her close enough for a deep kiss. "Of course I want you," Lilly moaned as they parted lips. "I have to have you." She kissed her way down Miley's chest, not wasting any time as she licked Miley's belly button upon reaching it.

Miley arched her back at Lilly's fiery trail of kisses, then she finally succeeded in grabbing the comforter and halfway tossing it over them. She wasn't worried about anyone coming in on them, but she knew Lilly would get chilled from where she hadn't dried off completely. But before Miley could tuck the comforter over her lover, Lilly had Miley gasping for breath as her tongue found its goal. Miley cried out, louder than she had planned on, as Lilly began to make love to her furiously. Within minutes, Miley found herself screaming Lilly's name as her orgasm hit her with the intensity of a tidal wave, carrying her rational thought far, far away for several seconds. As soon as Miley's senses started to return, Lilly sent her body into another spasm of ecstasy, this time drawing only frantic gasps from Miley's pounding chest before a third orgasm surged through Miley's already taut body, rendering her incapable of even grunting. As Miley shuddered helplessly, Lilly slid up her wife's body and rolled them to one side, holding Miley close as she shook repeatedly, unable to form any conscious thoughts but aware of two warm arms holding her securely. After long seconds, Miley came back to earth, slowing her breathing into more controlled breaths instead of ragged gasps. "Sweet niblets," she said, trying to catch her breath as she felt her heart still thumping rapidly in her chest.

Lilly opened her mouth to say something, but Miley was having none of that. She shot her head forward, clamping her mouth down over Lilly's as she reached deeper, harder into her wife's mouth. Miley smiled into the kiss as she tasted herself throughout Lilly's mouth, reveling in how much they were able to share themselves with each other. She sat up slowly, sensuously as she kept eye contact with Lilly, who looked like she was about ready to explode with desire. However, as Lilly began to spread her own legs, Miley grabbed her hips and flipped Lilly over onto her stomach. She then pulled Lilly's hips back toward herself, lifting Lilly's butt off the bed and exposing exactly what Miley wanted. "Now it's my turn," she said, her voice hot with lust, as she began to make love to Lilly with a primal intensity that was enthralling for both young women. After less than a minute, Lilly's first orgasm washed over her, making her body shake as she buried her head into their pillow to muffle her scream of delight.

However, Miley was nowhere near satisfied. It had been three days since they had made love, and that was far too long for either of them. She smacked Lilly's butt, then growled, "I'm not done with you yet, Truscott." Lilly lifted her head out of the pillow, then screamed for real as Miley plunged into her again. Using her mouth and her fingers, Miley pulled Lilly through two more orgasms over the next few minutes, with Lilly's cries dwindling to faint panting and incoherent moans by the time her third orgasm surged through her body. At the sound of Lilly's animalistic moaning, Miley felt another orgasm rip through her own body, surprising her as she hadn't even touched herself. As Miley was lost to her own waves of pleasure, she surged forward and fell across Lilly's back, wrapping her arms around Lilly's torso out of pure reflex. The two girls shuddered together for long seconds, their bodies tingling despite being slick with warm sweat. Finally, Miley was able to exert enough control over her body to pull the comforter over the two of them before they both passed out, their bodies overcome with sensation and overloaded with love.

After sleeping for a little over four hours, Lilly came to. She shivered slightly as she felt Miley's long arms holding her tightly, then she had an odd realization. Cautiously, she bent her back slightly. Sure enough, the aching in her back and shoulders was gone. Had the shower done that... or was it something that had felt even better? Lilly rolled over, inadvertently waking Miley as she shifted position. "Hey," Lilly said, smiling.

"Hey," Miley replied, a smile creeping across her own face. "Felt good," Miley whispered.

"Felt way good." Lilly giggled, then she added, "Not really sure what came over me. I just knew that I wanted you so bad, like making love to you would make me feel better." She stared into Miley's eyes and then cautiously said, "In fact, I think it did make me feel better."

Miley reached up and felt Lilly's forehead. "Wow, you're not as hot." She hastily said, "I mean, your fever's gone down. Of course you're still hot." A pause. "Aw heck, you know what I mean."

Lilly laughed. "Yeah, I know what you mean, hon." She looked over at the nightstand, where her empty glass sat. "Want something to drink?"

Miley said, "I want something to eat. Some of us still have our appetite, you know." She disentangled herself from Lilly's grasp and got up. She found her own pink Hannah Montana robe and slipped it on, making sure to tie the belt securely in case her father was back. "Want anything besides a drink?"

Lilly shook her head as she rolled on over onto her stomach. "Nope," she said. "Well, other than you, of course."

Miley grinned as she opened the door to their bedroom. "I'll be right back, Lil." She closed the door as she stepped out, hoping that her dad would be in his bedroom or outside. While she was already hoping for that, she also hoped he had left during their shower a few hours earlier because from what she could remember, she and Lilly had been pretty loud while they were making love afterwards.

As she padded down the stairs, she saw the glow of the television. Her father sat watching some police show with the volume turned down, strumming on a guitar as he quietly sang a song. Miley couldn't hear the words, and she didn't recognize the tune, so she guessed it was some new song he was working on. She tried to open the refrigerator as quietly as possible, grabbing two Sprites and two apples and slipping them into the pockets of her robe. She turned and stealthily moved back across the kitchen, pleased with the silence of her mission until she slipped on the first step, falling forward onto the stairs with a muffled thump.

"Miles?" Robbie Ray said as he stood and turned to look over his shoulder. Seeing his daughter push herself up off of the floor, he hurried around and helped her up. "You okay, Miles?"

"Yeah," she said, more embarrassed than hurt. "Just slipped. Lilly was thirsty, and I'm pretty hungry still."

Robbie Ray smiled. "I'm still not used to that girl not bein' hungry," he said. He hugged his daughter suddenly, catching her off guard before she returned the hug. "She's awful lucky to have you takin' care of her," he said.

"I love her, Daddy," Miley said. "You know that. When she's not feeling good, it's my job to take care of her."

Robbie Ray rested his chin on top of Miley's head, glad she couldn't see the tears forming in his eyes. When he trusted his voice not to break, he said, "I know I've said this to you before, but I'm proud of the woman you've become, Miles."

Miley felt herself tearing up. "That's because of how you and Momma raised me."

"Not just 'cause of your mother and me, Miley. You've grown up a lot faster than I ever wanted you to, but you've made some very good choices along the way."

"Thanks, Daddy," Miley said. "I need to get back upstairs to Lilly, though. She's feeling better now." Left unsaid was exactly what had been responsible for the turnaround in Lilly's condition. "Night, Daddy," she said as she stepped around her father.

As she went up the steps, Miley froze as her father said, "Oh, Miles?"

"Yes, Daddy?"

"Next time you two decide to get all frisky, you might want to give me a bit a' warnin'. There are some things that a father just doesn't need to hear his little girl doin'."

Miley felt her face heat up as the blush filled her cheeks. She started to hurry on upstairs, but something made her stop. Without turning around, she said, "Sorry if we were too loud, Daddy, but Lilly is my wife. We've always tried to be discrete when it comes to our sex life, but it's a wonderful, healthy part of our relationship." Steeling herself, she turned to look down at her father, her cheeks still furiously red. "Lilly has felt so bad the last few days, and she needed that." Miley swallowed, then she added, "Heck, I needed that!" She lowered her voice. "But we're sorry if it made you uncomfortable. We weren't planning on things getting quite so--"

"Apology accepted!" Robbie Ray hastily said, forestalling any further details. He smiled, then he said, "Now go take care of your wife, and tell her I said good night."

"Thanks, Daddy," Miley said, the heat fading from her cheeks. "And good night. We love you."

"Love you two too."

Miley turned and hurried back up the stairs. As she walked back into the bedroom, she saw Lilly sit up, still under the bright rainbow comforter. "Sorry, Daddy wanted to talk."

Lilly smiled. "I heard some of it. You didn't get the door closed all the way." As Miley handed Lilly a Sprite, Lilly said, "Was it as uncomfortable as it sounded?" She opened the bottle and took a drink, savoring the cool feeling of the fizzy drink going down her throat, still slightly sore.

Miley opened her mouth, then closed it, then opened it again and said, "At first it was, but then I realized we don't need to be embarrassed to make love in our own house. I mean, I'm not planning on us screaming each other's names every night, but he needs to give us some space to be ourselves, too." Miley sat on the bed and took a bite out of one of the apples. She had washed them earlier and stored them in the refrigerator, so she knew they were clean.

Lilly set the soft drink down on the nightstand and lay back down. "I'm sorry I made you miss Ashley's Saint Patrick's Day party tonight, Miles."

"It's okay, Lilly, and I wouldn't have gone without you anyway."

"I know, but I was hoping maybe we could find out what's been going on with her lately. It's like something's been bothering her."

Miley finished her apple and tossed it into the trashcan beside the nightstand. "Yeah, Oliver's been really worried about her this week. She's acted plumb weird ever since she started seeing that Kyle guy back around Christmas, but she's really seemed spacey the last few days."

Lilly sighed as she stretched out then snuggled next to Miley. "Why did she ever go out with him to begin with? He's mean to her."

Miley kissed the top of Lilly's head as they settled into their usual sleeping positions, Miley on her back with Lilly curled up on her side, tonight on Miley's left, with her head resting on Miley's shoulder. Miley thought about Lilly's statement, and she had to agree with her wife.

Ashley DeWitt had definitely not been herself recently, and Miley blamed much of that on her parents' ongoing divorce. The more relaxed, friendly Ashley had suffered greatly at watching her family break apart, and through those painful changes she had begun acting more like the snotty, stuck-up Ashley again. Where she used to make a point to spend time with Miley, Lilly and Oliver, all of whom she had gotten to know over the last eighteen months, now all her free time was spent with her current boyfriend, Kyle Howell. Kyle had been a year ahead of Miley, Lilly and Ashley, but none of them had really known him well while they were at Seaview High School together. He and Ashley had met at a dinner party of Ashley's mother's shortly after Ashley's father had moved out.

Miley felt a pang of regret at Ashley's recent situation. Ashley and Oliver had dated for a brief period of time until Ashley's mother found out about it. She quickly put a stop to Ashley's dating "beneath her social status," as she so delicately put it, and Miley suspected that she had even gone so far as to arrange for Ashley to meet Kyle immediately afterward. Following their breakup, Ashley had found it difficult to spend time with Miley, Lilly and Oliver, even though the three of them tried very hard to not make her feel guilty or at fault.

Miley breathed in deeply and then blew it out, willing herself to let go of some of the stress she could feel building up. That sort of thing could wait until tomorrow, she thought. Saturday would be a good time to call Oliver and maybe go to the beach if Lilly felt like it. That might make all of them feel better. Miley closed her eyes and focused on Lilly's breathing, steady and even now, with no sign of congestion. Silently she said her prayers, as she knew Lilly had done a few minutes ago before she fell asleep. As soon as she was finished, sleep stole upon her and carried her off.

The ringing of a cell phone abruptly woke Miley from her sleep. "Who the devil..." she said as she fumbled for the phone resting on her nightstand. She felt Lilly stir against her chest as she finally grabbed the phone and flipped it open as she moved it to her right ear. "Hello?" she said in a half-whisper.

"Miley?" said Oliver's voice.

"Oliver?" Miley replied, astounded. She looked at the clock. "Oliver, it's three-thirty in the morning! What the sam hill is goin' on?"

"Miles, I need you to come meet me at the hospital."

Upon hearing those words, Miley felt sleep's grip on her rapidly fade. She sat up in the bed, triggering Lilly to stir grumpily as she tried to find where her warm Miley had gone. "Oliver, what's going on? Are you okay?" Miley felt fear creep into her voice as she began to mentally run through all the possible reasons Oliver would be calling her from the hospital in the middle of the night.

"Yeah, I'm okay Miles. Well, I guess I am." There was a pause. "It's Ashley, Miles. She tried--" Miley could hear Oliver struggle to keep his composure as he finally choked out, "She tried to kill herself tonight."

Miley felt her blood run cold. Instantly Lilly sat up, sleepily blinking her eyes. "What's wrong, Miles?" Lilly said, concern evident in her voice.

Miley looked down at her and said, "It's Oliver. Ashley tried to kill herself tonight. He's at the hospital now, I think." She heard herself say those things with a calm, detached voice, even though internally she was anything but calm and detached. She was only trying to sound controlled for Oliver's sake; the connection between her and Lilly was so deep that Lilly would already know just how shocked and upset Miley truly was.

Lilly flung the covers back and stood up, wobbling momentarily, then steadying herself by grabbing the nightstand. "Tell him we'll be right there," she said as she made her way to their dresser to grab some clothes for each of them.

Author's Afterword: This is a shorter chapter than usual for me, but it's the perfect place for a division between the first two chapters. Like I said in the Foreword, this story is already striking me as a bit more M-rated than my earlier ones. I'm not really sure why, other than that's the direction the story itself is wanting to go. I'm going to respect the story's wishes and run with it, so I suggest you just enjoy it. In fact, I'm pretty sure Miley and Lilly already are.

-- Jo --