Miley absentmindedly chewed on the end of her pen as she mused over her latest entry. The glittery ink, earnestly scrawled across the page, was still glossy and wet. With a quick flick of her wrist, the pen popped out of her mouth, and Miley went back to doodling little hearts along the pink margins.
Mr. Stewart gently rapped on the door before poking his head in. "Dinner's on the table, darlin'. Jackson and I will be heading out to the airport in an hour."
"Thanks, Dad. I'll be down in a minute," she replied, quickly shielding the diary's sensitive material with a pillow.
"Okey dokey," he acknowledged, shutting the door as he left.
When Miley first began divulging her guts and innermost pangs to her diary, she opted to replace gender-specific terms like she and her with gender-neutral terms like they and them, but as she grew older, and the occasional focus of her writing bordered on smut, the invariable object of her desire became so evident that even the most carefully placed attempts of gender-neutrality seemed more like pathetic, conscious denial. Miley sighed, tossed the pillow away, and penned down a final thought:
I think… no… I know that I love her. Heck, who am I trying to kid? I've loved her since she punched Kevin Speilman for pulling on my pigtails and stealing my juice box in 4th grade...
Miley closed the diary, and secured it with the cheap lock that had accompanied it. She knew that a determined diary snoop would have no trouble busting through the flimsy lock, but it offered her a small, if embellished, sense of consolation. She sandwiched the diary between her mattress and box spring, and sprinted downstairs, two steps at a time.
Miley slid into a seat at the dining table, and quietly served herself a plate. Jackson fervently shoveled mashed potatoes, stew, and peas into his mouth. "My God, son, chew! Chew!" Gawked Mr. Stewart. He shook his head, and bit off an unmanageable chunk of dinner roll, grunting out a muffled, "I don't know where he gets it from."
Miley snickered. "As much as I'd love to join you two on this family foray, I'm glad I've got a Hannah Montana gig. This Stewart vs. the wilderness theme sounds like a world of bad news."
"Oh, we'll be okay Miley. I packed more than enough dehydrated food packs, and toilet paper this time. I know you're still a little sore about our last camping trip."
"A little sore? Daddy, Jackson and I fell into a mud pit patrolled by a mean momma boar while fighting for the last square of toilet paper. I don't know what was worse, almost getting mauled by a wild animal or losing that last toilet paper square..."
Miley and Jackson shuddered, zombie-ing off into the distance, replaying the incident in their heads… wincing as the toilet paper sheet flittered gracefully across the air—a sight more beautiful than many a prima ballerina, Miley and Jackson simultaneously lunging towards it, the wet and unpleasant plop of their bodies slamming into the mud, the panic and premature mourning filling their eyes and stomachs as the sheet, undeterred, continued to flitter down… down… into the mud. Their mutual contempt for one another had been fleeting, quickly replaced by fear as they caught sight of a nasty maternal boar nearby, squealing and digging her hooves into the pliable earth. Although their throats had been stripped raw from all the ensuing screams, and their legs had been sore for days from the subsequent running, the two spoke in unison, "Definitely losing that toilet paper square."
Mr. Stewart put his fork down, and wiped his mouth. "Are you sure you and Lilly will be fine by yourselves for a whole week?"
Jackson wiggled his eyebrows suggestively at the mention of Lilly. He made a high-pitched, grammar-school style ooooing noise, which his father met with a stern tutt. Jackson, surprisingly intuitive for a pesky, thickskulled older brother, had been teasing his sister for years. Miley scowled and tossed a dinner roll at his head.
"Yes, Lilly and I will be fine, Daddy, don't you worry," she smiled, slightly flushed.
Miley hurriedly cleaned off the table, and scurried around the house, sorting out any messes before Lilly arrived. Darkness was steadfastly creeping upon the sky. She tactfully placed lit candles throughout the living room, and her bedroom before dimming the lights, but quickly reconsidered, thinking the move to be painfully forward. She blew the candles out, and brightened the lights a spike or two. She changed her outfit three times, and re-touched her hair and lip gloss twice before parking on the couch. She chewed on her bottom lip, mulling over whether or not the risk of losing Lilly's friendship outweighed the relief she'd gain by revealing her feelings.
The doorbell rang, spooking her from her silent reflections, and chastising her bold thoughts. Miley had deviated from the norm, purposely locking the front door to buy her a couple emergency, composure-straightening seconds. She fidgeted with her clothing, and hopped up on her feet, breathing steadily for a quick while before opening the door with a warm, "Hey, Lilly!"
"Miles," the blonde greeted coolly, tossing her bags on the floor, and wrapping the other girl in the snuggest of hugs. Miley sighed as she was engulfed, reciprocating the hug just as tightly, if not tighter.
The hug lasted longer than anticipated, and that's when Miley felt herself go limp, cold, and hot at the same time. Lilly pulled back, and cocked her head, curious. "Are you okay?" she asked, concerned. "You look like you just finished playing a one-sided game of dodge ball, and guess which side you were on?"
"Funny. No, yeah, I-I'm great! Never been better! It's just a little warm in here, don't you think? That knucklehead Jackson must have turned off the A/C." Miley fanned herself as she walked to the thermostat, and tinkered with the dial.
Lilly shrugged. The Stewart household's cool, artificial air had been a refreshing contrast to outside's mugginess, but Miley was a proven drama queen so Lilly didn't think much of it. Lilly smiled, and nudged Miley's shoulder. "What's in store for our exhilarating week of nothing but Miley and Lilly time?"
"I don't know. Something along the lines of fun, fun, and more fun? I figure we can just wing it. After all, we are talking about us. We could have oodles of fun with a ball of yarn and some knitting needles, and that's me being generous with the props. Come on, Lil, I'll help you settle into my room."
They each picked up a bag. "Dang girl!" grunted the brunette. "What do you have in this thing? A six piece bedroom set?"
"More like my neighbor's hacksawed Rottweiler, you know, Jaws? The one that bit my favorite skateboard into driftwood?"
"Ew. Morbid, much?"
"Not nearly as much as I pretend to be, all for your benefit too. I just love that scrunchy grossed out face you make."
"Thanks," Miley huffed as they scuttled up the steps. She pushed past her bedroom door and placed Lilly's bag on her bed. "I cleared out a drawer and some closet space so just help yourself to as many hangers as your heart desires," she smirked, clandestinely eyeing up her friend. "Are you hungry?"
Lilly's stomach gurgled on cue, and she clutched it, rubbing and patting at it soothingly. "Sshhh!" She spoke at her stomach, before sheepishly addressing the brunette,"I thought you'd never ask," she sighed, lowering her voice to a whisper,"There's some major upheaval going on in here."
Miley giggled, patting Lilly's stomach in turn. "Aw, Lils! Don't worry, after a big fixin' of Daddy Stewart's cooking that upheaval will turn into a peace summit. I'll heat up a plate, and you can start unpacking."
"Thanks, Miles! You're the best!"
The brunette gave her a sassy wink. "Don't I know it."
After Lilly gobbled down firsts, and then seconds, the girls settled on the couch, languidly flipping through channels. Midway through a program about worms, Miley's phone began to bleat, unnerving the pop star. She hopped over the back of the couch, and shut the phone off without so much as a single second of hesitation. Miley had long surpassed the point of feeling shame when it came to enforcing her selfish need to have unspoiled alone time with her best friend. She grumpily plopped back on the couch, allowing herself to rest her head on the blonde's lap. Lilly's hand automatically petted her hair. She wiggled and sifted her fingers through the soft locks, and the rhythmic motion wholly eased Miley's prior annoyance. "You're so comfortable," mumbled the brunette.
Lilly smirked. "I try, I try. After all, it's only like my dream to go pro with my much coveted furniture impersonation abilities. Today, a headrest, tomorrow… a coffee table… The possibilities are truly endless."
"You're lame sometimes, you know?"
"I know, but one of us has got to be lame. The way I see it, I'm doing you a favor."
Miley shot a lazy grin up at the blonde. The motion was slow and sexy, pretty lips hiking upwards to reveal pearly teeth. Lilly shrugged off the wrenching warmth that had ploughed into her gut right then and there, and forced herself to watch the segment on tape worms.
"I think you have tape worms, Lil."
"Those are the little suckers behind your insatiable appetite, and ability to eat monumental amounts of food, while sustaining a cute physique."
Lilly laughed. "Nah."
"Okay," she pouted. "Maybe my theory is a teensy weensy bit of a stretch."
"Yeah, just a teensy bit." Lilly pressed the power button, effectively putting an untimely end to the Worm-umentary. "Let's do something else."
Miley's question was met with a throw pillow to the face. The brunette oomphed, giving Lilly enough time to slide off the couch and trample up the stairs. Miley sat up, fire and amusement blazing in her eyes. "Lillian Truscott!" She bellowed, shooting after the blonde haired girl.
A meek eeeep could be heard resonating down the staircase as Miley's noisy footsteps quickly gained on Lilly.