Rewrite by Damien J. Frost
Disclaimer: Hannah Montana, and all items associated with, are property of Michael Poryes, Richard Correll, Barry O'Brien, It's a Laugh Productions, Disney, et al. There is no profit being gained from the content of this story and it is to be used solely for private entertainment purposes. The plot is the intellectual property of the writer. No parts of this story are to be duplicated or posted elsewhere without the expressed permission of the author.
This story is rated "T" or "PG-13" by the guidelines of the fansite on which it is posted.
Special Note: This is not a new story -- it is a rewritten version of the original Unsung. It's posted as a separate entity, because I can't bring myself to take down my old work. Special thanks go to Damien J. Frost, for a very nice rewrite. Please direct all praise to him. I'm posting this because I'm a selfish creature who couldn't bear to part with the idea and let someone else post it.
Getting it on Paper
After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music. - Aldous Huxley
The guitar, she felt, was mocking her. It was perfectly tuned, but she couldn't make it sound how she wanted. Each sweet tang was torture – the melody was there, in her head, but it wouldn't translate through to her fingertips. The song she was trying to write was very important to her and it needed to be perfect. This single song would make or break a relationship. It needed to be clear and concise, almost blunt, but at the same time moving and gentle. Every word needed to come directly from her heart.
She strummed the guitar's taut strings idly, gazing out at the ocean. It glittered in the fading late September sun. She was seated on the bench on the back porch enjoying the cool salt air and the rhythmic crashing of the waves on the shore. As her father had told her often, it was a great place to think.
Speaking of her father, he and Jackson were out in the front shooting hoops and Miley could vaguely hear Jackson's indignant howls as Robby Ray continuously stopped him from scoring. It brought a small smile to her face; Jackson probably wished he'd never told Robby to stop taking it easy on him.
Her thoughts turned to the subject matter for her newest song and her smile grew. There was just something about that smile, those sparkling eyes, that loose blonde hair that called to her. Lately it was hard to look at her crush without wanting to run her fingers across that tanned skin, kiss those inviting lips. But, she knew, acting on those impulses would be damning to the friendship she shared with Lilly.
She hummed a few notes under her breath before opening her mouth. It was disappointing – she expected at least a few words to pop out, but silence reigned. Frustrated, she went back to strumming the strings and thinking quietly. She was so deep in thought that she didn't even notice Robby Ray settle down next to her, spinning a basketball between his thumbs.
"Miles, what are you doing out here?"
She jumped at his voice and let out a small squeak of surprise, and the faint guitar music ceased. She smiled sheepishly up at her father.
"Thinking, mostly," she replied after a moment, her heart slowing down.
"Trying to write a song?" he asked nonchalantly, holding onto the ball and spinning it on one finger with mild success.
"Try being the key word." Miley eased the instrument off her lap and onto the ground by her feet. "Not succeeding, really."
"What's the occasion?" He rolled the basketball back towards the house. "No new recordings coming up, no birthdays, no holidays." He took the guitar and strummed a few bars.
"It's complicated." She wrung her hands nervously in her lap. This wasn't something she wanted to discuss with her dad just yet – if ever, really.
"I'm listening." He lazily tossed an arm over her shoulders, awkwardly giving her a hug.
After debating with herself for a moment, she relented, slightly. "It's for someone special. A song that nobody else will hear. I just can't put how I feel into words," she groaned, throwing her hands up. "It's really frustrating! It's not supposed to be this hard…" She leaned her head on his chest.
"So it's a love song, eh?"
Miley blushed, though he wouldn't see it in the rapidly growing darkness. "Yeah… A private love song."
"So you're not going to tell your dear old dad who it's for?" He rubbed his little nub of a goatee thoughtfully. "It's not Oliver, is it?"
"No! Ew!" She cried, shuddering. What would make him think that? "Never!"
He grinned good-naturedly, pushing her playfully with his shoulder. "Just makin' sure. You've never written a song for someone before, far as I know. Must be someone pretty special."
Miley stalled a moment by reaching for the guitar and stealing it back. "I'll tell you when I'm ready," she promised.
He rubbed her back in reassurance. "Take your time, bud. My ear's always –" A large crash from the living room cut off his words and sent him flying inside. Miley smiled as Jackson's lame cries floated to her ears.
"It wasn't me! I swear that vase wasn't there the last time I flipped over the couch! It got in my way. Miley did it!"
She closed her eyes and took a deep, calming breath. The words she needed were there; she just needed to let them flow without thinking too hard about it. She started playing, and slowly, like drops of water from a leaky faucet, they came. She caught them on a scrap of paper, scribbling madly to make sure she got all of it down.
A short way down the beach, a certain blonde male grimaced at the sand gathering in his shoes. He now wished he had worn a pair of sandals instead, but it was too late for regrets. He gingerly stepped through the sand heading inland. It had been quite a few months since he'd sent the rose to Miley and he felt that he'd changed enough for her to consider dating him again.
The faint strains of a soft melody danced through his ears. It was catchy, that was for sure, and he knew exactly who was singing it. That was a voice he wouldn't forget for years to come. It brought a dashing smile to his dashing features. He followed the music and crept up to see the girl he was infatuated with. He made sure to stay hidden, though. He didn't know how she'd react to his appearing in her backyard without an invite.
The song itself was captivating. It was slow and heartfelt, and the words were full of longing and passion. His smile widened; Miley obviously had been missing him since he had last been in Malibu. It was heartening to find that she still wanted him as well. How surprised she'd be to see him at school tomorrow. Then, perhaps, she'd sing her song for him. Really, he couldn't imagine who else the song could be for. Miley was pining for him, or his name wasn't Jake Ryan.
He conveniently ignored the fact that his real name was Leslie as he slipped away, his smile still in place as he walked off down the beach.
Miley clutched the guitar to her chest, unaware of her departing audience. She folded the finished lyrics up and slid them into her back pocket. The song was needed a few tweaks, but it was almost there. She hoped Lilly would like it. After talking with Robby Ray the words and music had just flowed, as she had hoped they would. Tomorrow, she promised silently, she'd play this for the object of her affection. She had to get this off her chest before it ate her alive.
She just hoped that her feelings were reciprocated. Friendship was only one step away from dating, she told herself. Miley didn't know what she'd do if Lilly reacted badly. She was afraid that she was risking her best friend for something as silly as a crush. She'd been ignoring it for months now, and would have continued save that it was getting harder and harder to ignore the butterflies in her stomach every time Lilly got close to her.
Sleep that night was fitful as she tossed and turned, her nightmares keeping her from getting any real rest. In her dreams, Miley presented the song to Lilly, only for the blonde to laugh as she turned and walked away. She woke in a cold sweat with the sun just peeking over the horizon. Her mind was full of doubt but she refused to forget the promise she made herself. Her distraction and fear followed her to school, where she dropped her head against a locker and let it sit there, unmoving.
She glanced down the hallway, barely tilting her head to the side. Blonde hair walked into her line of vision, and her heart began pounding wildly. She wanted madly to wipe her clammy hands on her skirt. Her lips felt much too dry but she didn't dare apply more lip gloss.
"Miley! Why didn't you wait for me before school?" Lilly stopped a few feet away, hands placed on her hips, eyebrows narrowed accusingly. She was obviously upset.
Miley removed her head from the locker and stood up straight, meeting the eyes of the first female she'd ever been taken with. She tried to smile, but it ended up as more of a grimace, and Miley thought she probably looked like a dying cow rather than a happy girl.
"I'm sorry, Lilly. I was just really distracted this morning. It was an accident," she apologized.
Lilly stared at Miley for a long moment, but didn't relent. Her angry glare remained as she marched away, still upset. "See you in class."
Internally the brunette berated herself, shaking her head angrily. Only a professional screw up like her could get her best friend upset without thinking.
She shrieked in surprise as she was forcefully knocked from her thoughts by Oliver pounding the locker next to Miley's. It popped open and he shut it immediately, eyes darting around, hoping the owner wasn't around to see him. He grinned at her.
"What's got Lilly so wound up?"
Miley's shoulders drooped. "I forgot to walk to school with her this morning."
"Wow, that's rough," he commented, tilting his head in concern and leaning against the locker he had punished. "You've never forgotten before. Is something wrong?"
"Can you keep your mouth shut?" Miley snatched the front of his shirt, drawing him so that their noses were almost touching. She stared into his eyes, trying to act intimidating. Apparently it worked; he struggled to get away.
"If you'll let me go!" he nearly squeaked. He hated that she had such a strong death grip. "I can keep a secret without being threatened, you know."
"Quiet!" Miley released him. "Remember, not a word to anyone, got it?" she growled ominously.
He nodded, confused. "I can't tell Lilly?"
"Especially not Lilly. Since…" her tough girl act faded as she built up the courage to spill her secret to her friend. "Well, it's about her." Miley swallowed roughly, finding it difficult to continue, but knowing she needed to. It would make her feel better to know that she had some support if something went wrong. "I kind of… like her. A lot. And I wrote a song for –"
"Me." Miley froze in fear as someone tapped her shoulder. Stiffly, she turned to see Jake Ryan standing behind her, his dark shades lowered, giving her a sideways smirk. He just oozed cockiness. "I was on the beach last night, and I heard you singing. I can't wait to hear all of it. I'll meet you at the beach, okay? In that little hidden cove," he said as he walked off, his air of superiority almost oozing off him.
Miley shook her head and tried to protest reaching after him, but he was quickly surrounded by the ever-present crowd of high schoolers.
"You like Lilly?!" The dam Oliver been holding back while Jake was around burst, and he looked around sheepishly, hoping no one heard his outburst. "Like, like like?" She nodded in confirmation. "You like Lilly, but you wrote Jake a song," he continued, more quietly, his face twisted in confusion.
Rolling her eyes, she hit his forehead with the heel of her hand. "No, you doughnut! I like Lilly and I wrote the song for Lilly. I don't know how bighead boy overheard me, but it's not for him. But now Lilly's angry with me." Sighing in frustration, she leaned against the locker next to her. She stood up again almost instantly, though, a brilliant idea popping into her head. "Oliver, you've got to get her to the beach where I'm apparently meeting Jake. She has to hear it. I can let Jake's massive ego down there, where it'll be private."
"Won't Jake be ticked off at you? For turning him down again?" Oliver was beginning to regret having two female best friends. Girls were so complicated.
"Yes, that's why I can't tell him in public! He'd cause a scene and totally embarrass me! This way, hopefully he'll take it like a man and walk away." To Miley, her logic was fool-proof and well thought out. Reasonable. To Oliver, the logic was flawed and rushed.
"But Jake already said he wasn't going to spill your secret," he argued back, still sure this wasn't the best way to deal with the current situation.
"But nothing. No movie-star wants to be dumped twice, especially in public. Maybe he'd keep his mouth shut about Hannah, but he'd still cause a fuss. Jake was made for publicity. Anything that happens to him gets into the papers, and he makes sure it does."
Oliver shrugged, giving in. He knew it was pointless to argue with Miley when she got worked up like this. "Alright… If you say so."
She hugged him briefly. "You're the best, Oliver."
"That's why they call me Smokin' Oken." He tried to mimic Jake's smile, but failed miserably.
They parted smiling, not sure how this mix-up was going to turn out. It wasn't until later that Miley had time to think about what happened that morning. Oliver had hardly batted an eye over her confession, almost as if he'd known about it all along. She'd have to talk to him about it, later. Oliver was a great friend, she realized, not for the first time. She could only hope that Lilly would be as open minded.
During the course of the school day, Miley reacted politely to Jake's attempted conversations, but remained a little cold, trying to dissuade him from continuing. His usual cocky demeanor and relative dense head managed to repel all of her efforts. Lilly completely ignored her and Oliver was relegated to acting as the go-between. Lilly's cold shoulder was getting frustrating; Miley wanted to talk to her, but Lilly was having none of it.
"Tell Lilly that I'm really sorry."
"Lilly, Miley says that she's really sorry," he said without looking up, only pausing slightly in his eating.
"Tell Miley that she won't have to worry about forgetting me again. I'm not going to walk with her anymore," she said, a little snooty, also not looking up from her food.
Oliver, his voice dull, dutifully passed on the message. "Miley, Lilly says –"
"I heard, Oliver." Miley slumped down in her chair.
The lunchroom bustled with activity. It was the center for all gossip and rumors, and though it was hard to pick out specific conversations, tidbits rained down from all around them. Miley managed to hear at least five tables discussing Jake Ryan's love life. Her name was mentioned several times. Unfortunately, Lilly heard them, too.
"Tell Miley that she could walk to school with Jake Ryan, seeing as they're dating again." Lilly said flippantly, bringing a groan from Oliver.
"Miley, Lilly says –"
"I heard her, Oliver. And, I'm not!" Miley responded hotly talking directly to Lilly.
"He sure thinks you are." Lilly retorted, her temper flaring. She folded her arms defensively across her chest. "I thought we were supposed to be best friends. You said we needed to be honest with each other."
"I am being honest! There's nothing going on!"
And for half a second, Lilly seemed to be relenting. Her face softened and Miley could see that she was starting to accept this as a huge misunderstanding. Their reconciliation was cut short, however, when Jake slid into an open seat near Miley and smiled winningly, wrapping his arm around her shoulders.
"So, we still on with our date after school?"
Miley wanted to smack her head on the table. Lilly shot them both disapproving looks before stalking away. Jake didn't seem to notice and only smiled more dashingly.
"Jake, there is no date, okay?"
"Oh," he didn't change his tone or facial expression. It was almost as if he didn't believe her. Actually, knowing him, he didn't. "Well, see you after school. Don't forget your guitar," he winked as he stood and walked off, his crazed fan girls closing on him quickly.
Miley let her head flop onto her arms. "Could this get any worse?"
Oliver glanced around nervously. "Do you really want me to answer that?"
"You're a doughnut."