THIS STORY CONTAINS NO REAL PEOPLE.

Yes, this story was deleted from this site by the admins who claimed that it contained real people. It does not. It contains CHARACTERS that have appeared on Hannah Montana.

That being said, I do not own of these characters and no copyright infringement is intended.

Okay, before this story was deleted, it had thousands of views, hundreds of reviews, over 80 favorites, more than 100 alerts. And I am SO grateful for that. You guys made all the hours I put into this so very worth it. You are the reason I am editing and reposting this. (And finishing it too! :P)

When she opened the door, she didn't quite believe what she was seeing. He was supposed to be on tour. He was supposed to be in Chicago, but there he was on her doorstep, standing silently in the rain.

After a moment of simply staring at him, dumbstruck, the initial shock of his presence began to wear off and she noticed how awful he looked. He was completely drenched and shivering, dark circles loomed beneath his eyes, and somehow he just looked frail. It absolutely broke her heart.

"Joe," she said quietly as she pulled him to her, over the threshold and into the house. She wanted to ask what on earth he was doing there, but she figured he would tell her when he was ready. She shouldn't push him, that wasn't what he needed right then. So instead, she just put her arms around him and hugged him. He quickly returned the gesture and threw his arms around her, grasping onto her tightly, almost frantically.

Lilly pulled back and held him at an arm's distance to get a good look at him in the light. As she surveyed the situation, she took his hand. "We need to get you warmed up," she concluded. "And out of those wet clothes. I don't want you getting sick."

With that, she turned and led him upstairs, stopping him in the hallway. "Hold on." She went into her bedroom and retrieved some clothes of his that had somehow gotten left there months ago. Heading back out to the hallway, Joe was exactly where she had left him, dripping in front of the bathroom door. She handed him the clothes and a towel from the linen closet. He took them gratefully and disappeared into the bathroom.

Lilly proceeded back downstairs to the kitchen. As she gathered together all the things she would need to make hot cocoa and set about preparing it, her mind wandered back to why he was there in the first place, why he came crashing back into her life so abruptly. Why she would let him. She was pulled from her reverie when she noticed Joe standing awkwardly in the doorway. She motioned for him to sit down at the table and he did as he was told. Sitting down across from him, she handed him the mug and he took a sip.

As the minutes passed, Joe rarely made eye contact, seemingly more content to watch the marshmallows melt into his cocoa. "Hey," Lilly said finally.

He looked up at her. "Hey."

That was the first time she had heard him speak since he arrived. His voice sounded scratchy and gruff from overuse, and she wondered for a moment if he was already sick. "Do Nick and Kevin know where you are?" He shook his head with a monosyllabic grunt. "They're probably worried."

"I'll call Kevin," he replied, but made no move to take his phone out. She supposed that Kevin would have to wait for an explanation just as she was doing.

When he was finished, she took his mug and put it in the sink. "Come on," she said, gesturing for him to follow her. She walked into the living room and sat down on the couch, Joe at her heels. He sat down next to her and stared at the ground.

The room was dark except for the light pouring from the television, signaling the beginning of another boring night of primetime, and she couldn't help but notice how he looked in the pale light. He was so quiet, so uncharacteristic of himself, and something else… Broken. He looked so broken. "How did you get here?"

"Bus." He took a breath as if he was about to say something else but abandoned the effort before he got a chance and fell back into the stable silence.

Lilly mentally reviewed the situation. He had apparently left Chicago without telling anyone or packing anything, took a bus all the way to California, and shown up on her doorstep. But she still had no idea why. "Joe," she urged gently.

He looked up at her. That's when she noticed that there were tears in his eyes. "Lilly, I--" He cut himself off and made a facial expression that was something like wincing in pain.

She sighed and leaned forward to hold onto him. Maybe why wasn't important right then. He was there, and that's what mattered.

So there was the first chapter. I hope you enjoyed reading it. I do love reviews, so please leave one if you get the chance, and I'll see you next chapter!

-Charlotte

P.S. –I'm just going to warn you now that I wouldn't be particularly surprised if any of my other stories are wrongly deleted. So if you read any of those, you may want to put me on author alert so you can tell when those are reposted if the need ever arises… Did that just sound like a shameless plug for myself? :P