This is just a short story to prove that I'm not dead. Not that anyone questioned that. And yes, nothing gets resolved in this story. Nothing at all. So you've been warned.

Old Maid and The D Word will be updated as soon as I find my inspiration in life once more.

Title: Disillusioned

Rating: T-ish

Warnings: Femslash. F/F. Two consenting females, yada yada yada.

Pairings: Jake/Miley. Lilly/Miley.

-o-0-o-

It was a lazy afternoon in the Stewart household – which was definitely an oddity considering the people inside it. The sun outside was blistering and hot and miserable, making it almost impossible to leave the house for very long. The people that persisted in lazing about on the beach were restricted to short bursts of play in the water, and extended huddling under the sun umbrellas. The weatherman that morning had proclaimed it to be the hottest day in Malibu history; quite a feat in sunny Southern California.

It was too hot to be mean, too hot to even fight over the remote. Jackson found himself forced into watching I Love Lucy reruns with Miley, since she had claimed the remote before he had fallen onto the couch beside her. His blonde hair was plastered to his forehead, as Miley's brown hair was to her. Decked out in next to nothing, they lay there, their eyes barely flickering as the characters on the screen darted about. Perched on the coffee table in front of them were three small fans going full blast. The table beneath them shivered under them.

"Miley…" Jackson groaned. "If I have to watch one more episode of this show, I think I'm going to puke."

She laughed, pushing the remote further out of his reach. "Like you'd have the energy to puke on me."

Determined to prove her wrong, Jackson sat up, ignoring the way his loose swim trunks clung uncomfortably to his thighs. He leaned towards her, jamming a finger down his throat and making threatening retching noises. She hissed her disapproval and threw the remote in his general direction. Snatching it up, he had just enough steam to clench a fist in victory before melting back into the couch. Flipping through the channels, he searched for something bearable to watch. But, like the weather, the television was unsatisfactory. Deciding on something annoying rather than enjoyable, he settled on a celebrity gossip program and tucked the remote behind his back.

The woman on the screen chuckled with her co-host over a joke told moments before Jackson chose the channel.

"Jake Ryan is at it again." She leaned towards the co-host, a portly man with a dash of stubble on his chin. "That boy just can't keep it in his pants, can he?"

He chuckled in return, "Helen, he's a teenage boy, what do you expect?"

Helen put a finger to her lips, obviously overacting; her face was an extreme exaggeration of shock, "You don't say?"

The two laughed together, enjoying their onscreen personas.

"Seems that Mr. Ryan has been spotted with not one, not two, but three different girls this past week alone." The man continued, eyes flickering back to the camera, "None of them his current girl friend."

Miley stared at the screen, her skin heating up considerably, and not because of the intense sun. Wrenching herself from the couch, she trailed upstairs to her room, listlessly running her fingertips over the wall. Internally, she told herself not to freak out too badly. Tabloids and gossip merchants could spin a story anyway they pleased, regardless of the truth. She didn't know quite what Jake was doing with those other girls, but she did know that she was growing sick of the flippant way that Jake handled her feelings.

Opening her cell phone, she stared at the wallpaper, growing more and more restless with every passing second. Jake had his arm slung around her waist, his cheek pressed against hers. Both of them had smiles on their faces, but while hers was genuine and pleased, his was cocky and fake. She set the phone down, telling herself that this bitterness was just because of the weather. It would pass as soon as the sun went down and the temperature dropped. If only, she complained silently, Lilly was back.

That weekend was the annual Truscott Family Reunion. Each year as many people from the clan as could make it was forced into close quarters for two days. It made Miley chuckle to think of Lilly sharing a bunk bed with her little cousin, Emily. Emily, as Miley remembered her, was quite the bed wetter. She hoped that Lilly had the top bunk. Lilly was due back in Malibu by the end of the day, but it was a rather open ended deadline. It could be anytime, which didn't cure Miley's desire to talk to her best friend in the least.

She closed her phone, hating the sweaty feeling of her fingers. Pulling her clothes off, she threw the offensive objects to the floor and tied her robe around her body. Padding down the hall, she locked herself in the bathroom, discarded the robe, and turned on an icy shower. Shivering, she forced herself to stay in the frigid water for as long as she could, enjoying both the change from the heat and the way it restricted her thoughts. It was hard to sulk when her body was one giant goose bump.

When she finally removed her shaking body from the water, she was freezing cold and soaking wet. The air, for a few minutes, felt cool against her skin and she felt ten times better than she had before. She gathered her belongings and hurried back to her room. Choosing a light pink tank top and a pair of white frilly board shorts, she redressed and collapsed on her bed. Across the room, her phone blinked at her. Someone had called while she was in the shower – on one hand, she thought despondently, she could leave the phone and the message until later when she felt up to moving once more, but on the other she had the hope that maybe Lilly was home. Fueled by that thought, she crossed the room once more and dialed her voicemail.

"Miley! Where are you? I'm ba-ack!" Lilly's voice chirped through the speakers. "It was horrible. Emily wet the bed three times. In one night. And I was the bottom bunk since she got there first." Miley smiled, enjoying the mental imagery that accompanied that statement. "It's wicked hot today, whew. But it's supposed to rain tonight. Come over? I have a surprise for you. Don't need to call me back, just get your butt down here. Love you!"

Miley snapped the phone shut and hurried to her closet. Though the weather was impossibly hot at the moment, she knew it would drop when the stars appeared, so she chose a light sweatshirt to tie around her waist. Shoving her feet hastily into a pair of flip-flops, she ran downstairs, past Jackson (who was still sweating up a storm on the couch), and out the front door. Stepping outside was like stepping into an incinerator, however, and she felt as though she had been physically punched. She slowed to a sluggish walk. Normally the walk to Lilly's took two minutes, tops, but the heat caused it to extend into a six minute long nightmare. By the time Miley knocked on Lilly's front door, she had a layer of sweat keeping her tank top plastered to her back.

The door swung open and Lilly practically pounced on her. The hug lasted all of two seconds before Lilly recoiled as if stung.

"You're sweaty." She stated, rubbing her hands on her jean shorts.

"And your house has working air condition." Miley pushed her way into the Truscott house. "Lemme in."

"What happened to yours?" Lilly tailed after her, following as Miley wandered into the living room and stood upon one of the many vents in the house.

"Daddy's working on it right now. Fuse blew or something." Miley waved her hand, exemplifying her extensive knowledge of household matters.

"Good thing I wanted you here." Lilly giggled.

"Yeah. Jackson's in his trunks on the couch. Sweating like a pig in the middle of August on Uncle Earl's farm." Miley closed her eyes, content with the cold air blasting her feet.

Lilly made a face. "Ew."

"Exactly." Miley pried one eye open, "You mentioned a surprise?"

Grinning mischievously, Lilly shook her head, "You get that after the sun goes down." Lilly wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.

Miley looked at the ground, "Can we talk?"

Sensing the rather obvious change in her friend's mood, Lilly stiffened and walked over. Taking Miley's wrist in hand, she dragged Miley through the house and into her bedroom. They fell onto Lilly's bed, Lilly near the foot and Miley hidden among Lilly's plethora of pillows. Lilly tickled the bottom of Miley's foot expecting to rouse a giggle, but none came. Instantly, she became more somber.

"What's up?"

Miley rubbed her nose in a pillow, hiding her eyes from view. "I've just been thinkin' a bit, is all."

"About…" Lilly adopted a sing-song tone, trying anything to cheer her friend out of the slump.

"Just stuff." Miley responded. Her eyes flickered to the window, where she could view Lilly's backyard. Ominous black clouds had drifted across the sun, making the world go dark. "Looks like rain."

Lilly was used to the constant changing of subjects when dealing with personal issues, so she waited a few moments, as patiently as possible, for Miley to speak her mind. When nothing was forthcoming, Lilly tweaked Miley's pinky toe.

"Miles, you can talk to me about anything, you know that."

Miley favored her with a small, sad smile. She wrenched her body from the bed, unable to sit still, and went to the window. Pressing her finger to the pane, she drew a small swirl design – instantly regretting her action. Lilly's window had been clean before her finger attack, but now had trails of finger oils coating it. Chuckling, Lilly crossed the room to Miley's side.

"Miley Ray Stewart."

Miley barely turned her head, "Let's go outside. Do you have a blanket we can sit on?"

Lilly fought the edge of irritation trying to worm its way into her mood. Miley was the one who wanted to talk in the first place, she reminded herself, and it was Miley's choice to speak or not. She nodded and went down the hall to the linen closet. Selecting a ragged beach blanket, she lead Miley out into her backyard and spread the towel. With the clouds hiding the sun, the temperature had dropped considerably, but it was a welcome change.

Stretching out her toes in the sand, Miley let her body relax. She let her head fall limply back, ignoring the persistent looks Lilly was giving her.

"Lil, do you ever feel like bubblegum?"

"Say what?"

"Like used gum. You sit on the ground until some boy walks over and picks you up. Then he, like, chews on you until all your flavor is gone, and spits you out. And maybe the next time you're not so lucky and the next boy just steps on you, and then he just scrapes you off the bottom of his shoes like you're some kind of dog crap." Miley trailed off, realizing that she had gone off on a tangent.

"You're asking if I feel like ABC gum." Lilly stated, just clarifying. "Well, I personally have not already been chewed, at least it doesn't feel like it. Where is this coming from?"

"Jake's been out with other girls." Miley stated. She leaned back on her arms, putting all her weight on her wrists.

"That jackass!" Lilly fumed, mimicking Miley's posture. "You're too good for him, Miles. There are other fish in the sea."

"Who wants to chew me up and spit me out for a fresher piece of gum." Miley whispered glumly.

A crackle of thunder overhead warned them of coming rain, but they ignored the sign in favor of remaining on the blanket. When the rain began to downpour in buckets, they barely budged. Lilly turned her face up to the sky, letting it pelt her face. Miley huddled closer to Lilly, resting her head on Lilly's shoulder. Lilly peered sidelong at her. Her heart was pounding a little too hard, and she knew that she was probably taking advantage of her friend, but she sat up a little straighter, causing Miley to withdraw.

"Lilly?" Miley's voice was barely audible over the rain.

Lilly smiled hesitantly. She lay her hand on top of Miley's, enjoying the current that flashed between them. Maybe it was just the weather – rain always made her feel larger than life – or maybe it was just Miley's vulnerability, but Lilly suddenly felt invincible. She leaned slowly forward, giving Miley every opportunity to run away. Pausing, she waited, hoping that Miley would come to her. A heartbeat later, their lips were melded together. She'd never thought about kissing Miley, and yet there she was. It could have been awkward, it could have been terrible, but it just felt right.

"Miles," Lilly rested her chin on Miley's shoulder, her ears poised at Miley's ear. "I won't spit you out."

"I know."

The rain was still coming down hard, yet neither girl moved. They couldn't possibly get more soaked than they were, so neither felt the need to seek shelter. Miley's hair was once more plastered to her forehead, and her clothes were once more stuck to her skin, but this time the heat she was feeling was welcome.

"Can I call you Big Red?" Lilly giggled.

"What?"

"Like the gum brand." Lilly raised her eyebrows, "No? How about Hubba? Or Bubba? Wrigley?"

"Um, no."

"Tic-tac?" Lilly questioned, testing it out. "I like Tic-tac. That cool with you Tic-tac?"

Miley fell backwards on the blanket, a wide grin spreading across her lips, "That's not a gum brand."

"And you're not my piece of gum." Lilly fell beside her. "Think of yourself as a 10 calorie breath freshener. Or an everlasting jawbreaker."

Miley silenced her goofy best friend with a firm kiss that sent electric shivers down both their spines. They lay there in the rain, enjoying each other's company and, for the first time that day, the weather.