Disclaimer: I do not own, nor am I in any way associated with, Hannah Montana.
AN: This is all because of that Lilly/Oliver episode. I don't see the chemistry there and the episode somehow bummed out all of my dear friend angellwings' Lilly/Jackson bunnies. This is my attempt to revive them. I hope it works and that everyone else enjoys some grown up Lilly/Jackson fluff.
As far as Lilly Truscott was concerned, summer was the worst. She'd decided on a college in the middle of the United States, the lack of an ocean a tradeoff for the scholarships and great education, but she'd realized her first year that it wasn't worth the money to fly back home for summer when Miley would be off touring and Oliver would be busy either trying to convince a girl to date him or keep the girl he'd already caught. It hadn't taken long for both of them to figure out that having your ex hang around as one of your best friends was a strain on all future relationships.
So Lilly was stuck in a boring summer job in a boring university town that saw zero excitement when all the students were gone. But today was her day off. No selling CDs to kids who didn't even remember cassettes, no listening to her annoying manager go on and on about how Mikayla was better than Hannah Montana. And she didn't want to be at work, she really didn't. But without it she wasn't sure just what to do with herself.
She sat on her couch, staring at her cell phone as if it would somehow offer up the answer to her discontent. She knew it was stupid, that she should be outside, looking for an adventure, but she couldn't quite bring herself to move. And that was why she jumped in shock when the phone rang. She answered it without looking at the caller ID, half hoping it would be her annoying manager calling to say that Ricky with the pimples got sick and she needed to come in.
"Hello?" she asked, not caring how eager she sounded.
"Oh, thank God! It's Lola!"
"Jackson?" Lilly asked, shocked both at hearing his voice and at being called by her alias for the first time in two years.
"Yes, it's Jackson. Now listen! Hannah's lost her sparkly pink boots and she needs them for the show tonight. As her best friend in the whole world, you should be able to psychically find them from five thousand miles away."
Lilly sighed, suddenly depressed to hear that Miley was having an adventure, even a completely materialistic one, without her. "You're on another continent. What makes you think I'd be able to find them?" she asked, not bothering to hide her biting tone.
"I've known you two for years, Lola. Of course you know where it is."
Lilly rolled her eyes. That was beside the point. "In the bus, under the driver's seat."
She heard Jackson relay the information and snap at whichever stagehand dared question him. "So," he said casually, "what's up?"
Lilly really didn't want to admit to her best friend's brother that she was having a terrible summer. "Um, don't you have to help set things up? I mean, you are her manager."
"She's managed just fine. Do you want to talk to her? I mean, you'll only have four hours before she has to be onstage, but you're long-distance friends, you have to make a few sacrifices."
"No, Jackson, I don't want to talk to her. Tell her to break a leg from me."
"Bye," Lilly said and shut the phone. "Adventure," she muttered. "It's time to have an adventure."
Step. Thunk. "Ow." Step. Thunk. "Ow." Step. Thunk. "Ow."
Lilly looked up at her apartment door, thankful that she'd finally reached her floor. Why did the elevator have to be out today of all days? She set her crutches beside the door and dug around her pocket for the key. Before putting it in the lock she reached a hand up to her bandaged head and pressed just above her left eye. Yes, it was definitely still tender, just like the cute doctor had said. She took a deep breath, bracing herself for the myriad small tasks which needed to be completed in her apartment before she could collapse in bed. The door was already falling open when she noticed the shaft of light under the door and heard the male voice inside. Her eyes went wide and she grabbed a crutch as a weapon just as a hand pulled the door open.
"Oh, thank God!" Jackson cried for the second time that day. "She's here," he said and Lilly realized he was talking into a phone. "Uh huh, I'll call you later. Get some sleep, Miles. You have a show in," he checked his watch, "sixteen hours." He hung up and looked Lilly up and down. "What the hell happened to you?" he demanded.
She winced, his yell renewing the pain in her head. "Aren't you supposed to be in Europe?" she asked, reaching for her second crutch.
He snatched it out of her reach and the other out of her hand before placing them just inside the door. "Aren't you supposed to be uninjured, and home before eleven o'clock?"
She was about to snap that she was an adult but he attacked first, picking her up bridal style. She screeched at him while he kicked the door closed and carried her to her couch.
"What happened to you?" he asked as he gathered up pillows from all around the apartment.
She crossed her arms, adopting her best petulant expression. "I went bungee jumping."
He whirled around. "Did the cord snap?"
She focused on the view out her window when she muttered, "That would have been way less embarrassing."
"So … the cord's okay?" Jackson asked, pushing the pillows behind her and a few under her bandaged foot.
"Better than me. What are you doing here, anyway?"
Jackson shrugged and went into her tiny kitchen. "I told Miley that you sounded kind of weird when I talked to you -- her boots were under the seat, by the way -- and she demanded I reenact the whole thing. She was worried and, as her manager, I couldn't let her perform when she was distracted, so I took the first flight out." As he said this he pulled a pizza box out of her oven and set two sodas from the fridge on top of it. He brought it all over and took a seat on the coffee table as he handed her one of the sodas. "You still didn't say how you got hurt," he pointed out, taking a piece of pizza.
It was from Zeus's, she realized, a place she'd told Miley about in one of her e-mails. "No, I didn't," she said and took a piece for herself.
"Well?" he asked.
She sighed, wishing he'd just drop the subject. "The actual jumping went fine, but when I was trying to stand up afterward I was still a little out of it. I stepped on the edge of the curb and my foot twisted the wrong way," she motioned to her propped-up leg, "and I fell, hitting my head on the stupid curb," she motioned to her head. "The worst part is I don't even have a concussion so they had no reason to keep me for observation. My doctor was cute, too."
Jackson bit his lip. "That's sad."
"You're not allowed to tell Miley."
"Oh, come on! It's not that bad."
She glared at him.
"Fine, fine. I won't tell Miley. Did the doctor give you any instructions?"
"What are you, my mother?"
"I prefer to think of myself as a ruggedly attractive male nurse."
The pose he struck as he said it would have made Lilly burst out laughing, if she hadn't been horrified by the very idea. "You are not staying here," she said.
"Of course I am. You can't be by yourself right now."
"I'm fine. If I was in any danger they'd have kept me at the hospital. Now run off to your hotel room, or better yet the airport. I'm sure Miley needs you at her next show."
"Nope. Mamaw was with a senior's touring group of Europe and she volunteered to take over for me while I'm gone. Miley shouldn't get sick of her for at least two more days. So, should I take the couch or do you want to stay out here?"
"You are not staying here!"
"Yes, I am."
"No, you're not!"
Jackson sat back and for a minute Lilly actually thought she'd won. "If I leave right now, how will you get to the bathroom?"
Lilly refused to give him the satisfaction of looking at her crutches, abandoned by the door. "Fine," she ground out. "But let's just get a couple things straight: when I go to the bathroom the door will be closed and you will be on this side of it."
"And under no circumstances are you helping me get dressed."
A strange look passed over Jackson's face before he nodded. "I wouldn't expect anything else." He grabbed the remote control from behind her and flopped into her armchair. "So, anything good on tonight?"
Jackson hit the keys on his cell phone a bit harder than was strictly necessary when he deleted Sharon's number. She had been more than a bit pleased when she learned that he was Hannah Montana's manager, but six months later, when one of her friends saw an old Hannah interview on YouTube, she'd been less than understanding about his supposed "romance" with the superstar. There had been no way to convince her that he was safe from Hannah's charms without outing Miley, but he'd been willing to try. On his way to her apartment he'd seen her through a coffee shop window with another man. That was how he found out Sharon had moved on … three weeks before they broke up.
As much as he wanted to throw the phone at the wall, he would have to be content with just deleting her number. There was no way he'd risk losing all of the contact information he needed as Hannah's manager and he couldn't remember the last time he'd backed it up.
And so he lay on his couch in his darkened apartment, wallowing. When the phone rang he reached for it blindly.
"If this is Sharon," he sighed, "please know that Jackson Stewart is currently in a hot tub with three international swimsuit models and he doesn't even remember your name. If it's anyone else, call back later."
"I am not anyone else, Jackson," Miley snapped before he could hang up. More gently she asked, "So, not taking it well, huh?"
He made a noncommittal grunt.
"Well suck it up! I need my manager and you need to get over that harpy. I told you she was no good for you. Come out with me tonight. I'll get Kelly Clarkson to talk to you."
"I'm Hannah Montana's manager," Jackson muttered. "Kelly Clarkson talks to me of her own volition nowadays."
"Please, Jackson. I don't like it when you're like this. Let me cheer you up."
"I'll be fine in a few days. You can handle your own life for a few days, can't you?"
"If I said no, would you come out of your hibernation?"
"No. See you next week."
He hung up and reached for the stereo remote. Some nice, angsty music was exactly what he needed right now.
The rhinoceros was just about to feed Simon Cowell to the giant armadillo when the tiger lily's incessant cries of "Jackson! Jackson!" woke him up.
"What?" he asked, blinking. The room was dark and the music was louder than it should have been.
"Jackson!" Lilly snapped, frantically hitting buttons on the remote. "How do you turn this thing down?"
He grabbed the remote from her hands and easily shut off the music. "What are you doing in my apartment?" he asked, wiping sleep from his eyes. "And how did you even get in here?"
"Oh please, you keep a key under the mat. That's like the worst hiding place ever. And Miley called. She was worried about you and since I don't have to give an interview first thing in the morning, I offered to come over and keep an eye on you." She plopped down next to him on the couch and pulled several plastic bags off the coffee table. Since he didn't recognize them, he imagined she'd brought them with her.
"What's that?" he asked.
"Comfort food," she said, pulling out a tube of cookie dough, frozen corn dogs, and a six-pack out of the first bag. When he reached for the last she slapped his hand. "Only one an hour. You can dull your sorrows in alcohol, just don't drown them."
"But what if I want to drown them?"
"That's what bag number two is for." DVDs came from the second bag. "All movies where women are evil, or die horrible, horrible deaths. Preferably both."
"Species, Starship Troopers, why is there a Twilight Zone disc in here?"
"It's the one with Jessica Simpson. I figure it's the best of them all: eye candy, evil little girl, and the heroine is worse than dead in the end."
He nodded. "What about the other bag?"
"That's the contingency bag."
"You have a contingency plan?"
She smiled and pulled out a cardboard box. "In case you still feel the need to hurt something, I have here a life-size, blow-up, punching doll, made to look like Rico."
"No!" Jackson said, snatching the box from her hands.
"Oh yes. When most people see the list of their enemies they see danger, Rico sees dollar signs. So, which movie do you want to see first?"
He considered. "How about --"
"Jackson!" Miley's voice echoed through the door, accompanied by loud banging. "I know you're in there! Open up!"
Jackson shot Lilly a questioning glance and was surprised to see her sheepishly examining her shoes.
"I will not let you wallow, Jackson! Now open this door!" Several bangs later she added, "I can't believe you moved your spare key just to keep me out, you jerk!"
"Miley didn't really send you, did she?" Jackson asked.
Lilly's face reddened. "She didn't really send you to check on me during her European tour, did she?" she snapped back.
He ran a hand through his hair. "No. No, she didn't."
The yelling and banging slowly ceased, leaving them in silence.
"She's not gone," he said, "she's probably just trying to find another way in."
"Hm," Lilly said with a nod.
"Gah!" Jackson hissed, standing and pacing to the television. "What are we going to do?"
Lilly shrugged. "I don't think there's anything we can do. Nothing stops Miley when she sets her mind to something."
"I'm not talking about Miley!" He marched back to the couch, took her by the shoulders and lifted her up. "I'm talking about this!" And he kissed her.
After a moment he realized that she wasn't responding, was completely still, as if afraid to move. He let her go, embarrassed, and she fell back onto the couch.
"Sorry," he said, walking away. "I'm sorry. I thought --"
She spun him around. "Give a girl time to think next time, will you?" And she kissed him.
"I'm tellin' you, Daddy," Miley said into her cell phone as she marched across Jackson's lawn to her car. "I just saw Jackson and Lilly making out in his living room."
"Darlin', are you sure? Could he have gotten back together with Sharon?"
"Ew! No! I know what I saw. I can't unsee it actually. I'm kind of worried the image will pop into my head when I'm merging onto the freeway."
"Take surface streets, honey. That should be safer."
"Why aren't you concerned about this? It's Jackson and Lilly."
"Why are you so concerned? Assuming everything goes well, Lilly will be your sister."
Miley stopped, a smile slowly forming on her face.
"Now stop right there, Miley!" Robbie Ray snapped. "I know what you're thinking. If you try to help them along you'll just ruin things. Stay out of it, at least for a while."
"Out! Don't make me take my old manager job back just so I can keep an eye on you. I don't think I could stand you and Jackson moping over one of his ruined relationships."
"Yes, sir," Miley said before hanging up. She frowned at the phone before smiling once more and hitting the speed dial. After three rings the call was answered. "Oliver?" Miley asked. "You don't by any chance need some help, do you?"
reviews = love