I Can't Let You Go
Cause we belong together now, yeah
Forever united here somehow.
Yeah, you got a piece of me,
My life would suck without you.
Being with you is so dysfunctional.
I really shouldn't miss you,
But I can't let you go.
-"My Life Would Suck Without You" by Kelly Clarkson
"You sure this is what you want, Lil?" Oliver asked her as he and Miley exchanged worried glances.
"Of course it is," She said with a little too much confidence. "Why wouldn't it be? I mean I've been planning this wedding for months! Surely I would have realized this wasn't what I wanted before now right? Besides he's the guy I've always wanted. I mean he's a pro skateboarder with his own line of boards! That's the dream, right?"
"Yeah, that was the dream," Miley said as she put emphasis on the "was" and hoped Lilly would get the hint.
Lilly looked down at her dress self-consciously. She had gone for a more casual beach wedding. So her dress was a white halter tea length dress, and she had chosen to go barefoot. She then looked up at Miley in her tea length strapless pale yellow dress and bare feet. Miley looked stunning as usual. Oliver was one of the groomsmen in a clean and light pair of tan linen pants and a pressed white dress shirt. It was her perfect wedding. Everything was exactly how she had always imagined it.
But was that still good enough?
Lilly shook herself out of her cold feet as the harpist began to play "The Boy I'm Going to Marry". She hadn't wanted to walk down the aisle to "Here Comes the Bride" so she'd chosen one of her favorite classic tunes. Oliver leaned over to Miley quickly.
"I thought you said he was coming?"
"He said he would be here," Miley answered worriedly.
"So, we're just going to let her marry a man she clearly doesn't love?"
"What other choice do we have?" Miley answered with a sigh before Oliver scrambled to find his corresponding bridesmaid.
Lilly pretended not to hear them as she took a deep calming breath and thought back to the events of the previous two weeks. She'd been planning this wedding with her mother for five months now. The date had been set for two weeks after her college graduation. She had attended school in Florida, and had been making phone calls and collaborating with her mother in order to plan her perfect Malibu wedding from her apartment in Orlando. She hadn't been back to Malibu in almost two years. She'd been working and going to school non-stop. Her mother had started flying to Orlando for the holidays to make things easier on Lilly. She'd made sure to keep in touch with Miley, Oliver, and Mr. Stewart though she hadn't really talked to Jackson since the summer after her senior year of high school.
So, when she and her fiancé had arrived in Malibu two weeks ago she'd gotten a rather large welcome. Her entire family, the Stewart Family (plus Oliver), Rico (unfortunately), and the guys she used to hang out with at the skate park. She had been the most anxious about seeing Jackson again. They had almost had something before she left for college…almost. But she had convinced herself that that was in the past. Both of them had been too stubborn to really make an attempt, and they hadn't parted on the best of terms. Besides she was engaged to be married, and Aaron was perfect. She had no reason to be unhappy with him. At least that's what she had thought.
Stupid Jackson, she cursed silently as she watched the first pair of groomsmen and bridesmaid walk down the sandy aisle. He just had to swoop in and confuse me.
"Lilly, you look…," Jackson said as he looked her up and down. "Beautiful."
She gave him a bored glance in an attempt to hide the thrill that compliment gave her.
Why did his compliments always feel so much better than anyone elses? What right did he have to pay her a compliment anyway? Hadn't he said he would rather be with anyone but her? She gave him a suspicious glare.
"What are you up to?" She asked with a slight sneer.
He flashed a smirk before disguising it with a faux innocence, "Me? I'm not up to anything."
"Liar," she said in an accusatory tone. He shrugged.
"I'm a liar? You don't even realize that you're lying to yourself do you?" He asked rhetorically. "That's okay, Lil, because that's why I'm here."
She watched him walk away in confusion. What did that mean? Lying to herself?
"Babe?" Aaron asked as he approached her from behind. "Are you okay?"
She turned and smiled sweetly at him, "Me? Yeah, I'm fine. Totally fine."
"Lilly? Lilly? Truscott!" Miley yelled impatiently. Lilly snapped her head in Miley's direction.
"I asked you if you were okay. You were spacing out," Miley repeated.
"Oh, I'm fine. Just nervous," Lilly lied. She watched the next pair begin their path down the aisle anxiously. The line of groomsmen and bridesmaids felt like some sort of final countdown. She wasn't excited anxious…she was worried anxious. She let out a frustrated sigh, and forcefully turned Miley to face her.
"Your brother is annoying!" She said loudly. Miley's eyes widened and she quickly clamped a hand over Lilly's mouth.
"Geez, Lilly, do you WANT to make a scene?" Miley asked in a whisper. "And what did Jackson do this time?"
"Oh nothing, just ruined my wedding. Nothing major," Lilly said sarcastically.
Miley glanced at her in confusion, "But he's not even here."
"Exactly! He's so ingrained into my skull that he doesn't have to be! The jerk!"
"Lilly, slow down and tell me what the heck you're talking about," Miley pleaded.
"He's not really what you want, you know," Jackson said as he encroached on her space as she sat on the practically empty beach.
"And how would you know?" She asked sarcastically.
"You decided you wanted a cowboy remember?" He grinned good naturedly.
"That was right after I'd broken up with Oliver. The cowboy phase was purely a rebound thing," Lilly said with a faint smile as she shook her head.
"Really now?" He asked as he stuck out his chin proudly. "Because you didn't date me until well after the acceptable rebound period, and I'm kind of a cowboy, Lils. I've even got the rugged good looks to match."
Lilly laughed, "Jackson you're a lot of things…but rugged isn't one of them."
He brought a hand to his chest in mock pain, "You always did know how to hurt a guy."
"Yeah, well, I'm not the only one," she muttered quietly.
His face grew serious as he realized what she was talking about, "Lilly, come on…I was stupid. I've told you that before or tried to that is, but you never seem to hear it."
"You couldn't have just said, 'you know Lilly, I'm not sure a long distance relationship is a good thing for us.' You had to purposefully hurt me and attempt to scare me away?"
"In my idiotic Jackson mind that plan made sense at the time. Do not ask me why," he sighed. "Are you really going to marry this guy?"
"You have a better idea?" She asked sarcastically.
"Actually, I do," He said ambiguously.
"Jackson, no. We've tried that already," She argued.
"We tried 'that' four years ago," He told her. "Believe it or not I've actually grown up a little since then."
She sighed and traced shapes in the sand, "You're too late. I'm taken."
"No you're not, not until you stand in front of that minister and say I do," Jackson reminded her as he reached out and took her hand that had been doodling in the sand. She froze and stared at his hand holding hers. She'd been down this road before, and it had hurt. But then again so had living without him. His left hand travelled lightly up her arm, and came to a stop when he reached her cheek. He rubbed her check lightly with his thumb and then leaned forward for a kiss. Lilly reacted instinctually and brought her free hand up to his hair and pulled him closer. Why couldn't kissing Aaron feel like this? Her eyes suddenly shot open. Aaron! She quickly pulled away from Jackson.
"No," She told him breathlessly. "I'm engaged. This is behind me. You are behind me."
"No," She repeated as she stood and ran back to her mother's house. She locked herself in her old room, and leaned against the door. She brought a hand to her lips and swallowed thickly. Why had she done that?
"Secret-keeping-brother-loving-best-friend say what? You kissed him? Then what the hell are you doing here?" Miley asked in a stage whisper. "And why am I just now hearing about this?"
"Jackson hurt me, Miley. Who's to say he won't do it again?" Lilly asked her.
Miley shook her head, "He's not the same guy you knew. He was telling the truth. As much as I hate to admit it he has grown up ever so slightly. Besides if you don't give it a try then you'll always wonder, and I don't think that's fair to Aaron. Do you?"
Lilly sighed and shook her head, "I hate it when you're right."
Miley grinned, "Well then you must hate life."
Lilly chuckled and shook her head, "Now what do I do?"
"Break it to the crowd," Miley told her truthfully.
Lilly winced, "Do I have to? Can't I just run away?"
"Yes, because that's always worked for us in the past," Miley chuckled.
"Oy," Lilly groaned. "Is there any way you can help me get Aaron away from the crowd? I should really talk to him about this in private."
Miley smirked, "Hello? This is me you're talking about here! Of course I can! I'll just tell Oliver his new girlfriend stopped by with a pregnancy test and says the baby is his. He'll faint for sure."
Lilly watched her friend sprint toward Oliver with an evil smirk and shook her head. Some things never changed. Lilly stifled a giggle as Oliver paled and tottered back and forth before he finally fell to the ground. The guests let out a collective gasp and a good chunk of them gathered around Oliver's unconscious form while Lilly snuck around them and pulled Aaron off to the side. Miley watched anxiously as Lilly and Aaron chatted. His hand motions made it clear that he was less than happy. He eventually stormed off down the beach. Lilly walked up to the minister and explained the situation to him. He smiled sympathetically at her and allowed her to have the floor.
"Oliver!" Lilly yelled as she walked down the aisle toward him in her bare feet. Miley chuckled as she knelt beside of him and slapped him across the face. "Get up, you big baby! Oliver!"
Oliver groaned in pain and sat up with a whine, "Ow! Geez, I totally remember why we broke up now. Man, you are violent!"
Lilly rolled her eyes, "Oh please, Man up already."
Lilly stood and addressed her guests, "I'm sorry to do this to all of you, but it doesn't look like there is going to be a wedding. I'm sorry for any inconvenience you've experienced, but I just can't go through with it. I'm not ready for marriage just yet…to anyone. Feel free to head over to Rico's for the reception and some cake if you want, though!"
The guests all whispered to each other as they left. Some just went home, but a few of the guests had said they would be at Rico's as they began to walk down the beach.
Oliver glanced at Miley questioningly, "Tara never came down here did she?"
She smirked, "Maybe she did, maybe she didn't."
"Why exactly am I friends with you people?" Oliver asked sarcastically.
Miley ignored him and turned back toward Lilly, "You okay?"
Lilly let out a sigh of relief and smiled, "Definitely. Man, I have missed Malibu."
"Well, Lilly, I'd say it's time for some cake," Oliver offered as he held out both of his arms to Lilly and Miley. "And I do believe there is a massive tower of cake waiting for us at Rico's."
"You guys, go ahead," Lilly told them. "I'm gonna hang out here for a bit."
Miley gave her a concerned look, "Are you sure?"
"Yeah, you guys go. I'll catch up," She told her two best friends reassuringly.
After they had walked away Lilly made her way to the ocean. She bit her lip and contemplating sitting down on the wet sand where the tide came in. She didn't want to ruin her dress. Then again it wasn't like she was ever going to wear it again. There's not much you can do with a wedding dress from a wedding that didn't happen. She shrugged and sat down. She stretched out her legs and enjoyed the feeling of the tide lapping over her skin. She hadn't enjoyed breaking Aaron's heart earlier, but if she hadn't done it then it would have happened further down the road. It was better it come out before they were married than after. She felt some one sit down beside of her, and assumed it was Miley coming back to get her.
"Miley, I'm fine. You didn't have to-"
She turned her head to address Miley and froze. It wasn't Miley.
"I've been called a lot of things in my lifetime, but I have never been mistaken for my sister," Jackson said with a grin. He was wearing a pair of black dress pants and a blue button up dress shirt. "You know Lilly, if I didn't know any better I'd say you were dressed for a wedding."
"You're not exactly dressed for a ho-down you know?" She bit back sarcastically.
"What happened? Did Aaron stand you up?" He asked playfully.
"He wishes," Lilly said sadly.
Jackson's eyebrow furrowed, "Wait, you mean that you bailed on him?"
Lilly sighed angrily, "This is ALL your fault, you know! You and your stupid compliments, and then you just HAD to kiss me didn't you? You just couldn't let me get married in peace."
"Correction, I couldn't let you get married at all," Jackson told her. "Not right now anyway. Maybe a few years from now when we've-"
"We? Since when is there a 'we'?" Lilly asked him.
"Oh, well, since I decided that life pretty much sucks without you," Jackson said casually. "You know, no matter what I did I couldn't help comparing other girls to you, and none of them came even remotely close. I even missed getting yelled at all the time…is that weird?"
Lilly bit the inside of her lip to keep from smiling, "You've always been weird."
"See? Even that derogatory comment is music to my ears," He told her with a smirk.
She eyed him suspiciously, "No more crazy convoluted break up plans?"
"Not a one," He told her seriously.
"That especially means that there will be NO supermodels in your hot tub, got it?" She asked sternly.
"Ma'am, yes, Ma'am," He said with a small salute. She smiled at him and hesitated a second before jumping forward and wrapping her arms around his neck.
"Please, do not screw this up this time, Jackson. Your life isn't the only that sucks when we're apart," She told him honestly as she pulled herself out of the hug.
"I promise, Lilly, I will NOT screw this up," He told her with a warm smile. She sighed happily and quickly smothered his lips with her own. After four years in Florida Lilly was finally home.
Okay, so this is dedicated to JDPhoenix because she totally revived my faith in Lackson! I let Loliver dishearten me for a bit, but she cheered me up, and then I thought of this! So YAY! I hope you guys liked it! Oh, btw, I'm assuming HM: the Movie takes place AFTER season 3 because of Jackson starting college in the movie and him LOOKING at colleges during season 3.