A/N: So, I really, really should be working on my Twilight fic, but I wanted to write this instead. This was initially a Loe oneshot that I had up quite some time ago. I took it down when I decided to abstain from Jonas fanfiction (not because I stopped loving them. I won't go into it now.) but I loved the idea so much that I planned on turning it into a Lackson. Then I discovered Lake and decided I liked that better, so here we go. This totally disregards the fact that Loliver is now canon and Jiley has been re-ignited because I hate both those pairings, no offense.

Disclaimer: I don't own Hannah Montana. If I did, I would be busy being rich and making Lake canon and whatnot.

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This is stupid.

She'd been standing outside that stupid door for almost a half hour, holding back tears for no good reason other than the fact that she hated crying because it never accomplished anything unless you liked sinus headaches and running mascara, and she didn't.

She didn't even think Miley would be here when she dragged herself over from Rico's. Because truth be told, the last few years Lilly had watched Miley become increasingly detached from her "real" life and more and more involved in her Hannah life. It was only a matter of time, Lilly thought, before she came clean to the press-or even worse, bleached her hair, changed her name, hired a tutor and never spoke of her normal life-or to her real friends-again.

But still, she came, because she didn't know where else to go. Her mother would tell her to suck it up, and Oliver would probably say something along the lines of "So?" because he was horrible with people, and if she was lucky, maybe Mr. Stewart would be here to talk to. Heck, she'd take Jackson over nobody, but she didn't really have a choice, because the car was gone, the lights were out and there didn't seem to be any evidence that they would be returning any time soon.

But she didn't have anywhere else to be, and that was sad. So she stayed, the days events running through her mind.


She spun around and saw the one person she would probably take nobody over: Jake Ryan. He stared at her from the sidewalk, leaning over the picket fence, as she stood there, close to tears in front of a house that was obviously empty, looking like an idiot, which was almost too ironic for her to take, bringing her even closer to the edge. Before she could muster up some witty comment involving her asking him to leave, he said "I...don't think they're home."

"Did you seriously just say that?!?"

"What?!?" he seemed genuinely surprised at her anger, and for a minute she considered NOT taking the day she'd had out on him. But then she remembered, he deserved it. And besides which, if she was angry, she couldn't be depressed, and if she wasn't depressed, she couldn't cry, so if she could stay angry just until she'd managed to chase him off-and she was sure she'd find a way-she wouldn't have to cry in front of her worst enemy, which would just be pathetic.

These thoughts whizzed through her mind as she stalked across the Stewart's lawn over to Jake.

"Jake, I'm not an idiot, alright? I realize that nobody's home. My gosh, do you really think so little of my intelligence?"

She saw something flash in his eyes, and suddenly he was the Jake she always insulted, the overconfident, self-centered Hollywood actor who didn't care about anyone but himself. She wondered for a moment if he switched on and off like a light switch based on the level of civility of those around him-but no, she'd seen plenty of girls be more than just "civil" to him, and he was definitely Mr. Hollywood around them. It would be nice to think that Jake's sweet side was because of more than just some typically-dormant shred of humanity in him; that he was really just afraid of acting like that, on some subconscious level, because he never knew who he could trust, who was going to hurt him by liking him only for his looks or money or fame or car or whatever else he had.

It would be nice to think that, but Lilly was pretty sure it would also be pretty stupid to think that, and she didn't.

"Well," he spoke slowly, his tone relatively even, but she could hear the anger dripping from his voice. "I went for a walk and I saw you standing outside Miley's house. No lights, no cars, and yet there you are, just standing there, staring at the front door. So tell me. What am I supposed to think?!?" He finally snapped at that last sentence; his voice rose in volume and his eyes did that thing they did when he was really angry, the thing that, in Lilly's opinion, made him look like some kind of crazy rapist-stalker man-that happened a lot when Lilly was around-as he leaned toward her over the fence, getting in her face, being over-dramatic as always.

"Well," she suggested, "You could try believing the best of people, instead of immediately assuming that I'm an idiot."

"Wait, you're telling me to believe the best of people? Wow, okay, I have a couple problems with that, the big one is this: why should I believe the best of you, when you have never shown me that same treatment before?"

She blinked a few times.

"Jake, I-"

"And you know what else? I never said you were an idiot. If you were an idiot, I would just walk away right now, but you aren't, you're smart, Lilly, smarter than most people, and-I mean-ugh." he seemed to abandon whatever point he'd been about to make and continued, "And you know what else? I was trying to be polite, Lilly. I wasn't trying to be snarky or insulting, that's your job, isn't it? I figured you knew the house was empty, that's why I was confused, which brings us back to my original point, which is why, dare I ask, were you staring at Miley's front door when they clearly aren't home?"

"That's none of your business." Lilly snapped.

"Oh, that's none of my business, is it?" he snapped back. Then something changed in his eyes, and that decidedly human part of him took over. Lilly could swear his eyes changed color. Gosh. He's moodier than I am. Regardless of the time of the month.

Jake sighed. "Lilly, what's wrong?"

"Nothing." She snapped.

"Liar." he grinned. "Lilly, I spent years in acting lessons, learning to read the little signs in people's facial expressions so I could give a believable performance. Unlike you, who have no acting training whatsoever and don't fool me for a second."

"Why do you care?"

"Because, believe it or not, I'm not Satan."

"Ohmygosh. I'll call The Times."

"Lilly." he gave her a look, and somehow, the thought communicated resonated in her mind. I'm not gonna hurt you. It was his voice, in her mind, and she realized that this was taking too long and suddenly she remembered the pressure around her temples and behind her eyes and it became abundantly apparent that she was going to cry soon, Jake or no Jake, and it was starting to look like the former. She could either go down fighting, or she could submit herself to explaining why she was upset to Jake Freaking Ryan, which would be slightly less humiliating than having to explain after she'd finished crying.

So she opened the gate and walked out onto the sidewalk and sat down or the curb. He sat down next to her, and she began.

"So, today I was down at the beach, and I heard these guys making these stupid jokes about how girls can't play sports and how sad it was to see girls surfing when apparently, it's only because they think it'll help them get guys. And then they pointed me out and mentioned something about how I had to resort to acting like a guy to get any attention because apparently, my looks weren't going to get me anywhere."

"Well, that's stupid."

"Yeah, well, I went over to them and started telling them off, and basically I wound up playing one-on-one basketball with one of them."

"And you lost?"

"No," she shoved his shoulder, but not as hard as she would have yesterday, she noted, and she wasn't quite sure why. "I won. Easily, might I add."

"Keep going."

"Well, it's stupid, but they started taking stabs at my intelligence and cracking blond jokes and stuff." The first tear appeared and slipped down her face as she said this.
He waited for her to continue, but she didn't. A smile crept onto his face, despite himself. "Th-that's it?"

She looked at him and shoved him again, this time a little harder than she would have yesterday, and started standing up. "I don't even know why I'm telling you this. I gotta go." A few more tears slipped down her face, and Jake thought he might have heard a suppressed sob.

"Wait." He grabbed her hand and she felt electricity jolt through her system as she looked down and locked eyes with him, finding some strange sense of honesty that she had never seen there before, not during any one of his 'nice' spells. She doubted she had ever seen it on anyone before, and that depressed her and made her feel like the world sucked and she was missing out somehow, and she would be making a big mistake if she walked away from the boy currently holding her hand.

So she sat back down, crying now, really crying, and he didn't mention it.

"I'm sorry," he said. "I really am, it's just-I was...surprised. You always seem so self-assured, you know? I was surprised that something like that would get to you."

"My mother went to Hartford Law. My dad went to Princeton." she answered. "There's definitely some high expectations there." she hiccuped. "And I mean, everyone has insecurities, you know? I just," she hiccuped again, "I just don't like to brag about them like a lot of people seem to."
"That's smart of you," he answered. "People advertise their insecurities too much, especially girls. Sorry if that sounded sexist."
"It's true." she shrugged, and without thinking, leaned into him. She froze for a second, wondering what she thought she was doing, and Jake seemed to be wondering the same thing; but then he wrapped an arm around her and there they sat, in comfortable silence, not feeling nearly as awkward as they should have, given the circumstances.

"You know, Lilly," he said, "They weren't only wrong when they said you weren't smart."

She looked up at him.

"They, uh, they shouldn't have said you weren't pretty, either." he said. "Cause that's a lie, too."

She almost smiled at how nervous he seemed. Jake Ryan? Nervous? It was unheard of. And because of her? Impossible. But Jake, she was beginning to realize, was starting to make her believe that anything was possible. Because apparently the idea of her sitting on a curb with his arm around her, after crying about a bad day, and him not running away-apparently that wasn't nearly as far-fetched as she'd initially thought, so maybe her depth perception, if you will, was not quite what she thought it was.

But she didn't say any of this. All she said was "Thanks, Jake. You're not too bad yourself." And that, she admitted to herself, was an understatement, because she was really starting to like the fact that his bleach blond hair was always just a little bit messy, and the fact that she couldn't decide whether his eyes were green or blue, and that he had possibly the most amazing smile she'd ever seen, ever, including on advertisements for dentists.

"Why, thank you," he smiled, and they turned back to the street.

And for the first time since that afternoon, Lilly felt okay. Because there would always be the fact that her depth perception was horrible, and the fact that sometimes, you don't get to choose who sees you cry, and there would always be people like jocks with friends who thought she was stupid and ugly and that blond jokes were funny. But if her depth perception was good, chances were she would not be sitting on a curb with Jake's arm still around her, her head once again on his shoulder, and sometimes the person least likely to be sympathetic can be the person to prove to you that depth perception is overrated. And it didn't matter how many stupid jocks there were in the world, because there was a sweet boy with a smile that had healing properties who thought she was pretty and smart and was willing to listen to her cry about a crappy day. And sometimes that's all a person needs.

A/N: Aw...what a sappy ending. But I can't help but love it.

I would love a review, if you've got one to spare. Thanks!