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Flexible--Rydon--21"You look like shit," are the first words out of Brendon's mouth when he sees Ryan at their next band practice.
Ryan, his arm down up in a sling and his arms and face littered with bruises, slowly raises his head to look at the other boy. "You don't look too great yourself, Mr. Black-Eye," he says stiffly.
"Did you guys get in a fight?" Spencer asks sharply and Ryan throws his head back in wild, bitter laughter.
"I wish," he says, trying unsuccessfully to control his laughter. "That'd be a much better story than falling down the stairs."
Brendon grimaces. "Luck you," he says. "I got into a fight with my brother, Vic. He packs a mean punch."
Both boys are lying and neither knows that the other also suffered their injuries at the hands of their own fathers.
"Well, I hope your arm heals soon, Ryan," Spencer says. "We need you back on guitar as soon as possible if we're going to be recording demos."
Ryan cracks a grin. "So business-like, Spen," he says affectionately. "You're
Flexible--Rydon--20Ryan is stretched before the mirror in his bedroom, honeyed eyes glinting in the dark as the back of his knee brushes the top of his head. You're so goddamn pretty, Trevor growls in his head. You're so goddamn ugly. You little, twisted freak-show.
As Ryan contorts into the most complex pretzel he's ever tried, Brendon is sitting at the dinner table with his family. "You're strangely quiet today, Brendon," Grace, his mother, says, lips pursed in a tight line. "What do you want?"
"What?" Brendon looks up in surprise. "No, I " He sighs. "Yeah," he admits, hanging his head in shame. "I do have a favor to ask."
Kara, his older sister, and Danielle, his younger sister, exchange smug looks, as if to say, See? See? The only time he's ever quiet is when he wants something! Boys.
"Well?" Grace prompts, giving her youngest son a meaningful stare. "What do you want?"
"You know that band my friend Brent asked me join?" Brendon begins slowly, uncomfortably, unsure. Grace
Flexible--Rydon--19"How?" is the first incredulous word out of Spencer's mouth.
Ryan's mouth is set in a stubborn line that the drummer knows too well, Brent's always been oblivious too, and Brendon's just beginning to meet. "We're going to rent a cheap room from that small recording studio on Roosevelt and 5th," he says coolly. "It shouldn't be too hard if we pool our savings together."
Brendon thinks about his family's spacious home with its three floors and delicate chinaware and he knows that he's better off than these boys he's come to call his friends and that his parents money could mean a lot to them if only he could convince them to do it. "Yeah," he finds himself saying. "We could do it, you guys. We could record our best songs" A week ago he would've said Ryan's best songs. "and if we sent them to a minor label, we might even get signed."
A stunned silence greets his words. Brendon swallows nervously and then Ryan grabs his wrist and pulls him into the hall.
"Are you serious
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