Flexible--Rydon--47Stop stalling. Make a name for yourself, writes Ryan, each letter, each loop, each curve painstakingly perfect. Boy, you better put your pen to paper and charm your way out. He pauses, thinks back to what Brendon said that night. If you talk it, better walk it, better back your shit up with more than good hooks, while you're under the gun.
Fisting a hand in his hair, Ryan hums under his breath and tries to figure out the melody. He writes, I'm burning and I'm blacking my lungs. (This is what happens if you keep your mouth shut.) Boy, you know it feels good with fire back on your tongue. Start talking. "A sensationalist." Oh, he's slightly clever to just a certain extent. Keep quiet! Let us sing like the doves, then decide if it's done with purpose of lack thereof.
Well, we're just a wet-dream for the webzines. Make us it, make us hip, make us scene. Or, shrug us off your shoulders. Don't approve a single word we wrote. (Oh, oh, oh blessed objectivity.)
Flexible--Rydon--46The tour doesn't start for another three months, so Spencer and Brent use this time to announce that they too are moving out and into Brendon's apartment.
"Seriously, guys?" asks Brendon with a Ryan-esque eye roll. "I appreciate the offer to split rent and all, but how the hell are we all gonna fit?"
"Well, how do you and Ryan fit?" Brent asks.
Brendon and Ryan fit by curling together on the twin-sized mattress on the ground, but Brendon's not about to tell Brent that.
Spencer huffs. "It's not a big deal, Bren," he says. "We'll all chip in to buy a pair of bunk beds, and everyone's happy. 'Kay?"
Ryan, being Ryan, grumbles the every step of the way, before demanding that he be given a top bunk. "And I want Brendon to have the one below mine," he says, once the new beds are installed.
"What? Can't stand to be parted from your lover for the night?" teases Spencer.
"Would you trust Brendon on a top bunk in the middle of the night?" asks Ryan pointedly. "Because I don't."
Flexible--Rydon--45Their first tour is that summer. "You're just gonna be opening for us," Pete tells them. "But, still that's a good start."
They don't get a tour bus"Not until you're a major band on the labelso they go in Spencer's old van, taking turns driving after the glitzy Fall Out Boy bus. There's only one, unspoken, rule about being on the road: Neither Ryan, nor Brendon, are allowed to drive at night. Ryan, because Spencer's worried that while everyone else is asleep, he'll crash the car in a fit of reckless depression, and because Ryan's gets to be a cranky little bitch when he doesn't get enough sleep. Brendon, because everyone agreesNo one wants a spazz like him behind the wheel when it's dark.
Brendon is smart enough to keep his mouth shut; Hey! More sleep for me! But Ryan throws a hissy fit.
"You don't trust me driving at night?" he demands, face contorted in anger. "What the hell, guys?! I am the oldest here, you know!"
To which Spencer respon
Flexible--Rydon--44"I'm dropping out of college."
Brendon's jaw drops at Ryan's announcement. "No!" he cries, leaping to his feet and grabbing Ryan by the shoulders. "You can't!"
"Why not?!" demands Ryan, and he twists his way out of Brendon's grasp.
"What will your dad say?" hisses Brendon.
Ryan blanches. "I Well, he won't like that. That's for sure," he says frankly.
"And if he beats you bruised and bloody?" asks Brendon bluntly.
"Then I'll move in with you." Ryan's jaw is tight, his eyes determined.
Brendon blinks in surprise. "Okay," he says, and it's all settled.
Then Pete is descending upon them, all smiles and pretty words, and drags them off, grabbing Spencer and Brent along the way, to his office, where he gives each of them an ID card with their names and photographs on it.
"What's this for?" asks Spencer, giving his card a careful examination.
"The Fueled by Ramen office-recording studio in downtown LA," Pete gleefully tells them. "These are your way in."
Brent grins. "Swe
Only Myself to Give-Rydon-16Pete calls an emergency meeting after school.
"What is it, Wentz?" Gabe asks. "This better be worth missing the bus for!"
"We're going to miss the bus?!" I exclaim. "No, I can't miss it!"
"Then I'll just have to talk very quickly," Pete says and I notice Spencer and Patrick exchange exasperated glances. "We're gonna have a Christmas party and we need you to invite Vicky and some of her girlies so we can have some fun."
Gabe clenches his teeth. "You are so dead!" he spits. "That was so pointless! Come on Ryan, let's go catch the bus."
He grabs my wrist and as I'm pulled along after him, I twist my head to look over my shoulder, searching, searching, searching, and meeting Brendon's gaze. He smiles at me, and I smile back. I reach one hand up to give him a little wave and he winks and blows me a kiss. I blush, and so does he.
"Goddamn Pete and his stupid ideas," Gabe mumbles once we're safely on the bus. "I mean, do you want to have a party?"
I think, remember that one fatal party
Only Myself to Give-Rydon-15Rage shoots through my system as Brendon stares levelly at me.
"What do you mean?" I ask, a burning jealousy for this unknown girl eating up my insides. If I thought that hearing about Gabe's fuck-bunny was crushing, the idea of Brendon with anyone else is intolerable. I think I might throw up.
"I mean, it's different for everyone, you know?" he says calmly. "Gabe's got Vicky. William sleeps around a little bit, though I hear he's a real fan of one-night stands." Brendon laughs. "Not that I would know. And Pete well, I'm pretty sure that Pete's been in bed with at least half the school."
I lick my lips and swallow. "And you?" I ask in a shaky voice. "What about you?"
Agonizingly slowly, Brendon looks me in the eyes, opens his mouth, and a peal of laugher spills forth. "My parents raised me Mormon," he says with a slight smirk. "I never lost the big V."
Relief courses through my veins and I manage a weak smile. "Really?" I ask. "N-neither have I." The lie slips all too easily thr
Only Myself to Give-Rydon-14"So."
"Christmas is coming up."
"Let's have a party."
"Like hell we will."
This is the conversation that greets me at lunch the next day.
"Aw, come on, Bilvy, it'll be fun!" Pete whines, giving William what I'm sure he believes is his most winning face.
"There's no way we'll be able to pull it off," William replies in a bored tone, and I hear Brendon smother a giggle. "Besides, it wouldn't be really fun if we're the only people there."
Pete grins widely. "I'm sure Vicky would be more than happy to come and bring along some of her honeys," he drawls.
"Who's Vicky?" I ask.
"Oh, she doesn't go to our school," Patrick says quickly, and I was suddenly suspicious.
"What how do you guys know her?" I ask, looking at Patrick, Pete, William, and Brendon in turn, taking in their flushed faces and awkward eyes.
William clears his throat. "She and Gabe are friends " he says. "They, uh, met at a party last year."
And I realize right away what he's really saying
Only Myself to Give-Rydon-13"Hey, novato, what's up?" Gabe asks, sliding into the seat next to me on the bus.
I choke on my own breath, blush, and squirm uncomfortably in my seat. "Oh! I, uh Gabe!" I manage, staring miserably out the window as my cheeks flame. "Hi."
"Hola to you too," he replies, giving me a weird look. "You okay?"
"Fine," I squeak, feeling sweat roll down the back of my neck. "Simply peachy. Why do you ask?"
"Hmm," Gabe muses, then leans over to whisper in my ear. "Maybe because you look as though your head is about to explode."
I tense up as his lips brush against my ear. "Uhh it's nothing," I mumble. "Just, um er, nothing."
"If you insist," Gabe says with a resigned sigh and affectionately ruffles my hair. "Just you can always talk to me, novato. You know that, right?"
I'm trying, and failing, as hard as I can to keep a straight face, to keep my cool, to not lose it, but panicking on about five different levels.
Oh god, does this mean I h