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3,659 You Wish You Were Me

About Aceinthehole

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  1. Homecoming

    ---Ryder--- It’s been a month since I’ve been home. A month of different cities, different crowds, different everything! And yet, no matter where I went, no matter how hard I searched I never found a smile as perfect as his. One that spoke a thousand words without actually saying a single thing. I’d stay up every night in a plane for the rest of my life if it means he’ll be on the other side. I’d do anything for him, and I pray he’d do the same. As the game wound down and we stood outside our cars I couldn’t help but sigh, knowing that our short time together was already moving way too fast. “Alright,” I began, looking over at Teddy, Blake and Liz. “so I know the original plan was for Teddy to drive us all, but I think you guys deserve a little bit better.” “What’s that supposed to mean?” Teddy teased, giving me a light shove. “It means a limo will be picking me and you up at around six-fifteen, and the two of you up at six-thirty.” I smirked, thinking of all the surprises I was trying to cram into my weekend with Teddy. “Ryder,” Blake shook his head. “I, we agreed to just drive because of the cost. I mean homecoming is here in the gym, it’s not like,” “I’ve got it covered.” I interrupted, not wanting to hear another word. “Tonight and tomorrow is all on me.” “Tomorrow?” Teddy repeated, looking up at me. “Mhm.” I hummed as the smile grew on my face. “You know, for Messiah’s concert at PNC.” “For what?” Liz let out, before anyone could say anything. I tried to stop it but my smile busted through as shock spread through their faces. “Back when I said I was coming home for this weekend Teddy’s uncle called them up and tried to get a gig planned so we could keep capitalizing. They shot us down at first,” I shrugged. “but sometime last week we got a call that the venue was open if we could make it.” “Wait.” Teddy shook his head, trying his hardest to add it all together. “But I haven’t heard anything about that.” “We announced it last night at midnight,” I let out. “Its with a bunch of local bands, and only like fifteen bucks a ticket. It’s a total win-win. We get to give back and keep getting our name out there.” I watched as Liz frantically searched through her phone, trying her hardest to find news of it online. “It’s trending all over.” She shook her head. “It’s, you sold it out by noon. That’s seven thousand tickets in twelve hours!” A strong blush overtook my face as I heard her words. “If you make tickets cheap enough you can sell out anywhere.” I shrugged, trying to justify the numbers myself. “Besides the lawn isn’t even open and it won’t have any of the fanfare Teddy saw in Atlanta. Just us up on a blank stage with a banner.” “This is fake.” Teddy shook his head. “I, Blake would’ve heard about it!” He turned to look at Blake but Blake quickly looked the other way as a smirk overtook his face. “You knew!” Teddy shouted reaching out and giving him a push. “Of course I knew!” Blake cracked in laughter. “Why do you think I talked you out of going to parties tonight?” “Ryder!” Teddy whined, looking back at me. “I needed a man on the inside.” I shrugged. “And he totally would’ve heard of rock tickets going on sale!” Teddy rolled his eyes but I could see excitement hidden in them. “Can you do me a favor and give my grandma a ride?” “I guess.” He sighed, trying his hardest to play the mad card. “I mean I like her more than you anyway.” “Oh yeah?” I giggled, grabbing onto his sides and moving in for a kiss. “Yeah.” he smirked as our lips met. “Alright!” Liz yelped opening the door to Blake’s car. “That’s enough for me! We’ll see you tonight.” “Yeah.” I let out, breaking away then going right back for more. “Ryder!” Teddy laughed, pushing me away. “You’re famous now! We can’t just make out in a parking lot!” “You were never supposed to in the first place!” Blake piped in, shutting his door behind him. “Fine. Fine.” I dismissed, looking at my own car across the lot. “How about I run home, get my suit on and then we can make out at your place until the limo gets there?” “You’re so immature.” Teddy rolled his eyes. “But I guess if you want that’d be cool.” I shook my head and started to back away. “I read you like a book Haner!” “Yeah you wish Sullivan!” He shouted back through laughter. My car and feet couldn’t seem to move fast enough, but as I finally ripped open my front door I slowed down, remembering the only person in the whole state who I missed as much as Teddy. Sure, I had seen her for a little this morning before I fell asleep, but it was five A.M.! That barely counts! “Grandma!” I called out turning the corner into the kitchen. “Grandma?” She repeated turning around and looking at me. “Watch your tongue! I’m not that old!” “What?” I shook my head as she walked over and gently held her fingers over my gauges. “Cooper.” She let out in a disappointed breath. “Your father is going to kill you when he sees these.” “What?” I repeated, trying my hardest to solve whatever game she was playing. “Did you even ask him?” She reprimanded voice growing strict. “Grandma, what the hell are you talking about?” I shook my head as worry engulfed my mind. “Fine, play your little games.” She shrugged walking over to the now whistling tea kettle. “But your father is going to spank you red when he gets home.” I began to bite my lip as my weight fell into a nearby chair. “Don’t try that puppy dog trick with me! You know that doesn’t work!” “Yeah, sorry mom.” I forced out, desperately waiting for the episode to pass. “Oh Coop.” She shook her head, taking a seat across from me. “What are we going to do with you?” “I don’t know.” I exhaled, trying my hardest not to cry. A few minutes of silence passed before finally she stood back up and turned on the tea kettle once more. “When did you get home?” She smiled, returning to her seat. “What?” I let out looking up into her eyes. “I, do you know who I am?” “Of course I know who you are Ryder.” She cackled with a calm shake of her head. “You know? You really shouldn’t sneak into the room and sit down without saying anything. You’re going to scare me!” “Grandma, I’ve been home for like ten minutes now.” I tried to explain as a tear or two began to drip from my eyes. Confusion spread on her face as she saw my tears. “Well alright, there’s no reason to get upset.” She comforted, walking over and wrapping her arms around me. “I guess I just didn’t notice you is all. I’m sorry dear.” “But, you, I-it’s okay.” I dejectedly exhaled. “I guess I should’ve said something.” “Mhm.” She hummed. “So stop trying to make an old lady feel bad with those tears.” She giggled, as her hug grew tighter. “I guess I just missed you is all.” Tears began to fall faster as the moment replayed over and over in my head. She’s been getting forgetful for a while now, but I’ve been lying to myself, saying it’ll be okay. Convincing myself that it’s just something that happens with older people. But this, what just happened, this isn’t normal. This isn’t okay. “Ryder,” She let out surprised by how broken up I was getting. “I had no idea you missed me so much.” She teased, trying her hardest to cheer me up. “I love you with everything I have.” I forced out, as worst case scenarios began to play in my mind. “I really really need you to know that.” “I do.” She nodded finally letting me go and pulling up a seat next to me. “You’ve made me the happiest I’ve been in a long time, and tomorrow night, getting to finally see you perform on a real stage. That, it’s going to be one of the greatest moments of my life.” I nodded and quickly began to wipe the tears from my eyes. “But that’s enough time with me for now. You should start getting ready for homecoming. Tonight we’ll catch up just like we planned this morning.” “Yeah,” I nodded forcing tears away once more. “Just like we planned.” I tried my hardest to put the moment behind me, but I found it hard to smile as I slowly put on the brand new suit I had bought for tonight. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. She thought I was my dad. She kept calling me Cooper, and no matter how much she stared at me she couldn’t snap out of it. I quickly threw my phone to my ear as it began to ring. Desperate for a distraction. “Hey,” Teddy laughed. “What’s taking you so long? You get lost or something?” “No.” I let out, trying my hardest to throw on a normal voice. “Just distracted is all. I’ll be there in like twenty.” He let out a short sigh, pretending to be disappointed. “One day my prince will come.” “That day is today.” I teased, remembering how much this all meant to him. “Now stop distracting me more than I already am!” “Alright. Alright.” He giggled. “I love you.” “Love you too.” I quickly answered before hanging up the phone. I threw on the last few pieces of my suit and stared at myself in the mirror. I need to put this afternoon in the back of my head for right now. I’ve been away from him for a month, and sure, he came to visit, but it’s not the same as being home. I can’t make tonight about me. I can’t worry him with my problems any more than I have. Grandma will be fine. Today, it was just a onetime thing. A minor setback. She wound up remembering me, and that I’ve been away! She remembered the concert tomorrow and what a big deal it’s going to be! Hell! She even remembered a conversation from five in the morning! Everything will be okay. As I got to Teddy’s house the attempts to forget turned into full blown denial, but for whatever reason that was okay with me. I’m doing what I need to to survive. To make sure I keep everyone I love happy. To make sure I keep myself happy. “WOW!” Mrs. Haner shouted as she walked in from the garage, seeing me for the first time since I left. “Wow, wow, wow.” She shook her head, walking over and looking me up and down. “Doesn’t he clean up nice?” Teddy giggled as a blush grew on both our faces. “I, um, yeah.” She shook her head. “Wow.” She exhaled one last time. “How are you home? I thought your flight was cancelled, I thought,” “He was trying to surprise me.” Teddy explained with a roll of his eyes. “The storm cleared and he was able to leave after the first delay.” “Well what a surprise that must’ve been.” She shook her head, trying her hardest to pin what about me was different. “Have you been working out?” I quickly nodded my head, trying my absolute hardest to fight the blush. “Touring takes a lot out of you so we’ve been training on our off days and before concerts. I mean, it’s really nothing big.” “Well it’s showing.” She laughed, looking over to her son and nodding. “I’m going to go upstairs and put some snacks together if you guys want anything to eat before Homecoming.” “Limo comes in like ten minutes mom.” Teddy shrugged as confusion entered her face once more. “Thank you anyway though Mrs. Haner.” I added in, reminding Teddy of his manners. “Limo?” She repeated, once again with more questions than answers. “Another Ryder surprise.” Teddy explained as his smile grew wider. “Along with the concert we’re all going to tomorrow.” She let out a sigh and shook her head. “It’s a concert for all of you. For me it’s babysitting your father then hearing him ramble about it for days.” She walked up to me and gave me a tight hug. “I love you, but cool it with the surprises. This house can only take so much chaos at once.” She joked with a smile. “Be safe tonight boys.” Her smile jumped to my face as she walked up the stairs. I don’t think she’s ever told me she loved me. I don’t think either of his parents have. Sure, they’ve shown it with their actions, but being told it. Hearing them say it. It-it’s something completely different. Once more I found myself smiling as her and Harry forced us into taking pictures outside of the long black limo. Teddy protested them, but we all knew it was for show. After all, I don’t think there’s a lens he hates! I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t weird when we showed up. Sure, I’m getting used to the constant stares and pictures, but seeing it here at Hudson, at a place where I know I was hated. It just feels, feels, wrong. The fake waves and smiles, they’re all, all bullshit. But as much as I want to let it out, as much as I want to put them on blast I have to play nice just like I did at the football game. It’s a small sacrifice I have to make for him. To the person who saved my life. Every now and again a teacher would walk up to us and try to start a conversation but I kept them as short as possible. None of them inspired me. None of them reached out and tried to help me fit in. They let me fall into the cracks. They cast me aside like the outsider all my classmates portrayed me as. They’re just as guilty, and I hope they knew it too. But just like with everyone else, I won’t make a scene; I won’t let it get me down. I won’t let it ruin our night. Besides the truth is I have much bigger problems to worry about anyway. As my grandma entered my mind I felt the forced smile on my face become harder to hold. “Okay,” Teddy exhaled, pulling me aside from the big dance floor. “What’s the matter?” “I just hate this song.” I teased, trying my hardest to make the fake smile look real. “Ryder,” He moaned, grabbing onto my hand and lightly squeezing it. “I was just, just thinking about how I have to leave again Monday.” I lied, trying my hardest to come up with the best excuse possible. “It’s not fair that I have to keep leaving you.” “I know.” Teddy nodded, but I could tell he was seeing right through the disguise. “But it’s not just that is it?” “No.” I moaned as he began to peel away my walls the way he always does. “I know what it is.” He nodded as my heart began to freeze. “You hate having to play nice with everyone here. You hate seeing all the kids who bullied you trying to kiss your ass. You want to give them a piece of your mind, just like you did with that reporter.” I let a seemingly bashful smile cross my face and nodded. “Yeah.” I let out, allowing my eyes to drift down. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point I learned to play people the way he does. Learned to wear masks the way he can. “At any point tonight, if it becomes too much, if you want to leave well I’m fine with that.” He nodded, forcing my head back up. “Having you here with me even for just an hour is more than I could ever ask for. You playing nice with others is just the icing on the cake.” “I’ll be cool.” I nodded as a slow song began to play over the speakers. “I think I just need a dance to take my mind away from it.” Once more I found myself easing right back into that soft spot of denial. Everything will be okay. I’ll be okay. Grandma will be okay. Teddy will be okay. We’ll all be okay. As the night wore on and dancing with Teddy turned into dancing with Blake and Liz I no longer needed to assure myself of anything. They had me distracted, and that’s all I really need right now. Those three had a special way of taking care of me. A special way of making sure I was okay. Whenever someone would try and talk to me like they knew me one of them would yank me away. They made me feel as comfortable as they possibly could. They wanted me here with them, and that was never as clear as it’s been tonight. Every now and again someone would sneak through and tell me and Teddy that they voted for us as homecoming kings, but for the most part their small barricade worked. It kept me away from all the fake people here, kept me away from all the bullshit. “Alright.” The principal began as the music began to lower and he took the stage. “We’ve got a few more songs left tonight but before we can continue I think it’s time to announce our homecoming King and Queen. Although this year it might be a bit unorthodox.” He let out, spoiling something we all already knew was coming. “As tradition I ask the school president to come up here and announce it, So Teddy, get yourself up here!” He smiled, trying to find him in the crowd. As he left my side I made sure to make a funny face. One that said dear God just kill me now! “Hey everybody!” Teddy let out, finally reaching the stage. “Everyone out there having fun?” He asked, as everyone yelled to him. For the first time in weeks I saw a mask go back up on his face, as he pretended to be the person they all knew “Good because today’s going to be a homecoming talked about for years. Not only did we win, but we had one of the biggest bands in the world play our halftime! I’m pretty sure I even saw their singer here at the dance!” He teased causing me to roll my eyes. “But let’s get on with it shall we?” He asked taking the small index card from the principal. “This year’s homecoming royalty as voted by the students is,” He let out, but froze as he saw the names. Slowly his mask began to crack. “No.” He shook his head tearing it up. “Recount and take me and Ryder’s names out of it.” “Teddy,” The principal reprimanded in shock as he went to take the microphone away. “What?” He asked, side stepping the principal’s attempt. “You really want it to go down like this? You want to elect me and Ryder and act like people here liked him? You want to act like people aren’t just being nice to him because he’s famous now?” Teddy asked pointing out the hypocrisy I had been swallowing all day. “And what about you and your staff?” Teddy continued, taking it even farther than I thought he would. “I know you and the other teachers heard about the bullying. I know he kept getting sent to your office because kids would kick the shit out of him. What did you ever do about it?” “Teddy Haner!” The principal scolded, starting to grow serious. “We were doing everything,” “Oh don’t feed me that bullshit!” Teddy exclaimed, still talking over the microphone. “You did the bare minimum and you know it. You were complacent with letting him get pushed along, we all were. You did nothing, and now that he’s in position to, I hope he puts us all on blast.” Teddy turned back towards the crowd and stared at everyone. “We all suck. We all almost killed him. So stop acting like you all liked him and give it a rest. You never knew him and you never will.” Teddy tossed the microphone back to the principal and unapologetically marched off stage. A few teachers tried to stop him, but he didn’t bother to slow down. He’s in so much fucking trouble and yet he doesn’t care. He took a stand, and let them all know they were wrong. He did what I’ve been dreaming of, and I-I couldn’t be any prouder. “I love you so fucking much.” I let out as he finally reached me. He let me hug him for a second before breaking free and grabbing my hand. “Let’s get out of here.” I nodded my head and as we began to walk towards the exit Blake and Liz quickly followed. “Fuck the system!” Blake cackled as we ran out the door and to the limo that had been patiently waiting all evening. “Oh my god!” he shook his head as the door shut behind us. “I had no idea you had it in you Teddy!” “Me neither.” I supported in disbelief, tightly clutching his hand. “I just couldn’t take it anymore.” Teddy finally spoke, still hot from his speech. “All the fake smiles and votes, it’s all bullshit!” “But you know you’re totally getting suspended right?” Liz asked, trying her hardest to bring us all back down to earth. “So?” Teddy asked with a shake of his head. “What do I care? I have a perfect record and a near 4.0 average. Let them put one little blip on there. It’ll add some character.” “I knew you dating Ryder would be a good thing!” Blake encouraged with a smile. “You’re, this is literally the proudest I’ve ever been to be your friend!” “Me too.” I giggled, giving him a friendly bump with my shoulder. “That was everything I dreamed of saying and more. The way you yelled at all the teachers! Oh my God Teddy!” “They deserved it.” He shrugged, still not sorry for what he had done. “Maybe that’ll actually change things now. Maybe now it won’t take someone killing themselves to stop bullying at Hudson.” “Great, so now all three of my friends are punks.” Liz rolled her eyes, but I could see in her eyes this whole voice of reason bit was just an act. Under it all she was just as proud as her boyfriend, hell, maybe even more. “Excuse me,” The driver let out, lowering the divider and reminding us we hadn’t actually been moving. “You kids still have another two hours left on the rental, I can take you guys home if you want but,” “Can you take us to Rutt’s Hut?” Teddy interrupted, leaning forward. “I can pull up the address on my phone if you need.” “I’ve got it.” The limo driver nodded, raising the divider up once more. “Rutt’s Hut?” Blake repeated shooting me a stupefied look. “There’s no way you eat anything from there!” “So,” He shrugged looking over to me. “It’s Ryder’s favorite place, and I think he’s earned it today.” “Okay, now I love you the most I’ve ever loved you.” I laughed, leaning over and landing a kiss on his lips. “You’re perfect you know that?” “That’s funny,” He shook his head. “Because a few months ago you stood right there and tried to tell me the opposite.” He teased, pointing back at the school. “Mmm.” I thought over recalling the moment. “And then you told me after your party we’d never speak again. So I guess we were both wrong.” “I guess so.” He nodded, finally letting the full weight of his body fall into me. The ride to the small run down shack was the most I’ve smiled in a long time. Sure, I love being up on stage. I love every second of my new life in Messiah, and I’ll never forget how lucky I am to live it. But night’s like tonight, surrounded by the people I love, well, no crowd of people could give me the love these three do. As we all stepped into the hut I tried my hardest to convince Teddy to get something but he kept to his iron will. Another big difference between the two of us, and yet it’s those differences that have pulled us so close together. That have given us so much to talk about. “Only you could sit here and eat a greasy ass hotdog in a two thousand dollar suit.” Teddy exhaled, looking me up and down. “This suit wasn’t two thousand dollars.” I lied, but could tell he saw right through it. “It’s Armani.” He sighed. “Who the hell talked you into buying it?” A small blush crossed my face as I thought it over. “Brandon.” I confessed. “He told me that if I was going to take you to the dance I had to do it right. I had to really wow you.” “You did wow me.” He giggled, resting his head against me. “But I don’t need you to buy expensive suits and limos. I loved you back when all you wore were band tees, beanies and jeans, and that will never change.” I shook my head, realizing how lucky I was to have him. It’s no secret that my bank account went from single digits to well, multiple digits overnight. Yet he doesn’t care about any of that. So many people would try and use me. Try and get what they could while they still can, but he’s treated me the same throughout it all. “I don’t mean to overstep but be smart with your money. Make sure you save it so you can take care of yourself. Okay?” “I will.” I nodded with a smile. “But you thank Brandon for me, you got that?” He commanded, showing he really did appreciate all the effort I had gone through tonight. “I will.” I repeated, thinking about the man who’d quickly become like family to me. “He was screaming at everyone and anyone at the airport last night.” Teddy looked into my eyes and shot me a puzzled look. “Why?” “He just really wanted to make sure I got home.” I shrugged, recalling the moment. “He makes jokes, but he really likes you.” “Are you sure about that?” Teddy skeptically raised his eyebrows. “Positive.” I confirmed in confidence. “To be completely honest he was the one who talked me into getting you a suite in Atlanta.” I giggled. “Ahh.” Teddy nodded. “So are any of these surprises Ryder originals?” “The cancelled text was.” I shrugged as a smile spread across his face. “And the limo, oh, and playing at halftime!” “Definitely keep checking with Brandon then, because you suck at this.” Teddy teased in a laugh. “At least I didn’t yell at the principal!” I giggled, still thinking over the moment. “That was so fucking cool.” “I think everyone else at school begs to differ.” Teddy exhaled. “But I wouldn’t take back a single word. You’ve gone through hell for me. Sat through almost every lacrosse game, come to parties, sat in a room with Mike, biting the bullet every time you had to to show you loved me. It’s about time I did the same for you.” Once more I couldn’t help but smile at his words. The distance is hard and waking up alone is damn near impossible. But I know he’ll never stop loving me, and I’d have to die before I ever stopped loving him. No matter what happens. No matter where life takes us we’ll end up with one another at the end. I know we will. Just like all the other times the goodbye was hard, but at least this time I knew I’d see him before I went on at PNC. I mean, I’m supposed to be on a flight to Minnesota tomorrow morning, so I can’t complain. Not when I get to spend borrowed time with him. No matter how small it is. That night I nearly fell asleep talking to my grandma. I just couldn’t tell her enough. All the people, all the cities, all the venues, I had to share it all. I had to make sure she understood how big I was making it. That every second she sacrificed for me was worth it. However that night only seemed to make my denial grow stronger. Sure I had to repeat myself once or twice, and her hearing wasn’t perfect, but she knew who I was, and responded to everything nearly perfectly. Her mind is as sharp as ever, I swear it is. Words couldn’t describe the excitement pumping through my heart as we arrived to PNC. I wish I could’ve spent the day with Teddy and his family. I wish I could’ve drove with them, but I needed to be here early for sound checks. To make sure the first show my grandma gets to see is picture perfect in every way possible. Right in front of the stage was wide open so a pit could take place, but shortly behind them stood multiple boxes we had each reserved for family and loved ones. As the band’s family began to show up I realized this concert was much more than me showing off to my family. It was all of us proving who we’d become. Showing our families the giant steps we had taken, and just how much they should be proud of us. I have no idea when I became so soft, but as I saw Teddy’s family and my grandma walk back stage I found myself fighting off tears once more. Teddy and his dad were wearing the tour t-shirts I had given them while my grandma had worn one of the many band t-shirts I had sent her. I mean, I knew she had them but I never expected her to actually wear one of them! “Grandma.” I laughed, walking up and hugging her. “I, I can’t believe you’re wearing that.” “Why not? I’m your biggest fan after all!” She cackled, breaking away from me and turning towards Teddy. “Sorry dear, but you’ll have to fight me to the death for that title!” “I don’t feel like dying today so you can have it.” Teddy teased, as he walked over and hugged me. “Line outside is crazy. They’re already having to bus people over from the other lots.” I shrugged as a blush ran over my face. “It’s just because tickets were cheap.” I let out, trying my hardest to justify it. “It would be the same for any other band.” “Ryder.” A stage hand ran over. “Five until we need you in the dressing room, then,” “A meet and greet.” I sighed as the usual pre-concert chaos began. “I know, I know.” The stage hand nodded and quickly ran over to find all the other members of the band. Desperate to round everyone up. “So this is it for now.” Harry nodded, knowing it’d be easier if he initiated the separation. “We’ll see you after the show?” “Yeah.” I quickly nodded. “Just walk over to the side of the stage and show the security guard your badges. They’ll let you right in.” As they began to walk away I grabbed the big heavy duty ear protection I had brought my grandma off the nearby counter and ran it to her. “Hold on, I can’t have you going deaf on me. “ I teased, forcing them around her neck. “I don’t need them.” She argued, but left them around her anyway. “Make sure she wears them!” I mouthed to Teddy as I began back peddling towards my dressing room. The wait before we went on always felt like nothing. The normal butterflies and anxiety jumped my bones as we stood idly by, hearing the crowd chanting our name. Except they don’t scare me the way they used to. Nots too long ago they used to paralyze me, make me feel like I wasn’t good enough, but now, now they fuel me to give the show of my damn life. “Alright boys.” I let out grabbing them around me as the lights went down and our normal static began to blare over the loud speaker. “This is it! This is where we played warped tour, and now we’re back! But this time it’s on our terms! It’s our show! In front of our families! It our moment for the fucking taking, and god damn it we’re going to play the best fucking show of our lives!” They all began to shout as finally Brandon pulled the hood over my head and Tommy handed me my bat. “Let’s fucking go!” Zack yelled pushing me out towards the stage opening. As I heard the news reports and hit songs play over the speakers I slowly began to step out. The crowd screaming turned to white noise in my ears as I focused on the radio in the center of the stage. I wound back my arms and smashed the radio the way I always do, sending the stage into utter and completely darkness. I felt the figures of my bandmates rush past me as I grabbed the hidden microphone off the ground. “New Jersey.” I grumbled, trying my hardest to sound weak. “I shouldn’t even need to ask.” Slowly but surely the crowd parted down the middle, having heard of our now usual opening. “Three.” I began, letting the crowd handle the rest of the countdown. The second they hit one all the light flashed on and smoke flew from the front of the stage. I ripped off the sweat shirt I had on and jumped feet first into the crowd, letting them carry me anyway they had pleased. They pulled and clawed at me, but I knew I’d be okay, I knew they wouldn’t actually hurt me. Finally I felt the thick hands of a security guard grab onto me and pull me back towards the small stage. As I started singing I couldn’t believe my eyes. The crowd ripped at one another in the most chaotic way I had ever seen. It was like all the other concerts poured into one. There was no doubt that they knew this was our hometown, and they were doing everything they could to make us proud. I let one song flow into another, trying my hardest to capitalize on all the energy in the open amphitheater. Every now and then I would look to the small box my family was sitting in and smile, blown away by everything that was going on. “Okay.” I breathlessly exhaled, as a stagehand ran over and handed me an acoustic guitar. “Now I don’t usually do this, but this isn’t your average show.” I shook my head as darkness surrounded me and my normal lone spotlight shined over me. “This is my hometown.” I let out as the crowd roared back at me. “But more importantly my grandma is in the crowd tonight.” The yelling only seemed to grow louder as they heard my words. “Now who here owns our first album, A Broken Home?” The screams were deafening as hands flew into the air. “Well if you turn it around you notice two grave stones.” I explained, trying my hardest to keep it together. “Those are my parents’. They never got to see me past age five, but that doesn’t mean I was alone.” I shook my head, pointing towards my grandma. “That woman right there, she made sure of it. Grandma,” I let out as a tear rolled down my cheek. “Every moment you spent worrying, every extra hour you worked to pay off a guitar or bass. It’s what made this possible.” I exhaled, spreading my arms as the house lights kicked on illuminating the crowd. “A lot of you are telling me my music has already saved some of your lives, and although Teddy’s the one who saved mine, well there would be no life to save if it wasn’t for her. I love you so much more than you can ever know. This one’s a cover of Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd, and it’s for you Grandma.” As I sang that familiar song I never broke eye contact with her. I never once looked at anyone else, and as tears fell from her eyes I felt them begin to fall from mine as well, yet I fought through that song because I know that’s what she would’ve done. I’ve never heard a crowd yell as loud as it did when I finished that song. If you don’t remember much more in your life, well I pray to God you remember this moment. Through all the hard times and tears you’re the reason I stuck with music for so long, and I’ll never forget that.
  2. The Price of Fame

    Neither am I, but hopefully one day! That's definitely advised. I think @mogwhy reviewed it perfectly by calling it "Soul-Bruising". It's certainly one hell of a ride.
  3. The Price of Fame

    Yeah in this story it's more implied. I've never written a true full sex scene into my stories, but I do understand it holds a certain power to it. I mean sex kicks a relationship up a notch. Obviously it's sex, but it can also show an increase of trust and love. It might be a tool I begin to use more as I grow as a writer, but for now we'll see where it goes.
  4. The Price of Fame

    I'm so glad you can take that away from this story. It's amazing how much just listening to someone can help. I think we all need to know we have people there for us.
  5. The Price of Fame

    Exactly, and I respect if someone's offended by the word, it can be completely hateful and a terrible weapon (I.E. the way it was used against Ryder in highschool). Or it, in a twisted way, can be a show of love. Kind of an ironic this is is what I am, and I'm embracing it. Plus, in my experience, my friends that call me faggot every now and then are way more comfortable with my sexuality and with hearing about my love life. It was nice of the classmate to stand up for you, but like you said it's not really their place. It makes me smile to hear that people are willing to take a stand, but sometimes you have to read the situation and see how it's going.
  6. One More Reason

    Missing your bus for a chapter is true dedication, I just hope you're somewhere warm!
  7. The Price of Fame

    ---Teddy--- There are moments in life that take your breath way. Moments you know you’ll always remember. Moment’s that you’ll always cherish. Standing up on that stage with Messiah, well I know nothing in my life could ever top it. And as sad as it was for me to hear my boyfriend talk about taking his own life. About being so sad that he saw no other way out. Well when I look out at all those young teens in the crowd, I couldn’t be more proud of the icon he was becoming. If he could get through to just one of them, well every second of being apart will have been worth it. As the song ended Ryder gave me one last hug and let me go off the stage. Yet before I could make it Brandon grabbed onto my arm and pulled me in close. “Thank you,” he let out not knowing what else to say. “You, you could’ve been like all the other douchebags at school, but you took a chance on an outcast. You pulled him off the ledge.” “I did what I always should’ve done.” I confessed returning the hug. “I’m not a hero for that.” “You’re a good man Teddy Haner.” He nodded, watching me walk off stage. As I returned to my seat my dad grabbed onto both my shoulders and gave me a good shake. “I’m so proud of you.” He let out, echoing the words Brandon had said. But just like I told Brandon, I’m not a hero for talking to another human being. If I’ve learned anything this summer it’s to open my damn eyes at school. We nearly lost one student. I won’t let it happen again. The rest of the concert seemed to fly by. Ryder jumped around singing his heart out as smoke and fire shot behind him. He was born to be up on that stage. Born to be out there with those people, and I don’t think there was ever a second they let him forget it. It’s so crazy to me, that people could memorize and cherish a three week album the way they did Broken Home, and yet they knew all the lyrics and reflected them back at him perfectly. As their encore came to a finish the crowd screamed for more but it was clear they were running on E. “We’re Messiah from Ridgefield, New Jersey, and we will be back.” Final streamers shot off into the crowd as Ryder finished his words and headed off stage. “So you want to,” My dad began, but before he could finish his sentence I jumped to my feet and into the nearby door. My legs couldn’t seem to carry me fast enough, but the second I saw Ryder backstage I couldn’t help but wrap my arms around him. “I’m sorry,” I let out as emotions surfaced from all over my body. “I’m sorry I ignored you in middle school. I’m sorry I ignored you in high school. I’m sorry you wanted to kill yourself. I’m sorry I let it get that bad. I’m sorry,” “Teddy,” He softly smiled, pulling me in close. “What do I always tell you?” “That you don’t need me to feel bad for you.” I exhaled, laying my head on his shoulder. “Exactly.” He nodded as his smile grew. “You’re here with me now, and that’s all that matters.” He let go of me as he saw my dad approach and nervously walked up to him. “So, um, what did you think?” “What did I think?” My dad repeated as Ryder anxiously nodded his head. “I haven’t seen anything like that in my life. So raw, so angry, and yet so full of life. It, the way you connected with that crowd, the way you pulled them into your world. I’ve never been to any concert like this one.” The smile from Ryder’s face went ear to ear as my father pulled him in for a hug. “I’m so proud of you kid.” As Ryder broke away from my dad and returned to my side I couldn’t help but giggle at the make up on his face. “So what’s with all the black?” “I needed something to help make me pop, and I remember seeing it a few times in music but never consistently.” He shrugged. “And then your eye black kind of looked like it back when you got in a fight, and well, I knew I had to do it.” I let out a sigh and shook my head. “You were fighting for what you thought was right, and then later that day you fought for our relationship.” He shrugged. “If I want that crowd to take away anything it’s to fight like hell. And that-that’s what I always took away from you.” I couldn’t help but hug him as he once more found the perfect words to say. He’s one big cliché corny sap, but that’s what I love about him. “Alright guys.” Brandon let out, jumping onto a nearby equipment case. “First round of shots is on me! Let’s drink Atlanta dry!” As he hopped down he walked up to the two of us and grabbed our shoulders. “Let’s get to it!” He encouraged. “I can’t wait to see Teddy cut loose!” “Brandon,” Ryder sighed. “No, it’s cool.” I shrugged with a smile. “Let’s go out.” Ryder turned to me and shot me a serious look trying to get me back on his side. “I’m tired and I haven’t seen Teddy in forever. You know if I go out I’m just gonna wind up passing out in a booth halfway through.” “Fine, fine,” Brandon let out, reading between the lines. “I’ll see you on the bus tomorrow.” Ryder nodded his head as Brandon moved on to rallying everyone else up. “I don’t know about you,” Ryder smiled. “But all I want to do is go back to the hotel, order room service, and watch T.V.” “You’re the most boring rock star ever.” I teased in a laugh. “But wherever you are tonight I’ll follow.” Ryder nodded his head, and just like that we were back in the Mercedes on the way back to our hotel. “Watch this.” Ryder giggled, rolling down his window as we stopped at a red light. “Hey! Who was playing tonight?” He asked to a crowd waiting at a nearby bus stop. “I Prevail and Messiah.” One of them answered as a few others rolled their eyes and ignored the car. “Oh they’re both shit.” Ryder responded, still keeping his face hidden. “Bunch of posers wearing make-up.” The crowd grew angry at his words but before they could do anything he stuck his head out fully. “Crowd was good looking tonight though!” They all began to scream as they saw who was taunting them. “RYDER!” Oh of them shouted as they desperately took out their phones, trying their hardest to document the moment. “I love you guys.” Ryder let out, throwing up his pinky and index finger again. “I’ll see you again come summer!” Their screaming faded off as the light turned green and the car took off. “You really have to do that every time we see a crowd sir?” Scottie let out, shaking his head. “Yup!” Ryder giggled, looking back at the group of people. “What is this?” I asked, repeating the hand sign he had made. “Horns?” he shook his head, realizing the question was serious. “You’ve totally seen people do it before!” “I have, but I don’t get it.” I pressured, trying to understand the sign that constantly got thrown around at the concerts I had been to. “Harry,” Ryder began but turned around to see my dad fast asleep in the far back seat. “Alright, it was started in the eighties by Dio. He was one of the best singers ever.” He thought over, trying to give me the cliff notes of it. “It’s just become the symbol of rock and roll. I don’t know how else to explain it.” He shrugged. “It’s alright, I get it.” I smiled seeing my dad finally wake back up behind us. “Alright Scottie.” Ryder nodded as we pulled in front of the hotel. “You can take the rest of the night off, we’re just going to be hanging out in the room.” “If you change your mind I’ll be around.” The big man let out as we climbed out of the big car. “Other than that the bus will be here tomorrow morning at ten thirty. Be packed and ready, you have a show in Knoxville tomorrow night.” “I know. I know.” Ryder dismissed, trying his hardest not to think about it. Scottie gave a goodbye wave as Ryder quickly shut the door behind him. “Body guards.” I teased as we walked into the hotel lobby. “They’re just the worst aren’t they?” Ryder’s face stayed the same as he thought about his next city. My dad gave us both pats on the back, but as he saw the conversation growing serious walked past us and to the nearby elevator. “You’ll be in New Jersey next weekend for homecoming. You’ll be sleeping in your own bed and eating your grandma’s food. Don’t even worry about this week.” Ryder nodded his head, but I could tell some homesickness was starting to get to him. I went to say something else but before I could I pointed to the big T.V. above the front desk. “Passionate speech from Messiah Frontman Ryder Sullivan during tonight’s Atlanta show.” The closed captions read as a grainy cellphone video of his speech began to play. “Can you turn it up?” Ryder quickly asked the front desk. The attendant went to blow him off but as soon as he connected the face from the video to the face in front of him he nodded and fulfilled Ryder’s request. The video cut out as Ryder kissed me and zoomed out to three different analysts. “So,” The middle news anchor began. “Clearly there’s a good message in there, and hopefully all the young fans in the crowd listened to it, but did he mucky it up by making it a statement about his sexuality?” “No, not at all.” The one on the left answered. “The idea that because he’s gay that takes away from his message on mental health makes zero sense. In fact, he didn’t even talk about being gay. He simply brought up his boyfriend who he credits with saving his life. The whole point of his speech was to find someone or something that you love, and hold onto it. It’s that life is worth living. That’s something I don’t think we hear enough in today’s society.” “Okay,” The analyst on the right started. “No one’s saying because he’s gay that takes away from the message. But did he really need to bring his boyfriend on stage? Did he really have to kiss him in front of hundreds of impressionable teens? Look, he seems like a good kid, but he clearly has growing up to do. There’s a line between giving a strong message and flaunting your sexuality in,” “Come on.” I rolled my eyes grabbing Ryder’s arm and pulling him towards the elevator. “Don’t worry about what people say. You did the right thing.” “I know I did.” Ryder nodded his head. “I just wish I could go into that broadcast and smack some sense into that guy. I’ve seen plenty of straight men kissing their girlfriends in public and up on stage. I have an interview coming up next week, and I swear,” “Ryder,” I interrupted in a sigh. “They want you to blow up at them. They want you to look like a loose cannon. Stick to your guns, but don’t let them make a fool out of you.” He exhaled a deep breath but nodded his head. That night was picture perfect. I know it sounds boring to most people, but sitting in bed and talking to him all night. It was just what the doctor had ordered for us. I swear I could spend all of eternity listening to him talk. He told me stories of the different cities he had seen and all the crowds he sung to. Hell, he was even the one that came up with Messiah’s opening and stage presence. He said the second they got the main spot he went into overdrive working to get the light show perfected. As the sun rose and morning came I couldn’t help but feel that same layer of loneliness hit me. “One week.” Ryder nodded, standing outside of his tour bus. “I’m flying in late Friday night, and I’ll be there to see you Saturday at the football game. I swear I will.” “I know.” I nodded, trying my hardest not to show the pain beating in my heart. “It’ll go by fast.” “It’s okay to be sad.” He let out, pulling me in close. “I know I am.” I nodded my head and let him hold me for a few more seconds but as the tour bus horn sounded I knew it was time to go. “I love you.” “I love you too.” I forced out as our lips locked then broke away. My dad tried his hardest to comfort me on the flight home, but just like on the way there I needed some time for myself. Time to think it all over. My mom and Mrs. Sullivan were thrilled to hear every story I had to share, and look at all the pictures I had taken. They were all so proud of him, so excited for everything he was accomplishing. Seeing their misty eyes reminded me how lucky I was to go see him, and how grateful I should be for the time I spent with him. As I posted pictures with him on social media I saw my follower count skyrocket. Suddenly everyone and their mother wanted to be friends with Ryder’s boyfriend. To learn anything they could about him. Ryder teased me about ‘riding his success’ but my numbers never got close to his. His Instagram boasted close to a million followers, and yet all he had was one picture. One of him and me from our trip to Point Pleasant, the caption “The only rock in my ocean of insecurity”. Yet Instagram still didn’t compare to school. Monday morning was full of everyone asking me about his Atlanta show. Desperately wanting to know what it was like, and if he was making it to homecoming. I saw some dismissive stares when I said yes, not believing he would fly home for it, for me. But it didn’t bother me. They don’t know my boyfriend. They never did. And an interview for a local news outlet in Tennessee made that clear to everyone. When Blake texted me that an interview of Ryder had gone viral I assumed it was him talking about his mental health, or him freaking out at an anti-gay news anchor. Yet, as I watched the video I couldn’t help but be left with my jaw open. “I have to say, I don’t think I’ve seen a rock star blow up like you have since I was a girl.” The news anchor teased, causing a small smile to spread on Ryder’s face. “What do you attribute that to?” “I think people are angry.” Ryder shrugged. “The worlds always been a scary and violent place, but now we have the media pushing it in our faces at all hours. You turn on the news and you see bodies burning in the streets, or bombs blowing up churches. They cram anger and brutality into our minds,” Ryder swayed his head. “And a lot of people don’t know how to deal with that. They push it down and pretend it isn’t there, but me and the guys, we give them an outlet for that. We help them get rid of it.” “Wise words from someone your age.” She nodded, causing Ryder to slightly cringe. “And yet you’ve already had your fair share of controversies.” “I wouldn’t call them controversies.” Ryder shook his head, starting to grow serious. “I understand you may see them differently, but your actions have certainly stirred the pot to a degree.” As he heard her words Ryder turned his head slightly and began to stare her down. “Whether we like it or not sexuality is still a hot button issue in this country, and it’s not something you shy away from. From the pride flag you hang at most of your shows to bringing your boyfriend on stage in Atlanta.” “Why would it be? It’s a big part of who I am. It’s not controversial for me to show that I’m proud of my sexuality.” I felt a smile cross my face as he used the same firey tone with her as he did with Mike. “My whole life people have been trying to repress it, trying to shame me for it, but now things are different. Messiah is my platform. The concerts we put on are our chance to vocalize our beliefs without anyone making us feel bad for them. Music’s always been that way. If you don’t like it. Don’t listen to it.” “I can understand that,” The reporter nodded. “But aren’t you crossing a line when you add a bonus song whose title is a slur?” “Not at all.” Ryder shook his head. “My boyfriend didn’t like it either, but having faget on that album. Having a word that,” “I’m sorry,” She interrupted. I felt the smile fall from my face, knowing what was coming next. “We’re going to have to ask you to not repeat that word.” “Faggot?” Ryder repeated as the woman winced. “Are you guys kidding me?” “It’s just, it could offend certain viewers at home.” The woman shook her head. “Give me a break!” He shouted, giving into his anger. She let out a deep breath, and for a second I thought would cut it, but sat up straight as she realized what a big break this could be for her. “You must see where we’re coming from. I mean isn’t it a little hypocritical for you to be using a slur like that while talking about how proud of your sexuality you are.” “Hypocritical?” He repeated, starting to raise his voice. “Hypocritical! I’ll tell you what’s hypocritical. You silencing me while I’m trying to give kids strength in that word, but no one, and I mean no one, silencing the kids that called me it in the hallway of my high school.” I took a breath as he clutched his fingers in anger. “Teachers, counselors, principals, they all heard me get called faggot and not once was anyone silenced! Then here I am, trying to let kids know that there’s pride in being a faggot. To wear that word like a badge of honor no matter how much it may hurt. To rip that word away from the god damn bullies and take a stand for yourself! But you guys are too fucking close minded to let me say it?” “Look Ryder,” The reporter began, clearly in over her head. “No fuck this!” Ryder shouted, standing up and ripping his mic off. “I’m done!” When I was finally able to shut my jaw I felt a smile take its place. As much as I disagree with him, as much as I hate that word, I’m glad he pointed out the hypocrisy. I’m proud he gave her a piece of his mind. I’m glad he let people know how much that word was used against him, and how no one tried to stop it. I’m glad that when people tried to turn a blind eye to what a fucked up world we live in, he forced them to look right back at the issue. In the coming days there was a lot of fallout from that interview. People fueling both sides of the argument. Some said he was out of control and immature, while other’s said he gave voice to a silent minority that’s had enough with being oppressed. We had a few laughs over the phone about it, but at the end of the day I made sure he knew how proud I was of him. Three months ago he would’ve crumbled at any chance of confrontation, but now, now he’s carrying the pride flag high and fighting for what he believes. I wish I could say the smiles and laughter lasted long, but as Friday rolled around things slowly began crashing down. “Teddy,” I heard a low voice speak as I picked up the phone. “Hey Ryder.” I couldn’t help but smile, standing up from the Friday night dinner table and quickly rushing up to my room. “You on your way to the airport or something?” “No, I go on in like thirty,” He let out but I could tell he was holding something back. “My, um, my flight got delayed.” He softly let out. “Until when?” I asked, feeling my heart begin to freeze. “Two in the morning.” He groaned. “It’s raining pretty bad here,” “That’s okay.” I interrupted, taking a deep breath. “Don’t even worry about it. Worst case you sleep in and skip out on the football game. I don’t even like football to be honest.” “I don’t think you understand.” He forced out. “There’s no guarantee the plane takes off tonight. I, the storms not supposed to blow over until tomorrow morning, and I, I don’t know if I’ll make it.” A soft oh escaped my lips as I felt my heart begin to break. “I’m so sorry Teddy, I’m going to make it up to you, I swear,” “It’s okay.” I shook my head, trying my hardest to hide it all. “I mean, there’s still a chance right?” “Yeah.” He nodded, trying to go along with it, but he knew it was a small chance, we both did. “I can’t believe you go on in front of three thousand people in twenty minutes, and you’re here on the phone, apologizing to me.” I shook my head, realizing how lucky I actually was. A sigh escaped his lips showing his focus was still on the flight. “You’re the only thing that matters.” He explained as a smile grew on my face. “And I just, I can’t get the idea that I might not see you this weekend out of my head. It’s-it was the only thing getting me through this week.” “I know.” I nodded, reminding myself he’s just as vulnerable as me. “Me too, but this is just a small set back. The worlds not over. Worst comes to worst I’ll see you in two weeks. That’s not so long.” “No.” he supported, trying to muster up some strength. “I’m sorry, I have to go, but I-I’m sorry and I love you.” “I love you too.” I let out, but before I could say anything else the call disconnected. I quickly ran over and locked my door as tears began to fall. I tried my hardest to stop them. To calm them down. To not be that psychopath boyfriend that gets hung up on every single word. But I’ve been dreaming of senior year homecoming for three years now. Dreaming of the suit I’ll wear, and the guy I’ll get to take. Even worse I finally got that guy who surpassed my expectations , who took my dreams and ran with them, but now, now he’s states away with next to no chance of making it to New Jersey. I don’t know when but at some point I wound up crying myself to sleep. I just couldn’t help it. No matter what I tried I couldn’t get a handle over my emotions. When I woke up and checked my phone the tears only seemed to roll in faster. “Flight cancelled. Can’t make it. Will call you later.” Was all he wrote. I tried my hardest to reach him but he didn’t pick up any of the calls. Instead they all went to voice mail. “Teddy?” My mom asked, slowly opening my door. “Is everything okay?” She quietly asked, no doubt hearing my silent cries from the hall. “No,” I shook my head. “It’s not. Ryder’s flight got cancelled, and he can’t make it to homecoming.” She let out a deep sigh and took a seat next to me on the bed. “I’m so sorry.” She tried to comfort, beginning to rub my back. “But he tried his hardest. I promise you he did. “I know.” I shook my head. “But I, I just want to be like every other couple. I just want to be able to go see him when I want, and to just go to the movies every Friday. I, this distance is killing me inside.” I shook my head. “I know it is.” She exhaled, taking a long look at me. “But you have to ask yourself. Is the distance worth keeping him?” I quickly nodded my head, not even being able to consider losing him. “Then there you have it. Sure. This might not be normal, but at the end of the day, do you want to be normal?” “No, normals boring” I shook my head once more as the tears began to slow. “I’m just, just, sad.” “I know you are.” She supported. “But it will pass, and right now you have a responsibility as school president to clean yourself up and go to the game. Can you handle that?” “Yeah.” I slowly nodded my head as she pulled me in close. “I love you.” “I love you too Teddy.” She smiled, holding me tightly. “Now straighten yourself up and go have fun with your friends. I know it’s hard not having him here, but that doesn’t mean your life has to stop.” “I know.” I agreed, getting to my feet and starting to throw some clothes together. “I’ll find a way to make today and tonight fun.” Those words were easier said than done, and as I found myself in the student section next to Blake and Liz I tried my hardest to be strong, but my mind couldn’t stop thinking of Ryder. Liz even had to take away my phone to get me to stop checking it! Why hasn’t he called? Why hasn’t he texted? He said we’d talk, and yet he’s gone silent! Why? As halftime rolled around the field workers began to roll mic stands and a drum kit onto the field, drawing groans from the crowd. “Oh god.” Blake sighed. “Please don’t tell me we’re getting another surprise band like last year.” “What were they called?” Liz laughed, recalling the moment. “Who knows?” Blake shook his head. “But they had a song about recycling that still haunts me to this day.” The principle waived off the crowd’s cries as he took to the front mic. “So since last year’s halftime was such a success,” “It was a fucking disaster!” Someone shouted from the horde. “We decided to repeat it this year.” The principal continued, ignoring the interruption. “Except this time we have some of Hudson’s own talent.” “Oh Jesus.” I shook my head. “As if today wasn’t bad enough already, let’s just go ahead and let the band geeks give us all headaches!” I grumbled. “Teddy!” Liz reprimanded, staring me down in surprise. “Although it’s hard to call him Hudson talent when he doesn’t really go here anymore.” My heart froze as I heard those words. I tried my hardest not to let my hopes get unrealistic but I couldn’t help move to the edge of my seat. “Without further ado, I’m proud to give you rock’s newest band, fronted by our very own Ryder Sullivan, Messiah.” I nearly passed out in my seat as I saw Ryder and the guys quickly run from the side of the bleachers out to center field. “What the fuck is up Hudson?” Ryder shouted, finally reaching the mic. The crowd seemed to go ballistic at the sight. Police and security swarmed from all over, quickly forming a circle around the young band. “Oh they told me not to curse.” Ryder giggled looking over to Brandon. “Sorry, force of habit. Anyway, this first one goes out to my boyfriend. Maybe some of you know him. Teddy,” he continued, scanning the crowd. “Wherever you are, I love you. This one’s Surrender.” Everyone seemed to lose their mind as the song blared over the amps. Imagine that, Ryder Sullivan back at Hudson to play the homecoming halftime. If I told him that at the start of the summer he’d puke from disgust. Hell! If I told him that last weekend he’d puke from disgust! But he’s down there giving it his all just like every other time he performs. He bit the bullet and is putting on a show for everyone here. “Alright,” Ryder shook his head as the song came to an end. “Now we only have time for one more song, but before I can get into it I need to ask a favor from you guys. When this song ends I’m going to join my boyfriend up in the crowd, and tonight I’m going to the dance with him.” A few happy tears began to flow from my face as I heard his words. “And its super cool that you guys are into my band, but please please don’t ask me for pictures or autographs. We’ll set up something like that another day, but for now, treat me like you guys have for the past three years. Except for all the name calling that is, let’s leave that out.” He smiled, nodding to Tommy as their last song began to play. It was surreal seeing all the kids that once hated him scream to him in awe. A kid they once pushed to the brink of suicide was now someone they all worshiped. Someone they wanted to know. I know Ryder. I know he hasn’t forgotten that, and I know he hasn’t forgiven them either. But he’s putting on a happy face and doing it anyway. Doing it to show that they were all wrong, and to show the other victims in the crowd they could make it too. But most importantly doing it because he knows how important it is to me. “Alright,” Ryder exhaled, as they wrapped up their short set. “Before I come sit next to Teddy I need one last favor. I need you guys to look around at one another, and I want you to remember that almost every last one of you called me loser, faggot and school shooter.” The crowd grew quiet as they all froze in guilt. “I don’t want apologizes.” He quickly clarified before anyone could say anything. “What I want is for things to change around here. I want you to see everyone else here and realize that no one is any of those things. We’re all in the same boat. We’re just trying to find who we are.” He shook his head. “So starting Monday morning, you guys stand up for one another. Make Hudson a better place, a place I can finally be proud of. ” He held up the horns before walking off as the crowd began to cheer for him once more. Blake slowly began to shake me as I sat there speechless. Did he really just say that? Did he really just forgive Hudson? Before I knew it the aisle next to me began to clear out as a slim figure in black made his way up the stairs. “Excuse me. Is this seat taken?” He teased, finally finding me in the crowd of people. “I-I,” I let out, still not able to find words. “Fine be weird about it.” He giggled, sitting down and wrapping an arm around me. “I told you I’d find a way to make it to homecoming.” My head immediately fell into his chest as my mind struggled to put the pieces together. “How?” I finally forced out as a few more happy tears fell from my eyes. “Don’t be mad,” He laughed with a mischievous grin. “my flight was never cancelled. The storm cleared and the delay took off like planned. I got home at like five, texted you it was cancelled and immediately passed out. Then I woke up and drove here with the guys.” “You-you asshole!” I shook my head, still holding him tightly. “That was so mean!” “I wanted to be the one to surprise you for once!” He smiled, as his head rested against mine. “Besides you started it with that whole fake angry stunt you pulled in Atlanta!” “That’s not even close to the same thing!” I yelped, finally easing into the moment. “I was being playful, you’re being evil!” “Yeah, well it was worth it to see the look on your face.” He giggled, slowly rubbing my back. “I would’ve rented a private jet and flown it here myself if I had to.” He began, starting to grow serious. “No little thunder storm was getting in my way.” I nodded and let the weight of my body fall into him as the game started up again once more. I can’t describe how perfect having him here with me is. It’s every picture perfect dream come true! It’s Christmas morning as a kid times ten! It was, it’s, it’s Ryder surprising me at homecoming. And that’s better than everything in this world put together.
  8. "If you like happy endings, this class isn't for you."  Actual quote from my film professor. I've never taken a film class before but I think I'm going to like it. 

  9. One More Reason

    ---Teddy--- The passing weeks were hard. I tried my hardest to throw myself into lacrosse and student government, but school still hadn’t started yet, and the summer season had ended. Every now and again I would hang out with Blake and Liz, but ever since I found out they were dating it just hasn’t been the same. Worst of all seeing their whispers and held hands, it made me miss Ryder even more. Face times were good, but it’s not the same as having him here with me, as being able to hold him, or having him hold me. I couldn’t tell you how many times I listened to the short cover album he gave me. It lived in the CD player of my car, and on the music app on my phone. On the bad days, like really bad days, well it was the only thing that could cheer me up. My parents and Mrs. Sullivan tried their hardest to give me speeches on dependency. To remind me that I’m strong enough to be on my own for a little bit, but at the end of the day those words always seemed to fade. When you’re lying awake alone at night, well I’m starting to learn that it’s one of the hardest things in the world. When the first week of school finally did roll around things got a little easier. I had something to distract me, and people to talk to. That is, until I got the endless questions about Ryder. How is he? Where is he? Can I get tickets to one of his shows? Can I get something signed by him? Can you tell him I say hi? Suddenly all the kids that didn’t give two shits about him, all the kids that wished him dead, well they all wanted something from him. They all wanted to say they were his best friend. But deep down that’s bullshit and we all knew it. To his credit the only person that stayed true to his words was Mike. He listened to Messiah just as much as anyone else, maybe even more, but his hatred for Ryder stayed the same. Especially since I still refused to talk to him; he tried to sit with us in the morning and during lunch but I ignored him, and pretty soon Blake and Liz followed. We’d all grown up. Grown past him. And as hard as it was to leave him behind, well, we all knew it was for the best. “How are you feeling?” My dad asked for the hundredth time as we boarded the flight to Atlanta. “Got any first flight jitters?” “No.” I shook my head, wishing we could be landing in Atlanta already. “I just want it to be tonight already.” “Ahh, so you’re excited for the concert?” My dad teased trying his hardest to lighten the mood. “You’ll be with him soon.” He comforted. “The hardest part of this tour is already over.” I nodded but didn’t say anything. He went to speak but before he could the flight attendant came over the PA to give us the whole safety speech. It didn’t take long for him to pass out, and honestly I’m kind of glad he did. Sure, maybe I needed his advice, but not as much as I needed to hear Ryder’s singing. To hear the covers he sang for me, and only me. The two and a half hour flight couldn’t go by fast enough, but when it finally did I was smiling from ear to ear. “Theodore!” My dad shouted, trying his hardest to keep up with me. “Theodore slow down!” but there was no stopping me. I was going full speed with my soul leading me. Somehow, someway, it knew how to find him, and I wasn’t letting anything get in its way. When I finally saw him I couldn’t help but freeze in my tracks. He had his hood over his head, desperately hoping no one would recognize him as a big bulky man stood next to him. His hair was longer then when he had left, and yet it worked for him. The earrings he wore were replaced by small gauges and there were two black rings tattooed around his lower left forearm and no doubt one more up on his bicep, just like Blake had planned. As I finally started getting closer I noticed something about him was different. His posture was better, and his arms, somehow they seemed slightly bigger. He’d been working out, there was no doubt about it, and his body, well somehow, someway, it had already started showing the improvements. “Hey stranger.” He let out as I finally stood across from him. “Long time no see.” I went to speak but couldn’t manage any words. Instead I ran head first into his arms, and the second we touched. Well my heart finally felt like it was beating again. Our lips connecting seemed to immediately freeze my heart again before sending it into a frenzy of beats. Sparks flew like they never had before, and just like that I felt like I was finally home. “I’ve missed you so much.” I let out, hearing my dad’s footsteps behind me. “I’ve missed you too.” He let out, trying his hardest to keep it together. “It’s, these three weeks, they were an eternity.” He shook his head. I pulled away but the second our eyes reconnected he pulled me right back in. “If I wasn’t certain when I left, well now I know there’s no replacing you.” He exhaled as a tear or two fell from his eyes. “Mr. Sullivan.” The big man let out before I could speak. “This, you’re starting to draw some attention. I suggest we move to the car.” “Yeah.” Ryder sniffled, finally letting me go. “Let’s get you guys to the hotel.” I nodded and went to grab his hand but before I could he reached out and shook my dad’s. “I’ve missed you as well.” My dad let out a laugh and pulled Ryder in for a hug. “Our house has been quiet without you kiddo.” He comforted, giving Ryder a nice tight hug. The second my dad let him go Ryder’s hand went to mine. He led us out the door and to a nice big Mercedes. The type that looks like a jeep but isn’t. It’s funny, I’d never picture Ryder in one of these, but now that he’s the face of rock. Well it seems to fit him. “Gotta keep up with appearances.” He bashfully shrugged, showing he was still the same teen from three weeks ago. “It’s just a rental to take us to the hotel and show anyway. Right Scottie?” “Right sir.” The big man answered, throwing the car into drive and pulling out of the airport. “Scottie, this is my boyfriend Teddy and his dad Harry.” Ryder introduced. “Guys this is my driver, bodyguard, and caretaker Scottie.” “Not a caretaker sir.” He quickly corrected. “You’re old enough to take care of yourself.” “Martin tell you to say that? Or did you come up with it all on your own?” Ryder teased as their eyes connected in the rearview mirror then broke way. The big man shook his head and put up the window divider between us. “He seems, well, mean, but he’s a good guy.” Ryder nodded with a smile. “You already need a body guard?” Dad forced out, taking a good look at Ryder. “I didn’t think so.” Ryder shrugged. “But Tommy got into a bar fight and ever since then your brother and my manager have been insistent I have one.” “Why? It sounds like Tommy just did something stupid.” I weighed in. “It’s not like he was attacked out of the blue.” Ryder raised his eyebrows, letting me figure it out for myself. “Like I said, caretaker.” He emphasized. “But you wouldn’t be dumb enough to get into a bar fight.” I confidently let out as we pulled up to the massive hotel. “Tell that to your uncle.” He sighed, opening the door for both of us. I went to grab my suitcase but before I could Ryder took it for me. “What a gentleman.” I smiled, as his body guard drove off to park. “Okay,” Ryder began once again as he led us into the elevator. “So the all bands have the top floor for tonight, but I got us two rooms across from one another on the fourth floor so we’re not near the chaos.” As the door opened Ryder showed us the way to the two rooms. “Harry,” he nervously began handing over the room key. “I, there’s no easy way to ask but, do you mind, can Teddy spend the trip in my room? It’s, I just want to spend time with him, and I haven’t seen him in,” My dad shook his head and opened the door to his room. “I didn’t expect Teddy to spend the night in a room with me.” He confessed turning back around. “Go ahead.” He waived off. “But that means you have to let me pay for this room!” “Nope.” Ryder shook his head. “I owe you money anyway.” He giggled, taking a step across the hall and opening the door to our room. “You’re such a handful.” Dad let out, shaking his head once more. Ryder shrugged his shoulders but kept the smile on his face. “I’ll happily take that. Just be ready to roll out at around six. Show starts at seven, and we go on at eleven.” “Wait?” I let out thinking it over. “Isn’t that a little late if you go on before,” “We overtook the main spot a week ago.” Ryder bashfully confessed. “We go on last now.” “What!” I exclaimed as my smile grew even wider. “Why didn’t you tell me that?!” “Because I wanted to see your face in person when you found out.” He blushed. “I think I made the right call on that.” “I’m not surprised.” My dad proudly let out, standing in his doorway. “If only that fragile kid who showed up at my front door looking for Teddy could see you now.” “He wouldn’t believe any of this.” Ryder shook his head, still trying to wrap his mind around it all. “Especially not that he’d wind up head over heels for Teddy Haner.” “Yeah, because that’s the hardest thing to believe.” I shook my head, pushing him into the room and shutting the door behind us. The second I looked around I realized it wasn’t a room at all, but instead one of those giant fancy suites. Extravagant doesn’t even scratch the surface of how this room looks. “Ryder,” I exhaled shaking my head.. “This-you didn’t have to, it’s, we have to switch rooms.” He let out a small laugh and took a seat on the bed. “I haven’t seen you in three weeks, and I, to be honest the label pays for the rooms. You should really thank your uncle.” “There’s no way he signed off on this.” I let out, still looking around in disbelief. “He did, he just didn’t realize I’d snuck a suite onto the bill.” Ryder cackled as his grin turned mischievous. “He’s going to kill you!” I exclaimed as he pulled me down onto the bed. “What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. Besides it’s a chance I’m willing to take for a night alone with you.” He pulled me in closer as he exhaled a breath of relief. “How did you go from sleeping in a van to these hotels?” I shook my head, as the face of a new rock movement held me tightly. “It’s not always like this.” He shrugged. “Most times we sleep on the tour bus, but when the guys heard you were coming, well, all the bands pushed for the hotel instead. I think they even flew in a few of their girlfriends or wives. It’s just, when Messiah blew up this went from a normal tour to, well it just became something different.” He humbly explained. I tilted my head and thought it over. “They did this for us?” “Yup.” He nodded his head. “Brandon rallied them all up. I know it doesn’t sound like him, but he’s excited that we get to be together for a day and a half.” A smile crossed my face as the hard to read twenty –something year old popped into my head. “He acts tough, but he’s a softy isn’t he?” “Oh yeah.” Ryder exhaled. “He’s become a big brother, and as much as he tries to bully us, he wants us to make it. I promise you he does.” Suddenly both our phones began to violently vibrate in our pockets. “Cheating one me?” Ryder teased as I pulled the phone out. “I heard your phone go off too wise guy.” I giggled. “It’s the group chat with Blake and Liz that you never answer!” “It’s because I’m always texting this cute guy.” He teased as I scrolled through the texts. “It’s not you though.” “Oh shhhh.” I waived off, clicking the screenshot Blake had sent us. “Messiah Front man Ryder Sullivan Gay?” The caption read. “TMZ has all the pictures and first reactions to prove it!” As I scrolled up I saw a picture of us kissing in the airport just a little bit ago. I felt my face turn a bright shade of red as I realized just how little privacy we now had. “I’m-I’m so sorry.” Ryder let out as he saw the message on his own phone. “I didn’t even realize that people saw me. It’s not even like my sexuality is a secret. I swear Scottie said that,” “You should be.” I shook my head, trying my hardest to fake anger. I saw shock enter his face as our eyes connected. “I swear I didn’t know, I would never let someone post a picture of us without,” “I mean you’re gay!” I shouted as the serious look on my face broke. “How could you not tell me?! That changes everything.” I giggled as a blush entered his face. “God I can’t even look at you!” “I hate you soooo much.” He laughed trying to push me off of him, but I refused to move. “That was so mean dude!” “You should’ve seen the look on your face!” I giggled, as his blush slowly faded. “You were so scared!” “I really am sorry.” He exhaled, looking back down at his phone. “It’s not right that they post a picture of us like this.” “I know,” I supported, slowly taking the phone away from him so he couldn’t overthink it. “but that’s not your fault. The media’s always been shitty. Besides I don’t care who knows we’re dating. I’d scream it from the mountain tops if I could.” A smile crossed his face as he heard my words. “Do you really have to go to college? Can’t you just travel the world with me?” “Believe it or not I aspire to be more than your trophy husband.” I teased as he pulled me on top of him. “Let me go!” I giggled. “You’re gay! I don’t want to be near you!” “Oh be quiet.” He hushed as our lips met. The afternoon zoomed past us without warning. It took so long to get here and just like that it’s already gone. But spending time with him, laying with him, well it put all my fears to rest. It’s no wonder I was so sick over missing him. He’s everything I want, and everything I need. He’s Humble, honest, kind, sweet, but most importantly he’s mine. When show time came around the band begged him to ride with them to the venue, but he refused. He was going to drive with us, walk with us, and make sure we found our seats okay. “This is The Tabernacle he proud let out.” As we pulled up to a giant old style building. “Your dad could probably tell you the history better than I can.” He nodded looking to Harry. “But it’s-it’s one of the reasons I really wanted you to come to Atlanta.” “Woh.” I let out as the car pulled along the curb where near a hundred people had already lined up. “We’re getting out right here?” “Mhm.” Ryder nodded. “I, I like seeing the crowd before I go inside.” He let out, but I could tell he was lying. I could tell there was another reason he had done it. As we slowly got out I saw the crowd turn to us, and the second Ryder stepped out their anticipation turned to screams. “RYDER!” The crowd shouted at the top of their lungs. “Ryder we love you!” He waived towards them before holding up his pink and index finger. The crowd saluted back as he quickly ushered us to the front door and inside. The second we stepped inside he quickly went over to the first few people barricaded in and started signing things. “Get your horns up!” He shouted to them as they warmly received him. “He’s showing off?” I let out; shocked by the way he was acting. “No.” My dad shook his head. “He’s walking in the front door just like they will. He’s signing things and taking pictures with them. He’s showing them he’s one of them. Earning their trust.” A proud smile overtook his face once more. “He’s showing them he’s human too.” Before I knew it Ryder rushed inside and shut the door behind him. “Sorry.” He exhaled. “I just, I like getting to meet all of them.” “That doesn’t scare you?” I asked, taking a long look at him. “No.” He shook his head. “I mean it used to, but, I don’t know. They’re just like me, and I’m just like them. They’re family.” “So corny.” I teased but caught my dad’s proud smile. His hand eagerly returned to mine as he quickly showed us up a flight of stairs and onto a floor of seating. “Okay,” he began once again. “So these two seats are yours. Everyone else’s families will be sitting around you, so you’re not alone either.” He explained, taking us to two seats next to a wall with a door. “But if you’d rather stand backstage and watch from there you can do that too.” He took out two small passes and handed them to me and my dad. “You just have to show the guy who guards this door these.” He thought something over before nervously tapping his foot. “If you’re hungry or thirsty don’t buy anything, you can just go back stage and we have tables and tables of stuff. Oh!” He yelped pulling a plastic bag out of his pocket. “And I bought you both ear plugs in case it’s too loud for you!” He forced them into my hand as I shook my head. “Ryder.” I giggled. “We’ll be okay, I promise.” “Good.” He nodded still trying to go over an invisible checklist in his head. “If you need anything just text me okay?” “I got it!” I laughed as he pulled me in for one last kiss. “I would stay here with you if I could.” He shook his head. “But I have to shower, then get dressed up and do a meet and greet then there’s some last minute sound checks and warm ups, I mean you can come hang out with me through,” “It’s fine!” I interrupted as he began to ramble once more. “I would just distract you anyway.” “That’s true.” He smiled. “I’ll see you after the show.” He lingered for another few seconds before finally forcing himself to walk through the nearby door. “Oh!” I heard him shout from the other side. “I knew I was forgetting something!” He began once more cracking the door open and throwing two tee shirts through. “Goodbye Ryder!” I laughed forcing the door shut before he could give us anything else. I looked down at the T-shirt in my lap and smiled. On it stood the five members of the band all dressed in black. Above them the band name in capital letters, below them read “Straight From Hell Tour” Is it weird to wear a t-shirt with you boyfriends face on it? Fuck it! What do I care? “Same old Ryder.” My dad let out, snapping me out of my own mind. “Yeah.” I nodded as my smile grew. Sure he’s more confident and outgoing, but he’s the same kid that I saw three weeks ago in New Jersey. And nothing can make me happier than that. Before I knew it the small venue was packed from top to bottom. It looked so small when it was empty, but now an ocean of twenty-nine thousand people flooded it. Screaming, dancing, singing, doing whatever they could to pass the time before the bands came on. I’ve been to so many different concerts in my life, but there’s always something about rock concerts. The people just seem so much more animated. Ready to go off at any moment. When the first few bands came on the people around us and down in the pit let it all out. I saw circles of people pushing and pulling one another as they ran in and out, trying their hardest to time it along with the music. With each band came their own unique stage set up and banner behind them. They were alright, but I had the feeling the co-headlines were worlds above them. When the band before Messiah came on I couldn’t help but be floored by the way the crowd reacted. The crowd grew so loud that I could barely even hear my own thoughts. Yet as big as they seemed behind them I noticed just another banner. Like they were equals to the first two bands. As their set wound down my Dad couldn’t help but emphasize how good they were. “For Messiah to take the main stage from them,” He shook his head. “Ryder must have really upped his game.” I shrugged my shoulders but couldn’t help but smile. If there’s anyone that knows how to put on a show its Ryder. I know it is. Once more the stage hands run on to clean and swap out instruments, but as they pulled down the banner nothing was left but a giant LED screen. Before we could see too much a giant curtain fell over the stage causing the crowd to boo. “Messiah!” “Messiah!” “Messiah!” They began to chant, demanding the young band take the stage. Pretty soon the chant turned into a familiar name. “Ryder!” “Ryder!” “Ryder!” they began, doing whatever they could do make the process go by faster. Before we knew it the curtain dropped and with it followed all the lights. Darkness filled the concert hall and suddenly the crowd of people violently pushed to the front of the stage, trying anything they could to get as close as possible. I saw a few people stumble as hundreds pushed their way through. A mysterious sound filled the air as lights begin to fly all across the room. The sound got louder and louder until finally it stopped and a single light fell on the center of the stage where an old style radio sat. Static filled the air as though the radio was scanning, searching. Various hit songs and news reports began to play on it, taunting the crowd, reminding us of what a violent world we live in. That is, until a young dark figure holding a bat stepped out on the stage sending the crowd in an absolute and complete frenzy. The lights went dim as the young figure wound back and slammed the radio with his bat, silencing the static and leaving the room full of screaming. “I’ve got a simple choice for you,” I heard Ryder let out in a groan. “Left or right.” He continued. “Fucking move.” Before I knew it the crowd parted down the middle just as Ryder had commanded. Slowly but surely a few more outlines appeared on stage and the last spotlight turned off. “Three,” Ryder began as the crowd began to count down with him. “Two,” he continued, a faceless voice in the dark. “One.” Music began to blare over the speakers as the crowd ran headfirst into one another. Smoke flew from the stage and before I knew it confetti and streamers were falling from the sky. It all seemed so ironic. A genre so dark and angry and yet it looked like a party out there in the crowd. The LED screen began to flash with different imagery, and symbols. I saw icons from various religions combined with violent scenes from movies all mixed behind the outlines of the band. Ryder was jumping along with the crowd, doing everything in his power to rile them up even more than they had been. Yet, the second he opened it up the crowd took over. If I thought it was crazy before, well I have no idea how to describe the place as Ryder started to sing. Imagine the worst riot you’ve ever seen, and then dial it up ten ticks more. Ryder’s vocals grew angrier and angrier as he stood up there on that stage telling his story. As the song finally came to an end the lone spotlight returned finally illuminating Ryder for all to see. I had to rub my eyes to make sure I was seeing him right. I’d spent hours and hours with him, and yet, I’d never seen him the way he looked on that stage. It was like he was possessed by his anger and pain. For all the times I’d seen him live, well this, this was like none of them. He stood in tattered clothing with a thick black line stretching from one side of his head across his eyes to the other. “Atlanta.” He let out as the band scurried around him to get ready for the next song. “The world is fucked.” He announced, moving to the edge of the stage. “Everything you know. Everyone you love. We’re all fucked.” He shook his head. “But when we go down, we’ll go down swinging. They’ll hear our screams and know our names. We’ll never surrender.” He let out as the lights shut off and the band began to play one of their biggest hits. It seemed like when they played the only light they were given was the LED screen. Like they were outlines singing to the crowd. Like they were trying to hide away and let the music and imagery tell their story. The more the set went on the crazier the crowd seemed to get. There was even a few times where Ryder jumped feet first into the crowd, causing them to go berserk in every which way. There were constant screams and chants, and it was clear to me that I had no idea just how big the band was becoming. I know it’s just about three thousand people in Georgia, but god damn it, the way they reached out to him. The way they called for him. It was like he wasn’t human. Like he was superman. Suddenly I felt a hand tap me on the shoulder. “Come with me.” A man wearing an event shirt let out. I looked to my dad but he quickly waved me away, too enwrapped in the concert to think about what was happening. The man led me down the stairs and to the side of the stage. As another song stopped I saw the same spotlight return on the stage. “Who here has ever thought about killing themselves?” Ryder blatantly asked and to my surprise every band member’s hand went up and hundreds of hands in the crowd followed. “Me too.” Ryder nodded in a pain soaked voice. “I was going to do it at the start of the summer. The day school ended I was going to go behind my house and hang myself from a tree.” He exhaled, fighting off a round of tears. “But the day before I was going to end it all the school president invited me to his party. Me. A nobody. A complete and utter fucking loser.” He shook his head as the crowd chanted words at him. “I had no plan to actually go. Why would I? I was a dead man walking. But as I tied the noose I thought of him. I wondered if he would blame himself if I killed myself instead of going to his party. And as much as I hated him, like completely and utterly despised him, I couldn’t do that to him. So I went to the party, telling myself I’d hang myself when I got home.” He let out a sarcastic laugh thinking it all over. “But when I arrived the president talked me into sleeping over. So I decided I’d hang myself the next day. Then something weird happened. He promised to come to the bar I used to play at and hear me sing. I had to see if he was telling the truth so I told myself I’d finally end it after my next show.” He shook his head and looked out into the crowd. “I think you guys see the pattern here. He kept giving me excuses to stay. With every word he spoke he gave me one more reason to live another day. Now, I’m not saying you need someone else to give you a reason to live.” He clarified. “But what I am saying is there are reasons out there. And sure, it seems like there are thousands of reasons to kill yourself, but if you can find that one reason to not, that one thing keeping you here. Grab onto it and never let it go. I could be six feet under right now, but instead I’m here.” A small smile crossed his face as he looked across the crowd. “With all of you.” The crowd cheered violently at his words. Desperately trying to let him know he wasn’t alone. “And that president? He’s here too.” He explained turning and looking right at me. “I know I tell you I love you every day, but I have no idea if you actually understand what I mean by it. I mean you saved me. I mean you stopped me from killing myself. I mean you’re my reason to stay, and no matter where this tour takes me, that will never change. Come out here.” I felt my knees buckle as Ryder waived me out towards him. It took everything in me to walk out on that stage, but the second I did Ryder embraced me in his arms. “This is my boyfriend Teddy.” Ryder announced. “And if that bothers you, you can turn around and walk right out that fucking door.” Before I knew it Ryder pulled me in once more, this time landing a kiss on my lips. The second we connected the crowd began to scream once more. “Now we don’t have any love songs, and I’m not about to cover one because I’ve already wasted enough time being sappy. So what do you guys say we show him how rock bands do it? Show him what a real concert is like?” The crowed screamed at the top of their lungs at his question. “This one’s another cover. This one’s Make It Stop by Rise Against.” An angry punk beat filled the air sending the crowd into more chaos. I stood there speechless as thousands of people faced us. Watching our every move. Ryder grabbed my hand and pulled me to the edge of the stage as he started to sing. The way the crowd reached out to him, the way they longed to touch him. It blew me way. A tattered pride flag filled the LED screen behind us as he reached the chorus. “Make it stop. Let this end, This life chose me, I'm not lost in sin And proud I stand, of who I am, I plan to go on living.” As the song wound down he grabbed onto me once more, shamelessly hugging me in front of thousands of people, shamelessly showing his vulnerable side in front of them. My uncle was right when he named them Messiah. My uncle was right about Ryder. He won’t just be their singer. He’ll be their leader.
  10. So today my mom told me the suit I was trying on made me look like a gentlemen instead of the punk I usually dress like. Not sure if that's a good thing or not. 

    1. mogwhy


      mom's are like that! its nice to see the gentlemen side of our sons

    2. SolarMaxx


      Hahaha, you’re a three-dimensional young adult. You can be both! 

  11. Beach Day!

    I agree. I may be the one writing it, but I still love finally seeing some sort of calmness for them. Just a moment where they finally get to be a couple again. I hope you enjoyed the Jersey Shore. Being a Jersey boy myself, well Teddy's words are true, it's just a weird thing we all love. I have so many memories going down with friends and family, and hope I'll make many more in my life. Hopefully this chapter reminded you of some good times.
  12. Point Not So Pleasant

    ---Teddy--- It’s amazing how much can change in three months. All I used to care about was popularity. All Ryder used to care about was music. And now look at us. It’s like we’ve finally started growing into the people we’re supposed to be. Like this whole time we just needed one another to help us discover who we really are. I’ve grown so much since he first slammed a door in my face, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. “So marriage,” Liz quietly let out as Blake rushed out back towards the ocean. A routine he’d been going back and forth on ever since we set up on the beach. Trying his hardest to balance time in the ocean with time with his girlfriend. Meanwhile the second the blanket went down Ryder fell into a sugar coma on top of it. “Was that something you two were being serious about?” I slowly nodded and looked down at my sleeping boyfriend. “Can you blame us?” “No.” She shook her head, trying her hardest to be supportive. “I just don’t want you both to rush into something you’re not ready for and wind up ruining a good thing.” “I know,” I exhaled. “But our lives are moving so much faster than everyone else I know. It’s like, if I love him in the spring like I love him now, why not?” “The spring?” She repeated in a low voice. “I mean, if you think you’re ready then go for it.” She quickly clarified. “Just make sure, its just, it needs to be what you definitely want and not just something you’re doing because you’re scared.” I looked over at her and forced eye contact. “What’s that supposed to mean?” I defensively let out. “I’ve known you forever Teddy.” She sighed. “I know when you’re scared.” She shook her head. “And maybe I’m wrong, but you just, you seem like you’re terrified of losing him.” She let out as her gaze shifted towards Ryder. “and maybe marriage is your way of feeling like you have him locked down, but we both know that’s not how it works.” I grew quiet as she hit the nail right on the head. “Married or not if he wants to cheat or break up he’s going to do it.” I bit down on my lip as the reality of life flooded my mind. “But that’s never something he’s going to want.” She comforted, reaching over and resting her hand on mine. “If only I could show you all the paragraphs he’s texted me about you. You don’t need to get married to keep him. He’s always going to be crazy for you, and that, it’s something you have to accept on your own terms. Security isn’t a feeling you can force with marriage.” “Why am I so insecure about him?” I exhaled as she peeled away all my defenses. “Why am I so scared?” “I don’t know.” She shrugged. “Maybe it’s because you know how much it sucks to get cheated on. Maybe it’s because you’re so crazy for him that you see how vulnerable it leaves you. Or maybe it’s because he’s like no one you’ve ever met before.” She shook her head and looked back up at me. “But in your own time that’ll fade and you two, you’ll be that couple everyone wants to be like.” “You think so?” I asked, as her hand slowly went back to her side. “I know it.” She confidently nodded. “After all, I already know someone who hopes his relationship is as good as yours.” She confessed looking over at Blake getting thrashed around in the waves. “What about you and him?” I shifted, having had enough talk about me. “You guys seem pretty happy.” “Yeah.” She nodded with a smile. “I mean its Blake.” She shook her head. “I, it still blows me away that we’re dating. I never thought he’d stop seeing me as a friend. I know we always hung out alone and all that but he never once made a move. Well, not until a few months ago.” “Before or after me and Ryder?” I laughed, leaning against her. “Before.” She teased, eyes not leaving her boyfriend. “And yet your relationship still seems miles past ours. Damn you Teddy Haner.” “Pressure makes diamonds.” I teased as I noticed Ryder beginning to shake awake. “Too bad we’re not there yet.” I joked as he looked up at me, hair a disaster. “Not where yet?” He let out, slowly starting to wake up. Liz and I couldn’t help but laugh at the disheveled teen in front of us. “Nowhere.” I shook my head, reaching forward and trying to help him get it together. “What is this even?” I teased, combing the large clump of hair out of his face. “It has no style.” “Bite me.” He grumbled, pushing my hand away and sitting up. He put his hand up to his hair but shook his head to loosen it up instead. “It is what it is, short on the sides long in the front.” “I see that.” I shook my head. “But what if you put a fade on the sides and back and kind of let the top,” “Teddy.” He forced out as our eyes connected. “I’m not getting some froofy soccer hair cut like yours.” “Froofy?” Liz let out, shooting him an odd look. “It means fancy.” He confidently nodded. “Sure it does.” I sighed as a smile crossed my face. “One of these days you’re going to have to figure out something to do with it.” He rolled his eyes and slowly got to his feet as Blake approached from the ocean. “Want to go for a walk?” “Sure.” I quickly nodded, not having to be asked twice. “Imagine that, Ryder wanting to go for a walk.” He shrugged and took my hand, leading me back down towards the shore line. As we passed Blake Ryder made sure to give him a wink. “What was that?” I giggled, bucking shoulders with him. “Nothing.” He smiled, returning the light push. We spent the next few minutes quietly walking along the ocean until we reached a near empty patch of sand. “You’ve been looking at me funny ever since Blake brought up my next tour.” He finally let out, staring at the incoming waves. “What’s up?” “I’ve been looking at you funny because you ate plates and plates of raw sewage.” I teased, but saw a serious look staring off into the distance. “Teddy.” He let out in a serious voice. “What’s up?” “You said you don’t know when the next tour starts,” I exhaled, looking down and lightly kicking some sand around. “but I could tell you were lying.” He silently nodded his head and kept his eyes on the waves. “You know, don’t you?” “I found out last night.” He sighed. “I was going to wait until tomorrow because I didn’t want it to ruin today.” “When do you leave?” I forced out, feeling my heart begin to beat faster and faster. “Tuesday night.” He answered still staring off at the horizon. I let out a breath as my heart dropped. For a second I thought I was going to throw up. Just let everything out from being so upset. “This Tuesday? Like in five days?” I asked, trying my hardest to fight back tears. “Yeah.” he answered, reaching around me and pulling me in close. “I-I’m so sorry Teddy.” “Don’t be.” I shook my head as a few tears escaped my eyes. “It’s not your fault, and I can’t hold you back.” I let my head fall into his chest as I still tried to process it all. “I’m being such a dick right now for making you feel bad.” “No you’re not.” He denied as his grip grew tighter. “You’re just, just, reacting.” “Well it’s a shitty reaction.” I sniffled, trying my hardest to stop the tears. “No it’s not.” He shook his head, prying me away from him and leaning his forehead against mine. “You have every right to be upset. It’s, I knew the tour would start soon, but I had no idea it would be next week.” He let out. “I, I thought I’d leave when school was close to starting.” “It is close to starting.” I explained as the tears finally stopped. “There’s only two and a half weeks left, it’s, summers almost over.” “Oh.” He exhaled, grabbing onto both my hands. “Then good, you’ll be too busy to miss me.” “I’ll never be too busy to miss you.” I shook my head. “You’ll never be off my mind, I swear.” “I know.” He nodded, holding my hands up to his chest. “I was so scared to feel when I first met you. I was so scared of even the smallest bit of love. I-I don’t think you know how close I was to ending it all. How close I was to giving up. Then you actually came to a concert.” This time tears started to fall from his eyes. “You gave me hope that maybe, maybe I could be someone. Then the confidence followed and I, now I can’t imagine not being alive. I can’t imagine not having you here with me.” Once more he pulled me in close. “If there’s even a shred of doubt in there, I, you need to get rid of it. You need to know that there will always be a place for you in my heart. I-I don’t think I can ever love anyone else the way I love you. No. I know I can’t.” We stood there just holding one another for a few minutes before I finally gathered the strength to talk once more. “I’m scared about you smoking.” I confessed, finally starting to let an insecurity fly out. “I-I’m worried about what it’ll lead to. I know it helps, and I know that it might not be bad for you, but I don’t want you relying on drugs.” I shook my head. “And I don’t want to be that boyfriend that stop you from doing things you like, but I-I,” “It’s okay.” He comforted, beginning to rub my back. “I don’t want to stop you from doing things that help though.” I rambled, starting to shake my head. “What if I only smoke when I need to?” He asked. “That way it gets rid of anxiety, but I don’t actually use it that much.” I nodded my head as he tried his hardest to be strong for the two of us. “We’ll be okay. I promise.” “I know.” I nodded, looking up into his eyes. “And you’ll come to homecoming right?” “Yup.” He quickly assured. “When is that?” “I’ll text you the date, it’s like three weeks after school starts.” I explained, silently praying he could make it. “I just, I hope you don’t have a show that night.” “I’ll find a way back home for it.” He forced a smile and began to rub my back once more. “I swear I will.” “I love you.” I exhaled as a wave crashed and coated our feet. “I love you too.” He reassured as my head fell right back onto his shoulder. The rest of the day went by way too fast. Blake and Liz noticed something was off but didn’t bother to question it. They knew it was something sensitive and didn’t want to risk making it worse. Volume One: A Broken Home came out Friday and was exactly Ryder’s vision. The second I could I picked up every form of it and displayed it in my room. C.D., Vinyl, digital copy, you name it I had it. The front cover was his back facing his home, while the back was the track listing over his parent’s graves. It was the start of his story. One I never got to see, but god is it something we’re all hearing. And when I say all I mean all. Just like his other work it blew up everywhere in every way. Ryder’s a full blown rock star now, and there’s no hiding it. There was a quiet peace to our last night together. We didn’t bother bringing up the distance that was about to be between us. There was no reason to. We both knew what was coming, but more importantly we were ready for it. “You really didn’t have to give a copy to us.” I sighed looking at the C.D. Ryder had left for my parents. “We already have like five copies of it.” “I knew you were reason it’s rising the charts.” He teased happily looking at his creation up on the counter. “That parts all you.” I grinned, proud of what he had accomplished in just his first couple months of music. “That’s not even my best work.” He confidently smiled as our eyes connected. “No?” I asked reflecting the look in his eyes right back at him. “No.” he shook his head, pulling another square out of his pocket. “This is.” I took a long look at the square before returning my eyes back to his. “What’s that?” “Back when I used to play at the barn.” He nervously began. “Back when I first met you, you asked me to cover Shout at the Devil for you. So when I was on tour you could listen to it when you missed me. Even back then you believed in me. When I was nothing but a dive bar singer.” “You didn’t.” I sighed as he handed me the white case. I immediately recognized his handwriting as Teddy was written on the cover. “I had an extra day in the studio.” He nodded. “And the guys gave me some shit for it, but this, it’s for you, for when you miss me.” I quickly turned it around and looked at the short track list. “1. Shout at the Devil 2. Pill in Ibiza 3.Photograph 4. Wish You Were Here.” “Photograph?” I read, surprised to see the cover there. “Mhm.” He nodded. “I remember sitting right here and playing it for you. We were talking about songs that reminded us of each other, and that song, it just came to mind.” “I remember that.” I quickly nodded as tears began to bubble in my eyes. “I,I, thank you.” I let out, wrapping my arms around him. “You have no idea how much this means to me.” “You have no idea how much you mean to me.” He comforted, kissing me on the top of the head. He held me for a minute before I finally pulled away. “I would’ve included Faget on it too, but I know you hate that song.” “I hate that word.” I corrected, recalling the bonus song he had added to his album. “Why did you have to cover that song again?” “It’s symbolic.” He shrugged. “A word I used to get called so much, now on the back of my album. They tried so hard to use it against me, but now, now it’ll be one of the most popular covers in metal.” I couldn’t help but smile at his enthusiasm. “Well I still hate it.” I giggled, as he fell on top of me. “Join the club.” He teased as his head fell against my shoulder. “So, you’re coming to the Boston and Atlanta shows right? Like I can go ahead and tell my manager to send you the tickets.” “No, because I’m buying the tickets.” I corrected as he looked up at me. “Hey, I’m flying in for homecoming aren’t I? I’m even making the football game!” He smiled. “So the least you can do for me is accept concert tickets.” “Uhh fine!” I groaned kissing him on the head. “I, you really don’t have to fly back to New Jersey just for homecoming.” “I’m not flying back for homecoming, I’m flying back for you.” He shrugged without hesitation. “I’ll be gone for two months. It’s the least I can do to help break up the time away.” I happily nodded my head as I realized the small schedule we had worked out. “So in three weeks I’ll see you in Atlanta. Then a week after that you’ll be home for home coming, and two weeks later I’ll see you in Boston! Then two week after that you’ll be back for your New York show and home again!” “Exactly.” He nodded reflecting the smile on my face. “We’re getting the worst part out of the way first. Just three weeks and then we’ll see each other almost every week. Nothing to be scared of.” “Nothing to be scared of.” I repeated in confidence. “And face timing almost every night?” “I wouldn’t have it any other way.” He confirmed. “Just make sure to check on my grandma like three times a week if you can. I-I’m more worried about her without me than you.” “She won’t be alone.” I comforted, beginning to rub his arm. “She’ll have me and my parents.” “And little Oliver.” He corrected, thinking about my mom’s pregnancy. “And little Oliver.” I rolled my eyes. “I still can’t believe my mom liked that name.” “She didn’t just like it, she said it was perfect.” He teased in a laugh. “Oliver for a boy, Olivia for a girl.” “And chaos for Teddy in both cases!” I yelped with a smile. He let out a small laugh and thought it all over. “Well you can always come stay with me when you need a break.” “Careful what you wish for.” I joked. I saw his eyes drift towards the clock and quickly moved his head back to me. “Teddy.” He sighed, starting to grow serious. “No, come on.” I insisted as the clock turned to eleven-thirty. “You stay up until two in the morning anyway!” “I know I do.” He groaned, thinking it all over. “But I have to pack up the last of my stuff, and I already said goodbye to your parents. I-I don’t want to, but I think it’s time to head out.” I fell silent and nodded my head, accepting the inevitable. “Besides its way past your bedtime anyway.” “Yeah.” I forced out, trying my hardest to be strong. He sat up and landed a kiss on my forehead. “No tears.” He shook his head. “If you start crying, I’m going to start crying, and that’s just not a good look for either of us.” “Just, make sure to take care of yourself.” I finally forced out as we both stood up. “Eat right. Drink a lot of water. Get a good night’s sleep. And see the country. For me.” “There’s no one else I’m doing it for.” He confirmed pulling me in close. “I’m going to miss you so much.” “We survived the past eighteen years without one another,” I exhaled. “Why does two months seem so scary?” “I don’t know.” He shook his head. “But God I’m glad you found me.” We stood there holding one another for the next twenty minutes and yet it only felt like seconds. I was able to keep it together until I saw his car pull away, but the second those tail lights turned the corner I felt tears coat my cheeks. I know we’ll be okay. I know our love is strong enough to last anything, but why am I so scared? Why do I doubt him? Why do I doubt us?
  13. Beach Day!

    Living in Hawaii must have been really cool! It's one of the places I really want to go explore one day. Jersey shore food is pure greasy garbage, it's basically carnival food except even worse for you! Yet, much like Ryder I love it!
  14. Beach Day!

    I was thinking the same thing when I was proof reading it! Of course I would have never wanted his childhood, but to be able to experience all these things as new must be cool. Like when people see snow for the first time as adults. (Although snow is a terrible curse when you have to deal with it all winter!)
  15. Beach Day!

    I think because of how straightforward it was. Don't worry though, the upcoming chapters start to get long!

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