After the five men had taken showers, they sat together in the large living room of the mountain side cabin where they’d recorded Pretty.Odd. The environment had been so inspiring, they’d decided to come here again as they started recording for their third album. Pete didn’t stay long, having only wanted to welcome the boys to the cabin and give them a few ground rules. As he was walking outside, he called Ryan over to him. He got in his car and Ryan followed suit. Pete put the car into drive and started for the nearest town, waiting until he was on the main road before looking over at Ryan. “So, Ryan. I heard that you and Brendon had a pretty rough break-up?” He asked, raising an eyebrow at Ryan. Ryan looked at him quizzically.
“How did you know about that?”
“Jon. He was awfully concerned about you, Ryan.”
“Well. As much as I appreciate Jon’s concern, it was none of his business to tell you. And it wasn’t a breakup. Merely a misunderstanding.”
Pete snickered. “Are you sure about that, Ryan? Are you positive that you’re relationship with Brendon is…. secure?” he asked. Ryan narrowed his eyes.
“What exactly are you implying, Pete?”
“Oh, nothing really. Just that perhaps that maybe you aren’t what you used to be. And Brendon knows it.”
Ryan stared at Pete. “Excuse me?”
“Listen up, Ross. I signed this band to my label when nobody knew who the hell you were. I endlessly promoted you guys, talked about you in interviews and during my band’s concerts. And when Fever came out, the audiences ate it up. It was the hottest new thing on the market, and they couldn’t wait for more. And all the sudden, little George decides to take a jump to the left, a step to the right and become one of the Beatles. Well here’s a news flash for you, George. It’s not the sixties anymore. The fans don’t want to hear you trying to recreate a band that’s been long dead. They don’t want to hear songs that are so infused with your hallucinogens, they can get high just listening to them. So, what I recommend is that you stop dragging this band down creatively, figure out that you’re not John Lennon and get yourself back on track, Ryan. Because with the way things are going, you’re going to end up destroying the band, and ultimately, your relationship with Brendon all by yourself.
“Think about it, Ryan. Are you really what’s best for Brendon? Does he really need someone who’s going to suppress his natural energy and creativity? Because that’s what you’re doing. You’re staunching the creative flow with your ‘radical’ ideas. On the last album, Brendon wrote what? “I Have Friends,” and “Folkin’ Around?” Those were the best two songs on the album.” Pete sighed. “You’re an amazing lyricist, Ryan. And you’re like a brother to me. I love you, man, but I love this band too. What do you think would happen if I told Brendon your little secret?”
“He already knows. I told him earlier,” Ryan snapped back. “He forgives me.”
“That’s great, Ry. Really. So you told Brendon. What do you think would happen if I told Spencer? I know for a fact he wouldn’t be okay with it. No matter how much he loves you.” He sighed again.
“Think about it, Ryan. Just think about what I said,” he said. Ryan could feel his self-esteem plummeting, his self-worth crashing down to a low he hadn’t hit in a while. “Stop the car,” he croaked out. Pete let out a humorless laugh.
“I need to take you back.”
“Goddammit, Pete! I said stop the fucking car!” he screamed. Pete immediately pulled over. Ryan climbed out and was about to close the door when Pete said something. “I just want what’s best for you, Ryan. Even if it mean’s breaking you in the process.” With that, Ryan slammed the door and Pete sped off, leaving Ryan in the middle of a town, but completely alone.