July 18, 2011
Ryan's last ballad was nothing like his first. The first ballad was happy dreams, fluffy wishes, and cotton candy promises put into words and set to music. Dillon, the manager from Hades, stood off stage and watched as Ryan danced and sang alongside Rickey, Alex, Haley, Gabriel, and Cassidy with a fake smile painted on his face as he weaved a web of lies with pretty words over and over for all of his and Alex's home state of Nevada.

True enough, Ryan was getting a chance to sing lead vocals. True enough, he was getting a chance to sing the songs that he had written, but they weren't the songs that he wanted. And what was the point in getting what you wanted if it wasn't really what you wanted?

There wasn't one.

Somewhere between his first ballad and his last, Ryan snapped like a rubber band and all the happy dreams, fluffy wishes, and cotton candy promises that he put into words and, with help from Gabriel, set to music were scattered to the wind. Somewhere between his first ballad and the last the real Ryan Spencer was revealed to the public, daily puke-fest, torn wrist, insomnia, suicidal tendencies, checkered past, and all.

It felt good, Ryan decided from his place under the masterful lighting of the ball room between tables. He felt free. He felt brand new under the vaudeville style make-up and the steampunk styled clothing that he had handpicked for this occasion for him and his band mates just for the performance of his last ballad.

And just for that moment. For those meager three minutes and thirty-six seconds of heart thumping, blood rushing, foot tapping music, and words, real words that mean something to him, for once nothing matters to Ryan, but this.

He hadn't felt like that for a long time. So he held onto it, keeping it in the special place of his heart that is reserved for good things like his mother, Haley, and unicorns.

Ryan knows that his last Ballad was nothing like his first and he's glad because if it was then he's not sure where he would be headed. Probably with the rest of his friends to the UK doing all that he could to hide the sickness under large cloths and fables of nonexistent food poisoning.

Ryan isn't sure how long he would have lasted, but he is glad that he doesn't have to find out, because after the show he is headed to rehab. There he is getting the help that he needs to fight his sickness, his need to cut, and his depression. Ryan knows that it is going to be hard, but nothing is ever easy when you really want it, when it is worth it.

Besides, Ryan knows that when he is well again, Haley, Rickey, Cassidy, Alex, and Gabriel will all be waiting for his next Ballad will be nothing like the first and nothing like the last.

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