Prologue - Hotel California (The Eagles ; 1976)

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I'm a little frenetic.

I remember when I was younger, my parents used to scold me for never sitting still during Sunday sermon at the church. I'd either be kicking my legs against the back of the pew in front of me, writhing around restlessly on our own pew, or trying to run through the aisles during prayers. The doctors told my parents it was ADHD, which, at the time, I thought was the coolest thing in the world. It was almost like having a superpower, in a sense.

Having ADHD, however, made it hard for me to focus on "important" things. I had good grades in school, but I never had exceptional grades like my classmates because I was always focused on other things.

My first constant distraction was music.

I remember the first day I heard something other than gospel music that was very common around my home. I walked down to the corner store to grab some groceries for my mom when I was stopped short upon hearing a soft guitar melody playing in the background of the store. I walked behind the counter to notice a record spinning in the record player and I just couldn't stop staring at it.

The owner of the store came up to me and politely asked me to leave from behind the counter, and, as he was scanning the groceries, I asked him what song and what band were playing behind him. He told me the band was called The Eagles and the song was called Hotel California. I stayed for the entirety of the song, feeling my body move subconsciously to the rhythm of the music the entire time. Once it was over, I ran home and asked my mother if we could get The Eagles' album. She promptly told me no, proceeding to give me a lecture on how their music was "unholy" and that I wouldn't be allowed to listen to it in the house.

So, I didn't listen to it in the house.

Everyday after school, I would go to the corner store and ask Mr. Armstrong, the owner, to teach me the words to the songs he played in the record player. He taught me music that ranged from The Eagles to The Ramones, Elton John and Led Zeppelin, and, my favorites, The Beatles and Frank Sinatra. HE would teach me all the words and he even started bringing a guitar to the store so he could teach me to play.

The first time I confidently sang along with Hotel California, Mr. Armstrong looked completely stunned. He said he'd never heard anyone sing the way I had and that I had some real, natural and raw talent. I went home that day with the biggest smile on my face, and, in my spare time, I practiced and practiced that song to make sure I sang it perfectly.

By the time I graduated, I knew that I wanted to be a performer. My parents, however, didn't know of my plans until my principal was announcing the colleges that we were accepted into and what we would be pursuing. That night, at home, they proceeded to yell at me and lecture me on how I was "throwing away my future" for something as stupid as wanting to sing in front of people. They had hoped I would practice ministry, become a priest one day.

I promptly told them that they could go fuck themselves.

They shoveled out whatever savings they had for me to go to college and then sent me out of their house to go to college in San Francisco. The campus was beautiful, the atmosphere was freeing, and I felt like I didn't have to hide who I was here. Mr. Armstrong had bought me a Walkman tape player and some tapes of the bands he'd taught me along with some more contemporary tapes as well. I spent all of orientation week in my dorm room, listening to my music and singing at the top of my lungs.

At one point, however, an adviser from the financial department showed up at my door and asked me to have a meeting with her. She told me that I was a little over one thousand dollars short on funds for the semester. I began panicking and asking her what my options were, to which she replied that I could apply for scholarships or grants or financial aid of some sort.

I asked her if there was anything I could do on campus to pay off the semester, because I sure as hell didn't qualify for and scholarships and probably not enough financial aid either. She went silent for a moment before informing me that the arts department needed a model for their introductory sketch class. I immediately agreed to the position, earning a smile from her as she contacted the arts department.

The first day of classes, I was nervous. All of my classes involved me singing by myself in front of the class in order for the instructors to get a good idea on what my voice sounded like and how they could "help me improve." I found it all to be extremely tedious, honestly.

After my last class, I was heading towards the art building, looking for room 104 that belonged to Mr. Gerard Way. I nervously fiddled with the strap of my bag as I walked down the empty hallway, inspecting the room numbers before I found the right one. I stood in front of the door and took a deep breath before knocking softly. After a few seconds, I was met with a middle aged man with bright red hair and a wide smile. "You must be our model," he said softly. "Come in, come in."

I smiled at him as I followed him through the door and to the center of the room. My eyes went searching through the semi-circle of people before they landed on a pair or chocolate brown eyes that were slightly covered by matching colored hair. For the first time in a long time, I felt my heart rate slow down rather than increase, I felt my hands still instead of fidgeting and I felt my breathing even itself out.

I know I'm a little frenetic...

But, in that moment, I had never felt more composed.

* * *

// a/n: 1.1K words

i'm literally not giving you guys any time to even process the ending of the last book.



i told you guys that i loved this story so much that I wouldn't be able to resist writing the sequel. this story will pick up in the gap time after brendon and ryan moved to chicago, starting in January of 1995.

i hope you guys are as excited for this as i am!! //

thoughts on this chapter? let me know in the comments!

please vote & comment!

i love you all so much!


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