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Littlelovestories

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About Littlelovestories

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  • Age in Years
    24
  • Gender
    Female
  • Sexuality
    Bisexual, leaning male
  • Favorite Genres
    Romance
  • Location
    Australia
  • Interests
    Listening to music, writing, Tae Kwon Do.

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  1. “Beth, thank god. Can you drive us to the hospital?” Blake asks urgently as he and Jasper drag Ryan towards the front door. Beth looks at the three horrified, taking in what she was seeing, Ryan’s face was pale, his lips a tinge of blue and his body completely limp in their arms. “What happened?” She asks about to step forward when Ryan suddenly starts making a chocking noise, his body shuddering. “Put him down!” Jasper says quickly and he and Blake lower Ryan to the ground and onto his side. “Sounds like he is going to be sick.” Beth steps past them, finding an empty container and bringing it over to them. Jasper hits Ryan’s back a few times, trying to help him bring whatever was chocking him up and with a dramatic gag Ryan starts throwing up into the container Beth was holding. She gags and looks away quickly, feeling sickened by the sound. “I’ll get some, water.” Beth stands up and walks away to the sink, washing her hands thoroughly before getting a clean glass and filling it with water and heading back towards the three men on the floor. Ryan groans and tries to lie on his back but Blake was kneeling behind him to keep him safely on his side, Ryan’s breathing finally back to normal but he still didn’t seem awake. “He’s your boyfriend, you can clean that up.” Blake gestures at the vomit and Jasper just sighs, taking the container to the bathroom to wash it out. “What the hell happened?” Beth asks, crouching beside Blake. “We were all drinking, but he’s on meds that he isn’t meant to mix with alcohol. He went to bed a while ago but when Jasper went in he was unconscious.” Blake explains. “He mixed medication with alcohol and you didn’t call an ambulance?” Beth takes her phone out and calls them immediately. Jasper returns hearing Beth place the emergency call. “They are on their way.” She sighs. Jasper just nods, he was pale and clammy, his face seemed absent of expression as he stared at Ryan on the floor. Beth stands up and gets two water bottles from the cupboard, she passes one to Blake then walks over to Jasper, takes his hand and leads him to a chair at the table, she pulls it out and he sits. She takes the lid off the bottle for him and places it in his hands. “He’ll be ok Jas. Have some water, I’m sure you will want to go to the hospital with him, so it’s a good idea to take this time to sober up.” She encourages kindly. Jasper nods blankly and lifts his bottle in trembling hands to his lips, takes a small sip and lowers it again. “Any time you feel overwhelmed or worried, have a sip. Just small sips ok?” Beth looks at Blake who was watching her intently while she was by Jasper’s side. A few minutes of silence pass before they hear voices outside their door. Beth rushes over and opens the door letting the two ambulance men carrying a stretcher inside. After a quick assessment of his vital signs, they decide to take him to the hospital for monitoring as a precaution, concluding that he seemed otherwise fine ad would likely just sleep it off. Blake hands them the pill bottle he’d found and he and Jasper try to remember how much alcohol he had. “Are you all just friends? No family here?” One of the medics asks. Blake and Beth look at Jasper who gulps. “Just friends yeah.” Jasper answers. “Ok. We’ll take him to the hospital. You’ll be welcome to wait up there if you want but there’s not much you can do. If he has overdosed between pills and alcohol, they will just want to monitor him for the night. Usually if the user has thrown up, and been breathing as normal, it’s a good sign that their system is fighting it and they may have just mildly overdone it, shouldn’t be many lasting effects if that’s the case but we won’t be able to know until he’s awake. If you don’t want to wait up there for him to wake up, I can pass on a message to call you as soon as he has woken up so you can visit as soon as possible, or hopefully, just come and pick him up.” Jasper gives the medic his name and phone number, watching as they take Ryan away on the stretcher. “You should have said he is your boyfriend, they probably would have let you ride there with him and stay.” Blake comments. “I couldn’t. If this ends up in the news somehow, the last thing we need is a speculator story that after I was outed as being gay, my band member and boyfriend tried to overdose on anxiety meds and alcohol. This is already going to be a nightmare if it finds it’s way into headlines, he doesn’t need to be linked to me and my drama right now.” Jasper turns away from the door, tears welling in his eyes. “This whole situation pisses me off!” He snaps. “How do I do this? How do I be supportive of him, when all I want to do is punch him in the face.” Jasper tries to blink back tears, looking up at the ceiling and taking a few deep breaths to calm himself. “Maybe you should just work out whether or not he meant to do it first.” Blake shrugs. “What difference does it make?” Jasper asks annoyed. “He either did it on purpose, so he’s a dick because how dare he put me through that? He is supposed to care about me! If he didn’t do it on purpose, then how dare he be so careless. He would know not to drink while taking those meds and yet he was doing just that. Which means obviously part of him didn’t care if he lived or died tonight. I am trying so hard to be good at this handling depression thing but I didn’t even know he was that upset tonight so how great of a boyfriend am I that he can be wanting to kill himself and I don’t even know.” Jasper covers his face with his hands and sinks into the seat in the waiting room beside Blake. “I feel like I completely failed him.” “Jasper, depression isn’t something you can blame yourself for. Whatever he thinks and feels is his mental illness, not you’re doing and barely even his.” Beth tells him comfortingly pulling him into a hug, she reaches out for Blake who comes over and hugs Jasper too. “Yeah it’s not your fault Jasper, don’t let that thought even start to get to you because it’s absolute trash. You can’t ‘fix’ someone else’s depression. No matter how much you try.” Blake rubs his back. “Do you guys have milk? I can make some hot chocolates for us while we settle in and wait to hear more.” Beth offers, making her way to fridge and finding what she needed. “Thanks so much for this Beth, it means a lot that you are here.” Jasper tells her sincerely. “It’s not what you need after what I put you through but...” “Jasper I am sorry for how I reacted. I’m sorry that I was rude rather than supportive at that time. You didn’t mean to hurt me, and it wasn’t your fault that you didn’t know sooner. We were friends more than anything when we ‘dated’ you shouldn’t have to lose that friendship over something that you don’t have control over.” Beth smiles over at him. “How are you doing anyway? I was coming to check on you after reading some of the posts today. Sounds like you’re fans are behind you.” “Thank you, you really don’t know what it means to have your support. To be honest I’ve been avoiding reading anything about it, since I’m not allowed to actually confirm it or deny it to anyone until Chris gets sick of messing with my head over it.” Jasper sighs and slumps onto the couch. “I am interested to see what you and Ryan are like together. That kiss looked like it was a very loving one. Are you in love with him?” Beth asks, bringing over the hot chocolates. “Uh, we’ve not even been dating that long. I can’t say we’re in love or anything but I really do like him, and I really, really hope he feels the same way. But this whole thing has me really wondering. I can’t imagine putting someone I cared about through what he just did to me, so maybe I’m not that important to him. Maybe it’s all too much for him and even though he begged for this relationship, he’s not feeling as into it as he thought he would.” Jasper smiles as Beth passes him his drink then snuggles against Blake at the other end of the couch. “He doesn’t usually drink, maybe this is the first time he’s risked it with his medications and he honestly didn’t know how dangerous it was. Loads of people get drunk while they are taking depression or anxiety meds and they are fine, it’s obviously not recommended for a good reason, but most people get lucky mixing them.” Blake shrugs. “I don’t know.” Jasper sighs. “I didn’t tell anyone this, but he actively tried to kill himself last month. He called me to say goodbye and I had to run to the train station in the early hours of the morning to stop him stepping off in front of a moving train. That was the same night as that kiss happened that the photos are from. We were good, obviously. Something else happened and he left with his Mum and then he called me hours later claiming I didn’t care about him and all this stuff that came out of seemingly nowhere and telling me he wanted to die. I seriously got there just before he was about to do it and he just collapsed in tears. Then he was numb to it for a while, then we talked more and he calmed down and things just went back to normal. Maybe tonight he just had another moment thinking for whatever reason, that no one would care if he died, and just decided to overdose and hope for the best. That way I couldn’t stop him again.” Jasper explains while Blake and Beth both look at him with a mixture of sorrow and confusion on their faces. “You.” Blake licks his lips and gulps. “You didn’t have to go through that alone Jasper. You never have to keep that stuff to yourself, that’s way too much to carry.” At the sight of tears in Blake’s eyes, Jasper breaks down, remembering that night felt like telling a story now, he’d tried to separate his feelings from it as much as possible but hearing Blake made him realize how traumatic it had been for himself to hold onto that on his own. “Shit, is he seeing someone? It sounds like he needs professional help Jasper, like Blake said, that’s way too much for just you to carry. I couldn’t imagine how that would have been for you. You could probably do with seeing someone yourself after experiencing something so intense. Oh, Ryan is so lucky that you care so much about him because it doesn’t sound like he sees much value in his own life. It’s not fair of you to feel that you are his life support though, you can’t put that on yourself.” Beth leans forwards, hugging Jasper again while he sobbed in her arms. After the emotional exhaustion hits everyone, they all sit in silence together. Too tired to speak or move. Jasper’s phone goes off, waking him, Blake and Beth who’d all been asleep on the couch together huddled under one blanket. Jasper grabs his phone and answers, listening and smiling to himself then asking when he could see Ryan before hanging up and turning to his friends. “He woke up and all their tests have come back really good so they reckon he is going to be fine. They said I can come see him now if I want.” Jasper looks at the time, realizing it was 3am and considering how he’d get there. “I’ll drive you.” Beth offers, getting up from the couch and stretching her arms out with a yawn. “Oh you don’t have to.” Jasper shakes his head. “Please, I’ve been here for the drama, I might as well take you to the hospital too.” Beth states, pulling out her keys. “It’s not an offer, it’s a demand. Get in my car. We’ll go.” She starts heading for the door. Blake gets up, following Jasper out and down to Beth’s car. The drive to the hospital was silent as they were all so exhausted from the night. Beth pulls over in the drop off bay at the front and lets Jasper and Blake out while she goes to find a park. “Hey, Beth’s always been a real kind soul, don’t think this is anything special for me.” Jasper assures Blake who just shrugs and puts an arm around his shoulders. “It is special for you though, she’s probably always going to have a soft spot. Like she said last night, when it comes down to it, you were close friends. Driving you to visit your boyfriend in hospital doesn’t concern me, nor does her comforting you after the trauma of seeing him in the state he was in. She’s been good at handling things and knowing what to say, so I’m glad she could be there for you tonight. God knows I wasn’t thinking straight enough to be much help and I had no idea what to say or do to comfort you.” Blake sighs as they enter the bright hospital emergency room, heading for the triage desk to find out where Ryan was. “I’ll wait for you out here.” Blake tells him as a nurse comes around to show Jasper to Ryan’s bed. Jasper nods at Blake and hurries off behind the nurse, in through the emergency ward and to a curtained off hospital bed with a heart monitor machine beeping rhythmically and a drip bag almost empty feeding water back into Ryan. Ryan’s back was slightly elevated in the bed and his eyes were closed until the nurse pulls a chair over to the side of the bed for Jasper. The moment his eyes open and he sees Jasper his heart rate rises slightly and he breathes a sigh of relief. “You’re here.” He smiles and yawns. “Jasper, I am sorry but I promise I didn’t mean to do this.” Ryan starts explaining, his words were slow like he wasn’t really aware of what he was saying. “You need help Ryan, the kind of help I can’t give you. Please see a professional.” Jasper sighs, sinking into the chair beside the bed with a heavy sigh. “You want to break up with me?” Ryan breathes. “That’s totally fair, I’ve put you through too much, this isn’t what you deserve. You’ve got enough going on and I...” “Wow. You really just leapt from ‘you need help’ to ‘well it looks like we’re breaking up now’ out of nowhere. If you think I’d be here by your bedside after what we spent the last few hours going through, breaking up with you then I really wonder what kind of people you’ve had to lean on before now. Obviously your ex was trash but I’m not, I’m not breaking up with you because you’re struggling. I really want to be here to support you, but I’m not the person to help you in the way you need to be helped. I’m not qualified in mental illness therapy, I’ve never had to deal with it myself and I haven’t had to support others in your position before so I don’t know how to do it properly and I’m shit scared that if I can’t help you, and you’re not getting proper help, you’re not going to get better and you will do it on purpose. I can’t handle the pressure of keeping you wanting to live, I can give you love, but I can’t make you want to live if you’re in a dark place. I don’t know how to do that, the best I can do is insist on you finding some help for the things I don’t understand.” Jasper sits beside his bed and holds his hand, he had tears in his eyes as he looks around the sterile area of the ward they were curtained into. “Thank you. You do so much more for me than you realize though. And you are a very good reason to live.” Ryan squeezes his hand, he was riddled with guilt for what he’d put Jasper through. “You say that, yet you just put your life at risk, thus proving my point. I’m not enough of a reason to keep you wanting to live. I can’t find you in that position again so I want you to take steps towards getting professional help. I’ll even come with you to an appointment to get an idea of how to help you through this. But at this stage, a mental health professional needs to intervene. I’m even thinking of seeing someone just to get an insight into how I can be more aware of your emotional and mental needs. I want to support you as best I can, and I think for that I need help myself.” Jasper suggests with a sigh. “You blow my mind Jasper. I’ve really never had anyone care about me like this. It means so much.” Ryan squeezes Jasper’s hand. “Oh please, your Mum would be mortified if she knew what happened last night. It’s not like I’m the only one that cares aside from her either, Blake was by my side the whole night worrying about you, he’s in the waiting room right now with Beth who drove me here. You may feel like there’s no one, but you are a part of so many people’s lives Ryan, when you aren’t careful with your own life, you hurt the people who care about you the most, and I know that’s not something you want to do or aim to do.” Jasper turns to the nurse as she walks into the room at the sound of the IV machine beeping. “All done. I’ll just check with the doctor about having you released.” She says as she switches off the machine then looks at their hands. Jasper looks at their hands too then over at Ryan who gives him a small smile before turning his attention to his nurse and thanking her. “Did you get much sleep?” Ryan asks Jasper as he notices him stifling a yawn. “What do you think Einstein?” Jasper smiles at him. “Sorry I put you through this. I thought I could get away with drinking just this once. You were planning on getting drunk and I really wanted to be able to get on that level with you.” Ryan sighs, rubbing Jasper’s hand with his thumb. “The medication bottle Blake found empty, did that have anything to do with it?” Jasper asks. “I have actually been out of my meds for a few days, trying to get by without them. I had an emergency stash in my wallet and took one last night after I got stressed out reading some of the negative comments about you. I only took one, I promise.” The doctor walks into the room and smiles at Ryan as he pulls out his chart. “Mr Kurtis, how are you feeling after that IV bag and rest?” He asks kindly. “I feel fine.” Ryan shrugs. “No blurred vision, dizziness, headaches or nausea?” “No.” “Dry mouth?” “No.” “This question can be a little triggering so let me know if it’s the question that makes you feel this way or if you were already feeling this, but any sense of anxiety or confusion?” The doctor asks, eyeing the heartrate monitor as it increases slightly at the mention of the word anxiety. “I think, just that you mentioned it.” Ryan shakes his head. “I hadn’t noticed feeling it before now.” “Well it sounds like you’re good to go, I would recommend more rest and definitely more water as you were quite dehydrated. If you are feeling anxious and having any of those symptoms at all, call your doctor. We're releasing you with one of our sample packs of the medication your doctor has previously prescribed, you will need to go to your doctor for a full refill and script, make sure you’re only taking one a day, around the same time every day to reduce risk of any kind of overdose. Keep up the fluids but no alcohol and if you are planning to cut back on your medication, as always, talk to your doctor before you do so just to get an idea of how that may also affect your health and your mental state. We never recommend going off any long term medication without consulting a doctor first. Some of these kinds of medications can have withdrawal symptoms that can cause serious issues, especially in your case where you have been suicidal in the past. If any of those feelings or thoughts start to occur again, you need to definitely talk to your doctor. We’re also arranging a mental health plan, which is free sessions with a mental health professional. They will be in contact with you in the next few days and you are required to attend the first session and be signed off for attending or you may be visited at home for an assessment on your mental health and if deemed necessary, brought back to the hospital for observation. This is a condition of your release, do you understand?” The doctor explains to Ryan who looked both sad and stressed about it all. “I understand. Thank you very much.” Ryan accepts what he’s told with a sigh. “Right, well in that case, you just need to sign these forms stating that I have informed you of things to look out for, you have received medication and you understand your obligation to attend a single session of your mental health plan to assess your state.” The doctor hands over the forms and a pen, then places the small container of pills on the desk beside the bed. Ryan quickly signs everything then passes it back, thanking the doctor again then waiting while the doctor disconnects the heart monitor and the IV drip. “Take care Mr Kurtis, we don’t want to see you back here.” The doctor pulls back the curtain and Ryan and Jasper walk out, Jasper leads the way back to the waiting room where Blake and Beth were sitting clutching coffees. “You’re alive!” Blake grins at Ryan. “It was never my plan not to be, I’m sorry you guys were all put through that.” Ryan apologizes, taken aback when Blake puts an arm around him to hug him. “Dude, you scared the shit out of us. But I will accept your apology, on one condition. That you accept my apology that I didn’t think to bring you any shoes and you have to walk out of here like a homeless man.” Blake jokes, patting him on the back. “Yeah sorry Ryan, we didn’t really think to dress you for your emergency visit.” Jasper shrugs. “It’s all good, you did more than what’s expected of you just by being there for me. To be honest, I can go without shoes, but I apparently threw up a lot last night and am consequently starving so if we drop by the apartment so I can grab shoes and my wallet I will shout you all breakfast for your troubles.” Ryan offers. “Uh yes please. I’m getting that hangover need for greasy food and some electrolyte filled drink.” Jasper agrees and nudges Ryan as they head out the door and back to Beth’s car.
  2. “Jasper, something you want to tell me?” Chris asks, sitting behind his desk. “No.” Jasper shrugs, crossing his arms. “I’ve seen the photos, you sure there’s nothing you want to say?” Chris asks again. “No.” Jasper repeats. “It might surprise you to know, there’s another photo out that I paid off the person who took them, to not release.” Chris tells him, he takes out a photo and places it on the desk. “Now what do you have to say?” He slides the photo across the desk. “I’m not ashamed of whatever is in this photo.” Jasper says as he sits forward to view the photo. “What about Ryan? How would he feel about this being released?” Chris smirks at him. Jasper grabs the photo and looks at it, it was from the same kiss, but a different angle where you could clearly see both Ryan and Jasper, lips locked in the passionate kiss. “Can I keep this? It’s a good photo. It’s nice to have a photo of us as a couple.” Jasper smiles and tucks it into his pocket. “Ryan seems like the kind of person who wouldn’t want this to be seen.” Chris tells him and sits back in his seat, showing Jasper his phone with a copy of the photo on it. “Don’t hold it over Ryan, he deserves to come out on his own accord, unlike me.” Jasper sighs, sitting back in his chair and taking the photo out again, looking at it with a smile. “You can’t do whatever this is anymore. I want you to deny that it’s a guy you’re kissing, say it was photoshopped or something.” Chris orders. “I don’t think so. I’m planning on coming out officially.” Jasper replies, shaking his head. “I am telling you now, that’s not a smart idea. If you come out, the fans that are hoping to be the next Beth, will lose interest in you and reduce sales.” Chris states, Jasper looks at him astonished. “Have you ever read fanfiction? There’s at least over half of my personal fans that have always been writing about me with different members of the band, plenty with Ryan actually, more with Blake but Ryan hasn’t had a lot of time to make an impression yet.” Jasper smirks to himself. “You can’t Jasper, I need you to hear me. If you care at all about this band, you will keep this to yourself.” Chris orders. “You released the photo to the media, so I could keep my sexuality secret?” Jasper asks, leaning forward again with a smug expression. “I didn’t release the photo.” “Well for future reference, when you take a photo on your phone, it shows a timestamp and date. Why did it take you so long to release it? That kiss was weeks ago.” Jasper tells him and watches as Chris quickly checks his phone. “There’s no time stamp.” Chris frowns at Jasper then sighs and rolls his eyes as he realizes his reaction gave him away. “So just to clarify.” Jasper stands up and pushes in his chair in. “It’s bad publicity if I come out?” He asks. “I don’t mean it like that.” Chris shakes his head. “Good, because thinking that you would insist on me not coming out because you’d be ashamed of having a gay band member, would be utterly disgraceful. And if you have the nerve to ask me to deny my sexuality to all the fans, including proud members of the LGBT community, because you’re not comfortable with it, and anyone found out you were trying to keep me quiet because you’re wanting to hide the fact that I am gay, that would really be bad for publicity, for you personally.” Jasper stares him down for a moment with a stern expression before giving a smirk. “I just wanted to make sure I had the right idea about what you’re asking of me.” Jasper states, turning and walking out of his office, pleased with having the final say. “Jasper, are you alright?” Everyone asks as he walks into the practice room. “He took the photos. But I think I have the upper hand on him for now, since he wants me to completely deny my sexuality.” Jasper announces. “I think we need to move fast to get out of this company before anyone else gets hurt, now that we know how far he will go.” “He outed you!? What the fuck!” Blake “What are you going to do?” Ryan asks. “I’m going to dodge questions and keep the suspense running until the right moment to finally use something against him for once. He wants me to stay in the closet, so I’m going to make sure that when I come out, it is at his expense. He isn’t getting away with this, but for the time being, let him think he got me cornered in this. In saying that though, he doesn’t want me to confirm my sexuality. But there’s a lot I can say and do without saying I’m gay, so if he thinks I’m not going to walk right on the boundary of what he’s demanded I don’t do, then he is thoroughly misunderstanding how much he’s pissed me off.” “What can we do to help?” Simon asks. “Not call me an alcoholic for the amount I’m planning on drinking when I get home.” Jasper shrugs and looks over at the door as Chris opens it and steps in confidently. “Jasper, in light of the photo that was released, I’d like to release a statement from the company. I’ve got Jordy here to write it for us, she’s in charge of our public communications. Is there anything you’d like her to say in response to this photo?” Chris was taunting, testing if Jasper would be as submissive to his demands or not. “Oh there’s plenty I would like to say.” Jasper cocks and eyebrow and gives the young woman beside Chris a smile. “But for now I think it’s important that the public is aware this photo was released without my knowledge and I’d like people to show me respect and privacy at this time, as my personal life is not something I appreciate having people speculate and gossip about. When I am ready I will make a statement of my own in regards to the photo.” He smirks to himself as he watches Jordy quickly typing into her Ipad what he was saying. “Good idea.” Chris nods approvingly, hinting that Jordy could leave the room. He slips his hands in his pockets and saunters over towards the group. “If you can play it off that well in all your interviews, you might just bide some time for your ‘friend’.” He threatens. “The hell do you think you are jackass?” Blake stalks over, raising a fist before Simon quickly pulls him back. “Let this be a lesson, you all have things you are hiding from the public, from your families and from each other but I know what goes on here under my label and if you think you can come in here and demand things of me, you’ll pay for it.” Chris states smugly. “Now get to work and write me your next big hits.” “The next big hit you’ll be getting will be from a fucking chair.” Blake mutters. Chris eyes him off then turns and walks out towards the door. “Oh by the way, you probably won’t be seeing much of Fi anymore. I let her go because she was getting too distracted and calling in sick too much. It’s a pity really, that people’s relationships can often be their downfalls.” Chris shrugs before walking out and closing the door behind him. “What Jasper said before is right. We need to make our exit before all our dirty laundry is aired.” Luke grumbles, grabbing his phone out. “I’ll check in with the lawyer about our case.” Simon nods and takes to another corner of the room on his phone. “Hey, I snuck you something.” Jasper turns to Ryan quietly, he pulls the other photo out from his pocket. “Why didn’t he release this one?” Ryan asks, staring in shock at the photo that showed him and Jasper, clear as day, in the midst of a passionate kiss. “You heard what he said, he’s biding his time. When he wants to use it, he will. For now though, I took this copy and thought you might like to have it. It’s not a bad photo of us.” Jasper smiles, Ryan looks at him a fakes a confident smile back. “You’re handling this pretty well. You’re totally right about me, I would have already snapped if this was me.” He admits sadly. “Be prepared though. You’re only safe until Chris decides to release this one. He’s going to make our time here a living hell, that’s why we need to get the ball rolling on our exit plan.” “Once they get home from a very short day at work, the group holds a phone call to their lawyer together to update him on the latest threats. “Unfortunately when he threatened all of us, I wasn’t still recording, but I did get his entire conversation with me about coming out, and admitting he’d released the photo. I’ll send it to you in a private email as he mentions the name of the guy I was kissing and I’m wanting to keep that confidential.” Jasper explains and starts uploading the audio file to an email, quickly typing that himself and Ryan would appreciate a private meeting to discuss damage control on the news of their relationship. He sends it and gives Ryan a reassuring smile. “Well I will listen to this and get back to you as soon as I can on starting the lawsuit. But I think it’s definitely time you all covered yourselves here and started recording every conversation with him so you can approach this case with as much evidence as you can. It’s clear he’s going to exploit you as much as he can, don’t give him power over you.” After they get off the phone, Simon takes a deep breath and walks away to his room. Blake pours himself and Jasper a drink, before offering one to Ryan. “You know what, I think I do need a drink after today.” Ryan agrees, getting up and heading to the kitchen to pour his own. “Hell yeah, get drunk with me.” Jasper encourages. Ryan just smirks at him then rolls his eyes. “Maybe you two shouldn’t get drunk together tonight. Since you’re keeping things on the downlow. Jasper’s a little too affectionate when he is drunk as it is, probably best if he doesn’t literally climb all over you and get all handsy.” Blake suggests. Ryan laughs to himself and shrugs. “Doesn’t sound like a bad night to me.” He comments cheekily winking at Jasper before he takes a sip of his drink. “Guys’ I’ve got to go out. I’ll be back at uh, some point. Not sure when.” Luke grabs his keys and swings them around on his finger as he heads towards the door. “Hmm, is this what Chris meant about how we are all keeping secrets from each other? Not going to say when you’re getting back or where you are going?” Jasper asks as he leans against the kitchen bench and stirs his drink with his finger. “Like with you, it’s a delicate matter. When I’m ready and it’s all good, I will tell you.” Luke shrugs and slips out the door just before Simon comes back down the hallway looking flustered. “Ok, I’ve decided to tell you guys now so you don’t find out from Chris. I think this is what he’s talking about with the whole secrets thing.” Simon states and takes a deep breath then brings his hands up from behind his back, showing a gold ring on his ring finger. “I am married.” He states. Jasper, Blake and Ryan all just stare back at him shocked, their eyes going from the ring to Simon’s serious expression. “That, is about the last thing I was expecting.” Jasper comments and smiles at Simon. “How long have you been married for? That’s awesome. Why wouldn’t you tell us?” He asks. “Only for about 6 months. I was embarrassed because, well we met online and I hadn’t met her in person until she visited the country after our first tour on a working Visa from Paris. Because it was only a short relationship in person before we got married, it’s taking a long time to prove that our marriage is for love and not for the sake of getting her a Visa to live here, that’s why you guys haven’t met her. I myself have only seen her a dozen times and we decided to elope with just our parents present as witnesses.” Simon explains then twists the ring around on his finger before slipping it off. “Obviously I can’t wear this around Chris or in public. I sleep with it on so I can feel close to her.” “You married a French girl you barely know? Man, for you, that is quite impressive. I always pictured you spending years dating a really conservative nanny or something and then getting married and being a family man immediately.” Blake admits with a laugh. “I don’t ‘barely know’ her we talked for years online. It was just that after we met things moved quickly because we knew we wanted to be in each other’s lives permanently. And she’s not quite a conservative nanny. She’s a Lingerie model.” Blake gawks and immediately demands to know her name, while he takes his phone out eager to search for photos of her online. “I’m not telling you. I don’t want you getting off to my wife.” Simon frowns at him. “Oh come on, I may well have to wait until marriage to have sex again, the least you could do is let me live vicariously through you. You’re married to a goddamn lingerie model!” Blake argues. Jasper just sips his drink and looks at Ryan who smiles back at him. “Guess we’re not the only ones in a secret relationship.” He says quietly. Jasper takes a sip from his drink and steps in a little closer to Ryan. “You know the shitty thing is, I really like having you as my secret lover.” Jasper admits to Ryan who couldn’t help but smirk at the comment. “I get the appeal of sneaking around with someone.” He shrugs. “I won’t spoil you’re fun just yet. Are you going to be sneaking into my room later?” He asks. “Hm, depends how drunk I get. Blake’s right about us getting drunk together, it could be dangerous. I don’t want to drink too much then go to you and do the wrong thing.” Jasper has another sip of his drink. “You trust me not to take advantage of you, don’t you?” Ryan asks with a frown. “Between you and me, you’re not the one I don’t trust. Like Blake said, drunk me isn’t a great idea, according to him, I’m a bit too full on with affection. If it’s towards you, I could see things getting out of hand.” Jasper winks at Ryan then finishes his drink and immediately goes to make himself another one. Blake joins him at the bench. “A French model, can you believe it?” Blake gapes. Jasper takes a sip of his new drink and shakes his head at Blake. “So she’s holding the ‘No sex until marriage’ thing over you? How do you feel about that?” He asks with a grin. “Well spontaneous marriages seems to be a thing people around here are into so maybe I should just propose to her.” Blake shrugs, nudging Jasper out of the way so he can get another drink himself. “Ah yes, that will definitely not come across as a direct move to get into her pants.” Jasper laughs. “Obviously I was joking. I just thought that’s a thing you guys believe in isn’t it?” Blake asks, looking at Jasper curiously. “Have you guys not had that talk?” “Well no, I’ve barely had the ‘are you over Jasper yet?’ talk. I thought the ‘when should I buy condoms?’ one should be respectfully left until much later in the conversation. Did you guys have that talk?” “Not in a realistic planning for when we wanted to do it together, kind of way. As far as things sounded though, she was open to not waiting for marriage but definitely waiting for the right guy. She did want to only be with one guy physically like that so I’d say she would want to be sure you will be the guy that marries her and gives her a lifetime of love and happiness before she gets that far with you.” Jasper shrugs. Blake looks at him for a long time, contemplating what had been said before he lets out a long sigh. “No pressure at all. Does she know about me?” Blake grimaces as Jasper laughs. “I didn’t expect you to end up dating her so I did tell her quite a bit. But if she’s dating you than clearly you’re past fuckboy ways don’t bother her that much.” Jasper answers and Blake just drops his head to the bench. “I was a tool, I never thought it’d catch up with me. I really want her to like me though, I really want her to know I’m not that guy anymore. I mean that was high school, I’ve been decent since.” Blake groans then turns back to Jasper. “Are you planning on waiting until marriage?” He asks. “I.” Jasper thinks for a moment. “I don’t think I was ever strict on it either to be honest. I mean I had no urge to do it when I was trying to be interested in girls. I just never pictured it being something I would want to do. Obviously that’s changed, new perspective and all. I don’t think I’d put a time on it happening. I guess when it feels like the right time, it will be the right time.” He shrugs and glances over towards Ryan who was on his phone, scrolling with a concerned and sad expression. “Hey, if you’re reading about me, stop. You’ll make me want to know, and I really don’t want to know what’s being said.” Jasper calls out to him. Ryan sighs and pockets his phone. “I thought the world was more grown up.” He states, coming over to the bench. “I’m going to need another drink too.” As the night goes on, and the alcohol kicks in, Luke returns to find his mates sitting in the lounge room having deep emotional conversations. “It’s just like. I wasn’t afraid of what you’d say, but like, I didn’t want you guys to wonder if I was perving or lusting after any of you, you know? Like I flirt with everyone, playfully. It’s not a thing. I don’t have a thing for you guys. I’ve just clicked with this one guy and he’s the only one my flirting and stuff means anything to you know? Because like, I’m not into every guy. But like, I know you guys would have wondered.” Jasper takes another sip, swaying where he was sitting. “It’s all good. I didn’t think that. Honestly it’s kinda like a light bulb went off in my head when you said you were gay, I hadn’t thought that seriously about anything until you actually said it then everything made sense. You’re relationship with Beth and why you are so cool about Blake being with her...” Simon sighs, rubbing his forehead tiredly. “Blake said nearly the same thing. It was kinda obvious hey? But like, even I didn’t know until I knew you know? Blake is a great guy. Like he’s so great and he is going to make Beth so happy. I do love that girl, she’s fun and she’s got a great personality but I can’t help that I’m gay and I just have no feelings towards her you know?” Jasper closes his eyes, taking a deep breath and sighing. “I need to pee.” He gets up and stumbles his way down the hallway. “Hey, you’re home!” Blake slings an arm around Luke’s shoulders. “I’ve figured it out, what you have been running off doing.” Blake fake whispers to him, the smell of alcohol overwhelming Luke who leans away from his face. “Oh really?” He asks. “I bet you are living a double life, one as this unsuspecting pop singer, the other, as a drug dealer. It’s always the ones you don’t suspect. I’m onto you.” Blake steps away, almost poking himself in the eyes before turning his finger and pointing them at Luke’s. He holds a stern expression for only a second before laughing. “I’m just playing!” He goes to take a sip from his drink just to realize the glass in his hand was empty. “Every. Fucking. Time.” He mumbles and goes to get himself another drink. “Are you drunk too Simon?” Luke asks. “Huh? Yeah. A bit. It’s just been such a big night and after I told the guys about my wife, and with what went on with Jasper today, we all just got kinda pissed.” Simon gets up and walks up to Luke then puts his hands on his shoulders. “I promise we will take care of you too. You’ve been sneaking off a lot and that’s fine, but whatever it is, I learned tonight. These guys are top shit and they will have your back with anything.” Simon pats his shoulders and goes down the hall straight to bed. “Simon has a wife?” Luke looks back at Blake. “A French lingerie model. Though I haven’t seen pictures so we can’t verify that yet, I’m planning on getting him so drunk he forgets he wasn’t going to tell me her name. Do you want a drink?” Blake asks, struggling to pour himself a drink. “No thanks, I’m going to bed. Why don’t you have some water though, seems like you guys have already had plenty to drink.” Luke suggests. “Water?” Blake blinks. “That’s not very alcoholic.” He shrugs and continues spilling his tequila everywhere but the glass in front of him. “Blake, can you help me?” Jasper calls out from down the hall. “Gimme a second.” Blake shouts back, pulling out his phone as Beth starts calling him. “Heyyyy Baby~” He answers, giving up on pouring his drink and taking a few steps towards Jasper, pausing to lean against the wall in the hall. “Ok, well, goodnight I guess.” Luke sighs and heads down the hallway to his room, heading in. “Blake, how is Jasper doing? I just finished work and thought I might come and check in on him. I know today would have been really difficult for him.” Beth replies. “Yes, come over. He’s good but come over anyway.” Blake grins into the phone. “You’re amazing.” “Blake!” Jasper pops his head out of Ryan’s room. “I’ll see you soon sweetheart, Jasper needs me for something.” Blake says then hangs up and goes up to Ryan’s room, bumping into the door frame and letting out a ‘woah’ before stepping through the doorway very cautiously watching the walls as though he didn’t trust them to not move and bump into him. “What’s up?” He asks. “I think Ryan had too much to drink, he’s unconscious.” Jasper didn’t seem so drunk now, he was slightly panicked and the adrenaline was quickly sobering him up. “Not just sleeping?” Blake crouches in front of Ryan, poking him in the face but getting no response. “No, like I can’t wake him up.” Jasper says desperately, chewing at his nails and looking at Blake for answers. “How much did he have to drink? Wait is he on medication?” Blake stands up with a pill bottle in his hands, reading Ryan’s name on the prescription label. “Yeah anxiety meds.” Jasper shrugs. “Do you know how many were in here? Because this is empty. And these state not to take with alcohol.” Blake looks over at Jasper with a haunting expression. “Oh my god. No. I can’t. I can’t do this Ryan, you better not have done this to me.” Jasper rushes to snatch the bottle off Blake while Blake just rolls Ryan onto his side and shoves his fingers in his throat to try and make him vomit. “We need to get him to a hospital immediately.” Blake orders, failing to get Ryan to throw up or wake up.
  3. “Hey you.” Ryan pulls Jasper aside when the group goes into their practice room. “Hey, what’s up?” Jasper asks, watching the other guys as they chat away, oblivious to the two missing members. “Are you alright?” Ryan asks with a gentle frown on his face. “Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?” “You’ve barely spoken to me since we told Blake about us, he actually asked me this morning if we broke up, because you’ve been noticeably avoiding me and excluding me from conversations. Might I remind you, it’s not your face Blake will be using as a punching bag if he thinks something bad has happened between us.” Ryan points at his face as he makes the joke, Jasper smiles at him and shakes his head. “I’ll talk to him and make sure he doesn’t ruin your face.” He promises, turning to walk into the room. “Will you at some stage talk to me? I’d like to think our relationship isn’t over just because you’ve told someone about us. If you’re already that uncomfortable with us...” “I’m not.” Jasper’s denial was pointless but seemed to amuse Ryan who just smirks at him. “You are a little bit.” “I can come into your room when everyone else is asleep and show you how not uncomfortable I am.” The words come out before he even realizes how flirty he sounded and he looks at Ryan with as much shock as Ryan was looking at him. “You’re going to say that then expect me to concentrate all day?” Ryan asks as he walks into the room, leaving Jasper in the hallway to collect his thoughts and to calm the blush that was spread across his face. Jasper walks into the room smiling and avoids looking at Ryan. Blake swings his arm over Jasper’s shoulder and pulls him close to ask him quietly if he was ok. “Yeah, question though, have you ever said something that insinuated you were ready for something you don’t think you’re ready for?” Jasper asks him, Blake gives him a cheeky smile then shakes his head. “Are you being a prick tease?” He asks, wiggling his eyebrows at him. “Not intentionally. Is that how he’s going to see it?” Jasper asks nervously chewing his lip. “What’d you say?” Blake asks, intrigued by what Jasper was so worried about. “Something along the lines of showing him how comfortable I was with the relationship.” Jasper crosses his arms, looking over at the smile on Ryan’s face. “I mean look at him, I meant like, kissing. Not doing ‘things’.” Jasper says quietly, covering his cheeks as they start turning pink again. “The thrill is in the chase, as long as you don’t make the chase a torture maze.” Blake winks at him. “Be clear about what you are ready for though, being suggestive and a tease, is fun only if you both know where you stand. If you’re giving him the idea ‘things’ will happen then turning him down he could lose interest.” “You’re actually cool with talking about this?” Jasper asks with a frown. “As your best friend, it’s my job to be cool with talking about your relationship stuff.” Blake shrugs, patting Jasper’s shoulder. “You’re the awkward one.” He nudges Jasper and walks over to the other guys. Jasper looks at the low light from the glow of Ryan’s phone under the door, before he knocks quietly and opens the door slowly, peeking in at Ryan. “Hello.” Ryan smiles at him, putting his phone on the bedside table but leaving the screen lit up so Jasper could see his way over to Ryan’s bed. Jasper walks in and closes the door quietly, tip toeing to the bed in fear that he’d make a single noise and alert anyone else to their nightly routine of sneaking into each other’s rooms at night. Ryan watches the over cautious way Jasper was acting with an amused smile. Jasper gets to the bed and Ryan pulls back the covers so Jasper can join him. Jasper smiles and climbs in beside him nervously. “We need to talk.” Jasper says quietly before Ryan can pull him in for the first kiss of the night. “Ok, is it a bad thing?” Ryan asks with a sigh. “It might not be what you’re hoping to hear.” Jasper shrugs and looks at Ryan nervously. “I just, about what I said today, it came across a little... I just don’t want you to think more will happen right now because I’m not, there yet.” Jasper tells him. Ryan smiles at him and brings him close for a gentle passionate kiss, breaking the kiss to give some reassurance. “I figured and honestly, as fun as it is to tease you, I’m not wanting to rush things or pressure you.” Ryan tells him with a smirk, feeling Jasper relax with relief, into his arms. “Not that I am ruling things out, because eventually I would like to do more, it’s just right now I’m not there.” “Everything at your own pace. I don’t want to rush things with you and I hope I haven’t made you feel pressured in way.” Ryan looked a little worried but Jasper was quick to deny it had been an issue. “No, no, no. Not at all. Just, I spoke to Blake and he said teasing is only fun if you both know where you’re at. So I thought I better make sure you know where we’re at so I’m not being a tease in a jerk way.” Jasper explains. “You told Blake you’re teasing me?” Ryan asks amused. “Was he comfortable with that?” “He’s really trying to be an amazing friend about it all, trying so hard to treat me like he would if I was having girl troubles I guess. He always said he’d give me sex advice and so he’s trying to do that despite the fact that he’s a little out of his depth on this one.” Jasper couldn’t help but laugh thinking about how much he appreciated his friend’s effort towards his relationship. Jasper sneaks out of Ryan’s bed and heads back to his own before the sun rises, not daring to be caught leaving Ryan’s room by any of the guys. He gets back to his bed and falls into it, going back to sleep almost immediately. He wasn’t use to sharing the bed with someone and especially squished into a single bed with another body, he couldn’t quite sleep comfortably but he would rather spend hours trying to fall asleep, with Ryan’s arms around him, then get a full night’s sleep by himself any night. Jasper wakes up after having slept in longer than usual, everyone else was awake already and having a discussion that he could tell was very serious. Curiosity forces him out of bed, he leaves his room, hearing all the talk end the moment he steps out of his room. “What’s up?” Jasper asks, looking at his friends concerned faces staring at him as he makes his way down the hallway. Blake stands up and walks over to Jasper, putting his arms around him. “I want you to know that we are all going to support you as much as we can.” Blake tells him as he squeezes his shoulders. “What is going on?” Jasper asks again confused. “It is true?” Simon asks, taking his phone over to Jasper and showing him the news report declaring Jasper as gay. Jasper looks at it and gasps, shocked and pushing Blake away so he can grab the phone from him and read the article, scrolling down to see a photo of himself kissing a man. “Holy shit.” Jasper sniffles back tears and covers his mouth. “Jasper.” Ryan walks out of his room and straight over to Jasper, putting his arms around him and holding him. “I saw it.” Ryan says quietly to him. “What am I going to do?” Jasper cries, sobbing into Ryan’s shoulder. “We’ll work it out together.” Ryan rubs his back, trying his best to reassure him. “Ryan’s right Jasper, whatever is going on we will all work it out together.” Luke tells him with a sigh. Blake goes and sits down at the table, Simon joining him. Jasper pulls away from Ryan and looks into his eyes. “This has nothing to do with you, I can cover this myself.” Jasper whispers. “And what? Have me pretend to support your relationship with another guy?” Ryan smirks at Jasper. “I can handle it. You don’t have to.” Jasper states quietly. “You don’t have to handle this on your own. I can do this with you.” Ryan tells him, wiping the tears from his cheek. “I think it’s best that we take this one step at a time, let the shock of this news be enough and when everyone stops caring about it, we can hit them with the news of you and I as a couple. You don’t need the negative backlash and I think you’ll be able to support me better if you’re not coping questions and comments too.” Jasper whispers, Ryan couldn’t help but show his disappointment but simply nods, knowing Jasper was right. If there was a lot of negativity to come from this, Ryan knew he wouldn’t be able to handle it well. They both look over at the group and the two walk over to join them at the table, only standing behind the chairs. “Ok.” Jasper sighs and glances at Ryan for a reassuring smile. “I am gay.” Jasper tells them. Everyone is silent for a few moments before Blake speaks up for his friend. “Jasper came out to me a little while ago.” He states, Simon and Luke both looking at Blake now. “Jasper, we support you and we love you no matter what your sexuality is.” Simon states calmly, standing up and going over to Jasper’s side to hug him. Jasper hugs him tightly, Luke gets up and walks over to him too. “Thank you, I really appreciate the support and I’m so sorry I kept this from you. Since breaking up with Beth it hasn’t been easy for me to come to terms with it myself and I didn’t really want to include anyone else in it while I was still working things out myself. I wanted to come out to you when I was ready, not like this.” Jasper tells them, tears welling in his eyes again. “Is the guy in the photo... Special to you?” Luke asks gently. Jasper wipes his tears and smiles. “He’s my boyfriend, so yeah. But for now I want to keep his name out of all of this for his own privacy and safety. Since I didn’t get the chance to come out my own way, the least I can do is protect his right to that himself.” Jasper sighs. “I guess right now we’ve got bigger fish to fry anyway right? How do you want to handle this? Everyone is going to be asking.” Simon crosses his arms. “Whatever you want to do we’re behind you 100% but we should definitely talk it all through.” “I think the best thing we could do right now is get to work.” Jasper shrugs. “The world has just seen photos of you kissing a guy and you’re thinking about work?” Luke laughs surprised. “What a time to become a workaholic.” “I stirred the pot with Chris not long ago and I wouldn’t mind betting he had something to do with this, out of retaliation, knowing what he is like. I want to confront him about this. Besides, I’m sure he has an opinion about what he wants me to do and this could be a good opportunity to get proof of him being controlling and manipulative.” “You really think Chris did this?” Ryan asks, balling his fists up in anger. “He has the most to gain from it right? Publicity stunt, and putting me back in line after I stood up to him. This seems like exactly something he would do.” Jasper answers then sighs. “Which is why it’s a good idea not to give him anything else to exploit about this relationship.” His words were aimed at Ryan, who was starting to feel the weight of what was happening. The feeling of losing control was starting to build. “Well then, lets all go get ready.” Ryan turns and walks away quickly. Jasper shrugs at everyone else who gives him sympathetic smiles as they head off to their rooms too. The moment he was sure he wouldn’t get seen sneaking in, Jasper lets himself into Ryan’s room, finding his boyfriend sitting on the floor with his head in his hands, his breathing was quick and his body was trembling slightly. Jasper approaches and crouches beside him. “It’s ok. Don’t worry. This won’t hurt us. I promise. Whatever happens from here, I’m going to make sure you’re not put out on display like this. Please appreciate your privacy on this. Chris can’t control us and he can’t use you in one of his stupid plots for attention. He’s going to regret messing with me.” Jasper tells him confidently. Ryan sighs and looks at Jasper, his cheeks flushed pink. “I just feel awful that I’m not the one that can protect you here. I’m in that photo and you want me to stay out of it. I hate that.” Ryan admits. “But look at how it’s effecting you already! You’re almost having a panic attack over this and it’s not even you that has to walk out that door after being outed to the whole world. You don’t have to worry about opening up your social media and seeing criticisms. I’m not saying you can’t come out. If you really want to then do it, I’m not going to stop you. My thought is just that you may want to wait it out and see what you’re getting yourself into before you do that, you know? You don’t dive into a river without knowing what’s in the water.” Jasper puts his hand on Ryan’s knee. “The guys have accepted me so maybe that’s a start. Maybe let them know when you’re ready and they can know about us. But if there is any chance I can keep Chris from using us as a way to hurt you, me or any of the other guys, I will. It makes sense that for now, you play it safe.” “Everything you’re saying makes so much sense, but all I want to do is go back to last night where I was holding you against me while we slept and feeling like we were indestructible.” Ryan sighs and strokes Jasper’s cheek. “Trust me, if I could go back, I would have been a lot more grateful for how simple it was and I would have kissed you at least another hundred times before closing my eyes. We’re going to have to be so much more careful from now on.” Jasper stares at Ryan’s lips, feeling desperate for s comforting kiss, but also afraid of getting Ryan into any more trouble. “Speaking of which, I should go before anyone notices that I’m in your room.” Jasper pulls himself away, heading to the door and slipping out as quietly as he could before rushing to get ready.
  4. “Good morning everyone. I’ve got something to talk to you all about.” Chris walks into the room, feeling the tension in the room, everyone glaring at him. “Is it about Ryan? Because, we’ve heard what you are thinking of doing with him and I don’t think he deserves to be kicked out of the band.” Simon crosses his arms, a stern expression on his face. “No, actually, it’s about your contracts. I've adjusted one of the clauses in regards to who the music rights are with. From now on royalties will go to you guys and the company will be taking a 35% cut from those. It was brought to my attention that you should have the royalties for your music and the rights to the songs themselves. I’ve done this so there won’t be any problems with the production of the next album.” Chris tells them in a professional, quite rehearsed tone. Jasper was most surprised out of everyone, despite having been the one that asked for this, after the way Chris had threatened Ryan’s position last night he thought for sure he had lost this battle, but hearing Chris be so unimpressed as he made this statement was fulfilling in the step towards a proper fight for all they had been wronged for from this company. Jasper tries to keep his smugness to a minimum, but couldn’t help but feel proud to have this victory. “So you’re not going to fire Ryan?” Luke asks, confused about why it seemed like he was just doing the right thing for seemingly no ulterior outcome. “I don’t need to, he only signed on for 3 months, it’s up to me to ask him to re-sign the contract if I feel like he has earned a permanent position in the band.” Chris scoffs, turning and walking away quickly before everyone could jump down his throat in Ryan’s defense. “We’ll sort it out Ryan, he’s not going to scrap you from the band.” Luke promises. Jasper turns to him and crosses his arms. “Not after we give your dance skills a proper chance to shine at the show. Get all the fan support and show him what an asset you are to us. He’s greedy, we show him dollar signs, and he’ll want to keep you.” Jasper smiles at him. “We’ll organize that fan meet too, so the fans can fawn over you and he can see how loved you are.” Simon states encouragingly. “You’ve stretched right? We’ve got a lot to do to get ourselves ready for that show.” Jasper says confidently, giving Ryan the biggest smile and gesturing at the floor space. “Ok, lets get started.” Ryan grins, taking the floor and getting started on the dance routine he had in mind for the show. The group worked really hard on the dance routine, getting excited about how it looked by the end of the day when they all had a better grasp on it and it looked decent. At the end of the day everyone agrees to go out and get some drinks to celebrate their new skill. “So when are you planning on telling him?” Ryan asks quietly at the bar as Jasper’s ordering himself a drink. Jasper turns around and looks at Blake who was laughing while he was talking to Luke. “I have no idea.” Jasper sighs, leaning against the bar and watching his friends. “What if everyone gets weird and assumes I have crushes on them?” Jasper turns his attention back to Ryan. “Have you ever had a crush on any of them?” Ryan asks with a smirk. “What? No. I told you I didn’t really know until we kissed.” Jasper assures him quickly. “Well then you have nothing to worry about do you?” “But Blake and I have been weird at times. Like not actually into each other, but acting up on what the fans think. You know, like cuddling more on stage, the exaggerated flirting, arm around the shoulders while we walk kind of the relationship.” Jasper runs his finger around the rim of the glass and leans on the bar. “Yeah I noticed that this morning actually.” Ryan laughs to himself. Jasper just smirks at him. “I wasn’t jealous, in case you thought I was.” “Why weren’t you jealous?” Jasper asks with a cheeky smile. “Because I’m not worried about you and Blake. If you aren’t ready to tell him, don’t. I do think he’s probably not going to say the right thing around you, until he knows though. It’s up to you when you want to do that. I hope you don’t feel pressured just because I told my Mum.” “How did you tell your Mum? Might give me some inspiration.” “Oh, no. I didn’t get the chance to tell her, my ex knew I wasn’t ready to come out so he orchestrated a way for my Mum to walk in on us making out. So that’s how she found out about me.” Ryan shrugs and downs the rest of his soda. “Is that why your Mum hated him?” “I’m sure it’s probably one of many reasons. Sorry, I don’t want to bring him up all the time.” Ryan gives Jasper a sad smile. “It’s fine, I get it. He’s obviously the main character in the story of your life. With a lasting reputation that I hope to replace at some point.” Jasper smiles at him. “What are you two up to?” Blake asks, throwing an arm over Jasper’s shoulders, Jasper gives Ryan a smile and leans into Blake. “We’re going home soon, well that is if you don’t have an important date to run away and see tonight.” Blake messes up Jasper’s hair. “No but I do want to talk to you when we get home.” Jasper smiles nervously at him. “Do I need to give you the talk? I doubt your parents had the guts to sit you down and tell you how it all works. My version is a bit more detailed though.” Blake winks at him and orders another drink then looks at Jasper and sighs. “You’re growing up so fast.” He jokes and Jasper just rolls his eyes and shakes his head. “Go away you tool.” He orders and turns back to his drink, finishing it off and placing it on the bar and turning his full attention back to Ryan. “So, we’re at a bar, lets pretend we don’t know each other and see if you can pick me up.” Jasper suggests with a flirty smile. “Pick you up?” Ryan frowns. “Give me the best pick up line you’ve got and lets see if I let you take me home.” “Hmm, cheesy pick up lines or dirty ones? I feel like you’d enjoy a cheesy one more.” “Normally I would go for cheesy, but I can’t picture you with a dirty mind, so how about you wow me with an unexpectedly dirty one.” Jasper suggests, smirking at him and licking his lips, he combs his fingers through his hair and waits for Ryan. Ryan nods slowly, looking Jasper up and down before smiling to himself and leaning in a little closer to him. “I love the skinny jeans, but I’ve heard they are hard to get into, are yours?” Ryan asks, smoothly, Jasper frowns, not guessing where this was going. “Uh, no they aren’t hard to get into.” Jasper replies. “Mind if I try?” Ryan smirks and watches the realization hit Jasper, who reacts with a gasp and little laugh. “You walked into that one.” Ryan tells him, finishing his drink. “Yeah, yeah I did. And no, the jeans are easy, but I’m not.” Jasper tells him, but Ryan was quick to suggest otherwise. “I haven’t found you to be.” He shrugs. “Oh come on I was playing hard to get.” Jasper nudges him. “Mm, for a day. Then you were pouring out your feelings and sleeping in my bed with me and writing me love notes to wake up to.” Ryan smiles, looking over at the others who were all coming over with empty glasses. “To be clear, that was your fault. I thought I was out of time to prove I cared about you so I dropped the act in order to make sure you hadn’t given up on me.” Jasper quickly defends his actions but Ryan just shakes his head laughing. “You two ready to head home? We’ve got heaps to do tomorrow so an early night is a good idea for all of us. Especially all you sneaky ones out late on dates last night.” Simon tells everyone, who agrees it was a good idea to get home. Jasper sits beside Ryan in the back, Blake on the other side distracted by his phone. Jasper lets his hand glide over to Ryan’s in the safety of the dark car, and he smiles to himself as Ryan takes it, holding him gently and rubbing the back on his hand with his thumb. He was torn between telling Blake about their relationship tonight, or just waiting for everyone to be asleep and sneaking into Ryan’s room to spend the night learning how he liked to be kissed, where he was comfortable being touched and the same from Ryan’s perspective. Ryan already knew Jasper’s neck was sensitive, he wanted to find out where on Ryan was equally sensitive. Once they get home, Simon heads in for a shower first and Luke goes to his room to make a phone call, leaving Jasper, Blake and Ryan on their own. Jasper’s heart was pounding as he decided this was the best opportunity to tell him what was going on. Blake gets himself a drink and sits on the lounge, complaining about how sore his legs were from dancing today. Jasper just nervously walks over and stands a few steps from the couch. “So Blake, I told you I had to talk to you.” Jasper starts, he could feel his throat going dry as he looks anxiously towards the hallway, desperately hoping no one else would walk in on the conversation. “Ah yes, lets have the talk.” Blake sits forward and puts his drink down. “When a man and a...” “It’s a serious conversation. Beth already knows about this and I didn’t want you to hear it from her so I’m just going to say it. I.” Jasper looks over at Ryan who was in the kitchen, getting a drink. Ryan nods at him. “I did kiss someone else at the end of my relationship with her. And that person and I have started dating only recently, literally only last night. Took us a while to work out what we wanted and now that we have, I wanted to be able to tell you about it, you’re the only one we’re telling at the moment though so please don’t go sharing it around.” Jasper states, again looking at Ryan, who saw this as his cue to join their conversation, he brings Jasper the water he’d just poured, but seeing how much Jasper’s hands were shaking he decides not to pass him the glass right away. “Ok?” Blake eyes him suspiciously. “Ryan can you give us a moment?” “Actually...” Jasper looks at Ryan and reaches for his hand. “Ryan is kinda the person I’m talking about.” He takes Ryan’s hand and gives him a nervous smile, Ryan just squeezes his hand, admiring how bravely Jasper had just faced the conversation. Blake laughs for a moment, picking up his drink and having a sip. “Wait, are you kidding?” He sits forward again, smile fading as he realizes Jasper and Ryan were both looking at him with the same kind of uncertainty. “No Blake.” Jasper starts tearing up, sniffling back the tears that were threatening to run down his cheeks. “Oh my god, you are too. Everything makes so much sense now.” Blake frowns and shakes his head. “I can’t believe I ever thought you weren’t. Of course you’re gay.” “Please don’t think of me differently.” He sighs and tears start slipping from his eyes. “Jasper.” Blake jumps up from the couch, practically pulls him away from Ryan and wraps his arms around him in a tight hug. “I never would. I feel awful because I’ve joked and picked on you and made comments and all this time you really have been into guys. Forgive me for being an insensitive douche bag.” Jasper melts into the hug, clearly relieved about his best friend’s reaction. Ryan steps back watching them and feeling an overwhelming amount of respect for Blake from his supportive reaction. “You’re really fine?” Jasper asks. Blake pulls back and holds Jasper’s shoulders, looking into his eyes. “You are my best friend. No matter who you love. Is this why you were so weird this morning?” Blake tells him then looks over at Ryan as he pulls Jasper back into a hug. “Ryan, I have already punched you once so you know what to expect if you hurt this guy. I will beat you to a pulp if you break his heart. Understand?” He warns and Ryan just grins at him, respect for him growing as he wished he’d had a friend like Blake to confide in when he was coming out. “No, Ryan is awesome. He has been really good about this. I kissed him the night before Beth came over he was chill about it and we just worked on getting to know each other. We didn’t want to rush into anything because of the band and I just didn’t want it to affect anyone.” Jasper tells Blake quickly as he wipes his tears from his cheeks. “You’re seriously fine?” Jasper asks him. “Because this morning...” “Of course I’m fine. I mean I don’t feel qualified to give you the talk now, not really my area of expertise. To be honest, now that you’ve said this everything makes sense, like I always thought you were a bit of a twink but I also kinda missed the obvious since you were with Beth. Now I get why you don’t like her that way. I’m so sorry I came off like such a douche-bag, you know I’m not a homophobe or anything, I am so sorry I made you doubt whether I would be ok with you or not.” Blake smiles at him. “Even you thought I was a twink?” Jasper asks surprised. “How do you even know what that means?” “I didn’t go to a Christian school, I went to a public school. You’d be surprised what you learn on lunch breaks. Also, for the record, everyone thinks you’re a twink, there’s literally a Tumblr page the posts pictures of you called ‘Jasper The Twink’. I found it because my name is tagged along with every photo of you being cute near me.” Blake winks at him then looks over at Ryan. “Wait were you two hooking up when I walked in this morning?” He asks. “No!” They both answer quickly. Blake looks from one to the other with a skeptical smile and just nods. “I’m just saying, the doors have locks for a good reason. Oh wait!” Blake looks shocked at Jasper. “Don’t think about it, I know you’re thinking about it but don’t.” Jasper orders sternly, knowing Blake was remembering the night he’d first told Jasper to lock his door. “Oh god.” Blake takes a step back then laughs and goes back to his drink. “So have you always been into guys or did Jasper just seduce you? Because I’m sure he’s made a lot of straight guys question themselves, so I’m sure you’re not the only one.” He jokes. “My ex was a guy, but Jasper definitely seduced me.” Ryan teases. “I so did not!” Jasper denies. “You seduced me. I was dating a girl when you started coming onto me.” “You were dating a girl when you kissed me and ran away. But all the flirting back when you were pretending to be a girl.” “Oh that doesn’t count that wasn’t anything!” “Jasper made all the first moves, short of actually asking if I wanted to date. I did that part. The rest was him, he flirted first, kissed me first, admitted he liked the kiss, admitted he liked me, begged me to kiss him again.” Ryan smiles affectionately at Jasper. “Wrote me a love note before sneaking out this morning.” “Ok shut up, but only because you were making it hard to deny how I felt.” Jasper scoffs then turns back to Blake. “You needed to know because Beth didn’t take it well and I was worried she’d influence you to think the same way. I really hope it doesn’t cause any problems for you both, but I do really appreciate your support.” “From what I know, Beth wasn’t brought up to be open minded and understanding, it may just take her some time and my influence to learn to respect you and your relationship. If she can’t though, I just can’t have a relationship with her. I want to be able to be there for you and I want you to be comfortable being yourself around me, I couldn’t have a future with someone who looks down on my friends for something they can’t change about themselves, and something that makes them feel genuinely happy. I knew something was different when I saw you smiling this morning, I just hadn’t pictured the difference being the gender you were dating. Congrats guys. I’m really happy for you. Keep making him smile like he was this morning and I’ll never have a problem with you.” He tells Ryan. “I needed that shower, my god my muscles are starting to hurt!” Simon complains as he walks into the lounge and takes a seat. “Sorry, you guys look like you’re having a serious conversation.” Simon frowns at them. “No. It’s definitely my turn for a shower though.” Jasper turns and quickly leaves the room, Ryan and Blake just kinda look at each other awkwardly for a moment before Blake shrugs. “Yeah no, I’m just so glad your threat to Chris worked and we got our music rights back. Thanks for doing that.” Blake pretends to continue the conversation from before. “You’re welcome.” Ryan nods. “I hope the dance is enough to prove that I’m worth keeping in the band.” He shrugs. “Don’t worry, we’ll all fight for you to be here, you’re an important part of the family now.” Blake pats his shoulder then walks off to refill his drink. “How is it your muscles aren’t hurting?” Simon asks Ryan as he rubs his calves. “Same reason your voice doesn’t get strained after hours of singing and mine does. More practice.” Ryan shrugs then turns and walks away down the hallway, he didn’t feel like faking small talk right now and just wanted to see Jasper again before bed to just hold him and let him know that what he’d done with Blake was fantastic and showed a lot of pride and strength. Admitting his sexuality to a love interest was one thing but a best friend was a big deal and he deserved to know how much he’d impressed Ryan by just stepping up and owning it.
  5. Jasper wakes up before Ryan, he hadn’t had the most restful of sleeps, sharing a bed with someone else for the first time so he felt like he’d barely slept at all, he decides to skip the awkward waiting for Ryan to wake up, part, and just sneak out and go home early. Before he does though, he finds Ryan’s diary again, and decides to add his own page to it. Leaving something sweet for Ryan to wake up to, since he knew that him sneaking off would probably cause Ryan stress and confusion. Dear diary, I had an amazing night last night, the kisses were addictive, sharing a bed was weird and a little hard to get use to, but knowing the person beside me was mine was comforting. I woke up terrified of how much I felt at home and I ran away, but I want you to know that I am committed and my heart is running towards you. I didn’t know you could feel, the way I felt falling asleep last night, it scared me, and made me feel utterly addicted all at once. My inner adrenaline junky wants to dive into that feeling without a harness and just let myself drown in it, thank you for introducing me to what a relationship should feel like. I promise I will get completely caught up in this romance. Please don’t be put off if I try and play it cool around the others today, I wanted you to know my feelings, so you wouldn’t have any reason to question or doubt me when we’re back in reality. With a pep in his step, Jasper slides his key into the lock at the front door and walks in as quietly as he could, planning on sneaking back to his bedroom without being noticed. He closes the door gently and starts creeping through the “Well would you look at what the cat dragged in.” Blake’s smug voice almost echoes through the sleepy house. “Why are you awake this early?” Jasper asks quietly. “I’ve barely slept.” Blake shrugs, leaning back in the lounge chair with his coffee. “I got home and you weren’t here, I have been kinda waiting up for you.” Blake has a sip of coffee. “Never thought I’d see you do the walk of shame.” He smirks as he has another sip. “Oh I’m not.” Jasper replies. “So you weren’t out with your mystery love interest?” Blake frowns. “No I was, I’m just not ashamed.” Jasper winks at him and starts heading up to his room. “What so that’s it? Where’s the details? I wanna know what you’ve been up to all night, spare no details!” Blake gets up, putting his now empty coffee mug down and chasing him up the hallway. “I have no dirt to share.” Jasper shrugs as he walks off. “Oh come on, I waited all night to hear this gossip.” Blake complains, walking straight into Jasper’s bedroom and closing the door. “I’m not leaving until I hear something.” “I don’t kiss and tell.” Jasper pokes his tongue out at Blake. “So there was a kiss?” Blake smirks, leaning back against the door and crossing his arms. “There was a kiss and you stayed the night out, so obviously things went well.” “I really can’t talk about it in any more detail right now. Give me time, I don’t want to start something and get everyone involved in it and then have it all fuck up.” Jasper sighs, flopping back down on his bed. “How was your date with Beth?” He asks. “I think she is getting over you.” Blake shrugs, a little smile on his face. “Last few times it hasn’t felt like a date. But last night it felt like she actually wanted to be there with me. It actually felt really comfortable. She knows you’re into someone too, I think that’s helping her get over it herself. She didn’t want to talk about it though, did you tell her you were interested in someone? Because she seemed to kinda know and said some stuff about it like she doesn’t approve of who it is.” Blake asks, he felt guilty for bringing it up when he sees the crushed look on Jasper’s face. “Sorry, I didn’t think you’d care what she thought.” “I care what you think, and you really like her so if she disapproves and you don’t then is that going to be a problem for you guys?” Jasper cuddles his pillow, worried now about telling Blake anything about him and Ryan, which was all he wanted to think about and talk about right now because the night had been so amazing. He really wanted to know he could trust his best friend to be there for him to confide in moving forward with the relationship. “I will only disapprove if the person is someone I think isn’t going to treat you right.” Blake assures him, walking over to the bed and sitting on it. “You walked in here with such a big smile on your face, how could I doubt whether this secret girlfriend of yours is making you happy?” Jasper thinks back to his conversation last night with Jules, he knew his family wouldn’t want anything to do with this relationship but hearing Blake say the same kind of protective things as Ryan’s Mum had, gave him hope that he’d be cared about just as much. Beside obviously the fact that Ryan didn’t seem like he would ever hurt him. “Even thinking about them is making you smile.” Blake comments and nudges Jasper. “I am looking forward to meeting the person who is crazy enough to take on loving you, for a challenge.” He comments, getting up and heading out of his room. Jasper snuggles into his bed, hoping to get a little more sleep before everyone else starts waking up and the day has to start. After an extra hour’s sleep, Jasper gets up and makes his way out to the kitchen where Simon was cooking pancakes, with Luke setting jam, cream and butter on the table. “Good morning, I didn’t hear you come home last night.” Simon gives him a questioning look. “Sorry, I lost track of time and didn’t end up back until early this morning.” Jasper states, walking to the fridge and getting some water. “Even Blake was home before you.” Simon states. “Well with a no boyfriends overnight rule, I’m not surprised he had to come home before midnight.” Jasper teases loudly as he sees Blake making his way down the hallway. Blake gives an exaggerated fake laugh as he drops into his usual seat at the table. “For your information, her parents didn’t kick me out, I just didn’t think that the first time I was invited over for dinner, I should stay the night. I wanted to make a good impression.” Blake smiles, leaning back in his seat. “Well as long as you never touch her, I’m sure they will think you’re great.” Jasper jokes. “I don’t know, they want grandkids.” Blake shrugs. “Can’t make that happen without touching her.” Jasper just looks at him shocked for a moment, Luke and Simon both looking from Jasper to Blake, not sure how the comment would be taken. “I’m just trying to imagine you as a Dad, and I really can’t." Jasper hums to himself, amused by the thought. “Although, you guys would make amazingly cute kids.” Everyone’s attention turns to the front door as Ryan comes in. “Woah, where have you been?” Blake frowns at him. “Were you out last night too?” Simon asks. Ryan just nods at him and closes the door. ”I had no idea you were even gone, I just thought you went to bed early.” “How’s your Mum?" Jasper asks, not wanting Ryan to feel forgotten. “She's great.” Ryan smiles brightly at him. ”How was your night?" He asks. “Awesome, thanks. I’m hungry.” Jasper shrugs, walking over to the table. “For more kisses from the mystery love interest?” Blake teases. “Well what can I say, I didn’t know romance could taste so good.” Jasper smirks and starts fanning himself, resisting the urge to look at Ryan who was likely wearing a massive grin on his face after hearing what Jasper had to say about the night. “Ooooh do you have actual feelings for this one?” Simon asks as he sits down at the table with a plate full of pancakes for everyone to share. “Rude. I’ve always had actual feelings for people I want to date. Just sometimes the feelings weren’t enough. This time, is different.” Jasper grabs a pancake and covers it in jam and cream, Ryan sits across from him, smiling as he serves himself a pancake too. “I get the feeling you’ll sleep with this one.” Blake nudges Jasper who promptly starts choking on his pancake. “So, Chris wants to kick me out of the band.” Ryan clears his throat and announces to take the attention away from Jasper. “Oh what?” Simon’s attention was quickly diverted to him. Jasper gets up and walks off to get a glass of water to stop himself choking. “Why does he want to kick you out?” Blake asks shocked. “Because I bribed him to give us back our songs and he retaliated with that.” Ryan lies, glancing at Jasper who gives a fake smile. He had a feeling something would come from this and it was better that they got most of the story straight up even if it wasn’t exactly what had happened. “How did you bribe him?” Luke asks frowning at him confused. “By telling him I was going to tell everyone about him manipulating my Mum into sex to get me in and keep me in the band in the first place.” Ryan tells them with a shrug, looking around at the silent shocked faces. “You know, you really have a way of coming out with these shock statements when we really don’t expect it.” Jasper clears his throat, walking back to the table, he places a hand on Ryan’s shoulder. “Don’t worry, we won’t let him do anything to you, you’ve worked hard and you’ve earned your place in here. We’re never going to let him get away with the shit he’s been doing.” Jasper assures him confidently, moving back to his seat. Everyone is caught up in conversation about Chris for the rest of the time they are eating. Once breakfast is over they all head off to their rooms to get ready to go to the studio. Jasper sneaks into Ryan’s room, while the guys are busy discussing what Ryan had told them over breakfast. Ryan was sitting on the floor stretching his legs. “What are you doing?” Jasper smiles, closing the door behind him and sitting on the floor in front of him. “Just catching me doing something I’m weirdly uncomfortable about doing in front of people.” Ryan sighs, leaning back against his bed and relaxing. “Everything ok?” He asks. “Yeah, I’m just thinking about something.” Jasper shrugs. “I am going to tell Blake about me.” Jaspers announces. Ryan just nods, looking over at Jasper with a very serious expression. “Ok, he is your best friend so he should definitely know, if for no other reason than so he can stop asking about your girlfriend.” Ryan tells him with a shrug. “I’m just not sure how to answer him if he asks who I am seeing.” Jasper chews his lip nervously as he thinks about it. “Oh, do you want me to come with you for this?” Ryan asks, sitting up straight and looking into Jasper’s eyes, hoping to look supportive. “I don’t know, it’s not just about what I want, do you want me to just say I’m gay and I have a boyfriend? I don’t have to tell him about us.” Jasper suggests. “I’m not ashamed of our relationship, it’s probably going to help to have someone that is aware of us. Lets just tell him.” Ryan stands up, he walks over to Jasper and reaches a hand out for him, helping him to his feet too. “You know, for all the times I see you get anxious and scared about any situation, I really didn’t expect you to be so calm about this.” Jasper holds Ryan’s hand. Ryan pulls him close and presses a kiss to Jasper’s lips. “I’m not afraid with you. I trust you, with my heart and I am confident with you. If you are ready to tell Blake, then I support you and I will not ask you to lie about who you are with. If you’re out, I’m out.” “I love you.” Jasper sighs. “What?” Ryan smirks at him. “Oh, no that wasn’t it. That wasn’t the declaration.” Jasper explains quickly, his cheeks turning red. “I’m so sorry, I was just...” “I’m sure I’ll know when you’re saying it for real.” Ryan laughs, smiling at him and leaning forward for another kiss but Blake opens his door. “Are you guys ready to go?” Blake asks, completely unaware of what he’d almost walked in on. “Yep, we’re all good.” Jasper turns around and walks out of the room with a cheeky smile on his face. Blake puts his arm around Jasper’s shoulders and walks with him down the hallway. “Are you scheming with Ryan about how to handle things with his mum?” Blake asks way too enthusiastic about whether they had a plan yet. “I’m leaving it up to Ryan.” Jasper answers, with a sigh. “Although my plan was to kick his door down and just punch him in the face.” “You? You’re too much of a pipsqueak to even think about hitting him. I’d love to see you actually punch someone.” Blake laughs, and Jasper elbows him in the chest, making him let go. “See, I can hit.” “Like a pansy.” Blake teases playfully. “Don’t tempt me to hit you harder.” “Now it just feels like you’re looking for any excuse to touch me.” Blake nudges him. “You’re the one with your arm around me, nudging me, trying to make me hit you.” Jasper teases back. “Yeah, not like that. Keep the gay shit for the stage, or better still, never.” Blakes comment was light hearted and joking but Jasper just sighs and looks over at Ryan who fakes a smile at him. He’d heard Blake make these kind of comments before and had never worried about it before but having just suggested he’d tell him about their relationship, he felt really disheartened to hear his best friend talk like that. “Well, tell me how you really feel.” Jasper mutters and steps away from Blake. “Now that people know I’m dating Beth, you’re going to have to find a new friend to fake it with, Blasper can finally be laid to rest and you can set the Rysper ship sail. That’s what all our pervy fans want anyway. It’s poor Ryan’s turn have his sexuality questioned just for being your friend. Wait until the world knows you’re not even gay, I mean they doubted the sincerity with Beth, but you seem different this time around so maybe they will finally believe that you’re just normal.” Blake laughs and messes up Jasper’s hair. “I don’t know whether to pull you up for suggesting gay people aren’t ‘normal’ or to tell you off for saying ‘poor Ryan’ when referring to him having to cosy up to me on stage for the sake of a little fan service. Either way, I’m a little insulted.” Jasper admits, tidying his hair then crossing his arms. “Don’t take me the wrong way.” Blake rolls his eyes, still smiling. “Then maybe next time, think about your wording.” Jasper shrugs and turns, walking out the door and heading for the car. “What’d I say that deserved that reaction?” Blake asks Ryan who just gives a shrug. “From what I overheard, pretty much all of it.” He states, stepping past Blake and walking out the door then stopping and turning back to him. “For the record, my general lack of attraction to basically anyone has resulted in me being called ‘not normal’ plenty of times and every time, it hurt me because this is as normal as I know myself to be. This is the normal that I am and there’s no changing it, so why does everyone who feels differently to me, feel the need to make out like I am less of a person for the way I feel? I’m not saying this to make you feel bad or like you’ve offended me, but just to think about the way things you say, can upset others, even and especially if you don’t know why it does.” Ryan turns and continues down to the car while a Blake follows slowly, pondering what’d been said.
  6. “It’s so nice to have a friend of Ryan’s over for dinner.” Jules places the plates down on the table. “Thanks, this looks awesome. It’s been forever since I’ve had a home cooked meal by someone’s Mum.” Jasper grins at her and then at Ryan who smiles back at him. “Mum, Jasper might be around a bit more.” Ryan’s Mum smiles at him then at Jasper. “We’re dating.” He tells her with a confident smile. “I thought I was picking up a vibe at that award show.” She smiles back at them. “Well we weren’t dating then but we did talk about things that night and everything has progressed from that point.” Ryan looked so happy telling his Mum about their relationship. “Ah, well I always know when there’s someone on your mind, and the time it took you to get ready that night, I knew it wasn’t just fans you were wanting to look good to impress.” Jules teases and winks at Jasper who just laughs to himself. Dinner went smoothly, Jasper certainly felt like he fit in and was making a good impression on both of them. Afterwards Ryan excuses himself to go and take a shower, leaving Jasper with his Mum and that gave her the chance to ask a serious question. “So Jasper, what is it that you like about Ryan?” Jules asks. “Uh, so much. I can’t really work out what in particular first attracted me but getting to know him has been absolutely wonderful and I’m just so impressed by everything he does and the strength he has.” Jules nods as she listens but Jasper could tell she wasn’t completely convinced, her expression was serious. “Obviously you have been told about what he’s gone through. Ryan did say he had decided to tell you and that you have been supportive of him, I appreciate that. I just want you to know that my son is extremely important to me and I will protect him as much as I can, against anyone that I think isn’t going to be good for him. I stood back and tried to just be a voice of reason last time and I watched him get so, so hurt. I would never allow him to be hurt like that again. He likes to see and believe the best in people, but he often overlooks the things that hurt him for the sake of the good. I want him to be happy.” Jules sighs, shaking her head and looking down at the floor. “This isn’t directed at you, in anyway, because I see you are making him happy. But don’t take advantage of the good in him.” “Trust me, I’m trying just as hard to make sure people in my circle don’t walk all over him, I’ve been standing up to Chris on the way he is treating him and the one time he called me needing my support I ran to take care of him. I think so highly of him, I honestly never want anyone to hurt him either.” Jasper tells her, earning an emotion filled smile from her, she walks over to Jasper and hugs him tight, her shoulders shaking a little as she holds back the urge to cry into his shoulder. “I should let you get back to him.” Jules says as she pulls away, she places a hand on his cheek and looks into his eyes. “Thank you.” She whispers and takes a deep breath, stepping away from Jasper and wiping tears from her eyes. Jasper smiles and walks off to find Ryan’s bedroom. He finds it upstairs beside the bathroom where he could hear the shower running. Jasper walks into Ryan’s bedroom with a grin on his face, he felt sneaky being in his room, even though he knew he was allowed to be there. The first thing he notices, is a note book with the majority of the pages torn out, he knew he should probably not open it and read it but he was intrigued and once he flips it open and sees his name on the page, he couldn’t ignore the temptation. “Jasper said the kiss was a mistake, which makes me feel like he was just using me to explore his sexuality. I don’t want to let him in because I promised myself I wouldn’t fall for someone who’s just messing with me and using me again. I have tried so hard to forget about Damien but the moment Jasper said ‘mistake’ I just felt like I was back in that relationship again and could feel all the pain that he’d put me through coming back. I felt weak for not learning from those mistakes, and allowing myself to be treated that way again.” Jasper finishes the page before Ryan could snatch the diary away from him. “Guessing Damien is the ex your Mum hated?” “I don’t want to talk about it.” Ryan mutters, throwing his diary in his bedside drawer annoyed. “That bad?” Jasper crosses his arms. “And you compared me to him? Rude.” Jasper comments lightheartedly, he didn’t feel that worried about what Ryan had written, it was a shitty thing for him to have said and whatever Damien did that was so bad had obviously been what annoyed Ryan most, Jasper had just made a comment that brought back painful memories. “Um, you reading my diary is where we can start if we want to talk about rude.” Ryan tells him with a scoff, clearly this wound made him defensive too. “That’s fair, and I’m sorry. Who keeps a diary these days anyway? I thought maybe it was where you planned songs like I write song ideas in my note book.” Jasper shrugs. “Keeping a diary was something my mental health supporter suggested when I started having panic attacks. If I write out how I feel when I’m feeling an attack coming on, I can rationalize my feelings and sometimes calm myself down before I lose control.” Ryan answers bluntly. “And for the record, I’ve been in your room without you and noticed your note book but never assumed it would be ok for me to read.” “I just noticed you’d ripped out all the pages before that one, why am I the only page in your diary?” Jasper asks, walking over to Ryan. “Because I tore the rest out a while ago and since meeting you that night was the first one I felt the need to write my feelings for. It was meant to be private and you had hurt me with your comment about kissing me being a mistake. I’m not going to defend the way I had felt at that time. “Ok but, kissing you the first time wasn’t planned. Mistake is not the right word for it, because I didn’t regret doing it at the time and I don’t now, but it definitely was not what I expected was going to happen, it wasn’t intentional. It did make me realize my sexuality but every kiss since that night has been because I want to explore my feelings for you, not just guys in general. If I wanted to explore my sexuality I’d go to a gay club or something.” Jasper tells him sweetly but the last statement brings a smirk to Ryan’s lips. “You’d get eaten alive in a gay club.” He laughs at the thought and licks his lips. “Cute twink like you, out ‘exploring’ is how you get into a lot of trouble. That’s a lot of guys fantasies when they go out.” He winks at Jasper who just frowns at him. “I was trying to make a cute point about liking you and only wanting to kiss you. I would hate for you to genuinely think I am using you and if that’s how I’ve made you feel, I am sorry.” Jasper holds Ryan’s hands, looking into his eyes deeply. “It’s ok, you’re not to blame for the way I doubt myself.” Ryan shrugs, clearly it was a sore point to him so Jasper decides not to ask any more about it. He had worked out Damien was some really bad person in his life that’d put doubt in Ryan’s head and used him, leaving him with some trust issues and emotional scars. “What’s a Twink?” Jasper asks, and the mood changes immediately back to a cheeky one, Ryan has a devious smile on his face as he grabs his phone. “See naivety like that is what makes you an easy target.” He states, passing Jasper his phone with the meaning of the word on the screen. Jasper reads it amused then passes the phone back. “Ok, I’m going to choose to not be offended that this description attributes ‘twinks’ to being a bit stupid. Other than that though, how am I such a stereotype?” He asks, glancing at himself in the full length mirror beside Ryan’s bed. “Not stupid, just, like I said, a bit naiive.” Ryan laughs. “I’ve gone from being an emotionally detached straight boyfriend, to a gay Twink in like, a week. Surprised I am not having a complete identity crisis yet at this rate.” He jokes, turning back to Ryan who puts his arms around his waist. “To a gay, Twink boyfriend.” Ryan reminds him and Jasper just smiles and rolls his eyes. “Don’t change, I’m really starting to like who I am getting to know.” He tells him. “Except when you say it like that I sound like a real bed-hopper, since it really hasn’t been long since I ended things with Beth and I’m already dating you.” Jasper sighs, looking from Ryan to his bed. “Although I never actually hopped in her bed.” He shrugs. “You haven’t hopped in mine yet either. Though I was hoping you would stay here the night with me.” Ryan suggests. “First time we’re going to share a bed is at your Mum’s house.” Jasper smiles and looks around the room, the few photos displayed were of Ryan and his Mum at graduation and prom. Jasper was jealous to see that puberty had made Ryan so masculine before he finished school, he himself still looked like a 13 year old when he graduated, even now his petite body was lacking the mature masculine build especially compared to the body shape Ryan already had at 18. “You must have been popular in school.” Jasper turns his attention back over to Ryan who was pulling his shirt off and neatening the sheets on the bed. “Not really.” Ryan answers, looking over to see what Jasper was looking at. “Whatever, I had guys like you at my school and they were always in and out of relationships, dating their way through the grade.” Jasper walks over to the end of the bed, wondering if he was really ready to share a bed with Ryan already. “Well, I wasn’t interested in dating in school, I was too focused on grades. I often got asked to tutor people, but it was all just people wanting to come over for 2 minutes of Math's and 28 minutes of something else.” Ryan lies down on his bed, patting it for Jasper to join him. “Oh really?” Jasper asks sarcastically. “How long did it take for you to realize that?” He asks, joining Ryan on the bed. “Until one of the girls had me over her house trying to convince me to lay on her bed to tutor her, which I refused and sat at her desk. Next day at school she had started a rumor that we hooked up, even though nothing had happened. By the end of the day I had 4 or 5 other girls asking me to tutor them.” Ryan shrugs, reaching out for Jasper and holding his hand “Book smart. Naiive with people. Why am I not surprised?” Jasper teases playfully. “Always been my problem.” Ryan smiles. “Roll over, if you are sharing my bed then I will be spooning you.” He says sleepily. “Didn’t realize cuddling was a condition of being in bed with you.” Jasper rolls over facing away from Ryan and feeling the warmth of Ryan’s body fitting so comfortable against his. “Look I don’t make the rules, I just enforce them.” Ryan’s breath tickles the back of his neck, making him shudder and laugh. “Sensitive?” Ryan asks, blowing against Jasper’s neck again to get the reaction out of him. “Stop.” Jasper laughs and arches his back. Ryan holds him tight so he couldn’t squirm and whispers sexily. “Oh, I could torture you so easily.” Ryan smirks and lightly kisses the back of Jasper’s neck. “Are you ticklish?” He asks and Jasper frantically tries to wriggle away from in a panic. “Don’t you dare.” Jasper warns. “Relax, I do just want to sleep. Come on.” Ryan places his hand behind Jasper’s neck and draws him in for a soft, gentle kiss. “I’ll leave you alone, I promise. You need to sleep too.”
  7. “Where is everyone?” Ryan asks when he comes out to get a drink of water, his face, arms and legs were glistening with light sweat, he was in a singlet and shorts, with his hair a mess. He grabs a bottle of water from the cupboard and cracks it open, taking a few small sips. “Well, no one really specified but my assumptions are, Blake is on a date with Beth. Luke is maybe on a date, he went out wearing cologne which he never does and Simon is probably just killing time at the shops, he said something about food so maybe he’s getting groceries, since I know personally I keep eating the snacks he buys himself and I’m fairly sure I’m not the only one.” Jasper suggests, closing his laptop as Ryan walks over towards him. “And what are you doing?” Ryan asks. “I’m trying to write a song but I’m not sure I’m really motivated.” Jasper shrugs, tipping his head back on and letting out an exaggerated sigh. “What have you been doing?” “Trying to come up with a dance that is sexy enough but not too sexy that you find it intimidating.” Ryan answers, Jasper looks over at him with a gasp. “I’m not intimidated by your sexy dance routines. I just don’t love the idea of teaching teenagers how babies are made, live on stage.” He puts his laptop down and gets up, moving the coffee table from the middle of the room to the side. “What are you doing?” Ryan didn’t need to ask, it was clear what his next move was going to be. “I want to see what you’ve come up with. I think it’s time you taught me to dance.” Jasper suggests standing in the middle of the room. “Are you any good at dancing?” Ryan asks and Jasper laughs to himself. “I’m not proud to say, Beth did teach me a lot of dance routines back when she was into trying to learn Kpop girl group dances. I can do body rolls like a pro.” Jasper says then puts his arms up above his head and does a few body rolls effortlessly to show Ryan. “Body rolls, that’s something I should put in the routine.” Ryan joins Jasper in the lounge room. “Are you a good learner?” Ryan asks, as Jasper sets his phone up to the speakers and passes it to Ryan to choose what song he’d teach him some moves to. “Are you a good teacher?” Jasper asks back. Ryan just smiles at him, he’d started learning to enjoy Jasper’s attitude and sarcasm, despite how much it stressed him back at the start, it helped that it’d gone from doubtful remarks or insults to cheeky flirting. “Lets find out.” Ryan winks and shows Jasper some of the dance moves he’d come up with, watching Jasper copy them fairly easily. Ryan was showing Jasper some of his most seductive dance moves to try and tease him, but Jasper just copied them too well and became the tease to Ryan. As the dancing becomes a battle of sex appeal, they both couldn’t stop smirking at each other and laughing as they watched one another try to win the unspoken competition of who could dance sexiest, while still having the self-control to not give in to the other’s alluring dance moves. Thankfully by the time they are both breathless, stopping to get some water and rest, Simon arrives home intruding on the mood. “Well, I’m going to go and have a shower.” Jasper announces, pulling his shirt off and walking off down the hall to the bathroom, leaving Ryan to move the coffee table back to the middle of the room and help Simon put some food away while he explains that they’d come up with some good move combinations for the dance. When Jasper finishes his shower and walks into his bedroom, he finds Ryan lying on the end his bed. “How was your shower?” Ryan asks him, propping himself up on his elbows. “Refreshing, can you not lie on my bed like that? Your singlet is covered in sweat.” Jasper points out. Ryan sits up, pulls his singlet off and leans back again. “Happy now?” He smiles at Jasper who rolls his eyes. “Are you done trying to seduce me? You’ve been doing the sexy act all day.” Jasper asks. “I don’t know, are you going to accept defeat yet?” Ryan sighs. “Defeat? You’re the one half naked on my bed, seems like you’re the one that’s defeated.” Jasper comments, sitting down on the top half of his bed, picking up his phone and unlocking it to see the camera open, he glances over at Ryan and gets a cheeky smile in return. He clicks on the most recently taken photo and sighs as he sees Ryan had been taking photos of himself shirtless with a smirk on his face and his eyes looking directly into the camera. “Ok, you get points for determination.” “You seem determined to resist.” Ryan shrugs. “Are you playing hard to get or are you just not interested? I don’t want to waste my time so put me out of my misery and be honest how you feel about me.” “I don’t know what you want me to say.” Jasper sighs. “What do I want? I want you to admit that you want to date me.” Ryan tells him. “I’m actively trying to make you so jealous that you cannot hold off on dating me anymore and you admit you want to be a boyfriend and not just a fling.” He walks over to Jasper’s bed and sits on the end of it. “Are you playing hard to get, is that what this is?” "No. Why, would that work for you?” Jasper gives a cheeky grin. “Jasper, I am the one trying to tempt you into a relationship, you don’t need any alluring tricks to work on me.” Ryan looks at him utterly defeated. “You are driving me insane.” Ryan lies back on the bed and grabs his pillow, putting it over his face and groaning with frustration into it. “I’m not trying to drive you insane.” Jasper laughs, pulling the pillow away from Ryan’s face. “Stop being dramatic.” He teases. “I’m a romantic type person. I want someone to spoil and love, that’s all I want you to do. I want to date you, and give you all the love and affection and...” Ryan looks at his phone as it starts ringing. “Hold on, it’s my Mum. Hello?” Ryan sits up quickly. “What? Yeah no I will be right there.” Ryan stands up, grabbing his shirt and hanging up his phone. “Is she ok?” Jasper frowns at him, he could see Ryan was stressed. “Chris just showed up at Mum’s. She’s really worried so I’m going to go over and make sure he’s not doing anything bad.” Ryan answers. “Sorry, I really wish we could have talked more.” “I’ll come with you.” Jasper says quickly getting more appropriately dressed. “Oh you don’t have to.” Ryan shakes his head. “Actually I think I should, I spoke to Chris today and mentioned that I knew about what he’d done with your Mum.” Jasper sighs, feeling great guilt about putting Ryan’s Mum in a difficult position. “You did what?” Ryan stares at him bewildered. “Are you kidding me?” “I’m sorry, I really didn’t think it’d cause problems.” Jasper apologizes sincerely but Ryan was furious. “Were you going to tell me? You’ve allowed me to spend the whole day trying to get your attention, and this whole conversation. But you had brought up things about my Mum, behind my back, to someone you know is a jerk. I can’t believe you. Why the hell would you do this? Why do people always think they have the right to manipulate my life?” Ryan snaps, he looked absolutely shattered, stepping away from Jasper and looking him up and down with disgust. “Please.” Jasper steps towards him. “I’ve got to go. I don’t have time to waste on this.” Ryan turns and walks out of the room, slamming the door on his way out. Jasper falls back on the bed and covers his face, tears filling his eyes. He’d never felt so afraid of losing someone, as he did the moment Ryan walked away. All he could think was that Blake would come home and ask how he went reaching out to the person he liked, and he would just cry with disappointment in how the night had gone from being so fun and full of flirting and teasing to feeling like there was no way to come back from it. In less than half an hour, Jasper’s phone starts going off and to his surprise it was Ryan. He was afraid to answer, but also ready to beg for forgiveness, not wanting to let this relationship that had so much potential, slip away. “Ryan, are you alright?” Jasper asks. “Yeah, can you come over please?” Ryan was really calm but it didn’t make Jasper feel any less anxious about whether he had ruined the relationship before it was even a proper relationship. “Um, yeah sure.” Jasper answers. “Thanks, I’ll text you the address.” Ryan hangs up and while Jasper waits for the text, he gets ready to go. Nerves were going crazy and as soon as he got the text and was on his way over, he decides that regardless of how annoyed Ryan was at him tonight, he had to tell him how seriously he felt about him. Ryan was right, he’d been the one wanting a relationship and really trying to make it happen with Jasper and yet Jasper had been playful with Ryan’s feelings, while avoiding thinking honestly about his own. When he arrives at Ryan’s Mum’s house and knocks on the door he felt so scared but also so excited to have a chance to make sure Ryan knew how sorry he was, and how much he cared about him. He wasn’t left standing outside for long before the door opens and Ryan greets him, not smiling but also not looking like he was still mad at him. “Hey.” Ryan steps outside and closes the door. “Is your Mum ok?” Jasper asks, thrown off that he wasn’t being invited inside. “Yeah.” Ryan nods and leans against the door. “She’s upset, he kinda said that I’m not a good enough singer to remain in the band and he is planning on getting rid of me.” Ryan sighs. “What?” Jasper asks shocked, it was not what he’d expected to hear at all and seemed to have come completely out of nowhere. “That’s why I wanted you to come over. I think she needs some reassurance that he’s not being honest about it all, you have worked with me on my vocals most and I think she’d appreciate your opinion.” Ryan sighs and looks into Jasper’s eyes anxiously. “That’s the least I could do. I’m really sorry about everything.” Jasper starts but Ryan shakes his head, making Jasper stop talking, thinking Ryan didn’t want to hear it. “Jasper, something you need to understand about me is I have trust issues and I am quick to assume the worst of people. That’s not your fault and I’m sorry you have to deal with it. It’s not fair on you because I’m wrongfully assuming you’re going to hurt me, but every single time I’ve assumed something negative about you, your intentions have been good. It’d be selfish of me to ask you to keep dealing with that but I really want to be more trusting and I’m really going to try harder.” Ryan tells him, clearly feeling guilty about his own reaction towards what had happened. “It’s seriously fine, I’ve gone about things badly and I’m sorry that it’s hurt you. I want you to know how afraid I am of letting you down.” Jasper sighs, his heart was racing and he felt as though tears would follow soon. “I am avoiding a relationship with you because you are a good person and you would be an amazing boyfriend but I was an awful boyfriend to Beth, I was so bad at it all and I treated her like crap. I don’t want to let you down. If anything goes wrong between us, if I am bad at dating you, if I ever, ever hurt you. I would never forgive myself. You deserve the best and I don’t think I’m good enough for you.” Jasper’s eyes fill with tears, he’d never been use to opening himself up so honestly. He watches Ryan for a reaction, hoping he’d say something to let him know where he was stood. “Thank you for caring enough about me, to say all of that. It means a lot to me so thank you.” Ryan steps forward and wraps his arms around Jasper, giving him a tight hug and feeling Jasper was the one shaking for once. Ryan smiles, realizing how much he meant to Jasper and feeling quite comforted by it. “Now I don’t want you to lie to my Mum, but can you reassure her? She’s really worried.” Ryan pulls away from Jasper, holding his hand. “Oh of course.” Jasper nods, letting Ryan lead him into his family home holding his hand until they head into the kitchen where Ryan’s Mum was cooking. “Mum.” Ryan calls out, she looks over with a bright smile. “Jasper, right?” Jules asks, walking over to give him a hug to greet him. “How are you?” She asks, her eyes were red from crying. “I’m good, how are you? I’m sorry to hear Chris came by and upset you.” Jasper tells her with a sigh. “Oh it’s ok. I believe in Ryan. I don’t care what anyone else says.” Jules shrugs it off, smiling at her son before she heads back to the food on the stove. “That’s good, because Ryan is a lot more talented than Chris is giving his credit for. Honestly he wouldn’t know talent if it slapped him in the face and trust me I’m not far off trying. I’ve been working with him on his vocals and he does have room for improvement, but he is definitely talented and determined to improve so Chris is absolutely lying. He’s just in it for money and likes to make problems out of nothing so he can get us more interest. I’m sorry he’s been manipulating you, you guys don’t deserve it and I’m really hoping we can get out of this tricky situation with him soon so we can actually focus on our music again.” Jasper tells her, feeling the affectionate smile coming from Ryan beside him. “Thank you Jasper, for everything you’ve been doing for him. Will you stay for dinner?” Jules smiles over at him. “I always cook too much.” “Oh, I don’t know.” Jasper looks at Ryan who gives him a nod. “Please.” Ryan smiles. “Do you need any help with it all?” Ryan asks his Mum. “No, it’s all pretty much ready.” Jules answers. “Mind if I show Jasper around the house then?” Jules nods at him and starts setting the table. Ryan nudges Jasper and leads him to the lounge room. As soon as they are out of his Mum’s view Ryan reaches for Jasper’s hand and as soon as he takes it he pulls him close and kisses him softly on the lips. When their lips part Ryan smiles at Jasper and holds his waist, letting out a relieved sigh. “I am sorry I cut you off earlier, you seemed like you made yourself vulnerable and I wanted to tell you what I think and feel about what you said. If you think you can fall in love with me, that would be enough. I want to risk it all with you, I know I reacted badly tonight but I’m judging things on what I’m use to, and I’m not use to having someone who is genuine and stands up for me.” Ryan smiles at him and looks at Jasper’s lips, wanting to kiss him again but he was taken back by the tears welling in Jasper’s eyes. “That’s all I want. I just want to fall in love with you.” He tells him gently, wiping the tears from Jasper’s cheeks, Jasper smiles at the touch and looks at Ryan’s lips as he leans in slowly to kiss him. “Say yes.” Ryan pleads in a whisper. “If I say yes, can I get another kiss?” Jasper sighs. “For as long as you want, whenever you want for the entire relationship. That’s one of the perks of dating me.” Ryan answers with a smirk on his face. “As long as you think you can see potential to fall in love with me.” “Well in that case.” Jasper’s arms fall around Ryan’s neck and he kisses him passionately, Ryan holds him tight and kisses back equally as passionate, taking the kiss as the ‘yes’ he was hoping for. He understood this was a bigger deal to Jasper, being the first time actually dating a guy and he knew he’d pushed him to make it official, but commitment was a big issue to Ryan and he hadn’t wanted to spend another day wondering whether he was wasting his time developing feelings and craving affection from someone who was just using him. Jasper breaks the kiss, looking around nervously and giving a cute shy laugh. “You ok?” Ryan asks. “Yeah I just forgot for a moment that your Mum is in the next room and could have just walked in on us like that.” Jasper pulls away and covers his cheeks as he felt his face burning. “I can’t just go and have dinner with your Mum after that kiss.” He says quietly. Ryan just smiles at him, finding his behaviour cute, forgetting what it was like to be sneaking kisses with someone at their parents house, that rush of feeling like you were doing something forbidden. “You met Beth’s parents didn’t you?” Ryan asks. “Uh, yes. We went to church together and they are close friends with my parents with strict rules on touching and kissing in their house. Dinner with them was, me turning up in fancy clothes sitting across the table from her while her parents talked about my parents.” Jasper sighs, shaking his head. “Never snuck off for a kiss in the next room?” Ryan smirks. “No way. I’d kiss her on the cheek when she saw me off at the door after the meal, with her parents watching through the window.” Jasper replies then starts laughing. “Oh my god, Blake is going to have fun with them. I can just imagine him sitting beside her and placing his hand on her leg at the table and having the ‘no sex until marriage’ talk from her Dad.” “Wait, what are your parents like? Religious obviously but are they going to be ok with you dating a guy?” Ryan frowns at Jasper who’s smile fades quickly. “Well, we probably won’t be having dinner with them any time soon so at least you don’t have to worry about meeting them.” Jasper shrugs. “Sorry I didn’t even think to ask until now.” “Honestly I didn’t even think about it until now either, which shows how much their opinion of me means. They haven’t even contacted to ask about Beth. What about your Mum? Does she know about you?” Jasper asks. “She knows, though the only guy I’ve been with made a really bad impression on her so she was never very supportive of that relationship but only because she hated him. She’s just protective. Can I tell her we are dating tonight?” Ryan asks. “If she’s not going to hate me, then sure. It’s your family, I can’t tell you what to say to your own Mum.” Jasper shrugs. “But she better like me more than the last guy.” “Well I know I sure do.” Ryan wraps his arm around Jasper’s waist and kisses him swiftly again. “Come on. Dinner time.”
  8. “Are we seriously going to the TMA’s?!” Luke asks excitedly before Christopher even walks through the door. “Yes, how did you know?” Chris gives him a suspicious look, frowing as he looks at the other guys who are all reacting with excitement about the news. “Our fans are scary at hacking things. They always leak the list for those events.” Blake smirks, showing Chris the list of performers on the website. “Yes, we are on the list to perform, with a few other boybands. It should be a great night, teenage audience and voters so we’ll be pulling out all the stops to make sure we get the highest votes for the night. For this, I’m going to ask Ryan to choreograph an easy dance piece with back-up dancers for your partners, it will need to be appropriate for the audience of course but I think that will really set us aside from the other boybands we’re up against. Also Jasper, the fans are all hoping for some fanservice.” Chris tells them handing out some information about what their plan was for the night, the songs they would be singing and what time they were going to be on stage along with the list of other bands in their category. “This will be an amazing show.” Luke grins, reading the list of bands performing with them. “This is such a great line-up. I don’t even care if we win, it’s going to be so much fun to watch the others perform too, and I seriously hope we get to have an after party with these guys.” “Yes, you get to attend the after party but this isn’t a social event, this is for more attention for the band and to generate excitement for your next album, which we will get started on after this performance. So I expect you to all bring me some drafts in the next week.” Chris orders, looking at the reluctant expressions on their faces. “What, that’s part of being in a band you know? First album, tour, second album. More music, new music. Get to it.” Chris snaps his fingers at them and turns and walks out. “Oh and Ryan, fans went crazy over your post last night, more photos like that would definitely get you more love.” “More love is what I was aiming for.” Ryan licks his lips and just smiles at the group, noticing that Jasper was intentionally looking away. “What’d you post last night?” Luke frowns. “Didn’t you see, he posted a shirtless selfie on Instagram, which is now circulating every social media. It’s impossible to have not seen it. I have had to give up social media until the onslaught of reposts from thirsty fans settles down.” Jasper complains he takes out his phone and opens Twitter, turning the phone around to show Luke. “See, first photo. Let’s scroll down. Ah yes, there it is again, three posts down from the last one. Same photo, different horny phrases.” “So, Ryan. Posting shirtless photos on instagram. Obviously you’re getting more confident.” Luke teases him, with an impressed expression. “I was in a good mood last night.” Ryan shrugs, glancing at Jasper who quickly gets out of his phone and puts it away in his pocket. “You’re not the only one who was in a good mood last night.” Blake smirks at Jasper, patting his back. “Shut up.” Jasper glares at him warningly. “Speaking of good moods, Blake was out on a date last night, with my ex.” Jasper deflects the attention. “Better than being on a date with my hand.” Blake’s comment is thankfully unheard by anyone but Jasper because Simon and Luke were immediately asking about his date with Beth before the second convenient interruption comes into the room, taking the attention from Blake. Jasper gives him a quiet ‘I will punch you’ threat. “Only if you’ve washed your hands.” Blake winks at Jasper. “One more comment, I swear to god.” Jasper grits his teeth. Blake looks at him with consideration. “A bit touchy today?” Blake smirks then laughs as Jasper lifts his fist and punches him in the arm. “Ow.” Blake rubs his arm. “Surprisingly hard punch, that really hurt.” “Yeah? Well I hope that was your wanking arm.” Jasper rolls his eyes. “You sure you were doing it right? Normally people are a little less bitchy when they’ve relieved themselves.” Jasper just gives him the finger and walks away. “Hey Fi.” Luke beams as she walks in, short red dress with black crisscross patterned stockings and a black chunky scarf around her neck. “Morning boys.” She approaches the group, playing around with her tablet. “So, good news. Since Jasper told off Chris for putting you in those suits you all hated, he’s requested that you use them for your stage performance.” She smiles knowing the guys were not going to love the idea. “Good, Ryan could do with some more coverage after the photo he showed last night.” Jasper comments. “Well I guess I can’t die my hair until after the stage show. I want to go blood red.” Blake runs his fingers through his hair and looks at Fi who was just smiling at him. “You would totally rock that colour. I’ll dye it for you if you want.” She offers, flicking through and looking at the suit he’d be wearing. “It might clash but why put it off for a one time outfit.” “You’re in a very good mood today Fi.” Simon smiles at her, she looks at him and shrugs. “It’s good to see, you deserve it.” He tells her. “Thanks. Things have been good lately.” She hugs her tablet to her chest and sighs. “Any other requests for style changes?” Fi asks, looking over at Jasper. “Do you want to go a shade lighter? Get streaks or something.” “You’re the stylist. Make whatever changes you want to make, I trust your judgement.” Jasper replies, he couldn’t concentrate on anything but the embarrassment he still felt about what Blake walked in on. He was being so quiet and on the outside of the group that he stood out. Ryan moved over to talk to him but Jasper just gives him a reassuring smile and walks out of the room, going to the office and knocking on the door. “Come in.” Chris yells out. Jasper walks in, taking him by surprise. “What is wrong now?” Chris sighs throwing his pen down on the desk. “I have some concerns about our contract.” Jasper pulls the chair out and sits down. “About the contract?” Chris leans back in his seat frowning at Jasper. “You haven’t looked at the contract since you signed it, what could you possibly be concerned about now?” “Actually, I went through it not that long ago, with a lawyer.” Jasper answers, watching the hint of fear crossing Chris’ face. “So, I want to know what it’s going to take for you to sign our music back over to us?” He asks sternly, leaning forward with a slight smirk on his face, he knew he had the upper hand on this. “I can’t sign that over to you, without something substantial.” Chris tells him with a smile. “How about I release the scandal that ruins your family and this image you’ve given yourself.” Jasper replies sternly, Chris stares absolutely dumbfounded at Jasper, hoping to see any hint of him bluffing. “I know what happened with Ryan’s Mum. I think you should consider my request, because frankly my lawyer had plenty of other things he thought I should contest in this contract. If you don’t want problems to come out, do what’s right. In the mean time, I’ll tell the guys not to pass on any song ideas to you until the rights to them are ours. It’s only fair after all, since we’ve seen barely any profit but you’ve bought yourself a lovely big house for the wife you’re cheating on, and you’ve got a fancy car that you can’t put a booster seat in. Think about your family, they need you to be a little smarter about your career if you want to continue having one. Otherwise keep the rights to our stuff and I’ll make sure you lose everything the hard way.” Jasper stands up and pushes his chair in. “Here I was getting lectured by you for being manipulative, and you’re just as bad as me.” Christopher crosses his arms and looks down at his desk, chewing his lip as he thinks about the power move Jasper was playing against him. “I figure it’s the only language you understand. I’m not proud of stooping to your level, but I am only doing it to help the people I care about.” Jasper defends himself, not allowing Chris to take him down on this. “What about Ryan? That scandal would hurt him.” “Ryan already knows about it. And if you know what it has already done to him, you’d be wanting to go into hiding for shame of what you’ve done to someone already dealing with a lot. Do the right thing, for all of us.” Jasper walks out, slamming the door behind him and heading back into the band room to see everyone talking excitedly as they watch Ryan demonstrate some dance move ideas with a girl Jasper hadn’t seen before. “What have I missed?” Jasper asks, trying not to sound too jealous despite the way Ryan was dancing so closely with her. “He’s improvising this sexy dance sequence for us. I’ve gotta say, he’s really coming out of his shell now isn’t he? I hope this confidence continues because with this attitude he’s going to quickly steal the show and become a real fan favourite.” Simon smiles as he watches the dance moves intrigued. “What do you think Jasper?” Ryan asks smugly, thanking his dance partner quietly. “Mmm, not really feeling it.” Jasper answers, shrugging and crossing his arms. Ryan just nods, not believing for a moment that Jasper hadn’t felt at least something while watching the seductive performance. “Remember who we’re performing for. Teenagers don’t need encouragement to be all over each other, or to imagine themselves being all over us. Maybe tone it down a bit.” “You’re just saying that because it’s more touching than you did in your whole relationship with Beth.” Luke jokes. Jasper just raises his eyebrow at him, completely unimpressed with the joke. “Too soon?” “Best friend was with her last night, so yeah maybe lets not joke about who’s touched her more. It only makes her sound bad.” Jasper looks over at Blake who shakes his head quickly. “It wasn’t like that.” He quickly assures them. “I don’t care, I just think she deserves more respect than to be the topic of a who’s been further conversation. Whatever dance you come up with for us to do with female dance partners, I’m sure we’ll be making a lot of people jealous.” Jasper bites his lip and looks at the woman beside Ryan. “We were seriously only improvising so it’d be easy enough to change and make it more appropriate for the target audience. Or the same kind of routine but a step apart so it’s sexy but not so much touching.” The dancer suggests. “Less touching is a good place to start.” Jasper could tell by the look on Ryan’s face that his reaction was just what he wanted, and usually he wouldn’t be so quick to accept defeat but the thought of Ryan dragging this out wasn’t really appealing to Jasper. They get in the car to go home and Ryan sits in the back beside Jasper, getting on his phone and looking up ‘Obselete Fanfiction’. Jasper glances at his phone and smirks as he sees some familiar story titles. Blake was on the other side of him, also peeking at his phone. “Oh god, seriously?” Blake laughs, leaning forward to look past him at Jasper. “You’ve been influencing him, haven’t you?” He asks with a smirk. “I hear your fans are all converting over to the Ryan fanbase.” Jasper pokes his tongue out at Blake who gives a sarcastic laugh. “And you can have them.” He states. “Just please don’t read that next to me.” Blake orders with a sigh. “Because a lot of the stuff that gets written is gay smut and I don’t feel comfortable with it.” Blake tells him, smiling as he watches for a reaction but gets none, Ryan simply gets out of the fanfics and types in something else into his phone. “Woah!” Jasper and Blake look over at Ryan who was wide eyed and a little red, staring at his phone. “Sorry, just looked up Blasper and there are some drawings…” He stops, shifts uncomfortably in his seat and swipes the screen to get out of it, closing his phone. He sits in silence for a few moments, Blake and Jasper just smiling at him. “I believe you’ve just discovered what I like to call, the point of no return. Curiosity will take you back there and you will see and read things that can never be unseen. Welcome to the dark side.” Jasper laughs, feeling like he’d unintentionally gotten back at Ryan’s attempt to make him jealous. The rest of the drive had an air of discomfort for everyone but Jasper, who spent the drive with a smug grin on his face as he looked out the window. Once they got home, the group gets out of the car and all go about their separate ways once they get into their apartment. Blake walks off to his bedroom making a phone call, Luke went for a shower claiming he had somewhere to go but not wanting to elaborate on what it was or when he would be home when Simon teasingly asks if it’s a date. Simon also had plans, heading out to into town, leaving Jasper and Ryan alone. “So.” Jasper shrugs and crosses his arms. “What are your plans for the night?” “Read some fanfiction. Can you recommend any good ones?” Ryan smirks at him. Jasper bites his lip and nods his head. “Pretty much all the Blasper ones are pretty hot.” He teases with a smirk, watching as Ryan looks slightly disappointed. “None about us?” Ryan asks. “I haven’t bothered to read any.” Jasper lies, not very convincingly given the skeptical look Ryan gives him. “Ok. Well in that case I won’t bother either. I’ve got a lot to do to plan for this show so I’ll go and watch some dance inspiration.” Ryan shrugs and heads down the hallway to his bedroom just before Blake comes out of his. “Hey Jas. I just want to talk to you.” Blake walks over to him with a serious expression. “Sure, what’s up?” Jasper gets himself a drink. “If it’s about Beth, I really just want you and her to be happy and I know you like her so I don’t have a problem with you dating her. Go and make yourself happy.” He orders, Blake just smiles at him. “Speaking about problems, do you think I have a drinking problem?” Jasper asks, looking at the drink in his hands and sighing. “I think since your birthday there’s been a lot of stuff going on, and it’s hard to tell how much of that is you affecting you and how much you’re just enjoying being old enough to drink. Do you think it’s a problem? Like are you using alcohol as a cover or are you just enjoying it?” Blake asks, he felt as though he was too out of the loop from whatever was causing Jasper to feel this way. “Are you ok?” “Oh yeah, no I’m fine. There was some stuff but I’m fine now. I just find it relaxing to have a drink at the end of a day.” Jasper shrugs and looks at Blake. “What do you need to relax from today?” Blake asks, trying to gage whether he had a good reason or not. “I confronted Chris, not sure how that’s going to go.” Jasper takes a sip. “He’s the one that thinks I have a drinking problem.” He states. “Oh well don’t worry about his opinion.” Blake chuckles, taking his phone out and checking the time. “Am I holding you up?” Jasper asks. “No, it’s fine. I said I wanted to talk to you first.” Blake puts his phone away and looks back at Jasper. “Are you sure this is all ok?” He asks. “Of course, you’re a great guy, Beth deserves that and I can see that you would make each other happy.” Jasper smiles, having another sip of his drink. “So you’re kinda good at relationships and I am not. How do you know when you’re not going to waste someone’s time and you can do the relationship justice?” Jasper asks nervously. “Is there someone you like?” Blake grins at him excitedly, the idea of his best friend being happy too thrilled him. “I’m not capable of being a good boyfriend.” Jasper shrugs, finishing his drink quickly and letting out a deep sigh. “Does this person like you back?” Blake smirks at him. Jasper just nods. “Listen, I had some girlfriends I was really bad at dating when I wasn’t sure what I was actually looking for in a person. I believe people with the right person, know how to love them the right way.” Blake’s comment makes Jasper smile, thinking about what to do with Ryan. “You better go and visit your date.” Jasper winks at him. “You better go and tell whoever you’re smiling about, that you are into them or I will take away all the alcohol in the house and hide your ID card so you can’t buy more.” Blake tells him, wagging his finger like a lecturing parent. “Mm, we’ll see.” Jasper shrugs. “Well good luck.” Blake walks over and gives him a hug then pulls back with a smirk. “Were you sexting this chick last night when I walked in?” He asks. “Can we agree to repress that from our memories please?” Jasper shakes his head and covers his face embarrassed. “Don’t ask questions you don’t want answers to. And trust me, that is a question you won’t want the answer for.” “Seriously though, go and tell them how you feel. Then tonight you can tell me all about it.” Blake pats him on the shoulder. “You deserve happiness too, don’t hold yourself back because you didn’t get it right last time. Go and fall in love.”
  9. “Please welcome the guys from The Obselete!” The music show host introduces the guys who were all sitting on a lounge together. Everyone waves towards the camera recording the show. “Thanks for having us on your show.” Simon smiles at the host. “You’re so welcome. We’re very keen to see your new music video although I have to admit I’ve seen it myself and I think your fans will absolutely love it. Especially Ryan’s dance routine, I nearly needed a cold shower after watching it.” She jokes. “So did Ryan, since he nearly died of heatstroke during filming it.” Blake shrugs with a grin on his face. “Luckily we were able to get out of our suits before we all suffered the same fate.” “Wow, really? So it was the hottest dance routine then!” “It was so hot, I did genuinely think I was going to die. I have no idea how many different parts of this routine were cut and pasted together to look like I was alive and coping with the heat.” Ryan shakes his head, grabbing a water bottle and having a big sip of it as he remembers the thirst and heat he’d felt that day. “Well there you go, the music video that nearly killed Ryan. So Jasper, you’re newly single, I know you like to keep up with your fans as much as you can so you probably know all about the buzz in your fandom with speculations of you dating other members of the band?” The interviewer asks. Jasper just laughs then licks his lips and nods. “You say that like this hasn’t been going on while I was already dating.” He smirks.“ Obviously, you’ve got a bromance with Blake going on, but since Ryan joined the two of you have been really close too. We’ve actually got a poll going asking people who their OTP ship is in this band with you and the two top ones are 51% Blasper and 37% Rysper. Sorry Simon and Luke but you’re in a very low percent on this poll apparently only 12% of fans could see chemistry between you and Jasper.” “I love that we don’t even get a look in.” Luke comments to Simon. “Frankly not being one of Jasper’s top choices suits me just fine.” Simon states with a relieved sigh. “You guys are great and all, but we don’t have that kind of chemistry. Even the fans can tell, look at the polls. These guys have been clear about where to draw the line since early on. I know who I get away with flirting with and who will just look at me like I need to shut up. I think the most affectionate I’ve been with Simon is a high 5 and with Luke we may have touched hands trying to do our seatbelts up at the same time.” Jasper laughs then turns his attention back to Ryan and Blake, these two are the ones who don’t mind me invading their personal space or flirting with them.” Jasper leans against Blake and winks at Ryan. “Isn’t that right boys?” He sighs contently. “It’s pretty much like this all the time.” Blake shrugs. “I’ve basically just come to accept it.” “So if it were to be one of them, who would you most likely date?” The interviewer asks. “You want me to pick favorites? Really?” Jasper shakes his head, biting his lip and trying not to look flustered coming up with a response as he sits up straight. “Ok, for one, these two could not be further apart. I mean sitting between them is seriously like having a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. Here we have a guy who is actually not human, but is handcrafted and chiseled to perfection by actual angels.” He gestures at Ryan. “And on the other side we have a guy who is trapped in the emo stage, acts like the bad boy and introduced me to tequila, wants to go to hell ‘for fun’.” “We are very different people.” Blake laughs, putting his arm around Jasper. “I can’t believe we only have a 51% ship rate, you’ve been openly flirting with me for ages and Ryan is here for a few months and is already wrecking the hierarchy.” “Obviously, I’ve known you for longer, we’re such close friends and I’ve always loved you. I know what you're like when you like someone and you’re an absolute catch. He’s all tough on the outside but sweet on the inside. As a couple though, I mean our friendship is built on insults so I imagine we would be the exact same if we dated and that just wouldn’t be healthy. Also Blake is already taken so that kinda leaves eye-candy here by default.” Jasper checks out Ryan with a smirk. “I’m not complaining.” He shrugs. “And I totally didn’t mean to make you sound like a second choice, I mean I also don’t want to sound like a complete fangirl, but just looking at you, anyone would want to date you. You’re visually flawless, I really didn’t understand how attractive male dancers were. The idea of dancing making you less manly is so inaccurate, have you seen this guys’ muscles? Honestly, zoom in on his legs some time, or his biceps, actually lets get a petition going to have him flash his abs in every music video. I’ve seen him in nothing but a towel around his waist, still damp from a shower and that vision alone makes him not only the first choice, but the only choice. Looks aside though, he’s a gentle natured person but he also comes out with these one-liners every now and then that actually leave me speechless, which a lot of people aren’t able to do. He really takes me by surprise. I think in a relationship, we would really mesh well together and since meeting him I’ve noticed I’ve toned down some of my attitude a little bit, because he’s really just not the kind to have a confrontation with, so I don’t feel right arguing over little things with him.” “Ryan, how are you feeling about all that? Not going to walk around in a towel anymore?” The interviewer asks. “Well, actually I kinda think maybe we should get married?” Ryan suggests playfully, a grin on his face. Jasper just looks at him and starts laughing, licking his lips nervously and sighing while he thinks of how to respond. “See, most of the time he’s so quiet and shy, this is one of those lines where he surprises me and I don’t know what to say back. Maybe buy me a drink first.” Jasper suggests. “Alright, there you have it, Rysper shippers will be thrilled with that answer. As for the rest of your fans, get excited, because here comes their newest music video!” The host waves to the camera, as do the band on the couch before the camera goes off and they all shake hands with the host of the show, before heading back to the green room. “You know if you stopped flirting with everyone, you probably won’t be asked these gay questions.” Luke teases playfully on the way. “Where would be the fun in that?” Jasper shrugs, giving Ryan a cheeky smirk. “Well at least Ryan is the new target, I can get some of my masculinity back.” Blake jokes. Jasper slaps his arm and shakes his head. “Don’t be rude. It’s a privilege to be my target, it doesn’t make you any less masculine.” He states, looking over at Ryan who gives him a small smile and shrug to reassure him that Blake’s comment hadn’t put him off. They get to the green room and get out their phones to see how the fans were reacting to their newest music video. “Well Jasper, looks like they have gone ahead and started that petition.” Blake calls out, showing his phone to Ryan who just laughs and looks over at Jasper. “You can’t go from being a topless waiter at Hen’s parties, to being a prude. You were hired for being eye-candy and a dancer, I say, a shirtless dancing scene every now and then won’t kill you.” Jasper comments with a smirk, looking back at his phone and trawling twitter. “I don’t actually think ‘eye-candy’ is on my contract.” “Well, flashing your abs will be soon.” Jasper winks at him. “You know, I’m actually feeling a little left out. My self-esteem needs some of your flirting.” Blake orders, holding his phone out as he walks over to Jasper to take a photo together. “Blasper fans need this.” He states and the two pull faces at the camera. “So, you think we’d make a good couple?” Ryan smiles and leans against the door frame to Jasper’s bedroom. “Well, in theory.” Jasper nods, putting his note book down. “Ok, are you playing hard to get or something? You were very clear about your interest in me during the interview and now you’re saying we’d be good together ‘in theory’. Like it’s not something you actually want to do.” Ryan sighs, shaking his head. “I’m having fun.” Jasper shrugs, tapping the bed beside him, for Ryan to sit beside him. “Stop pushing the couple thing, I’m still getting use to the idea of liking guys. I just want to have fun, we don’t have to be dating.” “No Jasper, I want to date you, I don’t want to be your experiment.” Ryan walks away, closing Jasper’s bedroom door. Jasper sighs and gets up, opening the door and heading down the hall to the lounge room where Simon was sitting on his own watching T.V. “Where’s everyone?” Jasper asks, going straight to the fridge to get a drink for himself. “Luke is out with someone, Blake is out somewhere, Ryan just walked out, I’m assuming to the roof, he seems to like it up there.” Simon shrugs and looks over at Jasper who was just nodding impressed. “Do you tag us with GPS things?” Jasper asks sarcastically. “No, I’m just nice to everyone so they tell me things.” Simon replies. “Either that or you all think you’re not old enough to do things without answering first to an older adult. Come and talk to me.” Simon gives him a smile. Jasper walks over and takes a seat beside him on the couch. “What’s up?” “You and I have never really had a close relationship, I’ve always found you to be a lot more unnecessarily outspoken.” Simon sighs. “That’s a polite way of saying I’m bitchy.” Jasper frowns at him. “I don’t tend to build close relationships with people who are outspoken because I really try to be polite and considerate and respect people and I’ve wrongfully judged you because you care an awful lot about us and you’ve shown that time and time again, through the way you tried to warn us about Chris. The way you went about it was rude and I always hated the way you spoke to him, but you were right that he was using us and that he wasn’t treating us right. I just want you to know that I just thought you were super rude, but I can see now that you’re really just blunt.” Simon tells him with a sigh. “I didn’t describe that nicely, I’m sorry.” “That’s alright, I always kinda thought of you as bit of a pushover.” Jasper sips at his drink and smiles at Simon. “See that’s what I mean.” Simon laughs, he watches Jasper finish his drink and his amusement fades to a frown. “You know, he mentioned about your drinking the other day and none of us thought you had a problem, but you are worrying me a little bit.” Simon comments, Jasper looks at his empty glass and stands up from the lounge with a sigh. “I don’t have a drinking problem.” He says and puts his glass in the sink. “See, I can stop at one drink. I am just a freshly of drinking age guy, that is enjoying alcohol. And I think the reason everyone tells you everything is because you’re like the dad of the group, we all feel like we have to answer to you.” Jasper walks off back down the hallway annoyed. “What are you doing in my room?” Ryan asks as he opens his bedroom door and sees Jasper lying on his bed. “Did you know, for 21 years of my life, my only problem was that I was a shitty boyfriend with too much attitude. Now that I’m 21, I’m an alcoholic with commitment issues and my ‘attitude’ is probably going to be given the title of ‘anger issues’.” Jasper looks over at Ryan, hugging his pillow. “Do you think there’s something wrong with me?” He sighs. “I never said you had commitment issues.” Ryan frowns and closes the door behind himself. Jasper raises his eyebrow at him skeptically. “I didn’t. I just questioned why you didn’t want a relationship.” Ryan rolls his eyes and walks over to the bed. “We work together, live together and have people keeping tabs on us. Do you really think a relationship would work? What if we have a fight and working together gets affected by it? What if we get clingy with each other you get jealous when I playfully flirt with Blake? What if I am really just shitty at being a boyfriend and we break up and there’s all this dramatic tension between us and the entire band falls apart because of it? So much can go wrong.” Jasper sighs and sits up, watching Ryan consider what he’d said. “I use to be afraid of what if’s. Then I learned that I was just searching for excuses to avoid things. I won’t bring it up again, let me know when you want a relationship.” He opens the door and gestures for Jasper to leave the room. Jasper walks out disappointed and confused, crosses the hall into his own room and flops onto his bed, taking his phone out and going through Instagram. He comes across the clip from the interview that one of the fans had tagged as #Rysper #ship #Getmarried #SorryBlake Jasper clicks on the video and watches it, a little surprised with how forward he’d been. Maybe it was a bit much, but what amused him most was that Ryan was just smiling affectionately at him when he’d told him to buy him a drink first. Even though there were plenty of reasons his relationship with Beth hadn’t worked out, he’d never thought of their relationship as committed and barely thought of them as being old enough to be talking about a future together and marriage and kids. It was on her mind, sure, but Jasper always dismissed the idea on the pretense of their age and saying they should just have fun. Ryan was right, there was an underlying excuse, he didn’t love Beth. With Ryan though, that excuse seemed wrong because there was so much he knew he liked about the guy. At the core of it, after some thought, Jasper concludes that this time he was just afraid. Afraid of the other guys finding out, afraid of fans finding out, afraid of introducing Ryan as a boyfriend and having to face any backlash. He didn’t have to admit to anything if they weren’t a couple, but if they were, he’d have to admit he was in love with a guy, and that was the excuse. He didn’t want to have to admit those feelings to anyone else, vulnerability was never something he did well. He takes out his phone and sends Ryan a message. ‘You may have had time to work it all out and be comfortable but I’m not there yet. That’s my excuse.’ He sends it and a few moments later gets a simple reply, ‘Check out my insta.’ Jasper gets out of messages and scrolls back up his instagram to see a new photo come up, Ryan in bed winking at the camera, clearly shirtless but the photo didn’t go past his collar bones. #Goodnight #Sweetdreams, Jasper smirks and opens up his messages again. ‘Tease’ He sends and looks at the picture again. It would be sweet dreams indeed with that in mind. He turns out his light and undresses to his underwear before climbing in bed and taking another look at the picture, letting his mind wander, thinking about how easily he could cross the hall to Ryan’s room and if he had the confidence, what else could happen from there. As the thoughts come to his mind he finds himself letting one of his hands move under the sheets. “Jasper?” Blake burst into the room, startling him and Jasper drops his phone on his face, quickly grabbing it and getting out of the photo. “Jesus Christ Blake, ever heard of knocking?” Jasper snaps at him, rolling over onto his stomach and glaring at his friend. “Sorry, I saw your phone light and assumed you were still awake, were you...” Blake starts laughing and turns away. “I’m so sorry.” He gets out between laughs. “Hilarious. There better be a fire or something.” Jasper hides his face in his pillow embarrassed. “No, no fire.” Blake continues laughing, trying to calm himself so he could actually talk. “I just got back from a date with Beth.” He says in a much more serious tone. “Although you seem to be comfortably over her.” He snickers. “Oh, is that where you were? How was it?” Jasper lightens, sitting up and shoving his pillow on his lap. “Good. It was weird though. I don’t know, I only kissed her on the cheek when we got back to her place and she said she’d like to go out with me again so that’s good I guess. It wasn’t how I expected, we didn’t have much to talk about. I think she’s still a little hurt over you to be honest, we didn’t talk about you but you were the elephant in the room you know.” Blake shrugs. “Well I’m sure you’ll have her full attention soon enough.” Jasper gives him a reassuring smile. “Thanks. Thanks for being cool about all this too. I know it’s probably weird for you.” Blake sighs. “Walking in at a bad time to talk to me about your date with my ex-girlfriend, what’s weird about that?” Jasper says sarcastically. “5 guys living in a house together, I’m surprised this kind of thing hasn’t happened before.” Jasper shrugs it off. “Well, I will point out that the doors have an incredible invention, internal locks and I can’t speak for everyone, but I use mine if I don’t want to be disturbed. Just an idea.” Blake winks then presses the lock button and steps out of the room. “I’ll leave you to it.” He laughs to himself, closing the locked door behind him. Jasper just picks up his pillow and covers his face, groaning into it and falling back flat against his bed. He sighs and moves the pillow under his head, puts his phone on his bedside table and snuggles up ready to go to sleep. The mood was definitely gone after the interruption, nothing else to do but sleep and hope he could approach the topic of an actual relationship with Ryan tomorrow.
  10. “Did any of you properly read through this contract?” Taking a highlighter to the photocopied contract he was viewing, the solicitor sitting at his large desk with the name tag ‘Daniel Evans’ labeled on the table. Ryan, Luke, Simon, Jasper and Blake all sit before the desk in grey bucket chairs, waiting for some feedback on their futures. “I was sorta rushed into signing it.” Jasper answers with a shrug, playing with his hair, something that had become a nervous habit of his. “Same.” Blake nods. “I did read through it, but I was really excited and didn’t take my time with it.” Luke looks at the other guys who were all nodding, it’d been the same for everyone. Glancing over his glasses Daniel chews his lip and shakes his head. “You do know when you get handed a contract, you’re allowed to ask for time, you can take it home with you and go through it to see if there’s anything you agree or disagree with. Half the time my job is me looking over people’s contracts before they sign it to make sure there’s nothing there they should be aware of.” He explains to the group who looked like a bunch of kids in the principals office getting scolded, none of them were able to hold eye contact with Daniel for even a few seconds. They just felt like idiots to him and found it immensely embarrassing being told, so politely and calmly, that they’d been taken advantage of with the contracts. “He does have this way of making you feel like it’s the greatest decision you’ll make in your life, then staring at you until you sign things.” Jasper shrugs, shifting in his seat and casually skimming his eyes past the rest of the group, wanting to see Ryan who’d gone for a semi-formal look for this meeting, black pants and a white button up shirt that was quite snug around the muscles in his arms. The rest of the guys were dressed pretty casual, jeans and t-shirts. “People with something to hide, will always try to make you feel like you have to make a decision on the spot.” Daniel comments then puts the contract down on the desk in front of himself. “Do you write your own music?” He asks. “Yeah we do. Why?” Simon sits forward frowning as he watches Daniel re-read something on the contract before picking up the highlighter again and twirling it between his fingers, popping the lid off and striking it through another line of the contract. “Ok, so what I’m noticing here, on all your contracts, is a clause saying ‘I agree that the company owns all the music produced during the time this contract is valid.’” The solicitor reads then looks up at the group. “So, what does that mean?” Simon asks. “That means, you won’t be able to perform any of the music you’ve written under this label, after you separate from it. If I were you, I’d make sure you aren’t handing in any song ideas until you’ve decided what you’re doing about this.” “What? We can’t sing our own songs?” Blake scoffs, clenching his fists and jaw, he looks beside him at Jasper who was barely even reacting, though he’d been calling Chris’ bullshit from the start so it wasn’t such a surprise that he didn’t seem too bothered by any of the new revelations about the manipulation they were all under. “Not by the look of reading through this. You would be having to pay royalties to the company to perform their songs.” The solicitor sighs, placing down his highlighter and thinking for a moment about what he could their options would be. “That’s bullshit we wrote those songs, they are our songs.” Luke snaps, shaking his head and looking at the other members who shared his fury. Daniel opens up his laptop and types quickly, turning it around to show a simple google search answering who their music was copyrighted too, the company’s name. “Is there anything we can do to get our music back?” Blake was railed up now, mostly pissed at himself for not taking Jasper that seriously every single time he had brought up his suspicions. “Not without taking the company to court and buying the music from them. I’m not sure they would make that easy for you knowing that the alternative is receiving money from you every single time you perform them or every time your dedicated fans buy the records.” Daniel answers with a sigh, looking down at the contract again. “ ‘I agree that the company owns the right to control my social media presence for the sake of appearances.’ Quite an open-ended statement covering them for being able to use your information and make public what they wish.” Daniel tosses down the contract and chews his lip, watching the disappointment fall on the boys before him. “Are you serious? We signed this.” Blake scoffs, sitting forward in his seat and running his fingers through his hair. “Unfortunately, yes.” Daniel shrugs. “Do me a favour, next time you’re signing a contract, bring it to me and let me go through it. Let me take care of you in the future, because you guys have been screwed over with this label and I honestly would hate to see you get treated like that again. When you’re young and excited it’s easy to get caught up and be manipulated. You know you have the right to negotiate a contract and to take it home, take it to a solicitor and getting an opinion. Big companies will take advantage of people in your position.” He leans back in his seat and looks at the disheartened guys before him. None of them had anything to say now, all they could do is look at each other absolutely mortified that they had been put in this position, they felt disgusted by everything they were learning about all of this. “You know I didn’t think of him as manipulative until now.” Simon glances over at Jasper who was too pissed off to be smug that he was right. “What about our upcoming album?” Blake looks at their solicitor. “What would you suggest we do?” “Have you submitted lyric sheets yet?” Daniel asks, clicking his pen and making notes on his pad while the members sit lost, feeling like everything they had worked for up until now was lost and in vain. “Yes, but only as drafts.” Luke answers. “As in paper form?” “Yeah, he viewed them and passed them back to us.” Simon sighs. “If he doesn’t have any physical copies, then you need to decide on your plan of action. You either need to move fast to start this lawsuit so that you can have the rights to your own music, or stall on the next album coming out.” “Except my song, which we’ve already recorded and filmed a music video for so I guess that one is already lost to the label.” Simon grits his teeth and clenches his fist, furious that his hard work was in vein. “We’ll work something out Simon.” Luke reassures him though he didn’t feel totally confident himself. “There’s got to be some way to get them back.” Blake snaps. “I can think of some ways.” Jasper states quietly, looking at his nails and picking at them. “There you guys are. Where have you been all morning?” Christopher asks as the group return to their apartment. “A house visit? What are you doing here?” Luke mutters, stepping past him and unlocking the door. Everyone else walks in past Chris, leaving him to wait for them to all pass before he could come in. “Well I thought you’d like to know we’ve managed to make a music video out of the footage from the yacht the other day.” Christ walks in and holds up a USB. “Mind if I connect it to your TV so you can see it?” He asks. “Go for it.” Blake shrugs, turning the TV on and taking a seat on the couch, everyone was keen to see how it turned out but their talk with the lawyer this morning had made them feel nervous about being in the room with Chris. Jasper sits beside Ryan, giving him a smile and leaning against him a little, he felt good after having successfully opened everyone else’s eyes up to the shit that Chris was doing to them, he felt like all he wanted was some time with Ryan now, the only other thing he needed to sort out was the relationship they had. The music video was mostly footage of the guys messing around on the yacht together, but since Ryan had filmed his whole dance sequence over a dozen times, they had managed to cut the good parts and put them together to form a perfect version. Jasper leans away from Ryan, watching Ryan dancing with the bikini wearing dancers. “Poor Ryan.” Blake hits his arm softly. “You ended up being the only suit wearing tool on the boat.” “Just means I look higher class. The fans will assume I’m the rich one from the group of you.” Ryan replies confidently, casting a smirk at Jasper who just sighs and gets up from the lounge walking away from the group to get a drink. He looks at his watch and decides that despite it being only just past midday, he’d had a rough enough morning to justify alcohol. “It turned out good, don’t you think?” Chris asks the members with a grin. “I’m glad Jasper threw his little tantrum and got me to give you guys free range of the yacht in your own clothes, I think the fans will love the look of you guys just having fun.” Everyone looks around at each other confused. “Ok, what’s the deal, you look like someone died.” “Nothing.” Simon says quickly. “The music video looks great, when will it be released?” Simon asks. “By the end of the week.” Chris smiles. “So.” Jasper walks over with his drink in his hand. “Since it was my ‘tantrum’ that caused you to have such a successful video and save you having to pay to re-shoot the whole thing, does that mean I will get credited for this.” Jasper asks confidently. Chris looks at him with a frown, taking a moment to consider what Jasper had said. “Unless you’re more interested in your own financial gains over correctly crediting us for what we do in this band.” He shrugs and downs his drink quickly. “I would like more input from you all moving forward.” Chris finally answers. “Will we be credited for our input though?” “It will improve your future sales.” Chris shrugs. “Mm, still your gains though. Those sales don’t filter down to us.” Jasper rolls his eyes, putting his glass in the sink and walking off to his room. There was an uncomfortable silence in the room after he walked out. “Since when does Jasper day drink? Should I be worried?” Chris sighs, looking down the hallway towards Jasper’s room. “It’s not a problem.” Ryan gets up to go and see Jasper. “Where are you going?” Blake calls out. “To see Jasper?” Ryan answers nervously. “No, we have to plan what we are doing to celebrate your first music video being released.” Blake beams at him with devious excitement. “Before you get carried away, you’ll be doing a music show interview in a few days to release the new music video. Just fun, light hearted and brief before the new video debuts. I’ll talk through the details when you get in to the studio tomorrow. I’ll let you get back to your day off.” Chris takes the USB and walks to the door then pauses and looks back at the group. “Keep an eye on Jasper, I’m worried about his drinking.” He opens the door and walks out. “JASPER!” Simon demands, waiting only a few moments before shouting it again and getting a teenager type response with Jasper pulling his door open aggressively. “What?” Jasper steps out of his room. “Ryan’s just seen the first music video he’s ever been in, can you come out here and be proud of him with us?” Simon suggests. Jasper lightens up, walking back down the hall with a smile on his face, all the way up to Ryan. “I’m am proud of you.” He wraps his arms around Ryan. “And I envy those back up dancers.” He whispers. Ryan hugs him back trying not to make it all look too affectionate, although Jasper didn’t seem as concerned, holding him for longer than a normal friendly hug. “We’ll be debuting the video after an interview on one of those music shows in a few days and Chris thinks you’ve got a drinking problem Jasper, should we be worried?” Luke catches him up on what he missed after he walked out. “Oh, exciting. Wait until all those fangirls see your sexy dance moves.” Jasper pulls away from Ryan, wiggling his eyebrows at him. “In my full wrist to ankle suit. Yes, very sexy.” Ryan replies jokingly. “Are you saying suits aren’t the absolute most sexy thing a man can wear? Ovaries will be bursting all around the world, so the fangirls say.” Jasper smirks and turns to the other guys shrugging at them. “Does that not sound super painful to you?” Blake asks, shaking his head. “I think that’s the idea. Loving us is pain.” Luke jokes, dramatically grabbing at his heart and pulling a heartbroken expression. “Desirable and unattainable. I almost feel bad for them, surely we should be due to do a fan meet and greet with Ryan soon. Give him a chance to be asked to sign body parts and take photos with girls that are crying with excitement.” Blake suggests, grabbing himself a drink. “I’ll suggest it to Chris, see if we can organize something soon, I’m sure there’s plenty of eager fans that’d love the opportunity to meet us, especially since it has been a while since we’ve done one.” Simon takes his phone out to make a reminder note for himself to mention it the next day at work. “Anyway, what’s everyone’s plans for the afternoon?” He asks, getting up from the couch and going to get a bottle of water. “Drinking, since I’m clearly an alcoholic.” Jasper jokes but the look everyone gives him shoots him down. “I’m not.” Jasper rolls his eyes. “I go to the gym when I am stressed or in a bad place.” Simon suggests with a shrug. “Why don’t you come along?” “Yeah, do I look like I am the gym type?” Jasper laughs at the idea. “I made him go to a gym with me once. He complained the entire time and spent 20 minutes of the training session debating which mirror selfie to post on instagram to show his followers than he knew what a gym was.” Blake tells them. “I however need to punch some anger out so count me in.” “Me too.” Luke agrees. “Great, well lets all be adults and agree to deal with frustration in our own way. You healthy guys, go off and work out and I will drink and we will all feel better later in our own way.” Jasper shrugs with a grin on his face. “Have fun.” “Should we be worried about his drinking?” Luke asks quietly. “Nah, he’s been able to drink for like half a second. He’s just enjoying it. Besides, Ryan didn’t say he was coming with us, so at least he can keep an eye on Jasper, right?” Blake suggests to Ryan who just smiles at him and nods. “Yeah sure. I’ve got nothing else planned for the afternoon.”
  11. The trip home was perfect, without any pressure the guys were messing about on the yacht while the film crew got some candid playful footage. When Ryan was feeling better, he came out shirtless in his board shorts and as the sun was setting and the weather was cooling down he got the dancers over to practice their routine with him. The manager sat back watching them, having a few drinks and considering what to do with the day so it wouldn’t feel wasted. Depending on the look of the footage, a music video could be put together from the hour or so of the group playing around, being themselves. “Can we talk?” Blake finally pulls Jasper aside towards the end of the trip. Jasper nods and lets Blake lead him to a part of the yacht where they could be alone. “If this is about Ryan, he’s seriously not replacing you as my only best friend, you don’t have to worry.” Jasper jokes, nudging Blake. “You’re still the best.” “I hope you feel that way after we’ve had this conversation.” Blake sighs, looking over the side of the yacht and watching the sunsetting, turning the water gold. “Ok, that scares me. What’s going on?” Jasper steps back from him, sincerely concerned about what this could be about. “Jasper, I just wanted to tell you something. You’re my best friend and I don’t want to keep anything from you, I will always be honest and tell you the truth.” Blake looks at Jasper nervously. “Beth wants to go out to a bar with me.” Jasper looks at Blake feeling relieved and a little confused as to why this would be such a big problem for him. Jasper felt guilt wash over him, that Blake was worrying about him being upset over Beth, when he was having a lot of fun enjoying this flirting and kissing and whatever this was that he and Ryan were starting to develop. “Oh, right. Well that’s good, that’s like a dream come true for you.” Jasper looks away, wishing he could be honest with Blake too, but it was way too soon and he didn’t even know what their relationship was, to be able to explain it to Blake. He felt awful not telling Blake anything. “Are you sure that’s ok? I don’t want to upset you at all so if it’s not ok, just tell me.” Blake sighs, clearly guilt was hitting him too, about his part in this, probably assuming he had bothered Jasper. “It’s ok. I won’t go out with her until you are ready.” “No, go out with her. It really doesn’t upset me. I wasn’t in love with Beth, she deserves the best and you’re 100 times better than me at being a boyfriend. I’m taking time for myself anyway.” Jasper shakes his head and rubs his eyes, it’d been a long exhausting day and he was feeling trapped, on this yacht knowing that Blake deserved to know more than Jasper was ready to say. “Are you ok?” Blake asks. “No, this isn’t about you and Beth, but there’s stuff going on right now that I’m not in the right place to talk about so please, know we are good. Beth isn’t an issue and I promise I will talk to you in time.” Jasper tells him, stepping close and putting his arms out for a hug. Blake hugs him, pats his back and steps back again. “Are you alright? I get you mightn’t want to talk about it but whatever it is, I will support you and be there for you.” Blake asks, giving him a comforting smile. “I’m fine.” Jasper nods, trying to think of a way out of the conversation. “Have you told Ryan what it is?” Blake asks. “Careful Blake, your jealousy is showing.” Jasper teases, trying to deflect the conversation. “I told you, I’m not jealous, I just hope you have someone to talk to. I know what your family is like, so if you’re going through a hard time, I really just want to know you’re not going through it alone. I was a little worried the other week when you were talking about being an alcoholic.” Blake replies, placing his hand on Jasper’s shoulder. “Oh, no I’m not an alcoholic, that was a complete joke, there was nothing serious behind that. A few drinking nights isn’t something to be worried about. I feel really bad, not being able to tell you but I’m just not ready to talk about it right now. Please don’t worry about me, because I will be fine. I’m happy and I’m good and I’m not really worried about it, it’s just a personal thing to work through.” “Well I’m glad you’re ok at least.” “Guys! We’ve got to get changed and get our stuff together, we will be docking soon.” Simon calls out to Jasper and Blake, the two start walking back to the rest of the members in silence. Ryan was hanging back from Simon and Luke who’d already started making their way inside the cabin to get their belongings. Getting back to the apartment was a relief for everyone who’d used up all of their energy, but they had no idea what Jasper was about to drop on them. It was even more important after the day they had experienced, that they definitely needed to talk about what they wanted to do with the manager. Before he confronts the group, Ryan visits him in his bedroom. “Hey, how are you feeling?” Jasper asks. “Good. What did Blake want earlier?” Ryan asks him, taking a seat on his bed. “What is it with you two? He’s jealous when I spend time with you, you’re jealous when I spend time with him...” Jasper sighs, stretching his arms up. “I had no idea I was that special.” He says with a cheeky grin. “I’m not jealous, I was just wondering what he was talking to you about.” “Beth asked him out, he wanted to make sure I’m ok with them and then wanted to know if you made the first move or not.” Jasper jokes, watching Ryan’s range of emotions from shock and panic to rolling his eyes as he realizes Jasper is teasing. “Don’t do that to me.” Ryan throws the nearest pillow at Jasper who just laughs. “You’re getting better at taking my jokes.” Jasper grins at him. “Mm, well you’re getting predictable, I’ve started to learn that you treat everything like a joke.” Ryan shrugs and lies down on the bed. “Ouch. I don’t treat everything like it’s a joke. I’m about to have a very serious discussion with the guys about what they want to do with the manager. That isn’t a joke. Speaking of which how are you feeling?” “Still a little dehydrated but I’ll sleep it off.” Ryan looks over at Jasper. “And I appreciate you taking care of me today by the way. Are you nervous about talking to the guys?” “Well that depends, are you going to back me up?” Jasper asks. “Always.” Ryan smiles and props himself up on his elbows. Jasper gets up from the bed and reaches a hand out for Ryan. Ryan takes his hand but pulls Jasper on top of him instead, rolling them over and pinning him to the bed. “I noticed you staring at me and the dancers today. Were you jealous?” “We aren’t dating so how can I be jealous?” Jasper tries to shrug it off, he tries to sit up but Ryan doesn’t move so as soon as he lifts himself from the bed he finds himself kissing distance from Ryan’s lips. “Oh.” Ryan looks at Jasper’s lips with a smirk. “Well, if we’re not dating, then.” He moves off Jasper. “I guess that means kissing is off the table.” “Yeah.” Jasper gives a disappointed sigh. “But apparently teasing isn’t.” He mutters, gets up and straightens out his clothes and hair. “Come on.” He grabs the paperwork he’d collected the night before and opens the door. Ryan gets up and walks out behind Jasper, following him down the hallway and into the lounge room where Luke and Simon were discussing song lyrics while Blake argues about what he wanted to write and sing about. “It just doesn’t seem fair that I don’t get to actually express myself in this band. It’s all love songs and shit. Where’s the dark and gloomy? I have dark emotions I want to be able to sing about. I've written more than 12 songs that have been straight up rejected because apparently they wouldn't appeal to our target audience of screaming teen girls.” Blake complains loudly while he gets himself a drink. "There's no creative freedom and I'm sick of it." “You're right Blake, and you should be able to write and sing about what is important to you. We all should. But Chris isn’t interested in 'managing' this group, he wants to control us and manipulate us.” Jasper states and drops the files on the table. “Jasper.” Simon begins. “No, look. You can’t deny it all, where’s our income gone? We’re all sharing a place to live despite having broken record sales with our first album and a successful number of live performances. You can’t tell me, while that guy is turning up to work in a flash car everyday, and we are coming in one car together, that we are getting the share we are supposed to be from him. You can’t say that not letting Blake’s song ideas make it onto an album is ok. I don’t actually care if love songs sell better than dark songs because MCR built their career on writing songs like that and they were massively famous and still are. Blake said it himself that he feels like he was a Barbie doll when we were told how to dress and act. He makes you think you're making a decision that you want, but really you're making the decision he wants you to. Singing the songs he wants you to and he's 'advertising' us the way he wants to. Today's music video, up until he tried to hospitalize Ryan with heatstroke, did any of you honestly feel like it was going to feel like us up there singing? On a yacht, we can't even afford our own apartments. In pastel suits of all things? When would we ever dress that way. It wasn't us. What we did film, was us. We were having fun again, goofing around and being ourselves and just singing and enjoying it, that's what we wanted when we all signed up to join a band, isn't it? Are any of you 100% happy with his management of us since our first album?” Jasper asks, crossing his arms, watching the members all take in what he was saying. “Where are you going with this?” Luke asks, taking his file and flipping through it. “Does he know you have these?” “Well he left his office unlocked so these were practically public access. And I took them to a lawyer...” “You what? You’ve been to a lawyer about this already?” Simon lectures, getting up and grabbing his file. “Did you go through these?” “I only went through mine, to see what I had agreed to in the fine print. The lawyer I saw said we can 100% take him to court for misconduct.” Jasper informs them, holding up the information he’d collected. “I cannot believe you did this without consulting us.” Simon scoffs, snatching those forms from him too. “This is insane Jasper, you want us to take our manager to court.” “What is insane is wanting to continue to be treated like crap and taken advantage of. We need to decide what is good enough for us. I am making the decision that this is not what is good enough for me.” Jasper glances at Ryan behind him who nods. “He hasn’t particularly shown me much consideration, and I do believe he’s been using my mental illness to bring attention to the band.” Ryan steps forward. “I think Jasper has a point, we should be careful about it, but I think we need to take care of ourselves.” “Thank you Ryan.” Jasper nods and looks back at the others. “You brought MCR up and that’s pretty much where I decided that I can’t keep being held back. I don’t care what the rest of you do, I want to write and sing and produce the music that suits me and my style. If I can’t do that in this band, then I will go solo.” Blake sighs, taking his contract and shaking his head. “You're not serious about going solo?” Luke looks at Blake in disbelief. “You can’t be.” “I deserve to be able to do my own style of music.” Blake shrugs. "Like I said I've written enough for my own album already. It wouldn't take much, but a better company for me to move my career onto a different path. One that allows me to be myself, un-apologetically." “Blake no. There’s no way you are going solo. If you feel that seriously about this, we need to work something out because Jasper is right, if he is making us feel that unimportant that our views would be ignored and our health be ignored for the sake of popularity, then we do need to stand up to that.” Simon sighs, reading through his contract. "These contracts are binding for 3 years." He looks back over at Jasper. "We can contest that if we can prove our financial, mental and physical rights are being abused. Which I believe we can." Jasper answers confidently. "I think we should make an appointment to all see him together. This has to be a group decision Jasper, you can't run off making these kinds of decisions for the rest of us." Simon sighs and rubs his forehead. "Can you call whoever looked over these and organize a meeting for us." He asks, he sounded defeated and annoyed, which was understandable given Jasper had ambushed them with this information. Jasper just nods and takes out his phone, walking up the hall again to make the phone call.
  12. “Hey, how’d you go?” Ryan had been waiting up for Jasper, it’d been only half an hour since Blake had turned in for the night leaving him to wait alone. “So, I didn’t bother with the manager.” Jasper states, pulling out a chair at the table and throwing down a folder of forms. “I just snuck into his office and stole all our contracts, took them to a lawyer and explained the situation to see if we are able to get out of them and press charges against him for the mistreatment. He’s gone through them and decided we can build a case against him and end up separating him from the company so we still have a job, but we won’t be working under his abuse.” Jasper says, leaning back with a cocky smirk and putting his feet up on the table. “Shit.” Ryan looks at the folders before him. “Did, did you read all the files?” He asks. “Well no. Why, is there something in here you don’t want me to know?” Jasper asks, picking up the folder with Ryan’s name on it and passing it across the table for Ryan to read through. “I don’t think so, but whatever he has on file about me, he could potentially release to the public so it’s interesting to look at.” Ryan starts flipping through it, while Jasper just watches him with an interested expression. “Are you going to talk to the others about this?” Ryan asks. “Obviously, I can’t go behind their backs and speak for them about all this, for all I know they might be keeping quiet about much worse stuff than us.” Jasper shrugs and starts picking at his nails. “Worse than sleeping with one of their mothers’ on the pretense that it would keep them from killing themselves?” Ryan raises an eyebrow as he drops the folder back on the table. “Although I’m not too sure how to prove that one other than her word against his.” He sighs. “How would your mum feel about making that publicly known?” Jasper asks, his feet moving from the table to the floor as he leans his elbows on the table, his head tilted to the side as he stares at Ryan. “Better it come out this way, in defense against him, then he uses it to make a fool out of her when it suits him, right?” Ryan answers, he was frustrated to even imagine his Mum being used as a tool by the manager for some scheme. Jasper stands up and looks down the hallway, all the bedroom lights were off and there wasn’t a single sound. He boldly walks over to Ryan and presses a kiss hard against his lips, taking Ryan by surprise this time. The kiss was short but Jasper was clearly proud of himself for initiating it this time, stepping back and smiling brightly, his cheeks slightly pink as he lets out a relieved sigh. “What was that for?” Ryan asks. “I just thought we could practice the whole, kissing each other without needing an excuse to do so, thing.” Jasper winks at him, walking to the kitchen to get himself a drink. “That would mean you thought about what I said before you ran off, which for the amount of work you’ve done since you’ve been out, suggests you didn’t have much time to do.” Ryan comments, leaning back in the chair and watching Jasper who turns his attention back to him, holding his glass of water and looking down at it, trying to think of a not so desperate way to say he hadn’t needed much time to think it through. “Ok, maybe I thought it was a little sexy that you are standing up for yourself.” Jasper shrugs, sipping at his water nervously. “Was it too forward to suggest?” Ryan asks, fiddling with his hair and avoiding looking at Jasper. Jasper walks back to the table, setting the glass down on the table and walking over to Ryan, he sits against the table and sighs. “You know, my mum set me up with Beth. I didn’t ask her out, she didn’t ask me out. Before that I hadn’t dated anyone and never had to think about making a move or timing or any of that stuff, and I never had to live with her and be a decent boyfriend 24/7. I am so worried I am not going to live up to what you want from me and you’re going to see all of my flaws and we’ll ruin the band and our futures if this doesn’t work out.” Jasper admits, watching as Ryan just nods along with everything being said. “You’re right.” Ryan agrees. “It’s a bit complicated.” Jasper shrugs. “Yeah, the world could end if we date.” Ryan smirks. “I see, you’re mocking me.” Jasper gets down from the table and moves back to his water. “I’m just enjoying not being the one overthinking it all, for once.” Ryan teases, standing up from his seat and following Jasper, he places a hand on his shoulder and whispers in his ear. “I can wait for you.” His lips graze just below Jasper’s ear, sending tingles up Jasper’s spine. “If you’re not ready to be with me.” He slowly runs his hand down Jasper’s back, resting it on his hip. “Then we won’t be together.” He takes a step back, turning and walking away from Jasper, who was in a state of shock, his heart was pounding and he felt so hot his clothes restricting everywhere on his body. He turns around, looking down the hallway to see the low light of Ryan’s phone lighting up the somewhat forbidden room. Jasper takes out his phone and considers sending a text but no words came to mind. He turns back and drinks his water, returns it to the sink, turns the lights off and heads down the hall hesitating outside Ryan’s room first before heading to his. He sinks into his bed and closes his eyes, trying not to think about the way it felt for Ryan to kiss him, touch him and tease him like he had. “Pastel? Are you kidding me? There is no way in hell I am wearing that.” Blake crosses his arms and moves away from the rack of pastel coloured suits that he was supposed to wear. “Pastel suits on a boat, just so we look like complete dicks. That’s some kind of hell that I can’t even imagine being tormented through when I finally die. If I go to hell and am forced to wear pastel there I will consider the devil a real professional at torture.” “You’re wearing the green pastel suit, Jasper will be in the pink, Ryan in the Blue, Simon you’ll be in yellow, Luke, you will be wearing purple. Come on, get dressed, lets shoot this music video.” The manager claps his hands and turns and walks away. “I’m not wearing it.” Blake comments, shaking his head. “I wanted to be a singer, not a Barbie Doll. I’m not wearing something that doesn’t feel right to me. It’s so far from my style, I am absolutely not going to be caught dead in a green pastel suit.” “Well, at least you’re not in pastel pink.” Jasper pulls his suit off the rack and eyes it. “I think it’ll look good on you, bring out your innocence.” Ryan comments, Jasper rolls his eyes, holding his suit in front of himself and looking in the mirror to see how it’d look. He shrugs, it didn’t look too bad at all, but it did have an ‘innocent vibe’. It wasn’t something he would usually wear but he kind liked it. He was first to go and get changed into it to see how he looked. Once everyone was dressed, even an extremely reluctant Blake who did not look impressed at all to be in the suit. Ryan on the other hand, looked immaculate, the mission of not staring at him had become much harder now seeing him in a slim fitted suit. The group were herded to the deck where most of the music video would be filmed. Their first order of business was the dance section given to Ryan to perform. “How come the girls get to wear bikini’s and we are dressed head to toe?” Luke groans, fanning himself with his hand. “Drink up guys, it’s going to be a long day.” Simon passes chilled water bottles to the three of them. “How is he dancing in this heat?” Blake asks astonished. “He just wants to show us how hard he is trying.” Jasper sighs. “Hey.” Blake nudges Jasper. “Can we talk about last night?” He asks. Jasper just frowns at him, he had forgotten all about what Blake had walked in on the night before and hadn’t even asked Ryan about it when he’d gotten home, surely if they’d had a serious conversation Ryan would have mentioned something. “Are you mad at me?” Blake asks. “What would I be mad about?” Jasper asks, distractedly looking back towards Ryan who was dancing very closely with one of the girls. “You know, the Beth stuff.” Blake shrugs. “What? No we’re good, that’s all over now. I’ve barely thought about it.” Jasper shrugs, he gives Blake a smile before turning his attention back to Ryan. “Are you sure, you’ve been kinda avoiding me.” “No, no. Not intentionally I’ve just been caught up in other stuff.” Jasper assures him. “Yeah, you and Ryan have become really close.” Blake comments, Jasper looks at Blake, trying not to look too nervous about the statement. “I just want to make sure you still consider me a friend, that’s all. I’m glad you and Ryan are close, he needs someone to bond with in here, I just...” “Are you jealous I’ve been spending more time with Ryan?” Jasper light heartedly jokes, hoping the nature of their ‘friendship’ wouldn’t be questioned if he joked about him as Blake’s replacement. “Jealous isn’t the right word.” Blake laughs it off. “We’re seriously fine. Don’t stress, you’re my best friend, that hasn’t changed. Ryan has just been opening up to me a lot lately and we’ve become closer because of that. Sorry if it feels like I haven’t been as attentive to our friendship. We should do something some time, just us. Get out and have drinks or something.” Jasper suggests, his attention back on Ryan who seemed a bit off while the manager was talking to him. Ryan suddenly starts gagging and running to the side of the boat. “Oh, that’s not a good sign.” Luke mutters to Simon. Jasper heads over to check on their sick friend. “Are you alright?” Jasper asks as he approaches, tugging back Ryan’s jacket and helping him take it off. Jasper holds the jacket over his arm and rubs Ryan’s back while Ryan loosens the tie and struggles to undo his top button. “I get sea sick.” Ryan admits, gagging as he holds onto the rail on the side of the yacht again. “Ryan.” Jasper leans against the rail beside him. “Is there any part of this career that doesn’t inconvenience you?” He asks sarcastically, handing Ryan his water bottle. “Thanks.” Ryan sips at the water. “And, no. There isn’t.” Ryan answers back jokingly. Jasper smiles. “To my credit though, it is a million degrees, I’m in a suit and I’ve been dancing for the last hour in the middle of the hottest part of the day. I am actually convinced I am going to die on this yacht.” Ryan tells him. “Yeah, well I did say we would die of heat exhaustion in suits on a boat in the middle of the day. Everyone just thought I was being a little bitch.” Jasper looks away while Ryan starts gagging hard and brings up the water he’d just tried to drink. “Sorry.” Ryan comments. “Christopher is going to be annoyed with me, because he wanted me to do the whole routine again, but sexier. This is the opposite of sexy.” Ryan starts gagging again. “I thought it was well and truly sexy enough.” Jasper answers, smirking at Ryan. “You have gone completely pale. Are you going to keep throwing up over the side of our expensive pimp yacht or can I help you inside the cabin and give you some ice to eat?” He offers. “Are you going to help me undo all of these buttons too?” Ryan asks. “I will, but keep in mind, I’ve just listened to you vomit and may not be finding it that much of a turn on to help you undress right now.” Jasper rolls his eyes and puts his arm around Ryan, helping him walk towards the door of the air-conditioned cabin, the other members, the dancers, manager and film crews follow inside, everyone breathing a sigh of relief at the fresh cool air. “Is he ok?” The manager calls out. “Yeah, just, you know, heat stroke.” Jasper rolls his eyes, helping him to a row of seats and encouraging him to lie down. “Can someone get him a glass of ice?” Jasper orders. “Maybe some wet towels or something too?” Luke, Simon and Blake walk off to find the things Jasper had asked for. Jasper gets to work undoing the buttons down Ryan’s shirt, meanwhile the bikini wearing dancers were grabbing their robes to pull on because of how cold the room was. “Well if Ryan isn’t able to keep performing, we will just do your solo parts.” The manager suggests when the other members come back into the room. “Thanks guys.” Jasper smiles at them, taking the cup of ice and passing Ryan a piece, then placing a damp towel on his forehead. “Thanks.” Ryan mutters, appreciating the guys all working together to take care of him. “You’re bringing out the nice side of Jasper.” Blake comments, watching the way Jasper was showing so much care to Ryan. “Oh come on, plenty of your drunk nights have ended in me taking care of you too.” Jasper shakes his head, turning around and looking at his friends. “I take care of all of you, which is why I am saying right now on behalf of all of us, that we are not going out there in these hot suits to film for you. Ryan’s going to need to rest, we should all enjoy the ride back to the port in something more comfortable.” Jasper stands up and crosses his arms across his chest, not bothering to look at the manager, he had figured he was more likely to have the guys agree with him, than ever have that idiot swallow his pride and accept that what he was doing was wrong.
  13. No one seemed interested at all in where Jasper and Ryan had been all night, they hadn’t known about Ryan leaving early because of dramas with his Mum, so the assumption had been that he went out to celebrate without them. When Jasper told them he’d been out and drunk dialed Ryan they accepted it without any question at all. “Who else did you share this theory with Jasper?” Ryan shows him his phone with a headline claiming that he was doing drugs. “Oh my god, I only told the manager, I swear, that was months ago so why would he bring this up now?” Jasper asks confused. “It doesn’t even matter. This will completely ruin my reputation before I even get a chance to show people what I’m like.” Ryan states angrily scoffing. “It’ll be fine, I’ll help cover this all up.” Jasper assures him, standing up and taking his phone out of his pocket to find and read the story himself. “Thank you, for not just having my back and showing me respect, but instead, making claims about me that weren’t true and making me out to be a drug user to the public. I can’t believe you, you’re going to help me cover this up? You hide behind this ‘I’m not judgmental’ lie and try to convince everyone you’re being understanding and respectful when the truth is you don’t like me and you’re trying to ruin my future in the band. Good job Jasper. Thanks for being a complete jerk.” Ryan turns and starts storming out of the room. “Excuse me? I’ve covered your ass and been helping you since you joined, if you’re a negative person hellbent on only seeing the worst sides of people, that’s on you, not me. You’re really quick to lose trust in someone, that was something I said on the first day. Since then I’ve stuck up for you more times than you know about. No wonder you’re such a difficult person to get along with, that ‘everyone is out to get me and let me down’ attitude is fucking annoying. I am trying to help you. How can you get me so wrong? I literally spent the whole night trying to make you see that I cared about you.” Jasper argues, following him out of the room. “You only care because I’m part of the band.” Ryan snaps, not stopping his dramatic storm off. “No shit sherlock, this band is my career, it’s Blake’s career, it’s Simon’s career, it’s Luke’s career and we’re all doing the best we can to make it a fun experience for ourselves. If you think for one minute I’m going to let everyone suffer because of you, if you think I’m going to let our shit manager win by watching us struggle to hold your head above water, you’re sorely mistaken about the kind of person I am. I won’t let anything ruin what we have going for us and you are part of that. So even though you’re shitty with me I am going to try to do what I can to make this issue go away for you. So you’re very welcome.” Jasper stops in the hallway and bangs aggressively on the door of their manager. “Whatever.” Ryan shouts as he leaves Jasper behind in the hallway. “What’s going on Jasper?” Their manager pulls the door open. “You’re the only person I told about my thoughts on this, so how is there a gossip magazine sharing a story about it out now?” Jasper holds his phone in front of the manager’s face. “I will deal with it.” Chris sighs. “Will you really? You don’t look like a hero when you put out a fire you started yourself. We just want to perform for our fans, write song. All Ryan wants to do is share his dancing skills with us, and this petty stream of constant dramas is really infuriating. He deserves better than this. You have no idea how everything you’re doing is affecting him. Fix this, immediately and respectfully, unless you want me starting to spread stories to the gossip magazines about your personal life.” Jasper threatens, walking off shaking his head and trying to catch his breath. He was trying to excuse Ryan’s outburst, reminding himself that they’d both barely had any sleep and Ryan was probably projecting some of his sense of betrayal from what he’d found out last night. It made sense that he’d have his walls up at the first sign that someone was being deceitful. It didn’t make it hurt any less that Ryan had been so quick to push Jasper away after all his efforts the night before to make sure Ryan knew he had his back. “So I guess we’re done for the day?” Blake asks, interrupting the argument Jasper was having in his head. “I heard you upset Ryan, again. Just when I thought you guys were starting to be really close. What happened?” Blake puts his arm over Jasper’s shoulder comfortingly. “We need a new manager, he’s orchestrating problems for us.” Jasper sighs, looking back down the hallway where Simon and Luke were standing just outside the practice room, both look away as Jasper looks at them. “Did they send you to diffuse the bomb?” He smirks at Blake. “As your best friend, it’s my job to handle the bullshit with you, apparently. Although if it’s about our manager, the group should all be involved.” Blake turns them around and starts walking them back towards the other guys. “Why is Ryan mad at you if it’s something the manager did?” “Because I miss judged a situation and went to Chris about it, months ago. And it’s that situation that has come back to bite me. He has a right to be mad. But it’s everything else, you know? People always forget the good stuff when something bad comes up. I don’t deserve to have him hate me, for a mistake I made when we first met, and to disregard the efforts I’ve put towards helping him since.” Jasper felt guilty complaining about it, but he also wanted to hear someone back him up. “People are dicks. As someone with borderline anger issues yourself, I’m sure you get that in the heat of it, it’s not uncommon to overreact. Just apologize to him. You’re both adults, as scary as that is, not teenage girls. There’s no use making it into more than it is.” Blake pats his back as they stand back in front of Luke and Simon. “Everything alright?” Simon asks. “Apparently this one is on Chris. He’s framing Jasper to look bad.” Blake tells them confidently taking his best friend’s side in this issue, leaving the other two with not much choice but to make comments promising their support. Ryan knocks on the door of Jasper’s bedroom. Jasper calls out to come in, thinking it was Simon, he was the only one that usually knocked. Ryan walks in and Jasper is just sitting on his bed with his note pad in just his boxer shorts, hair still wet from his shower. “Ryan.” Jasper stashes his notepad under his pillow and reaches for the nearest shirt on the floor to pull it on. “I wanted to apologize for the way I was speaking to you earlier. I’ve got to tell you something.” Ryan sits on the bed beside Jasper. “They are anti-depressants. I’ve been on them since my suicide attempt.” Ryan frowns at Jasper, waiting for a reaction. “Ok, I don’t think any less of you.” Jasper tells him, placing a hand on Ryan’s knee comfortingly. Ryan holds Jasper’s hand and smiles. “I’m telling you, because the manager wants me to announce it to fix the situation with the media reports, but I wanted you to know first.” “What the fuck! You are fucking kidding me!” Jasper pulls away from Ryan and gets off the bed, storming over to look out the window, his arms crossed. “What are you mad about?” Ryan stands up and walks over to him, placing a hand on his shoulder. “He is using you Ryan. As a goddamn publicity stunt. Now I know why he announced the ‘drug’ thing in the first place. Attention for the group.” Jasper scoffs, shaking his head and turning to Ryan. “You deserve better than this bullshit. The shit you have already gone through, you really don’t need to be having your mental illness publicized like that, like it’s some kind of fucking game to him.” Jasper was furious, running his fingers through his hair. “You think that’s really what he’s doing?” Ryan steps back from Jasper, taken back by how annoyed Jasper was over something that wasn’t his own personal issue. “Are you ok? You seem really annoyed.” “He and I have problems going way back and I don’t trust him at all. Everything he does shits me off but this is really taking it next level, hurting you and purposefully forcing you to discuss your personal problems. He is a dick.” Jasper turns to his wardrobe and finds himself some pants and a clean shirt, getting dressed quickly. “What’d he do so wrong to you?” Ryan asks, sitting back on Jasper’s bed. “He’s used me as a publicity stunt in the past, you’ve mentioned your anxieties, you don’t seem like you’d be able to easily cope with him throwing your personal life into magazines to promote the band. But he’s the kind of manipulative scum that he doesn’t give a shit.” Jasper states then scoffs and shakes his head, grabbing his phone from his bedside table. “Bit late for that now.” Ryan covers his face with his hands, his breathing quickening as the intensity of the conversation starts taking it’s toll on him. “He knows about your anxiety, doesn’t he?” Jasper asks, trying to calm his own actions as he notices Ryan’s telltale anxiety attack sighs showing but his quick fused anger was building up. “Yes.” Ryan’s voice wavers, his throat dry. Jasper runs his fingers through his hair and sighs. “He knows you’re not good in crowds, so day one, he puts you in with us and leaves you all by yourself with a group of strangers. He organizes a press conference to show you off, giving you no option but to show yourself off in front of a room full of strangers. He knew your singing wasn’t up to scratch so he demanded you sing for an audience. He knew you and I didn’t get off to the best start so he made us work together. This has all been a set up. He set you up Ryan. He set you up to fail. He set you up to pass out from stress and anxiety. The anxiety pills falling from your pocket were a bonus, now he could continue the drama, yeah he’s on drugs maybe. The fact that they are anxiety pills is even better. Now you have to announce that too and he will make a big deal out of your every public appearance and act like he is fixing you as you get better at coping with the crowds and shit. This is fucked.” Jasper groans. “I’m sorry this has made you so angry.” Ryan states nervously, watching as Jasper paces. “I’ll be right back.” He sighs and walks out of the room quickly, slamming the door behind him and leaving Ryan to sit anxiously on the bed, worried about what Jasper was going to do. Jasper returns a moment later with a glass of water, he places it on the bedside table. “What are you doing?” Ryan asks. “Making sure you’ll be alright while I’m out.” Jasper smiles at Ryan. “Water and relax. I’m going to go and sort the manager out. “Jasper don’t.” Ryan grabs his hand, pulling him back. “I need to sort it out or he will keep treating you like this.” Jasper tells him quickly. “Calm down with me.” Ryan pleads, holding his hands gently. “He can’t get away with this, you can’t ask me to let him get away with this.” Jasper sighs, letting Ryan pull him closer. “I owe you an apology for the way I treated you today.” Ryan tells him letting go of Jasper’s hands. “No, I made that claim in the first place, I deserved for you to be annoyed about it and to blame you.” Jasper shakes his head, reaching back for Ryan’s hands. Ryan just caresses his cheek and places a very gentle kiss on his lips. Ryan smiles against Jasper’s lips as he feels Jasper pressing back harder, before he breaks the kiss. “Mm, so we’re doing apology kisses now?” Jasper asks, licking his lips and looking at Ryan’s and leaning in a little, wanting another taste of his lips. “Is that ok? If apology kisses aren’t your thing we can surely find other excuses to kiss.” Ryan tells him with a smirk. Jasper smiles and licks his lips again. “We’ve gone from an accidental kiss, to any excuses to kiss in a week. The way this is going you’ll be asking me to marry you by the end of the year.” Jasper jokes. “I don’t think so, I did tell you that you were fake and being a jerk earlier today. I’ve got anxiety, not Bipolar disorder. I am not sure I’ve known you long enough to be sure you’re marriage material.” Ryan teases, his playful personality felt like kryptonite to Jasper who knew there was something he had been intending to do before he was distracted with that kiss. Now all he wanted to do was to kiss him again and he had every intention of getting that, but he was nervous about leading. “Is it bad that I am trying to think about any excuse to ask you to kiss me again.” Jasper asks quietly. “You know if we were dating, we wouldn’t need any excuses.” Ryan suggests, taking Jasper by surprise, he goes completely silent. “So, wait. Are you attracted to me, like that?” Jasper asks sounding genuinely surprised. Now he didn’t want to leave the room, didn’t want to be out of reach of Ryan. The way Ryan was smiling at him, was so luring, he felt like tackling him back on the bed and letting himself get caught up in the moment. “I just think that maybe that’s a good step before you know, taking a step like proposing to you.” Ryan jokes, the look on Jasper’s face making Ryan feel nervous too. Jasper hops off Ryan’s lap, just in time for the bedroom door to be opened, pulling him from his momentary daydream, back to reality. There was no way they could hide in here, making out, that kind of thing couldn’t happen here, not while Blake was comfortable opening his door at any given moment. God forbid he walk in on anything happening between them, it was just lucky Ryan had surprised him with that question enough to make him take a step back or he very well could have walked in on them kissing. “Yes Blake, what can I do for you?” Jasper asks, overthinking if Blake would be suspicious of Ryan sitting on his bed, he shakes the thought away remembering plenty of times where Blake had been right where Ryan was, usually picking on him. It briefly crosses his mind that in all those moments, he hadn’t looked at Blake on his bed as someone he desired or as ‘tempting’, unlike the dark-haired man he couldn’t even look at now for fear of turning completely red. “What’s up?” Blake asks. “You came in here, you tell me?” Jasper asks back, a little too fast with an undertone of defensiveness. “You guys weren’t having a domestic in here were you?” Blake asks, giving a light-hearted chuckle at his own joke. “No.” They answer at the same time, before going uncomfortably silent again for a few moments. “I am going to go see our manager and have a word with him.” Jasper states, walking out quickly before things got any more awkward. “Is he ok?” Blake asks. Ryan shrugs and stands up, wanting to escape the room as well. “Hey, sorry, did I say something wrong?” “No, no, there’s just other stuff on my mind.” Ryan answers, hoping Blake would step out of the way of the door. “Anything I can help with?” Blake offers politely. “Do you think he is manipulative?” Ryan asks, realizing he wasn’t getting out of the room without having to talk to Blake. “Jasper? No, I think he’s too impulsive to be manipulative. Manipulative people think ahead about stuff way in advance, they plan things to hurt others. Jasper just doesn’t always think things through before he does and says stuff. He’s definitely not that forward thinking.” Blake frowns at him. “I didn’t mean Jasper.” Ryan laughs. “Ok, well I obviously missed the conversation where you guys were bitching about someone. I’m going to guess though, that you mean the manager? He’s a dick. Jasper has problems with him, he may be a little biased.” Blake advises, looking down at his feet for a moment, then looks back up at him. “Hey, so you and Jasper, what is going on there?” He asks. “What do you mean?” Ryan asks, feeling completely caught off guard. “He doesn’t talk to me much anymore but you guys seem to be spending lots of time together now so you’re probably more the person to talk to about this, is he mad at me still?” Blake sighs, Ryan looks completely relieved, having thought Blake somehow knew about them. “I don’t think he is mad at you.” Ryan tells him with a friendly smile. “I miss him.” Blake shrugs, putting his hands in his pockets. “Feels like we don’t have much of a friendship anymore but you guys are really close, so can you talk to him and ask him to talk to me?” Blake pleads. “You don’t need me to set up an opportunity for you to talk, he’s your best friend, I’m sure he’ll be thankful that you want to talk to him. He misses you too. Your friendship is important to him too.” “I can just tell he’s not completely comfortable with me now. I can’t help but feel like he’s pushing me away. Like even last night, he called you to go and pick him up, not me. Little stuff like that makes me feel like he just doesn’t feel as close to me. I am trying to show him I still care about him and want to be there for him, but he’s not really coming to me about stuff. Has he talked to Beth at all, do you know?” “He hasn’t mentioned speaking to her.” Ryan shrugs. Blake just nods then lets out a sigh. “I never wanted to have a falling out with a friend over a girl. It’s even stupider that she wasn’t my girl when this all started. I feel like I’ve wasted a friendship for nothing. I don’t want him to be weird around me forever.” “Give it time, I’m sure he’ll let you in on how he’s feeling when he is ready.” Ryan smiles at him, he felt bad that Blake didn’t know about Jasper yet, but coming out to friends wasn’t really where Jasper was out, since he’d barely started to accept it himself. “Hey, whatever you were upset about, Jasper’s actions don’t always come across nice, but his intentions usually are.” Blake tells him. “Usually?” Ryan laughs. “Well yeah, we’re all human, everyone fucks up from time to time. I’m trying to say though, he’s pretty much a nice guy. If you’re good to him, he’s good to you. Fuck him over and he might be bitter and vengeful. I wouldn’t want to be Chris right now, that’s for sure. Anyway, I’ll let you go to bed, you look pretty tired.” Blake states, turning and leaving Jasper’s room, Ryan follows him out and they go their separate ways in the hallway. The thought of Jasper doing something ‘bitter and vengeful’ to Chris was playing on his mind a bit, as he hoped that he wasn’t going to push things too far and do something that could get him in trouble. He didn’t need Jasper to risk his own place in the band to save his honor, as noble of a gesture it was.
  14. “Ry?” Jasper answers the phone with a groggy voice, wiping his eyes to look at his watch before lying back down, snuggling into his pillow, barely staying awake to hear Ryan speak. “I don’t know what to do.” Ryan says, his voice shaking. “At 2am? Maybe go to bed.” Jasper suggests with a yawn. “I’m scared Jasper. I’m so scared. My brain is screaming at me but I am scared it will hurt people.” Jasper starts waking properly as Ryan’s voice sends panic through his body to make him alert. Aware of his past, the way Ryan was speaking now was extremely unsettling. “Ry what’s going on?” He asks as he sits, flicking on his lamp and rubbing his eyes again. “I don’t want to feel like this anymore. I can’t keep doing this. It didn’t work last time but...” Ryan starts sobbing. “I want it to work but I am so scared it won’t. I don’t want to see my Mum cry again.” Jasper pulls back the sheets, jumping out of bed, adrenaline kicking in. “Ryan what are you doing?” He asks urgently, having seen Ryan leave with his Mum at the show, he had no idea where he could be or what had happened but he could hear how distressed Ryan was and knew he was capable of attempting to take his life if he felt he had no other choice. “I’m waiting for a train.” Ryan tells him with a strange calmness in his voice. “Where are you going?” Jasper felt almost relieved, though he was too awake to go back to bed now. “I just want it to work.” Ryan whispered, hauntingly calm. Jasper pauses as he realizes what he is saying. He quickly starts looking for some clothes, pulling on the first pants and a hoodie he can find. “What station are you at Ryan?” He asks as he races from his room and out the front door, headed for the station nearest to them which was only a short walk away, 5 minutes at best. “I’m sorry I called you.” Ryan replies, gulping back a sob, the sound of a train filling his ears. “Ryan I am telling you now, don’t do this. It didn’t work last time, all it did was traumatize your Mum and damage your vocal chords. This time could be worse, you could damage your whole body, and it won’t just be your Mum crying, you’ve got friends that care about you here and we will all be crying by your bedside too if you do this.” Jasper was running, hoping Ryan wouldn’t hear him breathing more heavily and panic then jump onto the tracks to avoid the chance of anyone stopping him. “I got scare last time, this time will be different.” Ryan was sobbing again, his sobs masking the sound of Jasper’s erratic breathing. “The train will be moving slow enough to stop coming in or leaving the station. It may leave you paraplegic or a vegetable. Is that better? Is it worth that risk? It didn’t work last time because it wasn’t meant to. You were meant to get the phone call and join the band and make new friends and have a life!” Jasper takes a moment to catch his breath as he reaches a street with a car approaching. He checks for traffic and crosses the road, running again as he turns the corner and sees the train station. “I only got in because my mum slept with the manager. And I don’t fit in,, I’m still the odd one out. I haven’t made friends, you hate me.” “If I hated you, I would have ignored the call, it’s 2am, I ignore anyone that calls me past midnight. Give me some credit.” Jasper jokes, his heart racing as he hears a whistle from the platform and sees the trainline lights flashing down the road, he didn’t have long until the train would be at the station. “You’re just trying to keep the reputation of being a nice guy so the fans don’t feel let down.” Ryan tells him. “Again, it’s 2am. There’s no fans watching me, I hope. I could have ignored your call without anyone knowing. I am on the phone with you because I care.” Jasper reassures him, he felt out of breath entering the station and hoping desperately that he was at the right place. “Why did you answer?” Ryan asks. “I don’t know. I just saw your name and answered. Why did you call me?” Jasper asks back, wanting to keep Ryan talking until he could get to him. “I hate making people worry about me. I wasn’t going to call anyone. I thought you’d ignore me. I wanted you to. Then I would...” Ryan stops himself, breaking down again. Jasper tries to hide his own tears, understanding that Ryan was hoping to be ignored so he’d have an excuse to step off the platform. He was as much the call for the final straw in his search for a reason to go ahead with this plan, as he was the call for help. “Well I’m glad you called me.” Jasper answers. Ryan was just sobbing on the other end, Jasper at a loss for words of comfort, found himself repeating the words ‘It’s ok, you’ll be alright. I’m here.” Over and over while Ryan cried. This went on for what felt like forever while Jasper looked for the first platform in the station, hoping Ryan had at least picked convenience for his suicide location. “I’m sorry Jasper. I, I shouldn’t have bothered you. I’m so sorry.” Ryan apologizes, the sound of a train coming into the station was heard through his phone but he could also hear it in the building, Jasper rushes down the stairs to the first platform begging silently that he would be fast enough. “Don’t be sorry. Don’t ever be sorry. I would rather a call from you, than one from the police telling me someone I care about felt too alone to live, any day. Never be sorry. Never.” Jasper assures him, his heart racing as he gets down to the platform and sees just one person standing on it at the very front. “You can’t fix me.” Ryan sniffles back tears, he was now staring at the train approaching him, his toes on the edge. “I am not trying to fix you Ry, I’m trying to make sure you know that your life is important to people. That your life matters and that whatever you are feeling, however hard it is to open up, I am here. If you need someone, I am here for you and I will always answer you. I will always listen and I will always care.” Jasper tells him. The train pulls into the station slowly and the door in front of Ryan opens but Ryan doesn’t notice, too busy crying, his toes still just over the line, his whole body shaking. “Take a step back.” Jasper begs. Ryan shakes his head, trying to compose himself again. “I can’t keep doing this.” Ryan was whispering through the tears now. “I’m sorry.” “Don’t you dare.” Jasper’s voice wasn’t coming through the phone now. He approaches Ryan slowly, trying to get his attention. Ryan drops his phone, not wanting to hear Jasper anymore he straightens his body and with numb calmness he looks at the train, looking along it and counting how many carriages he had to make his decision before he’d have to wait for the next train, only his attention is broken by the blonde in a burgundy hoodie and grey sweat pants, tears in his eyes and flushed red cheeks from running, walking up to him. “Ryan.” Jasper didn’t have to say anything else, Ryan just collapses to the ground in tears. Jasper runs to his side and sits beside him, the train pulls out from the station, the two barely notice it moving over the intensity of the moment. The final carriage passes them and they are left in silence in the station. “I am so sorry.” Ryan cries to Jasper. “Come on. Lets move away from the tracks.” Jasper suggests. Ryan makes no movement, his body felt too heavy to move and he was in a hysteric state. “I wanted to do it.” Ryan tells him. Jasper had nothing to say back. He just holds Ryan across the shoulders and hugs him like that until Ryan calms down enough to stand up as another train approaches them, though it’d barely felt like 10 minutes had passed. Over the speakers they are notified that this was the last train running for the night. “Lets get on this one alright?” Jasper says gently, Ryan nods, standing shakily, he felt like he was going to collapse again but he was willing himself to be strong while Jasper was beside him. He felt guilty enough for what he’d put him through, he didn’t need to add being a complete mess, to the drama. Once the train stops Jasper leads them to the closest door and they get on. It was abandoned at this time of the morning so they take the nearest seats and have the carriage to themselves. “I’m so sorry.” Ryan apologises again, Jasper sighs and undoes his jumper, slipping it off and placing it on the chair between him and Ryan, covering Ryan’s hand. “Aren’t you cold?” Ryan asks. “Priorities.” Jasper gives him a sweet smile as he slides his hand under the jumper and finds Ryan’s hand, holding it and rubbing the back of it with his thumb. “I think you need this more. How are you feeling?” He asks gently giving his hand a squeeze. “Lost.” Ryan mutters, glancing out the window briefly. “Where are we going?” “Where do you want to go?” Jasper asks. “I really don’t know.” Ryan answers, tipping his head back and closing his eyes. “I just want to go.” ` The train pulls into the station and Jasper nudges Ryan who’d been asleep for most of the travel, exhausted by his panic attack. It’d been a long hour for Jasper sitting in silence beside him wondering if he would be ok, his own body still full of adrenaline and fear, so there was no rest for him. “Where are we?” Ryan asks rubbing his eyes. “It’s a surprise.” Jasper answers with a smile, giving Ryan’s hand a squeeze before letting go picking up his jacket to put it on as he stands to exit the train. Ryan gets up and follows him out and onto the platform, walking a step behind him through the station and out onto the deserted street. The two cross the road to where there is a bush area. Jasper uses his phone to light up a pathway through the trees and within only a minute of leaving the station, they are standing on the moonlit beach with the sound of waves still distant as the tide is yet to come in. Jasper takes off his shoes and rolls up the bottom of his pants. Ryan does the same. “Wanna walk?” Jasper asks. Ryan doesn’t answer, he just starts heading up the beach, Jasper beside him. There was something calming and soothing about listening to the tide sweeping in, while the wind blows gently through the trees. Ryan could feel his senses kicking back in, taking a moment to appreciate the smell of the ocean, the feeling of sand under his feet and blowing through his hair and making his face feel fresh, all the sweat and tears from the stress of the night simply stolen away by the breeze. They didn’t feel as though they had walked for far or long before they notice the beach getting lighter, the sun not even tingeing the horizon yet but the sky turning a soft light blue, the night stars fading against the new light, only a few still visible. Without saying a single word they both turn and start walking back towards where they had started. “I’ve been struggling lately too.” Jasper finally speaks, he got the feeling Ryan wasn’t going to start this conversation but he had no intention of avoiding the subject. “Oh, why?” Ryan asks, glancing at Jasper who was hugging his jacket tight around himself, the breeze more chilly on the walk back as it washed the ocean closer to them. “Well, since the kiss. I haven’t told anyone else about it and it’s felt isolating not being able to talk to you about it either.” Jasper answers, Ryan could see he was trying to lead a brave ‘opening up’ conversation, but Ryan was grateful to have something else to think about it, that wasn’t his own problems. “So aside from the fact you and your girlfriend have the same taste in guys, what’s been stressing you out about it?” Ryan jokes, smiling at Jasper who smile back, stops walking and shrugs. “The fact that I have a taste in guys, in general.” Jasper answers, Ryan stops and looks at him, the sunrise wasn’t far off now and the beach was light enough that he could see Jasper’s face clearly. He didn’t look upset, as hard to read as ever, but certainly not like he was going to cry. “You’d never suspected?” Ryan asks. “I guess, when you grow up assuming you’re going to like girls, it’s easy to give excuses for the way you feel about guys. I’ve always found guys attractive and I’ve always felt weird about being sexual with a girl. But when Beth and I started dating, we were best friends and I thought the other feelings would come. I thought I’d move past just wanting to listen to her make jokes, or have her teach me dance moves, I loved the way we connected on dates, we really did match well. But I held off kissing her, and when she started wanting the relationship to progress I started backing out of it. I didn’t think it was anything other than I wasn’t ready for more.” Jasper hugs himself a little tighter, avoiding looking at Ryan’s face. “So you’re struggling to come to terms with the fact that you’re not straight?” Ryan crosses his arms. Jasper sighs and starts walking again, silent for a few moments before he finally spoke again. “Well I kissed you, so it makes sense that I should tell you about this stuff. I’ve already made a move on you, so I might as well be comfortable talking to you, right? And if you’re not into me then I hope you can be comfortable being my friend throughout this stage of my life. I’ve come to terms with it, I just haven’t had a chance to work out what that does for us. Honestly I’d just appreciate having you with me for support and comfort, even if that has to be only as a friend.” Jasper states, looking out across the water that was still as a sheet of glass but finally reaching the edges of the sand. The sky above was starting to turn light blue as the first of the morning sunrise begins lighting up the world for another day, light orange starts flooding the horizon, proceeding the sun. “You’ve been extremely hard to read since the moment I met you Jasper, which complicates things for me because I don’t feel attracted to people unless I have strong emotional connection first so our whole relationship has been up and down and I’ve felt really unsatisfying in your eyes, you thought less of me as a singer, you were annoyed at my addition to the band, you have used me for reasons to have a go at the manager over his opinion of your behavior. You kissed me, said it was a mistake and then kissed me again last night but I don’t know whether you did it because you like me or because you just wanted to explore the thought of being with a guy.” “Well it’s not like you got nothing out of the kiss right?” Jasper teases but Ryan didn’t seem amused by the comment. “I haven’t developed much of a connection with you. That being said, I have wanted to impress you, more than anyone since I started here. I am grateful for the times you have stood up for me and I am grateful for you being here for me tonight. I can see us probably getting close and potentially delving into those deeper feelings.” Ryan explains, looking anxiously at Jasper who was just watching the incoming tide, poker faced the whole time he was speaking. “Anyway. That’s enough about me.” Jasper stops and picks up a stick from the foreshore, turning his attention to Ryan. “There’s a few reasons I decided to come all the way here. Firstly, D’n’m’s on the beach, everyone opens up about stuff as they walk in the moonlight on a beach, it’s therapeutic. Secondly. When the tide comes in, you can do other therapeutic stuff. Like this.” Jasper stands a few steps from where the water was reaching and crouches down, writing in the sand with the stick, the words ‘I’m Gay’. He stands up and takes a deep breath. “Now we wait until the water takes away the thoughts that are stressing me out.” He says, watching the water wash in, cover the words at his feet and drag them away back into the ocean. Jasper smiles when the waves pull back showing the sand washed back smooth and clear. Jasper looks at Ryan who returns his smile. “You can put all your fears and worst thoughts, all your darkest secrets and all your deepest regrets on the sand, and the water will just come in and clean them away, leaving the beach just as perfect and beautiful as before. Think of yourself like the sand, let the thoughts be taken away calmly, and return yourself to the perfect, beautiful person that your stress and negative thoughts have stopped you from seeing.” Jasper looks at Ryan who was staring out to sea with a small smile on his face. “Here.” Jasper hands the stick to Ryan. “If you want to try it, or not.” Jasper shrugs. Ryan smiles at him, taking the stick and shaking his head. “Thank you.” He seemed lost for words as he turns back to the ocean and takes in a deep breath. “I’ll be just up there. Take as long as you need.” Jasper walks away back up the foreshore, not wanting to intrude on Ryan’s personal thoughts or struggles. He finds the path they had come in through and takes a seat in the sand to watch the sunrise while Ryan is busy. Jasper looks over the ocean, seeing the bright circle of light reflecting in the ocean, waves had started rolling in gently but the tide would be in fully soon enough and they would have to accept that the day was starting. A fresh, beautiful day, that he hoped Ryan could feel good about and maybe would be a turning point for him emotionally. It’d been a long night, but a very special night in many ways. He turns his head to see what Ryan was up to, a few meters up the beach from him, writing and watching the waves wash it all away. He’d been going for at least 10 minutes and seemed to be busily lost in thought, he clearly had a lot on his mind to still be writing in the sand. Ryan throws his stick into the waves and turns, walking towards Jasper with a smile on his face. “How do you feel?” Jasper asks as Ryan sits beside him. Instead of telling him, Ryan shows him. He leans in, turns Jasper’s face and collects his surprised lips in a gentle, slow kiss, deepening the kiss comfortably, enjoying the more passionate feeling. Jasper doesn’t pull away until he’s nearly out of breath and even then is reluctant to break the kiss, thinking if he suffocated like this it’d still be the best way to go. He savors the taste and the feel of Ryan’s lips. When their lips part they remain close, sharing a few smaller kisses before Ryan sighs, looking back towards the sunrise. Jasper stares at his face, wondering if this was how Ryan felt with all the times Jasper was unclear about his feelings. He wanted to beg Ryan to tell him what was going through his mind but his phone ruins the moment of peace as his alarm starts going off. “We should probably get back.” Ryan mutters, standing up and dusting the sand off himself then grabbing his shoes. Jasper turns his alarm off and looks up at Ryan, wanting to protest and pull him back down for another kiss, to insist they just spend the day kissing on the beach instead of returning to reality. Ryan reaches a hand out for Jasper to pull him up, Jasper stays silent on his thoughts, standing and getting ready to go back to the train station. “At least we can sleep on the train.” Jasper comments as he rubs his eyes and yawns, the night catching up to him. “I hope we don’t get in trouble.” “Psh, if anyone asks I’ll tell them I snuck out to meet up with the mystery person I kissed and you were unfortunately drunk dialed and asked to help me get home when I got lost.” Jasper shrugs, leading the way up the path again, a little grumpy about having to be on the train back to their everyday life, where they would have to go back to pretending they weren’t anything more than friends, and wondering whether that kiss, was Ryan’s way of showing him that they were something more than friends.
  15. “Ryan is going to meet us there. Are you guys ready to go?” Simon walks in with a grin in his black business style suit. He’d gone for a very professional style as usual, Luke was dressed how Fi suggested, black suit pants and white shirt with a black suit jacket and no tie, top button undone. Blake and Jasper were most casual, Jasper didn’t have a jacket, just a long shirt, vest and jeans but he had gone for a bowtie for the occasion, Blake was wearing jeans, a formal shirt and tie loosely hanging around his neck. “One last drink before we go!” Blake announces, pointing to the 4 shot glasses he had lined up on the bench. He lifts one up and clears his throat. “To the poor sucker hospitalized with food poisoning that gave us the performance time for tonight. Thanks for not getting better too soon.” He toasts. “That’s not funny Blake.” Simon scolds. “To us for being next on the list for a show, next time we will be formally invited.” Luke suggests. The four lift their shots and have them quickly. “Ok seriously, we’ve got to go.” Simon tells them, putting his glass in the sink and herding his friends out the door down to the limo that was waiting for them. “Do you think Ryan is coming separately because he’s bringing a date?” Blake asks Jasper as they climb in the limo. “I don’t know, he hasn’t really been talking to me lately.” Jasper mutters, sitting back on the sleek seats of the limo and trying to enjoy this moment without worrying about Ryan’s reason for avoiding him and wanting to turn up to this event alone. “You guys have been weird since the whole suicide thing, did you guys have a fight after that? He said he’d gone to apologize to you. Was it because you and Beth broke up and then you found out Ryan had kissed her?” Blake had every right to be curious but the more he talked about it the more annoyed Jasper felt himself becoming. “What if he comes with Beth!?” Blake gasps, looking at Jasper wide eyed. “Whatever is going on it’s clearly not our business or he’d have told us. Besides, he’s pretty upset that Beth used him and he had only kissed her thinking she was the girl he was talking to, when he’d really been talking to me. So I doubt he’d go out with her.” Jasper rolls his eyes, he was truthfully concerned now that Ryan could be bringing a date but there was no point worrying or wondering. He just plays with his hair, making sure it was staying how he’d styled it, fringe across his face almost reaching his eyes and the rest of his hair was pulled gelled down flat, he was looking forward to growing it a little longer and being able to do more with it. “One day we will bring dates.” Simon tries to joins in the conversation. “Easy for you to say, you’re the only one without a crush on someone who’s unattainable.” Luke comments with a sigh. The guys give him a sympathetic smile, knowing he’d dressed to impress Fi. “We really are a bunch of loners.” Blake laughs to himself amused at the idea. “Ok lets think more positively, so none of us have a love life, we are singers about to perform at this show and hopefully that will bring us more opportunities to improve our career. I mean we’re working on new songs for a new album, we’re learning some easy dance steps from Ryan, lets not forget how big a deal it is for him that he’s a part of this and that his skills are actually being used at last. He will be thrilled, and if given his past, I hope he has found someone to share in the victories and good times. He deserves it for all he’s gone through and by the sounds of it he didn’t have a good group of people around to support him back then. We have to do our best to show him this job is what he hoped it’d be.” After Simon speaks everyone is silent again for the rest of the drive, chatting excitedly as they arrive in the line-up of limousines, waiting for their turn to get out and be photographed. Simon leads the way out, they were each photographed individually and called aside by different interviewers for a few quick questions. “Have you pursued a relationship with the person that broke you and Beth up?” Jasper was asked, he knew he should have been prepared for these kinds of questions but he hadn’t thought up answers for them. “Just to be clear, the only person that ‘broke us up’ was myself. I realised I was wasting her time because I didn’t have the feelings she wanted me to have for her, something Blake often pointed out but I thought I just needed to give it more time. There was a person who helped me realise those feelings weren’t going to grow, they were simply not there. As friends, Beth and I make sense and work well, as a couple we just didn’t. Beth and I ended things, I kissed another person, there wasn’t any long going affair or attraction. We decide that our relationship wasn’t right for us. That person didn’t cause the break-up. I was the one that initiated the kiss and I was the one that made the decisions afterwards. I won’t let the blame be put on anyone else.” He tells her with a kind smile but sternness in his voice. “Ok but have you been dating this person since?” The woman asks. “No.” Jasper shrugs, looking over at Ryan who was walking over towards him, taking the attention from the lady interviewing Jasper. “Ryan! How about you, we don’t know a lot about you yet. You decided not to travel with the group tonight, did you didn’t bring anyone special with you?” The interviewer asks while Jasper tries not to stare too long at Ryan in a sleek black suit, tie and all. “Well actually I did.” Ryan answers happily. Jasper bites his lip, jealousy forming in his thoughts. “I invited my mum.” He tells them, pointing at a middle aged woman walking over to him in a modest dark blue dress, her hair pulled back into a tidy bun, silver jewellery graciously dangling from her ears and neck. Relief washes over Jasper who gives Ryan an adoring smile, thinking it cute that he’d brought his mum along. “Jules, you must be incredibly proud of your son.” “Oh you have no idea.” Jules answers, looking at her son with so much admiration Jasper couldn’t help but stare with a smile on his face too, he missed his mum as he watched them smiling and talking about their pride for one another. “We better get inside.” Ryan says, politely waving to the people watching him. He and his Mum link arms and start walking. Ryan looks at Jasper and smiles then puts his other arm out for Jasper to link with and walk inside together. “You look great.” Ryan tells him. “Thanks, you’re not too bad yourself.” Jasper replies. “I will have to steal your son for a moment while we get a few photos as a group before we head in.” Jasper tells Jules, who just beams at him. “He absolutely loves working with you boys, thank you so much for including him.” She hugs her boy and watches as he and Jasper join with the rest of the band, standing together with massive excited grins on their faces while the cameras flash. Once the next person as lined up for their photo the group moves inside where they are led through to the green rooms, Ryan’s mum is shown where to sit for the performance. After their show, and debrief with Chris everyone is allowed to relax and go wherever they like, Ryan disappears pretty fast, and Blake gets talking to a group of girls, Simon and Luke had gone to watch the rest of the performances so Jasper figured he could disappear without anyone noticing he and Ryan we mysteriously gone at the same time. He gets himself another drink and looks for way to the roof, since Ryan was most likely escaping the crowded room. “Hey.” Jasper finds Ryan standing upstairs on the rooftop of the building getting some fresh air. “Are you ok?” He asks, walking over and enjoying the cool breeze, it’d been hot inside since it was so crowded. “Yeah, just a little overwhelmed.” Ryan nods, glancing back at Jasper as he hears him curse, stumbling over his own feet. “Have you been having a good night?” “It’s been interesting, I was excited to start attending these kinds of events.” Jasper nods, standing beside Ryan, wondering how to turn this conversation into an excuse to lean against him or kiss him. “Cute touch bringing your mum here, she seems to be loving it and the fans are already talking about how sweet you are and pointing out that this means you’re single. Blake was joking that you were bringing a significant other.” Jasper sighs, nudging Ryan’s arm, Ryan smirks and nods. “And there are a lot of rumors I imagine, about the fact you’re here single too. I heard that lady asking if you were dating anyone.” Ryan comments. Jasper sighs again and gives a shrug. “I am sorry I said it was a mistake the other day, and that I played it down when asked about it tonight. Thank you for not being weird about it all.” Jasper smiles, reaching to place his hand on his Ryan’s shoulder. Ryan looks at Jasper with a nervous smile as he places his hand on top of Jasper’s. “Have you told the others who you kissed?” Ryan asks, Jasper shakes his head quickly. “Why not?” “I don’t know how they will react, I feel bad enough about the position it’s put you in.” Jasper looks at Ryan, desperately wanting to kiss him, he’d been wanting it since the moment he saw Ryan tonight, and having to be around him for the whole night, seeing how good he looked, just seemed unfair to go home without taking a chance and kissing him again. “Don’t be.” Ryan shrugs, taking Jasper’s hand from his shoulder and just holding it for a moment, rubbing his fingers. “You haven’t acted uncomfortable with me. I thought you would be, I mean I did kiss you.” Jasper frowns at his friend, a cheeky smile crossed Ryan’s face. “Hey, I never said I wasn’t ok with it.” He winks. “With what, me?” Jasper looks at him surprised and excited, that second kiss was looking much more possible. “Obviously I’m ok with you, but with you kissing me. I didn’t stop you when you did it. I just didn’t want to assume that it meant anything until I got to know you more. I wanted to see what kind of connection we had before I told you how it made me feel, because I know there’s feelings you have in the moment, feelings you have in the weeks afterwards and then your true feelings about something, they aren’t always the same thing. At the time, I was disappointed when you freaked out about it, afterwards I freaked out about having been ok with it and how we didn’t really know each other and you calling it a mistake really did disappoint me because I know it was kinda a heat of the moment thing but it didn’t feel like a mistake to me. Now we know each other a bit better and I’m ok about it and if there is that kind of connection from you then maybe we can do it again some time.” Ryan was nervous, his hand holding Jasper’s was shaking a little and his voice sounded dry. Jasper had gotten use to Ryan’s anxiety symptoms but Ryan had become so confident in their friendship, that this felt different, Ryan wasn’t usually nervous to talk to Jasper, so he could only assume it was the conversation making him nervous. He hands Ryan his drink, knowing the man was thirsty. Ryan takes the drink and sips at it. “Say something.” Ryan begs quietly, staring now at the drink in his hands. Jasper decides instead to just show Ryan how he felt, he moves a little closer, looks at Ryan’s eyes until the other held eye contact, then he closes his eyes and leans in, pressing his lips against Ryan’s. The kiss was soft, it was simple and it was more than enough of an answer. They kiss so slowly it felt as though the whole world had frozen neither of them wanted to break the kiss, until Ryan pulls back to breathe, having held his breath the moment Jasper’s lips touched his. “I’m going to get another drink, do you want anything while I'm down there?” Jasper smiles smugly, turning and walking away, his cheeks turning red and his heart racing. He couldn’t believe that had just happened, he’d kissed Ryan again, but this time, it was everything he had thought a first kiss should feel like. It felt like he’d never kissed anyone before, like he’d never even been alive in any moments before this one and his whole body was warmer, his heart beating so fast and he couldn’t stop smiling the whole way down to the bar. At the bar he could see the manager and Jules talking together, they turned and the manager put his hand on her back, leading her away from everyone else, down a small hallway. Jasper frowns, finding it suspicious and not trusting the manager at all, he decides to follow them, far enough behind that they didn’t notice him, the two walk into a room and close the door, Jasper stands outside the door listening in. “His singing isn’t up to scratch, he’s not improving.” Christopher was lying, Jasper had seen an improvement in Ryan’s vocal range, even though he was still quiet and limited. “Please keep giving him a chance, I can’t go through it again with him.” He hears Jules pleading tearfully. “I promised I would give him a few months to prove himself, it’s been two months.” “Please Chris, everyone loved the dancing tonight! He’s very talented.” Jules argues. “This isn’t a dance group, it’s a band. It’s vocals that matter and I’m sorry he’s not going to be able to record for the next album with his skills at this level.” Jasper was annoyed listening to these blatant lies, Ryan was an asset to the group, even though his inclusion had seemed impulsive to start with. “I will do anything. He needs this, he’s been so happy since he’s been in this band. He needs more time. He will be great, I promise.” Jules begs, she sounded desperate, no doubt afraid of Ryan ending up back in a dark place. Jasper takes a deep breath, wondering whether to tell Ryan his mum was the reason he’d gotten into the band. Instead he turns around and slowly walks back towards where he’d left Ryan, deciding to tell him his mum and the manager were talking. Ryan wouldn’t benefit from Jasper telling him what he’d overheard. Ryan was at the bar and saw Jasper straight away, walking out from the hallway. “Where’d you run off to?” Ryan asks, handing Jasper a drink. “I thought I owed you since you gave me yours.” He smiles. “Your mum and the manager disappeared down the hallway talking, I wanted to see where they went but I couldn’t.” Jasper lies, accepting the drink as Ryan doesn’t say anything, just hurries towards the hallway himself to see what was going on with them. The manager walks out of the hallway, looking the other way and doesn’t take any notice of Ryan approaching where he’d come from. Ryan rushes down the hallway and hears his mum crying in one of the rooms. “Mum? What’s going on?” Ryan rushes to her side and hugs her. “Oh nothing, I don’t want you worrying about anything darling, it’s fine.” She tells him, wiping her tears from her eyes and trying to stop herself from crying. “I am worried Mum, what’d he say to you? Jasper said the manager was here with you. Jasper thinks he’s manipulating all of us so if he is doing something to upset you then I want to know what it is. This band isn’t exactly the happily ever after I was hoping for, the manager does seem to be a little careless about our feelings too.” Ryan tells her quietly. “Ryan, please stick it out. I made sure the manager was still going to give you a position.” “How do you mean?” Ryan frowns at her. “I just, I made a deal with him to make sure he knew you’d be capable of singing well again. How is it going? You said Jasper’s been helping you get better.” Jules asks. “You were still very quiet tonight. But your dancing was fantastic.” “You made a deal? What kind of deal?” Ryan asks. “I thought he gave me a position because he thought I had the talent.” “He did. I just wanted to be sure.” Jules shrugs. “Mum, what did you do?” He begs for her to tell him. “You really think he’s manipulative?” She asks. “I’m starting to be more sure of it. What deal did you make?” He demands. “Can we talk about this at home? This isn’t the place.” She starts crying again, Ryan wraps his arms around her tightly until she calms down enough for them to leave without it drawing attention to them.
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