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Do You Ship Us? - 14. The Show

“One last drink before we go!” Blake calls out as he lines up shot glass on the bench. Simon walks over, dressed in a tailored dark blue suit, no tie and the top few buttons undone, this was as dressed down as he would get for an event. Luke was dressed to impress Fi, having taken a similar approach to Simon with a suit only his was a burgundy colour, no jacket but a tie and suspenders which made him look a little rustic. Blake was hoping to annoy the manager by leaning into his old Emo look, loose tie hanging messily from his neck, hair spiked at the back, fringe gelled down covering one eye. His jeans were ripped at the knees and the pockets covered in studs. Aiming for some attention himself, Jasper had put a lot of time and thought into his look. Tight jeans, a white button up formal shirt with a black bowtie. “To the poor sucker hospitalized with food poisoning that gave us the performance time for tonight. Thanks for not getting better too soon.” Blake toasts.

“That’s not funny Blake.” Simon rolls his eyes at Blake, deciding to ignore the fact that Jasper for some reason found it absolutely hilarious.

“To us for being next on the list for a show, next time we will be formally invited.” Luke suggests, to that, Simon and Luke have their shots. Jasper and Blake look at each other and cheers then down theirs quickly as Simon starts herding them all out the door and down to the limo that was waiting for them out the front.

“Do you think Ryan is coming separately because he’s bringing a date?” Blake asks Jasper as they climb in the limo. Jasper rolls his eyes, he was truthfully concerned now that Ryan could be bringing a date, he'd been so concerned about looking good and hoping to steal a moment to work out what was going on between them, that he hadn't considered Ryan may have a date already.

“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 of feeling like a real popstar, without worrying about Ryan’s reason for avoiding him and wanting to turn up to this event alone. 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 gelled down flat.

“It's weird, I kinda thought you guys had a thing." Blake shrugs.

"What do you mean?" Jasper asks, trying not to look too obviously nervous about the comment.

"Well he doesn't talk to us, but you guys have spent heaps of time together doing all that vocal training stuff. Surely you have talked to him? What's his deal? Does he hate us or something?" Blake asks and Jasper sighs, relieved that it was an innocent statement. "You guys have been weird since the whole suicide thing and then the fact he kissed Beth.” 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 now." Jasper scoffs. He could be hopeful at least, the last thing he needed was for Ryan to end up with his ex girlfriend. He knew the chance was so slim it wasn't worth entertaining, because Beth knew about the kiss and was clearly disgusted by the very thought of Jasper kissing a man, so surely she'd be just as disgusted at Ryan for his part in the kiss.

“Lets not forget how big a deal tonight is for Ryan. If he turns up with a date, then that's great but this isn't a high school prom, it's not about coming with a date." Simon joins the conversation. "His skills are actually being used at last and he will be thrilled. 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, only chatting excitedly as they arrive in the line-up of limousines, waiting for their turn to get out and be photographed on the way into the event.

Simon leads the way out and they are each photographed individually on the way, thankfully not as a group because that would have been odd without Ryan.

“Have you pursued a relationship with the person that broke you and Beth up?” Jasper was asked when called aside for a few questions, he knew he should have been prepared for these kinds of questions but he just hadn't given it much thought. He wasn't pursuing a relationship as such, more so a complete and utter sexuality confirmation.

“Just to be clear, the only person that ‘broke us up’ was myself. I realized I was wasting her time because I didn’t have the feelings she wanted me to have for her. 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. There was a person who helped me realize those feelings weren’t going to grow. 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. Making media statements on the spot happened to be something he was very good at.

“Ok but have you been dating this person since?” The woman asks, holding the microphone out for his answer.

“No.” Jasper shrugs.

“Ryan! How about you, we don’t know a lot about you yet. You decided not to travel with the group tonight, did you bring anyone special with you?” The interviewer asks and Jasper feels himself stiffen at his name. He steps away and allows himself a quick look at Ryan, dressed in a sleek black suit with a tie and all. As he walks over towards the interviewer he flashes Jasper a smile that feels like it reaches directly into his soul.

“Well actually I did.” Ryan answers happily, Jasper fakes a smile and keeps walking, he was done here and he didn't want to see whoever Ryan had brought along with him. “I invited my mum, Jules.” Ryan states, reaching out a hand to a woman walking over to him in a modest dark blue dress, her dark brown hair pulled back into a tidy bun, silver jewellery graciously dangling from her ears and neck. Relief washes over Jasper pauses and looks back over at them and 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 could only wish he had some kind of relationship with his mum like this, to hear her talk about him with pride the way Jules was talking about Ryan.

“We better get inside.” Ryan says, politely waving to the people watching him. He and his mum link arms and start walking towards Jasper. Ryan looks at him again with that smile, 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. "You too Mrs Ryan's mum. You look gorgeous." He looks past Ryan at Jules who gives a laugh. "I will have to steal your son for a moment though, while we get a few photos as a group before we head in.” Jasper tells her. Jules lets go of Ryan's arm and steps aside.

“Well, since you've charmed me, he's all yours. He absolutely loves working with you boys, thank you so much for including him.” She hugs her son 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 has 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, Blake gets talking to a girl group that had been performing tonight too, 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 he knew now about Ryan being an introvert and could assume he was most likely somewhere quiet where he could be alone. Guilty as he felt, Jasper was going to interrupt that peaceful time to himself.

“Hey.” Jasper finds Ryan standing upstairs on the rooftop of the building getting some fresh air, exactly as he'd thought. “Are you ok?” He asks, walking over and enjoying the cool breeze, it’d been hot inside since it was so crowded but it was quite crisp out here, a gentle breeze that washing over them like the tide rolling in then slipping back again.

“Yeah, just a little overwhelmed.” Ryan nods, glancing back at Jasper as he hears him curse, stumbling over his own feet in the dark. "Are you alright?" He asks with a laugh. "You've got to watch out for the air up here, it's a tripping hazard."

"Shut up." Jasper rolls his eyes as he gets to Ryan's side. " So, your first fancy event. You did really well." Jasper tells him. Ryan looks out towards the city lights again and Jasper couldn't tell whether he was thinking about the performance, or wishing Jasper would leave him alone again.

"Have you have a good night?" Ryan asks, turning his attention to Jasper as he's just about to leave Ryan to his thoughts.

"I have. I was excited to start attending these kinds of events.” Jasper nods, relieved that Ryan was continuing the conversation, now he just had to keep it going and hope for an excuse to get to the topic he was dying to work out with Ryan. “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.

“Well, my mum is pretty significant to me." He shrugs. "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. And there it was, the invite to bring up the kiss, to talk about what it meant to both of them. Jasper had plenty of time to think about it, he'd barely thought about anything else but he wanted to know where Ryan's head was at.

“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, putting his drink down on the ledge of the balcony and placing his hand beside Ryan's, gently brushing his hand with his pinky finger. He felt almost stupid being so shy, but thankfully Ryan puts him out of his suffering, taking Jasper's pinky in his and looking down at their hands with a fond smile.

“Have you told the others who you kissed?” Ryan asks, Jasper shakes his head quickly.

“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, lifting their hands from the balcony then letting go of his pinky and entwining all their fingers.

“You haven’t acted uncomfortable with me. I thought you would be.” Jasper admits, he was feeling a lot right now. Relieved that Ryan was reciprocating this small amount of affection. His heart was racing and with every passing second, he wanted more. He wanted to risk everything in this moment, for this man.

“Hey, I never said I wasn’t ok with it.” Ryan tells him with a wink.

“With what, me?” Jasper looks at him surprised and excited.

“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, and until you got to know you more." Ryan shrugs and gazes into Jasper's eyes. "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."

"I'm not sure that I'm not still freaking out about it to be honest, it's been a lot to process." Jasper returns Ryan's gaze, feeling safe as he looked into his eyes. "Especially after you kissed Beth, because then I didn't know where you stood on things." There's a long pause as they just look at each other before Jasper just asks the question that was burning in his mind. "You're not gay, are you?" He asks in almost a whisper.

"No." Ryan answers then a smile tugs at his lips. "But my ex boyfriend was." He says with a smirk.

"Seriously?" Jasper gives a nervous laugh, not sure if Ryan was joking or not.

"I'm demisexual, so, I don't feel attraction based on gender, I feel it based on emotional connection. That's part of the reason I needed some space after the kiss. I wanted to see what kind of connection we really had, 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. Now we know more about each other and I can see potential for that connection with you. Maybe we can do it again some time, but only if you promise you're not going to run away on me next 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 and the subtle ways it showed.

"Need a drink?" Jasper smiles and reaches for the drink he'd brought up with him, offering it to Ryan who takes a sip and smiles appreciatively at Jasper.

“Say something.” Ryan begs quietly, putting the drink down. Jasper decides instead to just show Ryan how he felt, he moves a little closer Ryan, looking at his lips, hoping this would be the moment of clarity he needed. He hesitates, enjoying the anticipation that hung between them for a few moments before pressing his lips against Ryan’s gently. The kiss was soft, it was simple and it was more than enough of an answer. Jasper seemed shy but he was smiling sweetly into the kiss. Ryan puts his hand on Jasper's waist and holds him closer, letting him know that he was enjoying this, that it was ok. He wanted to deepen the kiss but also didn't want to rush things, if he had to choose between air or Jasper's lips he would die happy. They kiss so slowly it felt as though the whole world had frozen around them. Jasper breaks the kiss suddenly, still smiling like an idiot as he grabs the drink and finishes it off, leaving Ryan to wonder why he'd stopped.

“I’m going to get another drink.” Jasper announces, 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. His steps felt lighter, his head felt dizzy and his heart felt like it was going to burst out of him any moment. He need a moment to take it all in. The answer he had been desperate for was confirmed and it was daunting but also thrilling. He was intoxicated by all the thoughts running through his head right now. Ryan follows him down to the bar, feeling himself like this warranted a drink.

Ryan insists on getting Jasper his drink, stating that he owed him after stealing a sip of his. Jasper didn't mind, he just stood back and looked around to see if he could spot where Blake had ended up, but something else catches his eye first. He could see the manager and Jules talking together, they turned and the manager put his hand on her back, leading her away from the crowded area, down a small hallway. Jasper frowns and finds himself following them, having absolutely no trust for Chris. They disappear into a room and close the door, so Jasper shamelessly sneaks over to eaves drop. He'd just been kissing her son so the least he could do is make sure Chris isn't treating her the way he treated everyone else, but it wasn't surprising to hear that he was.

“His singing isn’t up to scratch, he’s not improving.” Chris was lying, Jasper had seen an improvement in Ryan’s vocal range, even though he was still quiet and limited. Chris' opinion wasn't all that important really, he had no idea what vocal training was required to be a singer so it was just hurtful and empty words.

“Please keep giving him a chance, I can’t go through it again with him.” He hears Jules pleading tearfully and feels himself fill with a heated rage at Chris' voice.

“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 desperately.

“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. His voice needed work, yes, but he was capable of being included and he would keep improving.

“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 could feel the anguish in her words and the depth of what she meant starts sinking in. Jasper takes a deep breath, wondering whether to tell Ryan his mum was the reason he’d gotten into the band, but he quickly shakes away the thought, Ryan didn't need that stress. Instead he turns around and slowly walks back towards the bar, deciding to tell him his mum and the manager were talking and let Ryan find out what was going on. 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. “Running off on me again?" He jokes.

“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 turn towards the hallway and sets off with a determined walk to see what was going on. Jasper stays back, not feeling like he should get involved in this. Chris 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 bursts into the room and runs to her immediately, crouching in front of her and holding her hands.

“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. 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 so if it's causing you stress I'll quit.” Ryan tells her quickly, heartbroken to see his mum crying like this.

“Ryan, please stick it out. I made sure the manager was still going to give you a position.” Jules places her hand softly on Ryan's cheek, looking into his eyes as though pleading with him.

“You made sure? How do you mean?” 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 assures him.

“Mum, what did you do? What kind of 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.

@Copyright (2018), Claire Rosalind; All Rights Reserved.
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Complete tosser!!

Why of why can't they stick together & kick his arse into touch !?!? & in light of #metoo you'd have thought he'd at least be under the radar & not blatant at this awards ceremony/ event.

Some people just don't know how to behave or have any morals in our supposedly enlightened & technologically advanced society.

More so in the real world!


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