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Do You Ship Us? - 15. Stop Me

Trigger warning, this chapter contains suicidal thoughts and actions.

“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. After he'd left the party with his mum, Jasper and Blake had hit the bar to celebrate the show and come home fairly inebriated only an hour ago.

“I don’t know what to do.” Ryan says, his voice shaking. Jasper frowns and looks at his phone to see what the time was.

“At 2am? Maybe go to bed.” Jasper suggests with a yawn, his head spinning.

“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. He quickly finds some pain killers and his water bottle, feeling like he wasn't about to have time for this hangover.

“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 sense of peace 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 then he starts looking for some clothes, pulling on the first pair of pants and a hoodie he can find.

“What station are you at Ryan?” He asks, slipping on shoes and racing from his room, 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, luckily his sobs mask the sound of Jasper’s erratic breathing as he turns a corner and feels nauseous and out of breath.

“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 another corner and sees the train station. With a stitch in his side and his head throbbing Jasper pushes himself harder.

“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 all hate me.” If it wasn't so serious, Jasper would have rolled his eyes at how absurd the suggestion was, but in his already sensitive state Jasper knew Ryan needed reassurance.

“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 train line 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 argues, completely irrationally, given only a few hours ago they were holding hands and kissing on the roof.

“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 almost sounding as though he had wished Jasper hadn't.

“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 find which platform he was on and get to him. He quickly scans the board to the next expecting train and rushes towards the platform it was to arrive at.

“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 at this point, 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 found his way to the platform.

“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 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, feeling completely out of breath by the time he gets down to the platform and sees just one person standing on it at the very front, feet half over the safety line.

“You can’t fix me.” Ryan sniffles back tears, he was now staring at the train approaching him, shaking with fear and adrenaline.

“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 safety.

“I am so sorry.”

“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, 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 only to see it's all just darkness and lights from the city whizzing past. “Where are we going?”

“Where do you want to go?” Jasper asks, not taking his eyes off Ryan even to consult the map and see where this train actually went.

“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 last station on it's route 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. He'd at least somewhat sobered up during his run. It would hit him later, he was sure. He'd was glad Ryan had at least slept. It'd given him time to work out where they were going and what they could do without worrying about Ryan. The rest of the time had been spent either looking at Ryan's face and taking in how peaceful he looked, or thinking of all the ways to get away with homicide because he really didn't know how much longer he could put up with Chris' disgusting treatment of people.

“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 jumper to put it on as he stands to exit the train. Having the jumper on again warmed up his body but his hand felt cold not being held. He slips his hands in the pouch of the hoodie and walks off the train first, 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 suggests. 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 breeze 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 serene and gentle kiss of wind on his cheeks. 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, not unless Ryan told him he didn't want to talk. He wanted things out in the open, seeing how dangerous it was to bottle up feelings.

“Oh, why?” Ryan asks, glancing at Jasper who was hugging his jumper 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 smiles back, stops walking and looks at Ryan for a moment.

“Ex girlfriend. And, the fact that I have a taste in guys, in general.” Jasper answers, 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, trying not to sound too doubtful, though he just didn't understand how Jasper could be so lacking of self awareness.

“I guess, when you grow up being told there's no other option, and 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 told myself its an admiration thing. I mean I've never actively sat down and fantasized about a guy, but then again I've not fantasized about a women either. I always felt weird about the thought of being sexual with a girl. 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 means 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. Which is fine, if you're still working yourself out and want to experiment with guys that's fine but I don't want to be an experiment for you. I just, can't be that for you.” Ryan states with a shrug.

“Well it’s not like you got nothing out of the kiss right?” Jasper teases but Ryan didn’t seem amused by the comment, his expression not changing at all. "So, you really think I don't like you or something? Because I thought we'd gone over this, that I don't have a problem with you. And I don't want to experiment. I'm freaking out enough as it is about kissing one guy. I didn't even really know until last night, if I was definitely, you know. Or if it was just an emotional time and I was confused. I mean, I am confused, but I do know that I really enjoyed kissing you and I would like to again." There was no point leaving Ryan to question his feelings because apparently Ryan was good at completely misconstruing his intentions.

“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, he didn't want to dismiss the potential with Jasper, but he also didn't want to expect anything and end up disappointed and hurt. He glances 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, he 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 smiles at Ryan who was staring out to sea with a content 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, his own mind feeling as clear as the cloudless morning sky.

Jasper looks over the ocean, seeing the bright circle of light reflecting in the water, 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. As Jasper gazes upon Ryan watching him stand back to let the water wash away his pain, he feels like he could very easily stare at him all day. There was something protective ignited withing him, he didn't want Ryan to be hurt, or upset ever again. He definitely never wanted to receive a suicidal phone call again. Ryan was sensitive and kind, to a fault, he needed to stand up for himself more but until he could learn to do that, Jasper had no intention of letting anyone get away with mistreating him again.

It’d been a long night, but a very special night in many ways, Jasper thought as he closed his eyes, feeling drained as his hangover starts to kick in, only made worse by the one hour of sleep he'd had. 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 40 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, his steps seemed light and his shoulders were back, like he wasn't held down by the burden of his thoughts anymore.

“How do you feel?” Jasper asks as Ryan sits close 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, one arm going around Jasper's back and the other hand caressing his face. Jasper quickly kisses back, thrilled to be getting another taste of his lips so soon, he wanted it to never end, he wanted to kiss Ryan for the rest of his life and it felt like Ryan wanted the same as he parted his lips slightly and brushed his tongue across Jasper's. Jasper was nervous but keen, letting Ryan deepen the kiss comfortably, it was weird and Jasper was sure he was probably terrible at it but Ryan wasn't. He was definitely taking the lead and showing his talents. They continue enjoying the more passionate feeling and Jasper doesn’t pull away until he’s nearly out of breath, even then he 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 and tongue, missing it the moment it ended. 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 to get out of bed 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 and Jasper stays silent on his thoughts, standing and getting ready to go back to the train station and reality. He'd just made out with his band mate and it had been the most incredibly passionate moment that had him feeling like he would throw caution to the wind just for another chance to have Ryan's tongue in his mouth, but now he had to go back to being 'straight'.

“At least we can sleep on the train.” Jasper comments as he rubs his eyes and yawns, the night catching up to him though he regretted nothing.

“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 about to start walking when Ryan pulls him in for one last kiss, only a quick one this time. Ryan smiles at Jasper and lets him start 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, while he didn't know what they were now.

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