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Do You Ship Us? - 16. Drama for the Sake of Drama

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 something to do with his mum, which was all Jasper had told them after Ryan had gone, 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, because Jasper had also flaked on the night while everyone was still partying. Cleaned up, fresh clothes and nursing a hangover, everyone was quiet at the got to work the next morning. Everyone but Chris who walked in obnoxiously loud, well aware the boys had been out getting hammered. Jasper mentally adds this to the list of reasons he wanted to punch him square in the face, then glances at Ryan who wasn't looking at Chris at all. As if asking for trouble, Chris asks Ryan to come to his office to talk. Chris shoots Jasper a smirk as he turns to leave the room, that Jasper keeps his face completely neutral in response to. It was only 5 minutes later that Jasper got to find out what their little chat was about and to his disappointment Ryan hadn't smacked Chris' face against his desk.

“Who else did you share this theory with Jasper?” Ryan shows him his phone.

“Oh my god, I only told Chris, I swear, that was months ago so why would he bring this up now?” Jasper asks confused as he reads the screen Ryan had shoved right in front of his face, with a headline claiming Ryan was on drugs.

“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 and putting his phone away.

“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, Blake, Simon and Luke all doing the same.

“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, leaving Jasper infuriatingly confused. This from the man he'd made out with only hours ago, after giving up his night to stop from jumping in front of a train.

“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, to our boss, out of concern. 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 tiring. I am trying to help you. How can you get me so wrong?” Jasper argues, following him out of the room. When they are out of earshot of the band he quickly and quietly adds, "I literally spent the whole night trying to show you that you matter and I care about you."

“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. It doesn't mean that's all you are though, and I thought that was clear this morning. 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 Chris' door.

“Whatever.” Ryan shouts as he leaves Jasper behind in the hallway.

“What’s going on Jasper?” Their manager pulls the door open, but the look on his face was undeniably cocky, like he knew exactly what time was about. Still, Jasper held back his urge to attack him as he walks into the office and closes the door behind himself.

“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 his face much like Ryan had done to him.

“I am already dealing with it.” Chris sighs and sits behind his desk, not looking like he actually cared at all.

“Will you really? You don’t look like a hero when you put out a fire you started yourself." Jasper tells him accusingly as he puts his hands on the desk and leans into it, hoping to look like someone to take seriously.

"Excuse me, that I started? Maybe you should watch your own mouth." Chris shrugs.

"I did not do this. I came to you with what I thought was an issue. Any breach in confidentiality after that, is on you. We just want to perform for our fans, write songs. 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 but it did hurt a lot to have been the one Ryan assumed the worst of, above the man that had literally been threatening his mum and blackmailing her to keep him in the band..

“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. 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 seeming quite nervous about this confession and naturally Jasper starts feeling anxious too. Ryan takes the packet of pills out of his pocket, along with a prescription container. “They are anti-depressants. I’ve been on them since my suicide attempt. I put them in this bag when I am out of the house because I was embarrassed about them.” Ryan frowns at Jasper, waiting for a reaction.

“Ok, I don’t think any less of you. You don't have to prove anything to me.” Jasper tells him, placing a hand on Ryan’s, covering the label on the container. Ryan gives a smile and nod then pockets it again and holds Jasper’s hand.

“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 and his mind racing with thoughts.

“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.”

“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. “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 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, having still not completely came back down from last night.

“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 as Jasper's quick fused anger was building up.

“Yes.” Ryan’s voice wavers, his throat dry. Jasper runs his fingers through his hair again and sighs.

“He knows you’re not good in strangers, so day one, he puts you in with us and leaves you all by yourself with a group of strangers. He knows you don't do well in crowds, 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 people. 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 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 depression 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, annoyed with himself that he didn't see all the signs until now, and that at the time he'd thought it was the band he was trying to ruin, not just Ryan.

“I’m sorry this has made you so angry.” Ryan states nervously, watching as Jasper paces before him.

“I’ll be right back.” Jasper sighs calmly and walks out of the room quickly, 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 gently.

“What are you doing?” Ryan asks.

“Making sure you’ll be alright while I’m out.” Jasper smiles at Ryan, trying to lower his stress levels. “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. “He can’t get away with this, you can’t ask me to let him get away with this.” He sighs, letting Ryan pull him closer, holding both his hands.

“I owe you an apology for the way I treated you today.” Ryan tells him, looking into his eyes sincerely.

“No, I made that claim in the first place, I deserved for you to be annoyed about it and to blame me.” Jasper shakes his head. Ryan stands up and lets go of one of Jasper's hands, caressing his cheek and placing 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, 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.” 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. 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 mean that would probably be something we could do before taking a step like proposing.” Ryan jokes, the look on Jasper’s face making Ryan feel nervous too. Jasper lets go of Ryan's hands and steps back, not sure what to say. He wanted to kiss him, but dating seemed like a huge step, considering they had spent less than one good day together so far. The bedroom door opens 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, not even looking at him.

“What’s up?” Blake asks. Jasper turns and looks at Blake who was frowning at him and Ryan, and immediately starts overthinking if Blake would be suspicious of Ryan sitting on his bed so casually. 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.

“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 manipulating me?” 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 laughs it off. He found it very amusing that Ryan had called Jasper intimidating and apparently still seemed quite unsure about how almighty and powerful Jasper was.

“I didn’t mean Jasper.”

“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 most certainly a manipulative 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 closish? I mean he called you last night when he was drunk, he didn't call me, 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, can you talk to him and ask him to talk to me?” Blake asks pleadingly.

“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. 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. Little stuff like him calling you and not me. makes me feel like he just doesn’t feel as close to me. I am trying to show him I still care 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?” Blake asks, that problem was so far back in Jasper's brain right now it was almost funny to Ryan to hear Blake worrying about it.

“He hasn’t mentioned speaking to her.” Ryan shrugs, trying not to remember the way it had felt to have Jasper's tongue nervously touching his earlier that day. For Blake this all seemed to be about Beth, meanwhile truthfully, it hadn't been that much on Jasper's mind. “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.

“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.” Blake sighs and leans against the wall. "He really is a decent person. I don't like many people but Jasper is good quality you know? 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 gives a confused laugh.

“Well yeah, we’re all human, everyone fucks up from time to time. I’m trying to say though, he’s pretty much the best dude I've met. 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.

@Copyright (2018), Claire Rosalind; All Rights Reserved.
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The manager seriously needs to be fired. He's only causing trouble for them. At least things between Ryan and Jasper seem to be going in a good direction.

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The manager needs a dose of his own medicine. (I don't care if Jasper goes too far: I just don't want him to get caught!)

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New reader just started today. Loving the story line; Captivated since the first chapter.

I am a bit confused regarding chain of events so far. Not sure why Ryan is still wondering whether or not Chris is manipulative considering he just found out that his mom has been and has to sleep with him in order for Ryan to keep his contract; which is what led to him trying to take his life at the train station. Just dont understand why he would still trust Chris and questions Jasper's loyalty versus Christopher's considering recent revelations.

On to the next chapter I go 😊 thanks for posting!

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