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Do You Ship Us? - 22. Stay For Dinner

“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, 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 notepad as Ryan walks over towards him.

“And what are you doing?” Ryan asks, sitting on the armrest of the couch and looking down at Jasper.

“I’m trying to write a song but I’m not sure I’m really motivated.” Jasper shrugs, tipping his head back 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 at him with a dramatic fake 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 notpad 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.

"Are you a good teacher?" He challenges.

"I hope so." Ryan replies, looking him up and down as he moves from the couch, to stand in front of Jasper. "Depends if you can put your ego aside and be a good student." He didn't mean dancing, Jasper could tell from the look Ryan was giving him. Nervous under his gaze, Jasper just gives a slight shrug and clears his throat.

“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 comments, watching the way Jasper's body moves.

"Huh, seems kinda like I'm teaching you." Jasper smiles. Ryan just smiles back 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.

“Under-qualified and over-confident, imagine if you applied that to other aspects of your life.” Ryan winks and Jasper just rolls his eyes. True, if he had a little more confidence he and Ryan would be doing something other than building a painful amount of tension with teasing photos, comments and literally dancing around what they both really wanted to be spending time alone together doing.

Ryan shows Jasper some of his most seductive dance moves to try and tease him, but Jasper just copies them too well and becomes a 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. They had almost forgotten they had 3 housemates completely unaware of their, uh, whatever this was.

“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 and fixing a dangerously tempting smile on his face.

“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 but was biting his lip to stop himself from smiling.

“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. So are you just playing hard to get?”

"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? That's my life, Jasper. A very personal part of it. 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 now.

“Please.” Jasper steps towards him. Having Ryan upset with him now was the last thing he wanted. He had wanted his threat of exposing Chris to end in him quietly accepting Jasper's demands, but he should have known Chris couldn't let things not turn ugly.

“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. He hated that he just couldn't stop messing things up with Ryan, it was always one step forward and two steps back. As he sits and thinks about it, he finds himself only able to find one solution. He would have to be honest with Ryan about how he felt and what all of what they were doing, meant. It was the assurance that Ryan was asking for, and if it meant Ryan would give him a chance to prove he did have the best intentions, Jasper was sure they could work the rest out. He just needed Ryan to have a little more faith in him.

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 quickly.

“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, already searching for what to wear. He had to dress casual enough that he didn't look like he was turning up trying to win back Ryan's interest, but he also wanted to make a good impression with Jules. If he could get Ryan back on his side, it would still mean nothing if his mum didn't like him.

“Thanks, I’ll text you the address.” Ryan hangs up and while Jasper waits for the text, he gets ready to go. His 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.

The 'look casual' idea had started and ended with black skinny jeans. From there it got lost somewhere between 'going to court to plead guilty for being an idiot' and 'he can't be mad, if I look cute, right?' A black button up collared shirt and a plaid white and red vest on top which he's fairly sure he had never worn before and felt weird wearing now but if he took it off his outfit would resemble that of funeral attire and giving off the vibe of death wasn't likely to help him advance this relationship.

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 to talk in private on the porch.

“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, slipping one hand into his pocket, the other rubbing at the stress lines on his forehead.

“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, Jasper stands a little straighter as he realizes just how much trust Ryan was putting in him with this.

“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 hands.

“Oh of course.” Jasper nods, letting Ryan lead him into his family home still holding one hand until they get into the kitchen where Ryan’s mum was cooking.

“Mum.” Ryan calls out, she looks over with a bright smile though Jasper could tell she had been crying.

“Jasper, right?” Jules asks, walking over to give him a hug to greet him. “How are you?” She asks calmly.

“I’m good, how are you? I’m sorry to hear Chris came by and upset you.” Jasper tells her with a sigh, a little surprised by the hug but he appreciated how warm and welcome he felt.

“Oh it’s ok. I believe in Ryan. I don’t care what anyone else says.” Jules shrugs it off as she steps back and wipes a tear from her eye quickly, 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 a lying piece of manipulative trash. He’s just in it for money and likes to make problems out of nothing so he can get us more interest in the media. 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. Jules had turned back to him, a kind smile on her face as Jasper spoke of her son.

“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 at Jasper then back over at his mum who was looking back at the food she was stirring. “Do you need any help with it all?” Ryan asks his mum politely, walking over to her side and putting a hand on her shoulder, massaging lovingly.

“No, it’s all pretty much ready.” Jules answers, patting his hand and turning to hug him again. A moment of shared relief between them, that they didn't have to worry about Chris and his bullshit claims.

“Mind if I show Jasper around the house then?” Ryan asks as she pulls back, Jules nods at him and starts setting the table. Ryan walks back over towards Jasper and nudges him. "Come on." He gestures at Jasper to follow him and leads the way 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'm 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. I need to work on that, and I know I do. I just, I really hope I didn't ruin things with you.” 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.

"You thought you had ruined things? I'm the one that ruined things." Jasper replies quickly. "I have been being selfish with you and it's not fair of me to just keep leading you along. All I wanted was to impress you by standing up to Chris, and that royally backfired on me. I don't know why you even still like me at this point." He admits, wondering who's side his brain was suddenly on to be offering up reasons Ryan shouldn't want to continue pursuing him.

“I don't just like you. I really like you. I just want to fall in love with you, honestly.” 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 again. “I know it's new to you, but I'm not going to rush you, if you think you can fall in love with me, that's all the incentive I need to spend my life dedicated to making you comfortable and happy. If you want that, then say yes, and date me.” Ryan pleads in a whisper, his lips brushing against Jasper's but not letting Jasper kiss him.

“If I say yes, can I get another kiss?” Jasper asks in a needy tone.

“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.

“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. Ryan takes a few steps forward, forcing Jasper back until his back is against the wall, the heated kiss pinning him there, until Jasper breaks the kiss, looking around nervously and giving a cute shy laugh.

“You ok?” Ryan asks with a smile, taking half a step back.

“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, suddenly feeling the need to whisper. Ryan grins 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 and risking being caught.

“You met Beth’s parents didn’t you?” He asks, moving to stand beside Jasper, his back against the wall and his hand finding Jasper's.

“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 looks at Jasper with a smirk.

“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, realizing he'd heard the references to Jasper's upbringing more than a dozen times and it'd never occurred to him that they mightn't support Jasper's sexuality. He watches 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, looking down at their hands and faking a smile.

“Sorry I didn’t even think to ask until now.” Ryan sighs, feeling a little extra guilty now that Jasper hadn't just had to come to terms with his sexuality, but he'd had to come to terms with it knowing he would be possibly cast out by his parents because of it.

“Honestly I didn’t even think about it until now either, which shows how much their opinion of me means." Jasper shrugs, a hint of bitterness that is enough to give Ryan reason to doubt it'd really had no impact on his hesitation to accept himself. "They haven’t even contacted to ask about Beth. What about your mum? Does she know about you?” Jasper asks, looking back up into Ryan's eyes and it's Ryan's turn to look away and shrug.

“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, rubbing Jasper's hand with his thumb and looking back at him with a sweet smile.

“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 replies, though the thought of coming out to someone else was daunting. Better for her to be told, than to have walked into the room 3 minutes ago to find them kissing against the wall like horny teenagers. “But she better like me more than the last guy.” Jasper jokes, trying to get back some of that 'under-qualified and over-confident' attitude from earlier in the afternoon.

“Well I know I sure do.” Ryan steps away from the wall and wraps his arm around Jasper’s waist then kisses him swiftly again. “Come on, dinner time.”

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

Ah, Jasper has a hidden talent as a dancer! Maybe Ryan and he will do a video together! 😍

Nice to see Ryan and Jasper make some progress in their relationship as well. (Ryan is such a romantic!) 😊

And Chris is still a pig. 🐽

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Ok now that was a big step forward for the boys, I like it! They still have to deal with Chris tho, and that's probably not going to go that smooth.

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They broke through several barriers there.  Good for them - onward and upwards!

Chris really is a nozzle.

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I’m glad that Jasper and Ryan have finally started to work out that they both want a relationship with each other. I’m almost sure that Jules will be very accepting of Jasper as long as he treats Ryan with respect and continues to work with him on his vocal skills so he can get back to where he was before and possibly even further than that. Ryan will continue to teach Jasper the dance routine for each song as well as teaching the other guys in the band. I think the band needs to come together and file suit against Chris for his mismanagement of the band business and stealing from them in the process, if not I think he’s going to keep going after Jules threatening to get rid of Ryan from the band. 

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