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Do You Ship Us? - 25. Honesty

“Good morning everyone. I’ve got something to talk to you all about.” Chris walks into the room, feeling the tension in the room, everyone glaring at him.

“Is it about Ryan? Because, we’ve heard what you are thinking of doing with him and I don’t think he deserves to be kicked out of the band.” Simon crosses his arms, a stern expression on his face. Finally standing up to Chris, and it only took completely ripping them off for the whole time they had been employed, toying with their personal information to stir up media attention, endangering their health and showing no regard for them in anyway, then committing actual sexual assault to get him to say one tough line to the guy. Still, Chris was actually taken aback by Simon being the one to say this and not Jasper.

“No, actually, it’s about your contracts. I've adjusted one of the clauses in regards to who the music rights are with. From now on royalties will go to you guys and the company will be taking a 35% cut from those. It was brought to my attention that you should have the royalties for your music and the rights to the songs themselves. I’ve done this so there won’t be any problems stalling the production of the next album.” Chris tells them in a professional, quite rehearsed tone. Jasper was most surprised out of everyone, despite having been the one that asked for this, after the way Chris had threatened Ryan’s position last night he thought for sure he had lost this battle, but hearing Chris be so unimpressed as he made this statement was fulfilling. At least this was a good first step towards a proper fight for all they had been wronged for from this company. Jasper tries to keep his smugness to a minimum, but couldn’t help but feel proud to have this victory.

"Oh wow, thank you so much. That's so thoughtful of you." Apparently his smart mouth missed the memo of not being smug. Chris doesn't look at him, only giving him even more satisfaction.

“So you’re not going to fire Ryan?” Luke asks, confused about why it seemed like he was just doing the right thing for seemingly no ulterior outcome.

“I don’t need to, he only signed on for 3 months, it’s up to me to ask him to re-sign the contract if I feel like he has earned a permanent position in the band.” Chris scoffs, turning and walking away quickly before everyone could jump down his throat in Ryan’s defense. There it was, of course he wouldn't just give something up without taking something else away from the group.

“We’ll sort it out Ryan, he’s not going to scrap you from the band.” Luke promises, though he had no idea how they could really ensure that. The good thing about Ryan lying about being the one to bribe Chris was that Simon, Blake and Luke felt as though they owed it to him to protect him now that he'd gotten them the rights back for their music.

“Not after we give your dance skills a proper chance to shine at the show. Get all the fan support and show him what an asset you are to us. He’s greedy, we show him dollar signs, and he’ll want to keep you.” Jasper smiles over at Ryan, letting him be the hero

“We’ll organize that fan meet too, so the fans can fawn over you and he can see how loved you are. If fans love you and he cuts you from the band we'll lose support and he'll lose his market.” Simon states feeling confident that Ryan's position in the band would be easy to secure.

“You’ve stretched right? We’ve got a lot to do to get ourselves ready for that show.” Jasper states, gesturing for Ryan to take to the floor and start showing off that hard work he'd been putting in to be in this group.

“Ok, lets get started.” Ryan grins, heading into the middle of the room, getting started on the dance routine he had in mind for the show.

 

The group worked really hard on the dance routine, getting excited about how it looked by the end of the day when they all had a better grasp on it and it looked decent. At the end of the day everyone agrees to go out and get some drinks to celebrate the improvement in their new skills.Things were coming together, this whole having a dancer in the band thing was really starting to pay off.

“So when are you planning on telling him?” Ryan asks quietly at the bar as Jasper’s ordering himself a drink. Jasper turns around and looks at Blake who was laughing while he was talking to Luke about something.

“I have no idea.” Jasper sighs, leaning against the bar and watching his friends. “What if everyone gets weird and assumes I have crushes on them?” Jasper turns his attention back to Ryan, looking at his lips for a moment before turning to accept his drink and pay the bartender. Ryan considers it, silently glancing over at their friends to see if there were any features he thought Jasper might find attractive. They were all good looking but so different Ryan couldn't really picture what Jasper might like if he did have an interest in any of them. Luke was probably the most similar to Ryan in his behaviour, quiet comparatively to Jasper and Blake, and not the 'leader' that Simon supposedly was. But even that was very different, and visually Luke wasn't anything like Ryan. Simon wouldn't be Jasper's type in any universe, there was always too much of a disconnect between them that Ryan had noticed from day one. Jasper's personality was almost repulsive to Simon and Jasper wasn't too impressed by Simon's either, though if it was looks, Simon was tall and fit so he did look best in a suit. So that left Blake, who seemed like the most obvious one for Jasper to have a thing for. Even Ryan couldn't deny, though Blake was far from his type, that Blake's whole 'bad boy'/'emo' image and personality made him interesting enough to be bordering on alluring.

Have you ever had a crush on any of them?” Ryan asks with a smirk, thinking Jasper just might admit to having some denied feelings towards his best friend.

“What? No. I told you I didn’t really know until we kissed, that I liked guys.” Jasper assures him quietly.

“Well then you have nothing to worry about do you?” Ryan shrugs.

“But Blake and I have been weird at times. Like not actually into each other, but acting up on what the fans think. You know, like cuddling more on stage, the exaggerated flirting, arm around the shoulders while we walk kind of the relationship.” Jasper runs his finger around the rim of the glass and leans on the bar.

“Yeah I noticed that this morning actually.” Ryan laughs to himself. Despite Blake's thoughtless comments this morning, Ryan could almost imagine that their 'weird at times' friendship could probably get much closer to crossing a line. To him, Blake seemed like the kind of 'straight' guy that wouldn't consider jerking off with a friend, or receiving a blowjob as gay, so long as he wasn't the one touching another guy.

“Were you jealous of him having his arm around me?” Jasper asks with a cheeky smile, interrupting the much less pg thought that Ryan had just gotten side tracked on.

"Have you and Blake ever seen each other naked?" Ryan asks, now that he'd thought of it he really wanted to know. Jasper thinks for a few moments while Ryan just laughs. "Are you having to think about it?" He asks.

"Pretty sure we haven't. I'm just thinking because I mean, we've lived together for ages and he does tend to walk naked from the bathroom to his bedroom some times, I've never looked though, like I've been aware he was naked but not taken any notice." Jasper shrugs, having some of his drink. "Oh god, he's going to be so uncomfortable around me isn't he?" Jasper turns to Ryan, putting his drink down and running his hands over his face.

“If you aren’t ready to tell him, don’t. I do think he’s probably not going to say the right thing around you, until he knows though. It’s up to you when you want to do that. I hope you don’t feel pressured just because I told my mum.” Ryan rubs Jasper's back comfortingly. Jasper groans and takes his glass again, drinking his whole drink quickly.

“How did you tell your mum? Might give me some inspiration.” He asks, putting the empty glass on the bar.

“Oh, no. I didn’t get the chance to tell her, my ex knew I wasn’t ready to come out so he orchestrated a way for my Mum to walk in on us making out. So that’s how she found out about me.” Ryan shrugs and finishes the rest of his drink too, only his wasn't alcohol. "Sorry, I don’t want to bring him up all the time.” Ryan gives Jasper a sad smile.

“It’s fine, I get it. He’s obviously the main character in the story of your life. With a lasting reputation that I hope to replace at some point.” Jasper smiles at him. “Is that why your mum hated him?”

“I’m sure it’s probably one of many reasons." Ryan shrugs, not wanting to talk about it anymore.

“What are you two up to?” Blake asks, throwing an arm over Jasper’s shoulders, Jasper gives Ryan a smile and leans into Blake. "We’re going home soon, well that is if you don’t have an important date to run away and see tonight.” Blake messes up Jasper’s hair.

“No, but I do want to talk to you when we get home.” Jasper smiles nervously at Blake. Ryan saw the chemistry and had to stop himself laughing out loud at the thought that if he didn't know better he would probably ship these chaotic idiots.

“Do I need to give you the talk? I doubt your parents had the guts to sit you down and tell you how it all works. My version is a bit more detailed though, you'll thank me for it when she thinks you're a natural.” Blake winks at him and orders another drink then looks at Jasper and sighs. “You’re growing up so fast.” He jokes as he pats Jasper on the head.

“Go away you tool.” Jasper orders and turns back to his drink, confused to see the empty glass, he hadn't remembered finishing it off. His full attention back to Ryan. “So, we’re at a bar, lets pretend we don’t know each other and see if you can pick me up.” Jasper suggests with a flirty smile.

“Pick you up?” Ryan shakes his head at Jasper's suggestion, a grin on his face. He was so drawn to the way Jasper challenged him like this, he wasn't naturally a flirt, but Jasper was forcing it out of him.

“Give me the best pick up line you’ve got and lets see if I let you take me home.”

“Hmm, cheesy pick up lines or dirty ones?”

“I can’t picture you with a dirty mind, so how about you wow me with an unexpectedly dirty one.” Jasper suggests, smirking at him and licking his lips, he combs his fingers through his hair and waits for Ryan. Ryan nods slowly, looking Jasper up and down before smiling to himself and leaning in a little closer to him.

“Those jeans look so tight, aren't they hard to get into?” Ryan asks, smoothly, Jasper frowns, not guessing where this was going.

“Uh, no they aren’t hard to get into.” Jasper replies.

“Mind if I try?” Ryan smirks and watches the realization hit Jasper, who reacts with a gasp and little laugh. “You walked into that one.” Ryan tells him, laughing with Jasper.

“Yeah, yeah I did. And no, the jeans are easy, but I’m not.” Jasper tells him, but Ryan was quick to suggest otherwise.

“I haven’t found you to be.” He shrugs.

“Oh come on I was playing hard to get.” Jasper nudges him.

“Mm, for a day. Then you were pouring out your feelings and sleeping in my bed with me and writing me love notes to wake up to.” Ryan smiles, looking over at the others who were all coming over with empty glasses.

“To be clear, that was your fault. I thought I was out of time to prove I cared about you so I dropped the act in order to make sure you hadn’t given up on me.” Jasper quickly defends his actions but Ryan just shakes his head laughing.

“You two ready to head home? We’ve got heaps to do tomorrow so an early night is a good idea for all of us. Especially all you sneaky ones out late on dates last night.” Simon suggests, everyone agrees, making their way out and to the car. Jasper sits beside Ryan in the back, Blake on the other side distracted by his phone. Jasper lets his hand glide over to Ryan’s in the safety of the dark car, and he smiles to himself as Ryan takes it, holding him gently and rubbing the back of his hand with his thumb. He was torn between telling Blake about their relationship tonight, or just waiting for everyone to be asleep and sneaking into Ryan’s room to spend the night improving his kissing skills, learning where he was comfortable being touched and the same from Ryan’s perspective. Ryan already knew Jasper’s neck was sensitive, he wanted to find out where on Ryan was equally sensitive.

 

Once they get home, Simon heads in for a shower first and Luke goes to his room to make a phone call, leaving Jasper, Blake and Ryan on their own. Jasper’s heart was pounding as he decided this was the best opportunity to tell him what was going on. Blake gets himself a drink and sits on the lounge, complaining about how sore his legs were from dancing today. Jasper just nervously walks over and stands a few steps from the couch.

“So Blake, I told you I had to talk to you.” Jasper starts, he could feel his throat going dry as he looks anxiously towards the hallway, desperately hoping no one else would walk in on the conversation, coming out to Blake was daunting enough, he wasn't ready for everyone else to know, not yet.

“Ah yes, lets have the talk.” Blake sits forward and puts his drink down. “When a man and a...”

“It’s a serious conversation. Beth already knows about this and I didn’t want you to hear it from her so I’m just going to say it. I.” Jasper looks over at Ryan who was in the kitchen, trying to look like he was just innocuously looking for food, and not listening in to come to Jasper's rescue if he needed it. Ryan glances over at him and gives him an encouraging smile. “I did kiss someone else at the end of my relationship with her. And that person and I have started dating only recently, literally only last night. Took us a while to work out what we wanted and now that we have, I wanted to be able to tell you about it, you’re the only one we’re telling at the moment though so please don’t go sharing it around.” Jasper states, again looking at Ryan, who saw this as his cue to join their conversation, coming to Jasper's side.

“Ok?” Blake eyes him suspiciously then glances at Ryan. “Ryan can you give us a moment?” He asks, not wanting his friend to have to talk about something he was clearly so nervous about, with anyone else listening in.

“Actually...” Jasper looks at Ryan and reaches for his hand. “Ryan is kinda the person I’m talking about.” He takes Ryan’s hand and gives him a nervous smile, Ryan just squeezes his hand, admiring how bravely Jasper had just faced the conversation. Blake laughs for a moment, picking up his drink and having a sip.

“Wait, are you kidding?” He sits forward again, smile fading as he realizes Jasper and Ryan were both looking at him with the same kind of anxious uncertainty.

“No, Blake.” Jasper starts tearing up, sniffling back the tears that were threatening to run down his cheeks. He couldn't take it back now, Blake knew. He would never go back to not knowing.

“Oh my god, you are too. Everything makes so much sense now.” Blake frowns and shakes his head. “I can’t believe I ever thought you weren’t. Of course you’re gay.”

“Please don’t think of me differently.” Jasper sighs and tears start slipping from his eyes, Ryan is about to hug Jasper comfortingly when Blake notices Jasper's reaction.

“Jasper.” Blake jumps up from the couch, practically pulls him away from Ryan and wraps his arms around him in a tight hug. “I never would. I feel awful because I’ve joked and picked on you and made comments and all this time you really have been into guys. Forgive me for being an insensitive douche bag.” Jasper melts into the hug, clearly relieved about his best friend’s reaction. Ryan steps back watching them and feeling an overwhelming amount of respect for Blake from his supportive reaction. One thing was more clear now than ever, Jasper did love Blake, and Blake did love Jasper, in the most dedicated example of what friendship should be.

“You’re really fine?” Jasper asks. Blake pulls back and holds Jasper’s shoulders, looking into his eyes with fierce sincerity.

“You are my best friend. No matter who you love. Is this why you were so weird this morning?” Blake tells him then looks over at Ryan as he pulls Jasper back into a hug. “Ryan, I have already punched you once so you know what to expect if you hurt this guy. I will beat you to a pulp if you break his heart. Understand?” He warns and Ryan just grins at him, respect for him growing as he wished he’d had a friend like Blake to confide in when he was coming out.

“No, Ryan is awesome. He has been really good about this. I kissed him the night before Beth came over he was chill about it and we just worked on getting to know each other. We didn’t want to rush into anything because of the band and I just didn’t want it to affect anyone.” Jasper tells Blake quickly as he wipes his tears from his cheeks. “You’re seriously fine?” Jasper asks him. “Because this morning...”

“Of course I’m fine. I mean I don’t feel qualified to give you the talk now, not really my area of expertise. To be honest, now that you’ve said this everything makes sense, like I always thought you were a bit of a twink but I also kinda missed the obvious since you were with Beth. Now I get why you don’t like her that way. I’m so sorry I came off like such a jerk, you know I’m not homophobic or anything, I am so sorry I made you doubt whether I would be ok with you or not.” Blake gives him an apologetic smile, glancing again at Ryan, he didn't care at all that Jasper was gay, but he still had to work out how good of a guy Ryan was, if he was worthy of Jasper.

“Even you thought I was a twink?” Jasper asks surprised. “How do you even know what that means?”

“I didn’t go to a Christian school, I went to a public school. You’d be surprised what you learn on lunch breaks. Also, for the record, everyone thinks you’re a twink, there’s literally a Tumblr page the posts and pictures of you called ‘Jasper The Twink’. I found it because my name is tagged along with every photo of you being cute near me.” Blake winks at him then he steps back, a moment of realization hitting him. “Wait were you two hooking up when I walked in this morning?” He asks.

“No!” They both answer, perhaps a little too quickly. Blake looks from one to the other with a skeptical smile and just nods.

“I’m just saying, the doors have locks for a good reason. Oh wait!” Blake looks shocked at Jasper, clapping a hand over his mouth, a second moment of realization that Jasper had hoped he wouldn't have.

“Don’t think about it, I know you’re thinking abut it but don’t.” Jasper orders sternly, knowing Blake was remembering the night he’d first told Jasper to lock his door.

“Oh god.” Blake takes a step back then laughs and goes back to his drink. “So have you always been into guys or did Jasper just seduce you? Because I’m sure he’s made a lot of straight guys question themselves, so I’m sure you’re not the only one.” Blake changes the topic, not able to look at Ryan now that he knew that's who Jasper was thinking about when he'd been having a uh, private moment.

“I've dated a guy before, but Jasper definitely seduced me.” Ryan teases, putting an arm around his boyfriend now that Blake had finally let him go.

“I so did not!” Jasper denies. “You seduced me. I was dating a girl when you started coming onto me.”

“You were dating a girl when you kissed me and ran away. But all the flirting back when you were pretending to be a girl...”

“Oh that doesn’t count that wasn’t anything!”

"Aww, cute. Your first domestic." Blake shakes his head and sits back, skulling his drink.

“Jasper made all the first moves, short of actually asking if I wanted to date. I did that part. The rest was him, he flirted first, kissed me first, admitted he liked the kiss, admitted he liked me, begged me to kiss him again.” Ryan smiles affectionately at Jasper. “Wrote me a love note before sneaking out this morning.”

“Ok shut up, that was only because you were making it hard to deny how I felt.” Jasper scoffs then turns back to Blake. “You needed to know because Beth didn’t take it well and I was worried she’d influence you to think the same way. I really hope it doesn’t cause any problems for you both, but I do really appreciate your support.”

“Wait seriously?" Blake sits forward looking offended. "Stealing your girlfriend aside, I'm not that shit of a friend, surely. From what I know, Beth wasn’t brought up to be open minded and understanding, it may just take her some time and my influence to learn to respect you and your relationship. If she can’t though, I just can’t have a relationship with her. I want to be able to be there for you and I want you to be comfortable being yourself around me, I couldn’t have a future with someone who looks down on my friends for something they can’t change about themselves, and something that makes them feel genuinely happy. I knew something was different when I saw you smiling this morning, I just hadn’t pictured the difference being the gender you were dating. Congrats guys. I’m really happy for you. Keep making him smile like he was this morning and I’ll never have a problem with you.” He tells Ryan, realizing he hadn't yet said anything reassuring to Ryan, he gets up and extends a hand to shake his. Ryan grins and shakes his hand, noticing the firm grip Blake had on him. Definitely somewhat threatening.

“I needed that shower, my god my muscles are starting to hurt!” Simon complains as he walks into the lounge and takes a seat. “Sorry, you guys look like you’re having a serious conversation.” Simon frowns at them.

“No. It’s definitely my turn for a shower though.” Jasper turns and quickly leaves the room, Ryan and Blake just kinda look at each other awkwardly for a moment before Blake shrugs and takes his empty glass to the sink.

“Yeah no, I’m just so glad your threat to Chris worked and we got our music rights back. Thanks for doing that.” Blake pretends to continue the conversation from before.

“You’re welcome.” Ryan nods. “I hope the dance is enough to prove that I’m worth keeping in the band."

“Don’t worry, we’ll all fight for you to be here, you’re an important part of the family now.” Blake pats his shoulder then sits back down beside Simon.

“How is it your muscles aren’t hurting?” Simon asks Ryan as he rubs his calves.

“Same reason your voice doesn’t get strained after hours of singing and mine does. More practice.” Ryan shrugs then turns and walks away down the hallway, he didn’t feel like faking small talk right now and just wanted to see Jasper again before bed to just hold him and let him know that what he’d done with Blake was fantastic and showed a lot of pride and strength. Admitting his sexuality to a love interest was one thing but a best friend was a big deal and he deserved to know how much he’d impressed Ryan by just stepping up and owning it.

Claire Rosalind
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I'm proud of Jasper for requesting a fair contract on behalf of the band members.  This time, I'm sure that the guys will let their lawyer vet the new contract. 

I'm also proud of Jasper for coming out to Blake. Now, Jasper and Ryan both have an ally within the band.

Kudos to Blake for being a true friend, even putting Jasper before Beth.

Finally, I hope a flock of birds decide to perform synchronized pooping on Chris's head (Ryan can arrange the choreography!) because of his continued mean-spirited approach to Ryan's membership in the band. 🐦

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I’m pleased Jasper came out to Blake. It gives Jasper and Ryan an ally in the band. I hope the band gets there lawyer to look at the new contract. Ryan deserves to be in the band, so Chris needs constant reminding of his harshness towards Ryan in the band.

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Blake proved he is an awesome and loyal friend, I'm so glad Jasper decided to confide in him. I'm pretty sure the other two guys will be ok with it as well, they're all friends after all, not just bandmates. 

I'm still suspicious of Chris, he seems like he has more tricks up his sleeve. If he does decide do kick Ryan out of the band, I'm not sure what the other guys can do about it? They probably have contracts with the record label so they can't just all quit. 

Edited by ObicanDecko
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I'm starting to wonder about that whole kicking Ryan out of the band thing. Maybe Chris is just being a big jerk about Ryan, but I'm starting to think he's just doing that to cement Ryan's status in the band.

Quote

“Not after we give your dance skills a proper chance to shine at the show. Get all the fan support and show him what an asset you are to us. He’s greedy, we show him dollar signs, and he’ll want to keep you.” Jasper smiles at him.

“We’ll organize that fan meet too, so the fans can fawn over you and he can see how loved you are.” Simon states encouragingly.

This is exactly what Chris wants, after all. And he's not above making them all think they're stopping him from screwing Ryan over.

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It's good to see blake having no issues with jasper and Ryan. I think Chris is sly and changed the contract to put the band off track.

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