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Do You Ship Us? - 27. More Secrets

“Jasper, something you want to tell me?” Chris asks, smug as ever, sitting behind his desk and acting like he was doing an actual job that didn't involve slowly but surely ruining the lives of his employees.

“No.” Jasper shrugs, crossing his arms and sitting back casually.

“I’ve seen the photos, you sure there’s nothing you want to say?” Chris asks again, eyeing Jasper with a hatred for his calmness.

“No.” Jasper repeats, not about to be easily broken.

“It might surprise you to know, there’s another photo out and I paid off the person who took them, to not release.” Chris tells him, he takes out a photo and places it on the desk. “Now what do you have to say?” He slides the photo across the desk, his eyes not leaving Jasper's as he anticipates a reaction.

“I’m not ashamed of whatever is in this photo.” Jasper says as he sits forward to view it.

“What about Ryan? How would he feel about this being released?” Chris smirks at him. Jasper grabs the photo and looks at it, it was from the same kiss, but a different angle where you could clearly see both Ryan and Jasper, lips locked in the passionate moment. “Ryan seems like the kind of person who wouldn’t want this to be seen.” Chris tells him and sits back in his seat, showing Jasper his phone with a copy of the photo on it. Jasper rolls his eyes, Ryan was more comfortable with this than he was, the only one stopping the entire relationship coming out was Jasper, and that was only to protect Ryan from people that aren't supportive like his mum.

“Why didn't you release this one? Could have made so much money off the scandal." Jasper says, glancing at Chris with a sly smirk, completely onto him.

“You can’t do whatever this is anymore. I want you to deny that it’s a guy you’re kissing, say it was photo-shopped or something.” Chris orders.

“I don’t think so. I’m planning on coming out officially.” Jasper replies, shaking his head. As he looked at the photo of him and Ryan, he felt an odd sense of empowerment. He couldn't go into hiding about his sexuality, his hand had been forced. Now all he could do was step into it and become an icon to the queer fans that followed him and the band.

“I am telling you now, that’s not a smart idea. If you come out, the fans that are hoping to be the next Beth, will lose interest in you and reduce sales.” Chris states, Jasper looks at him astonished, this guys motives were at least consistent.

“Have you ever read fanfiction? There’s at least over half of my personal fans that have always been writing about me with different members of the band, plenty with Ryan actually. People love our chemistry." Jasper smirks to himself.

“What exactly is the relationship between you and Ryan anyway? This is extremely inappropriate and unprofessional." Chris tells him and Jasper laughs.

"Congratulations on being a complete hypocrite. Here's your prize." Jasper says, pretending to reach into his pocket before holding up his middle finger with a grin.

"If you care at all about this band, you will keep this to yourself and end whatever it is that's going on between you two. It's careless and the impact could be..."

"The impact will be whatever you decide to turn it into, no doubt. I'm sure Ryan and I, as adults can handle our personal lives without it becoming an issue to the band, you're the one I'm pretty sure is still acting like you're a high school bully. I'm not intimidated by you. You released the photo to the media, so I would back off, trying to intimidate me into silence and now you want me to, what? Pretend it's fake? Hide my true sexuality? Let this be some easy cash grab for you because of the attention on me?” Jasper asks, leaning forward again with a smug expression. “So just to clarify.” Jasper stands up and pushes in his chair in. “It’s bad publicity if I come out as gay?”

"I'm just saying it's better if you keep this quiet." Chris plays it down, trying to act like he's being reasonable after Jasper's narky 'handle it like adults' comment.

"Well that was what I was hoping to do, but as it turns out, this works better for me. Because now I don't have to hide anything. And if you have the nerve to ask me to deny my sexuality to all the fans, including proud members of the LGBT community, because you’re not comfortable with it, and anyone found out you were trying to keep me quiet because you’re wanting to hide the fact that I am gay, that would really be bad for publicity, for you personally.” Jasper stares him down for a moment with a stern, threatening, expression before giving a smirk, knowing he'd one this power battle at least. “I just wanted to make sure I had the right idea about what you’re asking of me.” Jasper states, turning and walking out of his office, pleased with having the final say.

 

“He outed you!? What the fuck!” Blake was furious for him, punching his fist in his other palm, seething with frustration.

“What are you going to do?” Ryan asks, on edge about Jasper's response and whether he would soon be joining him in the media frenzy that he and the rest of the members had been watching unfold while Jasper was talking to Chris.

“He wants me to stay in the closet, so I’m going to make sure that when I come out, it is at his expense. He isn’t getting away with this, but for the time being, let him think he got me cornered in this. There’s a lot I can say and do without saying I’m gay, so if he thinks I’m not going to walk right on the boundary of being completely obvious, then he is thoroughly misunderstanding how much he’s pissed me off.” Jasper states with a sigh, forcing the smile to stay on his face. He'd let himself think about the consequences later, but for now, positive attitude.

“What can we do to help?” Simon asks, turning as he hears the door open, Chris walking in.

“The hell do you think you are jackass?” Blake stalks over, raising a fist before Simon quickly pulls him back.

“Let this be a lesson, you all have things you are hiding from the public, from your families and from each other but I know what goes on here under my label and if you think you can come in here and demand things of me, you’ll pay for it. Jasper, I want you to make a statement about this photo, I'm going to organize a..." Chris starts but Jasper cuts him off by clearing his throat dramatically.

"In light of the recent photo released of me, which was taken and released without my consent, I'm taking some time for myself and will not be answering any questions until such time as I am ready to discuss it. Please respect my privacy, love you all and talk soon~" Jasper reads from his phone then looks up and over at Chris with a challenging look in his eyes.

"That's a good start."

"Well I've already posted it so that's my official statement. My words, on my terms. Just how it should have been from the start." Jasper shrugs and looks back at his phone. "Oh and I retweeted the photo with my post too, so that fans can see that I'm not ashamed or trying to hide anything." He fakes a smile.

"Good, now that it's out of the way, you can all get to work and write me your next big hits." Chris demands, annoyed to have lost control of this already.

“The next big hit you’ll be getting will be from a fucking chair.” Blake mutters. Chris eyes him off then turns and walks out towards the door, without another word. He was furious and everyone was anxious about what was going to happen next.

"Can we go home? I don't want to be around him longer than I have to, and I think we need to talk to Daniel. This is going to snowball and I think we need to cover ourselves before it does." Jasper sighs, running his fingers through his hair. His phone was endlessly vibrating with notifications from tags and he just knew he'd spend the whole night tormenting himself with reading people's responses, speculations and opinions. Everyone quickly gets their stuff together, fully prepared to back Jasper up, but also worried about their own dramas.

 

“Unfortunately when he threatened all of us, I wasn’t still recording, but I did get his entire conversation with me about coming out. I’ll send it to you in a private email as he mentions the name of the guy I was kissing and I’m wanting to keep that confidential.” Jasper explains and starts uploading the audio file to an email, quickly typing that himself and Ryan would appreciate a private meeting to discuss damage control on the news of their relationship. Ryan was sitting beside Jasper, his hand sneakily slipped to Jasper's lower back, trying to show his support.

“Well I will listen to this and get back to you as soon as I can on starting the lawsuit. But I think it’s definitely time you all covered yourselves here and started recording every conversation with him so you can approach this case with as much evidence as you can. It’s clear he’s going to exploit you as much as he can, don’t give him power over you.” Daniel advises. After they get off the phone, Simon takes a deep breath and walks away to his room. Blake pours himself and Jasper a drink, before offering one to Ryan.

“You know what, I think I do need a drink after today.” Ryan agrees, getting up and heading to the kitchen to pour his own.

“Hell yeah, get drunk with me.” Jasper encourages, thinking of how fun it'd be to see Ryan a little more relaxed in front of the group, maybe sneak off with him at some point, both with a little liquid confidence and relax with each other a little more.

“Maybe you two shouldn’t get drunk together tonight. Since you’re keeping things on the down-low. Jasper’s a little too affectionate when he is drunk as it is, probably best if he doesn’t literally climb all over you and get all handsy.” Blake suggests quietly, tapping his shot glass against Jasper's before the two slam down a shot, laughing immediately with each other.

“Doesn’t sound like a bad night to me.” Ryan comments cheekily winking at Jasper before he takes a sip of his own drink.

“Guys’ I’ve got to go out. I’ll be back at uh, some point. Not sure when.” Luke grabs his keys and swings them around on his finger as he heads towards the door.

“Hmm, is this what Chris meant about how we are all keeping secrets from each other? Not going to say when you’re getting back or where you are going?” Jasper asks as he leans against Blake, evidently already getting tipsy and as predicted, too affectionate. Luke gives him a look, like he's not sure what to think of Jasper leaning on Blake now.

“Well, as with you, it’s a delicate matter. When I’m ready and it’s all good, I will tell you.” Luke shrugs and slips out the door just before Simon comes back down the hallway looking flustered.

“Ok, I’ve decided to tell you guys now so you don’t find out from Chris. I think this is what he’s talking about with the whole secrets thing.” Simon states and takes a deep breath then brings his hands up from behind his back, showing a gold ring on his ring finger. “I am married.” He states. Jasper, Blake and Ryan all just stare back at him shocked, their eyes going from the ring to Simon’s serious expression.

“That, is about the last thing I was expecting.” Jasper comments and smiles at Simon. “How long have you been married for? That’s awesome. Why wouldn’t you tell us?” He asks.

“Only for about 6 months. I was embarrassed because, well we met online and I hadn’t met her in person until she visited the country after our first tour on a working Visa from Paris. Because it was only a short relationship in person before we got married, it’s taking a long time to prove that our marriage is for love and not for the sake of getting her a Visa to live here, that’s why you guys haven’t met her. I myself have only seen her a dozen times and we decided to elope with just our parents present as witnesses.” Simon explains then twists the ring around on his finger before slipping it off. “Obviously I can’t wear this around Chris or in public. I sleep with it on so I can feel close to her.”

“You married a French girl you barely know? Man, for you, that is quite impressive. I always pictured you spending years dating a really conservative nanny or something and then getting married and being a family man immediately.” Blake admits with a laugh.

“I don’t ‘barely know’ her we talked for years online. It was just that after we met things moved quickly because we knew we wanted to be in each other’s lives permanently. And she’s not quite a conservative nanny. She’s a Lingerie model.” Blake gawks and immediately demands to know her name, while he takes his phone out eager to search for photos of her online. “I’m not telling you. I don’t want you getting off to my wife.” Simon frowns at him.

“Oh come on, I may well have to wait until marriage to have sex again, the least you could do is let me live vicariously through you. You’re married to a goddamn lingerie model!” Blake argues. Jasper just sips his drink and looks at Ryan who smiles back at him.

“Guess we’re not the only ones in a secret relationship.” He says quietly. Jasper takes a sip from his drink and steps in a little closer to Ryan.

“You know the shitty thing is, I really like having you as my secret lover.” Jasper admits to Ryan who couldn’t help but smirk at the comment.

“I get the appeal of sneaking around with someone.” He shrugs. “I won’t spoil you’re fun just yet. Are you going to be sneaking into my room later?” He asks.

“Hm, depends how drunk I get. Blake’s right about us getting drunk together, it could be dangerous. I don’t want to drink too much then go to you and do the wrong thing.” Jasper has another sip of his drink.

“You trust me not to take advantage of you, don’t you?” Ryan asks with a frown.

“Between you and me, you’re not the one I don’t trust. Like Blake said, drunk me isn’t a great idea, according to him, I’m a bit too full on with affection. If it’s towards you, I could see things getting out of hand.” Jasper winks at Ryan then finishes his drink and immediately goes to make himself another one. Blake joins him at the bench.

“A French model, can you believe it?” Blake gapes. Jasper takes a sip of his new drink and shakes his head at Blake.

“So she’s holding the ‘No sex until marriage’ thing over you? How do you feel about that?” He asks with a grin.

“Well spontaneous marriages seems to be a thing people around here are into so maybe I should just propose to her.” Blake shrugs, nudging Jasper out of the way so he can get another drink himself.

“Ah yes, that will definitely not come across as a direct move to get into her pants.” Jasper laughs.

“Obviously I was joking. I just thought that’s a thing you guys believe in isn’t it?” Blake asks, looking at Jasper curiously.

“Have you guys not had that talk?”

“Well no, I’ve barely had the ‘are you over Jasper yet?’ talk. I thought the ‘when should I buy condoms?’ one should be respectfully left until much later in the conversation. Did you guys have that talk?”

“Not in a realistic planning for when we wanted to do it together, kind of way. As far as things sounded though, she was open to not waiting for marriage but definitely waiting for the right guy. She did want to only be with one guy physically like that so I’d say she would want to be sure you will be the guy that marries her and gives her a lifetime of love and happiness before she gets that far with you.” Jasper shrugs. Blake looks at him for a long time, contemplating what had been said before he lets out a long sigh.

“No pressure at all. Does she know about me?” Blake grimaces as Jasper laughs.

“I didn’t expect you to end up dating her so I did tell her quite a bit. But if she’s dating you than clearly you’re past fuckboy ways don’t bother her that much.” Jasper answers and Blake just drops his head to the bench.

“I was a tool, I never thought it’d catch up with me. I really want her to like me though, I really want her to know I’m not that guy anymore. I mean that was high school, I’ve been decent since.” Blake groans then turns back to Jasper. “Are you planning on waiting until marriage?” He asks.

“I.” Jasper thinks for a moment. “I don’t think I was ever strict on it either to be honest. I mean I had no urge to do it when I was trying to be interested in girls. I just never pictured it being something I would want to do. Obviously that’s changed, new perspective and all. I don’t think I’d put a time on it happening. I guess when it feels like the right time, it will be the right time.” He shrugs and glances over towards Ryan who was on his phone, scrolling with a concerned and sad expression. “Hey, if you’re reading about me, stop. You’ll make me want to know, and I really don’t want to know what’s being said.” Jasper calls out to him. Ryan sighs and pockets his phone.

“I thought the world was more grown up.” He states, coming over to the bench. “I’m going to need another drink too.”

As the night goes on, and the alcohol kicks in, Luke returns to find his mates sitting in the lounge room having deep emotional conversations.

“It’s just like. I wasn’t afraid of what you’d say, but like, I didn’t want you guys to wonder if I was perving or lusting after any of you, you know? Like I flirt with everyone, playfully. It’s not a thing. I don’t have a thing for you guys. I’ve just clicked with this one guy and he’s the only one my flirting and stuff means anything to you know? Because like, I’m not into every guy. But like, I know you guys would have wondered.” Jasper takes another sip, swaying where he was sitting.

“It’s all good. I didn’t think that. Honestly it’s kinda like a light bulb went off in my head when you said you were gay, I hadn’t thought that seriously about anything until you actually said it then everything made sense. You’re relationship with Beth and why you are so cool about Blake being with her...” Simon sighs, rubbing his forehead tiredly.

“Blake said nearly the same thing. It was kinda obvious hey? But like, even I didn’t know until I knew you know? Blake is a great guy. Like he’s so great and he is going to make Beth so happy. I do love that girl, she’s fun and she’s got a great personality but I can’t help that I’m gay and I just have no feelings towards her you know?” Jasper closes his eyes, taking a deep breath and sighing. “I need to pee.” He gets up and stumbles his way down the hallway.

“Hey, you’re home!” Blake slings an arm around Luke’s shoulders. “I’ve figured it out, what you have been running off doing.” Blake fake whispers to him, the smell of alcohol overwhelming Luke who leans away from his face.

“Oh really?” He asks.

“I bet you are living a double life, one as this unsuspecting pop singer, the other, as a drug dealer. It’s always the ones you don’t suspect. I’m onto you.” Blake steps away, almost poking himself in the eyes before turning his finger and pointing them at Luke’s. He holds a stern expression for only a second before laughing. “I’m just playing!” He goes to take a sip from his drink just to realize the glass in his hand was empty. “Every. Fucking. Time.” He mumbles and goes to get himself another drink.

“Are you drunk too Simon?” Luke asks.

“Huh? Yeah. A bit. It’s just been such a big night and after I told the guys about my wife, and with what went on with Jasper today, we all just got kinda pissed.” Simon gets up and walks up to Luke then puts his hands on his shoulders. “I promise we will take care of you too. You’ve been sneaking off a lot and that’s fine, but whatever it is, I learned tonight. These guys are top shit and they will have your back with anything.” Simon pats his shoulders and goes down the hall straight to bed.

“Simon has a wife?” Luke looks back at Blake.

“A French lingerie model. Though I haven’t seen pictures so we can’t verify that yet, I’m planning on getting him so drunk he forgets he wasn’t going to tell me her name. Do you want a drink?” Blake asks, struggling to pour himself a drink.

“No thanks, I’m going to bed. Why don’t you have some water though, seems like you guys have already had plenty to drink.” Luke suggests.

“Water?” Blake blinks. “That’s not very alcoholic.” He shrugs and continues spilling his tequila everywhere but the glass in front of him.

“Blake, can you help me?” Jasper calls out from down the hall.

“Gimme a second.” Blake shouts back, pulling out his phone as Beth starts calling him. “Heyyyy Baby~” He answers, giving up on pouring his drink and taking a few steps towards Jasper, pausing to lean against the wall in the hall.

“Ok, well, goodnight I guess.” Luke sighs and heads down the hallway to his room, heading in.

“Blake, how is Jasper doing? I just finished work and thought I might come and check in on him. I know today would have been really difficult for him.” Beth replies.

“Yes, come over. He’s good but come over anyway.” Blake grins into the phone. “You’re amazing.”

“Blake!” Jasper pops his head out of Ryan’s room.

“I’ll see you soon sweetheart, Jasper needs me for something.” Blake says then hangs up and goes up to Ryan’s room, bumping into the door frame and letting out a ‘woah’ before stepping through the doorway very cautiously watching the walls as though he didn’t trust them to not move and bump into him. “What’s up?” He asks.

“I think Ryan had too much to drink, he’s unconscious.” Jasper didn’t seem so drunk now, he was slightly panicked and the adrenaline was quickly sobering him up.

“Not just sleeping?” Blake crouches in front of Ryan, poking him in the face but getting no response.

“No, like I can’t wake him up.” Jasper says desperately, chewing at his nails and looking at Blake for answers.

“How much did he have to drink? Wait is he on medication?” Blake stands up with a pill bottle in his hands, reading Ryan’s name on the prescription label.

“Yeah anxiety meds.” Jasper shrugs.

“Do you know how many were in here? Because this is empty. And these state not to take with alcohol.” Blake looks over at Jasper with a haunting expression.

“Oh my god. No. I can’t. I can’t do this Ryan, you better not have done this to me.” Jasper rushes to snatch the bottle off Blake while Blake just rolls Ryan onto his side and shoves his fingers in his throat to try and make him vomit.

“We need to get him to a hospital immediately.” Blake orders, failing to get Ryan to throw up or wake up.

Claire Rosalind
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Clever Jasper, getting Chris to implicate himself as being the photographer.  (Chris needs to undergo some severe public embarrassment!)

Wow, plenty of secrets for such a tiny group, but the guys are starting to open up, and their friendship is strengthening because of it. (Their alcohol consumption is increasing too! :lol:)

If Ryan is showing any evidence for suppression of the respiratory drive, then Jasper needs to call 911 now:  Ryan may need flumazenil (to reverse the anti-anxiety med) and ventilatory support in order to survive. 😟

 

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Hey. I'm glad that jasper caught Chris in his manipulation. Now I'm worried about Ryan. Can't wait for next chapter.

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