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Do You Ship Us? - 29. Unexpected Date

The Teen Music Awards was exactly what the group needed after the rough week they had. Ryan, Blake and Jasper kept quiet about what had happened with Ryan so that Luke and Simon wouldn’t worry. There was already a lot of tension amongst them with the pressure of the constant media attention on Jasper’s sexuality and the looming threats of more secrets being released if the other members didn’t just shut up and do as they were told, the last thing they needed was to worry about Ryan, because then they would have to find out about why Ryan was so stressed that night. He and Jasper had been extra careful since the photo release, not even going into each others' rooms, they talked mostly through Jasper's fan account, which was weird enough and they hadn't kissed in a week.

Being able to go and talk to other popular musicians, including other boybands to get an idea of the kind of management they deal with was the plan for the night. Other than the obvious of having fun and of course a fan meeting planned for after the show. It would be a busy night of acting like the untouchable pop artists they were meant to be, and keeping all of their personal lives to themselves. Which was exactly how Jasper liked it to be, he could dress a little more playfully and be whoever he wanted to be tonight. He and Blake had planned to put on a little fan service, which Jasper was amazed Blake was still cool with. There was basically no discomfort from him at all, he just didn't make quite as many sex jokes while Jasper and Ryan were in a room together, though he had talked to Jasper to work out where they were at with intimacy and teased him for being frigid. Jasper knew he and Ryan were in a weird place. All the flirting it took to get to dating and now they hadn't had a moment alone together and things weren't progressing. It had gone back to feeling awkward and as though they were doing something wrong by not sharing moments together. It was going backwards and had become a big reason Jasper was so desperate to get through this uncomfortable stage and out the other side, throw Chris under the bus and ride off into the sunset with his lips on Ryan's. The sooner this crap was done with the sooner he could start being the boyfriend he wanted to be, not the distant boyfriend he had been with Beth.

The moment they climb out of their limo and start walking up the red carpet, cameras flash around them aggressively. Jasper himself had been somewhat reclusive since the photo leak, though random paparazzi photos kept appearing of him getting out of the car at the company building, lazy reporting being made about his outfit choices and what that said about his sexuality. 'Dressing uncomfortably' so the reports suggested. Absolutely incredible news, tracksuit pants and a loose shirt each day, not because he was uncomfortable but because they were spending their days dancing at the moment and it was practical. Shockingly no one was talking about how the rest of the group also wear similar clothes. Just because a photo was released showing him kissing a guy didn't mean he had to wear rainbow coloured clothes.

Tonight however he had on the pink pastel suit from the boat, and ignoring the fact they were all dressed in pastel colours, his suit was apparently a 'statement'. Reporters were calling out to them to try and get a short interview as they made their way up the carpet towards the front door. The group knew Jasper’s ‘scandal’ would be hot on the tongues of each reporter but they also knew it would look worse to avoid them all so they make their way towards one of the reporters at the edge of the barrier.

“How are you guys going? You look amazing!” She starts.

“We’re great, we’re really excited to be performing here tonight, being recognized for our musical achievements is a real honor.” Simon answers for the group who all smile and nod in agreement.

“Obviously, there’s been a lot of attention on you recently Jasper, how did you feel coming into your first public performance since the photo was released of what looks like you kissing a guy, what was the thought process behind your outfit choice tonight?” She asks, and Jasper is thrilled for the question.

“Oh I am wearing this because my boss likes to make money of promoting me a certain way." Jasper shrugs and Simon laughs dramatically, making some kind of comment about how they were meant to wear the suits for a music video but the lady doesn't care, she is here to twist the narrative and print a 'Jasper's Gay and he Wore a Pink Suit to Prove It', type of argument.

"I am glad we get the chance to remind people that our music is what we want people to talk about, not our personal lives.” Blake answers with a shrug, hoping his hint would move the focus back to all of them.

“Besides, I think all the attention will be on Ryan tonight as it’s his turn to surprise everyone.” Jasper hints, nudging Ryan who just gives a polite smile.

“Don’t give away too much Jasper.” Blake nudges him. “We should get inside, I can see one of our rival boy bands has just arrived.” He fake glares at the group of guys that were coming up the walkway behind them, to an almost as loud roar from their fans as The Obsolete had received.

“Thank you for your time, I’ll let you get to it.” The reporter ends her interview with the boys and turns her attention to trying to coax the next stars over.

“That went alright don’t you think?” Luke comments as they walk into the hallway of the backstage area and immediately become starstruck by their company. All in the halls there was a mixture of people from all different styles of music, solo artists mingling with members of bands, others just standing in the hallway watching everyone else. They were all so normal in the privacy of backstage hallways. There was some silently agreed upon solidarity that they all trusted in, that around their own kind of people, they could swear and make inappropriate jokes and no one would ever say what they had seen the others doing or saying. Musicians had to stick together, the rest of the world was out to tear apart their every action and word, but with the halls was the chaos of artists being off their leashes so to speak.

“I am one Harry Styles away from having a complete fangasm.” Jasper comments in a fake whisper as they walk into their dressing room after passing multiple exciting artists.

“Sorry to break it to you, but their 'hiatus', is really a non conclusive way of saying they aren’t coming back.” Blake pats Jasper on the shoulder comfortingly but Jasper just turns to bite back.

“You’re one to talk. When are MCR coming back again?” He asks and Blake clutches his chest like he has just been shot with the harsh arrow of truth.

“You’ve brought the sass tonight. You’re meant to love me, remember, the manager wants you to be getting all smoochy with me on stage tonight.” Blake winks at him. Jasper just rolls his eyes and turns around as the door opens and both Fi and Chris walk in.

“Alright guys, you’re on towards the end of the night so we’ve got plenty of time to get you all ready, after the show, you’ll have a half hour meeting with a bunch of fan’s who’ve bought VIP tickets, then off to the after party where I’m hoping you’ll all be responsible and stop Jasper from drinking himself stupid.” Chris states with a sigh, Jasper just smiles and shrugs it off, no amount of joking at his expense could ruin how excited he was for the after party, chatting to some of the artists who’d inspired him to pursue music himself.

“It’s going to be a wicked night.” Jasper says, rubbing his hands together excitedly. His mind changing of course when they are forced to watch all the other performances through a shitty TV in their room, while just sitting around waiting for their turn in the spotlight.

Their performance went off without a hitch, which was a fantastic change from the last few times they had taken to the stage. Their fans screamed loudly for them when they got up on to perform their most popular song but the addition of the sexy dance routine Ryan had choreographed for the group which was the surprise that made the biggest impact, granting the group immediate gossip and love on their social media because the dance involved girls! A little BlaSper banter before they left the stage and it was over in less time than it had taken to get dressed for it. A short set, completed perfectly. Once they were back in their dressing room with time to talk to each other about the show and scroll through the reactions from fans they were buzzing.

“Oh here’s a good on.” Jasper clears his throat to read a post. “Am I the only one thinking Jasper was made to sexy dance with a girl just to cover up the fact that he’s gay. It’s sad to see him have to hide himself to please the homophobes out there.” He looks up from his phone and shrugs. “I should have seen that kind of opinion coming.” He types a reply to the post quickly, ‘the dance was to show Ryan’s talent and challenge us to widen our skill sets, not to hide anything #pride'. Cheeky, tiptoeing that line of being outwardly gay and keeping it a secret.

It wasn’t long before the show was winding down and the guys were being ushered by Chris down the hall to where a room of their fans were waiting for a special meet and greet event. Chris rounds the corner with the members not far behind him, excitedly talking about how much they couldn’t wait to get to talk to some of their fans and feel the support they knew they would need in no time at all when things with Chris finally came to an end. Chris opens the door and introduces the band as they start filing into the room of screaming cheering fans, ready to do autographs, take photos and talk with their biggest supporters.

“Ryan~” A familiar voice sends a cold shudder through his spine and stops him dead in his tracks before he can walk in the door.

“Damien, what are you doing here?” Ryan felt as though his blood ran cold as he turned and faced the slim man dressed in tight jeans and a button up tight fitted white shirt, an open bright red plaid shirt over the top, messy blonde hair swept across piercing blue eyes.

“I went to your Mum’s and she said you don’t live there and wouldn’t tell me where you went. Next minute you’re in a music video? Babe, I can’t believe you ran off and joined a band. I am so proud of you.” Damien steps towards him and puts his arms out for a hug, Ryan steps back, though he's completely shocked to be facing a ghost of his past. Someone he had hoped to never see again.

“Ryan, are you coming?” Jasper walks out of the room and over towards them to see what the hold up was.

“Yeah, I will be right there.” Ryan tells Jasper quickly and Jasper can tell from the reply that Ryan is on edge.

“Not even going to make time for me?” Damien pouts at Ryan, clearly trying to be cute.

“Are you a VIP?” Jasper asks plainly, wondering whether this was one of Ryan’s friends or his awful ex. Looking him up and down he could see a lot of similarities between himself and this guy in regards to how he presented himself, making him super worried that it may be the latter.

“I was once. I’m Damien.” The guy confirms to Jasper who he was facing, with a smug smile on his face. Jasper swallows down the feeling of jealousy and tries to act like he doesn’t know who he is while considering doing a complete self make-over to look as different as he could from Damien, clearly Ryan had a particular type when it came to appearance, Jasper only hoped his personality was what Ryan liked about him.

“Oh right, cool.” Jasper frowns and shrugs like he’d never heard the name. “Are you one of our fans though? All the others are in the room waiting for us.” Jasper points back at the door everyone had walked through before Ryan had been distracted. Calling on all of his subtly petty energy to make Damien feel as unimportant as ever, even lower than the sobbing fans that knew everything about them, that the boys wouldn't remember 5 minutes after leaving the room tonight.

“I’m a fan of Ryan, in particular.” Damien winks at Ryan who was just looking at the ground, a little lost.

“I’m going to read between the lines and assume this is a personal visit. Our fans have paid a lot to meet us though so I am going to have to steal Ry for a while." Jasper tells him, placing a hand on Ryan's arm in a flirty way, though his eyes were fixed on Damien. "But if you know each other then I’m sure you have his number. You can organize a time to catch up when we aren’t busy.” Jasper suggests with a shrug. “Nice to meet you though.” He fakes a smile at Damien and takes Ryan’s hand in an act of showing off that Ryan was his to hold the hand of and he hoped it was killing Damien inside. “Come on, people are waiting.” He starts leading Ryan away to the room the fans were waiting, letting go of his hand only when they were out of sight of Damien and about to be in sight of the 50 VIP fans. “Get yourself back, obviously he’s caught you off guard and you’re a bit shaken, you’ve shut down, these fans deserve to see the best of you.” Jasper whispers to him gently outside the door.

“Sorry, I am just. I didn’t expect to ever see him again.” Ryan takes a few deep breaths to calm himself. “That is...”

“I guessed, but now isn’t the time. Deal with him after this, just give yourself to the fans for the next 45 minutes.” Jasper orders with an exaggerated smile until Ryan smiles back at him.

“Did you see his face when you pretended you’ve never heard of him?” Ryan laughs. Jasper just nods with a devious grin and pushes the door open, the fans erupt into a loud shriek of excitement as he and Ryan walk into the room at last. Their enthusiasm lifts Ryan's spirits and he gives Jasper an appreciative smile, letting himself just forget the drama and enjoy hanging out with the fans. Taking photos, signing his autograph and getting to know their biggest supporters.

 

The fan meet went well and as expected, the whole night had put such a strong focus on Ryan that Chris would have to be stupid to kick him out of the band. Fans were enamored by him, especially when Jasper made him do a dance for everyone. A room full of fans, wrapped around his finger just because he was stupidly attractive. As soon as they all walk out of the room with a grin on their faces talking with excitement about what the fans had asked them, Ryan spots the man he’d hoped he’d never see again still waiting in the hallway, leaning against the wall and looking at his phone with a frown.

“Hasn’t security escorted him out yet?” Jasper mutters to Ryan who was once again shutting down at just the sight of him, though he was on autopilot walking up to Damien.

"What are you still doing here?" Ryan asks, almost sounding strong.

“Come and grab a drink with me.” Damien pockets his phone, turning his full attention with Ryan and smiling at him innocently.

“No, thanks.” Ryan shakes his head and starts walking past Damien with Jasper following behind him, flashing a quick smile at him.

“Please, just hear me out.” Damien calls out pleadingly, giving Ryan his best pout.

“It’s fine Ry.” Jasper catches up to him. “Who knows, you might finally get over him.” He whispers. Ryan glances over at Damien, who was watching Jasper more than even looking at Ryan.

“Ok. One drink, and none of your tricks.” Ryan states strongly.

“If you say so.” Damien shrugs, the smile on his face suggesting he had no intention of caring about Ryan’s demands. Jasper starts walking back towards Simon, Luke and Blake, not looking back at Ryan and Damien as they leave together. Damien attempts to take Ryan's hand but Ryan just pulls his hand away and ignores him.

“Who is that?” Blake asks, slinging an arm over Jasper's shoulders. "And where is he going with your boyfriend?" He asks in a whisper.

“His ex. One I don’t think he is over and I’ve sent them off for drinks together so does that make me a good, trusting boyfriend, or a complete idiot?” Jasper asks. Blake just squeezes Jasper’s shoulders and gives a sigh.

“You’re not a complete idiot.” He says jokingly, not very reassuring at all.

“Why do I feel like this is a really bad idea? Am I a psycho if I follow them?” Jasper asks in all seriousness, Blake laughs, turning him around to follow Simon and Luke out the back to their car.

“So how far did they go? Further than you guys?” Blake asks Jasper quietly, while Simon and Luke are distracted with discussing the success of the night, and what they could do better next time.

“Why would you even ask that?” Jasper scoffs. “I’m guessing so, since all we have done is make out, and we haven't even done that in a week.”

“Well I wouldn’t have sent my partner off with an ex that had gone further than I had."

“What possible difference would it make.” Jasper frowns at Blake.

“If you guys haven’t done ‘stuff’ and he wants to do it, then maybe it’s the easier option to hook up with his ex again.” Blake shrugs very matter of fact as they get to the car, Blake opens the door for Jasper.

“Oh, thank you, that’s a super helpful thought that I really needed to have right now.” Jasper rolls his eyes as he climbs in the car, sitting down and crossing his arms, looking out the window of the car as they head back towards their apartment, wishing that he hadn’t insisted Ryan go out for drinks with his ex like this.

“Ryan doesn’t seem like that much of an asshole, I’m sure he wouldn’t.” Blake tries to comfort Jasper but it was obvious the first thought was sticking in Jasper’s mind.

“Yeah but what’d Ryan mean by ‘none of your tricks?’ Like does he think Damien will seduce him? Is that what he is talking about? Will he even tell Damien that we are together, or at least, that he’s in a relationship? From what I’ve heard I doubt even that would be something he would respect but still. I don’t know why I thought sending him off to catch up was a good idea.” Jasper stresses, dropping his head into his hands and giving a frustrated groan. “I want to stalk them. I want to call him right now and tell him that I changed my mind and I want him home. What should I do?” Jasper looks at Blake with a desperate innocence, wanting his problems to be solved by a more capable adult. Blake just smiles and pats Jasper’s shoulder.

“You should remember that this guy was a jerk, that Ryan is smitten with you, and that by allowing this, even though it’s tearing you apart right now with the ‘what ifs’ shows a lot of trust. Trust is so important in a relationship.” Blake had some good points but Jasper wasn't thinking about all the things that positives right now.

“Yeah but does it come across as trusting? Or does it come across as me not caring that his ex took him out for a drink? I don’t want him to be thinking I don’t care.” As the car pulls out of the carpark and starts heading home, Jasper feels the regret building. The further away they drive the more Jasper wanted to jump out of the car and run back to Ryan.

“Send him a dick pick. Let him know you’re thinking of him.” Blake jokes with a wink. Jasper stares at him stunned, his eyes narrowed with confusion.

“That’s absolutely the worst advice I’ve ever heard.” Jasper comments back, dumbfounded by the suggestion.

“What? Show him what he’s missing?” Blake shrugs.

“Or remind him what he misses with his ex? Give him ideas? You’re being really unhelpful about this.” Jasper scoffs, turning and looking out the window again.

“I’m joking around, trying to cheer you up.” Blake nudges him. “You’ll be fine. He’ll be fine.”

“Do you think we should hook up?” Jasper asks, this time it was his turn to shock Blake with his suggestion.

“I don’t think making him jealous is the way to go.” Blake replies very calmly, despite what he thought Jasper was insinuating.

“Not you and me you tool. Me and Ryan.” Jasper cracks up laughing at the thought.

“I don’t think it’s called a hook up if you’re dating the person.” Blake laughs at him.

“You know what I mean. Because we haven’t gone there. Should I just do it? So he doesn’t feel the need to go to someone else for it.” Jasper asks completely seriously, though by the smirk on his face and the chuckle at the suggestion, it was clear Blake thought he was joking. “What’s funny about that?” Jasper snaps. “This is serious, you’re not taking this seriously at all!”

“You are serious? Jasper no. Definitely not. If you think you have to rush things just to stop him from possibly cheating, then he’s not worth going there with in the first place. Please do not feel like you have to do anything more to keep him. If he’s decent and he cares about you, you’ll be enough, whether he has to wait another week or another year for things to progress. He should care more about you being comfortable and ready otherwise you’ll be upset that you rushed things. Plus if you did that, and he still ended up being a jerk and cheating, you’d feel completely used." Blake didn't usually get this serious, so Jasper was comforted to see him giving serious advice.

“We were happy and just enjoying things for what they were before his stupid ex showed up. Now I feel like I’m turning into Ryan with the way I’m stressing. I just really hope he’s ok right now. I know his ex was a piece of work so he is probably having an awful time with him now anyway.” Jasper sighs. “Do you have anything that could help me de-stress?” He asks a little more quietly.

“Only medicinal cannabis, and you cannot get high off it." Blake informs him.

“Then what is the point of it?” Jasper groans, throwing his hands up in the air.

“To stop me from having seizures during shows. But you’re right, it’s otherwise useless.” Blake laughs and shakes his head amused.

“You know with your badass look, you’d expect you of all people would have weed in some form other than epilepsy medication.” Jasper scoffs disappointed.

“You're not badass enough to do drugs.” Blake teases.

“Tonight seems like a good time to start.” Jasper shrugs.

“You know from the good little church choir boy you were when you first ended up here, you’re actually the one being more badass than me, I mean you’re pegged as the alcoholic of the group, you’re having sneaky kissy sessions with a boy, starting a rebellion against the manager and asking me for drugs. I’m impressed.” Blake nudges him. The car pulls up at their place and everyone gets out and starts heading up to their rooms, while Jasper lags behind the others he takes his phone out and contemplates texting Ryan to ask about how his ‘date’ was going. He deletes the message and pockets his phone. It hadn’t been half an hour yet, it’d look way too clingy to be texting him this early in the night. He was supposed to be showing trust, not desperation.

“Are you ok?” Blake asks, he’d stopped at the front door and waited for his best friend to catch up.

“Please get me smashed and keep my phone out of my hands tonight.” Jasper passes Blake his phone.

“Oooo~ I’m going to read all your sexts.” Blake jokes, trying to work out the password to get into it.

“Mm, good luck with that. That seems like something that would make you more uncomfortable than me.” Jasper shrugs, smirking to himself as he walks past him into their apartment. His plan for the night was to keep himself distracted and not think about Ryan, that plan started with getting dressed and ready for a night of mingling with performers from the TMA awards. No re-appearing nightmare ex, was going to ruin the excitement he’d anticipated being at this party tonight.

@Copyright (2018), Claire Rosalind; All Rights Reserved.
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Let’s hope Ryan is okay with Damien and nothing bad happens. Let’s hope Jasper do anything stupid.

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probably Chris is behind  the arrival of the ex. It is strange that Damien wasn’t removed yet after the fan meeting.

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With Ryan having moments of suicidal thoughts which are somewhat related to his ex I definitely don’t think sending him off with him was the best idea. I’m not saying he’ll become suicidal but it could definitely make him stressed & depressed. Jasper showing that he can trust Ryan with his ex is a good sign yet I’m still worried about the consequences especially with the ambiguous comments about Damien’s tricks as that sends off alarm bells. I guess we’ll see how it goes soon enough.

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Why do I get the feeling that this is one of Chris’s tricks so that he can get Ryan out of the band before his three months is up. I get the feeling that Ryan running into Damien was a set up and Chris is behind the whole thing. 

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