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Do You Ship Us? - 3. Press Conference

Thank you again to those of you following this story, I truly appreciate the comments.

“It’s my pleasure to introduce, our newest member, Ryan Kurtis.” As his name is announced Jasper looks over and watches their new member walk into the room, he looked more confident than he had been just talking to the members themselves. He gives the room full of people a wave, not at all looking like the person he’d been acting like the rest of the time they had seen him. Jasper quickly corrects his expression, realizing he was frowning at his new band-mate’s entrance and that it’d get them unwanted attention if rumors of him disapproving started going around. Ryan had impressed him in how well he could pull it together and put on a front for an audience, for the first time today Jasper felt somewhat more relaxed about Ryan being a part of their group, reassured that maybe he wasn't going to completely destroy the band from the inside out.

Ryan walks over and sits beside Jasper at the desk before the row of photographers and people wanting to ask questions about the new addition for magazines, websites and fan groups. As soon as Ryan sits down, Jasper nudges him gives him a smile and leans in to whisper to him, knowing the positive attention would help his own case, having pushed Chris a little more than he probably should have already today. A little good publicity would keep him from being ousted, today at least.

“Feel weird having so many people here just to meet you?” Jasper asks. Ryan leans back and looks at Jasper then returns his smile and gives a quick nod, camera’s flashing to capture the moment, Jasper smiles to himself, glad that there would be at least a few photos of him and Ryan getting along, and that it wouldn't look too forced either.

“So, Simon. What was the reason for expanding the band?” Someone asks, all attention on him now. Jasper casts their manager a look across the room as Simon begins answering the question, bullshitting that they had thought this through and come to the decision as a band.

“Uh, well it’s not just the band expanding, it’s our skill set, Ryan brings some new talent to the group so we’re all very excited to see how that goes.” That’s why Simon was known as the groups’ leader. He had very little control over the other guys, but he sounded authoritative when he spoke and he gave the most professional sounding and promotional answers. The manager off to the side gives an approving nod at his response, locking eyes for a moment with Jasper who risks a smirk as he looks away.

Plus he’s an extra bit of eye-candy.” Jasper states immediately, knowing exactly how to rial up the attention as cameras flash in quick succession to get Ryan's surprised reaction to Jasper's flirty compliment.

“Should BlaSper fans be concerned?” Someone in the audience asks, Jasper and Blake both laugh and look at each other, Blake was on the other side of Jasper so he puts an arm around his friend and Jasper affectionately leans his head on Blake’s shoulder. Their bromance was a draw card for the teenage girls that were currently heartbroken over all their hopes and dreams being dashed when their One Direction ships had all turned out to be completely false. Back in the day, Jasper himself had believed pretty hard in the Larry ship, but now he knew how it felt to orchestrate moments that would appear natural and affection. He also knew that the better you played the game, the more fans would love you so he was the mastermind quite often with the moments he and Blake would share. It wasn't that the chemistry was fake, but they would often spend hours laughing to themselves about the ridiculous and over the top ways that fans would interpret every look they gave each other.

“Ryan, what is it you bring to the group?” One of the ladies asks. Jasper sits up properly again and looks at Ryan who momentarily froze at the question.

“I-uh, I dance.” Ryan answers, swallowing to try and soothe his dry throat.

“A dancer!?” Collective surprise takes the audience and they look around at each other seeming excited until one of them makes the suggestion Jasper had earlier.

“Show us your moves!” She orders. Ryan looks over at the manager who nods to him to get up and show them how he danced.

“Come on, we’re all dying to see you.” Jasper smiles at Ryan. Ryan stands up nervously, knocking the table with his legs as he goes to walk around in front of it to where there was at least a little space for him to move.

“Should I just dance?” Ryan asks, not sure whether anyone would play music or something for him. Jasper instantly starts clapping in a rhythm, singing the first few lines of one of their more popular songs, the one he’d heard in Ryan’s headphones earlier, the other members join in and soon enough they have the manager clapping too, anyone without a camera joining in encouragingly. Ryan nods his head, getting a feel for the tempo before he starts moving, he was sure he looked stupid but there was undeniable excitement among his onlookers, he could tell by the camera flashes and excited chatter. He keeps improvising dance moves until his band-mates stop clapping and singing, instead just shouting out cheers for him.

“Take a bow.” Jasper tells him. Ryan smiles at everyone, a bright smile he’d not done since meeting the members. He bows at them and walks back around the table, pulling his chair out and sitting again, his chest rising and falling as the adrenaline pumps around his body, he had sweat more than what seemed necessary for what he’d done and he reaches for the water bottle on the table immediately, twisting the lid off and sipping it slowly. Jasper watches him with an impressed smile, relieved to have finally seen just a glimpse of Ryan's skills. So he could dance and he could play up some fake confidence in front of a crowd. That was basically all he would need to do to keep fans content with his position.

“That was awesome, so are you going to be choreographing for the band?” The questions about Ryan’s position in the group dominated the next 5 minutes of the conference before the manager steps in again and thanks everyone for coming but reminds them ‘his boys’ needed to get back to practicing. Simon stands up, following the manager out of the room, Luke behind him, followed by Blake, Jasper and finally Ryan. As they walk off Ryan is stopped for another question.

“Ryan are you single?” One of the ladies asks. “The fans will really want to know.” Ryan opens his mouth to answer but the manager calls out, noticing Ryan being stopped at the doorway, too polite to turn her down and feeling trapped by the intensity of the recording device being held at his mouth.

“No more question’s, Ryan’s got a lot of work to do.” Chris shouts down the hallway. Jasper comes back quickly to his rescue.

"Sorry." Jasper pulls Ryan by the collar of his jacket, out of the way then closes the door to give them some privacy. "Well done, you survived your first public stunt." Jasper compliments him and turns, heading back towards the rest of the members when he hears a thud on the wall behind him, he turns and sees Ryan bracing himself with a hand on the wall, trying to walk but seeing too dizzy to stay upright. “Are you alright?” Jasper asks, quickly catching Ryan just as the man falls, eyes glassy and face pale, into Jasper’s arms. Unable to support the sudden weight, Jasper buckles at the knees and falls to the ground too, trying at least to make it as comfortable a landing as he could, calling out for help from the other members and unintentionally alerting the dozens of people on the other side of the door that were still holding cameras.

“Dude, what happened?” Blake rushes to help lift Ryan off Jasper.

“He just passed out.” Jasper replies confused. He notices a small zip locked clear bag containing small white pills, fall from Ryan’s pants pocket as Blake shifts him off Jasper's lap. Jasper quickly grabs and hides the bag in his shirt, not wanting to get any attention on the group and their newest member. Simon and Luke move past the three on the floor and try to stop the photographers getting photos of the incident while the manager orders Blake to call an ambulance. He and Jasper sit Ryan up against the wall then the manager leaves them, heading over to Simon and Luke to talk to the keen eye’d photographers and asking for some privacy, his hands on Simon and Luke’s backs, walking them forwards to force the unwanted attention backwards with them like human shields.

“Ambulance is on it’s way.” Blake states, crouching beside Jasper.

“Ryan? Ry are you ok?” Jasper opens his bottle of water and pours a little bit of it over Ryan’s pale face, this wakes him and Ryan starts mumbling and trying to lie down. “Ryan, what happened?” Jasper asks.

“I’m. I’m fine.” Ryan tries to stand.

No, you just passed out, what happened? You need to stay still for a moment ok. Just get your bearings, there is an ambulance on the way.”

"I don't need an ambulance. I'm fine. Just got, lightheaded." Ryan shakes his head as he rubs his eyes.

"You were fine though, what happened?" Jasper asks. Ryan pats around at his pockets and Jasper feels guilty for not admitting he'd stashed whatever Ryan was looking for, down his own shirt, but he didn't want this to cause more problems than it already would. Ryan passing out was a big enough drama, without mysterious white pills ending up in headlines with a photo of the band.

“The pills.” Ryan says then goes limp again, passing out once more and falling forward, his head on Jasper's shoulder. Jasper rubs his back, asking him to open his eyes and respond but getting no reaction.


As soon as Ryan is in the back of the ambulance and being driven away, the band makes their way back to their practice room.Except Jasper who seeks out the manager, finding him in his office and closing the door behind himself.

"What do you want?" Chris asks, unimpressed and not even looking up from his paperwork though he knew it was Jasper, it was always Jasper coming in to complain about something. He knew the difference because Jasper never knocked before just letting himself into the office.

“I don’t think Ryan is good for the band.” Jasper starts, crossing his arms and fixing a concerned gaze on Chris, hoping that animosity aside, Chris would listen to him on this.

“Jasper I really am not in the mood...” Chris rolls his eyes.

“But he’s doing drugs.” Jasper snaps and Chris looks up at him surprised at the accusation, and intrigued to know more about it.

@Copyright (2018), Claire Rosalind; All Rights Reserved.
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Interesting that Jasper automatically assumes that Ryan's pills are street drugs rather than medicine.  I have a feeling that he'll shortly be eating humble pie.

Edited by travlbug
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