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Do You Ship Us? - 30. Explanations

“He was definitely flirting with you.” Blake and Jasper both head into Jasper’s room, they’d been out for hours at the party but Jasper had overdone it quickly with shots, having snuck away from Blake to have a few more after he’d been told to slow down. The night had been kinda hazy but just before they left Jasper had been chatting with an openly gay singer that had brought him some water and was trying to comfort him on his relationship troubles. According to Blake he’d not said who he was dating, just that the person he was into was having drinks with their ex, something along the lines of ‘if I were them, I’d not have let you out of my sight’ had been when Blake interfered, telling Jasper it was time to go home. Apparently Jasper had no idea how to tell when someone was flirting with them, and needed rescuing before he said too much.

Rather then the party he had been hoping for, Jasper had ended up spending 40 minutes in a bathroom throwing up until he’d pretty much reached sober again and by that point, everyone was able to tell he was upset about something. He had been talking to plenty of people throughout the night and almost all of them wanted to talk about Ryan and the rumors early on that they didn’t get along, then as soon as he explained that it was their manager he hated and not Ryan, the topic would turn to how amazing Ryan’s dancing had been at the show tonight. Having to continually talk about Ryan, while trying to forget he was out with another guy, wasn’t working very well for Jasper, which is why he kept smashing down drinks every chance he got, mixing drinks until the room was spinning.

“He’s not here, he didn’t come to the after party. Has he texted or called?” Jasper sighs flopping down on his bed and looking over towards Blake who sits beside him trying to be supportive, he’d never actually helped Jasper deal with relationship issues that he genuinely cared about so he was both surprised and unsure about how to handle the feelings Jasper was expressing for Ryan. He'd not known him to be insecure or jealous before, this relationship was obviously much more important to him because he was actually invested.

“Parties aren’t really his thing are they? Does he even have his own key yet? Maybe he couldn’t come home before us because he doesn’t have a key to get in.” Blake tries to reassure him but Jasper props himself up on his elbows and gives Blake a skeptical look.

“Or maybe he’s gone back to Damien’s house and they are...” Jasper starts before a knock on the door steals their attention.

“Jasper.” The nerves in Ryan’s voice was unsettling to Jasper who was already a little highly strung about the whole situation. He needed Ryan to come back confident that his ex was in the past, not more anxious than ever.

“Want me to go?” Blake asks quietly, but Jasper shakes his head.

“Not yet. Come in.” Jasper calls out, neatening his hair and sitting up strongly, he wanted to look like he had been fine, not like he’d been slowly becoming more and more paranoid as the 4 whole hours had passed of Ryan being out with Damien. Ryan opens the door and by the look on his face Jasper could feel a lump building in his throat. “How was your catch up?” He asks with faked calmness in his delivery, like Ryan had just been out with an old friend.

“I kissed him.” Ryan admits instantly, he had guilt written all over his face and looked as though he was about to cry too.

“I feel like you guys should talk alone?” Blake suggests to Jasper gently, Jasper shakes his head, not wanting to handle this alone. Also wanting to keep Blake away from Ryan until he knew the context, or else Ryan was in danger of being punched before having a chance to explain himself. He takes a deep breath and composes himself as he looks back at Ryan, trying to think of the right thing to say back to his boyfriend announcing he had kissed an ex.

“So I did accidentally send you on a date.” He sighs. Despite having thought of a number of things to say, it was bitterness and sarcasm that came out of his mouth. He looks up at the roof to stop himself from crying, he was disappointed and his trust in Ryan was slipping away. “Do you still have feelings for him?” He asks, blinking as he tries to hold back the tears threatening to streak his face. He had known his feelings for Ryan had been getting serious but he didn't know how much it would hurt to imagine losing this relationship now. Blake places a hand on Jasper’s shoulder to try and comfort him but he felt truly out of place being in the middle of this couple’s emotional conversation. The tearful exhale from Jasper as he looks back at his silent boyfriend only made the discomfort more difficult to bare.

“I shouldn’t have gone with him.” Ryan sighs, looking down at his feet ashamed for a moment before leaning back against the wall and sliding down to sit on the floor, his elbows on his knees and his hands over his face.

“I was trying to be cool with you getting a drink with someone. I had myself almost totally convinced that I could trust you to do that, without me having anything to worry about it. I’ve been telling myself for the last 4 hours, that someone who’s so insecure about his relationship wouldn’t be the one to fuck it up. You really did catch me off guard. You do understand that it wasn’t a hall pass, right? Do you want to get back with him?” Jasper’s emotions turn to frustration and annoyance, the way he always covered for feeling sad.

“You have every right to be mad at me.” Ryan starts but is cut off with Jasper’s snarky reply.

“Well thanks for your permission.”

“I don’t want to get back with him, the feelings I have aren’t healthy. He did it on purpose because he knew I was with you and knew...”

“How is it his fault if you kissed him.” Jasper snaps, cutting him off again. Ryan looks up at Jasper, realizing how pissed off he was.

“You’re right, I fucked up.” He stands up, wanting to take full responsibility of his actions, deciding it wasn’t worth trying to explain himself to Jasper while he was so angry. “I’m really sorry.” He sighs, turning to leave the room.

“No, hold on, don’t you dare walk out on me. I may have been wrong about letting you go ‘for a drink’ with an ex but don’t tell me I’m wrong about the kind of person you are. There’s some story behind this ex, you said he did this on purpose and that your feelings aren’t healthy. You owe me the story.” Jasper orders, nudging Blake. “I’ll talk to you later.” Jasper tells him quietly.

“Good luck.” Blake gives a reassuring smile then gets off the bed. As he passes Ryan, Ryan steps away nervously, clearly remembering the threat that Blake would break his face. Blake however doesn't even look at him, not sure he could keep his cool if he dared to look at him right now. Jasper might be willing to give him a chance, but Blake had no reason to be as forgiving. As the door is closed, Ryan looks back over at Jasper, who had replaced the comfort of Blake by his side, with his pillow in his arms, needing something to cling to.

"So? What's the story with Damien?" Jasper asks.

“He was toxic. We dated on and off for a year, he cheated on me multiple times and would tell me it was my fault for not calling him back, not replying straight away, if I didn’t organize plans with him on the weekend or whatever he would wind up cheating on me and telling me it was only because I wasn’t there. We didn’t really break up when he cheated, he would just not talk to me for days and I’d end up sending him a message asking if he was still mad at me for whatever it was I didn’t do. He wouldn’t want me spending time with friends and I would have to justify everything I did to him. Eventually he had me so closed off that I wouldn’t talk to anyone else, spend time with anyone else, all my time not working was spent either with him or alone reading about him being at a party on Facebook when he had told me he wasn’t able to hang out. He started hanging out with this guy he worked with a lot and posting about it, liking all his photos and status’, I became paranoid about it and he loved rubbing it in my face that he was hanging out with the other guy. But anyone I mentioned to him, he would get jealous of and get mad at me for talking about.” Ryan walks over to Jasper’s bed, sitting on the very end and taking a moment to breath. Jasper was calming down, his annoyance now on hearing how Ryan was treated.

“No wonder you have anxiety, are insecure and have trouble feeling good enough. You do know that ticks almost every box for emotional abuse right? What a piece of shit.” Jasper scoffs, shaking his head in disbelief. “If I knew any of that, I would have never sent you off with him alone. Now I get why you blame the kiss on him tonight. I treat you better than that, so it still hurts that you even wanted to kiss him.”

“I can’t explain it, I am an idiot I guess, I let it go on for a year. The whole time we were together, he was pressuring me for sex but I wanted him to tell me he loved me before we went that far and he hadn’t said it. He kept telling me that if I was going to keep making him wait he would break up with me for good and be with someone who would in his words ‘treat him like a real boyfriend’. So of course I felt like I was letting him down by not taking that step with him. One night he came over and my mum was out so we had dinner, I wanted to watch a movie but before the movie even started it was obvious what he wanted to do. Then he finally asked what I was waiting for and I told him, he smiled at me and said ‘seriously? Of course I love you, that’s why it annoys me so much that you are holding back’.”

“Tell me you didn’t.” Jasper leans forward, completely entranced by the story, he’d heard of this kind of thing happening to women, but never thought of it as something men would go through too, especially a guy like Ryan who didn’t look like the kind of person who’d be targeted for that kind of crap.

“Like I said, I was an idiot. I wanted so badly to believe I hadn’t wasted a year of my life dating someone who didn’t care and I’d been feeling shit about everything else in my life so I just wanted to believe in something being good. Anyway afterwards he went for a shower and I heard his phone go off, I looked at it and it was a message from the guy literally saying ‘Can’t wait to see you’.” Ryan looks down at his hands. “It was my first time, and I wanted it to mean everything, and instead it was with someone I should have known better than to trust and who didn’t care about me, and had a back-up plan for the night anyway.” Ryan sighs, it seemed as though he had tried to keep this all locked away in the Pandora's box in his mind, but having had time with Damien tonight, it was all coming out.

“Did you punch him in the face?” Jasper asks, barely remembering why he had been annoyed in the first place.

“No, but I did confront him. I asked him if he meant what he said when he told me he loved me and he said ’of course, that’s why I waited this long for you’.”

“What a DICK! Waited? He was sleeping with other guys the whole damn time!”

“Yeah. Then he thanked me and made some comment about how it wasn’t a big deal and now I knew he wouldn’t cheat because I would be able to fulfill his needs, then he left, presumably to go to the other guy’s house and cheat on me. I’m not really sure because I never heard from him again after that night. I always thought he just didn’t care or felt guilty because that was the night of my... Attempt. I found out tonight that he called the next day and my mum had answered the call, told him to stay away from me and to never speak to me again. She didn't know what had pushed me over the edge, but she knew he was coming over that night and had come home and found me. Besides she was always really strong about her opinion of him. I couldn't tell her half of what he put me through because I didn't want her to worry about me and I knew if she knew how he was acting she would be disgusted. Mum didn't tell him what happened with me, she just kept him out of the picture for my mental health.” Ryan looks over at Jasper who was completely softened by the topic of Ryan’s suicide, the anger had no place in this conversation anymore.

“That was that night? Because of him?” Jasper asks gently, trying to think back on the way he had spoken to and treated Ryan throughout knowing him, hoping none of his own comments had come anywhere near being as hurtful as the way Damien had treated him.

“He was just the last straw, I had invited him over hoping to forget how empty I felt about everything else, and I ended up feeling robbed of self respect, and the hope I had for finding true love and sharing everything with them. I felt like I officially had nothing to live for. He ruined me, and tonight when he showed up, when he told me about my mum and when he mentioned nothing about my suicide, didn’t even ask about my depression, but apologized for the way he had treated me, I felt lost. He asked why I hadn’t called. He accused me of breaking up with him to be in the band and he had me apologizing to him for not letting him know what I had gone through. He manipulated me and belittled me and made me feel guilty so much during our relationship that even though I’m now in a relationship I am genuinely happy in and I have tried not to think about him or compare him to you from the start, I felt so powerless that when he told me he missed me I felt like nothing had changed, like I was still begging for him to want me, to actually want me and he had come all this way and paid all that money to see me again. I felt like that was him finally showing me he cared and I kissed him. I never wanted to see him again, and then he turns up and I felt like I finally won, he finally actually wanted to be with me. But as soon as I had kissed him he laughed at me, said ’I knew you’d never get over me’ and I was back to feeling like nothing but a game to him.” Ryan starts breaking down, crying into his hands, full of regret and remorse. Jasper moves quickly to behind him, he hugs him and kisses his shoulder, there was no way he could sit back and watch Ryan have this moment. They were both hurt, but clearly this wasn't about a fault in their relationship, it was about someone completely toxic and Jasper had every intention of getting rid of that toxicity from Ryan's life. “It’s no excuse and I shouldn’t have done it, I’m so sorry I hurt you.” Ryan sobs, shattered to have hurt the person who had proved already that he was there for him.

“I will forgive you right here, right now, no more guilt or need for apologies if you promise me something.” Jasper replies, moving to kneel in front of Ryan on the floor, he takes both of Ryan’s hands and waits for Ryan to look at him.

“Anything to fix this. I don’t want to lose you. You are so good to me and you deserve to be treated so much better than this, I can see everything I hoped for, in you.” Ryan takes a deep breath, sorrow on his face as he patiently waits for Jasper’s demands, for a moment Jasper considers how this would have played out if he were Damien, how the guilt and punishment would go for Ryan upsetting him somehow, he sighs, wishing he didn’t even have a reason to compare them. Here he was kneeling before Ryan, hoping he was showing compassion and empathy for what Ryan had suffered, and wanting to find a way to help him move past this, not to torment him with it, but somehow he could tell that the way Ryan was looking at him right now, was the same way he would have looked at and begged for another chance every time Damien had made a threat to him about breaking up. Even his choice of wording made him feel guilty now, he hated that there was anything in common with Damien, but at least he could say for sure, that his intentions were good.

“I am saying this from a place of love and care, not from a want to control you. I think it would be best if you have no communication with your ex. He clearly upsets you and makes you feel weak and I never want that for you. So please promise me you will come to me straight away if he tries in any form, to get back in contact with you, and we can work it out together.” He pleads, Ryan starts nodding in agreement. “And I promise you, that when I tell you I love you, those words are a promise that I will spend my life wanting what is best for you, and us as a couple. I will be selfish at times, and I will be a jerk and I will definitely have my fair share of bad moments, but I will never put you through anything even remotely close to what you’ve been through before. I use to say those words to Beth, so believe me when I tell you it will mean everything when I say them to you. I want them to mean everything this time. I won’t say it to you for anything less than honest, genuine love.” Jasper assures him. Ryan smiles at him and just mouths the words thank you. Jasper smiles back and stands up, leaning in close to Ryan’s lips, looking at them but hesitating on pressing his lips against him. “And these lips deserve better than to be wasted on him.” Jasper whispers before kissing Ryan softly, holding the kiss for as long as he could. He meant it, he didn't want Ryan's lips on anyone else, he wanted them on his lips forever.

“I am so sorry.” Ryan whisper again when their lips part.

“No more apologies. I don’t want to hear it again. I forgive you as long as you keep your promise to me. Now it’s late, I’ve fucked up my liver for one night and feel drained in almost every sense of the word so I’m going to bed.” Jasper tells Ryan then smiles at him. “After the night you’ve had, I will let you decide, do you want to go to your bed, or do you want to stay in here with me? Either way, I need to sleep, but if you need reassurance that I am still yours and I still believe in us, you’re welcome to spoon me.” Jasper lets go of Ryan’s hands and walks over to the top of his bed, he pulls back the blankets and takes off his shirt then climbs in, waiting for Ryan to decide what he wanted to do.

“Can I stay just for a while?” Ryan asks. Jasper doesn’t answer, just rolls onto his side and flicks the blanket off his back to invite Ryan in. Ryan kicks his shoes off and undresses to his underwear before climbing in behind Jasper and snuggling in tightly against his body. He presses a gentle kiss on the back of Jasper's neck and lets out a relieved sigh. “I don’t deserve you.” Ryan felt beyond lucky that Jasper had heard him out and been understanding, he had no reason to be, but he proved once again that he truly cared about Ryan. It wasn't something he was use to, but he was so grateful for Jasper.

“Well, luckily for me, it’s not up to you to decide what you’re worth is in my eyes.”

@Copyright (2018), Claire Rosalind; All Rights Reserved.
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Kudos to Ryan for coming clean about the kiss. It may have been painful for Ryan, but his honesty gains him absolution from Jasper and a plan for what to do about future unwanted advances from Damien. (It also earns him a cuddle in Jasper's bed. 😊)

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