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Do You Ship Us? - 31. Threats

Jasper and Ryan are awoken to the sound of a loud beeping, coming from the hallway. Doors opening and the mummers of the other members shortly following.

“What the hell?” Jasper rubs his eyes and flicks his lamp on beside his bed just as his door is opened.

“Jas, is Ryan with you?” Blake asks, his voice a little croaky from being woken up, Blake rubs his eyes and sees Ryan in bed beside Jasper, the two of them looking terrified but relieved to see it was only Blake at the door. “Put your clothes on, the whole building’s fire alarms are going off, we have to evacuate.” He states grumpily then closes the door. Jasper and Ryan hurriedly get out of bed and start grabbing their clothes from the floor, pulling them on. Neither of them ready to admit to the other that this could be the moment their relationship was discovered by the other members but both thinking about it as they adjust their clothes to try and make themselves look as innocent as they could before they make their way out the door. Jasper leaves his room first but Blake is standing outside his room waiting for him, he slings his arm around Jasper's shoulders and starts walking down the hallway, covering the view of Ryan sneaking out of his room.

"Thanks." Jasper says quietly to Blake who just squeezes his shoulders. Luke and Simon were out the front already, holding the door open and waiting for the rest of the band to get out.

“There he is. You had us worried Ryan, you weren’t in your room.” Simon starts leading the group down the stairs and out to the evacuation point out the front of the building. Luckily Simon never really cared all that much to know what was going on with people personally, so he didn't ask any questions. All 5 of them try to keep their heads down and blend in with the rest of the apartments occupants as they leave, it'd been easy to go unnoticed when they were still just new to the music scene but occasionally when they passed people these days they would get longer stares as people are trying to recognize them.

“Just what I needed for my hangover, an early morning evacuation with blaring alarms.” Blake comments, turning to Jasper. “How are you feeling?” He asks, still not letting him go.

“Apparently getting so grossly drunk that you throw up your entire soul is the way to go. Aside from a little dehydrated I feel fine.” Jasper shrugs, rubbing his eyes again and yawning. “Hey thanks for being discrete before.” He lowers his voice. “I thought we were busted for sure.”

“You guys worked things out then?” Blake asks, glancing behind himself at Ryan who was chatting with Simon and Luke about his disappearance before the after party.

“You know how my sister has been on again off again with that dickhead she calls a boyfriend for 4 years? Ryan’s ex is the same kind of dickhead.” Jasper rolls his eyes. “I don’t love that he’s reappeared and still got a hold over Ry, but at the same time, I have held my sister while she cries and swears she’s better off without him and watched her turn to putty in his hands the moment he enters a room. I can sympathize but I did make him promise to tell me if he contacts him ever again. If they are kept apart, Ryan has time to become strong enough to stand up to him. That’s my plan anyway. If not I may need you to help me dispose of a body.” He winks at Blake.

“Mm, Ryan’s or his ex’s? Because I swear if he cheats on you again it’s him I’ll be wanting to dispose of.” Blake mutters, casting a glare at Ryan as he, Luke and Simon come over to them.

“We’ve been out here 5 minutes and it’s been at least 10 since the alarms went off, if there’s not even the sound of a fire truck coming yet, then I have a feeling we’re going to be locked out for a while. Anyone else want to get coffee?” Luke suggests with a well timed yawn. Everyone agrees, turning and making their way up the street towards where the nearest MacDonald's was which is thankfully only a short walk from their place.

“So this is our life huh? Macca’s coffee at 4am.” Simon sighs.

"Not fancy enough for you?" Blake teases.

"Just when you think you've made it." Simon continues complaining as he arrives reluctantly at the restaurant.

“You know anywhere else in walking radius, open, that does coffee this time of morning?” Luke asks, pushing the door open and holding it for the rest of the group to pass through. “If I have to be awake, I’ll take what I can get in the way of a hot caffeinated beverage.”

“Blake and I use to sneak out and do midnight drives through here all the time back when we were recording the first album, when we’d be pumped on adrenaline from recording one of our songs.” Jasper reminisces, grinning at Blake.

“Celebratory Macca’s run. It’s been a while.” Blake slings his arm around Jasper’s shoulders and glances at Ryan who was watching them with a smile. He knew it was petty, but he wanted more than ever to assert himself as Jasper's closest ally, so Ryan knew he wouldn't get away with anything. Boyfriend or not, he was not going to get between them, they were inseparable and Blake would have his back no matter what.

“You say sneak out, like either of you were ever capable of being quiet enough to leave without us noticing. You do know these walls are thin and in the middle of the night you can hear when someone is talking, no matter how quiet they think they are.” Simon rolls his eyes and pulls his wallet out. Jasper and Ryan both glance in each other's direction failing at subtlety, but thankfully it's over Luke and Simon's heads, they were too busy looking at the menu board. Ryan gives Jasper a shrug, trying to act as if he wasn't now worried that Simon and Luke knew about them and had been listening to their whispers late at night when they thought they were safe to talk freely together.

“He’s talking about my room, remember my room is right beside Simon's. They wouldn’t hear you through yours, you’ve got the bathroom on one side and the lounge on the other. Luckily.” He says reassuringly. Unfortunately Blake must have assumed that just because he and Ryan woke up in Jasper's bed this morning, they spent most of their time in there, and Jasper was currently making a mental note to never again enter Ryan's room. They had spent way too many nights kissing in Ryan’s room which happened to be between Blake's room and the kitchen, Jasper was now more worried that he was making Blake uncomfortable. The thought of Blake having to listen to them kissing and talking all night made him so, so glad nothing had progressed yet. “For what it’s worth, you know I’m way too heavy a sleeper.” Blake winks at him, almost as if reading his mind.

“Now I’m assuming I’m the only one who brought money with me, so it’s my shout I suppose, what’s everyone getting?” Simon asks. Jasper still had a look of concern on his face at Simon’s comment about the walls, but he generally had a pensive look on his face when he was tired which was a pretty lucky cover right now. “Blake, Jasper, are you having anything?” Simon asks, waving his hand in front of Jasper's face to get his attention. Jasper swats his hand away annoyed.

“2 frozen cokes.” Blake answers for both of them. Simon looks at them for a moment then turns to the cashier and gives an amused sigh.

“2 frozen cokes for the children thanks.” He orders then turns back to them. “Seriously you two, no wonder you’d come crashing in, laughing and sounding like you were drunk or high.” Simon shakes his head at them. Ryan smiles at Jasper and Blake who just share a laugh at Simon's comment.

“Hey, most guys in our position, would have been high on more than sugar. You should be proud of us.” Blake shrugs. Simon nods with a smile, then gives a thoughtful hum before turning completely to face them.

“I am proud of all of you. Especially after our performance last night. Ryan, you’re dancing was spectacular, the fans went wild for it and even though I’m sure there’ll be plenty of gifs of me stuffing up the easy moves, I’m proud of the way we all embraced the challenge of learning a little choreography. I know it’s not what we thought we’d be doing but it shows more versatility and we've all worked really hard so I hope you're all proud of yourselves. I’m proud of the way we have been sticking together more recently too, since Jasper brought up the contracts we’ve really had each other’s backs on things, especially towards Blake and the way he wants to express himself. I’m sure you’ve got some dark stuff coming for us when we do record our next album, but obviously we’ve all experienced different things in our lives and we should all get a chance to express that side of ourselves, maybe this will be a good chance to really strengthen our band. And Jasper, you've been being amazing about the way you’ve conducted yourself since Chris exposed that photo of you. You had me scared in the start but you’ve just ignored every single question about it thrown your way and not made it into a drama, frankly I think the gay community would appreciate the confirmation and the pride, but I’m sure they also appreciate your discretion about it and sympathize with the way it was thrown at the media before you were ready to be open about it, a lot of them can probably relate, in fact I’ve seen so many comments about how people should respect your privacy. I think we’re in a really great position as a group and I cannot wait to move onto bigger and better things when we’ve finalized this court paperwork and can throw it in the companies face that we won’t stand for the mistreatment anymore.” Simon concludes just as their drinks are all placed on the bench.

“Cheers to that.” Jasper grabs his frozen coke and holds it up. Everyone quickly finds their drink and holds them up too, with a ‘cheers’ back before they leave the store and start heading back towards their apartment. Ryan sticks by Jasper’s side on the walk back, but he could feel annoyance from Blake who was on the other side of him. The three of them walk in absolute silence, Jasper couldn’t explain Blake’s mood or defend Ryan’s actions while Simon and Luke were behind them so none of them said a single word. Once they are back in view of the apartments, they see lots of the people have dispersed but there were two police cars out front along with a special forces van.

“Jasper, they found your stash.” Blake jokes in a fake whisper as they approach. Seeing their landlord out front with one of the officers, Simon walks ahead with Luke following quickly him to investigate what was going on.

“Hey, Blake.” Ryan leans forwards and looks past Jasper at Blake with a kind smile.

“Jasper explained about your ex, and he forgives you, but if you take advantage of that, I will personally castrate you with something rusty and blunt. Deal?” Blake looks at him with a stone cold expression. Jasper looks down at his drink and loudly slurps it to break the tension.

“Blake doesn’t have younger siblings, apparently he’s adopted the ‘protective brother’ role over me.” Jasper tells Ryan as he rolls his eyes.

“I understand, and I’m really sorry that I broke your trust too Blake. I realize Jasper isn't the only one I have to prove myself to now.” Ryan tells him sincerely. “I never want to hurt Jasper and I get that I did that. It won’t ever happen again.”

“If it does, trust me, you’ll be a lot more hurt than he would be.” Blake threatens and Jasper nudges him, slightly annoyed between the lack of sleep and the headache he had from last night's drama rolling into this new drama.

“Ok Blake, come on, tone it done about 9000%. Let’s not forget that Ry was also a victim last night, his ex is a manipulative piece of trash and I sent him on a date with that guy, which in hindsight was a pretty awful idea. We both made bad decisions and his ex took advantage of those. It’s not all Ryan’s fault he was in a position where he felt vulnerable.” Jasper reminds him.

"Don't take responsibility for the fact Ryan let it happen..." Blake starts.

"Clearly you're too pissed with him to hear the 'manipulative piece of trash' part so go off." Jasper shrugs and gives Ryan a reassuring smile.

"No, I heard that part. It's a great excuse, how exactly did he manipulate you into cheating on Jasper?" Blake looks past Jasper at Ryan.

"It's not like that." Ryan answers quickly, feeling very anxious now.

"I don't really give a shit what it's like, you need to stop kissing people you shouldn't be kissing." Blake states, looking away from Ryan now, he was done with this fight as far as he was concerned. He'd had his final say.

"Ohhh, we're making this about Beth now are we?" Jasper calls him out quickly.

"Well obviously not just Beth, this is the second time..."

"Because if we want to make this about her, then let me make this clear, he didn't know who she was and he and I had nothing happening between us when that whole thing happened. He literally didn't owe anyone anything and had every right to do what he wanted with the knowledge he had of who she was. Which, again, was manipulation from me that time, for making him think he'd been talking to her and getting close or whatever." Jasper argues.

"Stop taking responsibility for his actions. I'm on your side here dude." Blake stares at Jasper confused about how he was in the wrong here.

"Well, dude. Empathy. Look it up in the dictionary and apply it." Jasper scoffs at Blake and shakes his head, wishing he could show Ryan that none of this conversation was changing how he felt, but they were so exposed here. Soon enough people would start to recognize them and the last thing he needed in the wake of his first photo scandal, would be to be seen acting affectionate with Ryan without reason. He'd get away with it in shows and interviews because that was all a performance, but at 5am it wouldn't look like an easily dismissible act.

“Guys.” Simon sighs and interrupts the three of them, but he was in a mood of his own and took no notice of what he was walking in on. “It was a bomb threat.” Simon says in shock.

“In our room, apparently.” Luke adds, the two of them looking quite pale as they relayed what they had been told.

“What?” Jasper, Blake and Ryan all ask nearly at the same time, returning Simon’s look of shock.

“Just a threat, nothing has been found but the apartment building is closed while the police conduct a search and investigation.” Luke pats Simon's shoulder, trying to be reassuring but Simon just had a look of deep concern and concentration on his face. “It could be a hoax, they said there's no need to worry until the police have finished their search. Since it was a case of someone calling in anonymously to report it, it does seem like a hoax or a prank. They have advised we find temporary places to stay for the night anyway and the building manager didn't look super pleased that all the tenants were evacuated because someone possibly just wanted to prank us."

“Well fuck.” Blake stares up at the building with a curious expression. “I think I’ll look for somewhere else to stay permanently because if we were specifically targeted then that means someone knows where we live and I really don’t want a stalker. Especially someone that starts with a bomb threat. I mean you can't really level up from that, what's next, severed fingers being delivered to our house?” Blake asks with a scoff.

"What kind of fans do you think we have?" Jasper laughs at the dramatic leap in his suggestion.

"What kind of fan reports a bomb threat?" Blake asks back.

"Maybe they just wanted to see us all standing on the street in our underwear?" Jasper shrugs and all five of them look around quickly, thinking it not that far fetched of a thought.

“We should get back onto our lawyer and see if he can speed up our process at all so we can actually afford to look at some options.” Simon sighs, taking his phone out of his pocket and checking the time. “What are we going to do all morning?” He asks and finishes off his coffee, the last of which was cold by now.

“We could go for a run in the park like the crazy people that opt to do that shit on a regular morning.” Jasper offers, Luke and Simon look at him unimpressed that he was making a joke at a time like this and not taking their current situation seriously. Blake on the other hand, completely offended at the idea.

“Yeah well if I didn’t have a hangover I still wouldn’t do that, but go for your life.” Blake nudges Jasper.

“We might as well just go into work, at least then we can relax in our own space.” Luke suggests. No one really answers, they all just start heading towards the carpark which was not in a state of lockdown. Pile into Simon's car and off they go. In the car Jasper rests his head on Ryan's shoulder, pretending he's just tired when really all he wanted was to go back to being asleep beside him in bed.

 

As they arrive at their work building, Simon gives a groan. Jasper, who'd closed his eyes for most of the drive so he could daydream in peace about the way it'd felt to have Ryan's body against his all night, warm breath on his neck and the soft kisses that were occasionally left on his shoulder, is snapped out of his happy place only to find that there was an abundance of reporters awaiting them.

"Great, we can't even be evacuated from our apartment in peace." Luke sighs as he scrolls through the articles and blogs that were already talking about the incident. There was barely anything talking about their TMA performance now, everyone was just in a state of unsure panic about what had happened through the night.

"This is what we have to look forward to. The more famous we get, the less rights to privacy we will have." Jasper comments with a shrug, not too concerned at all about it honestly. Seeing the amount of people out front, he couldn't help but think now that this could have been Chris' idea for a publicity stunt. They pull up into a park and all get out of the car, heading towards the front door of the building with their heads down. As they walk past the reporters, they ignore the questions being shouted at them, knowing better than to make any comments in response to the speculations being thrown their way.

“Jasper, are you afraid that this bomb threat, that has come just after the photo was released of you kissing a man, is a coincidence?” Jasper stops dead in his tracks, turning and looking for the person who’d asked that.

“Come on, just ignore them.” Blake encourages him with a hand on his shoulder.

“No, hold on.” Jasper shakes his head and walks towards the reporters confidently. “I just want it known, that I’m not afraid of this threat. Best case scenario, this was a hoax or a joke or some kind of stunt, but that put a lot of people out on the street in the early hours of the morning. It's not fair to anyone else to be inconvenienced and forced to leave their homes because someone wants to make a point to any of us. Worst case scenario this was a disgusting example of stupidity, that could have cost a lot of people their lives. Lets not glorify this persons actions by trying to give it a reason, if this wasn't just a threat, then people could have died. Nothing excuses that or justifies that, especially not something as pathetic as a difference in opinions on rights when it comes to who I am and am not allowed to kiss. Thank you.” Jasper turns and quickly walks inside. Ryan was visibly anxious after the question, but more so towards Jasper than anything, casting him nervous smiles every few moments after they had gotten inside the building, but not saying anything. “You ok?” Jasper eventually asks, stopping and turning to Ryan with his arms crossed.

“Yeah just, are you?” Ryan shrugs though it does nothing to play down his clear worries.

“Ok? Of course I am. I’m always ok.” Jasper replies with a smile.

“Do you really think it might have been done because of the kiss?” Ryan asks quietly, chewing at his lip. Part of Jasper was now slightly unsure whether it could have been an act of homophobia or not, but he was sure he'd not let anyone threaten him into not kissing Ryan again.

“Look.” Jasper sighs and walks up to him, placing his hands on his shoulders and looking deep into his eyes. “This is a them problem, not an us problem. Anyone idiotic enough to think me kissing a guy is a good enough reason to have a bomb planted on me is the one with issues here and we don’t even know; A. If it was a real bomb or a hoax. B. What the motive was for the threat. Maybe it’s because I kissed a guy and someone has gone to the extremes to try and scare me into women, or maybe Damien got the shits when you left and called our building and claimed there was a bomb in the hopes you’d be scared into asking him for somewhere to stay. We don’t know, and we won’t know until the police finish investigating. So until then, there is absolutely nothing we can gain from trying to guess and panicking about the what ifs, alright? Just stay with me and don’t get yourself worked up over this, it could be nothing.” Jasper looks straight into Ryan’s eyes and waits until Ryan lets out a deep breath before he smiles and steps back.

“I don’t think Damien would be behind it. He doesn’t know where we were living.” Ryan states, mulling over Jasper's suggestions in his head. “And I would never ask him if I could stay with him.” He quickly adds.

“I’d hope not, I’m hoping you and I can spend some time together since we have to be finding somewhere temporary. Would be nice to have you to myself for a bit. Especially since apparently the walls are thin in the apartment.” Jasper tells him with a smirk, trying to distract Ryan from his own thoughts. He could see that Ryan was holding it together but only just. “Maybe you should try and bring that mental health appointment forward, I’m sure when something like this happens, they can accommodate an earlier time to have you in, knowing this is going to be on your mind and stressing you out.” Jasper suggests, nudging Ryan and turning to continue up the hallway towards the other guys who were heading into their practice room.

“Yeah that’s a good idea, I’ll give them a call when I can today. I know you said you wanted to come, but given the last few days, I think I’d rather do the first appointment alone, if that’s ok?” Ryan glances beside himself at Jasper, hoping he wasn't upsetting or offending him.

“Of course, I just want to be there if you think it’d help. Unless you want me there for support of whatever, I won’t intrude. I want what’s best for you.” Jasper looks around then quickly pecks Ryan’s cheek before he opens the door to their practice room and walks inside to the exhausted and glum looking members of their band.

Claire Rosalind
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Awesome chapter. The band are not having much luck at the moment, at least the bomb threat was a hoax.

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Frozen cokes? Never heard of them. 🤗

The bomb threat has emptied the building, such that someone could enter the boys' apartment to steal something--or plant something. Someone has gone to great lengths to make sure that the police search the boys' rooms, and I, for one, am highly concerned as to what they might find. 🥺

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My money is Chris. I think he is trying to scare them so that they will become distracted in fighting him. They do need to get that lawyer get the ball rolling and get out from under Chris.

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Whenever something wrong happens, Chris will always be my first suspect. The boys need to hire bodyguards!

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