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Do You Ship Us? - 33. Bittersweet

Jasper wakes up from his nap and rolls over, seeing the bed beside him empty. He and Ryan had been lying silently on the bed, holding hands until he had fallen asleep but he had thought Ryan was going to fall asleep too. As he wakes properly, he notices the sound of muffled voices downstairs, Ryan's mum must have been home by now, he figures and gets up from the bed, walks to the door, and as he opens it he can hear Ryan and his mum talking clearly.

“Does Jasper know?” Jules asks, dropping her voice quieter.

“Of course, I told him straight after it happened. I figure honesty is the only way to regain his trust.” Ryan replies.

“But he’s forgiven you?” Jules asks.

“I don’t know. He says he has, but I find it hard to believe. I wouldn’t have forgiven me.”

“You forget how much you forgave. Damien didn’t deserve half the chances you gave him.”

“I never wanted to inflict that on anyone. No one deserves to feel that way or be in that position. I of all people, should know better than to do that to someone after what I’ve been through. I don’t want to be carrying on the cycle. I would never want Jasper to go through what I did, wondering if the person he is with actually cares about him.” Jasper crouches on the steps and shamelessly eaves drops, he was interested to hear Ryan’s true feelings on the event, even if it was breaching Ryan's privacy for him to listen in like this.

“You cannot put me through it again either, I cannot deal with it all over again. He drained you of everything. Damien is a leech, he took all the happiness out of you. Jasper has brought some light to your eyes again, even just talking about seeing that awful person again I can see you’ve lost that. The last time you boys were here, you were both so bright and happy, you’ve barely smiled since I got home. Whenever Damien was around you always looked like you really wanted to be happy but didn’t know how to. I just want to see you happy again, do not let him into your life again please. I can't do it again.” Jules tells him gently, an undertone of a frustration in her motherly warning. Jasper stands up, deciding to himself that he wanted more than anything to make Ryan happy and having heard as much of the conversation as he had, he could tell the remorse for the pain Ryan had caused him was there, he certainly didn’t feel as though there was any reason to suspect that Ryan would ever cheat again.

“Ryan~” Jasper calls out, stepping down the stairs a little heavier than normal so they would know he was coming and not feel snuck up on in their private conversation.

“Hey.” Ryan gets up from the couch as Jasper comes around the corner. “How was your sleep?” He asks, his eyes were red and it was clear he'd been crying but Jasper doesn't comment on it.

“Blissful. Hi Mrs Kurtis. Thank you so much for letting me stay here with Ryan. I’m honestly a little rattled so I’m very grateful we are able to stay together with all this going on.” Jasper smiles over at Ryan’s Mum who smiles back, her eyes looking from Jasper to Ryan and back before she gives a content sigh.

“It’s my pleasure to have you here dear, if you need anything just let me know but I’ll be trying to stay out of your hair.” She smiles and heads out of the lounge room to give them space straight away. Jasper walks over to Ryan and puts his arms around his neck, hugging him tight.

“You didn’t sleep?” He asks, trying not to sound too worried.

“No, I tried but I really can’t just day sleep.” Ryan answers, wrapping his arms around Jasper’s waist and holding him tight too. “But I’m glad you got some rest.”

“Mmm, luckily your bed is comfy, who knows what we will all do now that our address has been all over the news and internet. Hopefully we can find somewhere else to stay soon so we aren’t putting people out.”

“Well for the record, my mum thinks very highly of you, so I don’t imagine she feels too ‘put out’ by having you stay here with us.” Ryan smiles, leaning in and kissing Jasper softly once, but that wasn’t enough for Jasper who leans forward as Ryan pulls away, making the move for a more passionate kiss. Ryan kisses back but before the heated kiss could become any more intense Jasper is interrupted by his phone ringing in his back pocket. Ryan reaches down and pulls the phone out but Jasper shakes his head.

“Ignore it.” He orders, his hand turning Ryan's chin so he can kiss him again. Ryan smiles and lets Jasper kiss him but then pulls away and holds the phone up to shows it to Jasper.

“It’s Simon, you probably should take it.” Ryan suggests. Jasper gives a dramatic sigh and takes the phone from Ryan, answering it and putting it on loud speaker as he reluctantly steps away from Ryan.

“Simon, what’s up?” He answers, trying not to sound annoyed by the interruption.

“Daniel called about our case and apparently needs to see us, he wanted to know if we could meet at his office this afternoon, Luke and Blake said they can make it any time, I just realized I don’t have Ryan’s number so can you see if he’s available too?” Simon asks, straight to the point.

“Yeah, we’re hanging out at the moment so I’m sure we can head to the office now and meet you there.” Jasper looks at Ryan and shrugs, Ryan just nods.

“Awesome, well I’ll see you guys soon then.” Simon hangs up and Jasper shoves his phone back in his pocket.

“Well I guess I should let Mum know we’ll be out for a while.” Ryan turns and walks off to find his mum while Jasper just reluctantly looks for his shoes, he’d hoped for a relaxing evening with Ryan where they could reconnect after all the Damien drama but apparently that was too much to ask. It's not that he had any real intention of things going further with Ryan, but if they could just make out for a week without anyone interrupting them, that would be great.

 

Jasper and Ryan both get to Daniel’s office just before Blake, who was being dropped off by his brother, the car and the music could be heard from down the street, along with the singing from the two brothers. When the car pulls up and Blake jumps out, his brother leans out the window and turns the music down.

“HEY JASPER!” He yells across the carpark.

“YEAH?”

“TELL YOUR PIECE OF SHIT BOSS TO STOP BEING A JACKASS OR I’LL SLASH HIS TYRES FOR YOU! DON’T TAKE HIS SHIT!” And with that he pumps the music again and he and Blake give each other the finger until the car is out of sight. Blake turns around with a grin and saunters over to the group.

“So, what’s this all about?” Blake asks as he walks towards his friends.

“I actually want to hear more about your afternoon than whatever this is about.” Jasper smirks and crosses his arms.

“Well you know, just bonding time. Same old, same old.” Blake states with a wink. “How was your nap?”

“It was about half as refreshing as I needed.” Jasper shrugs and turns to walk inside with Simon and Luke who were eager to get inside.

“Maybe let your brother know not to shout threats across a carpark at a lawyers office, in future.” Simon warns.

“Oh come on, it’s not like he would actually slash his tires.” Blake rolls his eyes.

“Mm, that’s a bit tame for him isn’t it?” Jasper nudges Blake who shushes him then gives a devious smirk. “I can’t believe you told him about that stuff though.”

“Well kinda, he asked about you since the photo thing and I told him who outed you but that’s it. It’s not like we sat down and gossiped.” Blake shrugs and lets Jasper go in before him, but cuts between Jasper and Ryan as they make their way through to Daniel’s office.

“Ah guys! I’m so glad you’re here.” Daniel smiles up at the guys and pulls out a folder, dropping it on his desk. “Take a seat.” He instructs and the 5 men quickly get comfy. “So, since your contracts have been adjusted to give you more of a portion of your music sales, I’ve been in contact with Chris about how the money is going to come to be in your hands. He threatened to get a lawyer involved himself but he’s aware his contract is going to cause him enough problems that it’s not worth fighting me on it yet. In saying that, I asked him about back paying you what you rightfully deserve.” Daniel tells them with a grin. Everyone sits up and leans forward in their seats.

“Back pay?” Simon asks.

“From since you released your first album.” Daniel nods and opens up the folder. “He’s already sent signed cheques of what has been withheld from you each.” Daniel takes out five envelopes with their names on them.

“This could not have come at a better time, since we’re all in need of a place to live.” Luke reaches for the letter addressed to him.

“Only one thing you need to know before you open these.” Daniel sighs, passing them their letters.

“Knew there’d be a catch.” Blake looks over at Jasper and shakes his head.

“The rights to the music was split into who wrote the songs.” Daniel tells them as he hears the tearing open of the letters.

“What? So we got paid depending on who wrote the music, not even cuts?” Blake scoffs angrily, pulling out his check and rolling his eyes before stuffing the cheque back in the envelope. “This is bullshit.” He snaps.

“He sure knows how to wreck a good thing.” Jasper sighs, looking at his own cheque subtly before shoving it in his jacket pocket.

“It’s easy for you Jasper, you had 4 songs on that album. One of them was our hit song. You’ll have a few zeros on the end of your cheque. I had one song on the album. I can barely get anything out of mine.” Blake comments bitterly. Jasper looks beside him at Blake sadly, he wanted to have anything comforting to say but he just couldn’t think of anything that would make Blake feel any better about being ripped off again.

“I was going to suggest you all look at your cheques in private, this isn’t the most fair way he could have gone about things but we’ll keep working towards the best outcome we possibly can to get you all out of this contract with everything you rightfully deserve.” Daniel sighs, taking in each of the members reactions.

“I’m ready to just quit altogether.” Blake snaps. “I am getting fuck all from this anyway, there’s no point me fighting for anything back, since my music is never going to make it onto an album.”

“There’s a clause about exiting the contract in the first 2 years of signing it.” Daniel comments, pulling out his copy and flipping through it quickly to find where he’d read the clause.

“Great. That’s just fucking great.” Blake gets up and storms off out of the room. Jasper stands up to follow him but stops as Simon starts talking.

“Jasper, you did have more songs than the rest of us on that first album, I don’t think Blake will calm down talking to you right now.” He sighs.

“He’s my best friend and this isn’t my fault. I didn’t ask to have more songs on the album than you guys. I’m the one who’s been saying this is unfair from the start!” Jasper whirls around to tell the others.

“I know, it’s just. I don’t blame him for being mad about it.” Simon shrugs.

“Chris is the one that decided on what songs were on the album, It's not my fault I write cheesy pop songs and that sells easier than Blake’s depressing themes and your love ballads.” Jasper felt defensive with the way the other’s seemed to be blaming him.

“Yeah you wrote the easy stuff and the things we all put our heart into barely got a look in. We all needed the money and you’re the only one benefiting.” Luke mutters quietly but Jasper hears him and is immediately hurt by the comment.

“Yeah true, having you all turn on me when I’m the one who got us to a lawyer in the first place is a real benefit of my efforts.” Jasper snaps.

“Efforts? You barely spent any time writing your songs, just churned out your meaningless songs and walked away with the biggest cheque out of us all. You barely even had to try.” Luke rolls his eyes, now it was his turn to get up and storm out of the room.

“Right, so my songs that our fans love, don’t deserve to be on the album? That’s what you all think.” Jasper crosses his arms and looks at Simon.

“That’s not what he means.” Simon defends but the longer Jasper looks doubtfully at him the more he struggles to think of anything to say to follow up that statement. “I think we all have different tastes. It does take more to write something heartfelt and it really hurts seeing that be rejected in favour of something that has been done a million times before.” He shrugs.

“Well I’m sorry that I have nothing ‘heartfelt’ to say. If you all hate my music so much then maybe we shouldn’t bother doing a second album together.” Jasper crosses his arms and looks beside him at Ryan who’d been completely silent throughout the argument and wasn’t making eye contact with anyone.

“Jasper don’t give me your self pity bullshit, you’re the last one who deserves to throw a tantrum right now. Get over yourself.” Simon scoffs then turns to Daniel. “Thanks for taking the time to see us all, I’m sorry we ruined the meeting with this stupid crap.” Simon fakes a smile at Daniel and walks out of the room calmly.

“Thanks for not standing up for me at all.” Jasper glares at Ryan who finally looks up at him Jasper just shaking his head and walks out, hearing Ryan follow him quickly. Ryan quickens his pace and gets in front of Jasper reaching a hand out gently and despite how hard Jasper was trying to be mad at him, he let Ryan take his hand and bring him in closer. Ryan stands and wraps his arms around Jasper, who immediately starts crying. “Everyone hates me and you just sat there like you didn’t care.” Jasper sulks.

“Jas, do you honestly think this isn’t exactly what Chris wanted? Like you said, you started all of this. We’ve only gotten so far because you got everyone on your side in the first place. He must know we’re getting somewhere by working together like this, so by having everyone turn on you, he has a better chance of us just breaking up the band and getting nowhere with our future as a band. Do you really think he wasn’t doing this tactfully?” Ryan asks, holding Jasper a little tighter. Jasper pulls away and looks at Ryan surprised, wiping his eyes and shaking his head.

“You could have said that before everyone stormed off!” He lightly hits Ryan’s arm and Ryan just smiles at him.

“I worked it out and recorded it on my phone, we’ll get the guys together and talk about it, work out our plan. But I think he should assume he’s winning, just for now. Let him think the band is falling apart so he lets his guard down and stops covering his tracks so diligently.” Ryan suggests. Jasper nods slowly then shrugs.

“How are we going to get everyone together to hear this plan?” Jasper asks with a sigh. “I don’t think any of them will want to talk to me.”

“I’ll sort them out. Don’t worry.” Ryan shrugs and puts an arm around Jasper’s shoulders. “Lets just get home though, remember everyone is tired and they probably aren’t grumpy just because of your new fortune. Let them sleep it off, and we can deal with them tomorrow.”

Claire Rosalind
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I’m honestly not remotely surprised as I mean it was obvious Chris was trying to sow dissension with the way he had the money distributed as he knew it would cause friction and to be frank Blake, Luke and Simon have acted like morons from the start with how easily they’ve followed along with everything Chris said. They bit off Jasper’s head for going to a lawyer in the first place not to mention repeatedly telling him going against Chris was wrong and now they’re mad at him for what Chris has done due to their jealousy/greed. Honestly, I don’t know that they make the best band mates and I don’t know if the band will work out in the end as Blake was the fastest to want to quit as well as the first to get angry at Jasper despite being Jasper’s friend...though thinking back to how he wanted his girl for the longest time he never struck me as an amazing friend in the first place. My point though is if Blake was the first to get that angry considering how close he is to Jasper it doesn’t bode well for how the rest will deal with their emotions and how the band members will work together going forward. I’d consider cutting my losses if I were Jasper though I’d hate to see Chris win.

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Chris has managed to sow friction in the band with the way he distributed the money. I’m not sure the band will last because of there different music styles.

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On 7/24/2019 at 2:02 AM, travlbug said:

As difficult as it may be for Jasper, the obvious solution is to pool the money from the checks and give each member (excepting Ryan, who is not on the first record) an equal share.  Further, Jasper should be the one to make the suggestion. The group can then devise a new formula for payment going forward.

That's exactly what I was thinking 

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