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Do You Ship Us? - 40. The Big Moment

“You guys awake?” Simon knocks on the door a moment before opening it, seeing Ryan lying on the bed, the sheets up to his arms and one leg bent, his phone in his hands. “Where’s Jasper?” Simon asks noticing the bed beside Ryan was empty.

“I haven’t seen him yet this morning. Why?” Ryan shrugs.

“I just wanted to check how he was feeling this morning, since it’s such a big day for him.” Simon sighs. “We’re all kinda worried about him. Is he in the shower or something?

“He’ll be fine, I’m sure he’s probably just trying to keep himself distracted.” Ryan comments, looking back at his phone, scrolling mindlessly.

“Yeah, you’re right. I guess we shouldn’t pander to him too much, that’ll likely freak him out.”

“Exactly.” Ryan nods then looks over at Simon. “I’m going to get dressed now so do you mind closing the door?” He asks. Simon just turns and walks out of the room, closing the door behind him.

“You nearly knee’d me in the face.” Jasper tugs the blankets down and sits up.

“I did not, trust me, I was very aware of where your face was.” Ryan laughs, setting his phone on the bedside table.

“We seriously have no chance do we, doomed to be interrupted forever.” Jasper complains. “I was trying to be sexy.”

“Mm, well step one for being sexy when you’re in a room in a shared apartment, is to lock the door before you decide to start anything.” Ryan shakes his head as Jasper gets off the bed and walks over to the door, checking the lock.

“I totally locked the door, the lock is faulty!” He states annoyed, flicking the lock off and on again before turning to Ryan with a defeated shrug. “Thanks for thinking of my attempt to surprise you as a selfish act to distract myself, by the way. Were you on your phone that whole time?” Jasper crosses his arms and gives Ryan a stern look. Ryan just rolls his eyes and gets out of bed and pulls the blankets off to find his pants.

“Thank you for your quick thinking to cover for me Ryan, I appreciate you making sure Simon didn’t see what I was doing.” Ryan says mockingly as he a pulls his pants on. “Good morning by the way.” He winks at him.

“It was meant to be.” Jasper sighs. “I hope the rest of the day goes to plan, unlike my pathetic attempt to get it started right.”

“Well we can pick it up as a celebration tonight after you kick ass at the show.” Ryan suggests.

“Not if the lock doesn’t work.” Jasper opens the door. “Lock it.” He orders and steps out. Ryan walks over to the door and locks it, Jasper opens the door and he and Ryan share a look of disappointment. “Cursed.” Jasper states before turning away and heading towards the kitchen where the rest of the guys were silently eating breakfast and looking at their phones.

“Hey Jasper.” Luke smiles up at Jasper.

“Yes, good morning. I’m not having any kind of breakdown so I would appreciate if no one would make a big deal out of today. Also ignore the fact that I may have tequila for breakfast, that is simply because I won’t have time for it at a more appropriate time today.” Jasper announces, walking over to pour himself a shot.

“Nothing says “I’m fine” quite like doing shots for breakfast.” Blake comments jokingly.

“Hey, look. I am only having one shot. If I was not ok, I’d be drinking straight from the bottle wouldn’t I?” Jasper gives an exaggerated smile as he throws back the shot and puts the bottle down. “See, it’s not a problem if you can put the bottle down.” He shrugs and gives a stretch. “Alright, breakfast is done. Lets kill the day so we can get the shitstorm started. I’m going for a shower. Jasper starts walking back towards his room.

“I thought you already had a shower.” Simon frowns, watching Jasper confused. Jasper stops and looks back at him, his eyes diverting to Ryan for a moment then back to Simon.

“What gave you that idea?” He asks, playing dumb.

“Oh, I was looking for you earlier and thought.” Simon shrugs. “Ryan didn’t know where you were so I assumed you must have been in the bathroom.”

“No.” Jasper shrugs and walks off without explanation. Simon looks at Ryan who just shrugs at him and pops some bread in the toaster, not feeling any need to explain the situation either, in fact finding it amusing that Simon was just left to his own assumptions.

“Ok, how is he?” Luke whispers in an urgent tone to Ryan, Blake and Simon leaning in to listen.

“Fine.” Ryan answers.

“He just had a tequila shot and called it breakfast. That doesn’t sound fine to me.”

“We can still call off the whole stunt if he doesn’t want to go through with it.”

“Ok seriously, if he doesn’t want to go through with it, he won’t lets not add any pressure to him by making him question whether we are ready to go through with it in support of him. If you start questioning him about how he feels he’s just going to think you’re not comfortable with it and you will cause him to stress. He just wants our support, so if he’s not panicking, we need to be totally confident with him and if he does freak out and change his mind, we have to just be ready to go with it.” Ryan suggests as he sits down with his toast and starts eating.

 

Jasper was quiet as he sat backstage staring at himself in the mirror of the dressing room. He’d barely moved in the last hour and had very short and snappy answers whenever the members tried to talk to him. He’d well and truly hit a point of silent panic. Ryan hadn’t bothered to talk to him about how he was feeling, since everyone else had asked and been snapped at about it. He walks over to Jasper, places his hands on his shoulders and starts giving him a massage. Jasper drops his head forward a little and Ryan takes the hint, working his hands up to Jasper’s neck, wisely choosing not to mention how tense he could feel Jasper was.

“Ok guys, this is the last show so make sure you give it your all.” Chris’ attempt at a pep talk meant nothing to any of them, but they all perked up at the sound of one of the songs that started playing for the waiting fans, it was just a short piece of instrumentals but it caught all their attention. Chris frowns upon hearing it, clearly aware that something was up, but he had no idea of what he was in for, he simply mutters something about checking on the audio box for the show as he leaves the room.

“Everything is ready to go.” Blake smirks at the group. “If you change your mind, all you have to do is follow us all off before the lights go down and he won’t play the encore.” Blake reminds Jasper.

“Are you all sure you are happy for me to do this? We really don’t know how this is going to go down and what will happen to our future after this.” Jasper looks at the members anxiously, they all looked equally nervous but faked confident smiles back at him.

“Whatever the future brings has to be better than what we’ve been dealing with here, but it’s not up to us. This is about what’s best for you.” Simon reminds him, walking over and giving Jasper a pat on the back.

Yeah we’re behind you 100% whatever you want to do, we’re right behind you.” Luke straightens his clothes and takes a deep breath as he walks to the door, ready to head to the wings of the stage.”

“Either way, we’re leaving this stage unemployed. I reckon your plan is the most badass way of doing that so I’m pumped for this.” Blake joins Luke at the door, he was extremely eager to get out there and get the performance going. Jasper gets up from his chair and just looks at Ryan for a moment. Ryan smiles at him and opens his arms invitingly. Jasper smiles back and slings his arms around Ryan’s neck, feeling the comfortingly tight way Ryan squeezed him.

“Just so you know, all I look forward to is holding you like this when we get back off the stage. Nothing else matters.” Ryan whispers, Jasper sighs and shakes his head.

“Yeah right, I can hear your heart racing, it sounds like it’s about to explode. You’re nervous as hell.” Jasper teases playfully, smirking up at Ryan.

“Not about the show, I think you’ll find that’s just the normal reaction to you.” Ryan winks at him and loosens his hug as they hear a knock on the door.

“Ready to go?” A lady dressed in black with a headset on and a clipboard in her hands greets the group. Jasper and Ryan split and walk to the others at the door quickly. They follow the lady down the hallway and to the side of the stage. “Ok, we’re all in position.” She says into her headset then smiles at the guys as the song playing for the fans dies down and the lights fade leaving the stage black. The screams from the fans fills the air as the members file on and stand on stage, waiting for the lights and music to come on for the show to start.

The fans managed to enjoy the show, despite the song choices being the less popular and the performance being extremely simple. Tonight though Jasper was thankful for a bare minimum show set so he didn’t have to worry too much about getting caught up in his own head and making a mistake with lyrics or god forbid it be a show that involved any of Ryan’s dancing. He knew their show stopper would make up for the lame simplicity of the rest of the performance and he was focusing on making that as incredible as he could. Ryan shoots him a reassuring smile as they near the end of the show, the final song is performed and they say their thank you’s and bow to the fans before heading off. Jasper looks over at Blake as he starts exiting the stage, he gives Blake a nod and as the lights go off he stays behind on stage, his heart racing as he hears the fans begging for an encore, unable to see that he was still there. The lights flicker on for a moment, showing Jasper standing there and the fans scream. From the curtains comes Blakes voice.

“We’re not quite done yet. We’ve got a very special song for you all. This one is going to be one you’ll want to remember so get your phones out and start recording, streaming, getting this one out for everyone to see. We need your help on this one.” Blake announces and looks at the lady who’d led them from their backstage room to the wings before, who was looking at her list in a panic before pressing a button on her headset and asking what to do.

The lights flicker again and Jasper looks out at the audience with their phones up in the air. He takes a deep breath.

“Here goes.” He whispers to himself then takes another deep breath, though his nerves were causing his lungs to feel like they were being squeezed so every breath felt short despite his attempt to fill them and calm himself down.

The lights come on again, just a single spotlight on Jasper. He raises the microphone to his lips as the music starts and sings the first line of his new song.

“This is the last time, you’ll earn money off my personal life,

You can’t use my, business for your own gains anymore,

I’m putting a stop to this, I’m taking back my control. It’s time to hear it from me.” The light and microphone get shut off but a moment later the light is back on and Jasper is being handed another microphone from Blake. He taps it and smirks. “Nice try, you can’t silence me this time.” He says quickly then continues singing. Blake looks into the wings where there was clearly an argument going on about how to stop the show.

“It was never your place to tell my business but don’t be fooled I wasn’t silent by choice,

I’m not ashamed and I wasn’t afraid to tell the world.

Now that I’m done, living under your thumb guess the truth about everything will be told.

But it starts with me and it starts with him, because I’m not ashamed to be honest.” Jasper sings, looking out at the audience as the words leave his mouth, and hearing an almost instant scream of support. He could feel tears welling in his eyes and had to swallow down the lump in his throat to get to the next verse. While he starts singing, the rest of the members come back on, coloured scarves tied around both their wrists, Jasper holds out his right arm, the microphone held in his left hand. Ryan who had an orange scarf tied on each wrist, quickly ties a yellow scarf on Jasper’s right wrist. Jasper places the microphone in his other hand and holds out his left hand, where Ryan ties a green scarf before moving to stand beside Jasper on his right Blake stands beside Ryan, from his wrists hung two red scarves. On the other side of Jasper, Simon stood with blue scarves from his wrists and beside him Luke completed the rainbow wearing purple scarves.

Jasper barely made it to the end of the verse before his microphone is shut down and the lights start flickering again, but Simon quickly passes him another microphone and the lights stop flickering, staying on by the time the final chorus was about to be sung. This time however the back ground music was playing up too. Blake nudges Ryan and claps the beat, Ryan joins him and on the very next beat the whole group was clapping to keep the tempo so Jasper could sing properly.

“It was never your place to tell my business but don’t be fooled I won’t be silenced anymore.

I’m not ashamed. I wasn’t afraid to tell the world and now that I’m done, living under your thumb I guess the truth about everything will be told. But it starts with me and it starts with him because I’m not ashamed to be honest.” He finally feels the emotion of the moment start to overwhelm him and the members are quick to notice, when he misses his cue for the final verse. The group all link arms, showing their support.

“You’ve got this Jasper.” Blake encourages.

“Come on Jasper, we’re here for you mate.” Simon nudges him. Jasper smiles at Simon and Luke then turns his attention to Ryan and Blake who give him comforting smiles and nod at him.

“I will love who I love, and I’ll be myself,

No matter who puts me down and who says it’s wrong,

And I won’t be told anymore what I can say and do,

Because this is my life and it’s not up to you.

But I stand here tonight knowing I am proud to be me,

And that no matter what comes he will be there for me.

I can face the whole world with him by my side and no one can take away,

My pride.” Jasper holds the note for as long as his lungs would allow then takes another deep breath and looks back out at the fans. Everything is silent for a moment then as they realize the song is over they erupt into their own chorus of supportive cheers. Everyone releases from their linked arms and goes to Jasper, taking turns giving him a hug, but Ryan waits to last. Blake gives Jasper a hug then messes up his hair and turns to the audience.

Oh one last thing.” He smirks at them then turns and nods at the group. Before delivering his final statement in time with the other guys.

“Fuck you management, you’re fired.” They shout into the two microphones that hadn’t been shut down yet. Jasper looks at Ryan who puts an arm around his shoulders and winks at him.

“I’m so proud of you.” Ryan tells him.

“Do you want to kiss me before the light goes off?” Jasper asks him, he had enough adrenaline running through him that fear had become non-existent to him, though he didn’t expect Ryan to be down with the sudden idea of coming out as well. Ryan shrugs and in the last moment before the light goes off, he pulls Jasper in and kisses him hard. The light goes off and they break the short kiss, knowing now was when the real shit storm was going to start, and that they had to get out of here before Chris could stop them.

Claire Rosalind
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