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Do You Ship Us? - 41. The Aftermath

They rush off the side of stage opposite to where Chris had been standing and work their way out through the halls to the carpark out the back where Blake’s brother was waiting by their car.

“Nice show guys, you killed it Jas.” He shouts to them, throws the keys to Simon and nods his head at the van. “All your shit is in there. Plus some stuff that may help you calm down. Don’t get pulled over by the cops.” He winks and hi-fives Blake.

“Thanks for helping us Flynn, I owe you big time.” Blake promises.

“I want a house with an unnecessary amount of bathrooms that I won’t use and a personal chef.” Flynn orders. Blake just turns out his pockets and shrugs.

“Sorry dude, I'm unemployed now.” He jokes then gets in the back of the car as Simon starts it up. As soon as his door is closed Simon pulls out of the carpark and starts the trip back to their hotel.

“So. You guys kinda pulled a last minute trick back there.” Blake smirks at Jasper and Ryan who were sitting in the back with him, the two holding hands tightly.

“I am just as surprised as you, I suggested it but didn’t think Ryan would actually want to go ahead with it.” Jasper replies, looking at Ryan who was wearing a big smile on his face. “You’re being uncharacteristically calm.” He states.

“I just figured, chances are after it was all over, the next thing Chris would have done is throw our relationship under the bus by making some announcement about it before we could, and I was feeling quite inspired to throw caution to the wind and just be bold. Besides I did want to show you how proud I was of you, and to be yours.” Ryan tells him. His answer earning him another kiss from Jasper.

So the world knows you’re gay. They know you and Ryan are on kissing terms and we’re all unemployed. What a great last show.” Luke sounded genuinely pleased with the outcome.

“Thanks for letting me end the show with that line, I have always wanted to do a proper mic-drop moment. That was wicked.” Blake couldn’t wipe the smirk off his face.

“You all did amazingly tonight, I was proud of everything we achieved there, from all of you. Not just the last part but the way we put what we could into the show without giving away that Chris had lost control of us, until we were ready for him to know. Awesome job. And Blake, we all owe Flynn for hacking the light control and audio and making that whole last part possible, he did well to keep bringing them back on when they were being shut down. I’ve had the wrong idea about him, but I will make up for that as soon as we all work out where we are going from here, and reward him for playing such an important part.” Simon promises.

“He’s joking about us owing him, he did it for the thrill more than anything. He’s a karma type of guy, so he doesn’t expect anything from us, he is just doing his good so when he needs it, it’ll come back for him.” Blake shrugs and pulls his phone out of his pocket. “Speaking of people getting what they deserve, look who’s trying to call me.” Blake shows Jasper his phone.

“Am I supposed to know who ‘Dickface’ is?” Jasper raises an eyebrow at the name on the screen.

“Take an educated guess.”

“Obviously Chris?” Luke asks, turning as much as he could from his seat.

“Bingo.”

“Don’t answer it.” Simon demands. Blake just watches the name stop flashing on the screen and puts it away.

“What do you have me in your phone as?” Jasper asks curiously and Blake gives him a devious smirk.

“Virgin Sacrifice... For now.” He winks.

“Now he is calling me.” Luke scoffs as he too ignores the call, moments later the next phone call comes through the car’s bluetooth from Simon’s phone. “Wonder when he’ll get the message.” Luke laughs and turns to Jasper and Ryan who were just sitting in silence in the back leaning their heads against each other and holding hands. Both seemed in a state of anxious numbness by the way they were clasping hands tightly but holding almost vacant expressions. Luke fakes a smile and turns his attention to Blake who was smirking as he trawled their tag on instagram, seeing all the posts being made about their show stopping statement. The silence of the drive home was spoiled only by the constant ringing of their phones as Chris tries again and again to get in contact with any of them.

 

After getting home, Jasper had immediately withdrawn from the group, disappearing to the privacy his and Ryan’s room where he sat in the shower and let the emotions of the night finally catch up with him. The hot water belting down on him was comforting and he didn’t want to ever get out because he knew leaving the shower meant he would next, be trying to sleep. There was no way he could picture himself going to sleep right now with his mind racing with fears.

Firstly the fear of what he’d done and how that was going to effect his life. People wouldn’t forget, and that was the whole idea but now that it was over, it was out there for the world to know, he suddenly wanted to hide himself forever to avoid what could possibly hurt him.

Secondly there was his parents, though they’d always had a very limited relationship he was still afraid of how they would react to his very public, very dramatic coming out. He couldn’t bare the thought of waiting to hear from them. Either the devastation that this was the end of them having any relationship or the frustration of them choosing to ignore or deny this part of who he was and continue being parents in title only, not in way of actually supporting him in what was going to make him happy. He didn’t want to deal with that at all.

Thirdly it was the ‘are you ok?’ and ‘How are you feeling?’ questions his well meaning friends would be asking the moment they saw him again. He couldn’t answer them. He wasn’t ok but he also was. He was proud of what he’d done, proud of the strength it took and proud of himself in general but shit scared about the future now, terrified of the backlash that awaited him, the unknown of what would be being said about him in households all over the country, in magazines, on the news. He’d spent a good few years learning to stand up for himself against his parents various opinions of him and now he’d opened himself up to everyone’s opinions and those would be inescapable. He would face them no matter what and knowing that, made him feel very ‘not ok’.

Lastly there was facing Ryan. He didn’t want to talk, he didn’t want to have a deep emotional conversation and right now he didn’t even think he wanted to be held or touched. He wanted to be completely alone, not comforted by anyone and even though that seemed like a ridiculous thing to want, he couldn’t picture himself feeling any comfort from Ryan who would be the one trying to know how Jasper felt. At the same time though, he realizes that he’s not been disturbed since he came in here. Not so much as a knock on the door, so the curiosity of why Ryan wasn’t checking in on him makes him worry. Ryan had done a very public move in kissing Jasper on stage, so he would be going through a gauntlet of emotions too. The thought of Ryan struggling pulls Jasper back to his feet and out of the shower.

Jasper quickly dries himself and pulls some clothes on then walks out expecting to see Ryan in some stage of a panic attack but instead he just finds him sitting calmly on the bed, writing in his diary. Jasper stands staring at him confused for a moment before Ryan looks over at him and gives him a smile that beamed confidence.

“Are you seriously just ok?” Jasper asks, hating himself the moment he did because of how much he had been dreading someone asking him that same question. Ryan closes his diary and puts it on the bedside table before turning his attention back to Jasper.

“No. You?” Jasper hugs himself and shakes his head. Ryan shrugs and shakes his head then pats the bed beside him.

Wanna lie here and pretend we are going to be able to sleep tonight?” He asks. Jasper felt like a weight had lifted off his chest as he walked over to Ryan, he climbs on the bed and lets out a deep sigh. “On the bright side, that part is over and we don’t have to hide our relationship anymore.” Ryan says quietly as he moves closer to Jasper and drapes an arm over him.

“Yep. We’ve just opened it up to the scrutiny of the entire world.” Jasper replies in a monotone voice, Ryan just scoffs and gives a little laugh.

“Ok, that’s fine. I see you’re in a negative and pessimistic mood so does laying in silence suit you?” Ryan asks as he places a soft kiss on Jasper’s shoulder.

“Sorry. I guess I’m just a bit emotionally done for one day.” Jasper answers, finding Ryan’s hand and interlocking their fingers, he brings his hand up to his lips and kisses it. They lie in silence for what feels like forever, before Jasper finally lets out a deep breath and speaks again. “I love you.” He says quietly and waits for a response, only hearing the sound of Ryan’s soothing breathing. “Ryan?” He asks. “Good chat.” He scoffs as he rolls his eyes and lets go of Ryan’s hand, almost instantly Ryan rolls over away from him in a deep sleep.

 

It was a long night, with Jasper tossing and turning, desperately trying to avoid the temptation to look at his phone and see what was being said about himself and Ryan, about the whole show. He hadn’t even turned his phone on since they went on stage to perform because he was too afraid of what he wouldn’t be able to ignore and wanted to wait for the adrenaline of the night to wear off so he could react to it from a refreshed point of view. Like Ryan had said, he was in a pessimistic mood and he knew better than to risk responding to any negativity right now.

Lucky to scrape in a few hours sleep, Jasper wakes up to an empty bed, the sound of the shower running in the bathroom. He pulls back the sheets and gets up from his bed, stretching and walking over to the door.

“Jasper have you seen what’s on Twitter?” Simon asks, startling Jasper who was not expecting to have anyone directly on the other side.

“No, why?” Jasper frowns, looking back into the room before stepping forward and closing the door behind him, knowing Ryan would possibly walk out of the bathroom any moment without clothes on.

“Since when do you not spend 20 minutes of your morning on Twitter before you even get out of bed?” Simon asks annoyed.

“Uh, yeah I have better things to spend 20 minutes of my morning doing.” Jasper answers with a cheeky smile.

“You guys haven’t been doing, anything in there have you?” Simon asks looking horrified.

“Why the sudden interest in my sex life?” Jasper crosses his arms and frowns, looking over towards Blake who was walking towards them with two security guards.

“How are you?” Blake puts an arm around Jasper’s shoulder.

“Fine thanks, what’s going on?” Jasper asks.

“We are just going to look around and see if we can find the camera.” One of the security guards tells him.

“Camera?” Jasper’s jaw drops as the second guard opens the door, almost walking in on Ryan naked, the poor man was luckily holding his towel and able to cover himself. “Don’t move.” Jasper orders, walking into the bathroom in their hotel room and grabbing one of the robes, he brings it to Ryan and helps him put it on without letting go of the towel. “Blake can he get dressed in your room? Or was there a camera in yours too?” Jasper asks.

“We’ve only seen photos of you two, so I assume it is only your room targeted.” Blake answers.

“Photos? Is there a camera in here?” Ryan looks around shocked.

“Apparently that’s what these guys are here to look for. You go get dressed, they’ve probably seen enough of you already.” Jasper sighs and pulls his phone from his pocket, going onto Twitter to see what he’d been tagged in. “These aren’t that bad.” He turns his phone around to show photos of the two of them spooning before they’d gone to sleep the night before. Ryan gawks at it then gives a shrug.

“The worst they can do with that is make assumptions. It’s not like anything happened for them to really freak out about.”

“Aside from us getting changed in here, we’ve been on our best behaviour.”

“This is serious guys, is there any chance there could be a sex tape?” Simon asks desperately.

“Even if there was, it’s none of anyone’s business and I’d sue anyone who tried to make it theirs.” Jasper crosses his arms annoyed and chews his lip. “Would your brother be able to do anything about this?” He asks Blake quietly.

“He’s already tracking the photos back to whoever posted them first and creating a virus that can shut down the webpages they are circulating on. Are there any worse photos we should worry about thought? Because if they aren’t out yet then hopefully he tracks them to the source and can stop them getting out too but he may not get to it that fast.” Blake sighs and pats Jasper’s back while Jasper starts picking at his nails anxiously and licking his lips.

“Depends when the camera’s went in.” Jasper admits quietly. “I am so sick of not having any fucking privacy in this relationship. I’m not ashamed of anything, I would just like to be able to feel comfortable that I am free to do things I want to do when I want to, I’m so over expecting my personal life will be broadcast.” He mutters then walks into the bedroom again to get his phone off the charger, the security guards were in the room talking and taking photos of a photo frame on the wall. One of them looks over at Jasper and fakes a smile then gives a shrug.

“We’ve found it, just waiting on police to come up and do their thing.” He tells him.

“There would be security footage of whoever placed it, wouldn’t there?” Jasper asks, turning his phone on but not looking at it.

“Well, there’s security footage of whoever entered the room, but as far as actual proof we wouldn’t be able to confidently accuse anyone, that’s why we need the police to find fingerprints and whatnot.” The other security guard informs him. Jasper nods and looks down at his phone as it starts vibrating with missed call notifications. He gathers up his things and walks out of the room, ignoring the messages and calls as he goes through his contact list and presses on a phone number.

“Where are you going?” Ryan asks confused as he walks over to Jasper. Jasper stops and waits for Ryan to reach him then gives him a sweet smile and a quick kiss.

“Things to do. A bit of a surprise for you actually, which I think you’ll appreciate given how the day has started out. I’ll text you when I’m ready for you to see what I’ve been organizing.” He says and gives him another kiss, this one lingering for longer.

“You can’t go off on your own Jasper, the paparazzi will eat you alive.” Blake yells across the room, getting the attention of Simon and Luke who were quietly talking in the kitchen.

“Where are you going?” Simon frowns at him. “We’ve got to stick together today.”

“Why would we have to stick together? I’m a big boy I don’t need you all to hold my hand. Besides if they see me leave, chances are I’ll be the one getting followed out of here and you’ll all be free to leave in peace. I’m the one that’s going to get a barrage of questions thrown my way.” Jasper shrugs, pulling his bag up to his shoulder.

“Well we want to look like we have your back, if you go out by yourself they’ll think it’s all just an act that we support you.” Luke points out, and for a moment Jasper considers it then just gives an amused ‘huh’ and shakes his head.

“Ironic, when you think about it really. I know you support me and have my back, walking out with me to show yourselves supporting me, would be the act. I’ve got nothing to prove to anyone, I don’t care what they speculate. I’ve got shit to do and I’m going now. Honestly if anyone comments on it, I’ll argue that supporting me the way I need you to, is letting me have time to myself right now and sticking behind to sort out this disgusting invasion of my and Ryan’s privacy. Are you good with that?” Jasper asks and watches Blake, Simon and Luke shrug at each other, no one had any argument against his logic.

“Are you sure you’ll be fine?” Ryan asks quietly.

“As long as you let me go so I can finish organizing this, I’ll definitely be more than fine. Trust me.” Jasper smiles at him confidently. Ryan sighs heavily then kisses him one more time.

“Call if you need anything.” He whispers when their lips part.

“I’m not that clingy, but I will call you later so I can let you in on my secret plans.” Jasper winks and walks away, faking his confidence until he’s out of view. He takes the time he’s in the lift to make his phone call. As he hits the bottom floor he takes a deep breath, ready to face whatever was outside. Thankfully he enters the lobby to find that extra security had been called in to keep papparazzi outside the hotel doors but he could see at least 15 people with cameras waiting outside. Jasper shoves his phone in his jacket pocket, zips it up and puts his hands inside the hand pockets then starts walking towards them all with a smile on his face repeating in his head to not respond to anything, not verbally, not physically, he didn’t have to defend any of his words, actions or decisions and certainly didn’t have to explain any photos they would possibly ask about. The moment the doors open the questions start being yelled at him but luckily they were hard to hear individually anyway. He could hear his and Ryan’s names being called out a lot, the word ‘kiss’ and a lot of ‘how do you feel?’ type wording but he was being careful to concentrate on his own thoughts and not let anything they were saying into his head.

Finally he climbs into a taxi out the front, he gives the driver the address he was heading to and sits back comfortably, waiting until they had pulled away to look out the windows and watch the people living their regular days, rushing to work in suits carrying coffees and brief cases, catching up for breakfast with family or friends and groups of teenagers wandering around with the whole day ahead of them to do whatever they wanted. For a moment he considers whether he would have preferred a quieter life with a normal Sunday of hanging out with friends, not being bombarded with cameras in his face at barely 9am. His phone vibrates and he takes it out, seeing a message from Ryan that read 'Hope you are still alive. Xx' He smiles to himself and sends back a skull and crossbones emoji then puts his phone away again and goes back to imagining what he’d be doing if the band had never happened, deciding that despite the big array of downsides to his career he’d faced, things were definitely looking up to being so much better now.

Claire Rosalind
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Damn, that’s crazy. Chris has no reason to go there so if he’s the one on camera then it’s obviously him even if they have no proof, though I have to think he’d be smart enough to pay someone else to do it. The only person who could enter their rooms without raising suspicion would be the cleaning staff so I’d expect one of them to either be paid to plant the camera or that it was somebody posing as the cleaning staff. It’s just good that they’re taking things slow meaning there’s thankfully not going to be anything too graphic. 🤦🏻‍♂️ It’d be a major twist if it was one of the other guys in the band who planted the camera though that’s majorly unlikely to the point of being ridiculous to even mention as outside of Chris the only likely suspect I can think of is Ryan’s ex as it seems like something he’d do.

Edited by NimirRaj
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