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Do You Ship Us? - 47. In This Together

“I’m so glad you guys came back, I’ve been really looking forward to hearing back from you. I imagine you’ve got some questions about the contract.” Mark smiles at the group as they enter his office, this time they all took their time to look at some of the displayed record awards on the wall. It was clear from the moment they entered the room that they were in much more positive mindsets, there was no tension in the air.

“Our lawyer went over it and has already talked us through the points of interest however there was really nothing there we weren’t comfortable with. Our lawyer agrees it looks very good, very reasonable.” Simon speaks for the group.

“I’m so glad, I would have completely understood if you were reluctant after what’s happened last time. Is there anything you want to talk about first? I’m sure your lawyer explained your rights, but you do not have to sign the contract as is, you are free to negotiate anything you on there before signing it. I don’t want you to feel at all trapped into anything.” Mark was being very caring and kind, clearly not wanting to pressure them. His gentle personality was very comforting, it felt like this relationship would be less of a manager/employee one but more of an equal and respectful one. Everyone looks at each other, wondering if there was anything they wanted to negotiate.

“I’ve got something.” Luke speaks up and sits forward in his seat.

“Go ahead.” Mark clicks his pen and the other four watch him, no idea what he was going to bring up.

“Can we choose our own stylist?” Luke asks. Mark clicks his pen again and puts it down.

“You have someone in mind I’m guessing?” He smiles at Luke.

“Fiona, she was our old stylist, Chris fired her because he had an issue with her but she was fantastic and I would like to have her work with us again. That’s my only request.” Luke crosses his arms and deliberately ignores the burning eyes staring at him from the other members.

“Can we sign as individual’s, not as a band.” Blake asks, and now it was his turn to be stared at in shock.

“You can’t be serious!” Simon snaps at him annoyed. “So this is all a waste of time, you’re going to ditch the fucking band.”

“I’m not ditching. Everyone just has their own agendas clearly. I just want to make sure if you all decide to do other things, I’m not losing my job too. With Ryan heading out to do that dance show soon I think it’d be a smart idea to protect my career.” Blake shrugs. “We were thrown together but we have so little in common musically. We should have the security of having a career in music if we can’t keep making this combination of differences working. I mean if we all end up wanting to do different things, we shouldn’t lose our careers over it.”

“It’s a good point. I mean we are just very different people and what we want now, may not be what we want in a year or two. We should protect our own futures moving forward in case we change.” Jasper agrees.

“We literally talked about this before and neither of you were worried then.”

“See, we’re already changing our minds on things.” Jasper shrugs.

“If I may.” Mark interrupts. “I have no issues with you all signing on as individual artists but continuing to work as a band. The idea of you working on solo projects has the potential of giving you a chance to find yourselves and experiment with new sounds together. Your individuality is what makes this band so interesting, you’ve all got different styles and tastes and the unusual opportunity to showcase all those styles and reach a higher audience as a band.”

Its a great fantasy, but how would we actually make it work? These guys aren’t really into my style at all.” Blake states.

“Workshop it together. Spend a week or so focusing on your own interests and showing each other what makes you love what you are passionate about. Go on a road trip and blast your music the whole way there, go camping, I don’t know just hang out at each other’s places and get immersed in the mindset of one another with an open mind and ask questions until you feel like you understand each other better.” Mark explains, they could tell he was passionate himself about this project by the enthusiasm in his voice.

“Ok as long as we don’t all have to sleep with Ryan to get to understand Jasper.” Blake jokes softly. “No offence Ryan, but you’re just not my type.”

“All good, I know. It’s because we’re still dating right? I’d only be your type if I was his ex.” Ryan’s reply was so cocky and quick that Jasper just let out a shocked gasp and looks at Blake.

“Ouch!” Jasper laughs.

“Yes. I’m just waiting for you to break up.” Blake rolls his eyes.

Mhm, at least you’re waiting this time.” Ryan was again so quick with his response. Blake’s mouth drops open but he has nothing to say, just nods and scoffs.

“Damn I’m inappropriately turned on by this.” Jasper licks his lips and fans himself with his hand.

“Ok that was pretty good. I’ll admit.” Blake nods. “It’s a pity you’re going away for a while because you’re really starting to fit in and get confident here aren’t you?” Blake smirks at Ryan.

“I know right, just when he’s game enough to call you out on your shit and put you in your place. Although personally I’m going to miss him for a lot more than just his smart ass comments.” Jasper places his hand on Ryan’s knee affectionately and gives a sweet smile.

So you are going to be on the dance show after all, congratulations.” Mark notes it down. “When do you leave for that?”

“The uh, 13th.” Ryan answers.

“Are you going too Jasper?”

“Nah, I want to get started on new music.” Jasper answers.

“Are you guys planning on making any kind of statement about your relationship? Because I’m just thinking that if you guys are apart like that, people may speculate about it.” Simon suggests.

“I think we should.” Ryan states, looking at Jasper and holding Jasper’s hand. Jasper frowns at him and tries to pull his hand away but Ryan holds him a little tighter. “I know you’ve been trying to avoid the public’s opinions, but we did make our relationship very public, I think it need to be acknowledged now. I don’t want to go away and not know how much I can say about us. I want to be able to tell people how much I love you.” Jasper smiles at Ryan’s words but the moment is ruined by Blake leaning forward so he’s in Jasper’s view and going ‘Oooooh!’ Jasper rolls his eyes and shakes his head.

“Yeah ok, let’s not over react, that’s a thing we’re saying now, please don’t be dicks about it.” He orders before giving his attention back to Ryan. “I just don’t want to have to answer stupid questions about us. I don’t see why we should be making a big deal about it.”

“Look, I just want to tell everyone how I feel about you when they ask. I don’t want to act suspiciously uninterested and fuel speculation. Especially while we’re seen apart while I’m away. It makes sense to address it and be open to talking about each other.” Ryan was right and Jasper couldn’t deny it, but he had his reasons for holding back. He knew unfortunately that those reasons were ones he was desperately avoiding admitting to and even thinking about. “If you’re not ready...”

“My parents haven’t spoken to me at all. I was trying to be discreet because obviously they are ashamed. But I guess if they don’t want to acknowledge me at all then I shouldn’t walk around on egg shells trying to protect their feelings.” Jasper smiles at Ryan.

“I mean I don’t want to do it just to spite them.” Ryan comments.

“I feel like you’re dating the wrong person then, because I live on the joy of doing things to spite others. In fact, joining the band was kinda to spite them in the first place.” Jasper tells him, giving a cheeky wink.

“Was it really?” Mark asks, he seemed very entertained by Jasper’s attitude.

“Not from my perspective but certainly from theirs.” Jasper shrugs. “But really Ry, whatever you want to do is fine with me and I promise I will be doing it because I love you and not to bring further disappointment my already disappointed parents. Our relationship has nothing to do with them. They will just take it personally.”

“Do you think we should make a statement about our relationship or just be seen in public together or what?” Ryan asks Mark and the rest of the group look at him expecting clear orders and direction about how to handle this situation.

“I think you should do what you’re comfortable with, even if that is nothing at all. Jasper’s right, it isn’t anyone else’s business. I do see the distance as being something others will speculate on, but it’s up to you whether you think that’s going to effect yourselves in any way.”

“I don’t want to answer questions when I am trying to concentrate on the show and I don’t want it to take away from the partner I am working with.” Ryan tells Jasper.

“That’s fair. It’s probably time you took me on a date anyway.” Jasper teases. “Woo me.” He winks.

“I can tell you guys are going to be fun to work with.” Mark smiles. “At least I won’t get bored.” He sighs contently as he passes out contracts to everyone. “Take the time you need to sign these and contact me individually when you decide you are ready so we can discuss any individual concerns or needs you want me to work with you to meet.” He instructs.

“Thank you very much for everything Mark, we really appreciate you taking the time to make sure this is going to work for all of us, and your consideration of our individual situations. It’s really refreshing having an opinion and not being shamed for asking questions.” Simon stands up and shakes Marks hand, Luke shakes his hand next, followed by Blake, Jasper and finally Ryan.

“It’s my pleasure guys, really is. I am disgusted by your mistreatment in the industry and I saw what happened to him, so I know not to mess with you lot.” Mark laughs briefly before going back to his professional attitude. “You deserve every bit of control over your music and your personal lives. I’m not going to tell you what to do and how to be. I just trust and ask that you give me your best work to produce, that’s reward enough for me.”

@Copyright (2018), Claire Rosalind; All Rights Reserved.
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I’m very impressed by the guys after what they had to deal with before they deserve the best opportunity to make things work in their favor. I’m glad that Jasper and Ryan are going to be more open about their relationship with each other especially since Ryan is going to be in New York filming the dance contest. Jasper was worried about what his parents felt about his sexuality and finally agreed that he only had to concentrate on Ryan and the band instead of worrying about his parents. I hope that this works out for the band as they all deserve to be happy with their own types of music and getting to know about each other after just being thrown together with Chris as their manager.

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