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Do You Ship Us? - 54. High School Sweethearts?

"Are you right, have you been eaten by a bear or something?” Blake’s footsteps come crunching towards Jasper in the dark. Jasper turns his phone and shines it towards Blake’s so he can follow the light and find his friend.

“Sorry, there’s just a lot going on and I needed to have some time.” Jasper was staring up at the sky, concentrating on the view of the star through the branches and leaves above him, a sight that was missed by the brightness in the city.

“You know, the whole point of this trip is to get to know each other better, not to hide away by yourself.” Blake’s joking nature disappears the moment he notices the tears that Jasper was desperately trying to wipe away before they could even leave his eyes. “Jas?” Blake sits beside him quickly.

“I’m fine, don’t worry.” Jasper sniffles back his tears.

“Crying in the dark isn’t being ‘fine’. Did we upset you... Oh shit, is this about the baby thing? God we are a bunch of idiots, obviously you and Ryan didn’t need us talking about kids. But hey if Luke and Fi are going to adopt, they can tell you how that whole process works and...”

“I’m going to stop you right there, I am not concerned about having kids, that’s not what upset me, exactly.” Jasper cuts in.

“Oh, then what’s up?”

“Well, we literally only just talked about it, and it turns out that Ryan does want kids. He basically begged me not to break up with him, but I feel like I’m wasting his time by not letting him go to find someone who can fulfill his life in the way I don’t think I can. I mean even if I change my mind and want kids one day, I feel like I’d be robbing him of the opportunity to enjoy himself the way he deserves to, through trying for a baby, the excitement of finding out he’s going to be a Dad and all the steps from there to holding a newborn. I just think this is it for us.” Jasper starts crying again. “I really let myself fall in love with him, really hard. I don’t want to not be with him, but he deserves to have everything he wants in his life. I am just standing in his way right now. I need to break up with him and I think that’s going to wreck me. Is that dumb? We’ve only been together for 6 months and I genuinely think I will lose it if we break up. Like I just found ‘it’ the ‘it’ that was missing from my life was what I have with Ryan and I can’t imagine that with anyone else, but if I really love him, I should let him have the life he deserves.” Jasper’s tears cascade down as he admits out loud just how he was feeling in his heart.

“Dude, I’m so sorry you’re feeling that way. But hey, listen. I promised you early on that when you were too caught up in your feelings to be able to see the red flags, I’d be your voice of reason and I’d tell you what you weren’t able to see and I’m about to do that, so listen.” Blake urges, taking Jasper’s hands and waiting until Jasper stops crying and looks into his eyes. “Ok, here’s my thoughts. As your best friend that wants you to be happy, since you’re thinking only about what Ryan deserves and being selfless about this, you’re forgetting that you also matter and while it’s nice of you to care about Ryan, this is not just about him. You’re allowed to think about what makes you happy too.”

 

Jasper and Blake walk back out into the clearing just to be given cleaning up duties for skipping out on the preparation and cooking of dinner. Jasper goes straight to Ryan who seems surprised and relieved as his boyfriend approaches him.

“Hey, are you all good?” Ryan asks with a casual smile, he’d been trying to act like nothing was wrong while Jasper had been gone, despite Luke and Simon both asking a few times, which was why it was Blake that’d gone searching for Jasper in the first place.

“You guys missed some important stuff while you were off.” Simon announces, interrupting the moment Jasper and Ryan were about to have. “Daniel called and Chris did try to countersue us for leaving our contracts early, so we’ll be going home tomorrow to sort out what we are going to be putting into our counter claim in response to him. Daniel reckons we won’t have to make court appearances because he’s almost certain Chris will want to just sweep it all under the rug the moment he reads our list. There’s a good chance he’ll pay out whatever he needs to just to keep his name out of headlines.” Simon explains, looking mostly at Jasper while he talks, as if expecting and anticipating a reaction from him. Jasper however was barely interested, his focus was on taking in every detail of Ryan’s face with a look of adoration. A sweet smile sneaking across his lips as Ryan turns his head and catches him staring.

“Damn, he deserves all the slander and bullshit.” Blake chimes in, saying what Simon had been expecting Jasper would say.

“I mean we still could bring it into the spotlight if we wanted to but it would probably make it more messy and complicated.” Simon continues, still watching Jasper, curious as to why he wasn’t getting a response from him about this, given that this was something he’d personally started. “Jasper, what do you think? You’re the one he fucked over the most.” Jasper gives a dramatic sigh and shrugs, briefly looking at Simon.

“Normally I’d say lets fuck his entire life up, but I really have no room for that kind of drama right now. I’m trying to work on being a more positive person and just enjoying the present. Screw the past and there’s no point stressing about the future.” Jasper gives his full attention back to Ryan, who had a surprised smile on his face at Jasper’s fresh perspective. Jasper lowers his voice as he speaks to him. “I’m sorry about today.”

“Ryan turning you into a passivist?” Luke jokes.

“Well I think it’s more that since we don’t have Chris actively trying to make every day as difficult as possible, I feel a lot less like punching people most of the time. But yeah, Ryan’s probably to blame for my change of heart too.” He admits and looks from Ryan’s eyes, to his lips and back to his eyes. “I love you.” He whispers and kisses him to prove it. Ryan physically relaxes as he draws Jasper in tight against his body, the kiss feeling like it was taking away all the insecurity of the day. They were barely aware of the conversation continuing around them, which was just their friends discussing how they would talk about it more in the morning when everyone was more focused, knowing that Jasper and Ryan were counting down the days before they had to say goodbye and obviously now was a moment they wanted to themselves.

“Thank you.” Ryan whispers to Jasper once their lips part.

“For what?” Jasper leans his forehead against Ryan’s, wanting to stay close to his lips for another kiss any moment.

“For loving me.” Ryan answers, pulling away to look into Jasper’s eyes, likely about to launch into some kind of deeply affectionate speech but Jasper cuts in first.

“Oh don’t thank me for that, I get a lot out of it, I’m not doing it as a favor to you.” Jasper winks, running his hands down Ryan’s arms and taking his hands, entwining their fingers.

“I’ll thank Blake then, for whatever pep talk he gave you.” Ryan suggests.

“Finally I’m being recognized for the excellent wingman that I am.” Blake calls out and gives Jasper and Ryan a thumbs up, having overheard his name and tuned in to the conversation.

“You know what I’d like recognition for? This dinner, is anyone interested in eating?” Luke asks and is immediately flattered with comments about how good the food looked and smelt as everyone crowded around to fill their plates with campfire roasted potatoes and grilled kebabs. As they eat, Simon introduces an idea to get everyone more immersed in what inspired his music, that they would be performing a song at sunrise by his favourite band, that they felt they most related to.

“You guys should all get a good nights sleep, because I’m waking you all up at 4.30 tomorrow.” Simon informs his friends after Blake and Jasper are finished cleaning up from dinner.

“I nominate Ryan to do my part, there’s no way in hell I’m getting up that early.” Jasper states, returning to the fireside that was dwindling down to just glowing embers quietly crackling in a mesmerizing pattern.

“I’ll take one for the team, You deserve a sleep in.” Ryan agrees quickly, draping his arm around Jasper’s shoulders.

“No, you’ll have to get up Jasper. You can’t make Ryan do it for you.” Simon answers.

“Nope, It’s fine, really. Ryan use to do tutoring at school, so he’ll be all over for me and will make sure I don’t miss the lesson. I’m telling you now, I am not going to take in anything you say at 4.30 in the morning.” Jasper leans his head on Ryan’s shoulder and closes his eyes.

“Wow, you did tutoring at school? Nerd.” Blake teases jokingly.

“Well he tried to do tutoring, but everyone was less interested in trigonometry, and more interested in getting in his pants.” Jasper smirks as he pictures Ryan rolling his eyes in response.

“Oh yeah, well just so we are clear, what are you interested in?” Ryan asks Jasper who sits up and looks at him with an impressed smile, loving the cockiness in his response.

“I’ll make it worth your while.” He winks.

“Sorry Jasper, there’s no easy way out in this one. You will have to just get up and suffer like the rest of us.” Simon attempts to get the conversation back on track but he’d lost Blake’s interest.

“So at your school, were you popular for being hot, or outcasted for being brainy?” Blake asks, Ryan cringes as he thinks back to school.

“I wasn’t popular I wouldn’t say, I was quiet and kept to my school work mostly. I don’t know, I was awkward.” Ryan shrugs.

“I feel you Ryan, I wasn’t that popular in school either. I was part of the football team, but a lot of them where kinda dicks, so I only had a few proper friends.” Luke seemed to think back on his schooling fondly, smiling as he mentioned his friendships.

“I pictured you being one of the cool guys, did you not have any friend?” Blake gawks at Ryan in fascination.

“No, I only really hung out with Dam...” Ryan starts but the name trails off as the regret fills him with the feeling of Jasper pulling away from him and glaring.

“Oh, so you were high school sweet hearts?” Jasper asks, rolling his eyes and shaking his head. “Cute.” His comment was bitter and spiteful.

“No. We didn’t date in school.” Ryan answers, trying to reassure Jasper that it wasn’t as big a deal as it sounded, though the anger was clearly not going anywhere, especially with the tiredness kicking in, taking away what little patience he had.

“So, Simon, what are we doing in the morning?” Blake loudly tries to change the topic, to very little success.

“Did he go to you for tutoring?” Jasper asks snappily.

“Well he never paid any attention in class so...”

“So he did? And what happened? Just tutoring or was that just an excuse for you guys to hook up? He was probably the one that started the rumors about you sleeping with people instead of tutoring them.” Jasper scoffs.

“Yeah, now that you mention it, he probably did, but we didn’t do anything, we were only friends, for most of high school he had a thing for older guys and no interest in me. The only person he wanted to sleep with for grades, was the teachers, there was nothing going on between us.” Ryan assures his frustrated boyfriend.

“So what were you getting out of it then?”

“Paid.” Ryan states very matter of factly.

“Today can just go and fuck itself.” Jasper rubs his eyes. “I’m done. See you guys in the morning.” He turns and walks off to their tent without another word to anyone.

“Is this somehow my fault? Someone I hung out with in school, years ago?” Ryan asks the other guys who were all looking around awkwardly, trying to think of what to say or do now.

“I think any time your ex is involved, Jasper’s just gonna react like that.” Blake pats Ryan on the shoulder. “If your options are, tell him about something involving Damien, or lie, next time just lie.” He advises.

"I think I’ll talk to him instead.” Ryan rolls his eyes and heads over to the tent Jasper had just angrily zipped himself up in. Ryan unzips the tent and climbs in, expecting to be greeted with the same coldness he’d received just before.

“Look, I’m sorry, I’m really tired, stressed and honestly just feeling insecure about us, then hearing about Damien made me react like a jerk.” Jasper admits. “I know what you’re like, and the romantic in you would have secretly loved being able to look back on a relationship that started off so innocent in high school and turned into a proper love story.” He sighs.

“It’s ok...”

“It’s not ok. You’ve got a history and Damien is in it and I can’t be made at you about that. I know it’s far fetched but hearing how close you guys were, makes me feel like some kind of rebound, or just a less important partner. You haven’t known me that long, you didn’t have the same feelings for me leading up to getting together. Our story is no where near as complicated and fairytale and I shouldn’t be jealous of that but I am and I know how dumb this all sounds.” Jasper complains and rolls over, muffling an annoyed groan into his pillow.

“I don’t know, I like our love story. I think the falling in love with the tutor cliché' is a bit cheesy and not my style. We agreed not to talk about him anymore, for a very good reason.” Ryan sighs and spoons Jasper, hoping to bring both of them some comfort after the stress of the day. Jasper holds his hand tight and brings it to his lips for a soft kiss. “I love you.” Ryan whispers.

“I love you too.” Jasper states, then rolls over onto his back. “But what I don’t get, you said you guys dated for like, a year? But you were hanging out in high school so how does that work, because I struggle to imagine you guys just being friends.”

“Oh my god Jasper, we were just friends in school. He was always flirting with me but nothing ever happened, when we graduated he went travelling the country for a year and we didn’t talk much while he was away, then when he came back he got me the job as a waiter in a club because he had connections and it was around that time that we were spending a lot of time together and we started dating. It was a little over a year, but what’s it honestly matter? We weren’t ‘high school sweethearts’ he was never single in high school and I was focused on my school work and getting good grades so I didn’t take much notice of anything else. We had a thing sometime after my 20th, started dating a few months later and broke up after my 21st.” Ryan found it easy to be annoyed by Jasper’s questioning, but he understood all too well how consuming these kinds of thoughts were so he just wanted to be able to answer him as best he could to calm him down.

“How long were you guys broken up for before we met?” Jasper asks.

“About 5 months?”

“So it’s been less than a year since you guys broke up then?”

“Jasper is this even about Damien, or are you just starting things because you want to find another reason to break up with me?” Ryan asks. Damien had always started fights over nothing as an excuse to break up so he could sleep with other people.

“Just, anything to do with him, makes me feel this petty jealous rage that I hate myself for even feeling.” Jasper admits, disgusted in himself. “I’m tired, I’m stressed and I hate your ex, they are the reasons I’m being a bitch about this. I’ll get over it once I’ve slept, I promise.” Jasper tells him, turning over onto his side again and pulling Ryan over to spoon him again. They both relax and hold each other in silence as they fall asleep.

@Copyright (2018), Claire Rosalind; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

Yay for open and healthy communication! Yes it was tense, yes there was some irrational feelings but they were honest about it. 

This bodes well for their relationship- though now that they’re more on the same page, I’m ready for them to face some difficulties externally. And I have a feeling the separation will be the least of it...

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On 3/15/2020 at 3:16 AM, Thomas Haworth said:

Am I the only one that

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sees a child for Jasper and Ryan coming?

 

Nope, but I can't wait to find out. I have been loving the journey so far

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