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Do You Ship Us? - 55. Deeper Feeling

Standing on the edge of the camping spot everyone took in the spectacular early morning view of the fog settling in on the forestry below the ledge where they’d trekked up through.

“Inspiring hey?” Simon asks, beaming. Jasper looks over at him, noticing the enthusiasm on his face and grinning. Though getting him out of bed and to stand here had taken a lot of effort, now he could see why it was going to benefit them all to throw themselves into each other’s interests like this because the way Simon was looking like he had an almost childlike excitement painted on his face. “Who wants to go first?” He turns to the group.

“Shot not.” Blake states as he breathes in his coffee, waiting for it to wake up his soul.

“Your idea, you go first.” Luke nudges Simon who already seemed like he was itching to get into the activity he’d come up with. Without much convincing he launches into song, with way more energy and passion than anyone else had woken up with. It was inspiring, to see their friend in his element, singing something that meant so much to him and that he related to personally. It felt almost like they were finally actually meeting Simon, and not just seeing how he portrayed himself for everyone else.

By the time the sun was all the way up everyone had performed their songs and were feeling freshly motivated. The dynamics felt like they had changed already, and despite having to pack up the campsite and walk back down the hill before dealing with the upcoming legal consequences, no one actually felt like leaving now that they’d experienced the bliss of this relaxing getaway location. Since they were leaving earlier than planned everyone expressed their interest in coming back at another time and maybe even making it a regular thing. Simon was pleased that everyone had embraced the experience even if it had been cut short, and the fact they were all keen to come back again made it feel like a success. During their trip back down the mountain, Simon discusses what else they were going to do on his week, he also had a chance to give all the well prepared speeches he had definitely practiced in front of the mirror on why they had to work together and keep pushing each other to do their best. It was almost as effective to hear as they walked back towards reality as it would have sounded in the echo of the campsite.

There was no complaining, until they reached the bottom of the walking path and everyone's phones started buzzing with all the missed notifications and messages now that they were finally back in reception. While Simon had a short spontaneous speech about not being too focused on their phones and neglecting the things that really mattered, Blake, Jasper and Luke were all immediately catching up on their social lives.

“Why aren’t you texting anyone?” Simon asks Ryan who was just standing beside him, waiting for Jasper to be finished.

“The only person that texts me is Mr popular here.” Ryan nudges Jasper, who was listening to a string of voicemails with a look of concern on his face. “What about you?”

“Different time zones.” Simon shrugs. “Plus I knew where to find reception up there, that’s how I got the phone call from Daniel in the first place.” He winks at Ryan then sighs and keeps walking towards his car. “Come on guys, you can catch up with everyone in the car, we all need a real shower before we meet with the lawyer.” He orders, and in a zombie like fashion everyone heads towards the car, except Jasper who had wandered off in the other direction on the phone. Blake heckles Jasper to hurry up so after Ryan throws his bags in the back of the car he heads over and takes Jasper’s bags for him, overhearing him checking with his sister about how she was going.

“He’ll just be a moment, family stuff.” Ryan states then looks back over at Jasper, wondering whether he should go back over to him to show support, or give him space but Jasper hangs up a moment later and comes over to join them.

“Sorry guys. Family stuff and whatnot.” Jasper sighs as he climbs in the back and sits beside Ryan, leaning his head on his shoulder.

“All good?” Ryan asks, rubbing Jasper’s knee comfortingly.

“Yeah.” Jasper yawns and closes his eyes, his goal was to sleep on the drive home, mostly to avoid having to talk or think about anything. While he fakes sleep, the rest of the guys are discussing what they planned to do about Chris and his reputation. They all agreed that they wanted him to get the backlash in the public eye given how much he’d put them through, but their first goal was getting the payout from him so they could finally start moving forward completely. The resentment that they all held was keeping them from feeling secure enough to focus on their futures completely so the main focus that they all held was on the financial security of a payout, so they could finally put their energy into creating more music.

Jasper and Ryan were the first to be dropped off back at their place, they say goodbye to their friends and head up to their apartment to have showers and get ready to meet with Daniel and file their official statements against Chris.

“So, are you ok?” Ryan asks after they get up to their room.

“Yeah, just worried about Grace. She said she’s in a lot of pain again today so she’s gotta stay a few more days for monitoring.” Jasper answers, throwing his bag on the floor and putting his phone on charge straight away.

“At least she’s in the right place, they can take better care of her there than anyone anywhere else.” Ryan tries to reassure him.

“Are you ok?” Jasper turns his attention to Ryan, who just looks at him confused for a few moments before giving a sigh and a shrug.

“I mean, I’ve been worried about us?” He says nervously. “Especially since I’m going away so soon and it feels like we’ve a bit unstable. I don’t want to leave and have things get more complicated.”

“I think it’ll be good for us actually. I love you, but we’ve spent basically all of our time around each other ever since we met, some time apart to be ourselves is probably going to be a good thing.”

“See now it sounds like you don’t want me around.” Ryan sighs.

“It’s not that I don’t want you around, it’s that I’m excited to find out what I’m actually like by myself. Also I’ve got writers block with music at the moment, everyone else has songs prepared for their mini albums already, because they’d written them ages back, but I have nothing and I think part of that is that I’ve been so busy and distracted lately, I haven’t had a chance to have anything just come to me. I need to work on my own songs too. I have been thinking about this whole learning about each other, thing, and I’m worried that I don’t actually know myself right now.” Jasper was speaking faster than usual with a clear tone of panic but as soon as he finishes talking he just takes a deep breath and exhales slowly. “I feel like until I’ve had this time on my own, I’m going to have questions that will cause you more stress, but when I’ve done my time alone, I’ll know how I feel about everything and have more clarity moving forward.”

“You’re not suggesting a break while I’m away are you? Because if you want to be seeing other people, or exploring your options than I’m not going to be coming back to a relationship with you. As far as I’m concerned if you’ve got doubts about us and you want to find your answers by dating other people than that’s a pretty clear sign that you’re not happy in this.” Ryan states.

“I’m pretty sure you’re the one who’s going to be touching someone else everyday for the next few months while I try not to throw things at the tv in a jealous rage. I am not interested in dating anyone else, I just want to have the time to clear my mind and focus on my music for a while. It’s not a bad thing to want space, you’re just a needier person than I am.”

“I’m sorry that I need things from you.”

“Oh don’t be like that, I didn’t mean it in a bad way.”

“Jasper I’ve been messed with before, I’ve had the mind tricks played on me and I’ve fallen for them. I ask for and need reassurance because I have no trust in my own judgement. I don’t do it to be a pain or to suffocate you, I just don’t trust that you can love me if you aren’t telling me or showing me in very clear ways.”

“What you need, is to recondition your mind to see that love isn’t supposed to be a challenge and that Damien is not the example of love that you should be comparing people to. Wanting space, and wanting to ghost you or give you the cold shoulder just to fuck with you, are two very different things. Having questions about my own feelings and thoughts, and pooling doubts on you expecting you to find ways to fix them and change yourself to suit them, are very different things. You assume the worst, when have I ever proven you right? How many times does your brain have to get it wrong before your first thought when I say I am looking forward to having some time to myself, is reflective of me and our relationship, instead of him and that relationship?” Jasper was snappy now, frustrated beyond belief that they just kept coming back to the problem being Damien and Ryan’s past.

“I’m sorry ok? I just don’t have time right now to get into a new therapist and I wasn’t feeling like the last one got me and the waiting list is a flawed system and I am just stuck right now, I tried to stop my meds and then all this went on with your parents and your sister and suddenly you’re doubting our future. It feels like I am on the verge of a meltdown because I’m so worried I’m about to do everything wrong and ruin us, blow this opportunity for my dance partner, and just everything is getting a bit much right now so my insecurity is coming back in full force.” Ryan covers his face in frustration too.

“Ok, come on, lets have a shower and get out this bullshit over with, then we can just relax all afternoon, since we’ve got a movie day at Simon’s tomorrow and then suit shopping, and wedding prep for Luke and not a lot of time together this week.” Jasper walks over to Ryan and takes his hand, leading him through the bedroom and into the ensuite where he starts undressing himself before getting in the shower and signaling for Ryan to join him. Ryan gets in but he was clearly still very upset by their conversation. Jasper places his arms around Ryan’s neck and kisses him softly then rests his head on Ryan’s shoulder. “What is going on for you right now?” He asks.

“I feel like depression has me by the ankles, everything I do is weighted down by this force that is trying to pull me to the ground. Every step I take is like walking waist deep in water and the current is dragging me the other way. I am tired and when I get tired like this, when I get to the stage where I am completely drained of energy, that fight or flight instinct quits fighting and goes straight to thinking of how I can flee the mental exhaustion I am feeling. I don’t necessarily want to die, I just want to stop functioning, stop existing with thoughts and feelings. I want to essentially switch myself off. So I’m really sorry that I am pushing you away, I am really sorry that I seem so...” Ryan stops mid sentence, not to think of what to say next but just because he’d run out of words. His silence was unsettling because it was clear that he was starting to switch off. Watching him so rapidly fall like this was terrifying. It was as though he was seeing the person inside the body die while the body kept functioning and all he could do was hold his hand and hope that they would get through this. Jasper couldn’t relate to the pain Ryan was feeling, but having it described to him like this made a strange amount of sense.

“I don’t know how to help you.” Jasper admits quietly, to which Ryan just holds him tighter. “But I promise until you have the energy to fight it again, I’m going to fight it for you in whatever ways you need me to. You can give up all you like, but just know that I won’t. I’ll be here pushing you to keep going and I’ll drag you if I have to, because no matter how you feel, you are not alone in this. I am in it with you and I may not feel the things you’re feeling, but I can feel all the things you can’t right now. I can feel my love for you, I can feel the strength you have to come out of this and when you need me to, I’ll hug you so tight that you’ll absorb those feelings from me.” Jasper was dead serious and his comment earned a small smile from Ryan.

“You can’t just hug a feeling into me.” Ryan shakes his head.

“Try me. I know I can’t fix it, but I can at least keep reminding you why it’s worth holding on. Also, you’re not failing if you decide to go back on meds. I know you really wanted to get by without them, but you can’t be proud of yourself if you’re dead, or even if you’re emotionally numb. Do what your body needs you to do, and ignore like maybe 99.9% of the thoughts that go through your head and listen to the 0.1% that is ‘maybe I have to go back on meds’.” Again Ryan just holds him tighter, speaks so quietly he’s almost just mouthing the words ‘thank you’ then he sighs and closes his eyes.

“Is there anything I can do for you right now?” Jasper asks.

“I’m ok. I just want to sleep.” Ryan sighs again.

“Ok, well you don’t really need to come along so how about you just rest and I’ll be back when I’m done with the guys?” Jasper suggests, Ryan nods in agreement but neither of them move for another few long moments. Finally they let each other go and Ryan just hops out, dries himself and leaves the room. Jasper quickly washes then gets out too and wraps the towel around himself, going to the bedroom where he sees Ryan just lying on the bed looking a little dazed, the way he always did after a panic attack, though this time Jasper felt like Ryan hadn’t really had much of one. He dries himself and gets dressed then goes to Ryan and plants a kiss on his cheek.

“I’m sorry.” Ryan mumbles.

“Don’t be sorry, I was just thinking I am proud of you.” Jasper smiles at Ryan who looks at him confused. “That wasn’t the kind of panic attack you usually have, you talked about how you felt and seemed to get yourself into this calming down stage without actually losing control of yourself.” Jasper points out. Ryan nods slowly then gives a fake smile.

“True.” He comments quietly. “Still wish I could just have a normal brain and not have to deal with any of this.” He says bitterly.

“Getting better at handling it, is a step closer to not having to deal with it this badly in future. Just another reason to hold on, this isn’t an example of your regular day, we’ve been good and you’ve been good. This has just been a rough day in a string of rough days and things boiled over a little. We just need to get through this week, then you’re going to have so much fun on Dancers and Dreamers, and you’ll come back feeling refreshed and newly inspired, and I’ll have had all this free time to miss you and write love songs about you and things will be good again. Remember that.” Jasper insists, the fake smile on Ryan’s lips turning real.

“Thank you. I am really looking forward to the show, I miss dancing.” He admits.

“Yeah well, just as long as you don’t run off on the band and leave me for a dance career.” Jasper jokes but there was a look on Ryan’s face that worried him. “You do still want to be in the band right?” He asks.

“I don’t really have a place in it.” Ryan shrugs. “Singing isn’t my bigger passion. Would you hate me if I did go back to dance as my career?” He asks.

“I would be proud of you, and I would love you, for putting yourself first and doing what you need to do for your own life. I’d miss you in the band, but no matter what you do, as long as this is where you call home, I will always back your choices and support you.”

Claire Rosalind
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I’m glad that Ryan is talking to Jasper about the feelings he’s having at the moment. I love how Jasper tells Ryan that he can’t help him with the problems he’s dealing with except that he would be there for him. Jasper also said that talking about the feelings helps keep him from going into a full blown panic attack. I hope that Ryan does go back on his meds and he finds a new therapist that would understand his feelings and help him get back on stable footing. I can understand why he doesn’t want to take the meds even though they help him cope with his anxiety about the problems he’s had due to the fact that his ex caused him quite a few issues because of the lies he would tell Ryan. I also think that Jasper was right on when he said that as long as Ryan calls their house home he’ll support him even if he doesn’t come back to the band.

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Depression is hard.  It’s hard on the person suffering through it and it’s hard on their loved ones watching them suffer and not knowing how to help. My mom had depression, although she refused to view it as such.  All I could do was lay down with her on her bed and listen and talk to her.  It didn’t matter what we talked about.  Sometimes we just lay there hugging.  This could go on for a few minutes, or it could be several hours. The important thing was being there.  Even when I moved 1200 miles for a job, we talked almost every day.  When we didn’t, we just rang the phone at a regular, pre-determined time every night.  It was just enough to say, “Hi.  I’m here.  I’m safe.  I love you.  Good night.”  Thank God when cell phones came out.  It meant she could call me whenever and wherever I was.  It really helped her. I still miss those calls.

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