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Do You Ship Us? - 62. Let Him Go

“Jasper?” Damien looks shocked as he opens the door, clearly he wasn’t expecting a visitor at this time of night, in fact it looked like Jasper had either woken him up or caught him just going to bed by the look of his sweatpants and oversized jumper that he looked super comfortable in.

“Surprise. I thought I’d repay the favour of turning up uninvited at your place even though you’ve never told me where you live and I have no good reason for being here. Not so fun is it?” Jasper asks with a smirk at his own pettiness, he had sobered mostly on the walk here, but was bubbling with confidence and excitement to be getting an opportunity to confront Damien for once.

“Let me guess, Ryan gave you my address?” Damien crosses his arms, trying to match Jasper’s level of cockiness.

“No, actually. I have a message from Cruze.” Jasper states and watches all the attitude drain from Damien’s face. Damien steps out of the doorway and gestures for Jasper to come in, not wanting to have the conversation in the hallway now that Jasper had dropped that name.

“How did you find out?” Damien asks as soon as he closes the door behind Jasper, even his tone of voice was different from how he usually spoke and he was visibly less confident, tugging his shirt sleeves over his hands and balling his fists before crossing his arms again. Jasper takes a moment to enjoy the feeling of power over him, having spent so much time feeling like a second hand victim.

“The guy behind the bar a few blocks away mentioned your name and I thought, what the fuck are the odds he’s talking about the same Damien I am sick to death of hearing about!? Turns out this town is just way too small because no matter how hard I keep wishing to never see you again, you’re always around. I can’t even go out to a bar without someone reminding me you exist in the world. Is this seriously where you live?” Jasper turns away from Damien and looks around at the apartment he was standing in, that had very little décor and looked no more homely than a hotel room, and from where he stood in the small kitchenette, he could see the lounge area and a short hallway that seemed to lead to only two rooms.

“What were you expecting? An evil lair?” Damien scoffs defensively.

“Well no, but, take it from someone with experience with a boss that only out for themselves, by the looks of this place he’s taking way too much of a cut from your pay, to care so little about your privacy that he’d give your home address to a complete stranger over the phone.” Jasper shakes his head at the underwhelming looking apartment.

“What does it matter to you? You’re probably thrilled to see how shitty this place is.” Damien shrugs and leans against the bench of the kitchenette.

“Disappointed, I looked you up and from the prices on your profile I thought I’d be walking into a very different looking place.” Jasper turns back to Damien, seeing him looking at floor and kicking his foot, uncomfortably. “Look, he wanted me to tell you he’s been finding new uh, companions for your clients since you’ve been missing work and skipping his calls.” Jasper sighs, trying to sound completely careless about it all, but he felt a bit bad that Damien was clearly being mistreated by management, something he could personally relate to and empathize with.

“Do I look like I give a fuck? Good for him. I’m guessing you’re not here just to pass on a message though, you must be so amused so go ahead and say whatever shit you’re thinking about me. I don’t care.” Damien scoffs, shaking his head and avoiding looking at Jasper. For a moment, Jasper almost responds with pity. “Just another thing you can tell Ryan about to make me look bad.” Damien comments and Jasper is immediately snapped back into focus about who he was dealing with and what his real reason for being here was.

“What, you don’t think being a literal stalker makes you look bad enough?” Jasper laughs, genuinely amazed that Damien would even suggest that he would need more reason to bad mouth him.

“For god’s sake how important do you think you are? I’m not a stalker, people just talk, as you’ve found out. It takes nothing to find people around here. I happened to have been in the building you live in where I saw you guys come in. Doesn’t take a genius to work out the guys from the boyband would be able to afford a room on the top floor.” Jasper doesn’t bother defending that he’d been scammed into living in a 5 bedroom suite with the rest of the members for most of his career, he didn’t care if Damien saw him as having a vastly better off life right now.

“Sure, because that makes it completely better.” Jasper nods. “Never mind the creeping into Ryan’s bedroom and writing in his notebook about how much better you are than me, probably watching me sleep while you were at it, and then not just knocking on our door at my place, but just letting yourself in like trespassing doesn’t apply to you.” Jasper reminds him with a sarcastic tone, rolling his eyes and shaking his head. He didn’t think he’d actually have to be here explaining what part of the shit Damien had done, was bad, but then again clearly this guy didn’t operate on a level of considering things like general respect for other people’s privacy.

“I know it doesn’t make it any better, but I’m stalking you about as much as you ‘stalked’ me to find out where I live. Now come on, hit me with the spiel about how pathetic I am and how much better with you Ryan is...”

“He is better with me, not because of your job, I don’t actually care at all about your life choices. The only reason he’s better with me, comes down to the fact that I treat him like a person.” Jasper shrugs, he had plenty more to say but was a little taken back that Damien wasn’t starting a fight over it, rather coming off quite defeated and negative, which appealed somewhat to Jasper’s empathetic side, making it hard to feel like the bigger person for coming here for a confrontation. Every other time he’d dealt with Damien, it’d been clear that Damien was so full of himself and so rude that he’d been easy to be a jerk back to, but seeing him vulnerable and defensive humanized him in a way that Jasper hadn’t been expecting. He’d thought he’d be walking into a room full of snide remarks and attitude, of which he had come up with plenty of bitchy comments and arguments in his head to throw back at Damien. He had not prepared to see Damien as a person with his own crappy life, just as the enemy he’d been to Jasper’s personal life the last number of months.

“I know I screwed up with him...”

“Well that’s an understatement.” Jasper scoffs.

“Look, I just wanted closure on the whole drama with Ryan. He disappeared from my life and turned up in a boyband dating you. He and I never talked things through and every time we have talked since it’s been like 50% bitching about things that don’t matter and 50% one of us dropping some kind of truth bomb that derails it all. The first time we talked, I didn’t think you and he were actually serious and I did want him back, so yeah, I was trying to get between you guys then.” Damien admits, his honesty met with a tone of remorse and regret.

“Clearly because you kissed him.”

“He kissed me, actually.” Damien gives a slight smirk. There it was, the attitude Jasper came prepared for.

“You guys are toxic together, you realize that right? Whatever happened between the two of you when you dated, has screwed you both up. You’ve got this power complex where you for some reason like to be able to control a person by being a manipulative piece of shit and he defaults to a victim mindset when you’re around. I don’t know what you expect would happen if you did manage to get him to give you another chance, but I don’t believe you’re naiive enough to not know that he’s not choosing you for any healthy reason, he doesn’t miss you, you’ve just conditioned him not to be able to say no to you. IF you guys ever got back together, it wouldn’t change, it’d be exactly the same all over again. The two of you do not work as a couple because you don’t know how to be a couple, you only know how to manipulate people into treating you how you want at the expense of what they want.” Jasper states, eyeing him curiously as he once again watches the confidence slip away, the smirk dropping and Damien’s eyes not able to hold the confident glare Jasper was giving him.

“I know. I’m working on that.” Damien says gently, fiddling again with his clothes. “But in my defense, I’ve spent years being the one that had no control so I did develop a need to feel power and...” Jasper knew where this was going and despite being somewhat sorry for what Damien’s issues could be traced back to, he wasn’t about to let him excuse his abusive behavior.

“Stay away from Ryan and let him move on. He needs that so he can work on himself and be the kind of person he wants to be, away from the issues you inflicted on him.” Jasper insists sternly but calmly.

“I just want to apologize to him for everything. I had no idea that I caused him to hurt himself like that, when he told me, he blocked me immediately after. Do you really think I wouldn’t have spent a good deal of time trying to process that and then want to apologize? I got drunk the other night, I knew that wasn’t a good idea because I am a jerk when I drink but I was genuinely coming to talk to him and say sorry and have closure so we can both just move on.”

“Closure for you or him? Because any time he sees your face or hears your name it seems to undo any progress he makes in getting over it and moving on. So it’s all well and good that it might bring you closure but it won’t do him any favors to hear your point of view or your apology.” Damien looks at him for a long time, comprehending what Jasper had just said before finally letting out a heavy sigh.

“Wow. Even when I think I am doing the right thing I fail him. Fuck.” He comments sadly, chewing his lip as he thinks. “You really don’t think it’d help him at all to know that I never meant to hurt him like that?” Damien looks at Jasper with a sense of desperation to be told what to do.

“No offence but how could you possibly have accidentally been that bad. I mean from what he told me, I am genuinely surprised to hear that you even cared about him and that you weren’t being that way as some kind of awful social experiment to see how much it takes to push someone over the edge.” Jasper comments, unable to comprehend the thought processes Damien must have gone through to come to the conclusion that his actions were fine.

“I am ashamed that I made him feel that way, truly. And the thing is, my side of the story doesn’t exactly make me look better, I’m in no way saying I have an excuse for how I treated him, but you have to understand I was treated like shit in every single relationship I had before that one and things that were important to me, were straight up rejected by him so I didn’t know what I was supposed to do.”

“Probably not drug him and manipulate him into giving you what you wanted.” Jasper delivers his response so coldly that it takes Damien by surprise and his attitude switches from trying to garner compassion, to defensively trying to deflect the fault.

“Wow, he really told you everything huh? Did he tell you that the first night I gave him drugs, we were at a party and he was miserable about something and told me he wanted to just get out of his own thoughts and relax? And that I joked about spiking his drink and he told me to do it? Probably not hey. I’m not saying it was ok to do that at other times, I get that it was wrong, I didn’t at the time but now I do. It was just so nice to see how much calmer he was and how much more open he was with me I admit I got bad at doing it, but he wasn’t naïve to what I was doing.” Damien scoffs. Jasper had no intention of letting Damien know that Ryan hadn’t told him that detail, he wouldn’t put it past Damien to think he had a chance with Ryan if he so much as caught a glimmer of Jasper and Ryan’s relationship not being unbreakably strong, so he remains poker faced and moves onto his next point.

“What about lying to him that you loved him just so he’d sleep with you?”

“He needed to feel like I loved him, to have sex with me, and I needed him to have sex with me to feel like he loved me, I didn’t lie to him.” Damien shrugs like the entire situation that was so important to Ryan that he attempted to take his life after, was no big deal.

“Did it cross your mind that, maybe that was something you should have talked about, maybe looked into therapy for?” Jasper asks, not holding back the expression and tone of disgust in Damien for being blaise about the most monumentally messed up event in their train wreck of a relationship.

“Of course, and we did talk about it. One of us had to compromise and he was adamant he couldn’t. If I didn’t, neither of us would have had a chance to know for sure whether it would work out.” Damien shrugs again.

“Seriously? You’re talking about this like it was as important as trying a new type of food and risking not liking what you ordered. I think you should have known by the fact you’re talking about compromising on saying you love someone, just for a result, that it was not going to work out.” Jasper was getting heated again, and the villainous perception of Damien was shining through in his clear lack of consideration towards Ryan.

“Ok but in my mind it should have. I was sure about how I felt as soon as we took that step, and I thought he was too. I had hoped that I’d be able to spend some time working things out with Ryan so we could move forward in our lives since I felt like we were complete, only the next thing I know he’s shut me out and I thought he had fallen out of love with me or I’d done something wrong.” Jasper’s mouth falls open but for a few moments all he can do is scoff over and over at the realization that Damien didn’t know why Ryan did what he did that night. Finally he gains the ability to speak, deciding that he needed to know what was going through Damien’s mind the night that Ryan’s heart was broken and his self worth was destroyed completely, leaving the plethora of issues that he now struggled to move past.

“You did do something wrong, you ran off afterwards to hook up with someone else, he saw the text on your phone when you went to take a shower. How the fuck did you think he would feel? You told him you loved him and took advantage of him because you knew that would get you what you wanted. He felt used, he felt worthless. It was precious to him, to share that moment with someone he felt loved by and you took that from him and proved how unimportant it was and it broke him.” Jasper pauses, almost choking up on his own words as he’s overcome with heartache himself at the thought of how Ryan must have felt. Back when he’d first heard about what happened, he’d been upset to hear how things had played out and he felt sick about it. Now that he was so deeply invested in Ryan and his happiness, hearing Damien’s heartless recount of the moments that had been so devastatingly impactful on Ryan gave him the sense of just how hurtful it must have been to Ryan to have his feelings and needs be discounted to a ‘compromise’. He’d spent enough time now getting to understand Ryan’s reactions so things that he could just about feel the pain this would have caused. Damien on the other hand was hearing for the first time, what actually happened from Ryan’s perspective and only now was seeming to understand the weight of what he’d done. “Were you cheating or was it work?” Jasper asks, his last attempt to find out if Damien was actually a complete sociopath or if he was just doing his job and too ashamed to tell Ryan what that work was. Damien stares at him stunned for a moment, his eyes glistening with tears that he blinks away as quickly as he could, recomposing before he answers. Even knowing what he’d done, he was able to pass off the feelings of sadness in literally a blink of the eye.

“Both, right? Just because I got paid, doesn’t mean it wasn’t cheating.” He sighs and chews at his lip while he thinks about what Jasper had said. “I actually went to quit, I figured Ryan could support me until I found a more legitimate job. But as it turns out, having him ghost me after sex, really killed my ego.” Damien sighs and looks down at his feet. Jasper had felt differently about Damien a number of times since he heard his name back at the bar tonight, but now he felt nothing but repulsion.

“It killed your ego?” Jasper repeats, unable to forgive such a conceited remark. Damien looks up at him quickly and shakes his head.

“That came out wrong! I just meant, losing Ryan had a shitty effect on me too. I don’t mean that in some victim way, but just that I did care about him and losing him the way I did was a really hard thing to cope with. I was vulnerable to him because I cared and how things ended there left me feeling really worthless and I tried to make up for that feeling by proving I was desired. I thought it was the sex part that made him leave me, and that was like, the only part of a relationship I thought I was good at. If I’d known that it was because he saw a text from a client and thought I was cheating on him I would have had to come clean about how I was getting money and begged him to know that, that was all they were to me. I never cared about anyone else, the other guys were just work. I know it’s still cheating but my heart was in that relationship. He disappeared from me without a word that night and I got the wrong idea why and I fell into a spiral of being needy for reassurance and finding that reassurance in the fact that people would pay to spend an hour with me so...” Damien gives up his explanation as he realizes that Jasper’s expression wasn’t changing and he didn’t deserve the pity in this conversation anyway.

“Your life is your responsibility, so if it’s not gone the way you planned, sort your own shit out. I get that you’ve had your share of problems and whatever, but if you really do get what you’ve put him through then you’ll stay out of his life. Even if you are wanting to be a better person, and wanting to apologize for the right reasons, it’s not going to do him any good. You want to prove you’re sorry and that you care about his happiness? Leave him the ever loving fuck alone. Also, get therapy. Using other people to work through your own problems is not ok, it just spreads the damage onto other people who don’t deserve to be your emotional experiment.” He shrugs and turns to walk out of Damien’s apartment.

“Hey, are you going to tell Ryan about, my job?” Damien asks nervously. Jasper looks him up and down and sighs.

“I don’t want to think about it ever again to be honest, much less make anyone else think about what you do for rent. Seriously though, ditch your pimp and respect yourself, you know now what happened with Ry, and it’s got nothing to do with whether or not your good in bed so move on. At least do a job worthy of your paycheck, having a boss take the better half of your pay, that gives your home address to an annoyed drunk stranger is just not worth it. Maybe get a job at a bar. It’s a win win, you’ll get to do the things you like doing, getting people drunk and having your nose in their business, probably get plenty of drunk guys flirting with you to feed your ego and twisted self worth, and you can get paid to keep your clothes on so it’d be doing the world a favour. Just a thought” Jasper suggests before he lets himself out of the apartment.

He felt somewhat lighter as he left the building, hoping that was the last he would have to deal with Damien. Though it had not gone the way Jasper had originally thought their conversation would go, he felt good for standing up to him himself, but more importantly, he felt confident that he’d gotten through to him about leaving Ryan alone so he could finally, finally, get on with his life and with the biggest cause of their conflicts left behind at last, he and Jasper could maybe have a chance at resolving things and moving forward stronger together.

@Copyright (2018), Claire Rosalind; All Rights Reserved.
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Hell yeah! So cool to see Jasper take a stand like this. Damien may have suffered but...so have we all. It’s great that Jasper still called him out on every bit of his behavior. I was so relieved he’d didn’t hold back out of pity.

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