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Do You Ship Us? - 65. Special Delivery

“Jasper.” Grace sighs in relief as Jasper walks in the door the next morning. “Where the hell have you been? I was so worried!” She lectures, looking him up and down suspiciously, but before Jasper answers he notices her pulling a pained expression that seems to catch her breath.

“Are you ok?” Jasper asks.

“Braxton hicks, I’ve been having them all night. You didn’t answer me, where were you?” Grace asks again, wanting to deflect the attention from herself as she tries to play off the clear pain as if it’s nothing.

“All night? I thought they weren’t meant to be that regular.” Jasper takes his phone out to look it up, but his battery was dead. Regardless seeing him look at his phone seemed to ignite frustration in Grace.

Oh come on, you didn’t have to research everything!” She snaps, rubbing her bump with one hand and massaging her lower back with the other.

“I wanted to be prepared for your stay, I’m your support person, remember, it’s my job to know what to expect with you.” As Jasper tried to explain himself Grace gets frustrated and starts walking off. “Where are you going?” Jasper asks, starting to follow her from concern.

“To have a bath, that’s what stopped the pains last night.” She calls back but as she reaches the doorway to his bedroom she is caught again, stopping and clutching the doorframe letting out a groan.

Oh hell no, Grace, you’re in labor aren’t you?”

“N-no. It’ll pass in a minute.” Grace shakes her head, taking a few deep breaths as her whole body seemingly relaxes. “See, I’m fine.” Grace keeps walking, but Jasper was right behind her, only pausing to put his phone on charge in case the rest of the day was to be spent in the hospital.

“Yeah that’s how contractions work, that’s what labor is, where’s your phone, I’m calling the ambulance.” Jasper walks into the bedroom and sees her phone laying on the bed, he grabs it and goes to the bathroom where Grace had found herself holding onto the edge of the bathtub, unable to move as another contraction hits.

“No! I’m not in labor! She’s not due for a few more weeks.” Grace yells back then starts crying as the contraction fades off again.

“Ok so maybe she’s really excited to meet her mum and is coming now, because these are way too close together to not be labor.” Jasper walks up behind her and starts rubbing her back. “What can I do to help?” He asks gently.

“I’m not ready. I’m not ready to be a mum.” She sobs as she turns around and leans into him, crying on his shoulder.

“If you’re in labor, you’re in labor. You can’t just wish it away because you’re not ready.” Jasper replies, despite how calm he was trying to act he was completely freaking out inside.

“Just get out, the bath will settle it.” Grace pushes Jasper towards the door.

“Ok you have a quick bath while I call the ambulance, they’ll be able to help.” Jasper says as Grace starts running the bath and undressing. Jasper pulls the door mostly closed, and calls the emergency number.

“I don’t even know if I’m going to keep her.” Grace admits, so quietly that Jasper was sure he wasn’t meant to hear her, but before he can think about that statement the emergency call is picked up.

“Yeah hello, my sister is having contractions, she’s not due for 5 weeks but they are very close and seem to be very painful, she’s been having them all night.” Jasper blabbers out the information as the panic hits that this was really baby time.

“Ok we’ll dispatch an ambulance right away but it’ll be about 7 to 10 minutes, in the mean time I need you to tell me if you can see the head.” The emergency responder asks, Jasper feels himself go cold while he registers the question.

“It’s, it’s my sister. I can’t look.” Jasper realizes the immaturity in what he’s saying as the words come out of his mouth. He knocks on the door while the responder tells him the importance of Jasper doing this. “Grace.” He says nervously. “They want me to make sure the baby isn’t coming out right now, the ambulance is still a few minutes away, so I’ve got to come in, ok?” Jasper asks but Grace doesn’t answer. Jasper peaks in to find her crouching by the bath with a towel around her shivering. “I cannot believe this is happening.” Jasper mutters to himself and takes a deep breath. “How far away is the ambulance?” Jasper asks, putting the phone on loud speaker so he can put it down.

“We are just dispatching them now. How much of the baby can you see?” Jasper and Grace make eye contact at the question and she shakes her head, pale as sheet of paper. Grace turns so she’s sitting against the bath and looks ready to speak but she’s hit with another contraction that distracts her while he takes a deep breath and despite his discomfort, looks under the towel.

“Oh my god there’s a baby coming out of you, are you ok?” Jasper drops the towel in shock, his eyes going to Grace’s in a combination of shock and awe for what was happening.

“ARE YOU SERIOUS!?” Grace screams.

“I need you to listen, how much of the baby can you see?” The emergency responder asks again, being the only calm and reasonable voice in the room.

“Oh uh, just the head.”

“The top of the head?”

“No, the whole head, face and everything. Where’s the ambulance, the baby is coming out.” Jasper explains frantically.

“Ok, you’re going to need to support the head with one hand, and be ready to support the bottom and legs in the next few pushes. The ambulance is still 4 minutes away.”

“Shit.” Jasper covers his mouth to censor himself. “Oh, sorry baby.” Jasper quickly washes his hands and grabs a clean towel from the bathroom cupboard, hurrying as Grace starts screaming in agony with the last contraction. Jasper just barely gets his hands in place in time, concentrating hard on not shaking too much as he feels the tiny weight in his hands. Grace’s pained cry stops and Jasper slowly shifts backwards, his baby niece in his hands, silent. “Grace.” He breathes, looking in absolute awe at the tiny baby in his hands.

“Can you tell me what’s happening?” The emergency responder asks.

“Yes, yes I’m holding her.” Jasper answers. “Damn that was fast.”

“Ok, I can’t hear any crying, is the baby crying?” The responder asks.

“N-no.” Jasper replies.

“Can you put something warm, a towel or blanket around the baby and gently rub the back to encourage any mucus that might be on the lungs stopping the breathing?” But just as the responder finishes asking the newborn coughs and starts crying. “That’s better. Ok, can you put baby on her mum’s chest to keep her warm, then I’ll need you to make sure your front door is unlocked, the ambulance has arrived at your address and should be with you shortly, I’ll stay on the line until they are with you. Jasper looks at Grace who had tears filling her eyes, he holds the baby up to her and she puts her arms out for her. Jasper grins and passes her the baby.

“You’ll be fantastic. I believe in you, and I’ll be here for you whenever you need me. For you and her.” Jasper promises. Grace just starts crying. “I’ll be right back.” He promises then rushes out to open the front door to welcome the responders inside. “Do you need me to come with you?” Jasper offers as he grabs Grace’s hospital bag for her.

“No, no it’s fine. I’ll let you know when we’re settled in.” Grace sighs, she looked exhausted, but content with the tiny sleeping baby in her arms, already covered in different forms of observational equipment from the smallest blood pressure band imaginable to a sock measuring her heart rate on her tiny foot, a tube taped against her cheek, going into her nose to help her breath. It was not what they had expected, but she looked peaceful in Grace’s comforting embrace.

“If you need anything let me know, seriously, anything.” Jasper offers.

“You’ve done more than enough for me.” Grace replies and there’s an awkward moment between them as neither of them want to think about what she was referring to.

“We’re ready to go Miss Reid, lets get you and baby to the hospital.” Jasper and Grace both sigh in relief as she’s wheeled out of the apartment.

 

After a long shower, Jasper gets dressed and heads down the street to the bar.

“Hey, didn’t expect to see you again so soon.” Harley smiles as Jasper walks in the door.

“Yeah well I need a drink, I know it’s early, but I swear I have a good reason.” Jasper slumps down into the seat he’d been in last night. He hands Harley money and waits for the drink to be placed in front of him.

So what are we drinking for today? Still boyfriend troubles?” Harley asks and Jasper cringes a little, he didn’t remember mentioning Ryan to Harley and only hoped he hadn’t said too much, though honestly after doing shots he didn’t remember anything in any clear detail before waking up and wondering where the hell he was.

“It’s kinda a celebratory drink, but also a goodbye drink.” Jasper answers.

“Ok?”

“A celebratory drink, because my sister just gave birth to my niece.” Jasper raises his glass and has a sip.

“Oh congratulations, that’s great.” Harley grins at him.

“Yeah, although, I delivered the baby in my bathroom so I’ve seen things I never wanted to ever see, and I saw that on my goddamn sister so. The sooner I forget what a placenta looks like, the better.” Jasper raises the glass and has a long drink, gulping down a few mouthfuls as if trying to drown the thought from his brain.

“Woah, that’s incredible.”

“Yes, incredible, incredibly traumatic.” Jasper laughs to himself.

“And the goodbye part?” Harley asks.

“Last night was really fun, so thank you. But I can’t be doing that again. I’m saying goodbye to alcohol and this time I mean it, I need to stop sneaking in drinks. My best friend is trying to help me stay sober because I asked him to and he’d be furious to know I’ve been drinking behind his back. Plus I have been lucky to not be caught out and have it slander my reputation. The guys and I are just getting our shit together so I don’t want to ruin it for everyone by bringing even more drama into the group, it’s not fair on them, they’ve been working really hard while I’ve been slacking off and wasting my nights drinking and feeling sorry for myself. I owe them a better version of me after all the support they’ve given me in the last 6 months, and I owe Blake so much too. So this is goodbye to drinking.” He tells Harley, lifting the glass and finishing it off, sliding the empty glass towards Harley.

“Oh well that’s totally understandable. And hey, don’t worry alright, I am a very good secret keeper.” Harley promises.

“Thanks.” Jasper sighs.

“I can make really good mocktails though, so if you ever want some non-alcoholic drinks while you enjoy some non-judgmental company, you know where to find me.” Harley offers.

“You’re full of good ideas aren’t you?” Jasper flashes him a smile and spins around in the bar stool before getting up and pulling his phone from his pocket to check the time, seeing more than a dozen missed calls from Blake. “Anyway, I just didn’t want to disappear without saying anything after last night, but I do have to go now. I’m heaps late for work and I actually have motivation to do some work today.” He states, backing towards the door.

“Well congrats again on the baby, and good luck with the music stuff. I hope I see you again soon.” Harley takes the empty glass.

“You never know, stay out of trouble.” Jasper winks.

“Never.” Harley winks back. Jasper laughs and walks out, hailing down a taxi and directing it to the studio.

 

Jasper walks in the room and the members fall silent, all stopping what they were talking about and looking at him.

“That’s ominous.” Jasper frowns at them.

“I’ve been trying to call you for hours.” Blake snaps, storming over to Jasper. Jasper sighs and Blake stops, frowning at him. “Have you been drinking already?!” He inhales ready to lecture him.

“Grace had the baby.” Jasper states quickly, seeing Blake visibly go from frustrated to shocked as he registers what Jasper had said.

“She what?” Blake frowns.

“I delivered it, and suffice to say, I treated myself to a drink to forget the things I’d seen. Sorry, and my phone is dead, I haven’t had a chance to charge it, so, sorry about that too.” Jasper explains.

“Who’s Grace?” Luke calls out.

“Right.” Jasper nods. “I skipped my turn to tell you all about me so here’s a very quick rundown.” Jasper cracks his knuckles and takes a deep breath. “Grace is my twin sister, I haven’t mentioned her before because for years I didn’t have any contact with her, she was with an abusive wankhole of a boyfriend who alienated her from the family. I also in a way am alienated from my family because my parents hate me for not living up to their expectations. I was named John when I was born but changed my name legally with their permission because basically they didn’t want people to know I was their son when I was in a boyband making money off selling non Christian music instead of living a fulfilling life of volunteering to cheer children up while they starve to death. Recently my sister came back into my life because she was pregnant and knew she couldn’t turn to mum and dad, because religious blah blah, she moved in with me while Ryan’s been away and yeah, she had the baby this morning.” Jasper explains and smiles at the shocked expressions on Luke and Simon’s faces, meanwhile Blake was still stuck on what Jasper had first said.

So you delivered the baby?” Blake asks slowly.

“Yep, in my bathroom. I’ve seen two vaginas today which is two more than I wish I’d ever had to see in my life, and one of them had a human being flying out of it. I’m scarred. The things I’ve seen... It was like watching a car crash... Though don’t tell Flynn that, it might put him off.” Jasper shudders as he remembers what he’d had to do.

“Your name is John?” Simon chimes in.

“Was, yeah.” Jasper shrugs.

“Wait, you don’t want Flynn ‘put off’ does that mean you’re supportive of them?” Blake asks.

“Sure, as long as he knows what he’s getting himself into with crazy judgmental in-laws and a baby.” Jasper answers.

“What was with the kid thing? You said about the cheering up starving kids?” Luke’s turn to throw a question at Jasper.

“Before I got this job, I was volunteering overseas to teach music to kids in poverty. It was traumatic to be a part of...” Jasper looking to the side as realization hits him. “That’s, that’s probably a big reason why I don’t feel like I’d be able to be a parent. I’m pretty messed up by how many kids I had to watch die and it’s stuck with me that kids are too vulnerable and I can’t help them. Huh, I should probably talk to someone about that.” He nods to himself sadly. Just then the door opens and Mark walks in, smiling at the group.

“How’s it all going?” He asks, looking from face to face and frowning. “Did I walk in at a bad time? Seems like I’m interrupting a moment.” Mark questions.

“No, we’re fine.” Jasper turns to Mark with a smile. “I want to let you know that I’m going to work harder on writing my music and I promise you won’t regret taking a chance on us. I’ve been slacking off while these guys have all been working hard and I assure you that I’m not going to let you down, I’ve had personal stuff getting in the way but I’m not going to let anything hold me back anymore from doing what I love.” Jasper straightens in his stance, giving a confident smile as he speaks. Mark looks at him with a kind expression, seemingly considering what Jasper had said before speaking.

“I’m glad to hear it, but really, you don’t need to explain yourself to me. I didn’t ‘take a chance’ on you guys, I saw what you were capable of and I wanted to give you the opportunity to do things your own ways. You should do your best, not for me but for yourselves. I’d much rather you ‘slack off’ and take care of yourself when you’ve got things going on.” Mark responds very graciously.

“Well...” Jasper thinks. “I appreciate you being so understanding but I mean, this is also your job and you are funding us so I do feel bad that I’ve wasted so much of your time. I just want you to know that I’m going to do better.” Again Mark appears to be thinking then he lets out a sigh.

“Taking care of yourself is what gives you the gift of time to waste, it’s those who do not take time to look after themselves, that run out of it sooner.” He pauses. “My son came out to me in a letter, he didn’t take care of himself and the complex emotions he was dealing with and it led him to decide his time was up. There’s not a day that goes by where I do not think about how different things could have turned out if he’d not felt so obliged to struggle through his problems alone while faking to everyone that he was fine. I fully understand and support anyone going through anything, to feel as though they can put themselves first and not be under any pressure to do anything for the sake of someone else. When I saw your performance, and heard the pain and hatred that the mistreatment of your last manager had caused you, I couldn’t resist the need to open up a space for your band to not only make music, but to feel safe and important and be reminded that you’re human’s with emotions and lives. I feel that nurturing your needs, is the best way to see you all succeed, which if why my approach is to let you be in control of how and what you decide you want to present as your music and simply look at the best way for it to be produced.” Mark smiles kindly at them, though everyone was just looking back at him with soft and pitying expressions. “Anyway.” Mark claps. “I came in here to tell you I have some presents. We’ve just had the delivery truck arrive with the instruments you asked for, so I’m sure that’ll help with your upcoming music. It’s just being unloaded now and they’ll be brought straight in here.” Mark announces enthusiastically, still not getting a response from any of the members, despite the flicker of excitement that his announcement had given everyone.

“I’m really sorry about your son.” Jasper states, not sure what else to say but feeling like he had to say something at least.

“Thank you, it has been a few years and I’m at a place now where I just hope that he’d be proud of me and see that I love him for who he is.” Mark replies, his hand subconsciously reaching for a chain around his neck that had a silver cross on it.

“What’s his name?” Jasper asks, recognizing Mark’s beliefs.

“Tyler.” Mark smiles.

“I’m sure Tyler is looking down on you, proud of his Dad, knowing he’s accepted and respected in your heart.” Jasper tells him. Mark’s smile faulters for a moment at Jasper’s words, but he quickly regains his composure.

“Thank you, Jasper. I will leave you to it, enjoy your new instruments.” Mark nods and walks out of the room, wiping away a tear as he thinks he is out of view. Everyone turns to Jasper, moving over to talk to him.

“My parents would literally rather me be dead than gay.” Jasper mumbles to himself, running his fingers through his hair.

“Are you ok?” Blake asks Jasper.

“Yeah, that’s just really heavy. Explains why he wanted us to work for him though, must give him comfort, I don’t know if he thought that I would end up like his son if we continued working for Chris, but maybe having us here is helping him as much as It's helping us.” Jasper shrugs, everyone’s attention turns back to the door as it swings open and a piano is wheeled in by two delivery men, they give the group a nod, before leaving the piano in the middle of the room and heading back out to fetch the next instrument. Jasper walks over to the piano, pulling the cover off it and running his fingers over the smooth surface. “Perfect.” He comments, dragging a chair over and testing out the sound, playing a few melancholic chords. “Ok, everyone leave me alone. I’m going to be here for the next month.” Jasper announces, pulling headphones out of his pocket and plugging them in so he could hear what he was playing but the rest of the members couldn’t.

“What, that’s it?” Simon asks surprised. “You just told us all this stuff, and you don’t want to maybe take a minute to talk about any of it?”

“Simon, I’m doing work, come on? You very rarely have the opportunity to see me doing this, if you want to discuss it, feel free to use this opportunity to talk about me while I'm not listening.” Jasper suggests and immediately starts playing some chords again, testing out the way it sounded and finding very quickly exactly what notes produced the right emotion for the song he’d been planning in his head on the way home this morning.

@Copyright (2018), Claire Rosalind; All Rights Reserved.
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This chapter kind of explains a bit about why Jasper is the way he is with his music. The hatred of his parents for his lifestyle is a great weight upon his shoulders, and he proves it with his music. I’m glad that Grace had the baby even though she was 5 weeks early and Jasper had to deliver her in his bathroom. I hope she decides to keep her and not put her up for adoption. I hope that Jasper and Ryan find a way to either be together or go their separate ways. I think that would be the end of Ryan because if he and Jasper split up he’ll get back into the same place he’s trying to get himself out of. He and Jasper make a great couple and it would be better if he could move past his insecurities. I hope that Jasper really means what he says about giving up the liquor.

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We learn alot about why Jasper is like he is towards his music. Grace has her baby, delivered 5 weeks early by Jasper on the bathroom floor.

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I’m happy Jasper is swearing off liquor, though I’ll believe it when I read it. His comments are a little vague on what specifically happened the night before though he does mention some slight memory loss unless the guy recognized Jasper(he’s not exactly a nobody) and perhaps inferred the relationship trouble without him having to reveal it himself. His feeling of obligation though to tell the guy “it” couldn’t happen again and specifically his remembering doing the shots which were seemingly going to be body shots implied something a little not so tame likely happened. If so it’s a little disappointing that Jasper doesn’t seem to feel remotely guilty over what happened but maybe he doesn’t see body shots as a big deal, assuming that’s all that happened, not to mention there’s no real proof it even happened as I may be jumping to conclusions. I hope the baby is ok but she “seemed” like she was healthy despite the somewhat premature labor. Grace may grow attached and decided not to give her up for adoption, though time will tell. Jasper’s comment to the baby about being sorry he cussed and his desire to be there for Grace as much as he could tells me Jasper wouldn’t be a bad dad, though the revelation that what see saw poverty stricken kids going through is possibly impacting his feelings on being a father makes sense. Perhaps with time he’ll change his mind about fatherhood.

Edited by NimirRaj
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