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Do You Ship Us? - 67. The Truth is Out

With Grace spending the next few days up at the hospital with her baby, Jasper kept a low profile, waiting for the black eye to fade away, it definitely hurt more the first day after the fight, but once the swelling went down and he was able to cover it up with the help of Fi’s magic make-up skills, Jasper gets back to throwing all his attention on perfecting his new song, ready to show it to the group.

Jasper quietly goes about pressing charges for the attack, with the help of Mark who had multiple plans for how to handle things if it got out into the media, so as to protect Grace’s privacy, a refreshing change from Chris who’d have leapt at the opportunity to use Jasper’s black eye to start gossip in the tabloids.

Grace had been sent home after the first few nights but baby ‘Angel’, who Grace was yet to decide on her proper name for, was still in hospital under constant observation. This meant that Grace was getting up in the morning and going in as early as she could, and staying by her side all day long, coming home completely exhausted and emotionally drained. Jasper had been her rock, making sure she was eating when she was home and reassuring her that Angel’s early birth was not her fault. Despite being really concerned and feeling guilt over having a baby that she wasn’t able to take home and care for, Grace seemed like she hadn’t yet made a proper connection. Jasper had been looking up adoption laws himself, worried that Grace might make a decision she’d regret, and wanting to be able to protect his niece even though he himself felt a long way from ready to being able to be a parent.

Finally, just over a week after her birth, Grace comes out into the kitchen, dressed and ready to go to the hospital, and asks Jasper to come with her, up until now she’d been insisting Jasper stay away which he assumed was to keep him from getting emotionally attached too. Though it was confronting seeing the little baby in a heated crib, still monitored by machines and a breathing tube, Jasper was grateful to see her again. Truthfully he’d barely been able to think of anything other than the baby. As they stand by her crib, the pediatrician comes in and greets them both.

“How was she last night?” Grace asks.

“She’s doing fantastically, we’re going to take the breathing tube out today and see how she goes, but as you know we’ve given her a few doses of steroids to help get those little lungs developed quicker, and we’re going to see how that goes today.” The pediatrician answers. Jasper looks at Grace excitedly, realizing why he’d finally been invited to come along.

“So will she be able to come home soon?” Jasper asks.

“Not just yet, it’s likely to still be another week just to be sure, but it depends how she goes today.” The pediatrician answers.

“How do you feel about that?” Jasper asks Grace while the pediatrician gets to work with one of the nurses, taking the tube out. Grace watches on nervously, wringing her hands together.

“I just want her to be fine.” Grace’s voice wavers as she speaks.

“She will be, she’s doing well. And if she’s anything like you, she’ll be tougher than anyone expects.” Jasper nudges her gently but her concerned gaze doesn’t leave her tiny baby. As soon as she’s able to, Grace is invited to come and hold her baby, but she hesitates. As she and the pediatrician talk, Jasper pulls the nurse aside.

“Hey, I’m a little concerned that Grace isn’t bonding with her baby.” He says quietly, his eyes watching Grace sadly.

“It’s fairly common that women who have premature babies struggle to build that initial bond, a lot of the time we see that improve once the baby gets a bit stronger.” The nurse replies matter of factly.

“Ok but I don’t know what you know about her family, Grace doesn’t have her parents support and her partner was abusive during the pregnancy. I’m all she has and I know her, she’s struggling.” Jasper sighs.

“The truth is, all new parents struggle to some extent and a lot of new mothers feel a little disconnected in the beginning. I think people expect that ‘love at first sight’ moment they see in movies and feel scared that they are failing when they don’t have that.” The nurse looks over at Grace with a kind smile. “Post-natal depression is more common that you’d think, there’s a lot of pressure to be perfect, especially with all you see online of these so called ‘perfect parents’. I will talk to her about it and give her information and resources for support, but sometimes I find, it just takes time to feel a bond.” The nurse assures him. Grace turns to Jasper and smiles as though welcoming him to come closer, as the pediatrician starts heading out of the room, the baby now back in the cot. As Jasper moves over to her, the nurse also leaves to give them some space.

“I’m so scared.” Grace comments, looking back down at the baby.

“Well I’m here for you always, so what can I do to help?” Jasper asks.

“No, it’s just. I don’t want to ruin her. Do you really think I can do it?” Grace asks. “I just want what’s best for her, she deserves the absolute best.”

“You’re her Mum. I think that’s as best as it gets.” Jasper tells her encouragingly. The baby starts crying and Grace looks at her nervously then looks around the room to see if there was anyone else to attend to her. Jasper nudges her and Grace reaches down, stroking the baby’s soft cheek before very carefully lifting her up and cradling her against her chest.

“I have no idea how to be a Mum, I don’t know how to raise a baby.” Grace tells him, rocking side to side instinctively to soothe her baby.

“Actually, I think you’re doing just fine.” Jasper comments with a smile. Grace realizes she’s rocking and smiles to herself. “You know, when I was reading about babies, I came across a phrase, ‘your baby will teach you how to be the parent they need’.” He tells her. “I thought that was a good way of remembering that you’re not supposed to just magically know things.”

“Where are we going to go? You’ll want the place to yourself now that Ryan is coming back.”

“Well truth be told, the only reason I bother pressing charges against that trash you dated was because I figured you deserved something out of him, since I doubt he’s going to ever make a child support payment. And it’s not like you’ve got no one to help financially support you, I’m more than happy to help you get a place.” Jasper suggests.

“Just me and her?” Grace looks at him worried.

“Unless you had someone else in mind to live with you?” Jasper suggests. “Blake said Flynn hasn’t heard from you in a few days, I thought you guys had a thing going on?”

“I just had a baby, Jasper. It was a fun thought that he and I could date, but he doesn’t want this.” Grace gestures at herself. “I barely recognize my own body. I’m not stupid, a guy like him would want a hot and sexy woman, not someone with stretch marks and this left over pudge that makes me look like I’m still pregnant and even if he looked past that, what if he wanted to sleep with me? I’m used goods. He won’t stick around for that.” Grace sighs.

“Grace, you were pregnant the whole time he was flirting with you, I’m pretty sure he’s not oblivious about what that means physically. Pretty sure he’s not that shallow either, Flynn’s got a good heart. I’m not saying rush into something, because having a baby is a valid reason to press pause on the whole dating thing, but I just think you shouldn’t rule it out. If there’s one thing dating Ryan has taught me, it’s that you can’t assume your value in the eyes of someone else.” Jasper suggests.

“I guess. Do you want to come home with Mummy soon, Ellie?” Grace asks, nothing but love in the way she gazes down on the sweet little face.

“Ellie? Is that what you’re naming her?” Jasper gasps.

“Eleanor, Ellie for short. Eleanor Grace Reid. The light of my life.” Grace snuggles her close.

“Welcome to the family Ellie Grace, I’m the cool uncle and the first person who ever saw you. I am also going to spoil you completely.” Jasper introduces himself to the sleeping baby. When the pediatrician comes back in, Jasper leaves Grace in their capable hands, heading off to work.

 

“She’s named her which means she’s keeping her!” Jasper announces excitedly as he walks in the room, which makes for an easy distraction from what he imagined everyone else was going to ask about, Ryan and Kelsey had been forced to drop out of the competition last night in the semi-finals after Kelsey had rolled her ankle during a step in their performance. This of course meant, Ryan was coming home today. Firstly though, and perfectly timed, everyone had agreed to show off one of their songs today.

Simon was keen to show off his work, a power ballad that he wrote entirely in French, though the guys couldn’t understand a word he was singing, they were blown away by the talent it took to write, memorize and sing in another language. Though it wasn’t English, the song would easily get attention and make decent sales because of the passion and the smooth, sexy accent he was using as he sung.

Next up was Blake who spent the first 45 seconds just shredding on the electric guitar, not that anyone complained because it was amazing and seeing the thrill on his face as he played with such passion showed how much this meant to him. When it came to the lyrics, it was a really upbeat song about losing hope and being unworthy, which he seemed to have had fun with. As far as appealing to the audience, being so upbeat made it easy to enjoy but the darker lyrics also made it more likely to reach a wider audience.

Luke’s song was unsurprisingly a love song for Fi, which was quite gentle though full of emotion. The lyrics were about seeking the best for yourself, and never giving up on finding perfect happiness. It was sappy and sweet and full of clichés so it was definitely going to be an easy sell.

Last up was Jasper, who takes a seat at the piano and inhales deeply.

“So this song isn’t good.” He comments before he even gets started. “Just don’t judge me until the end, please.” Jasper takes another deep breath, he was nervous about how this performance would go, but also really interested in the reaction he might get.

“Oh no.” Blake mutters as Jasper starts playing the first chords, immediately realizing this was not going to be a happy song, the tone was emotional and he even had a look of pain on his face before he starts singing.

“It doesn’t feel like home here anymore, and I am going insane wishing you’d just walk back in my door. So I’ve been drinking down at the bar, I can’t handle another night it’s too hard, oh~ I don’t want to be alone tonight.

I tried pretending that I was fine, but without you by my side I’m losing my mind. I can't remember the way your voice says my name, and I can’t sleep because this emptiness fills me with pain. Oh~ I don’t want to be alone tonight. Oh~ I’m so sick of being alone at night.

It’s not hard to notice that I’m falling apart, and each sip is making it easier to ignore the begging of my lonely heart. Even though it’s your arms around me that I need, I can’t help thinking that I could settle for anything, oh I just can’t be alone tonight.

I tried pretending that I was fine, but without you by my side I’m losing my mind. I can't remember the way your voice says my name, and I can’t sleep because this emptiness fills me with pain. Oh~ I don’t want to be alone tonight. Oh~ I’m so sick of being alone at night.

So.” Jasper gulps before he continues the next line. “He lines up the shots and tells me his name, and the way he talks makes really want to play his stupid game, one after another the drinks settle in and my thoughts are only on one selfish thing, oh~ I’m not going home alone tonight.”

“Oh fuck.” Blake runs his fingers through his hair, anxiously. Luke and Simon both looking at him and whisper to ask if he knew what this was about. Blake shakes his head but starts mentally preparing to deal with the aftermath of this confession, because as soon as Jasper was finished everyone was going to be launching their questions, and Blake had promised he’d be there for Jasper no matter what. Jasper starts his final part of the song.

“I wake up and I don’t know where I am, then I see him standing at the end of the bed and oh~ I didn’t go home alone last night. Seeing the smile on your face fills that missing piece of my heart, I can't believe that I’ve gone this far, and when you say my name I know exactly where we are, oh~ I’m finally home this time, oh~ my home is right here by your side.” The piano plays out the last few bars without any lyrics and there’s nothing but silence as Jasper turns his attention to his confused audience.

“What do you guys think?” Jasper asks, shooting the group an interested smile as he turns in the seat to face them.

“That... Uh. Was...” Simon starts stuttering his response still trying to comprehend what he’d just heard.

“Heartbreakingly honest.” Ryan calls out from the doorway, where no one had noticed him, although by the way Jasper smiles but doesn’t take his eyes off the other guys he seemed to have been aware of Ryan’s presence during his performance. “Hopefully we are better at the distance thing next time.” Ryan smiles and starts walking into the room, headed straight towards Jasper. Blake, Luke and Simon look from Jasper to Ryan and back again.

“So the guy at the end?” Simon starts asking but doesn’t feel comfortable enough to finish the question.

“Was Ryan.” Jasper answers, with an affectionate glance at his boyfriend.

“Wait when did you see him?” Luke asks.

“You didn’t tell them you visited me?” Ryan frowns, leaning against the piano and watching Jasper curiously.

“Well it was a bit of a spontaneous trip, as the song suggests.” Jasper shrugs like it was no big deal, though the smile on his face said otherwise.

“Did this visit happen to be around the time you punched Grace’s ex?” Blake asks with a smirk on his face.

“Shut up Blake.” Jasper rolls his eyes.

“Why’d you think that?” Luke asks.

“Don’t.” Jasper warns, glaring at Blake.

“Because I was at that fight and I saw where he got punched and I’ve seen enough bruises to know the difference between that and a hickey.” Blake shakes his head at Jasper, crossing his arms. “So you got drunk and went for a booty call huh? I’m strangely proud, here I was thinking you had hooked up with someone.”

“Well I did tell you it wasn’t what you thought, but it was not a booty call. We hadn’t talked in ages and so I went there to talk.” Jasper tells them quickly, making the mistake of looking at Ryan, only to notice the way Ryan’s eyes were on him, and the slight smirk on his face, clearly no intention of helping Jasper downplay the visit.

“Uh huh. Sure.” Blake teases.

“See this is why I didn’t tell anyone I went to see you.” Jasper tells Ryan who gives laugh.

“Must have been an interesting talk.” Luke gets in on the teasing.

“Not to ruin the fun here but be careful with that, there’ll be lots of attention on you again when we release new music so walking around with hickeys isn’t a great idea.” Simon tells them but before his serious tone can take down the mood, Blake starts talking again.

Don’t worry Simon, they were careful. It was very clearly not where anyone should have seen it. Let’s just say if it were a bruise, you’d have been glad it wasn’t any lower.” Blake says, way too amused by the whole situation.

“ANYWAY.” Jasper says loudly and looks directly at Ryan who hadn’t taken his eyes off Jasper the whole time. “How was your flight back?” Jasper asks, aiming to change the topic.

“Good, I’m just dropping by though, months of tiredness has caught up with me so I’m going to head home and sleep.” Ryan sighs and stretches.

“I cannot believe you made us all think you were literally singing a song about cheating on Ryan. That’s cruel.” Simon turns on Jasper feeling a little betrayed himself, to have been misled.

“It’s not cruel, I wanted to get a real reaction. If you knew how the song was going to end your feedback would have been biased.” Jasper shrugs, not feeling at all guilty for leading them on.

“Who were you drinking with?” Luke asks.

“Just a guy, he offered to do shots with me to cheer me up and after a few of those I don’t remember much short of waking up.” Jasper admits and for the first time since he’d started the song, he appeared regretful.

 

 

“Good morning. This is a surprise.” Ryan comments with a smile on his face as he sips at his coffee, leaning against the door frame and watching Jasper look around the room confused for a moment.

“Where am I?” Jasper asks, rubbing his eyes as he takes it all in.

“Oh, so you weren’t intending on visiting me?” Ryan deflates a bit at the thought.

“Uh, I was very drunk last night.” Jasper pulls a plane ticket from his jacket pocket. “Apparently I arrived at 1.15am? Where were you?” Jasper asks and yawns again, sitting up in the bed.

“The airport is only 10 minutes away, and I was here being woken up to you yelling obnoxiously at my door just before 2. I am going to be wrecked by the end of the day.” Ryan checks his watch and rubs his forehead before quickly downing his coffee.

“Sorry for disturbing your sleep. I can’t believe I flew here. Surely airlines aren’t supposed to take intoxicated people.” Jasper searches his other pocket, taking out a half eaten cheeseburger. “Oh my god I am disgusting.” He groans. “Where’s a bin?” He asks, getting up out of bed and following where Ryan was pointing, into the kitchenette of the unit.

“I didn’t have an issue with you turning up here and surprising me. I was glad to see you, just a bit saddened by the fact you weren’t here because you missed me, but because you were drunk.” Ryan admits, watching Jasper with a frown.

“Yeah.” Jasper sighs, he throws his food in the bin and washes his hands. “Ryan I have something to tell you. Something very important.” Jasper runs his hands over his face then helps himself to a glass of water, feeling parched and a little sick.

“Ok.” Ryan straightens up as he waits for what Jasper had to say.

“I am an awful boyfriend. I mean, really just a jerk. I love you but I’m 100% the jealous type and I’ve been seething with jealousy knowing you’re dancing with Kelsey. I’ve been voting you off each week just because I want you to come back to me, please don’t hate me.” Jasper gives him a guilty look. Ryan frowns at him and goes to sip from the empty mug before letting out a heavy sigh and grabs the coffee pot, re-filling his mug.

“I thought you were going to tell me you cheated on me or had decided you wanted to break up properly.” Ryan shakes his head, sipping at the fresh coffee looking much more relaxed.

“Do you have any pain killers? I just know I’m going to have the worst hangover.” Jasper sighs.

“Bedside table.” Ryan answers and follows Jasper back into the bedroom.

“You’re not mad at me for trying to vote you off?” Jasper asks as he takes some pain killers and sits back on the bed.

“Well, I’m not mad at you, but for Kelsey, it means everything to her. If we win, she will be given amazing opportunities to further her skills and to make a proper life and career for herself. I am relieved to hear that you have been missing me, I’ve been missing you too and I have been dying to get home to you. This isn’t about me though, I would have thrown the competition by now if it was just for me, I’d have been home weeks ago. But I really want to get to the finals for Kelsey because she deserves the opportunities that come with winning this thing.” Ryan tells him, walking over and placing his cup on the bedside table before sitting beside Jasper on the bed.

“I know I’m the worst.” Jasper says guiltily.

“Not the worst. Selfish maybe.” Ryan winks and before Jasper can act insulted he leans in to kiss him, pausing as he remembers the way things were when he left. “Are we ok?” He asks, not pulling away, the closeness of his lips was almost magnetic and Jasper wanted nothing more than to lean in and kiss him, instead he reaches for Ryan’s hand, giving it a squeeze.

“We have a lot to work on still.” He acknowledges, looking at their hands then back up into Ryan’s eyes.

“But you do want to work on us?” Ryan asks, it was the one thing they had both been needing to know the answer for, for far too long. Jasper’s heart was racing, knowing what the answer would mean for them.

“There’s nothing I want more in the world.” Jasper smiles, Ryan reflects the smile, relief washing over his face. He leans in to kiss Jasper and despite how much Jasper wanted and needed the kiss, he pulls back. “But I do need to tell you something first.” He says then hesitates.

“I will prove to you that I’m committed to you, with every single atom of my being. I swear, I never want to lose you, even only for a few months was agonizing.” Ryan assures him quickly. Jasper sighs and looks into Ryan’s eyes for a moment before lying back down on the bed and patting it for Ryan to lay beside him.

“Look, I know you didn’t mean to, but you just have to hear what I’m telling you and understand how I’m feeling. I can’t tell you to cut people out of your life, I was furious and I was out of line with giving you an ultimatum. It’s not my place to demand things of you, you’re a grown ass adult who can make your own decisions no matter what I think of them. But in saying that, I can tell you how your choices effect me. I have felt insecure and hurt every time Damien has turned up and I cannot stand the thought of him continuing to be in our lives. So if you don’t want to cut him out then that’s your choice and whether I can deal with that or not is mine. I want to spend my life with you, and I want that to be as easy and carefree as it can be and obviously he’s a big old complication that I would rather not have to continue dealing with. Regardless of how I feel, I can’t control what you do. When I start letting my feelings be an excuse for that, I risk becoming just as bad as he is.” Jasper sighs again.

“I get it though, and for the record, I did not think that you were out of line. I should have listened to you and I should have protected our relationship. I was devastated to hear you suggest that you thought you were a second choice because it didn’t even cross my mind that you would feel like Damien was still in my life in that way. The fact that I made you feel that way has been the thought in my head every moment I’ve had time to think about anything and I am so disgusted in myself. I don’t deserve another chance with you, but I really hope that I can earn your trust back and prove to you that I will always choose you, over anyone, every time.” Ryan promise.

“Well I have to be honest, I wasn’t drinking alone last night, there was a guy who bought me shots and he was saying he wanted to cheer me up, I shouldn’t have gone along with it but I did and it wasn’t just drinking together, I agreed to us licking the salt off each other’s hands but I swear that was all, it wasn’t a thing, for me at least.” Jasper admits sadly. Ryan looks at him and says nothing while he considers what he’s been told.

“So just a friend then?” Ryan asks.

“Honestly, just easy company. I wasn’t there ‘with’ him, I was drinking alone and he approached me, I could tell he was hoping for more but I had no intention of doing anything other than getting drunk.”

“Right.” Ryan again takes a moment to think it through.

“I know it’s no excuse but I was feeling particularly petty after watching you getting very close to your hot dance partner that you’ve been rubbing up against for weeks Jasper admits, rolling over to face Ryan.

“I hadn’t even notice her.” Ryan smiles at Jasper.

“You liar, everyone has been talking about how much chemistry you two have and how she’s super fit and...”

“Yeah well, we’re performing together and I hope we win because she’s very dedicated and deserves to make a career out of this, but frankly we’re kinda sick of each other and I swear I’m not just saying that, we get along as far as dancing is concerned but other than that we have nothing in common and she’d hate me for telling you this, but she is scared of you. I mean the last person that wronged you ended up the subject of worldwide humiliation thanks to you calling them out live on stage, you’re the last person she wants to get on the bad side of.”

“Really? Finally, people are scared of me.” Jasper laughs.

“So what happened with you and your ‘friend’ in the bar?” Ryan asks.

“I remember him calling us an uber and we got in, he asked me where I wanted to go and I said the airport.” Jasper answers.

 

 

“No friggen way!” Blake burst out laughing. “Dude in a bar had you lick salt off him and called an uber and you left his ass behind to go and see Ryan? Like you made the full on effort to go to the airport, get on a plane then find his place. Why am I so impressed by that?” Blake shakes his head. “Sorry Ryan, I’m sure Jasper licking a stranger isn’t funny to you, but you’ve got to almost feel sorry for the guy. He thought he was getting laid and instead this little tease leaves him hanging and goes across the goddamn country to see his boyfriend. That’s gotta suck.” Blake laughs.

“Well I did tell him I have a boyfriend so he shouldn’t have expected anything.” Jasper shrugs, a lame defense.

“He probably thought the same until you licked him. It’s just such a dick move, I love it.” Blake pats Jasper on the shoulder then looks at Ryan. “And I mean that in the most discouraging, ‘don’t lick strangers in bars’ kind of way of course because that’s not ok.” He says in a serious tone, frowning and nodding to Jasper then looking back at Ryan, who was rolling his eyes but amused at how Blake was trying to stifle his amusement in front of Ryan.

“You’re lucky that didn’t result in a scandal.” Simon comments, always the one to think about the professional implications.

“Well I talked to him the next day and he said he wouldn’t say anything. I’m not sure if he knew it was me though, I honestly don’t remember mentioning it. And I did tell Ryan about it straight away so even though it wasn’t that serious, I wasn’t keeping secrets from him. If a scandal broke out, he was prepared and knew what had actually happened so we’d have handled it.” Jasper answers. “Plus Mark is really good at covering for people. I had to go to him about my sister’s ex in-case that got out and into the media and we made a whole plan with one of the press secretaries about how we’d handle the situation if it came out so that absolutely no information would actually end up being shared, I also told him about the bar just incase there was someone with photos and a misconstrued idea of what was going on.” Jasper informs them.

So you told Mark but not Blake?” Ryan questions but Jasper just shrugs.

“Rude.” Blake scoffs, fake glaring at Jasper, who just smiles back at him.

“Ok but this song is going to be telling people what happened and they are going to want details.” Simon points out.

“Yes and I’ll give them the details, it wasn’t ok because I am with Ryan and shouldn’t be doing that, but it also wasn’t anything. Besides, there’s something about being drunk and at your lowest with your inhibitions, and still choosing to get on a plane, rather than go home with the guy that is literally right there wanting you. If I was going to cheat, I had that opportunity, but I had no intention of being with anyone but Ry.”

“How’d you get on a plane when you were that wasted?” Blake asks.

“By the looks of my bank account, by bribing a lot of people with more than generous tips to let me on. Some flight attendant out there is probably driving a new car because she let me on the plane. BUT it was worth it.” Jasper winks at Ryan.

“Next time we’ll just plan flights in advance so you don’t have to bribe the attendants to let you on intoxicated.” Ryan smiles.

“I did have flights planned in advance actually, I was just being too stubborn to take them, that’s why I sent your Mum to two of your shows. I’d already booked the flights and didn’t want to waste them.”

“She loved that by the way, thought you were the most considerate person in the world for sending her on those trips, especially the one on my brithday.” Ryan laughs.

“Yeah, sorry for being too stubborn to sort my shit out and be there for that one. You’re not allowed to say which one of us you would have preferred though.” Jasper warns playfully.

“I mean, obviously I would have been pretty ok with you visiting every day but...”

“I’d have had to remortgage the apartment, given how costly one trip was.”

“Maybe would have sorted out your mood swings though.” Luke comments dryly.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, I was fine without Ryan. I’m totally not at all needy and I don’t have any emotional attachments to him whatsoever.” Jasper barely manages to say with a straight face.

“Sulking around here everyday, being petty about things.” Simon starts listing.

“Late to work, doing no work, snappy.” Luke adds his 2 cents.

“Perfectly emo.” Blake sighs.

“See it wasn’t all bad.” Jasper shrugs and he and Blake hi-five.

“You’re still not forgiven for not telling me.” Blake reminds him quickly.

“Pretty sure you’ll get over it and live.” Jasper nudges him. “Anyway Ryan doesn’t want to hear about all that right now, give the guy a break, he’s been away for months working out and dancing every single day all day so he can hear about how insufferable I am when I’m alone, tomorrow or something.” Jasper turns back to Ryan.

“Yeah as much as I am looking forward to hearing about all the stuff you’ve all gotten up to, especially how Blake got Simon to agree to the whole ‘emo make-overs' part.” Ryan grins at Blake.

“I had tried to supress that memory. But thanks for bringing that up.” Simon shakes his head. “We’ll catch you up tomorrow.”

“I’ll walk you out.” Jasper gets up from his chair. “I’ll be back soon.” He calls out as he takes Ryan’s hand and they walk out the door, while their friends shamelessly start gossiping about them.

 

 

“I’m so glad you are here with me.” Ryan smiles.

“You and me both, I’m sorry it too me so long to sort myself out, and that I turned up drunk and woke you up. I had thought we’d have a more romantic reunion, running into each other’s arms in slow motion in the airport or something.” Jasper jokes nervously.

“Who says this can’t be romantic?” Ryan asks, running his hand down Jasper’s arm and holding his hand, they look into each other’s eyes and finally give in to what they’d been missing with this distance. Ryan kisses Jasper tenderly, his free hand moving to caress Jasper’s cheek. It was a blissful relief to both how long they stayed locked in that moment, neither showing any intention of wanting it to end. They savour the feeling of their lips against one another, parting only briefly before they go in for another, and another the passion each time building up until they both have to pull away breathless. It’d been an exhausting few months waiting for a decision on their relationship and yet it felt immediately obvious that they were both just as in love as they were before everything had gone wrong.

“I do have to go soon.” Ryan sighs, no part of him wanting to move. “Will you be here when I get home?”

“I really want to, but I should get back to reality, since I didn’t tell anyone I was coming here.” Jasper shrugs, also not making any motion to actually leave. For a moment they both just look at each other, smiling contently then Ryan lets out another sigh.

“I can be late.” He states, flashing Jasper a cheeky smile.

“Let me check what flight I can get though because I really can’t be stuck here all day.” Jasper says, finding his phone and looking quickly while Ryan tries to distract him with a series of kisses down his neck. After only a few moments Jasper throws his phone to the side.

“When’s the flight?” Ryan asks.

“If I get to the airport in half an hour I can get one, otherwise it’s another 3 hours.” Jasper answers, with every temptation to book the later flight, but knowing Ryan had to go to practice this morning too.

“15 minutes to get there with traffic this time of day, 5 to get dressed and ready. Doesn’t leave us much time but I’ll take what I can get.” Ryan winks and goes back to kissing and gently biting on Jasper’s neck.

“Careful, I can’t be walking around with marks all over my neck.” Jasper breathes, quickly grabbing his phone and booking in the earlier flight.

“Mm? What about here then?” Ryan pulls up his shirt and moves down his body, kissing his way down.

“Now you’re just being mean because I know we don’t have time.” Jasper whines, dropping his phone and relaxing, cherishing the few moments they had before they’d have to get ready and say goodbye again.

“Just trying to remind you that you’re not single.” Ryan teases.

“Bit possessive, but ok point made.” Jasper laughs, threading his fingers into Ryan’s hair and tugging him up gently. “Can you get back to kissing me now? We’ve got 7 weeks' worth to make up for before I’m leaving this bed.”

“If I had it my way, you wouldn’t leave this bed at all.” Ryan whispers before pressing his lips against Jasper’s and reveling in the love and comfort he felt finally having the answer and closure he’d been desperately waiting for.

@Copyright (2018), Claire Rosalind; All Rights Reserved.
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Awesome chapter. So Ryan received a visit from a drunken Jasper, so all is good in there relationship. Grace has named her baby, but is worried if she'll be a good mum.

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A sweet twist as I would never have imagined a drunken Jasper taking a plane trip to see Ryan. 

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