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Do You Ship Us? - 75. If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them.

“See.” Jasper smiles at Blake as he hangs up the phone. “Told you he would be fine.”

“Ok but why go there in the first place?” Blake asks with a tone of

“Blake seriously. If that were me you’d be telling me I was being ‘badass’. Can we talk about why you hate my boyfriend please because I am pretty sure I told you to be nice and instead you’re being super judgy and...

“You pretty much asked me to be judgy about him, don’t be mad at me now.” Blake shrugs dismissively.

“Uh, no I asked you to be my voice of reason, not to be a jerk every single time he does anything you don’t approve of. When I first asked you that, it was early in our relationship and I didn’t know where things stood with him and I was worried about being blind sighted but things have changed, I trust and know that he wants to be with me and he’s not going back to Damien. He wouldn’t have called me so we could listen into his conversation with Damien, if he was being sketchy and going there for anything other than to give him a serve of truth.” Jasper states confidently.

“Or he called you so he’d have to be accountable and not do anything.” Blake suggests. Jasper crosses his arms and rolls his eyes annoyed. “I just don’t think he’s got his shit together still and come on, you guys have been together for ages, it’s been over a year since he and Damien split, why is this still an issue?”

“Lay off a little alright, I’m sure you wouldn’t want your past relationships being broadcasted.” Jasper scoffs.

“Well yeah because I’m the asshole in those relationships, Ryan has nothing to be hiding this for, Damien’s the asshole so why is Ryan acting all ashamed by it? I don’t get it.” Blake complains.

“Here’s a tip then, if you don’t understand it, keep your mouth shut about it, ok?” Jasper suggests. Blake smiles and nods at him.

“Fair enough. Well ex aside, he did impress me with the way he handled your parents so he gets credit for that.” Blake offers a compliment finally to Jasper’s relief. “See I do think good things sometimes too.” Blake tells him, noticing how much Jasper’s mood changed at the nice comment. “I’m only harsh on my expectations of him because I know what you deserve and I want the best for you and you chose him so he has to live up to that. I don’t want him to let you down, so I am on his back about treating you right.”

“And I appreciate that, but I’d also just like everyone to be able to chill. He’s very aware of your opinion of him and he wants to be in your good books because he knows you’re not going anywhere. In the end though, I do think your expectations of him don’t align with what I want from him. Like with my parents, you had a go at him for not sticking up to them for me, I didn’t want him to. I wanted to stand up to them myself and when I did that, he backed me up 100% and when I took their crap because I didn’t want to start anything, he took my lead and let me handle it my own way. That’s not being a shit boyfriend, that’s showing that he respects me. The whole wanting my parents to like him thing actually meant a lot to me even though I knew he was wasting his time, seeing him be respectful against their rudeness really showed that he’s the family I don’t want to lose in my life. The things you were mad at him for were things I was impressed about. And this situation, he’s just stood up to Damien and even if that doesn’t seem so big to you because you ‘don’t get it’, I know how big of a deal that would have been for him and I definitely expect him to have some kind of breakdown tonight when everything calms down and we are alone because pushing through a panic attack and facing the person that has caused all of the anxiety and depression and bullshit in his life has got to be emotionally exhausting. You forget that it’s not just an ex he had to stand up to, that guy ruined his life, that guy made him try to take his life. He just went by himself to face the person that mentally abused him and basically told him that he’s got absolutely no hold over him anymore. That’s a big deal to someone who spent so long having to prove himself worthy of Shitbags attention. He has thrown him under the bus and taken no responsibility for what happens next, if you understood him and how that relationship affected him, you’d have to admit that’s impressive.” Blake watches Jasper’s enthusiasm in his defense of Ryan and can’t help but smile.

“I mean I would have thrown him under a literal bus, but his way was fine I guess.” Blake replies smugly. Jasper facepalms and shakes his head while Blake just laughs. “I’m sorry I had to. But no, I see that, I guess everyone has a different scale of what is a big thing for them to overcome. Speaking of overcoming things though, are you going to face whatever went on with you at the gay therapy place? Because I know you tend to hide your own problems and handle everyone else’s instead but I’m sure you’ve got some shit to work through with all that.” Blake asks, looking at Jasper concerned.

“When have I ever done that?” Jasper asks, laughing before he even finishes the question.

Ohhh, that’s why you love Ryan, because he’s a very good distraction from your own problems, his are always outweighing yours.” Blake jokes sarcastically.

Mhm. Definitely. That’s the reason. If I lost Ryan I would actually have to deal with my own stuff and probably end up in a mental institute.” He and Blake laugh for a moment then both go quiet.

“Are you ok though? You haven’t talked about it but I’m sure there’s stuff that happened that has got to have been impactful in some way.” Blake asks kindly.

“I’m always ok.” Jasper shrugs. “It’s just...” Jasper pauses and looks down at the ground while he gathers his thoughts. “It would have been better to just not be accepted by my parents, than to know that they are so against me being this way, that they would take me there, you know? And it’s also kinda left this thought that maybe if I did change, then I would have my family in my life.” Jasper sighs, he’d made peace with them not accepting him when it felt like there was no other options, but now there was doubt and questions he didn’t need to have in his mind.

“Well, like I said before about Ryan, I know what you deserve and I want what’s best for you, and ever since I met you they have not been treating you like you deserve. I don’t think it would make a difference what you do. In a way, I guess they are your version of Damien, maybe that’s why you saw through his shit so fast and why you’ve stood up to him a bunch of times. You understand what it’s like to have to prove you’re good enough to someone that is never going to think you are, because it’s them that isn’t seeing it. You know how that can hurt a person and change the way they think about themselves and you managed to get through it, that’s why you haven’t given up on Ryan, you know the other side of begging for acceptance from someone, is realizing you can make it without them and you’ll be happier and you’re just waiting for him to get to the stage you were at with your parents.” Blake shrugs and Jasper fakes a smile to him. “Whatever happened there, whatever they said and whatever you saw, being gay is not the problem. The problem isn’t you and how you feel about Ryan and what you guys do, the problem is that other people think it is somehow any of their business and that they can dictate your worth to them, by suggesting that you’d be any more accepted if you would just conform to their standard. I’m really sorry that the last few days even made you question that, when really even if you were straight, how much involvement would your parents have in your life? Where were they the whole time before you met Ryan, when you were dating the girl they chose for you? How many times did they check to see you were still ok after they turned you away with nowhere to go and no money to your name as a teenager? It was never about your sexuality, it was about them.” Blake rants.

“Well.” Jasper sighs as he registers what Blake was saying. “Maybe Ryan and I will have a synchronized breakdown tonight. That’ll be romantic.” He says, trying to laugh off the re-emerging pain he had suppressed, feelings from years ago coming up and thoughts he’d had all his life about just needing to try harder or be better to earn his parents love rushing back into his mind. Desperately trying to hold it all in, his body starts shivering. Blake walks over to him, noticing immediately, he puts his arms around Jasper and hugs him tightly.

“Let the feeling happen, you’re all good. I’m not letting go of you until you’ve cried this one out.” Blake tells him comfortingly, patting him on the back. Jasper shakes his head.

“Nah I think the brownies are kicking in.” Jasper answers.

“Of course, as soon as you finally cracked. You know what, I’m taking you to one of those rooms where you smash things, we can get our feelings out there.” Blake tells him.

“That’d make a great music video actually, can we do that for a music video?” Jasper suggests. Blake stares at him mouth open in awe.

“Yes. Yes we’re so doing that!” He exclaims excitedly and holds his hand up for a high five. Jasper slaps his hand then turns to the door as Ryan arrives home. Jasper races over to him quickly and throws his arms around him, almost knocking him over.

“Missed me that much huh?” Ryan asks, wrapping his arms around Jasper and holding him tight. Jasper smiles and answers him with a kiss. “What’d you think?” Ryan asks when the stop for a breath.

“Not that you were asking me, but I was listening in and honestly when Jasper called and said you’d gone to see Damien on your own I thought you’d make things worse but Jasper assured me you had it under control.” Jasper gives Ryan a less than subtle wink as Blake speaks. “You did well, bet it felt good to actually stand your ground this time and dump the problem back on him.” Blake continues

“I don’t know that it felt ‘good’ but it did feel like it was karma, and I didn’t want to stand in the way of that.” Ryan replies, shrugging

“It’s like they say, revenge is best served publicly and with no mercy.” Jasper sighs contently, stretching and snuggling against Ryan.

“Are you sure that you read the right bible and not the satanic one?” Blake asks with a laugh.

“Don’t tell my parents, but I never really ‘read’ it. I just skimmed through it.” Jasper answers laughing way too hard at himself. Ryan looks from Jasper to Blake suspiciously, Blake just shrugs at him.

“Don’t look at me like it’s my fault.” He comments, looking back at his phone and gasping excitedly. “Jas! They have one of those Rage Rooms in town! I’m going to call and see if I can book us in.” Blake tells him and walks away to make the call.

“What’s he talking about?” Ryan asks.

“The best music video idea anyone has ever thought of.” Jasper replies enthusiastically. “We’re going to just go and break things for a video. Could you think of anything more therapeutic?”

“Sounds like fun.” Ryan nods. “How high are you?” He asks a little quieter.

Oh shut up, barely.” Jasper rolls his eyes. “Blake wouldn’t let me drink so we settled for some food therapy.”

“We’ve got the place booked for an hour this afternoon. Better give everyone a call and get organized.” Blake announces as he saunters back over to the pair. “Feel like getting out some anger?” Blake asks Ryan.

“It’s for a music video right?” Ryan asks.

“Hell yeah.”

“Then I’m not sure I should come along. I’m not going to be continuing in the band.” Ryan tells Blake who doesn’t appear phased.

“Nah I’m not being the asshole that doesn’t include you in the music video. Besides, I thought if we get it filmed and all that today, get it edited and synced with the song I’ve got in mind, we can release it in a day or two and it’ll take the attention off you guys.” Blake suggests. “Anyway I’ve got a lot of work to do to get ready so excuse me.” Blake walks away from them again.

So when are you going to tell everyone you’re leaving?” Jasper asks, turning back to Ryan.

“Today by the sounds of it.” Ryan answers.

“You’re definitely sure this is what you want?” Jasper asks.

“I’m not handling this lifestyle. You warned me from the first day, that I would find it harder than I expected. It’s just too much for me.” Ryan sighs, holding Jasper’s hands and looking into his eyes. “I’m going to announce it to the media, telling them this last incident showed me that I’m not respected as a person and I’m not willing to have my whole life being gossiped about.”

Oooh power move! Make it their fault, guilt them! Fuck I’m into this new side of you.” Jasper fans himself.

“Yeah well I’m hoping this will make at least a little bit of a difference for you, because I know you’ll be the new target for their attention and I can’t convince you to run away with me, so at least if you don’t have them leeching off your life for their paycheck then I’m making it easier on us.” Ryan replies, looking into Jasper’s eyes with a soft smile.

“Are you ok with that? Because I love you but I can’t imaging myself doing anything but performing and I really hope that won’t be a problem for us. I mean I would respect your want for privacy and keep our relationship out of it but I’m not going to disappear into the shadows with you.” Jasper admits.

“I wouldn’t want you to. You’re made for this life and I’m going to be supporting you, it’ll just be from background instead. Mark has offered to let me shadow him and learn a bit of the behind the scenes stuff in production so I’m going to see what that’s like.” Ryan shrugs.

“Honestly I just want to see you happy, proper happy for a change.” Jasper tells him, placing his hands on Ryan’s cheeks and kissing him on the lips lovingly.

“Get a room.” Blake teases as he walks past them.

“My house, if you’re uncomfortable, you can leave.” Jasper only allows Blake a moment of his attention before turning back to Ryan and kissing him again.

“Can never get any work done with a couple.” Blake comments jokingly. Jasper and Ryan ignore him, wanting just another moment to themselves before heading out with Blake to meet up with the other guys but also just wanting to show that they didn’t care what anyone else said to them, not even Blake.

 

“You’re quitting?” Luke asks surprised, looking beside him to Simon who was equally surprised, meanwhile Jasper and Blake were off on their own conversation that seemed to be 90% laughter and 10% actual speaking. Guessing Blake knew.” Luke comments as he watches the two friends both fall to the ground laughing so hard they weren’t even making noise between gasps for air to try and calm themselves down.

“Leaving the group is really what’s best for us all, I’m not the right person for this career and I’ve realized that, I want my own privacy. You guys never needed an extra member in the band either and I don’t add anything to the group really.” Ryan explains.

“I don’t know, Jasper’s gotten a lot out of it.” Simon jokes, Jasper hears his name and looks over at Simon and tries to compose himself to join the conversation.

“You know what, I’m going to announce my marriage, that’ll take a little attention off you guys.” Luke suggests confidently.

“Me too, if nothing else than to have the chance to announce it myself before it gets found out by someone doing some kind of deep dive into my life.” Simon agrees. “It’s not ideal to have someone force you to do this stuff but I wouldn’t want anything found out the wrong way.”

Oh cry me a river Simon, welcome to my life honestly, someone else forcing my hand to announce personal shit is literally what I’ve had to put up with all year, you get use to it after a while.” Jasper rolls his eyes, leaning against Ryan who puts his arm around him and smiles.

“Well you seem to be handling things just fine Jasper.” Luke comments with sarcasm that goes straight over Jasper’s head, despite Jasper thinking he was being perfectly normal it was obvious to Luke and Simon that he wasn’t completely clear minded. “I’d have thought this after what you’ve just been through with your parents would have put you over the edge.”

“Oh yeah, I’m great. I mean shit has well and truly hit the fan here, but it’d take a lot more than this to break me, I’m unbreakable.” Jasper announces dramatically.

“Speaking of breaking, and sorry to steal the attention here, but for the music video we’re just going to be going wild in there, there’s some cameras being set up in the room but other than that everything in the room is there to be broken so let lose. We’re going to have 15 minutes in there as the whole band then it’ll be 15 minutes each on our own for extra footage, I managed to sweet talk them into allowing an extra half hour, do whatever you like and have fun because I want it to just be a fun video, I’m going first.” Blake instructs excitedly while a camera crew, set up in the space behind them.

“How are we all going?” Mark asks, joining the group.

“Mark how much would you regret us being your problem, if we decided to completely toy with the media as payback for the whole thing with Ryan’s ex?” Blake asks with a smirk.

“Ryan already asked me this today and as long as I know how you want me to respond when they start calling me for statements, I don’t have a problem with it at all. I’m disgusted in how this has unfolded and I think that the people in the media need a reality check.” Mark answers, sounding intrigued.

“Well in that case, lets really stir the pot. Start our own rumors, fake break ups, fight with each other, see how much we can mislead them into sounding like complete idiots. If you can’t beat them, join them, right? Time to turn the tables back on them.” Jasper claps his hands, rubbing them together thoughtfully. There was an excited atmosphere among the group, Mark included, at the thought of messing around and playing the media at their own game, and that attitude was perfect for setting the mood of the music video Blake wanted to film.

“Mess with one of us, you call a war on all of us.” Blake grins, ready to start anything if it meant a little payback.

“I appreciate the thought but you really don’t have to get involved.” Ryan tells him, not wanting to cause problems for anyone else.

“First of all Ryan, getting involved in things that have nothing to do with me, is my kink alright, I live for it. Secondly, I am way too vain to be sitting on the bench waiting for the camera to be back on me so like a jealous toddler, I’m going to act out for attention. Lastly, you might be leaving the band but while you’re still screwing Jasper, you’re part of the group.” Blake smiles at Ryan.

“That had every potential to just be a nice statement.” Jasper face palms.

“Hey, I’m being nice, not fake. I just mean to say that I’m going down with this ship dammit, now can we please break so stuff already!?” Blake turns back to the room that was set up and ready to be completely trashed. It was set up to look like a TV set, with cameras, lights, a huge screen on one wall that had been set up with a photo of the band on it, a stack of magazines sat on a desk accompanied by coffee mugs that were filled with cold coffee coloured water. There was a teleprompter with "The Obselete” typed on it and off to the side of the prompter was a computer. The other guys join in behind Blake, all looking around the room and thinking to themselves what they were wanting to do when they had their turn on their own.

After a quick safety talk from one of the workers, who hands out a face shield to each member then gestures to the array of destructive weapons they could choose from, they are closed inside the room. From speakers up in the corner of the room, Mark asks if the group is ready to start recording. Everyone finds something to use and somewhere to start, Blake had a sledge hammer and was eyeing off a camera, Ryan takes a golf club and stands behind the desk, holding one of the coffee mugs, Jasper sits in the swivel chair with his feet on the desk, and a magazine in one hand and a knife being twirled between his thumb and forefinger in his other hand Luke chose a hammer and was leaning casually against the teleprompter, Simon taking his place behind the computer with a baseball bat.

“This is going to be wicked. Ok, so we only get one shot at this, give it all you’ve got. We’ll wait about 5 seconds just acting normal then I’m going to knock over this camera and we’ll let the chaos take it’s natural course from there. Leave the screen to last. Once we’ve all had our solo recordings we’ll come back to this room and break that together, sound good?” Blake asks excitedly. Everyone agrees quickly, and when Blake and gives a thumbs up to the camera that was placed safely distant from the others and with a protective clear shield in front of it, Mark’s voice comes through again.

“Action.” Mark calls.

Blake puts the safety mask down over his face and walks to the middle of the room, to the camera that was recording them. He winks at the camera then with an almost maniacal look on his face he throws the camera beside it, a prop, to the ground and swings the sledge hammer down, an eruption of plastic cascading into the air. Ryan who was pretending to sip from the coffee cup makes a disgusted face and slams the cup down on the desk, the handle breaking off water spilling out over the top, some splashing onto Jasper who raises the magazine and slashes it with the knife while Ryan jumps up on the desk, lining up in front of the mug with his golf club, checking that no one was in his way he hits the cup and porcelain shatters off the desk. Simon smashes his bat through the computer screen and Luke turns the hammer around to the prong end, slamming it into the prompter and wedging the screen out of place. As everyone moves around from one area to another, destroying everything in sight, they laugh and mess around, teaming up to break things, at one stage Jasper climbs up on his chair to take down a clock from the wall and throws it like a frisbee towards Simon who swings the baseball bat at the right time to smash it midair into a million pieces. Blake picks up a broken piece of metal from one of the camera stands and challenges Ryan to a sword fight on the desk, both careful to not hit one another, as they blocked and ‘attacked’ each other, camera stand against golf club. The 15 minutes went by too fast, and soon they were being called out of the room to watch back some of the footage while Fi moves around to each of them exaggerating any tears or holes that their suits had obtained so they would have a more disheveled look. Before their solo sessions, she also applies fake scars and blood.

The solo rooms were set up much more simply, each had a few old Tv’s and computer monitors all set up to display something about them, and this was the moment where they had the opportunity to choose what things had been written about them since they came into the public eye, that they wanted to physically take their anger out against. It was easy, because each of them had things that stood out.

Simon had a number of hate comments about him being the least attractive, something that had early on in their career bothered him quite a bit. Blake had the cockiness and ‘bad boy’ look so he’d often been described as the most attractive, with Jasper as the second for being a ‘pretty boy’ and before Ryan had joined the band Luke was the only one that worked out so he was often complimented on his physique leaving Simon as just the ‘average’ member that was boring because he was the one trying to keep everyone else in check. Simon takes his baseball bat to the comments on the screen, demolishing them and feeling empowered.

Luke’s hate comments were criticizing his personality, everything from claiming he was clingy and desperate when he wrote about love, to a number of rumors that he had sexually assaulted women, that’d come completely from the context of a ‘joke’ one of their haters had made about Luke being the kind to stalk women and beg them to love him, relying on stockholm syndrome setting in for him to have a relationship because he was so needy. These were hurtful at the time, and enraged him now, disgusted that anyone would think he could be anything but respectful, Luke uses his hammer to break every screen.

Blake wasn’t too bothered, he had plenty of negative media in the start of their career due to his carefree attitude and his party boy past. Honestly it wasn’t what was said that upset him, because frankly most of it was true, but as a way to show how unphased he was, he thought these were worth displaying. The main ones that did get to him, were the first few claims that he’d stolen Jasper’s girlfriend and betrayed his best friend, or that he’d secretly been having an affair with Beth.

Jasper had too many comments to choose from about him cheating on Ryan of course, on one screen was the photo that forced him to come out in the first place, beside the second photo that showed who he was kissing. Jasper walks over to the photo and kisses Ryan’s face on the screen, turning around and kicking over the screen that had the cheating rumors on it, stomping until it was completely destroyed.

Ryan went last, rumors of him being on drugs, negative comments about his anxiety and depression, the first few months after their relationship was announced he’d received plenty about not being good enough for Jasper, those had continued throughout the relationship, moving into the more recent stage of things, there were cheating assumptions about him and his dance partner and finally the emerging comments about Damien. The only difficult part was deciding what to obliterate first.

When they got back to the first room as a group, everyone lines up in front of the big screen with the photo of the band. As soon as they are called to start again, Jasper lifts up the desk chair and throws it at the screen while everyone else starts smashing into it with their chosen weapons. When there was nothing but carnage left behind they take off their masks and turn to each other, high-fiving and walking out to look at the footage that’d been collected and talking with a refreshed sense of power about how they would take on the world and have each other's back through anything that comes their way.

@Copyright (2018), Claire Rosalind; All Rights Reserved.
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Interesting video to say the least.Very calm chapter for this story.So are any more BS things going to happen to them or can they finally just be a band.

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A calm chapter for a change. I love the video, the band seems more united and ready to take on the world especially the press and there negative views of the band.

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Gotta say, this literally was anything but calm. But it was still one of the most calm chapters in the story. Not as much turmoil. 

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Awesome story so far, love Blake's music video idea, please don't leave us hanging on to long, does Ryan go after his dancing career or shadow Mark and, get into a production career, I hope Ryan and Jasper finally get married and start their own family

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