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Do You Ship Us? - 76. Eye of the Storm

“Blake’s new music video seems like an attack or even a threat against the media, what do you have to say about that?” It took a brave reporter to take on the band now, with legal consequences being followed against the journalist that had tracked down Damien, and the music video that had just debuted. There were only a handful of people in the room with note pads, cameras and the balls to talk to the group now, much less than what these open interviews usually had.

“Don’t take it so personally, we’re just doing our jobs, as entertainers.” Jasper offers a very obvious hint at the media’s pathetic defense of their own actions.

“It was a statement definitely, we’ve dealt with a lot of infuriating press situations and I think a lot of that comes down to the standard that our old manager set for us by handing any personal detail he could blow out of proportion and make a story out of, straight to whoever wanted to write about it. He set up this expectation that is was ok for us to not have any part of our lives, kept private and so we were conditioned not to expect better and you were all conditioned to not consider whether what you were saying was respectful or not.” Blake responds with a calm voice and a straight face, only turning to a slight smile after he finishes. “So it was for us, definitely a good way to let out the frustration in retaliation of what we’ve had to put up with so far in our careers and, it definitely was a way of putting out the message that we are finished accepting that as our standard.”

“I think also, we’ve made a name for ourselves and we have a big following, we’re in a position now where we aren’t suppressed by the fear of losing our job so we aren’t just going to be silently taking whatever is thrown at us, we deserve better, we are people with the same right to privacy in our lives as all of you.” Simon adds.

Clearly this is to do with Ryan’s ex but surely you can understand that our team was not there to expose the relationship, that was not our intention and we were blind sighted by the announcement of their previous relationship too. To hear you’re seeking legal action for that seems a little far...” The same journalist speaks up again.

“Sure, but your intention doesn’t really matter does it? Because the result was broadcasting information that you can’t control the consequences of. Also if you want to call yourselves ‘investigative journalists’ and then claim you were blind sighted by something that was not in any way hidden other than having not directly spoken about, than honestly how well do you think you’re doing at your job? Ryan even said that you guys were close to having a real story, that should have been a hint at where to start looking, but instead you skipped all the investigative parts and just showed up uninvited and live broadcasting while sharing personal details of someone who by right, has not consented to be dragged into the spotlight like we did when we decided to pursue our careers. That’s why I don’t care what your intention was, and I’ve got our lawyer looking into the matter. You don’t get to do that kind of damage and claim it’s your job and I’m pretty sure we have a right to call out the bullshit that we’ve been through because of lazy media. Which of course includes our old manager who basically spoon-fed gossip to you all by being a selfish, money hungry piece of trash that would do sketchy shit like hide cameras in our rooms. Ryan do you have anything to add?” Jasper asks, leaning back satisfied with his grilling and casting Ryan an encouraging smile.

“Just that I’m done having to justify why I choose not to share elements of my life and since it’s clearly not an option to have my right to privacy respected, I’m stepping out of this life style entirely.” Ryan sighs and shakes his head. “I’m sorry Jasper, I’m sorry guys. I can’t do this.” Ryan gets up and walks out dramatically.

“Ryan, wait!” Jasper gets up and runs out after him while Simon, Luke and Blake all start talking in a panic amongst each other, the few reporters in the room also equally confused.

“Uh, given this announcement I’ll have to cut this interview off here and ask you to leave so I can resolve this with the band.” Mark stands in, looking completely shocked, he turns to Luke, Simon and Blake and shrugs at them then turns back to face the media and start hurrying them out the door in a fluster.

“You should have seen their faces. The panic, the utter panic. Well played. I loved the extra part with you storming off and Jasper running after you. “ Blake grins as he walks over and high fives Ryan. “How long will you wait until you file an official statement?” He asks eagerly.

“I don’t know a week, maybe 2.” Ryan shrugs. “We’ll have to see how it all goes.”

You will have to announce it before we announce tours and such, it’s not the fans we are punishing. But I seriously didn’t even expect you to just nope out of there like that. That was great.” Jasper states impressed. Mark walks in smiling and shaking his head.

“You guys are definitely keeping things interesting around here. I’ve sent that video to Flynn.” Mark announces, pocketing his phone. “You know if he is looking for tech work in a less 'under the table' kind of way, I may actually have work for him coming up in a few months.” He suggests.

“I’ll let him know.” Blake grins and looks at his phone as it buzzes with a text from Flynn telling him the video of Ryan had been ‘leaked’. “Here we go!” Blake opens up Twitter and sure enough there’s a notification that he and the rest of the guys had been tagged in a post. Everyone gathers around Blake’s phone as he opens the short 10 second video, filmed from the back of the room that caught just Ryan’s statement, Jasper running off after him, the chaotic chatter between the people in the room and Mark calling off the interview then it shuts off. ‘OMG RYAN JUST QUIT #TheObsolete #Ryan #Jasper #Blake #Luke #Simon #RIP #FucktheMedia.’

“He really missed his calling as a fangirl.” Jasper laughs at Flynn’s fake accounts’ tweet.

“Another well orchestrated shit storm pulled off.” Simon stretches as if it’d been hard work.

So the plan is now to hit them hard right? Just one thing after another, varying levels of importance. Give them some mediocre gossip and then when they get over Ryan leaving we troll them with something else?” Luke asks, he Simon and Blake start planning with Mark listening in with an intrigued sense of enjoyment in hearing what the boys had in mind. Jasper and Ryan on the other hand just turn back to one another.

“I guess you should go home then, since you are unemployed now.” Jasper sighs and looks into Ryan’s eyes as he slides his arms over Ryan’s shoulders.

Temporarily unemployed, and if you make one joke about being my sugar daddy now I swear to god...”

“Now? Like I haven’t been this whole time?” Jasper winks and starts walking him to the door.

You have a steady flow of royalties, I contribute where and however I can.” Ryan argues back playfully.

In other words you are sleeping with me for money?” Jasper teases.

“Careful, don’t want to start that rumor do you?” Ryan fakes a whisper then opens the door and walks out.

"Go home, this is a band meeting for members only.” Jasper winks and blows Ryan a kiss before closing the door and turning back to the group. He was glad Ryan had made this call, because they were about to ramp up the drama and Ryan didn’t need to be a part of the backlash that would surely follow.

 

No that’s not fair, that’s cheating.” Jasper says in a whisper as he walks into the lounge room to find Ryan lying shirtless on the couch with the baby fast asleep on his chest.

Shhh.” Ryan warns as he lightly pats Ellie’s back so she won’t wake up.

“I’m serious Ry, you’re going to make me start wanting a baby if you keep this up.”

“Can you imagine, you coming home from work as the internationally recognized singer, to me, the stay at home dad and kids that are legally ours?” Ryan says in a daydreaming way. Jasper smiles at him, deciding not to say anything that could further encourage this sweet little fantasy. The thought was so precious he couldn’t even ruin it by making a joke about it never happening because since his seeing Ryan help out with his niece like this he was becoming more and more drawn to a life with a little family of his own. Without a word to encourage or discourage the idea, he leans down and kisses him, turning to Ellie and kissing her soft, sleeping face. “How was work?” Ryan asks, it’d been a week since he’d announced he was leaving the band, though he was yet to follow that up with an official statement and it was driving everyone insane with speculations.

“It’s been a big day, I’ve recorded almost all of my songs, Blake’s done and he’s just doing the finishing touches on it now. Simon’s got us all going to an airport runway because we’re a boyband and nothing says ‘boyband ballad’ like singing on a runway for some reason. I mean, he and Blake are such different people when it comes to music videos, they really are opposite ends of the extreme. Luke’s filming an entire music video with just Fi in it, but he’s not going to announce that they are actually married, he just wants to play it up for the attention.” Jasper fills Ryan in, sitting on the floor beside the couch while they talk so they can keep whispering to each other and not wake up the baby.

“Um, speaking of playing it up for attention, did someone really leak nudes of Blake? Because I saw an article about it and everyone is talking about it on twitter, it’s been trending all day and I’m too scared to look.” Ryan asks, feeling around the top of the couch for his phone, he unlocks it and opens up his twitter as if Jasper would have not heard all about this all day first hand from Blake.

“Oh god no, he just made the claim that someone had and people have run with it, trying to find a photo sent them on a wild hunt for something that isn’t there.” Jasper says amused and proud of the way Blake fooled everyone.

“That’s a relief...”

“If anything he would release his own nudes.” Jasper adds thoughtfully.

“That is a truly horrifying thought and also a very fair point. Can you please tell him not to do that, because from all the posts I saw today, I’d have definitely seen it if it existed.” Ryan scrolls though the tagged posts with his phone angled so Jasper could see all the posts going around.

“Oh it definitely exists, just not in public.” Jasper answers slyly. Ryan looks at him questioningly then opens his mouth to speak but Jasper cuts in first, deflecting the conversation. “Where is Grace?” He asks, looking around the lounge room.

Flynn took her out on a date.” Ryan shrugs. “Have you seen nudes of Blake?” Ryan asks him.

“I have swiped one too many times back through his photos when he’s been showing me pictures of stuff before and seen more than I wanted to.” Jasper replies with a careless shrug, hoping Ryan would interpret that as it not being a big deal.

“You’ve seen naked pictures of him.” Ryan frowns to himself and looks up at the ceiling deep in though, clearly seeing Jasper’s response as meaning that Jasper didn’t mind having seen them. Jasper smiles and stands up, moving behind the arm rest and leaning over to get in Ryan’s line of sight.

“Sorry to interrupt the unnecessarily insecure thoughts I can see happening here, but I just wanted to remind you that I’m not attracted to Blake.” Jasper tells him, putting his hands on Ryan’s cheeks and leaning down to kiss him upside down. “Blake is someone’s type and that someone is not me, so you can stop thinking about it now and instead focus on the alarming fact that I just realized, you and I have never been out on a proper date have we?” He asks. Ryan thinks for a moment and shakes his head.

“Wow I am the worst boyfriend ever, I can’t believe I haven’t taken you out on a date.”

Yeah Mr Romantic, I expected some extravagance. Jasper teases.

You’ve put me on the spot now, I owe you lots of dates. We need a date night. When can I take you out? When aren’t you likely to be busy?” Ryan tilts his head back to look at Jasper who gives a dramatic laugh.

“You mean between the late night re-recordings to perfect the songs we’re releasing, the parties after the new music comes out, the tour scheduling and prepping coming up and promotional events, photo shoots, interviews and what not? Maybe before Christmas? I mean we’ve got interest all over the world for our next tour so it’d want to be at least before I spend like 6 months on tour in different countries and time zones.”

“Have fun with that.” Ryan smiles as he looks down at Ellie who was waking up with a confused cry.

“Yeah well you have fun with that.” Jasper points at his niece, but smiles as he watches the little girl lift her head and blink as she looks around her environment and recognizes the faces looking at her. She gives Ryan a smile and puts her head down again, cuddling onto him.

“Did you see that?” Ryan gasps.

“No, nope, nope, nope, no, not happening. We aren’t getting one.” Jasper turns to walk away before he could be convinced into anything.

“But I’ll have nothing else to do while you’re off touring the world and being famous, come on?!” Ryan begs jokingly.

“Not happening Ry. At least take me on a date before you start begging for kids.” Jasper calls out as he disappears into the bedroom to have a bath to relax after the long day.

 

It was 4am when Ryan woke Jasper up, nudging him and gently saying his name. Jasper grumbles incoherently and rolls over, determined not to wake up but Ryan persists.

“No Ry. Go back to sleep.” Jasper whines and cuddles against him.

“Jasper, get up and get dressed. I’ve got something planned for you.” Ryan urges and Jasper just groans in response. “Come on.” Ryan nudges him again.

“What even is the time?” Jasper rubs his eyes. “The sun is not even up.” Jasper rolls over to go back to sleep.

That is the point. We are going on a sunrise date.” Ryan answers.

“Just open the curtains and wake me when it is actually daylight.”

“You can go back to sleep in the car, I promise.” Ryan tells him.

“Sold.” Jasper pulls the blankets back and gets out of bed, looking over at Ryan who was fully dressed. “You are a psychopath. You know I love you, because there is nothing I hate more than being woken up and having to get up and go places before the sun is even up.” Jasper mumbles as he gets dressed.

“Oh well that’s interesting. I will bring that up later.” Ryan says as he kisses his cheek in passing.

“Mm you are testing me aren’t you? You win this time, but next time you wake me up like this I will not be responsible for you getting punched.” Jasper yawns.

“Sure, are you ready to go?” Ryan asks.

“Yep, lets get this over with.” Jasper answers and follows Ryan out and down to his car. As they start driving it starts raining lightly. “Ah that’s a peaceful noise, what is that sound Ryan?” Jasper asks with cheeky grin. Ryan doesn’t reply so Jasper looks over at him and notices the look of stress and defeat on Ryan’s face. Oh no you are taking us somewhere outdoors aren’t you? That’s the face you pull when things aren’t going to plan.” Jasper sighs and puts a hand on Ryan’s knee. “Did you check the weather report before deciding on this spontaneous outing? He asks and Ryan just shakes his head. “Ok let me see what the rain is doing.” Jasper pulls out his phone and quickly searches the weather radar as the rain gets heavier around them. “Oooh you are lucky, it’s only a small patch.” Jasper puts his phone away and leans over to kiss Ryan’s cheek to reassure him.

“First date is off to a great start.” Ryan sighs.

“On the bright side, you’ve already impressed me so no matter how this goes, we’re good. As far as dates go this is pretty low pressure.” Jasper assures him.

“Still. It better stop raining.” Ryan states.

“Wait where are we going?” Jasper asks, Ryan smiles and shakes his head.

It’s a surprise.” He answers. Jasper smiles at Ryan then closes his eyes and gets comfortable.

“So peaceful for me to listen to while I sleep.” Jasper mutters. They drive for a while, getting further from the city and down barely lit roads. Jasper was asleep again and when they arrived Ryan sat in silence letting Jasper keep sleeping, it was still a while until sunrise anyway. Jasper wakes up and looks over at Ryan who was on his phone, he reaches over slowly to scare Ryan, grabbing his arm quickly and laughing at the way Ryan jolts and drops his phone while cursing Jasper for scaring him.

“I hate you.” He cast Jasper a glare.

“Sorry, I couldn’t resist. What time is it?” Jasper asks, noticing it was still dark outside, and choosing not to mention the rain that was still trickling down the windscreen.

“Sunrise is still 20 minutes away, though that’s if it stops raining.” Ryan sighs. “So peaceful for me to listen to while I sleep.” Jasper mutters. They drive for a while, getting further from the city and down barely lit roads. Jasper was asleep again and when they arrived Ryan sat in silence letting Jasper keep sleeping, it was still a while until sunrise anyway. Jasper wakes up and looks over at Ryan who was on his phone, he reaches over slowly to scare Ryan.

“So if you only get out of bed and go places before sunrise for someone you love, does that mean you loved me from the start when I called you that night?” Ryan asks with a smirk.

Maybe, subconsciously.” Jasper smiles back then his smile fades as he realizes where he is. “Is that where we are? The beach we went to that night?” He asks and Ryan nods. “Only you could organize a sunrise picnic on the beach on the one day it rains in forever. Jasper teases.

“I know right?” Ryan sighs. “Watching the sunrise with you that morning was bittersweet, I wanted to bring you back here and make a new memory for this place.” He comments then turns to Jasper. “But of course it had to rain and ruin the chance for us to have a romantic sunrise picnic.”

“The date isn’t ruined, it just isn’t going to your plan, but it can still be romantic. We can do that thing in movies where the couple makes out in the rain?” Jasper suggests and unbuckles his seat belt then goes to get out.

Your clothes will get wet and we didn’t bring spare clothes.” Ryan tells him.

“Oh good point.” Jasper takes his shirt off and throws it at Ryan. “Better leave the clothes in the car then.” He winks and undoes his pants, wriggles out of them then gets out without hesitation. Ryan stares mouth agape at the audacity, but he couldn’t leave him out there alone and naked in the rain so he quickly strips off and hops out too.

You are crazy.” Ryan calls out as he feels his way along the car, vaguely making out the silhouette of Jasper sitting on the bonnet of the car.

“You need my spontaneity.” Jasper reaches for Ryan’s hands, bringing him close.

“I just need you in general.” Ryan answers, his hands finding the sides of Jasper’s face, he brushes the rain drops from his cheeks and leans in, kissing him softly at first, progressing quickly to a deeper, passion filled kiss. Jasper cheekily lets his hands slide down Ryan’s body, only stopping when Ryan’s hands grab his wrists. “We’re in public.” Ryan reminds him quietly, barely pulling back from Jasper’s lips, he could almost feel the smile radiating from his lover’s face.

“And? It’s dark and it’s raining, no one is out, trust me. And if they are, then they are probably up to no good to and won’t take any notice of us.” Jasper whispers back, crawling his fingers down a little further while Ryan barely attempts to stop him, it was a fairly good point and the thrill of being caught only seemed to add to the desire to give in.

“Just so you know though, this isn’t what I normally do on a first date.” Ryan leans in and whispers in Jasper’s ear before trailing kisses down his neck, his hands also finding their way around Jasper’s body. The chill of the rain sprinkling down on their bodies quickly forgotten as they let themselves be swept up in the moment, finding warmth in each other’s embrace. The sound of the tide rolling up the foreshore getting louder as it got closer, brings them back down to earth as they finally let their bodies part.Dawn was setting in and it was becoming light enough that at a close distance Jasper could see Ryan almost perfectly now. Jasper jumps down from the bonnet of the car and flashes him a cheeky grin as he starts walking past him, headed for the ocean.

“What are you doing?” Ryan asks confused.

“Skinny dipping, since I’m already naked, wet and ticking things off my bucket list this morning. Dare you to join me.” Jasper calls back.

“If we get eaten by sharks, I’m blaming you.” Ryan replies, following Jasper to the waters’ edge.

“I regret this.” Jasper shudders as his feet touch the freezing cold water.

“Is it cold?” Ryan asks. Jasper tugs his arm, pulling him off balance forwards and into the water with him. “Why would you do that?” Ryan laughs in shock at the freezing temperature of the water.

“Love is not letting me suffer alone.” Jasper answers, continuing to back into the water until it is up to his knees then launches himself into Ryan, knocking him down into the water and falling on top of him. Both of them curse at the stinging coldness. “At least it stopped raining.” Jasper comments as he stands up again, looking out over the water at the first lick of sunlight breaking over the horizon.

“Now is when I break it to you that I didn’t bring towels.” Ryan says. Jasper looks at him contemplatively and shakes his head.

“You tell me this now? When I am soaked and naked?” He asks, jokingly insulted. “Tell me there is at least a picnic blanket for us.

“You are a genius.”

“We should cover up now, before it gets any lighter and we become visible.” Jasper and Ryan get up and both run up the beach, back to the car. Ryan pulls out the picnic blanket and goes to the front of the car where Jasper was standing shivering.

“Come here.” Ryan puts the blanket around himself and sits on the bonnet then pulls Jasper over to him and wraps the blanket around him too and cuddling him tight to help warm him up. Neither of them speak as they enjoy the sunrise lighting up the beach and the sound of the water slowly rolling in, breathing in the fresh sea air. Ryan holds Jasper a little tighter as he kisses up his neck.

“Is this romantic enough for you?” Jasper smiles, turning his head to kiss Ryan softly on the lips.

“This is better than I had imagined, that’s for sure.” Ryan says before kissing him again lovingly. “What do you think of our first date?”

“It’s probably not one we’ll tell the kids about.” Jasper replies and they both laugh, soon falling back into a relaxing and comfortable silence. After a few more minutes of peace they make their way back to the car, carefully using the blanket to save whatever dignity they could as they got dressed again. “This has been a really nice break from the chaos, thank you. Don’t ever wake me up again, but thank you for this.” Jasper holds Ryan’s hand as Ryan starts driving them home. Ryan doesn’t answer, just pulls Jasper’s hand to his lips and presses a soft kiss on his knuckles. With the last few weeks of constant crap behind them, and the new albums being released and kickstarting the world tour, this felt like the eye of the storm.

@Copyright (2018), Claire Rosalind; All Rights Reserved.
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Awesome, can't wait to see what you have in store for them, does Ryan end up shadowing Mark,or does he follow his dancing career

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Loved seeing the media getting played.I got the impression things were winding down last chapter but there are still things to be determined and I'm loving it.I just thought of something does Mark have contacts  the movie industry?After the performance by Ryan at the presser Mark could get him parts in movies it worked for Timberlake.

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