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Do You Ship Us? - 81. Half A Planet Away

Awesome show you guys!” Fi says, excitedly clapping as they walk in the dressing room backstage.

“Thanks my babies.” Luke walks over and gives her a gentle hug and kiss on the cheek.

“God, don’t you hate happy people?” Blake shakes his head disapprovingly at Luke and Fi.

“So much.” Jasper agrees, his attention on his phone as he unlocks it to see 4 missed calls from Ryan. “Stupid happy people. They can all get fucked.”

“They probably do. Every few nights. While you and I are out here suffering half a planet away from our lovers.” Blake turns to Jasper noticing his friend was only half paying attention. “Missed him again?” He asks empathetically.

“Ryan and I have not gotten the hang of this time zone thing, at all. I have like 3 voice messages I keep replaying every time I miss his voice.” Jasper admits sadly. “We have managed one phone call in the whole month we’ve been apart. I hate everything.” He shoves his phone in his pocket and turns to Blake with a shrug. “We have just, not had any downtime between shows.”

“Well, that’s a cop out. We’ve had down time you’ve spent it worrying about everyone other than yourself.”

“I’ve spent it planning for the shows. The fans have waited a long time for us Blake. They deserve the best of us.” Jasper argues.

“Jasper.” Blake places his hands on Jasper’s shoulders looking into his eyes. “Stop putting everyone else first. And take care of yourself. You can’t give people the best of you if you are not making yourself the best. Part of that means knowing when to put yourself first. You should treat yourself like you are the most important person in your life because you know what. Without you, you don’t have a life. Stop wearing yourself thin for everyone else. The harsh truth is, at the end of the day. Fans are just fans. They love us for music and they pay for shows and then they go home to their real lives. And at the end of tour we’ve gotta go home to our lives too. Make sure you’re taking care of the life you’re going back to at the end of tour.” Blake pats him on the shoulder and they start making their way out of the room and to the cars waiting to take them to the airport.

As they approach the cars waiting to drive them to the airport, Jasper walks over to the man who’d been assigned as one of the groups personal assistants while on tour. There were two of them accompanying the group everywhere they went but they had very quickly established who they wanted to work with, and Leo had been the one more comfortable taking on Jasper and Blake.

“Coffee?” Leo holds up the drink, offering it with a smile.

“Leo you’re a life saver.” Jasper takes the cup, holding the warm drink in his hands and smelling it as if just the feeling and smell was all the comfort he needed.

“Just doing my job.” Leo smiles.

“No but seriously, finishing a show and knowing there’s a coffee waiting for me is the absolute best feeling.” Jasper says, taking a sip and moaning dramatically.

“You cannot tell that you haven’t gotten laid in a while, if you think drinking coffee from a street vendor is the best feeling.” Blake tells him sarcastically.

“The best feeling I can get, while being half a world away from my boyfriend.” Jasper rolls his eyes, following Leo to the car and getting in the front passenger seat as the door is opened for him. Leo shuts the door behind Jasper and goes around to the driver seat, getting in.

“I’ll get my own door.” Blake mutters to himself before taking a seat in the back, behind Jasper. For a while the drive is silent, and soon it’s clear that Blake is asleep, while Jasper in in the front sipping his coffee and continually looking at his phone even though he knew Ryan wasn’t going to call at this time of the night.

“So.” Leo clears his throat. “what’s Ryan doing that he couldn’t come with you on tour?” Not sure what to make of the question, Jasper just frowns at Leo for a moment.

“Well. I mean. He’s got his own life. He can’t just follow me around for what, nine months, doing nothing but sitting in the hotel room bored while I’m onstage night after night.” Jasper shrugs it off.

Well he should be supporting you. That’s what a good boyfriend would do.” Leo states casually.

“He’s supporting me. He’s supporting me from home. Which is all I expect him to do honestly.”

“I don’t know. Kinda seems like the bare minimum to me. I mean, he’s not here, who’s taking care of you? Do you guys have an arrangement?”

“An arrangement?” Jasper asks, even though he knew what Leo was asking he was just thrown off by the fact he was being asked this at all.

“You know, since he’s not here.” Seeing the baffled and slightly offended look on Jasper’s face, Leo quickly dials it down. “I’m just saying I’ve worked for a lot of people that do this kind of thing, being away a lot. There’s usually some kind of, arrangement.”

“Right.” Jasper nods as he considers what Leo is saying. “Well here is our arrangement. If it gets to a point where I cannot contain myself, I call Ryan. He gets on a plane, he comes here, he takes care of me.” Jasper states.

“And he’s visited how many times?”

“Clearly I’m doing fine on my own.”


“I’m sorry. Do you have a problem with Ryan? Because it’s not really your relationship to comment on. We’re doing fine. This is working for us.”

“Not at all. I just think. If it was me, I wouldn’t want my boyfriend on the other side of the planet. I’d want to be there taking care of him. It’s not fair on you is it?”

“It’s not fair on him either but that’s how it works with this job. There’s going to be periods of sacrifice for both of us. I’m guessing with your job it’s not easy to have relationships either?” Jasper finishes off his coffee.

“What’s the fun of travelling if you are tied down? There’s too many people out there in the world to limit yourself to just one, that hasn’t even made the effort to come and see you.” Leo suggests. Jasper decides not to reply, he didn’t want to continue talking about this anyway. The less he let himself think about Ryan, the better, and he didn’t particularly feel the need to defend himself and what he decided was ok for his relationship to anyone. “Sorry if I offended you, I am just looking out for you. If things are working then that’s great. I just wanted to make sure you knew I wouldn’t judge you if you wanted or needed me to work something out. I’m here to help you get through tour with as little stress and as much enjoyment as you can.” Leo tells him, his tone sounded more professional and definitely gave the impression that it wouldn’t be the first time Leo had organized someone to ‘take care’ of one of his clients.

“I’m not offended. I just don’t think I need what you are suggesting I might need. Besides, its’ only been a month into this challenging period, I'm not going to peek too soon with this struggle. There is a long time to go yet. If I can’t survive a month then I might as well break up with him, because that doesn’t say much for the commitment I have to our relationship.” Jasper shakes his head, looking down at his hands and turning the promise ring around on his finger.

“Ok, I won’t bring it up again unless you ask me to.” Leo nods.

“Thank you, I would appreciate that.” Jasper replies, looking out the window as they pull into the carpark of the airport. “It always amazes me, how many people are at these places at this time of night. Go home people. Go and sleep. What are you all doing awake?” Jasper shakes his head at all the parked cars. It’s enough to change the conversation while Leo drives to a drop off spot. Blake wakes when the car pulls into the park, he and Jasper get out and head inside to meet up with Simon and Luke.

“I’ve just had the weirdest conversation with Leo.” Jasper tells Blake quietly, glancing around as he spoke, worried that someone would overhear and take the story out of context. “He was like, trying to convince me that Ryan isn’t a good boyfriend or something. I don’t know. I’m confused. Basically, he wanted to know if Ryan and I had an arrangement to sleep with other people or something.”

Wow, shocking.” Blake says sarcastically. “Two guesses why he wanted to know that. He’s been lowkey into you the whole time.”

“I don’t think so, he was offering to find me someone to ‘take care of me’.” Jasper whispers.

“By someone, he means himself. Trust me. I’ve caught him undressing you with his eyes multiple times. Basically, anytime you’re not looking at him, he’s staring at your ass. It’s pretty obvious he also considers himself your PA, not mine or Simon’s or Luke’s. He’ll do something for us if we ask him to, but you don’t even have to ask and he’s fetching you food and drinks and opening car doors. Oh and he texts or calls you whenever he needs to let us know where he’s picking us up from. I doubt he’s even got my number but he got yours within the first day.” Blake says matter of factly, Jasper looks at him shocked.

So wait he doesn’t send goodnight and good morning texts to everyone?” Jasper asks.

“Oh no Jasper, he’s sending you goodnight and good morning texts? He’s invested. You’ve gotta make it clear you don’t want that dick.” Blake laughs.

“I can’t believe that my personal assistant wants to sleep with me.”

“I can’t believe you didn’t realize he’d like to personally assist you with your sex life.” Blake tells him with a smirk. Jasper is silent in thought for a moment, seeming amused by the situation. It wasn’t long before he and Blake were caught up with Simon and Luke who were already in the first class area of the plane. “You fuckers owe me $50. Luke, Simon and I made a bet that he would make a move on you. Simon said he wouldn’t and Luke said three months, I said one month, because I’m not oblivious and I could tell from the first few days, like I said, he was checking you out and not being very subtle about it.” While Blake, Simon and Luke get caught up making fun of the situation, Jasper just falls down into his seat and gets to work checking what time it will be when they land and what time he can call Ryan.

“What time is it back home?” Simon asks, noticing Jasper’s mood and able to guess, by this point, what was bothering him.

“It’s like 4.30 AM over there.” He says with a defeated sigh. “5 hour flight, another hour worth of getting out of the airport and somewhere quiet enough to call, it’ll be 10.30 for Ry, and he’ll be at work. It’ll also be 3pm for us so by the time he finishes work at 5pm, we’ll be on stage starting the next show.” Jasper rubs his head and puts his phone down. “I’m so, so tired of this.”

On stage Jasper was energetic, he put his all into the performances, but that’s all it was. One big performance that he put on for the fans. Aside from the shows themselves, there were TV appearances and interviews as well as the podcasts Jasper and Blake tried to fit in whenever they had some free time. Between moments of displaying himself in this way for the fans, Jasper was very quiet and clearly lonely. He would spend his time exhausted from their busy schedule, but restless because his mind was busy trying to work out time zones and setting alarms for himself to wake up and call Ryan, inevitably waking up frequently to check the alarm had not been missed, only to finally be asleep deeply when it would go off and missing his opportunity. Having dealt with distance all of his marriage, Simon could empathize. Although he had never had to worry about the time zones changing every few days and watching Jasper desperately trying to work out when he could call and when he couldn’t, made him grateful for the simplicity of his own experience with the distance.

All of this considered, Jasper didn’t complain about missing Ryan, or being so busy. It was truly a determined performance, to keep everyone from seeing the pain he felt. Even in interviews when he would be asked about Ryan and whether he missed him, he could always manage to give a simple ‘of course I do, but we’re managing’, without letting the depth of the pain he was feeling show. Of course the group all remembered the last time Jasper had been putting on this kind of act, and how that turned out to cause a self inflicted loneliness that nearly ruined the entire relationship. With Jasper performing the song about that struggle, in every show it was impossible to forget, and so they were keeping a closer eye on him this time. Simon in particular wanted to make sure he was supporting Jasper as much as he could because he felt as though he owed him, for stepping in and stopping Simon from making the same mistake. Simon’s marriage had been the best it had ever been, since the night Jasper took him home and told him to sort out his relationship, advising that if the distance was too much he had to either find a way to make it work or accept that it wasn’t working and move on. Advice that he himself was good at giving but ignorant on applying to his own life.


“Beth, what are you doing here?” Ryan asks surprised to see who was standing at his door.

“Hey. I know this is really out of the blue, but. I was at home feeling really lonely and really bored. And I thought, you know, who else probably feels the same way? So would you like some company?” Beth asks with a kind smile.

“Oh God, yes. Come in. Can I get you something to drink?” Ryan offers going over to the fridge.

“I brought wine.” Beth announces, holding up a bottle. “Oh wait, can you drink?”

“Yeah, I’ll have a drink.” Ryan finds some glasses and sets them down on the bench.

“Last time I saw you drinking, you ended up unconscious, that’s all.” She jokes.

“I forgot about that, sorry again about you having to go through that. Honestly, that was just a bad night, too much to drink, mixed with the wrong medication. I can drink, I just tend not to these days in support of Jasper.” Ryan tells her.

“Keeping him on the straight and narrow… Oh I mean… not straight like I didn’t. That was probably a bad word choice.” Beth cringes at herself. “Sorry.”

“It’s fine.” Ryan shakes his head. “Have you and Blake been able to talk much since they left? Jasper and I have really struggled.”

“I know what you mean. That’s why even though you and I don’t really know each other that well, I thought, we’re the ones that got left behind, we’re kind of in this together, you know?” Beth pours the wine and slides one of the glasses towards Ryan.

“Here’s to us, being left behind.” Ryan smiles as he lifts the glass.

“Left behind but not alone.” Beth grins and taps her glass against Ryan’s.

“Not alone.” Ryan nods and takes a sip of the wine.

@Copyright (2018), Claire Rosalind; All Rights Reserved.
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I knew there was going to be somebody like Leo to try to tempt Jasper on the road.I hope I'm reading too much into this but the combination of loneliness and alcohol might be a bad thing for Ryan and Beth.There's a reason for that scene I just hope it's not what I fear it is.

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...Ok I love Jasper yet I’m blown away that he didn’t realize Leo sending good morning & goodnight texts wasn’t normal. 🤦🏻‍♂️ I mean I had to reread the sentence just to be 100% sure he wasn’t being sarcastic and though it can be hard to tell in text form I’m pretty sure his comment wasn’t laced with sarcasm. Poor guy is so naive sometimes.

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Well let's hope the alcohol for Beth and Ryan doesn't lower there inhibitions to much, or they could really have problems. Jasper is so hung up on not talking to Ryan, he didn't even realise that Leo was flirting with him.

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That Leo is trouble.  I’m glad Blake opened Jasper’s eyes to what he was doing.  I’m not really surprised that he wasn’t aware.  His entire attention, when not on the tour, is focused on Ryan.

BTW, Jasper commented he was having trouble keeping track of what the time was back at home, compared to where they are currently playing.  There is a part of the clock function on the cell phone that allows you to keep track of the time in any city in the world.  It’s usually called World Time.  All you have to do is list the city you want.  It keeps track for you.  That might help him with when he can call Ryan.

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