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Do You Ship Us? - 87. The Bigger You Get

“It’s that time again, where we randomly have an hour to spare and decide to do a spontaneous podcast!” Blake announces, welcoming the scattering of fans that were watching their livestream.

“We are nightmares. There is no consistency with us, whatsoever. It’s amazing people even still tune into these because they have become so messy. We basically sit down with absolutely nothing planned and talk about crap for a hour, read a smut and answer some questions. But mostly just talk shit.” Jasper grins.

“Yeah we’re really sorry. But most of the comments and messages I get about the podcast is people loving the chaotic energy and even if we are just talking absolute crap for an hour it’s entertaining." Blake replies. Truth was they often had a few things they planned on talking about but got too quickly distracted. They usually had at least one good tour story to share and they tried to include something interesting they had learned about each place they had performed at. Last podcast they had announced that Luke was due to become a dad in the month following their return home, to a little boy that they had nicknamed ‘Fluke’ which was fitting given they were told they wouldn't be able to have kids. It was also a fun play on the couple name, which they got a lot of amusement out of due to Fi's name being at the start, insinuating she was the one that wore the pants in the relationship. Fans had responded to the news remarkably well, given it was the last confirmation that they were all off the market, dashing the fantasy that any of the fans had a chance with them. First, hearing that Jasper was gay, then finding out he was dating Ryan, taking them off the list of potential future boyfriends for the fans to dream about, then Simon announcing he was married, and now Luke, they really had expected more disappointed fans to lash out or for them to lose support but it was as though they were untouchable now and everything they did just seemed to get positive attention on them.

"You ever see those comments from fans saying the wish they could marry you and you just think to yourself ‘don’t wish that on yourself’?” Blake asks Jasper as he reads the influx of declarations of love they were receiving from their fans.

“Oh all the time. Reality is I’m just painful to know. I’m not worth it, I promise. I am way too annoying for any of you to ruin your lives aspiring to date. I've literally spent more of my relationship with Ryan, not with him and I'm pretty sure he's starting to realize this is what he's signed up for.” Jasper laughs. Despite knowing they would likely also receive support, Jasper and Ryan were holding off on announcing their engagement. Partly because it didn't feel real yet, with the distance between them and their priorities on their careers. People would want to know when they were getting married, what the plans were, then there would be talk of kids. Jasper saying yes to the proposal had somehow made Ryan less desperate for a wedding, like what he wanted more than actually getting married, was to know that Jasper was open to the idea and the longer it seemed out of the question the more he'd needed it. Now they were engaged and he was happy to just leave it at that, which was a relief to Jasper who had in all honesty been a little shocked at his own response and spent the night panicking after Ryan went home about whether or not he should have said yes, being that he still felt like getting married wasn't for him. He just wanted to enjoy the relationship, no pressure one way or the other. He could see a life with Ryan, and all the excitement of their future but he just wanted to get home from tour and spend some down time with him before they rushed forwards with anything, because if there was one thing tour had taught Jasper, it was that he never wanted to give up his life on the stage, and obviously he and Ryan needed to talk about their expectations with one another and make compromises before making a lawful commitment to each other.

“We should probably mention the whole band is here, since we’re literally recording this on the plane ride home. We’ve got one more performance tonight then we’re heading our separate ways. ” Blake states as he turns the camera around to Simon and Luke who were talking quietly between themselves in their seats, they stop and wave at the camera. "Pretty sure these guys cannot wait to not have to put up with us anymore. You don't realize how annoying people are until you spend day after day, month after month in a confined space with them, and I'm pretty sure Simon has aged 5 years being stuck with us, meanwhile Luke has been using us as practice for when his son is a teenager."

“Are there any new quirks you’ve noticed in each other while on tour?” Jasper reads out a question that comes in after what Blake had been saying. “Yes, Blake just zones out, you’ll be halfway through a conversation that he has been responding to and he just zones out for a few moments. I only started noticing it like a week ago. I think he’s sick of us too so he just ignores us when we talk to him or something.” Jasper points out amused.

“We're just all so sick of each other." Blake laughs, putting the camera back on him and Jasper. "But for real, it’s getting bad hey, I don’t even realize I’m doing it half the time. I think my brain is crashing, I just take a brain nap in the middle of sentences. On stage I am fine. I'll be fine when I've had time to recover from all the lack of sleep, bright lights on stage and having to hear my own voice sing the same song every night. I’ve also had a headache for about a month now, so I’m pretty sure it’s just that I’m tired or I’ve overdone it."

“Maybe if you drank water sometimes, not just Redbull then you wouldn’t have a headache.” Luke suggests, moving over to sit with them.

“Yes but I also wouldn’t be able to perform because I would be asleep.” Blake shrugs, like it’s out of his hands. “I’ll drink water tomorrow. Tonight, I have to perform. I’m trying to think of something I’ve noticed about Jasper, but I can’t think of anything the fans wouldn’t already know.” He states, drumming rhythmically on the desk as he racks his brain for an interesting thing he could tell them about Jasper.

“Ry did an experiment when he noticed that if I’m inconvenienced and annoyed enough by something I take my clothes off, so he changed my phone language settings to Korean just to mess with me and just sat back watching me get increasingly mad about it because I couldn't work out how to change it back, and taking my clothes off piece by piece depending on how frustrated I was in the process.” Jasper offers up his own quirk to Blake who looks at him stunned and confused.

“So on a scale of ‘epic’ to ‘changing your boyfriends language settings on his phone just to get him naked’ how is your sex life? Because that sounds like a cry for help if you ask me.” Blake teases, bursting into laughter at his own comment.

“No one was asking you. Next question, what are you going to do after tour?” Jasper asks, directing the question to Luke and sitting back, taking a long sip of his drink.

“Going to change my girlfriends phone settings to Korean.” Blake’s quick wit breaks Jasper who spits his mouthful of water out and falls out of the camera view, laughing so hard no sound is even coming out.

“That was not a euphemism for anything!” Jasper gasps for a breath and sits back up again.

“What are you doing after tour, Simon?” Blake asks as he wipes tears from his eyes, trying to stop himself laughing, though now it was mostly at Jasper’s reaction to his joke.

“I plan on being a hermit.” Simon answers with a heavy sigh, putting his hands behind his head and leaning back relaxed in the first class seats. “I am really ready to just have a break to do life for a while, I’m really looking forward to that.”

“It’s going to be nice to just relax and get back to the real world.” Luke agrees.

“Lame. Our new album will come out and then we will be planning another tour for sure. ” Jasper states as he goes to have another drink of water.

“This is why they are the married ones and we aren’t worth dating. We’re not even home yet and we’re already planning our next trip away.” Blake turns and nudges Jasper, spilling his drink on him again.

“Bro.” Jasper whines as he puts his glass down on the desk.

“Dude.” Blake mocks him, rolling his eyes dramatically.

“Buddy.”

“Mate.”

“Dick.” Jasper gives him the finger.

“Sucker.” Blake smirks. "Check mate." He winks.

“God, I hate it when there’s two of you.” Simon rubs his forehead like he's got a headache, causing Jasper and Blake to burst into laughter again.

“How long is this plane ride?” Luke asks sarcastically.

“Another 2 hours.” Simon replies, smiling and shaking his head.

"Poor Simon, he puts up with a lot with us." Jasper pats Simon on the shoulder. "He deserves more love, everyone send him some love. And Luke. Send them both loving messages, while I go and get myself another glass of water."

“What’s been the best and worst parts of being on tour?” Blake reads out the next question, posing it to Luke and Simon.

“I think the worst part has been being away for so long, it’s been really challenging for all of us.” Simon answers.

“It’s been challenging but that’s just life as a performer. The best has been performing. I have loved every second of being on stage again and being able to perform for all our fans that have stuck by us and supported us the last year. It’s been a wild ride and being able to finally put on a great show for you all has been the highlight of tour.” Jasper shrugs. "My first love will always be music, and I am a slut for the stage." He says as he sits back down beside Blake.

“Poor Ryan.” Simon comments jokingly. Truthfully, Jasper didn’t know how he would go being back home after having such a long time away, he’d gotten use to the busy schedules, the changing time zones and the excitement of traveling to new places, and yes, being away from Ryan. They had managed a few trips during the second half of it, but being away was endless fulfillment and so gratifying that the thought of just being home with nothing to do was stressing Jasper out.

“I absolutely agree about tour, we have been having so much fun performing for everyone. It’s going to be really hard to go from the highs of being on stage every other night, to being home. Which is why we’re already planning the next one!" Blake grins, rubbing his hands together excitedly.

 

Having performed at the Teen Music Awards last year, the guys were thrilled to have been invited back, although this time would be different, because this time they were nominated for an award. The plan for the night was to be taken straight from the airport to the venue, get ready for their set which would be only a few songs, perform and then enjoy the rest of the show. The award ceremony and performances of other artists would take up most of their night, the trade-off being that they could at least go home to their own beds at the end of it. It felt like a nice way to ease into being home, to have a small performance lined up but then also get to sit back and just watch others, it wasn't all on them to be the entertainment tonight.

“Is Ryan going to be there?” Blake asks while he and Jasper are on the way to the TMA’s in the back of Leo’s car.

Pretty sure he is working tonight so he'll be there somewhere.” Jasper shrugs, playing down how excited he was to reunite with Ryan especially as this was the same award night that the infamous viral photo of their kiss had been taken at a year ago. It felt good to be going back, with a better manager and off the back of a hugely successful tour that proved that they were capable, where a year ago they were being held back by their inept and corrupt manager. Also to return feeling empowered as a couple, when last time they were hiding their attraction to one another and Jasper was still in a state of denial about how he felt entirely.

Oh he’s working? That sucks, he won’t have time to fix your phone settings tonight then.” Blake teases.

“Something wrong with your phone Jasper?” Leo asks innocently.

“No.” Jasper shakes his head at Blake who was using all his control to hold himself together.

“I’m pretty good with phones so if something is wrong I can have a look for you.” Leo offers kindly, completely unaware of why it caused Blake to keel over in laughter.

“Just ignore him.” Jasper rolls his eyes at Blake and looks out the window, trying not to laugh himself at the irony of Leo offering his assistance on what had already become and inside joke reference to Jasper's sex life. “It’s so good to be back in a town I recognize.” He changes the subject before Blake can explain the joke, enjoying seeing familiar buildings for the first time in what felt like forever. “What are you going to do now that we are home? Do you have a place you live or do you just live an unpredictable and fun bachelor life?”

“I have a unit in West Hollywood that I rent out when I am away.” Leo replies with a smile.

“Oh wow. You mustn’t get bored, plenty of phones to fix in WeHo.” Blake smirks as Jasper turns to him with a glare, leaning across the car to whack him on the arm, while Blake blocks his attempts.

“So it was a sex joke. I suspected it was a euphemism.” Leo laughs.

“It’s is not a euphemism!” Jasper hits Blake’s arm. “You’re the worst.”

“Hey, you’re the one with the weird sex life.”

“You’re just jealous because I have one.” Jasper pokes his tongue out at Blake.

“Rude.” Blake scoffs.

“Sorry. That was a low blow, which is unfortunately the only kind of blow you're getting.” Jasper teases playfully.

“Fuck you.” It was Blake's turn to lean across the backseat to hit Jasper, like a couple of fighting kids in the back of the car.

“Maybe you need tips from Leo about how to 'fix phones'. Since you clearly need to work on your moves."

“He lives in WeHo, he probably just walks outside.” Blake rolls his eyes, Leo was staying out of their bickering but he gives a shrug and a nod to Blake's assumptive comment. “If I was that worried about it, I would have been planning my own proposal instead of helping Ryan with his cheesy love song to you.” Blake concludes, crossing his arms. Jasper smiles and looks over at his best friend.

“Ah, yeah true. I should be nice to you, shouldn’t I?” Jasper shrugs.

“Don’t you dare.” Blake grins.

“I am going to miss driving you guys around.” Leo sighs as he pulls up to drop Jasper and Blake off. “Will I see you at the after party?”

“Jasper will be home letting Ryan fix his phone.” Blake smirks.

“Blake will be at the after party because his ‘phone’ is dead and doesn’t have a charger so he can’t turn it on.” Jasper winks at Blake and gets out of the car, rushing off inside before Blake can get to him.

“I’m gonna kill you!” Blake laughs and gets out of the car too, chasing Jasper inside.

 

“Hey boys, how was your trip?” Mark asks. He had been involved from a distance, with the tour team keeping him up to date on how everything was going in regards to the success of shows or any problems that were coming up along the way. Mark knew their tour had been a raging success with a few hiccups along the way, but he wanted to hear all about it from their perspectives. After a quick and enthusiastic rundown of the highlights, they plan a full debrief at the end of the week to discuss what their plans were moving forward. Since they had some time before they would be needed on stage, Jasper decides to get a round of drinks to celebrate their last performance so he and Blake head to the bar and leave Simon and Luke to talk to Mark.

“What’s a guy like you doing alone at a bar like this?” Jasper turns around quickly at the sound of his favourite voice.

“Waiting for some stimulating company. Jasper flirts.

“Stimulating huh? In what kind of way?” Ryan asks, stepping in a little closer and leaning casually against the bar as the bartender gets to them.

“Wouldn’t you like to know.” Jasper winks then turns and orders the groups’ drinks, his attention back on Ryan while the bartender makes the drinks. “So, go on, give me your best line.”

“I would love to, but looking at you is making me breathless. Can I show you instead?” Ryan asks, reaching for Jasper’s hand. Jasper lets him take it, and watches as Ryan rolls his wrist then with the tip of his finger Ryan delicately writes ‘I love you’ on Jasper’s palm, sending tingles through his hand. When he finishes, Ryan places his fingertips at the base of Jasper’s wrist and slowly glides his fingers up his palm again to entwine them, then he lifts their hands and kisses Jasper’s knuckles softly. Jasper smiles dorkishly at him and rolls his eyes. Ryan leans in and kisses Jasper's neck softly then whispers in his ear. "Was that stimulating?"

“Ok, you got me.” Jasper shakes his head trying to cover for the shudder that ran up his spine at the tickle of Ryan's breath against his ear. The drinks are placed in front of him and Ryan steps in and offers his card to pay.

“Thanks Ryan, you’re a legend.” Blake leans forward so Ryan could see him.

“Oh hey Blake.” Ryan smiles politely, feeling a little guilty for having not seen that he was there. Blake grabs two drinks and Jasper takes his, Ryan taking the other since he was occupying one of Jasper’s hands.

“Look who I picked up at the bar.” Jasper announces as he walks in, holding Ryan’s hand.

"Pretty sure I picked you up, actually." Ryan corrects him. "And it cost me a whole round of drinks."

“Thanks.” Simon walks over and takes the drink Ryan was carrying, but doesn't say anything else to him. The last few times Ryan had visited he'd noticed that he'd gone from being treated like one of the members of the band, to being treated like he was just Jasper's partner. Even though he knew he hadn't grown close to the other guys, he didn't really expect them to drift apart so fast.

“I’ll be back soon.” Jasper tells the guys, turning around and giving Ryan a smile as he starts taking him out of the room.

“10 minutes, Mark is coming back in 10 minutes to escort us to our seats for the start of the event.” Simon calls out. Jasper looks at his watch and shrugs, continuing out of the room and down the hallway. He takes Ryan up to the roof where they could be alone for a couple of minutes at least.

“Remember this place?” Jasper asks, letting go of Ryan's hand and turning to look out at the city, he leans against the balcony sipping his drink.

“I do, although the view has definitely improved." Ryan states. Jasper looks over his shoulder and catches Ryan's eyes drifting down and then back up his body. As he meets Jasper's gaze, he just smiles and steps forward, wrapping his arms around Jasper's waist. "I wonder if there’s any cameras here to out us, this time.” Ryan jokingly looks around.

“To think, last time we were up here, we weren’t even dating yet, and now here we are, a little over a year later.” Jasper turns in Ryan's arm and slips a hand under Ryan's collar, pulling out the chain he was wearing with Jasper’s ring on it. “Engaged.” Jasper sighs contently as he looks at the ring.

“Do you want it back now?” Ryan offers.

“Not just yet.” Jasper replies with a smile as he loops his finger through the ring and uses it to pull Ryan in for a heated kiss. Ryan’s hands hold Jasper’s waist and he kisses back with just as much passion, for a few moments forgetting where they were and letting himself get caught up in the moment. He breaks the kiss and takes a deep breath to calm himself, he lifts Jasper’s wrist to check the time.

“So unfair that even when you finally get home, you’re busy.” Ryan complains.

“One more show. And it’s barely even a show, we’re doing 3 songs and that’s it. We’ll hang around to be polite but as soon as it’s ok to leave we’ll go.” Jasper assures him.

“You’re not going to the after party?”

“I’ve got my own after party in mind.” Jasper smirks. “It involves you and me being locked inside our apartment for the next week.”

“Funny, I had a very similar plan. Should we go back inside? Standing out here alone with you, knowing we don’t have time for all the thoughts going through my head feels like a cruel self inflicted torture.” Ryan was right, even though Jasper wanted to spend all the time they could just in each other’s company right now, they were better off not teasing themselves with temptation so reluctantly Jasper lets Ryan take him back inside to finish getting ready for the last show.

It was exciting to perform for other artists in the industry, there was a different vibe to when they were performing for fans. In the eyes of people who adored them to the point of near worshiping them, they could do no wrong, so to get the opportunity to be on stage in front of people that saw them as they were was refreshing. They were supported in the industry and it was quite humbling to be recognized as talented by people who had more experience and that the boys themselves looked up to.

When it came time for the ‘Male Group of the Year’ award, it was no surprise that their name was called. It had been a huge year publicity wise, having spent most of the year in the headlines for one reason or another. This award was the acknowledgement of all the work they had put in since the last time they were here, simply a last minute call in band. Everything they had done, each releasing a mini album that had been successful on the charts, coming together and becoming stronger as a unit rather than being just 4 people with different tastes and styles placed together and marketed as if they were best friends from the start. Finally, of course their shows had been nearly completely sold out in every city and every country they had visited which was the biggest sign of their success. Their controversy had really made them more well-known and they had the personalities to draw in more support and capitalize on the interest they were receiving. Even Jasper and Blake’s podcast was getting huge amounts of attention so there was so much presented to bring the interest to their music and sell their individual ‘brands’ so people would want to see them succeed, that it was completely foreseeable that they would take home the award this year.

Now there was more work to be done than ever, expectations were high and they had to keep up that momentum, keep people interested and thank them for all the support and recognition by producing more and more hits, to continue to be worthy of their attention. Winning this award, was perfect motivation to give back with great music, fun music videos and more interaction with the fans that had brought them so far up that they felt unbreakable. Getting here had been a challenge, but the biggest challenge would be maintaining it.

Claire Rosalind

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It was great to see the band win a reward. I hope Blake's headaches aren't something serious.

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Good catch by @dutch womanand @chris191070I didn't consider something being wrong with Blake.If they had podcasts when The Beatles were a active Band I see it  going a lot like the podcast these guys had in this chapter

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