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Take some time

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Ryland stared down at his cup of coffee, watching the black liquid swirl around, seeing the shapes that the black bubbles seemed to make, he could hear the dogs running outside and Shane talking upstairs, but two sets of feet, sure that Andrew was simply following him around, camera in hand ready to capture any comment given.

Ryland closed his eyes again, taking a deep breath, trying to force a peace that he didn’t feel. Everything was fine. Hearing Shane go from one room to another, hearing him talk to Jeffree on the phone all day, every-day, him sitting in the beauty room busy with a new pallet. Everything was fine. He was happy for him.

“Woah, what’s going on?” Morgan laughed as she headed towards the coffee pot that was still halfway filled and Ryland forced himself to tear his mind apart from the constant swirl of make-up palette and brushes “What?” he asked looking down when Morgan looked down at Ryland’s mug which he was clutching tightly in his hand. “You’re going to break it” She turned away from him and reached for a mug of her own and Ryland set down the coffee mug separating it from himself “So what brings you by?” he crossed his arms in front of his chest leaning forward and watched as Morgan poured the coffee into the white mug before turning around and smiling “Shane asked me to come over” Ryland raised an eyebrow, wondering what Shane wanted with Morgan, both of them got along, seeming to understand each other better than Ryland and Morgan ever did.

“Oh Morgan you’re here” Shane exclaimed happily he saw how Morgan smiled at him before turning around and facing him, seeing Andrew walk a few steps behind him “Is this going to be involved with your series?” the question slipped from his lips before he considered how there could be a negative connotation to it, he saw as Shane tilted his head in question before Ryland stood up with his mug, trying to shrug the look off. He poured the coffee down the drain watching as the black splashed starkly against the white marble. “What are we doing today” Morgan laughed as she saw Shane lead her to the chair and Ryland placed himself at the end of the counter, knowing that he wasn’t in the shot “So I was talking with Jeffree,” Ryland forced himself to listen as Shane spoke about the problem that Morgan had been having in her last trip to Hawaii, how she had been struggling to connect with the other girls, Ryland could feel his brow getting lower as Shane continued to speak, he knew all of this of course, the reason why Shane knew any of it was because he had been sitting next to Ryland when Morgan had been telling her brother how trapped she felt and was second guessing herself if this was the right decision for her to make. He had encouraged to come home and that they would have a talk with their lawyer when she came back to see what the right decision would be and Shane had simply offered to give her the lawyer’s phone number, just in case she wanted to talk with her before leaving the island and heading back towards L.A.

He heard as Shane explained that he had told Jeffree what was going on and saw as Shane cringed when Morgan made a comment about the Invisalign that Morgan had taken to wearing. “This is why we need to talk to Jeffree…” and that was made something inside of Ryland snap “What is Jeffree going to do about it? He literally has fake teeth” he saw as Shane turned towards him again, tilting his head to the side “But..” “No, tell me Shane, what is Jeffree going to tell Morgan about using Invisalign” he knew that his feelings were beginning to spill over and he didn’t want them to, but it seemed that he just couldn’t stop himself from talking, he noticed that Andrew moved the camera slightly, focusing on Ryland and that seemed to be the last point because he simply turned towards Shane who still didn’t answer anything, just stared at Ryland trying to understand where this sudden aggression seems to come from.

“I know that you and Jeffree are best friends and I know that compared to him we don’t seem successful or accomplished, or whatever it is that you see in him, but my sister isn’t going to be a project for you to take to Jeffree in hopes that he’ll fix her” he brought up his hands at the word fix making quotation marks before he grabbed the keys to his car and headed out, knowing that Andrew was still pointing the camera at him and that Shane was staring after him, hurt and confusion clear in his face, Morgan had a similar reaction, sitting down at the dinner table, staring after him, he reached for his bag, the silence still dominant even as he opened the door and walked out, closing it after him.

He headed for his car, opening the door with more force that was necessary, he knew that he snapped, he knew that he should be heading back and apologizing to Shane and Morgan before explaining that in the end it was up to Morgan over what she wanted to do, he shouldn’t be making decisions for her and yet, he continued to get in his car and promptly opening the gate before driving away. He needed some time alone, that would be best not only for him, but for Shane as well, he needed some time to cool off and understand what was really making him upset, it couldn’t be over Shane spending time with Jeffree, he had already made a series with him in which they spent most of their time together as well. He forced himself to take a deep breath and think clearly about why this was bothering him so much. He knew why, he knew the real reason why he had to stop himself from rolling his eyes each time Shane mentioned Jeffre’s name. It was jealousy, it was Shane giving credit to Jeffree for everything under the sun. It was Shane accrediting Jeffree for allowing him to gain self-confidence and thanking Jeffree for allowing Shane to love himself and how apparently Jeffree is to thank for all the positives that were happening in Shane’s perception of himself. He knew it was jealousy, he didn’t want Shane to revert to being self-conscious and self-hatred. He loved that Shane had a passion that he was excited for, but he also wanted Shane to have dinner with him, he wanted Shane to take some time away from editing or recording and sit out on the patio with him, he needed some time alone with him that didn’t involve Jeffree or Andrew or his sister. He needed to have a conversation with him that didn’t start with “Jeffree said”

Since the first day, the way that he started the series, showing that Ryland was upset seemed to shift something, not answering his texts, not answering his calls, seemed to change something, especially once he saw the full footage unedited and saw that most of the day that he arrived was him in Jeffree’s hotel room, eating and drinking and he didn’t need for Shane to talk to him for an hour, not even 30 minutes, but only taking 10 minutes to answer his call and make a comment about how everything was ok, but that he now needed to spend his time talking his Jeffree about their plans for tomorrow. He would have understood, but instead he kept receiving his voice mail and feeling that there was a space between them that hadn’t been there before. They had talked at bed that night, when Shane noticed that Ryland was quieter than usual, contrary to their personalities online, neither was as loud as they seemed in their videos, but Shane did talk more than Ryland did, but Ryland did offer commentary to whatever Shane was saying, but that night, Ryland would hum to show that he was paying attention or nod his head, but he didn’t say anything to Shane that night and Shane noticed it because he had gotten quiet and looked at Ryland “I’m sorry, I didn’t bring you along” and Ryland finally turned towards him, “That’s fine Shane, I understand” and he did, now that he thought about it, it wouldn’t go well, he would feel out of place and Shane might be swayed to go with one or another and might feel bad about leaving Ryland alone, and Ryland knew that for that day he needed to focus his attention on Jeffree and truly understand what was going on. Shane didn’t respond, but instead got up and reached for Ryland who sighed before walking into Shane’s arms who wrapped them around him and Ryland didn’t understand why he felt a lot of emotions wash over him and his breath stutters a bit because he feels too overwhelmed at the moment, Shane had noticed and he pulled back a bit, confusion clearly on his face “Ryland, what’s going on?” he had shaken his head before murmuring about how he was just tired. Shane had brought him close again before leading him to bed and Ryland had laid down feeling Shane next to him.

He could feel himself begin to fall asleep, slipping between consciousness and unconsciousness before Shane began to slip out and Ryland felt something inside of him sink “I need to go talk to Andrew downstairs” he offered and Ryland didn’t know what to respond to that, so instead of answering, he just turned around pretended to be asleep. He could feel Shane’s eyes on him before he slipped out of the door. He didn’t know when Shane came up to sleep, but when he woke up he saw Shane still deeply asleep next to him so he was careful to be as quiet as possible as he got dressed and left the room.

Since that day, it seemed that the routine continued the same with Ryland wanting Shane to go to sleep with him, but it wouldn’t be long before Shane slipped from the room to go talk to Andrew downstairs, or to start editing and Ryland would pretend to already be asleep so he wouldn't have to respond. At this point, he wasn’t sure if Shane knew that he wasn’t asleep, or if he just started to accept it. He most likely knew, but was no longer looking for a response.

Ryland kept stepping down on the accelerator, but he wasn’t sure where he was heading. He could feel a jumble of thoughts running through his head and he just felt so anxious and stuck, but there was also an overwhelming amount of tiredness weighing down on him and he wasn’t sure what was more dominant. He just felt that he needed to get away. His phone started ringing on the seat next to him and he could see by the picture flashing back at him that it was Shane, it wasn’t a loud noise, as he preferred to keep his phone at a low volume, but the light that was coming from it was a stark difference from the darkness surrounding him. His hands began itching with temptation to reach for it, to bring it to his ear and he wasn’t sure what he was going to say, was he going to finally snap and explain what it was that made him leave the room in such a hurry, was he planning to apologize and go back? He shook his head to clear his thoughts and instead stepped heavier on the accelerator, knowing that what he was doing was running away from his problems and avoiding them instead of confronting them, but it had been his way of thinking for months, that to do anything different was terrifying and unfamiliar.

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         He wasn’t sure how long he had been driving for before he began to think clearly again, feeling his anger begin to dwindle down as the rational part of his mind begin to speak up, explaining how the best thing to do would be to go home. To turn his car around or to reach for his phone and finally answer all of the missed calls that had gone straight to voicemail. And yet, memories kept rising up in his mind, moments when he couldn’t seem to catch Shane’s attention, how the light in their bathroom seem to last the whole night as Shane seemed to work on his eyeshadow, only for Ryland to wake up the next day to a dirty sink and no Shane in sight. He wanted to stop the car from the fiery path that he had been on, but knew he couldn’t go home yet.

        He looked around, trying to see where the hell he was, in all of his anger he had simply gotten on the freeway and driven straight, hoping that he wouldn’t be pulled over even though he knew that he was well above the speed limit. Even then, he didn’t try to slow down. He looked down at his phone once he saw it light up again, announcing another missed call. He had a collection of them now, covering the back screen of Uno smiling, missed calls from Shane to Andrew and even Teresa. He had justified the neglect in his head, rationalizing with himself that he had missed them because he was driving, but he knew that wasn’t a good reason. He could have connected it to the car’s  bluetooth, but he had disabled that as soon as he had gotten in. 

        He didn't know when he began arguing with Shane in his mind, but soon he could feel his anger begin to steadily grow as he began to think of a rebuttal for anything fake Shane could come up with as a rational explanation for this behavior. He was just getting starter on their missed dinners when he spotted the bright red Target sign on the corner of his eye debating in his mind if he was ready to go home, before another missed event hit his mind and he and took the next exit, careful to check the rearview mirrors before turning. His phone continued to light up with missed calls, seeming to all come from Shane now.

       He parked his car far away from the entrance and as he sat in the parking lot with Shane calling him insitently after storming out from the house, it brought back memories from about 2 year and 6 months ago when a similar situation happened, except then he had left with the threat of never coming back. He had slammed the door, believing that he wouldn’t step foot in that house again and yet, he did. He came back to have their relationship evolve in many ways, but in others, it seemed that this problem hadn’t been solved, only continuing to bury itself deeper into their minds. 

       He had parked so far from the entrance that he could see no cars around him, the only light coming from his phone, which made itself known from a call from his mother. He reached for it, knowing that it likely came because Shane or Morgan had called her. On one hand, he knew that she would ask him why he had stormed out of his house, but on the other, he didn’t know a happier couple than her and his dad and he strived to have the same relationship that they did. He swiped his phone and brought it to his ear.

       “Hey mom,” he answered, noting how his voice was shaking slightly, not noting  just how overwhelmed he felt until the emotions seemed to be bubbling up to the surface against his will. “What’s going on Ryan? Are you okay? Morgan called me about how you had stormed out of the house” Ryland sighed, knowing that was her reason for calling this late at night, but part of him hoped that it had been Shane calling for advice instead of Morgan who had reverted back to calling their parents when Ryan did something she didn’t know how to deal with it. 

       Ryland brought his head down to the steering wheel noting how cool it felt against his warm skin, his temperature seeming to go up from the sheer amount of emotions that he was feeling, which seemed to want to make themselves known as his vision went blurry and he quickly wiped his eyes, not allowing himself to be caught crying. “It’s nothing mom” he deflected as if that would solve his problems, even though both spent most of their time in social media, neither he nor Shane were big fans of explaining their relationship to others, knowing that when others were involved, it just made things more complicated. 

       His mom didn’t answer anything, making Ryland bite his lip to stop himself from gushing out his feelings, knowing that was a technique that his mother frequently used when they were younger hoping that her silence would lead to a confession. 

       “I just…” he began not able to take the silence, but stopped himself because there wasn’t an answer that he was keeping to himself. He was feeling too many emotions and all of them too strongly to perfectly pinpoint what it was that made him walkout and at this point, regret and shame were being added to the list.

       He looked down at his phone, seeing how he couldn’t hear the background noise anymore, feeling his heart stop at the thought that his mother had just hung up on him, but noted how Shane’s contact photo was looking up at him as he called him again, it was getting harder for him to click decline, but did it anyway. Confusion and frustration instead of anger being his main motivation.

      “Are you angry at Shane?” asked his mother, hoping to get him talking and Ryland adjusted his phone as he looked out the side window, noting how far some carts were from the store. “I’m fine” he whispered, his voice soft. The anger seemed to drain out of him and now he just felt tired.

       He was tired of having to go to sleep alone, he was tired of having Shane leave a conversation because it was Jeffree calling, not even to discuss the make-up line, but for any twitter moment that they found humorous, he was tired of all of the fucking make-up boxes that he had to take out, he was tired of Andrew being the person to spend the most time with Shane even though he and Shane lived together. He was just so tired and he wanted this project to be over, and he wanted it to do well, so Shane could go to sleep for more than 5 hours at a time.

       “No mom, I'm just a little tired” he offered when it seemed that his mom was waiting for more. It seemed that his mom finally gave up on trying to get Ryland to bring up any issues because she finally changed the topic, talking about what she was going to do for his dad’s birthday, asking if they were coming, “yeah, of course” he answered, looking towards Target, beginning to feel cold against his thin sweater, hoping that he had thought to bring a coat before walking out. He continued to talk with his mom for a few more minutes, all the while thinking of what he was going to be met with at home, hoping that it could be easily solved. 

       When he finally hung up on his mom, he got out of the g-wagon, grabbing his bag and swinging it on his shoulder as he walked into Target, not sure what he needed from the store. He didn’t really need anything, just an excuse to not head home. He walked towards the produce aisle, trying to convince himself that he needed some fresh fruit, Shane usually didn’t come with him to the store so he was making himself feel as if he were just another Thursday night, instead of the a night in which he walked out of his home and wouldn’t answer his boyfriend’s calls. He began picking a few apples, reaching for a plastic bag and a basket that was next to him, grabbing about 8 before tying the bag and placing it in the basket. 

       “Ryland Adams!” He turned around quickly on reflex when he heard a high-pitched excited voice, seeing a young girl run towards him. She couldn’t have been older than 16, her blonde hair tied in a loose ponytail, seeing as it bounced from side to side as she ran towards him. His first instinct was to run through all of his mom’s friends, trying to remember if she was a daughter to one of them, before his brain caught up and noticed that she called him Ryland, instead of the customary Ryan that most people in Colorado continued to call him by. ‘She must be a fan’ he thought to himself, forcing a smile onto his face, trying to convey that everything was fine even as his chest felt hollow with regret. 

       “Hi” he greeted once she reached him and the rest of the customers in the aisle turned back to their carts, not having a clue over who Ryland was. He hoped he was showing happiness that he didn’t feel as she began talking and Ryland found that it was harder to concentrate than it usually was.

       “Oh my goodness Ryland, I love your videos so much! Your cooking videos are my absolute favorite and you and Shane are the cutest couple ever!” He was sure that his fake smile dimmed at that compliment, but he released a forced laugh to cover it, even as thoughts of their fight and all the previous ones they’ve had before rose up in his mind. “That’s really nice, thank you” he answered, hoping that she wouldn’t ask about Shane even as she brought out her phone.

        “Can I take a picture with you?” she asked and Ryland nodded eagerly, hoping to put off anymore questions at the moment. He smiled, noting how it looked empty compared to hers, who’s eyes seemed to be shining. Just when he pulled back, he could feel his phone vibrating in his pocket, he reached for it instinctively even as he had a clear idea of who it was. He looked down and saw Shane’s familiar picture smiling up at him. “Is that Shane?” she asked, bouncing on the spot and he nodded his head.

       "Yeah, it's Shane" he answered, knowing that if he didn’t respond, there would be ‘drama’ about what was going on between the two of them, knowing that each conspiracy about their argument would be a lot darker than what was actually happening. After noting that she wasn’t walking away and instead seemed to be hoping that she would get to talk to Shane, he swiped his thumb to the right, answering the call and brought his phone up to his ear. 

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Shane stared after Ryland, seeing as he walked out the door. Morgan stared after him, not seeming to know if she should walk after him or stay with Shane who didn’t know what to do besides sit on the couch. There was a part of him that wanted to run after him and hold onto his arm and pull him back. He needed to apologize, he needed to understand what he did wrong and what he could do to fix it and yet something held him back and seemed to pull him to the couch, not allowing him to get up from it.

A heavy silence hung over them as Morgan decided against going after Ryland and instead sat next to him. Wondering if she should go home. They both seemed to wait for something else to happen, for Ryland to walk back in, anything besides sitting in tense silence from neither wanting to be the one to break it.

Shane pulled out his phone when he couldn’t think of anything else to do, clicking on Ryland’s contact photo, bringing the phone up to his ear, only to hear it immediately go to voicemail. He sighed, Ryland was known for his silence treatment. Even while he was expecting that, it still seemed to wound something in him from the fact that Ryland was shutting him out. His mind began wandering to the worst, thinking of what he would do if this was what it took for Ryland to walk out.

“I think I’m going to head out” commented Andrew as he set the camera down. Shane turned towards him, seeming to forget in his spiraling thoughts that Andrew was still here, staying in the corner, when he began to notice the tension rising in the room, trying to make himself as invisible as possible.

Morgan stood up as well, seeming to take any opportunity to leave, murmuring that she needed to meet a friend for dinner. Shane looked up at both, seeming them fidger under his gaze, seeing fear and a sense of loss in them. He bit his lip to stop his words when his first thought was to ask Morgan to try calling her brother, hoping that he would answer her. Quickly getting rid of the thought when he realized that would be placing her in the middle, affecting both relationships negatively.

Shane simply nodded as he leaned back in the chair, setting the phone down on the counter, bringing his hands to cover his face and tugging slightly at his hair, wondering how his night had turned so suddenly from a comment, knowing deep inside that this was just the tipping point from rising tensions beginning a few weeks back. He brought his hands down, staring down at the back of his phone, the new logo that he had taken to having seeming to stare back mockingly at him.

He heard more than saw both of them leave the house the closing of his door sounding louder and more ominous than it should have. Even then, he was too focused on the damn logo, staring at the triangle surrounding his initials, wondering when he had turned into the type of person who would place his business above his family, over his partner.

He could feel the heavy silence settle over their home and Shane could feel the same sense of loneliness settle over him that he hadn’t felt since before he met Ryland, the same fear that he felt when Ryland previously walked out building up in him. ‘Except he answered your calls last time’ whispered a voice in his head, making him put his head down on the counter, breathing out, trying to calm his racing thoughts down.

Shane stared down at the counter for a few minutes before looking up and standing, grabbing his phone and heading for the stairs. He headed for their room, his chest tightening at the thought. He should have run after Ryland, apologizing and asking for a chance to sit down and talk about what was going on. He had already detected a difference in his behavior as he was a lot worse at hiding his emotions than he thought he was, but had foolishly believed that Ryland would come up to him when he wanted to talk about it. He opened the door to their room, heading to his closet where he knew he had hidden the ring, under his sweaters, in the hamper of dirty clothes there was a small light blue tiffany bag, which seemed to bring tears to his eyes for a different reason than it usually did.

He undid the black ribbon holding the sides together and brought out the small blue box, opening it and seeing the ring that it kept inside, a sad smile on his face as he still considered it to be the most beautiful ring he could have chosen for this. He pulled out his phone again, calling Ryland as he stared at the ring, tilting it in the light, enjoying the way it shimmered. Voicemail. Again. ‘He’s driving’ supplied his brain, trying to find a reason for the silence ‘his phone is connected by bluetooth’ answered the same voice making Shane stare down at the ring again, thinking about how right Ryland was in his anger.

He hadn’t called Morgan over to fix her, but he had thought that Jeffree could fix her situation, thinking that he was helping his family, but maybe it wasn’t up to him to decide how problems should be resolved, especially without talking to Ryland or Morgan who had been the most affected. “I'm an idiot” he whispered to himself as he brought the ring down, placing it in the box again and closing it, burrowing the bad down in his hamper again. He sat down in his closet, looking around, noting how most of the clothes in there seemed to be Ryland’s. He dialed his number again, not even bringing it up to his ear before hearing the same voicemail greet his call.

It took a few more unanswered calls before Shane finally gave up and placed his head in his hands. Trying to find a lie in Ryland’s accusations, he had been spending most of his time with Jeffree ‘for the series’ supplied his mind, trying to justify it but he quickly gave up on that when he knew that it was half-hearted. He had time to spend with Ryland, and yet he would interrupt that when Jeffree called, not letting his calls go unanswered. He would leave the bedroom to go down and do make-up and then wouldn’t even go up when Ryland did. At some point, Ryland had stopped saying when he was going to sleep, giving up on the thought of Shane coming up with him, not even popping in to say goodnight. Shane knew it was no one’s fault but his, he never really did pay attention when Ryland would pop in at night, smiling urging him to lay down with him, he too focused on perfecting his eye-shadow.

Shane groaned as it finally hit him just how shitty of a boyfriend he had been. Even when Ryland had a job outside of their relationship, he did what he could so he wouldn’t be late for dinner and wouldn’t take work calls while they were in the middle of a conversation and definitely didn’t get up to talk excitedly with his new friend to discuss packaging.

Shane looked down at his phone again, seeing Ryland smile up at him before going to his contacts, resisting the urge to call Ryland again and instead calling his mom who he knew was either getting ready for bed, or already in it, surrounded by her dogs.

“Shane?” answered his mom, her voice filling the vacant room, previously occupied by Shane’s thoughts and doubts. “Hi mom” his voice was soft, subconsciously thinking that he should keep his voice soft, even though the only other occupants in the house were his pets who had already fallen asleep.

“Hi honey, how are you? How’s Ryland?” Shane looked down, being hit with regret once again.

“I’m good, Ryland’s…” he found he couldn’t answer honestly. Ryland wasn’t good and it really was upsetting that his mother cared more about Ryland’s well-being than Shane had for the last few weeks. “I’m good” he affirmed, clearing his throat.

His mom remained silent on the line, and he could hear her dogs on the line. “Shane, is something wrong?” Shane looked down, feeling his eyes tear up, “Ryland just…” he stopped himself.

“Ryland’s just upset with me” he answered, looking up, biting his lip, to keep the tears in. Waiting for his mother’s response, as he cursed himself for being too damn emotional.

“What happened Shane?” and that was what seemed to open the floodgates, as he confessed to the neglect that he had given his relationship, how he hadn’t placed make-up above his partner, but his actions showed the opposite, reliving different instances in which Ryland had remained patient and supportive, even when he knew he was wearing him down.

After saying out loud just how often he would interrupt Ryland to go answer a call from Jeffree, it seemed he had placed him above his own relationship too. He began wondering how Ryland hadn’t cracked earlier, or how he remained a steady and supporting presence when Shane knew he would have made his emotions known a lot earlier.

He felt out of breath when he finished and a lot shittier inside, wondering if Ryland would even want to come back to him. His emotions hadn’t changed, but he hadn’t done a good job of showing that. It seemed that his mom didn’t know how to answer him, and he felt even more shame on top of what he already felt, neither he nor Ryland went around talking about their relationship with others and it seemed his mom was surprised now that Shane did.

“I’m sorry, I just…” he couldn’t even explain why he did what he did, “Shane, everyone makes mistakes in relationships, it’s part of knowing when your love is real, when you want to make things better and you strive to change what hurt the other and accept the flaws that your partner has”

Shane looked down soaking in his mother's voice, feeling sadness and love rising up in him before running a hand across his eyes, feeling them come away wet with tears. “Yeah” he answered, his voice cracking, wondering why he was always so quick to get emotional.

“I need to talk to him” he offered as an explanation, looking down at the time which was approaching 9

“Talk to you later sweetie” answered his mother, taking the hint and he brought the phone down, seeing the call disconnect.

He felt like a broken record as he dialed Ryland’s number again, seeing how it went straight to voicemail, hearing Ryland’s voice on the other end, knowing that he had been smiling when he recorded it, remembering how they had gotten drunk that night and at this point, Ryland was already 3 shots in.

“I know I have a lot of apologizing to do, but please, just” Shane looked at the living room, noting how dark it seemed even with the lights on because of his absence, “come home.”

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“Ryland?” asked Shane, his voice hoarse and tired, making Ryland close his eyes briefly. Swallowing his feelings, not knowing what feeling was more present in him. Whether he wanted to apologize for his outburst and go to him or whether he needed to hear an apology from Shane before heading home.

He opened his eyes, placing on the fake smile back on, either way it wasn’t the time or place. “Ryland?” asked Shane again, the tone shifting towards desperate as he could hear him breathing softly on the line, but no greetings were offered. “Shane” answered Ryland, not knowing how to express that the only reason he answered was because there were fans of his present and neither of them needed a twitter moment to have their relationship under scrutiny.

“Ryland where are you?” Ryland could hear Shane pacing in their home and the first thought that came to his mind was whether Shane had fed their animals, knowing that they would be tired by now.

Ryland could see the young girls practically bouncing on the spot, seeming to wonder when Ryland would put his phone on speaker to hear Shane’s voice. Ryland smiled at them, swallowing thickly knowing that it wasn’t their fault they were caught in a bad moment.

“I just ran into some fans who were asking about you, and it was a coincidence that was the moment you called” answered Ryland, knowing that Shane wasn’t above tracking his location if Ryland would continue to remain silent on the line.

“Oh” answered Shane, seeming to understand that Ryland hadn’t answered this particular call because he was feeling better about Shane or because he was closer to earning the chance to apologize, but simply because they now had an audience watching.

“Are you going to put me on speakerphone?” began Shane, his voice seeming to slip into his character, carefree and casual, instead of the stressed and concerned boyfriend that he was at the moment.

“Yeah” answered Ryland as he smiled and the girls that were staring at him seemed to brighten up at the thought of finally hearing Shane Dawson. He brought down his phone, realizing that their call had only been for a few seconds, instead of the long moment that it had seemed.He pressed the speaker icon “You’re on speaker” he offered as he brought the phone to the center, praying that it would take a minute at most…

Ryland didn’t know when to cut them off. The girls kept asking questions and Shane continued to answer them excitedly. Ryland could hear the tension in his voice, but he did a good job of hiding it. When they began complimenting their relationship, hoping to find the same thing one day, Ryland looked away, hoping that they would take his silence as being bashful, instead of feeling embarrassment run through him, at the lies that they made a good job of projection. Both knew that neither were relationship experts. Even Shane remained silent for a few seconds before thanking them and Ryland felt that he could finally breathe again when they continued on.

It took two more minutes of questions before Shane made an excuse of having to go back to editing and the girls happily agreed, encouraging him to continue working so they could see the new video. ‘Bullshit’ thought Ryland, knowing that Shane was likely pacing around the house instead of sitting down and editing, but he smiled as well, beginning his cheeks begin to feel sore at holding onto a false expression that he couldn’t feel.

He brought his phone up to his ear, waving to the girls who eagerly thanked him before walking away, already talking excitedly among themselves. “Ryland?” wondered Shane, expecting him to immediately hang up after he had stopped talking to the girls.

“What Shane?” he sighed, feeling a deep exhaustion within him. He heard Shane breathing on the line, knowing that he was likely clutching the phone close to his ear. “Could you please just come home?” his voice was soft and hesitant as if expecting instant rejection.

Ryland turned around, trying to grasp at any excuse that he could find to stay, knowing that there was nothing holding him here and that he actually wanted to go to his house, even if it was just to feed his animals. At least that was what he was telling himself. He looked down at his empty cart. Shane didn’t offer anything else, knowing that it was up to Ryland and what he decided. “I’m on my way” he answered, not knowing if this was him working on his relationship or just a fool that didn’t learn.

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Ryland clutched the steering wheel as he drove home, hoping that he was doing the right thing. He could see the stores rushing past his sight, the bright lights making the street brighter against the dark scenery.

He looked down at the time, feeling even more exhausted as the 11 seemed to mock him, knowing that he should be in bed by now, even if he wasn’t asleep, but at least on his phone.

The distraction of looking down at his phone directing his sight to the availability of gas on his car, noting unpleasantly that he had to fill his car up before heading home. Looking around he spotted the bp that was on his right, glad that it wasn’t far. He looked around him, surprised that the street was so… empty. He didn’t exactly know where he was, he had driven with no direction in sight and was now using the GPS to drive home, surprised at how far he was. Pure anger had led his foot to press down hard on the accelerator.

Ryland pulled in to the gas station, only spotting a small group of men on the corner of the store, keeping to themselves, but nonetheless driving a shiver down Ryland’s spine as he heard the anger in their voices and the alcohol that they were clutching in their hands. He looked down at the gas tank feeling his heart race slightly as he noticed that he needed to put gas in. Now. He cursed the light at the end of E before opening the door and getting out of his car.

He swiped his car, begging the machine silently to speed up, as the voices of the men got louder, he swallowed thickly, wondering when he became such a coward. He pressed the section of the gas that he wanted before looking around, wondering if he should go inside and buy something from inside. Anything.

“Look at that!” Ryland was sure he could hear his heart beat in his ears as he heard the voices get louder as they approached him. ‘C’mon c’mon’ he murmured to himself, waiting for the numbers to stop signaling a filled tank. “A fucking G-wagon” he exclaimed and finally Ryland forced himself to look up and notice the man that came towards him.

He was unnaturally tall, blonde hair with a greasy aspect to it reached down his ears, covering them slightly. His skin was light, light enough that his skin had a grey tint to it under the fluorescent lights, his muscles weren’t bulging, but his strength was undeniable as his veins seemed to pop out as he clenched his fists. He seemed to fit the stereotypical macho man with a dark red shirt, ripped jeans and leather work boots, his position held one of authority as he looked down at him. His tone was casual, but Ryland wasn’t stupid, they weren’t equals.

“Hi” he offered when the man didn’t say anything else besides stare at him. Storming out from his house had been a really bad fucking idea.

The man stared at him before raising his brows at Ryland’s casual greeting before leaning his head back and releasing a cold laugh, “You’re from the rich part of LA, aren’t you” he mocked as he raised his arm and placed it on top of his car, Ryland glanced at it quickly before turning back and meeting his eye.

“No” he answered evenly, he could feel his anger begin to rise again, now from the sense of hopelessness that he felt, from someone else always seeming to take control of the situation and it seemed that he was always left to simply trail after them.

It seemed to be the wrong answer as his dark brown eyes which were already small and beady, were devoid of the little light that there was in them. He looked down, the corner of his mouth tilting slightly as he got close to Ryland, making his breathing speed up as the noticed from the peripheral of his eyesight that the meter had already stopped.

“I’ve seen you before” he commented, his voice curious as he looked him up and down, Ryland swallowed, hoping that he didn’t recognize him. He would know that he had money and would try to rob him right then and there.

“I don’t think you do” he answered, not knowing whether he wanted to congratulate or curse himself out for not remaining silent.

He stared at Ryland, tilting his head, his eyes seemed to be those of a calculating animal wondering if he should snap his neck or let his escape to continue the game he would inevitably win. He looked at him steadily, trying to stop his hands from shaking as he placed them in his pockets. And there it was... recognition. He recognized him.

He didn’t remove his hands from his pockets, but did clench them into fists already thinking of what he could offer him, what would the man do to him, how would Shane react…

“I guess you're right” conceded the man as he turned around removing his hand from his car and that gave Ryland the perfect opportunity to remove the pump from his car and place it back in the station before quickly closing the cap, feeling his eyes on him as he tried to tighten in even as his hands continued to shake.

The gas station was silent enough that his quick breathing seemed to be loud in comparison, he finally looked up before going around to his door, feeling his eyes follow him. He opened the door quickly his eyes drifting towards the men that were still standing in the corner of the store, no longer interested in their cheap beer, finding Ryland to be more entertaining. “See you” he offered as he turned the key, needing this nightmare to be over, feeling a deep relief run through him at the sound of the engine and the prospect of finally leaving.

“Yeah see you” he answered, turning around, his eyes holding a dark cruelty in them “Say hi to Shane for me”

Chapter Text

Ryland didn’t know how to react, didn’t know whether to turn back and ask what he wanted or to just keep driving, hoping that they wouldn’t come after him. Fear was beginning to clog his heart and the only way to make it better seemed to be to press down on the accelerator. Hoping that he wasn’t memorizing his license plate. He looked down at the clock, surprised to see that it was 11:30 at night and that he wouldn’t be arriving home until 12:15, hoping that Shane would still be awake by then.

‘He knows Shane, he knows who I am’ the thought kept spinning through his head as he looked at the partially empty road. ‘He knows Shane’ what did that even mean? Did they want something from him, or were they just fans who didn’t know how to interact in a non-threatening manner. ‘He knows who I am’ his tone was threatening when he said it, as if there was a warning in it. What could he want from him? Money? most likely. ‘

He knows Shane’ was he going to come after him so he could get it? ‘He knows who I am’ He was mocking him when he stared at him as if he couldn’t recognize who he was when he clearly knew. What was he supposed to do? Go to the police and say that someone knew who he was when his life and his boyfriend were on the internet? He would be laughed out of the station.

‘He knows Shane, he knows who I am’ The thought wouldn’t leave him alone even as he began to distract his mind with what he was going to tell the man that was waiting for him at home, to apologize for his outburst or explain where those emotions had come from, trying to justify to himself that there wasn’t a danger to his reaction as Shane was recognizable to many and so was his own association to him.

The drive was shorter than he expected as the nagging thought didn’t leave his head and he was left with no clear path of what he was going to do. He got out of the car, locking it before he walked quickly to the door, his breath coming in quickly as he feared that someone would be in the darkness, trailing his with their eyes. He unlocked the door to their garage, bending down to walk through before it opened fully, swallowing as he continued to picture someone coming in with him, not allowing himself to check, so his mind wouldn’t be manipulated.

Shane was waiting for him when he reached for the door, the lights on and his eyes bloodshot as he opened the door, letting him in, hearing that the garage door began to close, he motioned for Ryland to walk through, “Let me check that the door actually closes” he murmured, worried that someone would walk in during the last second. Shane tilted his head slightly, his brows going down, but offered no answer as both turned towards the garage door, not moving until it closed fully.

Ryland turned towards him when it was down, and Shane looked back at him, twisting his hands his gaze drifting to the floor, neither knowing who should speak first. Ryland was feeling a deep exhaustion in him, not wanting to talk about it, but knowing that it couldn’t continue to be pushed back until one of them cracked, seeing as he was very close to it just a few hours ago.

He sighed, looking around their laundry room, seeing the piles of clothes that were continuing to grow. “Can we go to our room?” he asked instead, wanting to take off his jeans and put on something comfortable, Shane nodded, motioning for Ryland to go first before he locked the door and turned off the light as they walked out of the room.

Ryland looked for their dogs, seeing them already asleep, both on the couch, likely keeping Shane company until they couldn’t stay awake anymore. He turned and saw Cheeto sleeping in his own bed, knowing that he never stayed with them when he was tired.

They began walking up the stairs, trailing his hand on the stairwell. The silence between them tense. When they reached their bedroom, Ryland heard Shane close their door and both headed for the closet as they changed out of their jeans and put on sweatpants, silence hanging over them instead of their usual banter, neither looking at the other as the other as they got dressed.

When they placed their dirty clothes in the hamper, Ryland walked out first, heading to the brown couch instead of their bed, turning towards Shane, “Let’s talk” he said, when Shane followed him, but didn’t make any motion to begin the conversation.

Shane sighed, but nodded, “I’m sorry” he began, and all Ryland did was look down, “I’m sorry too” he offered, and all it did was make Shane look up, “You’re right though, I have been telling Jeffree everything, hoping that he could help me with things that he shouldn’t even be involved in” he took in a breath and Ryland took that chance to sit on the couch and motion for Shane to sit next to him, which he did and turned towards Ryland.

“I want you to spend time with Jeffree and to not only work on your palette with him, but develop a friendship with him” began Ryland, causing Shane to open his mouth ready to interrupt, but Ryland raised his hand motioning for Shane to allow him to finish his point, “but you can’t lose yourself with him, you can’t cancel plans to discuss new blushes that come out, or'' Ryland saw as he looked down, sighing, “you can’t take my family problems and discuss them with Jeffree before you talk them over with me” at this Shane looked up, his mouth turned down and Ryland motioned for him to make his point.

“You’re right” he offered, turning to look at their bed “I’m sorry I’ve been such a shitty partner” he apologized before turning back to him and Ryland just smiled, wrapping his arms around him, feeling as he leaned down and placed his head in his shoulder, “You haven’t been a shitty partner” he comforted, “just a busy one” Shane laughed sadly, nodding his head, “I think I need to take a break on the series'' he offered and Ryland smiled before pulling back, “I think so too” he agreed.

Both men released a breath, a small smile on their lips as the tension that had been building up in both of them was beginning to be released slowly, Shane got up from the couch, offering a hand to Ryland who took it, both tired from the way they left things in the afternoon. Ryland still had those men clearly in his mind, but tried to push them back, finding any excuse to justify his comment. Shane pulled him after him as he led him to the bed.

“I was so scared when you left” whispered Shane as Ryland turned off the light and got into bed, feeling his heart calm when Shane wrapped his arms around, missing this feeling. “Why?” he whispered back, afraid of shattering this moment if he spoke too loud. “It just brought me back to the moment when you said you didn’t know if you were coming back all those years ago” Ryland still remembered that night and how it had begun because of similar circumstances, too many things changing and being out of the loop, not understanding how Shane was changing and why he was doing it. “Except that his time you didn’t answer your phone and” Shane stopped, his voice sounding lost and helpless.

Ryland swallowed thickly wondering if he should bring up the moment in the gas station, “I think we’re at a point in the relationship in which it would take more than a fight to break us up” he offered, trying to put the comment at the gas station out of his mind and Shane hummed before squeezing him tighter and Ryland closed his eyes, the words “Say hi to Shane for me” running through his mind.


Ryland woke up the next morning to feel the spot next to him empty, breathing in deeply as he stretched his arms, feeling the sunlight on his face, knowing that Shane was likely downstairs. He sighed even as he turned his face towards the pillow, not wanting to wake up just yet. To place himself back in the situation they were in yesterday, feeling Shane’s arms around him and how safe he felt in them.

“I know Jeffree I know” Ryland felt his breath stop in his chest as he heard Shane’s voice, likely sitting on the couch in front of their bed. He was afraid to move, not wanting to interrupt the moment that he was having on the phone. Thinking back to Shane’s claim that he was going to take a break, something that both of them needed.

“The series is very important” he could hear Shane getting up as he began to hear steps around their room, his voice sounded frustrated and Ryland hoped that it wouldn’t lead to an argument, knowing it would just leave Shane frustrated and restless. “But Ryland” Shane stopped and Ryland felt shame running through him, afraid that Shane would offer as explanation that Ryland couldn’t take it and a break had been needed for his sake.

“Ryland is even more important” Shane’s voice was soft when he said it, but in the silence of their bedroom, Ryland heard it clearly. He felt his closed eyes fill with tears from the pure emotion running through him, god he loved him so much. “Yeah, okay” he didn’t get to hear what else Shane said as he opened the door to their bedroom and walked out, closing it softly behind him, not wanting to wake Ryland up.

Ryland stayed in bed, turning around and finally opening his eyes, staring at the white ceiling above him. Wondering if the decision made yesterday was the right one, he could feel guilt settle in him and he wasn’t sure if the peace that he felt the night before was justified.

He sighed placing his hands on his eyes covering the light coming into the room before groaning and sitting up, the urge to scream in frustration building in him. He brought his hands down before jumping out of bed and scrambling for his glasses before walking to the bathroom quickly and brushing his teeth. Staring at himself as he did so, he needed to think about Shane and what he needed from him, even if it meant not seeing him for several nights in a row, not having a decent conversation with him and…”

“Ryand?” he turned around, seeing Shane stare at him, holding his phone in his hand before setting it down in the sink and turning towards him. Ryland placed his toothbrush down which he had taken to clutching tightly before rinsing his mouth and turning towards Shane.

“Hey, what’s going on?” Ryland had been so focused on what the right thing to do was that he hadn’t noticed that he had started crying, quickly wiping his tears and taking in a shaky breath. “I don’t” he stopped, angry that the tears kept coming out, even as he continued to wipe them. “Ryland, come on” Shane held onto his hand as he led him to their bedroom. His breathing was stuttering even as he followed him before he sat next to him on the couch, holding onto the blanket that Shane placed over him before he sat next to him.

“What’s going on?” he asked as he placed his hand on his back and Ryland leaned into it. “I don’t want to stand in your way” he whispered as he looked down at his hands as he fiddled with the gray blanket, “I don’t want to be someone you have to worry about” he continued when all Shane seemed to do was tilt his head, his brows going down in confusion “I want you to know that you have my unshaking support and it doesn’t matter if we have to spend some time apart, I’ll always support you” Ryland turned towards him, looking into his eyes, afraid to find doubt or accusation in them.

Shane tilted his head even as he squeezed Ryland’s shoulder. “I know that Ryland” he offered and Ryland nodded, wiping his eyes, glad to see that his tears stopped. “So if you need to work on your make-up palette, work on it, or work on your series, whatever you need” he nodded to himself before he turned towards him, hoping to convey a peace that he didn’t feel, even as so many parts inside of him, complained about the possibility of not spending some interrupted time with his boyfriend.

Shane smiled sadly before sighing and turning towards their bed, “I love that we’re creating, I do. Working with Jeffree has been great, I feel like I have a friend that doesn’t rely on me too much and..” he turned towards Ryland “It’s really refreshing” Ryland nodded, agreeing that Shane needed some time with someone that wasn’t crying on his shoulder or only reaching out when it seemed things were falling apart for them “I agree” he answered, leaning into his touch.

“But I do need a break” he continued softly as he began to touch Ryland’s hair, running his hand through it and Ryland smiled, leaning his head on the couch, “I think at some point I allowed this collab to be my entire life and I don’t want phases in my life to be decided by what I’m currently working on” said Shane softly as he tilted his head to continue eye contact with Ryland who felt that a weight of guilt had been lifting from his chest and he was allowed to breath freely once more.

“Are you sure you’re just not doing this because of me?” he asked, needing to hear a confirmation before he allowed himself to get rid of the guilt and enjoy the time that he was going to take off. Shane smiled, the sadness finally draining out of his eyes. Replaced with joy and determination “I am doing this for you” he confirmed and Ryland could feel the smile begin to slip from his lips, “but what’s wrong with that?” he asked, leaning closer so Ryland could smell Shane’s fresh body wash on his skin “I’m doing this because I want to dedicate time to our relationship, because I finally have someone whose opinion I value, I found someone who I would sacrifice everything for, not because you’re telling me to” Ryland sighed at that, afraid that, that’s what Shane took from his actions last night.

“But because I found someone who makes me so happy and what’s wrong with wanting to keep that person by my side?” Ryland could feel his throat get clogged with emotions again and he wondered, once again, when he became so emotional. “I’ll always be by your side” he offered before Shane leaned close to him and Ryland took the moment to close the distance between them, the taste of toothpaste in his mouth quickly overridden by that of Shane.

Chapter Text

When they woke up the next morning, with Shane holding on tightly to Ryland who smiled before turning around and getting out of bed. He sighed, his eyes closed as he stretched his arms, trying to get the soreness out of his muscles. He opened his eyes, laughing as he saw Shane staring at him, “What?” he asked, and Shane just shrugged his shoulder even as he made no move to stand up “Just admiring the view” he quipped which just made Ryland roll his eyes playfully before heading to the bathroom where he brushed his face and his teeth, willing to wake himself up fully.

When they pulled apart Ryland smiled fully again, glad to finally have some time just dedicated to him, without Andrew and a camera following them around, “so what are we going to do?” he asked as he stood up, ready to take off his sweatpants and put on some jeans. “We first have to talk about the whole Morgan issue” began Shane and Ryland sighed, knowing that it was true. He walked to their closet, reaching for some clean clothes before he walked back to where Shane was sitting. “She says she filled out a contract” he began as he took off his t-shirt, putting on a loose thin white long-sleeved shirt, Shane tilted his head, biting lightly on his lower lip as he thought about what they should do.

“I could call our lawyers, they’ll find a way to get her out of it” he offered as he leaned for his phone and Ryland nodded as he brought down his sweats, placing them aside and put on some jeans. Shane stared at him, raising a brow and a smile on his lips which only caused Ryland to roll his eyes as he picked up his clothes from the floor and walked back to the closet and placed them in the dirty hamper. “She was thinking of going back to Colorado for a few weeks, to clear her head and everything” he commented as he walked out, thinking back to the conversation that he had with her two night ago, remembering how defeated she had come to him, needing a break from the YouTuber community more than anything. Shane sighed as he leaned back on the couch, fiddling with his phone in his lap, thinking.

“That’s probably best” he agreed, hoping that it wouldn’t lead to any big debate amongst the public. Knowing that Morgan needed some time apart with people who knew her well enough that they wouldn’t look at her distrustfully as they questioned her on her make-up choices. Shane smiled before dialing on his phone and standing up, and leaving the room, his phone held up by his ear.

Ryland took the opportunity to turn around and stare at their empty room, noting how quickly things could change in a few hours, from storming out in anger and emotional pain to feeling refreshed and as if he and Shane could connect fully again without deadlines hanging over their heads. He sat down on their bed, smiling sadly as he thought about the day Shane left with Jeffree for the release of his blue blood palette, thinking back to Shane sitting up and praying that Ryland would remain safe before he did the same, feeling his own chest fill with nerves about Shane getting on a plane, a private one at that.

Remembering how he had paced the house, holding onto his phone, coming up with reasons as to why Shane hadn’t answered him, telling himself that it wasn’t because the plane had crashed, reassuring himself that someone should have called him by now. The moment that Shane had walked through the door, it seemed as if he could finally breathe properly again, the fear hanging over him could finally settle down, before a bit of annoyance had crept in, wondering why his texts had been left unanswered, especially since he had spent some time in the car.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” Ryland turned around at his voice, seeing Shane standing in the doorway, his brows furrowed, he stood up, forcing himself to let go of the blanket that he had taken to clutching as he thought back, knowing that he needed to let all of the emotions associated with the memories go, “nothing” he offered, before walking back to his closet, finding an excuse to organize it, even as he heard Shane walking towards him.

“So the lawyers said that she should be fine, it’s very difficult to force someone to actually leave the country for something, so Morgan should be fine” Ryland closed his eyes briefly, glad that the matter could be placed to rest and Morgan could finally stop panicking about it. He turned towards Shane, smiling as he dropped the towel that he had been holding and placing his arms around him, not for the phone call, but for his willingness to help his family and the dedication that he wanted to place in their relationship, he felt Shane rub his back, before squeezing him tight, “no problem” he answered, his voice soft against his ear and Ryland was ready to continue to hold onto Shane, feeling a sense of comfort that he hadn’t felt for so long, but he pulled away, not understanding why he was acting so weird.

Shane stared at his eyes, trying to find something in them that even Ryland didn’t even was there. “So what are we doing today?” Ryland turned around as he said, bending down to pick up the towel and placing it in the hamper of clothes, knowing that he had to do a load of laundry soon, “I was thinking I could try to cook for you” he offered and that made Ryland turn around with his mouth open “What?” he asked, a smile already spreading across his lips, knowing that this was a rare occasion and Shane just smiled, rolling his eyes, “If you want to, I could try to find a recipe and I could try and cook” Ryland smiled widely, feeling a sort of excitement that he didn’t feel often “yeah” he laughed, already thinking about the prospect of food, knowing that they would either be really easy, or turn out really bad.

Shane smiled, nodding to himself, “Ok” he assured both, walking out and turning around at the last second, “we actually have to go buy everything though, we literally have drinks and some sauces in our fridge” Ryland chuckled, before reaching for a coat and following after him.

Downstairs, Ryland could see all three of their animals already eating breakfast, glad that even though he was the one that did it daily, he could always count on Shane to do it when he didn’t. Shane raised a brow before opening the fridge and reaching for the only two yogurts left in the fridge “you don’t need to look so surprised” he offered before tossing a yogurt to Ryland who caught it before heading for a spoon and he simply hummed in answer. “Let’s go” motioned Shane as he grabbed his own spoon before grabbing Ryland’s bag and swinging it across his shoulder.

It took some searching for directions because neither had gone grocery shopping in years, but they finally found a Whole Foods store before getting out in search of whatever ingredients Shane was going to cook. “What are you going to make?” asked Ryland as he got out, swinging his bag over his shoulder after locking his car. “Umm” Shane stared at the Whole Foods, biting his lip as he pulled up his jeans, not thinking ahead to what he actually wanted to cook for him. Ryland rolled his eyes before holding his hand and walking in.

It took walking in before both immediately felt overwhelmed at the sheer size of it. Maybe it was because they got used to the space around their house, and the idea of not going out to public often, but seeing so many people walking across the aisles with their cart only made them stare around. “Maybe we should make pasta or something” offered Shane as they walked towards the pasta aisle and Ryland just smiled, deciding to stay silent, knowing that it was one of the few things that Shane knew how to do. He simply grabbed a basket and offered it to Shane who grabbed it and began staring at the different types of pasta. “What shape do you want?” he asked, holding out a packet of bowtie pasta, Ryland just scoffed, even as a smile tugged on his lips.

“I don’t care Shane, whichever is easiest” he offered and Shane just shrugged his shoulders before picking out a blue box and tossing it into the basket before reaching for Ryland’s hand and leading him to the sauce section, “What’s the difference between them?” he asked “They all look like spaghetti sauce” Ryland agreed staring at the name of each as they claimed to have garlic or basil or another spice, before reaching for the classic and tossing it into the basket “That one should be fine” he offered and Shane just smiled.

After picking out the chicken that they wanted, which Ryland took to choosing since he was the one with the most ‘cooking’ experience (not much competition). They headed for the checkout aisle after Shane grabbed a loaf of bread to toast. “Who knows maybe we could end up opening an Italian restaurant” Ryland released a laugh as they set their items on the rotating belt. “Oh yeah, and what would we do? If we don’t end up ordering post-mate today, I would count that as a win” Shane turned to him, his mouth open “We would eat” he laughed and Ryland couldn’t himself as he joined even as he rolled his eyes.

When they arrived back home, both of them carrying the bags and their animals crowding over their feet, they set the bags down on the counter before Shane reached for Ryland who quickly set the bags down as well and held onto him. Shane pressed his lips to him and Ryland gladly reciprocated feeling his own heartbeat speed up. “I’ve missed this” whispered Shane as he began to press kisses down his neck and Ryland closed his eyes before releasing a soft laugh “missed what? You’ve never cooked” Shane pulled back, mirth in his eyes even as he pretended to frown “what are you talking about? I’ve made you a crunchwrap supreme like twice” which caused Ryland to giggle even as he hid his face in Shane’s chest, inhaling his familiar and fresh scent “yeah, I guess so” he conceded before he pressed a kiss to his lips, standing on his toes because Shane didn’t lean down to meet him. “Now I’m going to cook you an amazing pasta” bragged Shane and Ryland agreed feeling glad that things were beginning to settle down between both of them.

Even as Shane began to take out a pot and read the instructions on the box, Ryland was focused fully on just how good he looked, his hair was swept to the side and he had taken his sweatshirt off leaving him on a royal blue t-shirt, one that Ryland had bought for him, but rarely wore, knowing it made Ryland feel a certain way. He headed for their cabinets, taking the wine out and a bottle of vodka, knowing that when alcohol got involved, cooking always seemed a lot more interesting even if it did get a lot harder. He took out a shot glass, smiling when he heard Shane laughing behind him before pouring himself a shot and swinging it back, feeling the burn in his throat and offering the cup to Shane who took it from him, setting the box of pasta down, “Is this really what you want to do on our romantic night?” he asked and Ryland shrugged his shoulders, even as he took out a wine glass and opened the bottle, “we’ve never been the conventional couple” he offered and Shane agreed before taking a shot and setting it down.

After Ryland had poured himself a cup of red wine and Shane had set the pasta to boil in one of their only pots, Ryland stood to place the chicken breasts in a pan, placing salt and pepper on them before placing a lid on them to have them cook. Both sat down on the counter as Ryland drank the wine and Shane took 2 more shots of vodka. “You could” Shane stopped to take another shot and Ryland took another gulp of wine “film a video if you want” he offered and Ryland shook his head as he took the shot glass from Shane and poured himself some vodka missing the burning feeling in his throat. “I need some time away from the cameras always present in our house” he explained, which only caused Shane to look down before reaching for Ryland’s glass and drinking all of it and Ryland just reached for the bottle, ready to fill it up again. “I’m really sorry” apologized Shane again, leaning his head in his hand “I should have set some healthy boundaries” and Ryland just nodded his head, filling his cup a lot more than he usually would. “Yep” he answered, noting how it just caused Shane to look down, discouraged.

“But you’re setting them now” offered Ryland, as he took a drink from his cup, drinking a lot more than he usually would, downing half of the cup in one go. Beginning to feel a buzz in his head, the worries began to leave his mind, even as the sober part of him warned him about the dangers of cooking drunk. “Yeah” answered Shane as he took another shot, his eyes beginning to lose the worry that had been present in them for a while.

Ryland looked towards the stove, noticing how the water was beginning to boil and some had spilled over slightly from the edge, Shane looked towards it, quickly getting up, holding onto the counter and the way he quickly turned the heat off, blowing at the spilling pot, not knowing how to control it, caused a giggle to escape Ryland’s lips, which soon turned into a full laugh. Ryland blamed the alcohol. Causing Shane to turn and look at him, a laugh also escaping from his lips as he grabbed two dish towels to move the pot to the sink. “Why don’t you help me with the chicken instead of just laughing at me?” asked Shane using the dish towel to blow off the steam that was leaving the pot. Ryland raised a brow as he poured himself some more wine. “I thought you were cooking for me” he commented even as he got up from the counter heading for the stove, taking his wine glass with him. Shane headed for their cabinets, looking for a colander, needing to hold onto the counter. “It’s a partner activity” he offered as he saw Ryland down another glass of wine.

“I guess” he answered even as he flipped the chicken breasts, enjoying the light brown color that was covering them. Shane took another shot of vodka as he reached for a glass to pour himself some wine, both beginning to feel the effects of alcohol, glad to not have anything held over their heads at the moment. No deadlines, no meetings, no sponsors, no crying youtubers, nothing. “Do you ever miss how things used to be?” asked Shane, his voice going serious even as he tilted the pot to the colander, the bowtie pasta being caught as the water went down the drain, steam being released at the movement. Ryland tilted his head, setting his wine down and turning down the heat in the stove. “I guess, sometimes.” he answered as she leaned against the counter. “When we don’t have dinner together or when we’re under the same roof but it feels like I’m alone” his voice got softer at the end, cursing himself for his honesty, not wanting to add to the guilt that Shane was surely feeling.

Shane sighed even as he set the now empty pot down and nodded his head “yeah” he answered which caused Ryland to approach him, pressing a kiss to his cheek, “But I love that you’re happy, I love that you love your job and it no longer feels like a drag. I love the life that we have now” Shane's eyes seemed to water as he looked down at him “Really?” he asked as his voice cracked and Ryland just nodded, the movement making him slightly dizzy, but it didn’t mean he meant it any less.

It took a few more shots of vodka and more glasses of wine before Ryland slurred a request to put some music in the speakers, climbing up to their room, holding onto the rail on their stairs because they seemed to move as he went up. He got down, hugging the speaker to see Shane heat up the sauce for the pasta, taking the chicken out of the pan, now ready. Ryland reached for his phone, glad that it unlocked with his face because he couldn’t seem to remember the password at the moment. “What song…” he swayed, staring at all the albums that were saved “What song you want?” he asked, looking up at Shane who tilted his head. “I don’t know” he shrugged his shoulders and Ryland nodded his head in determination as if a request had been given.

He looked up gasping, “Let’s play Katy Perry” he suggested already typing in her name getting as far as Ka before she came up. He could see Shane taking another shot of vodka and he put out his glass, suggesting that Shane fill him up so poured it, his hand shaking as the vodka spilled on the side of the cup and all it did was make them laugh before Ryland swallowed his shot down. Playing the song that first came up as Katy Perry’s voice played all throughout their home and Ryland began dancing which in his state meant moving from side to side laughing at how the kitchen seemed to go in circles. Shane tried to do the same even as he placed the pasta in the sauce and began stirring it and Ryland wondered how Shane wasn’t as drunk as he was seeing how he took more shots of vodka.

Ryland didn’t know when he had begun laughing or at what but soon he couldn't stop. Katy Perry’s music flowing through their home and his lips were swaying but soon he was giggling, holding onto the counter for balance because he couldn’t stop himself from laughing. Shane turned around a laugh beginning to escape from him when he saw the state that Ryland was in, the usual level-headed one in a heap of giggles for something so dumb he couldn’t even know what it was. He turned off the burners in the stove before reaching for him, running his hands down his back, feeling Ryland lean his weight on him.

“I love you Shane” sighed Ryland, headbutting his chest lightly as he took in his ‘manly’ scent as he liked to call it. Shane laughed, but held him tightly “I love you too” he answered, both swaying from the alcohol in their system. Ryland gasped, looking up at him “We should get totally hammered right now” his eyes were wide when he said it as if the brilliant idea had just come to him and wouldn’t leave until it was fulfilled. Shane tilted his head, seeming to think about it even as Ryland reached for the vodka bottle now, not even taking the shot glass before taking a sip from it, enjoying the strong scent and the even stronger, bitter taste.

“We should” agreed Shane, taking the bottle from Ryland, both seeming to forget about the freshly cooked food and instead turning up Katy Perry’s voice, glad that there weren’t any neighbors close to complain about the noise. It didn’t take long before both were drunk to have forgotten about the food that was cooked.

“Do you remember when we did the drunk boyfriend tag?” asked Ryland as he stumbled to a chair in their dining table and Shane sat next to him and nodded, a laugh leaving his lips. “Yeah” he answered, “I was so nervous for it” Ryland tilted his head, leaning his head in his hands “Why?” Shane stared at him, “I acted differently for my videos what if you didn’t like that version of me?” Ryland nodded his head, agreeing with his fears which in the end were unnecessary. “That’s when I knew I wanted to marry you” confessed Shane, and Ryland felt his eyes go wide, surprised at how soon in their relationship it was, sure they even kidded about kids, but it was light joking, neither really considering having children at that point. “What if I wanted to be the one to propose?” Even as Ryland said it he knew it wasn’t a reliable statement, both knowing that it would be up to Shane to propose. Shane scoffed, “Please, I already have the ring” Shane’s eyes went wide at his confession, not knowing why he just said that and it caused Ryland to straighten up, his eyes clearing slightly.

“What?” he asked, his voice soft. Shane could feel panic building in him, as the aspect of surprise was ruined. “The ring’s upstairs” he confessed even as a part of him was begging him to shut up and to not give anything else away. Ryland bit his lip, not knowing how to react, if he should ask to see it. If he should change the topic. “Oh” he answered and Shane nodded his head. Both remained in their seats, not knowing what to do before Shane, pushed his chair back and stood up, leaning on the table before heading for the stairs “Wait Shane” called Ryland, afraid that he was leaving disappointed, Shane just held his hand up before holding onto the rail, trying to keep his steps steady as he went upstairs, his heart racing quickly as he considered what he was going to do.

Ryland looked down on the table, feeling his own heart, beating steadily in his chest, not knowing whether to speed up from excitement or slow down from regret. He sighed before laying his head down on the table, glad to feel the coolness from it as he closed his eyes, feeling his head spin as his level of drunk was brought down from the news.

“Ryland” He looked up, swallowing as nausea hit him from the sudden movement to have Shane standing in front of him, a light blue box in his hand, his eyes had cleared and there was nervousness in them and Ryland felt his own alcohol levels go down as he swallowed thickly. “Yeah?” His voice was dry and all he wanted was a glass of water. Shane looked around before he nodded to himself and got down on one knee, holding onto the table for balance before letting go, hoping that the world would stop spinning. Ryland felt his breathing stop and he remained seated, not trusting himself to stand up and not fall down instantly, not even from the alcohol, but from shock.

Shane cleared his throat, trusting himself to look at Ryland in the eyes. “Before I met you I thought no one was going to love me fully. I thought someone wouldn’t be able to love my flaws and my defects and that I would need to fix myself” Shane could feel his eyes start to water, and he ran a hand through them, wiping them to be able to see Ryland’s eyes, who looked so tender, it made Shane ever more confident in his decision. “But from the first time I saw you, I knew you were it. Your sense of humor, your kindness, the way you care about others so much, not only makes me love you everyday more and more, but” Shane took in a shaky breath as his eyesight watered again and he closed his eyes, feeling tears slide down his cheeks “It makes me a better person, not because I’m not good enough, but because you make me want to be better, you helped me love myself, which for a long time I thought would be impossible. You make me a better person by just being with me and if” his voice got stuck even as he turned the small box, seeing his hands shake before he opened it and showed him the ring and saw as Ryland’s mouth opened, his own eyes crying silent tears “you want to, I hope to spend the rest of my life with you, treasuring you and trying to make you as happy as you make me. “ Ryland had already begun nodding and Shane could feel relief and joy spreading in him, but he still needed to get the question out. “Will you marry me?” His voice was soft when he said it, his mind trying to capture every single detail that he could, already imagining himself repeating this story to their families, and later on, to their kids.

“Yes” Ryland’s voice was shaky as he said it, tears sliding down his cheeks and Shane stood up, handing the small box to Ryland who stared at the ring as Shane stood behind him, wrapping his arms around him, seeing as Ryland’s hand shook as he took the ring out and placed it on his finger, feeling a feeling of satisfaction as he saw it slide in perfectly. Ryland turned around, both crying as he placed a light kiss on his lips, tasting slightly salty from both of their tears. Feeling a lot more sober than they were feeling before from the change in plans.

“We’re engaged” said Ryland softly leaning on Shane's chest as they couldn’t let each other go and Shane nodded, “We’re engaged” he confirmed smiling.

Chapter Text

The next morning sunlight was sneaking in between their white curtains, allowing their room to be washed in light and the temperature to be pleasantly warm. Ryland opened his eyes, groaning from the pain in his head, feeling as if someone was smashing in his head with a baseball bat.

He turned around, closing them, wanting to ignore the fact that a new day had already begun and he had a routine to begin. Beginning with feeding his animals who he could hear were walking in the hallway. He could feel Shane next to him even as he refused to open his eyes, trying to pretend that he was still asleep.

He moved around, trying to find a comfortable position for him to go back to sleep. “Stop moving so much” complained Shane as he moved his head to stare at Ryland who gave in and finally opened his eyes.

“Why did we get so drunk last night?” complained Ryland who hand his hands underneath his pillow, only moving his head, “I believe it was your idea dummy” groaned Shane as he turned away from Ryland, trying to do the same as he closed his eyes, hoping that sleep would take him once again.

Ryland finally gave in, feeling the urge to pee and sat up, with his eyes close and running his hand down his face and scrubbing his eyes, feeling something lightly scrape his face.

He frowned, opening his eyes and feeling his jaw drop as he stared at the thing that had taken over his finger. The ring that was gleaming in the light, wrapping his finger in small diamonds. He could feel his breath get stuck in his throat.

“Shane?” his voice was hoarse and he moved his hand around, seeing the diamonds sparkle in the morning light, trying to remember what the hell they did last night and where the ring had come from and was it a… Ryland couldn’t allow himself to think of the word with fear that it wasn’t it.

He stared at Shane who hummed, but didn’t seem to have any intention to open his eyes and instead placed an arm around himself. “Shane” he repeated, not looking away from the ring, wondering if his hangover allowed for hallucinations to happen. Maybe the ring didn’t even exist and he was imagining it.

“What Ryland” he answered, his voice soft, wondering why the room wasn’t darker.

He reached down and shook his shoulder, not moving his eyes from the ring, needing Shane to confirm if he was seeing it and to explain what it was doing in his finger.

“What is this?” he asked, his voice getting softer and his tone made Shane bring his arm down and open his eyes, his tired green eyes meeting Ryland’s hopeful confused blue ones.

Shane looked down at whatever it was Ryland was staring at and he felt the air leave his lungs.

His ring was right there.

The ring that he had spent months looking for was on Ryland’s finger, gleaming in the light.

“Shane” he looked up, staring at Ryland, both of them not knowing when the ring had been placed.

“How” whispered Shane and Ryland shook his head, neither knowing how it happened.

Ryland continued to shake his head, but felt a smile spread across his face. “We’re engaged” he commented, feeling his chest tighten at the thought.

“We’re engaged” he repeated, not seeming to know how else to react>

Shane continued to look down at the ring, sitting up fully and Ryland could feel his chest tighten in fear as Shane didn’t react.

“What’s wrong?” he whispered, his throat dry, hoping that he wasn’t misinterpreting the ring

The ring did have a feminine shape to it, and it was slightly loose. He sucked in air. Maybe it wasn’t meant for him. “Oh” he commented as he looked down at his hand, wondering if he should take it off.

Shane looked up at him, a small smile on his lips. “I was so worried about how I was going to do it” he commented and Ryland released a sign of relief

“How long…” Ryland’s voice trailed off as he looked down again, not being able to tear his eyes away from it. Shane looked at the ring “About three months” causing Ryland to tear his eyes away from it and stare at Shane

“What..” his voice was soft and in the atmosphere that they were in, it felt wrong to break it with a loud noise.

Shane sighed and reached for Ryland’s hand, holding onto his fingers before slowly sliding the ring out.

Ryland swallowed, not knowing what Shane’s response was going to be.

Shane looked down at the ring and got down on one knee.

“I have been planning how to propose to you for three months, and everything seemed too small, too simple, because” Ryland stayed silent, feeling his eyes fill with tears for another reason.

“I was planning on getting Hillary Duff, but then she had her show” Ryland jaw dropped as he considered having Hillary Duff walking into his home

“and then Brittany Spears cancelled, everything seemed to be going wrong and then I had other plans...” Ryland leaned over, covering Shane’s mouth with his lips.

Wanting to forget all of those possibilities and just focusing on the here and now.

Shane returned the kiss hesitantly. They slowly pulled back and Ryland smiled, even as he wiped his eyes, not able to speak or say anything he wanted to say.

“What happened with those plans?” he asked, when it seemed that he finally gained his voice back and Shane sighed, “They just didn't seem to work"

Ryland swallowed, not knowing how to react. Shane smiled and that seemed to calm Ryland’s nerves, seemed to make all his nerves seem insignificant.

“I seriously can’t believe I proposed while drunk” he chuckled and a wet laugh was released from Ryland’s lips, as he kept wiping his eyes, as the image of Shane continued to become blurry.

“But I’m happy that even while drunk you can imagine spending the rest of your life with me” Ryland nodded, even though Shane still hadn’t asked anything. Needing to have the ring back on his finger and what it signified.

Shane took in a deep breath “I want to do this right, or at least as right as we can still make it” Ryland smiled, sitting up straighter, knowing that they were making a memory that they would spend the rest of their life recounting and telling their family and their kids someday.

Shane looked at him, pure joy and love in them, “I promise to continue trying to make you smile with my crazy jokes and to be a source of support when needed. I promise to take you on spontaneous trips when we’re both stressed. I promise to continue giving you cheesy and crazy gifts on your birthday” Ryland chuckled, remembering the balloons that Shane changed for him.

“Most of all I promise to spend the rest of my days trying to make you feel as happy and as loved as you make me." He swallowed thickly, wiping his eyes once more, not knowing how to react

He could see Shane’s eyes also filling with tears and some already sliding out the corners and Shane didn’t bother to wipe them away stopping Ryland from wiping his own eyes, instead allowing the tears to continue sliding down his cheeks.

Shane cleared his throat “Will you marry me?” Ryland began nodding, not able to speak as too many emotions seemed to take over the rational part of his mind.

“Thank god” commented Shane as he slid the ring to Ryland’s finger and stood up, pulling Ryland to him and hugging him tightly.

Ryland released a laugh among the happy tears, “Why are you relieved?” he asked “I was already wearing the ring, I said yes, even while drunk off my ass” Shane chuckled even as he began wiping his eyes with his sleeve. The tears were not able to be held back.

“I’m just so happy” he said softly and Ryland smiled, reaching over and pulling Shane in hugging him tightly. “Me too”

They both remained in bed, holding each other tightly, not knowing how much time passed before they both heard their animals scratching up their door with their paws.
Ryland rolled his eyes as he pulled away, wiping his eyes, knowing that they were surely red and puffy from the amount of tears that had escaped them.

Shane got up, stretching his arms before walking to the door and opening it, allowing Uno and Honey to come in, running to the bed and licking Ryland who pushed them away lightly, away from their slobber.

Uno pulled back and began barking, pacing the bed before jumping down and running towards Shane beginning to smile and attempt to lick him too. Shane laughed, raising his arms
“What?” he asked as Honey jumped down too and began howling.

Ryland sighed, feeling his head vibrate from the noise, remembering that both of them still had a massive hangover.

Shane began walking towards the bathroom, telling both dogs to go talk to Ryland “You’re leaving me with them?” called Ryland, humor clear in his voice.

Shane stopped at the door, looking back and smiling, “I’m leaving them with my fiance” he answered and it caused Ryland to gasp from it, both from false offense and from excitement of the new possibilities.
Earning Shane enough time to go into the bathroom and close the door behind him, the shower being turned on in the bathroom.

“He called me fiance” whispered Ryland to a room filled with just him and two dogs. He sighed and looked down at his hand again, seeing the ring glimmer in the light streaming in. He stood up, not able to tear his eyes away from his hand.

He turned his head around when he heard a phone ringing, knowing that it had to be Shane’s, he didn’t have enough time to think whether he wanted to look for it before it stopped ringing. It seemed the decision had been made for him.

Ryland headed to his closet, reaching for a new shirt. The phone began ringing again, not seeming to have an intention of stopping.

“Ryland” yelled Shane from the bathroom, putting on a clean t-shirt before opening the door, knowing that Shane already popped into the shower

“Yes?” he answered and saw as Shane scrubbed his hair, a mountain of bubbles already gathered at the top, “Can you answer my phone for me?” he asked before turning to the water and closing his mouth to rinse it out.

Ryland agreed before closing the door and trying to follow the sound of the phone ringing to find it. He looked down to the floor, tilting his head, so his ear could follow the noise, before noticing where Shane’s black jeans were.

Right under the bed, he spotted them before reached for it and took the phone out of the pockets, throwing the jeans back on the floor and feeling the air leave his lungs when he noticed who was calling.

The Jeffree Star name was clear in his phone as he stared at a picture of Jeffree smiling at the camera noticing that it was from his past series.

Ryland took in a breath, trying to smile, knowing that it wasn’t his fault they had been out of sync for weeks.
He swiped the phone to the right and brought it up to his ear.

“Shane, I just read your text and..”

“Hi Jeffree” answered Ryland looking down, knowing what texts he was referring to and was once again wondering if he had overreacted even as he heard Shane’s voice in his mind, reminding him that it had been his decision and he hadn’t felt obligated to do anything.

There was silence on the other end and he sat on the bed, wondering if he should say something more.

“Ryland, hi how are ya? Is Shane there?” Jeffree’s voice was carefree, but he noticed the impatience radiating from the other end.

“Sorry Jeffree, but Shane is actually taking a shower right now” he answered and Jeffree chuckled, “He actually takes those?” he asked “who knew”

Ryland forced a laugh “yeah” he didn’t know how else to respond as Jeffree remain silent on the other side, wondering if he should ask about his dogs.

“Ryland'' began Jeffree before he had a chance to decide. “I need you to do me a favor” this caused Ryland to sit up straight, needing to know what was going to be asked of him.

“What is it?” he asked, needing to know what it was before he agreed to it.

“Ryland I…” Jeffree sighed, “I signed a contract with Morphe when this series began with Shane, setting a date for this product and I have been dedicating my time working with Shane on his palette, I don’t have anything else to present, so I need Shane to come back and finish it''

Ryland sucked in a breath, noting what was being asked of him.

“I don’t understand what’s going on with him, but I’m also a business man and I need to meet my deadlines with Morphe, so I’m asking you, as his boyfriend..”

‘fiance’ corrected Ryland in his mind as he looked down at his hand, the joy of being engaged tampered with the idea of Shane being dragged into legal issues. “To help me convince Shane to keep working on the palette”

Ryland nodded his head, holding on to the phone tightly “yeah, okay. I’ll convince him Jeffree”

He could hear Jeffree sighing in relief on the other end. Ryland understood, knowing that he never wanted Jeffree to be caught in any legal issues because of any of them, especially because Shane made a decision largely based on Ryland’s behavior.

“Thanks babe, talk to you later” Ryland was glad to note Jeffree’s tone getting lighter with the prospect of Shane continuing to work with him.

“Bye Jeffree” he answered, pulling the phone away from his ear and hanging up, setting the phone down on the bed and standing up.

Uno and Honey followed Ryland as he walked to his closet and changed his sweats into jeans.

He thought back to a few nights ago when Shane decided to take a break from the city, and wanting to go somewhere with Ryland, anywhere but here. A break heavily influenced by Ryland who kept thinking back to the empty nights and an empty bed, with Shane pacing downstairs, to not having his attention when having dinner, to some days just feeling so …. alone.

“Ryland” he turned his head, looking up to Shane who came out of the shower, drying his hair with a towel, already wearing a plain black t-shirt and a towel wrapped around his waist.

“What’s going on?” asked Shane when Ryland was too absorbed in his thoughts to offer any response. He shook his head, trying to bring himself to the present, to the conversation that they had, to the problems that they talked about and to bringing forward positive change, which began with honesty.

He sighed before standing up from the bed, following Shane who walked sideways, keeping his eyes on Ryland even as he headed to the closet, looking for some jeans. “

That was Jeffree calling” offered Ryland as he leaned against the closet door, while Shane looked through his clothes, Ryland noting just how bare Shane’s side looked compared to his.

“Oh yeah?” answered Shane as he pulled out a pair, looking exactly like his old ones did, same style, same size.

“He asked me to convince you to keep working on the palette” causing Shane to turn around, confusion in his eyes.

“He called to try to convince me to come back?” he asked as he began putting on his jeans and Ryland nodded, crossing his arms.

“Yeah, and Shane, I think he’s right” this caused Shane to turn towards him fully “What?” he asked, his voice soft.

Ryland released a soft breath, trying to convince himself that he was doing the right thing here.

“He filled out a contract Shane, this is his company and you did commit yourself to working on this with him” he offered as he brought his arms down.

Shane sighed as he buttoned his jeans, leaning back against a wall of the closet, beginning to nod his head. “This does affect his company” he agreed and Ryland nodded silently.

Shane closed his eyes, crossing his arms and he didn’t know what to say. Knowing that this had to come down to Shane after all.

Shane opened his eyes, turning towards Ryland “What do you think I should do?” he asked, his voice soft and Ryland sucked in a breath, the surprise clear in his face, not exactly used to being asked for his opinion before a decision was made.

The silence made Shane squirm before the explained, “I messed things up last time by making impulsive decisions and not asking for your opinion first, I’m not doing that again”

Ryland didn’t know what to say, the feelings of fear and confusion leaving his mind and instead feeling a warmness spread across his chest and he reached over and pulled Shane into a kiss, feeling his hesitant lips on him before they gave in and moved with his own in perfect rhythm, passion radiating off from both bodies.

Ryland pulled back, a smile on his face, glad to see that Shane was reciprocating it. “I think you should do it” he answered, feeling confident in his decision, knowing that nothing was going to finish what they had, it might be messed with and it might tilt it on its axis resulting in storming out and arguments, but there wasn’t a force strong enough to end it completely.

“I’m with you” confirmed Ryland, holding onto Shane’s face, looking into his eyes, needing to make his point clear in any way needed “Until the very end” Shane tilted his head in Ryland’s hand, his eyes filling with emotion.

Ryland leaned in for a quick kiss on the check before leading Shane back to the room, his feet bare as he sat on the bed and Ryland handed him his phone, “call him back” he encouraged. Shane looked up at Ryland, uncertainty no longer present in his eyes, smiling as he took the phone from him.

Ryland walked back to the closet, grabbing some socks and a pair of shoes, putting them on before walking back to the room and seeing Shane already talking with Jeffree.

He smiled to himself before opening the door and walking out of the room quietly.

Chapter Text

Shane met Ryland downstairs where he was pouring himself a cup of coffee. Ryland turned around, noticing that Shane was hesitating in the doorway. He set the cup down, “What is it?” hoping that it wasn’t because Jeffree was mad at Shane because of him.

Shane sighed, walking into the kitchen “He wants me to go to a meet and greet with him” he confessed not knowing how Ryland was going to react. He rushed to explain, “He says it would do a good job to promote the palette.”

Even before Shane finished explaining, Ryland was already nodding his head. “Yeah, you should do it” he agreed before turning around and reaching for his mug, opening the fridge to take out the cream, knowing that Shane was staring at him.

He turned around when Shane hesitantly reached for a coffee mug, “I was thinking” began Shane, grabbing the coffee cup, before slowly pouring it. “You could come with me this time” Ryland brought the mug down, before turning around. “I don’t need to go Shane, really” he began, but it just caused Shane to tilt his head, “You don’t want to go?” he asked, hurt in his voice and Ryland began shaking his head even before Shane finished talking “It’s not that I don’t want to go” he explained before heading to their counter and setting his mug down, leaning forward, “Maybe it’s just best if you go alone so you can truly focus.” he explained.

Shane smiled before finishing pouring his cup of coffee and heading over to where Ryland was, leaning forward, “I want you to come with me” he offered, “It will allow me to focus more if I’m not constantly thinking about what you’re doing here” he motioned to their house, “What if you’re cheating on me?” there was teasing in his tone and Ryland rolled his eyes even as a smile was in his ips.

“C’mon” urged Shane, leaning his hips into Ryland’s, his green eyes staring into his own. “Come with me” Ryland hesitated, wondering if this was the best plan for both their relationship and Jeffree’s business.

Shane smiled even as he raised his coffee, seeming to think that he already had Rylands presence guaranteed. “You need to ask Jeffree first” he warned, even as he began smiling at Shane, who returned the smile, “already did” he offered and Ryland felt his breath stutter, “and?” he asked, Shane smiled, both standing up straight, “He said yes.”

Ryland smiled, remembering a few weeks ago when the outcome of the same question had been a lot different. “Okay” he agreed and Shane finally set the empty cup down and took Ryland’s to sweep him in a hug. “We’re going to have so much fun” promised Shane and Ryland just hugged him back tightly.


The next morning, both men woke up to the alarm that Shane had set, knowing that they still needed to get ready. Ryland groaned as he turned around, pulling the cover over his head and Shane rubbed his eyes even as he sat up, pulling the blanket from Ryland who groaned.
“Wake up” he said softly, stretching and standing up, Ryland did the same even if all he wanted to do was lay back down in bed and block the noise and light out.

He could hear the noise that was streaming from their bathroom as Shane turned on the shower, smiling when he heard the music that Shane put on, Britney Spears flowing through their room.

It took another 20 minutes for Ryland to shake himself awake and get out of bed, heading to the shower. He opened the door, ready to climb into the shower with Shane and felt a tinge of disappointment when he saw him out of the shower drying his hair, his disappointment must have been clear in his face as Shane released a laugh, “What? You wanted to do something in there?” he tilted his head to the shower and Ryland shook his head, even as he felt heat in his cheeks leave a red tint.

Shane rolled his eyes, “Just get in the shower” Ryland smiled, leaving the bathroom to come back with a towel and began stripping his clothes off, knowing that Shane was following his movements with his eyes, just before he took his black underwear off, he turned around, staring into Shane’s eyes as he took it and let it drop in the bathroom floor. He saw Shane swallow before raising a brow and it just caused Ryland to smile and close the glass door behind him before turning on the shower allowing the hot water to cover him.



“Are you actually doing the meeting and the greeting?” asked Ryland as he grabbed the Jeffree Star jumpsuit that he had hanging up. “Umm” began Shane as he took the red one of the hanger and put it inside his black backpack, before grabbing the jacket from the light blue one and putting it on, “I don’t think so. I think I’m just going to be standing next to him as people go and take pictures, just like last time” the last part was said quietly as both remembered how tense the situation was when he left.

Ryland nodded, as he took the pink jacket off the hanger and slid his arms through it, it was baggy on him as most jumpsuits seemed to be. “Do I need to wear Jeffree Star merch during this?” he asked, wondering if wearing the pig gucci jumper will be allowed. Shane leaned against the wall, staring at what his backpack held, mostly the jumpsuit jacket and any toiletries needed for overnight stay. “I would wear it just to be safe” he offered and Ryland agreed.

When both had their bags ready and their jumpsuits on they went downstairs, Ryland feeding their animals and Shane starting the coffee and grabbing some granola bars and placing them in his bag. They both looked up when they heard their doorbell ringing “That’s Andrew” explained Shane as he left the coffee pot on and walked to the entrance with Uno looking up from his lunch and following him.

Andrew walked into the kitchen, his laugh already sounding through the house as Honey turned from her breakfast and began walking up to him. “Hi Andrew” greeted Ryland, smiling as he poured the coffee, “Hey Ryland” he smiled, distracted in taking out the camera. Shane came up behind him, offering some coffee to which he declined, Shane shrugged his shoulders and reached for the mug that Ryland offered him before Andrew pointed the camera at them and turned it on.

Ryland could notice the change in Shane immediately, the way he seemed to focus on the camera and the way that he spoke made Ryland feel as if there were no longer only three people in the room. “So this is what we’re doing today” began Shane as he set his cup down and headed to the living room with Andrew behind him. The explanation that Shane gave made everything seem so clean and simple and went over the discussions that they had.

“Ryland” he looked up, not noticing when Shane and Andrew came back into the kitchen, the camera staring at both of them. He turned towards Shane, raising a brow, waiting for him to repeat what he said, “I asked if you were ready” he nodded his head in response, placing both coffee cups in the sink and turning towards Shane, smiling.

Shane smiled back, narrowing his eyes slightly in question before telling Andrew that they could cut, “are you okay?” he asked and Ryland nodded in response, trying to focus his mind on what was happening and not what happened two nights ago.

When the Uber Shane called was waiting for them outside and Ryland saw as Andrew turned on the camera to capture them leaving the house, he felt a chill run down his spine as his mind rushed back to the men in the gas station, their final comment running through his mind ‘Say hi to Shane for me’ he tried to justify it to myself that night and continued to do so, knowing that being in the internet meant anyone being able to see everything about you.

Even so, once he climbed into the car he could feel a shiver run through him, noting how they were leaving the safety of their home, and who knew who was out there and with what intentions. He felt Shane squeeze his thigh lightly, pulling him back to the present, he met his eyes and lightly shook his head, showing that there was nothing going on. He was being paranoid.

He could feel his fear grow as he looked at Shane’s phone, showing that they were arriving at the terminal, where Jeffree’s plane would be waiting for them. He could already notice how Shane began clutching his hands tightly, seeming to need to squeeze something to release the stress that was building up in him at the idea of getting on a plane. He turned and saw that Andrew was looking down at his phone, distracted.

“Hey Andrew” began Shane, noting how Andrew turned off his phone, looking up, “Do you want to film us getting into the plane?” his voice was soft and Ryland could notice the slight tremor that was running through it, he reached over and held onto Shane’s hands, hoping to convey a calmness that he didn’t feel.

Andrew nodded, all three staring ahead as they went into an empty terminal, with just one small plane in the center. “We have a bigger chance of dying from a car crash than a plane crash” offered Ryland, trying to calm Shane down as he noticed how pale his skin seemed to turn. Andrew released a nervous laugh next to him, “Seeing as we’re in a moving car Ryland, I don’t see how that’s comforting” Shane snorted in response “It really does make me feel better than I’m leaving a death trap to get into a flying death trap” Ryland rolled his eyes, trying to maintain the environment calming instead of bringing in statistics or simply explaining that Shane was scared of not being in control more than falling from a large height.

“We’re here” offered the Uber driver, stopping in front of the stairs leading up to the small plane. Shane and Andrew thanked the driver before opening their doors and Ryland thanked him as well as he followed after Shane. He saw as Shane swung the black backpack over his shoulders and he did the same, staring at the black car that was approaching them. Ryland felt a shiver run through him even in the heat at seeing it approach, as it brought up a feeling of dread in him.

Just like their own car, it stopped right in front of the plane. Jeffree quickly swung the door open, seeming to hop out of it happily as other people streamed out of the car, the driver opening the back and taking their bags out. Ryland could identify Madison in the group, “Hi” he greeted, smiling even as she came forward and hugged Andrew, who did it one handedly, trying to capture every moment and especially focusing on Shane and Jeffree, who was hugging Jeffree back tightly.

Ryland saw as two other men in dark suits approached them quietly “Hi” he smiled, assuming that they were the bodyguards that Shane had told him about “Hi” they both answered, reaching forward with a handshake with Ryland quickly reciprocated, noticing from the corner of his eye that Jeffree was now holding onto Shane’s arm with one hand and covering his laugh with the other.

“How are you Ryland?” greeted Madison as she came into his line of sight before reaching for a hug and Ryland returned the hug, his mind still uneasy for the trip they were about to take. Both pulled back before Madison reached for her bag and began heading for the plane. “Oh hi Ryland” greeted Jeffree and Ryland quickly turned around, distracted with following Madison “Hi Jeffree” he answered, noticing how Andrew turned the camera to focus on him now.

Jeffree opened his arms and wrapped them around Ryland who raised his arms to hug him back, but there was something about it that only made something inside him feel hollow and empty. He pulled back even when he felt Jeffree seemed to hold him tighter, frowning slightly until Jeffree released him, smiling, but in his eyes there seemed to be something dark and mocking in them as if he knew something that Ryland didn’t.

His throat felt dry even as he turned and met Shane’s eyes, knowing that Andrew was still following all of them with the camera, he swallowed thickly before reaching for Shane’s hand, squeezing it tightly. “Are you okay?” he whispered in his ear, and all he did was nod in response even as several warning bells went off in his mind.

They both turned as everyone began to climb in the plane. Jeffree raced up the stairs, Madison and a woman with red hair already inside, followed by the two bodyguards and Shane following them, pulling Ryland along with him. Andrew walked after both of them, seeming to want to capture the last moments.

Ryland swallowed even as he turned back, noting how both drivers had already left and were no longer in sight. Jeffree was already in a seat and Shane led him to a seat next to him, he grabbed the seat belt, making sure to put it on, the nerves not allowing him to pay attention to anything else around him. He wasn’t afraid of flying, but there were warning bells ringing in his mind, seeming to say that maybe the danger wasn’t the plane itself, but someone inside it.