On Wednesday Andy, Blue, Gervais and Jesse head over to climbing. Blue is pretty unsure about going but decides he can’t avoid another thing because of a guy. Jesse is making an effort with Blue for Gervais sake but Blue really isn’t interested. He doesn’t see why he should make Gervais relationship easier.
“You okay?” Andy asks as Blue starts to hang back to avoid talking to Jesse.
“I really love climbing but I’m pretty worried about how tonight will go.” Blue says.
“You’ve done nothing wrong. People like you, don’t worry about it.” Andy says.
“I just feel exposed. I don’t know why.” Blue says.
“You’ll be fine. No one is that interested.” Andy laughs.
“Ahh you’re probably right, my ego is out of control.” Blue laughs.
Andy shakes his head and laughs. He looks at Gervais and Jesse and wonders what Gervais is doing. It feels like Andy and Spence have spent more time trying to understand Gervais relationships than their own since they reunited.
Tonight is the first time apart Andy and Spence have had outside of class and Andy is missing Spence already. He can’t quite recognise himself from the last couple of months. He feels like he got all that curiosity out and is incredibly lucky that Spence was able to take him back.
Spence has changed too, he’s less arrogant and more curious. Andy loves the changes, he sighs to himself as he imagines Spence’s body.
“Daydreaming about Spence?” Blue asks with a smile.
“Sorry. Did I zone out?” Andy asks.
“Sheer bliss all over your face. I’m really glad you worked things out.” Blue says.
“Thanks for being there for him and not bad mouthing me too much.” Andy says.
“I like you, hate what you did to him but I like you a lot.” Blue says.
“Thanks.” Andy says.
They walk in and John and Dylan are there together, very much together with lots of people asking them about it. John is beaming with happiness and Dylan has had a complete personality change.
“What happened to him?” Blue asks incredulous.
“I think he swallowed the camp cliché handbook.” Andy says equally surprised.
“Weird, I’d be so disappointed if I was John.” Blue says.
“Yeah pull a super masculine straight guy and wake with a total queen.” Andy laughs.
“I never really met anyone like that. I mean Brad could be a bit but not all the time.” Blue says.
“People are weird.” Andy says and goes to sit with Elliott and catch up.
Blue gets on with things and is chatting with a couple of guys and swapping tips. When Dylan exclaims in a loud voice “Oh god that was all fake, he did it for me, he would never date someone like that for real.”
The color drains from Blue’s face, he quietly removes his gear grabs his coat and walks out. He feels so humiliated. No one seems to notice him go. He sits on the grass outside wishing he’d stayed away until the novelty of John and Dylan had worn off.
“Hey, no one believes him.” Miles, John’s friend says walking towards Blue then sitting with him.
“Why not? It’s true. John and I had one date, and we decided to fake it to make Dylan jealous.” Blue says.
“Why would you do that?” Miles asks in disbelief.
“I wanted to make Gervais jealous but I realized early on it didn’t work and I was kind of hoping John would see me as a real option.” Blue explains.
“But Gervais likes you, everyone knows that.” Miles says.
“Sure, but he would rather date Jesse. I’m not the sort of guy people choose.” Blue says.
“For real? You’re amazing, you probably intimidate people.” Miles says.
“Want to go out on a date?” Blue asks.
“I have a girlfriend.” Miles stutters.
“So you’re another guy who tells me how great I am in one breath and that you’d never date me yourself in the next.” Blue sighs.
“Hey if I was single I’d be right there.” Miles laughs.
“Thanks. You should get back inside. I’m fine.” Blue says.
“Look we all like you, we’ve said it before you and your friends have been a welcome injection to the club. We need you here.” Miles says.
“Look I’m not leaving for good, I love it but I will stay away until next semester. We have thanksgiving and finals I guess a lot of people will stay away.” Blue says.
“You need to come to the end of year social. I know someone you could bring as a date. Actually why wait. Are you open to being set up?” Miles asks.
“Sure. Could it be a group thing with your girlfriend, does she go here?” Blue asks.
“Yes and yes. Are you free Friday night?” Miles asks.
“Sure, thanks. What’s his name and what’s he like?” Blue asks.
“His name is Austin, he’s kind of small, he’s a dance major, very outgoing, cute, vegetarian and very in to animal rights.” Miles says.
“And you didn’t introduce us before because?” Blue asks with a smile.
“Because I didn’t know you and Gervais were not a couple until Jesse came on the camping trip and then you started dating John.” Miles says.
“You thought Gervais was my boyfriend?” Blue asks feeling a glow.
“Everyone did. If John hadn’t got in there I know for sure some of the others would have asked you on a date.” Miles says.
“There can’t be that many gay guys here.” Blue says.
“Of course there are, John has brought loads in from his other clubs. Me included.” Miles says.
“So why do the fake relationship with me? If he’s so popular?” Blue asks confused.
“You’re hot and the first guy who could make a serious challenge to Dylan.” Miles says.
“It’s so weird how he has changed.” Blue says.
“You should be grateful we will all be talking about that and not you.” Miles laughs.
“Thanks for coming after me. I just couldn’t stay.” Blue says.
“He’s not usually like that, not just the personality change, Dylan is usually quite sensitive, its part of why he’s so popular.” Miles says.
“Really? He’s treated John badly for years.” Blue says.
“That’s true. We all always talk about John’s stupid crush and never about how Dylan lead him on as if it was all one sided. He had that sort of quiet charisma that made it seem like it was all John.” Miles says.
“Did you know they were together off and on?” Blue asks.
“I knew about one time, I thought it was just a one time thing.” Miles says.
“Sorry I should shut up and not spout out all of John’s secrets.” Blue says mad at himself, he’s usually more discreet.
“I’m sure it’ll all come out soon. The novelty of the win will wear off soon for John if Dylan keeps up this queen bee act.” Miles says.
“Hey it could be the real him. Now he’s out he’s all out.” Blue laughs.
“I guess so. Things are never dull here. What happened with you and Gervais? You were so cute together.” Miles asks.
“We were only friends. He and Jesse started as a friends with benefits thing and it grew into more. I tried but he didn’t want me like that.” Blue says, however many times he says it out loud he still can’t quite grasp that it is true.
“Wow. I would never have guessed. You are pretty good at getting others to talk that we don’t know much about you beyond you not eating meat and disliking all the good food options.” Miles laughs.
“Hey I’m able to stomach pizza now.” Blue laughs knowing what Miles says is true and feeling a bit better. Getting outside of the suite bubble is a good thing.
“Come on they’re coming out, you can watch us all eat burgers and pretend to eat your grilled cheese.” Miles says.
“I’ll just head back. Thanks for the chat. See you Friday.” Blue says.
“Come on it’ll be fine.” Miles says as Andy and Elliot approach.
“Coming for dinner? I hear they sell salad.” Elliot grins.
Blue shrugs and follows along.
“Are you okay? I didn’t realise you’d left.” Andy says.
“Yeah I just got tired of Dylan’s comments about me.” Blue says.
“I didn’t notice, I was too shocked by his accent change to make out any words.” Andy laughs.
“Did you have fun? Make it onto the wall this week?” Blue asks.
“I had fun, it was good to be back for real. And the girls here are really nice, Elliot and I have been intervening when guys get a bit handsy with them so we don’t feel quite so useless.” Andy says.
“I like the girls here too, we barely mix with any at all do we? I mean I do at yoga but they’re all grown women with kids. Our social circle is so narrow.” Blue says.
“I know, its so weird. I guess without having Jenna around and with all the hassle we had early on I’ve been a bit wary. Plus I was so focused on getting as much sex as I could I didn’t spend much time making friends.” Andy says.
“I’ve found being around so many people exhausting. I felt like I had 4 new friends and that was enough, more takes up too much space in my brain. Now I’m more used to college I think I’m ready to bust open our circle.” Blue says.
“And making friends with girls will be less hassle and no jealousy from Spence.” Andy smiles.
“I don’t think Spence was ever jealous, just mad at you.” Blue says.
“I know. I was jealous when he spoke to people when he had no interest in them and he was angry with me for what I did but was never jealous or even that curious about the guys I was with. I am so lucky he took me back.” Andy says.
“You are, if he had moved on you’d be so devastated.” Blue says.
“I had my midlife crisis 30 years early.” Andy laughs and they go inside the restaurant. They sit with a bunch of girls, keeping away from Gervais and John.
“Is being felt up at climbing a regular issue?” Blue asks when the general conversation about the evening dies down.
“We’ve all thought its happened but never been sure. Someone’s hand staying too long, reaching too far, or squeezing too much. Hard to know what is deliberate, we just know what is uncomfortable. Mostly we know who to avoid and get word out to the other girls.” Claire a pretty redhead says and the others nod.
“Have you brought it up with John or anyone?” Andy asks.
“Every year we bring it up with someone and there is always at least one girl on the committee but without anything overt its hard to do anything other than give a general talk at the beginning of the year.” Brenna who is on the committee says.
“I didn’t know. Do use me if you need someone to not worry about. I guess this is why you mostly pair together?” Blue asks.
“Yeah its easiest.” Claire says.
“I’d shout like mad if it was me.” Andy says.
“Brenna did one time and that guy has never been back.” Jennie laughs.
“We can totally take care of ourselves but we do appreciate the offer too.” Brenna says.
“I hate to think I’m anywhere where people are uncomfortable. It’s bad enough stopping this one perving.” Blue says motioning to Andy.
“I am terrible but I do only look, I don’t comment unless its you and I’d never grab anyone pretending to help.” Andy says.
“You are still pretty bad.” Jennie laughs.
“Your eyes were on stalks camping weekend.” Claire says.
“My ex now not ex was looking so fine, I bet all of you eyed him up too.” Andy says taking it all in good humor.
“Oh you’re back together? Spence is totally fine, we were all disappointed to find he was yours.” Brenna says.
“Like Blue here, we join these clubs to get fit and have fun but expect to meet cute guys too and all the best ones are gay.” Jennie sighs.
“We are, it is a conspiracy.” Blue laughs.
“Can you not turn for me, we’d have beautiful babies.” Claire laughs.
“Oh if I was straight you’d all ignore me. You’re only after what you can’t have.” Blue laughs.
“Maybe but I think we’re all glad Dylan is finally off the menu.” Jennie says.
“I just wish he’d bothered to tell me that was why we were breaking up.” Brenna says.
“Really? Oh that is cold. Tell me was he secretly like this in private, did he come over all camp in bed?” Andy asks.
“No, never. I don’t think anyone was more shocked than me at that transformation. Not that he was with John I knew all about their past and I am happy for him. I just wish he’d been honest.” Brenna says.
“OMG look at our exes flirting, Blue honey no one will fall for your fake act again.” Dylan calls out across the room.
Blue and Brenna just laugh.
“He really loves the attention. I bet there is some girl here he wants.” Andy says.
“Yeah it would feed his ego big time to have someone turn him back.” Brenna says.
“When did you split?” Blue asks.
“Like a week ago.” Brenna says.
“He really needs to learn some class.” Jennie says.
They all walk back together. Blue and Andy are happy to have made more friends. Elliot comes back to the suite with them, the heat is off in his dorm and he is going to crash on the couch for a couple of nights.
Spence and Robin are sat chatting, both tired from wrestling.
“Check the school paper tomorrow, they did a big interview with me because of my win earlier in the week.” Spence says as everyone sits down. He shows no signs he’s bothered with Elliot being there.
“That’s so cool. Did anyone else from here win?” Blue asks.
“No and boy are they sore that a freshman did. So many nasty comments tonight it was uncomfortable.” Robin says.
“Really? Not just you then Blue.” Andy says shaking his head.
“Dylan and John were really out of order, everyone is on your side Blue, however real or not you and John were it wasn’t cool.” Jesse says quietly. Blue is surprised for a moment then realises he’s being genuine.
“Thanks. I think it was worse for Brenna and she and Dylan were for real.” Blue says.
“She really wasn’t the target in the same way. Sucks for you Spence, why are they so jealous and not proud of you?” Gervais asks.
“Homophobes the lot. Can’t take it that a gay man won.” Robin says.
“No, it was because I’m younger and less experienced.” Spence says.
“No it wasn’t. And some were making comments about why do you want to coach kids so much, suggesting well you know.” Robin says clearly angry.
“For real? Who?” Andy asks full of rage.
“Nothing you can do babe. I can ignore them and continue to be awesome but I am dropping the idea of wrestling coaching and concentrating on other sports. I’m joining that program that John is in as well as doing the gymnastics.” Spence says.
“I might quit. I hate being round some of them. Spence and I shared a bed because there were not enough twin rooms and we get so much hassle for it. Like we all did high school sports and have been in that situation. Sometimes I really hate it here, it seems like there are a lot of gay guys and a lot of bigots. I feel like the only tolerant straight man sometimes.” Robin rages.
“George.” Blue says.
“True George and the other guys in Jesse’s suite are nice and sane. I should spend more time with them.” Robin says.
“You’d be very welcome to join climbing with us. The girls would love to have a straight guy who is respectful around.” Blue says.
“Heh we would always get at least one guy a year on cheer who would join to feel up girls.” Robin says.
“They’d weed them out easily enough when they refused to throw Robin.” Andy laughs.
“I really miss cheer.” Robin says.
“You should start a club.” Blue says.
“I don’t want that kind of hassle, I just want to train and compete.” Robin says.
“You really will be transferring won’t you?” Blue asks and Robin nods.
“Yeah well I’ll talk to my parents over thanksgiving about my options.” Robin says.
“We’ll miss you like crazy but you have to do what is best for you.” Spence says.
“I’d transfer too but my package here is too good.” Elliot says.
“Are you getting hassle?” Gervais asks.
“No I’m bored but school for free is free and that leaves money for grad school.” Elliot says.
“Same.” Says Jesse.
“Me too.” Says Andy.
“I’m loving my classes now. You guys will be alright once you find what you really love.” Spence says.
“I worry that with the cutbacks we won’t get to do the classes we came here for. But I’m okay doing my own study and research.” Jesse says.
“We should hang out more.” Elliot says to Jesse.
“Watch out he’s after your boyfriend.” Spence says to Gervais.
“What?” Gervais, totally oblivious asks.
“I wasn’t hitting on him.” Elliot laughs knowing Spence isn’t serious, despite his previous actions.
“Elliot has no intention of having a boyfriend.” Blue grins.
“Exactly and I won’t be hooking up with any more taken guys either.” He smiles.
“Spence would kill you.” Robin grins.
Blue looks over at Gervais and his stomach flips as their eyes meet.
“Well I’m exhausted. Sorry to break things up.” Blue says and Gervais smiles back gratefully before retreating into his room with Jesse.
They all ready for bed. Blue and Andy sort Elliot out with bedding.
“Will you be okay out here? You could come in with me.” Blue says.
“I’ll be fine. I am just happy to have a warm room and hot shower.” Elliot says.
“Try not to wake him in the morning.” Andy says.
“I’ll go swimming.” Blue says.
“Man you should not have said that, I was looking forward to spying on the yoga in his underwear.” Elliot says laughing before heading in to the bathroom.
Jesse leaves just as Blue is about to go to his room.
“You need to teach me how to do that. Not that I have your confidence but one look and you knew he was stressed.” Jesse says.
“He’s my best friend.” Blue shrugs.
“Thanks.” Jesse says.
“What for?” Blue asks puzzled.
“For taking amazing care of him. I do love him and I get that he needs you. Needs us both.” Jesse says.
“Any time.” Blue says half-heartedly as Jesse leaves.
The next evening Blue and Gervais are eating with Cheryl after the yoga classes, Blue has brought a copy of the school paper for Ocean as it has a good picture of Spence on it.
“That’s my coach Spence. He doesn’t get to coach me on Mondays but he will when I am stronger.” Ocean says stealing the paper.
“Hey I was reading that.” Cheryl calls out as he runs off.
“Here, it’s online too.” Blue says passing his phone.
“Wow this stuff is mean.” Cheryl says frowning.
“What is?” Gervais asks.
“These comments, lots of hate speech.” Cheryl says not able to say the words.
“Holy bananas.” Gervais says reaching for a word that won’t offend Ocean who has settled at the next table.
“There are lots defending him too.” Blue says.
“No wonder we have safe floors, they were clearly a necessity.” Gervais says.
“I really hate the thought of two gentle boys like you being surrounded by this much negativity.” Cheryl says.
“We had it from the first day, it’s not been so bad since.” Gervais says and explains the events of the first week.
“Can I go to gymnastics on Tuesday instead of swimming?” Ocean asks cutting in.
“Just Mondays for now. Swimming is important too.” Cheryl says.
“Spence and I would help out. We’ll be coaching soon and can get a discount.” Blue says.
“Nice try but I know you are just keeping Spence company and you’d both be paying the so called discount.” Cheryl says.
“Let them do it, let them pay for the classes. Ocean loves it and is good at it. He’s small and being good at a sport, even one that isn’t worshiped like the team sports will help him in high school.” Gervais says.
“Gervais I don’t ever want to be indebted to anyone ever again, even nice guys like Spence and Blue.” Cheryl says.
“You wouldn’t be. Blue uses you as a sounding board and substitute mom. He owes you already.” Gervais says.
“That’s true, letting me teach here and feeding us like this has kept me sane this semester.” Blue says.
“Look I understand but you bring so many people in here we’re already even. I’m planning on giving Ocean lessons for Christmas, we don’t celebrate really but we do exchange some gifts. He only has to wait until the new year and he can go twice a week.” Cheryl says.
“Let me add a third to that and let Spence add any clothing or equipment he needs.” Blue says.
“Now that sounds lovely. Okay, you win.” Cheryl laughs.
“Do you need a ride back to school?” Patsy one of the yoga class comes by to ask.
“That would be perfect. We’ll be 5 minutes is that okay?” Blue asks.
“Sure, you finish up your meal.” Patsy smiles.
“Everyone is so thoughtful here. This is your world.” Gervais says to Blue.
“I imagine all this unpleasantness is a real shock, you’ve been in a bubble with your momma.” Cheryl says.
“Yeah people are mean. Gervais can’t get used to people being nice and I’m the opposite. It’s why we fit so well.” Blue says not quite thinking it through.
“You’re a great pair. Now let me get you some more rations to take back.” Cheryl says.
Back at the suite the door is covered in threats and insults again.
“Poor Spence.” Blue says.
“He wins and people can only see he’s gay, not what an asset he is.” Gervais says.
Everyone, including Jesse and Elliot are sat waiting for them with the RAs Anna and Mike and John from the newspaper.
“So its all starting again?” Gervais says quietly before sitting next to Jesse.
“We’re all for free speech but we’ve shut off comments for the article. We’re all so upset in the office, we don’t understand why this is happening to you guys.” John says.
“I’m really uncomfortable that they know where we live and have access to our floor.” Spence says.
“We are too. We know Elliot isn’t the only one who is temporarily here and we’ve been turning a blind eye due to the issues in the old dorm but we’ll be formalising it now and issuing keycards so we know who is here, if you want to bring your mattress over that’s fine.” Anna says.
“So for now make a note of any incidents and send them to us, by all means tell John about them too. We’re sorry it’s you again Spence.” Mike says.
“All of you, any hassle let me know. Faculty are messaging and calling the paper non stop, they’re already under pressure and a drop in applicants is the last thing they need. The administration is taking everything very seriously.” John says.
“We appreciate that. Honestly I don’t think any of us have had any issues until last weekend.” Spence says.
“What happened then?” John asked.
“We got a lot of sh*t from our teammates. Both of us, we shared a bed due to lack of rooms, no issue for us we’ve known each other forever and so volunteered and from then on there was a lot of name calling and blanking us. It wasn’t the usual stuff, there was a nasty edge. And when Spence was doing so well a lot of jealousy, we left early for other reasons but the guys who chose to come back with us were pretty annoyed and upset.” Robin says.
“So these messages could have come from your teammates?” John asks.
“Yes, but I don’t think they’re the type to write anonymous messages really.” Spence says.
“What about Madeline?” Blue asks.
“Yes, my last girlfriend went loco when she found out Spence was gay.” Robin says.
“And she knows where we live.” Andy says.
“Look I’m sure it’ll blow over but be careful. Elliot come and see me or Anna tomorrow and we’ll get your access sorted.” Mike says.
Anna, Mike and John leave.
“It’s confusing with 2 Johns.” Jesse laughs.
“Yeah but this one is a lot nicer than the other.” Gervais says.
“Are you guys okay with me staying here until winter break? I’m going home for Thanksgiving.” Elliot asks.
“I’m okay with it. We have an air mattress from camping too you can use. If everyone else is okay with it.” Blue says.
“What he means is, if I’m okay with it and I am. I know you wouldn’t go after Andy again and you wouldn’t have in the first place if you’d known me.” Spence says.
“I might have. I always like a challenge but I accept you are all off limits.” Elliot says.
“Its fine with me, you can’t go back to your room with no heat given its snowing.” Gervais says.
“No problem from me either but you need to not sleep in too late so we can use this room.” Robin says.
“That’s fair. Thanks for the mattress idea Blue, mine isn’t worth dragging over here.” Elliot says.
“Are you really okay with Elliot being here?” Andy asks Spence in bed later.
“Yes its fine. I’m glad you’re back here with me and not still over there.” Spence says.
“It was fine but with no heating or hot water it’s not really habitable. Not many people are still over there. They get a great deal if they move though as they only pay the low rate the rest of the year.” Andy says.
“I like Elliot, he’ll fit in and its good for Blue to have someone to talk to as we’re back together and Gervais is with Jesse.” Andy says.
“We talk about Blue too much.” Spence says.
“We’re both a bit in love with him and care that he’s having a rough time.” Andy says.
“I think we all need to back off and let him find his own way.” Spence says.
“You’ve changed.” Andy says.
“I feel guilty, we pushed him at Brad and that’s where it all went wrong. Gervais wouldn’t have been with Jesse, and the two of them might have found their way at their own pace.” Spence says.
“Gervais is a fool.” Andy says.