Gervais looks round his room in Paris, it is beautiful, tiny but impeccably furnished and if he sticks his head out the window he almost has a view. Fergus wanted to stay somewhere grander but Gervais put his foot down as he seems to still be picking up all the bills.
Last week they had a crazy time in Berlin, visiting sex clubs, the week before they were in Prague staying in a castle and drinking til dawn. Gervais feels like he’s alive after hibernation.
After the hedonism the romance of Paris is just what Gervais craved, of course it’s a busy city like any other but he has ignored the downsides and is loving everything.
“Hey birthday boy.” Fergus says waking and kissing Gervais.
Gervais smiles and strokes Fergus face.
“Have you got a present for me?” Gervais asks.
“I have the finest rump right here.” Fergus says slapping his own ass.
Gervais grins and the get down to it.
They have a romantic day walking round the city and enjoying the sights. It took a little getting used to Fergus he can be very up and down. But Gervais accept that he is going through a world of changes.
“I have booked a nice restaurant tonight so dress up.” Fergus says and Gervais smiles. It is his first birthday without his dad and he’s feeling weird about it. If he was home his dad would put on a suit and take him to dinner, the one time a year he thought maybe his dad cared.
He checks his phone before he heads out and Blue has sent him a happy birthday text. Nothing from the others. He fully understand they are all on Blue’s side this time and hell they probably don’t even know it is his birthday. He’s tried not to think about Blue all trip. Right now he needs this full escape and he had to lose Blue to do it.
Gervais shakes himself back to the present.
“You look really nice.” Gervais says.
“You are looking super-hot.” Fergus says with a big smile.
They link arms as they walk through the city to the restaurant. Fergus makes a big deal about ordering a bottle of champagne for Gervais birthday and Gervais smiles, he’s been okay picking up the tab so far as Fergus bought the flights from the US and has been a terrific tour guide but its time he started chipping in more.
“You’re really spoiling me.” Gervais smiles.
“It is your special day. 19 so, so young.” Fergus smiles.
“Where do you want to go next?” Gervais asks.
“Amsterdam or London?” Fergus asks.
“Amsterdam.” Gervais replies.
“I know a wonderful hotel, 5stars near dam square, American service with European views.” Fergus says.
“Sounds expensive.” Gervais says arching his eyebrow, he didn’t want to incite a row on his birthday but he hasn’t much money left and wants that to be clear.
“But my sugarbaby will indulge me.” Fergus says in a jokey voice.
“Your sugarbaby is almost tapped out. You know I have to wait for my inheritance.” Gervais says.
“You have the money from the settlement, that can’t be gone.” Fergus says looking a little worried.
“The what money?” Gervais asks feigning ignorance, knowing he has never told Fergus about the inheritance from his mother.
“The inheritance from your mom.” Fergus says.
“She died 19 years ago, any money would have been used to put me through school and to pay for nannies. There was never any left to me, it was used for what it was meant for.” Gervais lies the final scales falling from his eyes.
“Spence must have been mistaken.” Fergus says gathering himself.
“He must have. I have some money my dad gave me to travel this summer before he died and my savings.” Gervais says being deliberately vague about how much he has.
“I’m sure with the money from your dad due you can get a bigger limit on your credit card.” Fergus says.
“I’m sure with your trust fund you can cover us.” Gervais counters.
“Alas until I turn 30 or my parents come round, I’m broke.” Fergus says
“Then leaving Maggie was foolish.” Gervais says.
“Extremely, but I wanted you so much. I haven’t been able to get you out of my head all year.” Fergus says turning the charm up.
Gervais smiles but he’s done now the truth is out, clearly it wasn’t Fergus choice to leave Maggie and he was just the first person Fergus found stupid enough to fund him. He’s grateful to Fergus for bringing him here and for all of the trip so far but he’s going to take his new confidence and go it alone for the last part of the trip and stay in hostels and cheap places. He feels quite excited at the thought.
“I’ll go to the bathroom, if the waiter comes please order dessert for me.” Gervais says getting up and heading to the bathroom, checking Fergus isn’t looking he slips out and runs back to the hotel.
He feels bad leaving Fergus like that but there is no way he’s footing the bill for his birthday meal Gervais chuckles to himself.
At the hotel he packs quickly, they’ve barely unpacked, it doesn’t take long. He stashes Fergus things at the bell desk and checks out, feeling quite proud of himself. He sits in the lobby for a few minutes and searches for another hotel room. He’s going to have a night of luxury for his birthday and re-plan the rest of his trip.
He hails a cab and is pulling away as a red faced Fergus approaches the hotel.
He checks in to his new room and spends some time enjoying the view and bouncing on the bed. It is a bit of a waste to be here alone but he needs some time to think and plan. He works out how much money he’ll have left after paying for tonight and realizes he’ll now need to buy a flight home.
He’ll need to use some of the money from his mom, he’d never have burned through it to keep Fergus entertained but he can justify using a little to see more of Europe and get home. But he’ll be frugal, that money is for his future. Gervais stop for a minute and feels a full panic attack coming on. He lies back on the bed and tries to breath.
The future he dreamed of is gone, it is ashes. There will be no happy ever after in his farmhouse with Blue and the kids running round. He’ll never come in from work to the smell of Blue’s baking, he’ll never wake up to that beautiful smile, never fall asleep in those strong arms. The enormity of his actions hit him all at once and he clutches the pillow and sobs his heart out.
Robin settles in quickly at Blue’s house and enjoys kid wrangling up at the retreat, working outdoors with Blue or Andy and his shifts in the cafe. The three split the jobs between them so they can have variety and so they can spend time with each other.
Clara takes to Robin straight away and he lightens the mood in the house, pitching in with chores without being asked and chatting away to whoever is there and being a model guest.
Deke feeling a little pushed out invites the trio to a cookout at the lake.
“I was dying of boredom at home. Took a lot to persuade my Mom to let me come up here though. Until Blue arrived and charmed her with his defeated puppy eyes.” Robin says.
“Ahh I knew she wouldn’t want me to be all sad and lonely. Plus she was fed up with you being on your computer 20 hours a day and I promised you’d be outdoors most the time.” Blue laughs.
“Worked like a charm.” Robin says.
“You’ve made so many friends this year. Is it hard keeping everyone straight when you have so many people around?” Deke asks.
“I found it exhausting the first few weeks. 5 of us just living together, when that was the total size of my class at school. Up here we all know each other inside out and I had to learn how to back off and be more superficial with people. I was so homesick.” Blue says.
“Ahem you two did not know each other inside out.” Andy laughs.
“Oh so we didn’t know one thing. We know pretty much everything else.” Blue says rolling his eyes.
“I still find it funny you were closeted until 18. Deke how have your family taken it?” Robin asks.
“My parents are great with it. Though they did ask straight away if I was dating Blue and what an asset he could be to the farm if we married.” Deke laughs.
“What about your brothers? They’re pretty masculine, overtly straight types.” Blue says.
“There has been trouble but I’m not taking it personally. My oldest brother at some point got it into his head that the farm would be passed to him as oldest son and he and my middle bro had come with some plan to run it together. They are both studying agriculture at college and have lots of plans to keep the farm profitable and evolving which to be fair is great and exactly what we need.” Deke says.
“What has that got to do with you loving my fat cock?” Andy asks and Deke blushes.
“Let him tell the story, I heard some of the gossip about it in the café, I want the full story.” Robin says.
“So they come home from college Joe, the eldest has graduated and he has been talking to dad about him taking a backseat and looking towards retiring and handing over. Given I’m only just about to go to college and my sister is only 13 my dad was not thinking of retiring yet, he’s not even 50 and Joe has a lot to learn yet.” Deke says.
“Oh boy.” Blue says smiling imagining the scene.
“And Joe is all it’ll be all mine one day and they should support him in his career choice by handing over now so he and Pete need to take control now to make it a success. My mom pointed out the only way they could afford to retire would be to sell the farm and Joe hasn’t the money to buy them out and that when they do hand it over it will be to all 5 of us equally.” Deke says.
“Oh boy I bet he hit out.” Blue says.
“Yes he said I was a faggot and it was a waste to give me a share as I would have no kids to pass it on to and that Mary doesn’t count as she’s a girl and can marry into another farm.” Deke says.
“He actually said faggot?” Robin asks shocked.
“My mom was spitting angry and could speak so my dad stepped in and said there were no guarantees that Joe or Pete would have children and would they really think they shouldn’t inherit if they didn’t find a wives or had infertility issues.” Deke says.
“I cannot imagine your dad saying infertility.” Blue says.
“I know right? Then Joe is all well we’ll adopt because we know how important families are to farms. And my dad points out that I could adopt and if I did they’d love my kids just as much as any biological grandkids they might have and my mom and I just started bawling.” Deke says.
“That is so sweet, your dad is amazing.” Andy says a little choked up.
“I’ll know. So Joe and Pete have taken off to work on my uncle’s farm at least for the summer and I guess they’ll be trying to persuade him to give them free reign.” Deke says.
“I thought your farm was doing pretty well. Your dad is always diversifying and coming up with new ideas. Momma is always talking about deals he’s made.” Blue says.
“Yeah, my uncle is the opposite, he hates farming and will probably give them the freedom they want as long as it doesn’t cost him too much. But I can see it all backfiring. Him using them to turn his place into a success then selling up.” Deke says.
“Karma for calling you a faggot.” Andy says.
“Are you wanting to be a farmer? I mean our school is not good for that sort of thing at all.” Robin says.
“Which is why I was allowed to apply.” Blue says.
“I have no interest at all. I love it up here but I want a job indoors with air conditioning.” Deke laughs.
“What about your sister?” Robin asks.
“She really wants to, but she’s 13 and that could all change but she would not be happy to work for Joe, they do not get along at all.” Deke says.
“I like my sisters well enough but I wouldn’t want to work with them.” Robin says.
“I’d work with Katelyn, she’s so smart she’d be my boss within minutes.” Andy says proudly.
“Oh my god her nail business has been amazing. She gave my mom and her 2 sisters a pamper night and they loved it. They rarely get to do things like that unless they go to the city. Your sister is going to be that kid who makes a million before they graduate high school.” Deke says.
“Technically she already has.” Andy sighs.
“Was it that much?” Robin asks.
“More, or it will be when it is all sorted out. Its one scary responsibility for me. Clara has been giving me loads of advice and your parents have been a great help Robin.” Andy says visibly stressed.
“If she doesn’t want it does it matter if it loses value?” Blue asks.
“I owe it to her to make sure it doesn’t or at least as best I can. She might change her mine, in 6 years it’ll be a distant memory and she’ll be needing it to pay for college or whatever.” Andy says.
“Are you jealous that she could have it easy? No need to worry about paying for college or buying a home.” Deke asks.
“No, I mean Spence is wealthy anyway and if we stay together I won’t have to worry about those things either. If we split up and I have to work for those things myself then I still think I’d be okay with it.” Andy muses.
“I’m not jealous of Spence or Blue. Not that you’d know Blue was rich 99% of the time and Spence has become a lot less showy. The last few months have made me so aware how lucky I am to have the family I have.” Robin says.
“Your parent are great and worth a thousand of Spence’s parents.” Andy says.
“Are you looking forward to college Deke? Have you been in touch with your roommate?” Blue asks.
“I’m okay about it now I know all you guys. I hope you’ll be okay with a freshman tagging along. I’ve not got a roommate, I’m in a suite like you were and have the single.” Deke says.
“Yay you can have sleepovers.” Andy says.
“You are so going to slut it up.” Robin says and Deke blushes.
“I doubt anyone will want a gangly farm boy but I sure will try.” Deke says.
“All our friends are coupled up so we can’t even set you up with anyone.” Robin says.
“Uh hello, Dylan, George, me, all single. Anyone heard from Jesse or Elliot? They still together?” Blue asks.
“Thought you’d be checking in on them as they’re at Gervais house.” Andy says.
“Not my responsibility anymore.” Blue says.
“My mom calls them weekly, they’re fine and happy and very much together.” Robin says.
“Have you heard from Gervais?” Deke asks.
“I sent him a happy birthday message this morning. I doubt he replied.” Blue says.
“Would you take him back, if he asked?” Robin asks.
“No I don’t think so. If we were really right for each other it wouldn’t have taken us so long to get together and he wouldn’t have left me so fast. I mean when he broke up with Jesse he gave him a real explanation and heard him out. And once we got here he was always picking at me, why didn’t I have any friends, why didn’t I draw any more, why was I such a loser. I was never good enough.” Blue says.
“It wasn’t all like that. You two were solid. Stop reading things into it, what you had was real, he loved you. Whatever he is going through it was nothing to do with you. I think you should be open to him when he gets back.” Andy says.
“Because Spence took you back? Do you think what Gervais has done is similar to what you did?” Blue asks.
“Maybe. I was reckless with Spence, took him for granted and had a crazy ego. He waited for me to work through it and took me back. He knew I still loved him even though I had treated him badly.” Andy says.
“Treat him badly.” Deke says.
“He knows about you just as I know about George. We set boundaries and we stick to them. Not being monogamous doesn’t mean I’m treating him badly.” Andy says.
“Are you jealous of Spence and George?” Robin asks.
“No.” Says Andy.
“What about you Blue?” Robin asks.
“No, I have you as a cuddle buddy.” Blue smiles.
“Wait I thought you were the straight one? Or was that a joke because you’re so camp?” Deke asks.
“I’m straight, I love girls, women, vag, boobs. I have tried and tried to be gay and although I’ve had some fun with Blue and Spence and have some curiosity about guys from a pleasure perspective I don’t have attraction.” Robin says.
“Blue and Gervais not Blue and Spence.” Andy says.
“All 3. Not at the same time.” Robin says.
“When?” Andy asks.
“At that wrestling comp.” Robin says.
“I swear I didn’t know about that.” Andy says shocked, not jealous, just surprised.
“Are you coming to the beach with us?” Robin asks Deke.
“Nah my mom would spit if I disappeared a week early for school. She has this whole road trip planned to get me to school, she did the same with my brothers when they first left. I’m looking forward to it.” Deke says.
“That sounds great. Will your dad cope without her?” Blue asks.
“He’ll be fine, if its just him and little sis things will probably run pretty smoothly.” Deke says.
“I have enjoyed my summer of work but a week where my only exertion is pounding Spence is my idea of bliss. I will drink and eat and tan and fuck.” Andy says with a big grin.
“Ugh Robin I think we have to be on the beach all day avoiding the sound of Andy and Spence.” Blue says.
“Oh I expect we’ll do it on the beach too.” Andy says.
Deke looks at Andy sadly. He really enjoyed what they had and was really disappointed that it all stopped so abruptly when he got back from seeing Spence. He tried so hard not to fall for Andy but knows it was inevitable. However cool he tried to portray himself to Blue he knew it was going to happen.
“Is Dylan really coming?” Robin asks.
“He apologized to me and was quite nice. Though he and George had issues earlier in the summer. I think he’s probably just as volatile as before but Spence likes him.” Blue says.
“If you’re not waiting on Gervais will you get with George?” Andy asks.
“It’s too soon.” Blue says.
“Why? You like him and he likes you. You know you’re compatible in bed which is more than you were with Austin. You don’t like being single, and most your attempts to get a boyfriend were pretty tragic last year.” Andy says.
“I don’t want to use someone as lovely as George as my rebound. He deserves better. I’d be taking advantage of his crush.” Blue says.
“But you’re good friends and had a good time in bed. He’s not a rebound, you’d be moving on. I mean you could easily fall in love with George. I really like George and I think he’s be lower maintenance than Gervais. I bed you’ll be licking ice-cream off his stomach before the end of the first day.” Robin says.
“That sounds fun but I am not great to be around right now. You guys have been so patient with me and I really appreciate it.” Blue says.
“You’ve mostly been great. I could have done with more honey cakes and less pesto but you’ve not put a bad meal in front of me. Though I will be eating a whole cow when we’re at the beach.” Andy laughs.
“Yeah you’ve been quiet most evenings but we all have when we’re exhausted.” Robin says stroking Blue’s arm.
“I had such a crush on you this time last year. I was so hoping your girlfriend was imaginary and you’d declare you loved me while we got unpacked.” Blue says.
“Sorry you’re cute but not that cute.” Robin laughs and Blue pulls him into a hug and kisses him over and over and Robin tries to push him off.
The drive to the beach house is long but with 3 to share the driving it doesn’t feel too bad. They’re the last to arrive. Spence practically drags Andy from the car to the bedroom and Robin and Blue gather up their bags and take them indoors. Both feeling a little shy entering such a grand house.
They stash their bags in an empty bedroom and start to explore. They wave hello to Dylan, Elliot and Jesse who are sat round the pool and make their way down to the beach.
A cute guys is flying a kite, and Blue watches for a moment admiring both the kite and the man flying it.
“Oh! Its George.” He gasps with a smile when he realizes who he was admiring.