“Can we talk?” Andy asks Spence when he gets in from work.
“Can I shower first? I am covered in chalk and honey and who knows what.” Spence says.
Andy nods trying not to feel frustrated at being second again.
“Join me?” Spence asks.
“Nah if I do we’ll spend the rest of the night fucking.” Andy says.
“Sounds good to me.” Spence says and Andy rolls his eyes.
Spence frowns then goes ahead and gets ready for his shower. Sometimes he feels like he doesn’t know Andy any more. His boyfriend used to be the first to suggest a long sexfest. Is Andy getting it elsewhere again? Spence stops and thinks for a minute. Nah if he was Andy would be more attentive to Spence to stop him noticing. He honestly can’t think of what he’s done wrong this time.
Things have been good. Okay he’s coaching 4 nights a week, all day Saturday and Sunday mornings but he’s working for their future.
Spence is splitting his coaching between wrestling and gymnastics, loving using the years of knowledge he built up as a wrestler and learning new things every day in gymnastics. He’s as happy as he’s ever been, his classes are good, he feels his social life is okay, especially having climbing again. He loves spending time talking shop with DeShawn and chilling out with the others and nights with Andy are still amazing.
Spence knows that he and Andy don’t have enough time together but he can’t think what else he’s doing wrong. Andy has changed so much it could be anything. Not for the first time Spence worries he’s already lost Andy.
“What is it baby?” Spence asks back in the room.
“The same as before. I need more from you. Right now I feel like a sex toy.” Andy says.
“What the fuck? That is crazy.” Spence says.
“Sorry, sex toy, massage therapist and cheerleader.” Andy quips.
“We talk all the time. Every night and we’re affectionate which is what you asked for.” Spence says utterly confused and honestly too tired to deal with this.
“When was the last time you showed me any affection? When did you last ask about my day? How many times do I have to rub your feet before you even stroke my arm?” Andy asks.
“It’s not that bad.” Spence says.
“Says the guy who is getting all his needs met by his boyfriend. I have to go elsewhere if I need a hug or to talk or cheering up.” Andy says calmly.
“I’m sorry you feel that way. You need to cut me some slack, I’m so busy and so tired.” Spence says.
“And self-involved and selfish.” Andy says.
“Quit with the insults and nagging. I’m not going to want to spend the little free time I have with you if this is what I get.” Spence says exhausted by Andy’s neediness. Andy has never been needy and it is so unattractive.
“You don’t get to speak to me like that.” Andy says feeling the last 4 years slipping from reach.
“I’m sorry. It’s just this side of you is so unattractive that I automatically try and shut it down as
quickly as possible.” Spence admits.
“Would you even notice if we broke up?” Andy asks.
“You know I love you.” Spence says.
“Do l?” Andy asks.
“l do with all my heart, in the long term my packed schedule is temporary and I’m sorry if you feel neglected, I’ll try and make sure to make you feel good. I’ve next Saturday and Sunday off for my birthday we can spend some time together then and I’ve turned down work so I can come home with you over winter break.” Spence says.
“I’m not asking for anything big. I’m asking you to sometimes think about me when you ask for something.” Andy says.
“You always loved massaging me in high school.” Spence says.
“In high school you’d comfort me when I missed Katelyn.” Andy says.
“” miss my family too.” Spence says.
Andy’s heart sinks. He’ll see how next weekend goes, but this can’t go on. Spence has changed just as much as he has and he isn’t sure he likes him at all.
“I’m not saying you don’t. I am saying I am there for you when you miss your family, I hold you all night when you are sad. I ask you how they’re doing when they call. If I talk to Roe or Katelyn when you are here you act impatient and as soon as I’m done you ask for something for you.” Andy says.
“You are exaggerating. I don’t need to ask how they’re doing as I can hear and I always say hello to them.” Spence says.
“So its all in my head is it?” Andy asks.
“You’ve spent too much time with Blue and gone all soft and sensitive. I don’t want that guy.” Spence admits.
“So why not end it? Or is this your plan? Treat me like shit so I dump you and you can play the injured party and keep all our friends.” Andy asks.
“I am not Miles, I don’t have the energy to be that manipulative. Let’s face it we’ve both changed and we’re both still adjusting. I don’t want to give up. Please baby. Can you not give me some gentle nudges instead of bottling it all up and needing these big talks?” Spence asks softening and worrying how close to the end they are.
Andy nods figuring this is Spence at least acknowledging they have issues.
The following evening they have dinner in the dining hall as its Jesse and Elliot’s turn to host.
Blue sits down with his food while George and the others are still waiting on theirs and Gervais seizes the opportunity to talk to Blue alone.
“I’m sorry for being so harsh the other week. I didn’t know how else to handle things.” Gervais says.
“You were really mean.” Blue says for once not melting at Gervais apology.
“l was and I’m sorry. It is hard to be around you and hard to lose you.” Gervais says.
“I take it things are going well with Chris. So you feel okay talking to me.” Blue says.
“Things are good. I’m having fun.” Gervais says.
“Good.” Blue says as the others sit down.
“So next week it is my birthday.” Spence says.
“And you’re going to be rich, rich, rich!” Elliot says.
“I am and I want to celebrate with you guys. On Saturday night I propose an orgy in the suite. If you’re going to get jealous of your partner or crush then please stay away. Otherwise no holds barred a chance for us all to fuck, fuck, fuck.” Spence says to Andy’s surprise, he thought they’d just have a party.
“I’m in.” Elliot says looking at Jesse as he answers.
“Me too, if it gets too much my room might actually get slept in. But I think I can handle it.” Jesse says.
“And the rest of you? You in?” Spence asks a little disappointed at the lack of enthusiasm.
“I’m in for sure.” DeShawn says.
“Me too.” Say Dylan and Deke.
“I need to talk to George first.” Blue says.
“We can go, it’ll be fun.” George says and Blue deflates a little.
“I’ll be there.” Gervais says.
“And I feel utterly excluded.” Robin says with a smile.
“Will you bring Chris?” Elliot asks.
“No way are you all meeting him for the first time naked.” Gervais laughs.
“Maybe bring him next Sunday then.” Blue says.
“I’m not subjecting him to you all en masse, clothed or naked. Just let me do things my way.” Says Gervais testily.
“We just feel shut out of your life not knowing your boyfriend.” Jesse says.
“It’s still new and right now I get to control how much he knows about me. Meeting you lot would change that. I want a relationship based in the now and not on my past.” Gervais says.
Blue gets up and leaves. He was just trying to be friendly and again it turned into a reminder that he wasn’t good enough, that he’s got it all wrong with Gervais. Embarrassed and not wanting to face everyone Blue heads to his car and goes on a drive to clear his head. He thought things were okay now but 2 minutes with Gervais and he can’t function.
“Why did you do that?” George asks quietly.
“l didn’t do anything.” Gervais says.
“You know he blames himself for your breakup and it just adds to him feeling inadequate. These dinners are meant to bring us together.” George says firmly.
“Then why not be mad at Spence? He used the dinner to invite everyone but Robin to his birthday.
“That was mean.” Andy says.
“Wait, wait, wait. You left Blue, out the blue and he blames himself?” DeShawn asks Gervais who shrugs.
“Blue is usually amazing at knowing what people need emotionally and he blames himself for not knowing what Gervais needed. However much he knows what Gervais did was terrible to him he still feels like he drove him away.” Deke says.
“That is messed up.” DeShawn says.
“Right, but it is how he is. He could get away with being a total shit and would still have guys all over him, we would all still want to hang out with him. He takes everything to heart and that can make him seem difficult and over sensitive at times but he uses every experience to try and better himself.
He’ll be killing himself analyzing everything with Gervais trying to work out what he got wrong.”
Dylan says surprising everyone else round the table.
“And every time Gervais hints at problems he has with Blue’s character, even though he doesn’t mean it and is just lashing out sends Blue into another spin.” George says.
“But he was that way before me and he will be when he eventually dumps George.” Gervais says.
“Hey, stick in your own lane.” George says.
“l know him better than any of you and he knows me better than anyone on earth. He knows all my faults, when I lash out and when I lie. I’m not causing him a mental breakdown.” Gervais says.
“I’d never thought of it like that. It’s true he does know you that well.” Andy says.
“When did you get on team Blue?” Gervais asks Dylan.
“When I got my head out my ass. When I realized that how John treated him was manipulative and that he discarded Blue just like he did me when we were no longer of use. You guys, all of you were so patient with me and so helpful. Even when you hated me and were fed up with me you put up with more than you should. Every one of you has helped me come out the other side of coming out. John should have been the one helping me, he was meant to love me.” Dylan says.
“You are well rid of him. Chucking you out of climbing. Dropping all of us. It’s not who any of us thought he was.” Jesse says.
“Yeah you might not have been who he wanted when you came out but he has changed too. He was your best friend.” Elliot says.
“Robin I’m sorry my plans didn’t include you. I always planned that the Sunday dinner would be a birthday dinner with cake and beer and you’re included in that.” Spence says.
“Or he might want to watch us.” George says with a grin.
“I’ll be fine to keep out the way. At least I know not to bring a girl back that night.” Robin laughs.
The guys get back to less emotive topics and enjoy their usual time together.
George worries when they go back that Blue isn’t there and hasn’t got his phone. He should have gone after him but knows Blue would have wanted some time alone.
“How come you are up for Spence’s party?” Andy asks Gervais in Gervais room.
“Spence and I are still friends and it sounds fun. There is nothing wrong with Chris or our sex life.”
“So you’re happy and there is no hope for Blue?” Andy asks.
“I’m happy. Chris isn’t a great love or anything but I like being with someone who doesn’t know my past. I overcame so much last year and its nice to have a relationship where we’re not working round my hang ups.” Gervais says.
“And none of us get to weigh in on how its going. I can understand that. I’ll likely do the same in my next relationship.” Andy says.
“Things still not working with Spence?” Gervais asks.
“Not at all. He needs someone with lower self-esteem who will look after him and support him and not expect anything back. If they are happy to top too then he’ll probably marry them.” Andy laughs bitterly.
“As someone who has walked away from the man I expected to be with forever, the grass is not always greener and living with the regret is tough.” Gervais says.
“You regret it?” Andy asks.
“Yes and no. I regret throwing it away, we were building towards a future and that felt amazing, best feeling in the world to wake with someone who loves you despite your flaws who you can be yourself entirely because you know he’ll never leave. But I’m certain at some point I would have felt trapped. I could be myself entirely but I always wanted to be my best self for him and it would have got exhausting. And I felt like I had him trapped, that if my anxiety and mental issues resurfaced, he’d be stuck caring for me. Obviously we went through some of that when my dad died, he was totally focused on me to his own detriment and that was a lot of responsibility that I’m glad to be free from.” Gervais says.
“So you do still love him.” Andy says.
“Of course I do. It’s so hard hurting him but every time I’m nice you can see it in his face that he thinks if he can be better I’ll want him back. You love him too.” Gervais says.
“I do. I don’t know if its that way or just as family. The way he does his thing, slips in like superman to make you feel good when you’re down. How did you give that up?” Andy asks.
“He still does it. I know it’s a safety net when we’re in a group but I am so much better at managing things myself now.” Gervais says.
“Does Chris fill in?” Andy asks curious at what they guy who is keeping Gervais from Blue is like.
“Not in the same way but sure he’ll suggest we get off campus if he’s knows I’m feeling hemmed in and he’ll pick me up and spin me round when he wants to make me laugh.” Gervais says with a smile.
“Spence hasn’t made an effort for a long time. Not since last semester. I feel like he did with George all summer and he ran out of hugs or something.” Andy says.
“Maybe you were the same. I saw your brain flicker when you decided to seduce Deke. You put effort into keeping him. I mean you didn’t need to exactly, Deke didn’t require much effort but maybe Spence is still feeling hurt that you made the effort.” Gervais says.
“If I went for Blue would we stay friends?” Andy asks.
“I doubt it.” Gervais says honestly.
“And I’d lose George and Spence. Maybe Robin too.” Andy says.
“What makes you think Blue would succumb? I mean you’re not his type and he seems happy with
George.” Gervais says.
“I don’t know. I feel protective of him and he is that way with me and my family. Actually the way he gets on with Katelyn and Roe is a huge part of it. I don’t know that’s all reasons for me to go for him not him to go for me.” Andy shrugs.
“He won’t drop George for you and when that is over he won’t date you unless Spence is happy. And maybe not even then because it might cause issues with your family.” Gervais says giving Andy a dose of reality.
“l think Spence and DeShawn should get together.” Andy says suddenly.
“Well you better find someone for Dylan then because they might just be friends with benefits but if Spence and DeShawn got together while Dylan was single there would be hell to pay for all of us.” Gervais laughs.
“He has changed, Dylan I mean.” Andy says.
“Not that much.” Gervais laughs.
“No I guess not but I might distract Dylan at Spence’s party to see if Spence and DeShawn have good chemistry.” Andy says with a wicked grin.
“I am down with that plan. If you need some help say. Sounds like you’re resigned to it being over with Spence.” Gervais says.
“I’m going to try my hardest to keep us together, this is his last shot. I want to see how he is on winter break with my family, how he is with me without a million distractions.” Andy says.
“You don’t love Blue, that way. You just see him as an escape route, a fall back.” Gervais says suddenly.
“Maybe. He’d be a great husband, maybe I just love your old fantasy, Blue working in the vineyard, running the show, baking and the kids running round.” Andy says and Gervais can’t help but shed a tear for his lost future.
“It was a beautiful dream. I still want to support it. I mean when we graduate, I was serious about wanting to invest.” Gervais says.
“I secretly hope Katelyn might invest in us. But not if it made her uncomfortable to see our place knowing his money paid for it.” Andy says.
“Whether you end up making beer or wine or preserves or growing everything to make those darn addictive cookies of his I can see it working, I can feel it. Maybe not for the first few years, maybe you’ll have some disasters and try a dozen things but something will stick. Somehow you’ll find the right combination of growing and making.” Gervais says, it feels really, really good to be able to admit his dreams out loud and not be laughed at. He can’t tell Chris because Chris doesn’t know the extent of his wealth and no boyfriend would be that thrilled to hear about plans to work with an ex.
“Maybe it’ll be your kids running around.” Andy says.
“Maybe it will. Do you want to come out with Ocean sometime? I’ve taken him on one outing but I feel I owe him a few more.” Gervais says.
“Not next weekend we’ll be wasted but after that for sure.” Andy says.
“How come you’re wanting to hang out with me?” Gervais asks.
“I don’t want you to disappear from the group. I don’t want any of us to feel as ostracized as Blue was last semester. I want to remind you, you have friends who care. And you are one terrific listener.” Andy says.
“I’ve had to keep away. You know that. I’m okay and I don’t feel pushed out. I am coming every
Sunday and if no one objects I’m going to come climbing on Fridays. I miss hanging out with you guys too.” Gervais says.
“I’m glad you’re not disappearing on us.” Andy says and hugs his friend before going to see Spence.
“Where were you?” Spence asks.
“With Gervais, just catching up.” Andy says.
“You can’t complain about not getting enough attention and disappear when I’m free.” Spence grumbles.
“You can’t expect me to timetable my life around you.” Andy says.
“George is worried about Blue, he’s taken the car and left his phone here.” Spence says.
“I expect he’s driven out of the city to have a good walk and clear his head.” Andy says.
“You’re not worried? Can you speak to George?” Spence asks.
“Sure.” Andy shrugs and goes into George’s room.
“I should have gone after him.” George says worriedly as Robin is sat next to him comforting him, it’s clear he’s been repeating the same thing over and over.
“He’ll come back and be fine. He’s not used to having to check in with people and it won’t have crossed his mind that you’re worried.” Andy says.
“I’ve been telling him the same but he won’t listen.” Robin says.
Andy and Robin try to distract George and an hour later Blue comes in refreshed and calm.
“Where were you? I was worried.” George says jumping up.
“I needed to clear my head.” Blue says bemused by George’s reaction.
Andy and Robin slip out squeezing Blue on the arm and shoulder as they go.
“Don’t shut me out.” George says.
“Hypocrite.” Blue replies.
“What?” George asks.
“Accepting the invite to Spence’s orgy without talking to me.” Blue says.
“You don’t want to go?” George asks confused.
“No, of course I don’t want to.” Blue says.
“But you had threeways when you were with Gervais.” George says.
“And they were mutually agreed.” Blue says.
“Do you want me not to go?” George asks.
“l won’t stop you.” Blue says.
“That’s not the same.” George says.
“I want you to not want to go, but you do want to.” Blue says.
“So I messed up?” George asks.
“No, you were honest and I want you to be honest.” Blue says.
“But you’ll be upset if I go and feel guilty if I don’t so we’re stuck.” George says.
“Go, you have my blessing.” Blue says slipping out the room. He’d been feeling fine until that conversation.
“Hey.” Gervais says.
“Sorry for storming out. It wasn’t your fault.” Blue says.
“I know and you never, ever treated me negatively because of my past. I was actually thinking of
Jesse.” Gervais says.
“I figured that once I was in the car. Are we okay now? Can we be friends? I promise I won’t push for more.” Blue says.
“I don’t know. It can’t ever be like it was. You know that.” Gervais says.
“l do. I miss being able to talk to you.” Blue says.
“l had a big chat with Andy while you were gone, sounds like you two are closer than ever.” Gervais says.
“We are, but I still censor myself a little with him, with Robin too.” Blue says.
“And I’ve given you trust issues so you don’t talk to George in the same way.” Gervais smiles.
“I’m not going to talk about George with you. I guess we’ve grown a long way apart since I used to vent about Austin.” Blue smiles.
“When you thought you were terrible in bed. Man you got that wrong.” Gervais smiles.
“Wasn’t so good that you stayed.” Blue says and they look at each other, neither needing to say it was the best ever.
“If you don’t object I’ll join in with climbing on Fridays.” Gervais says breaking the moment.
“I have no problem with it. I’d love to see you there. I think we’re safest around the others. I best go because us in a room alone is a bad idea and I’ll be breaking that promise not to ask for more soon. Man we have chemistry.” Blue says and backs out the door.
“We really do.” Gervais sighs to the empty room. Gervais contemplates going over to see Chris but feels he can’t use his boyfriend every time he has an encounter with his ex. Blue is too damn nice.
If he was a regular guy he wouldn’t have to worry and they’d be able to bang occasionally and not let these feelings get in the way.
Gervais lies back and tries to convince himself he’s doing the right thing pushing Blue away. He’s started to fall for Chris who has softened a little and seems a decent guy underneath his material ways. He’s easy to please and doesn’t ask too much of Gervais. His lack of demand on Gervais feelings are making him choose to give more and more. It isn’t like with Blue and Gervais doesn’t expect anything will be, he accepts his punishment for messing that up is never having it again. He can’t step back into Blue’s life, not now.
Gervais thinks back to earlier in the evening and what Andy said. Andy and Blue could be a solid forever couple, and that terrifies him. It can’t happen any time soon but it could happen. Nah of course Blue would never go for a guy who needs the freedom Andy enjoys when away from Spence.
But would he ever be away from Blue in the same way?
It’s weird feeling this jealousy. If Chris was having similar thoughts about an ex Gervais would be crushed. He runs the scenarios through his head of Chris dating other people in general or one of his friends specifically and is surprised at just how upset he feels. Chris really has slipped into his heart.