Gervais stays awake contemplating what to do. Gervais looks at the sleeping Blue with a mix of love and despair. If he ends it with Chris then Blue might never have a relationship with his brother, at least not for a long while. If he stays with Chris it feels like the final nail in the coffin of his relationship with Blue.
Maybe Chris will end things any way, if he was only a means to keep an eye on Blue from afar. The thought of losing him hurts but would be for the best. He cannot believe he replaced Blue with his brother, they are so different personality wise he never noticed how similar they look, was he really wanting a replacement for Blue so much that he found his double? Has he been in denial these months?
Gervais shakes his head. He just can’t comprehend any of it. So much for Blue to deal with, too much. He snuggles closer to Blue and Blue automatically shifts to hold him tight.
Blue wakes and immediately feels guilty that he’s in bed with Gervais and not George. He extracts himself from his sleeping ex and goes into his room.
“Where were you?” George asks groggily.
“Robin had an emergency with Bea and we stayed up late talking, I didn’t want to wake you when we got back. I’m going to bake. Any requests?” Blue asks.
“Kisses first.” George says with a smile.
Blue smiles and lies next to George and kisses him.
“I need to go and see Cheryl today. Then later we’ll need to talk, sorry to be vague, a lot happened last night but I’m not ready yet.” Blue says.
“But we’re okay?” George asks.
“We are good, really good. I’m sorry you should be the one I am talking to but I just can’t yet.” Blue says.
“You look far too troubled for this to just be about Bea and Robin. I trust you and I’m here when you need me.” George says.
“Thanks baby. I am really, really going to need you. Do you fancy choc chip pancakes and apple sauce? I have apples to use up. Or maybe apple dumplings?” Blue says trying to distract himself.
“What are apple dumplings?” George asks.
“You’ll love them but they’re not really breakfasty. Maybe I’ll make some tomorrow for dinner. Pancakes now, I want pancakes.” Blue says.
“I’ll come help.” George says. In the kitchen George fixes coffee and bacon for the meat eaters while Blue sets to work making a mountain of pancakes.
Gervais comes out and smiles at the pair. For once he’s glad that Blue has George, as he will be completely on Blue’s side though all of this.
Andy comes out too, and does his usual hugging of Blue while trying to steal food. The four sit together to eat and the others file out to join them and Blue makes a second and third batch. Happy to be able to do something practical.
“I don’t know whose turn it is this week but would you mind if I cook tomorrow? I think Gervais, Robin and George will help as Chris and Bea will be coming. DeShawn won’t be back anyway so I can go full veg if that’s okay? I was thinking lasagnas.” Blue says.
“No one is ever going to complain about being served your pasta Blue.” Elliot says with a smile.
“I’ll come to the store with you, I’d really appreciate it if you could make an extra pan, my schedule is crazy this week and I’d rather heat up some of your food and see more of Andy than eat alone with whatever is left downstairs at 5 to close.” Spence says.
“I can do that but there is no guarantee that Andy won’t beat you to it.” Blue laughs.
“Oh make him enough cookies and he won’t look for leftovers.” Spence laughs and ruffles Andy’s hair. Andy smiles at his boyfriend in shock, Spence has just admitted they need more time together and made a truce with Blue all at once.
“Call me when you’re off work and we’ll shop. Any dessert requests?” Blue asks.
“Cheesecake.” Half of them reply and laugh.
“Wait you and Gervais have melted the ice and he’s finally letting us meet Chris? What’s going on?” Elliot asks.
“Is everyone in tonight?” Blue asks.
They all nod, no one has plans.
“Someone order in the pizzas, I’ll get food for me. I have some explaining to do that won’t wait for tomorrow.” Blue sighs.
Jesse looks at Blue and feels concerned. Its clear Blue, Andy, Robin and Gervais are exhausted. They’re all far quieter than usual and look awful, more so than is normal after a night out. Jesse’s blood runs cold as he wonders if one of them is sick or one of their parents.
“Whatever is going on let us know if you need anything.” Jesse says.
“Thanks Jesse. We’re good right now.” Blue says.
“Though if you’ve time to clean up the kitchen before work Blue won’t complain.” Andy says.
“We have time. Thanks for breakfast Blue, that was incredible, you really know how to cure a hangover.” Elliot says.
“I love seeing you all enjoy my food. We shouldn’t just wait for Sundays.” Blue says.
“Its nice being just us, the original group without the 3 Ds.” Gervais says.
“I’m not an original but I agree sometimes it’s just too much.” George says.
“Is that a dig at me?” Jesse asks.
“No way. We get on so much better not sharing a room and you and Elliot don’t dominate the room the way Dylan can.” George says.
“And it’s nice to have Gervais around, and have him and Blue getting along.” Spence says surprising himself. He looks at the group and sees what he might lose if he loses Andy. He has to do better.
“We best get ready to go.” Blue says.
“Let’s shower together.” Spence says to Andy when they get in their room.
“Just shower?” Andy asks, so tired he can barely stand.
“You are clearly far too exhausted for more and I need all my energy for work.” Spence says.
“Then it would be lovely.” Andy smiles.
Spence tenderly washes Andy all over and kisses his face and neck over and over holding him close. Whatever went down last night is clearly troubling him.
Andy’s heart begins to melt from the freezer he’s put it in to cope with Spence’s indifference. This is all he needed, a few warm words and warm kisses. Spence taking charge a little.
“Thank you.” Andy says as they dry off.
“I totally get it. I’ve missed this closeness too. It’s not fair that you’ve had to do all the work for so long.” Spence says.
“Really?” Andy asks unsure.
“Really. And whatever is going on with you guys, I take it you can’t tell me yet. Take care and call if you need anything I finish at 6 but I might be able to get away earlier if you need me.” Spence says seeing just how terrible Andy looks and feeling worried.
“I’ll let you know. I’ll probably just sleep after seeing Cheryl. Blue is going to need us a lot in the next few weeks. He’ll really need you to be patient with him.” Andy says.
“We’re going to be okay, you and me and when we’re okay I have no issue with Blue. Whatever is going on, its clearly serious.” Spence says.
Andy nods not trusting himself to not say more. Spence wraps his arms round Andy and hugs him tight.
“Are you collecting Ocean? I can come in the car with you.” Andy smiles.
“Sounds good.” Spence says.
Blue clocks the smile on Andy’s face and sees him holding Spence’s hand and smiles. Those two might be able to work though their issues yet.
“Andy’s going with Spence. Which car shall we take?” Blue asks Robin.
“Mine. I think I got more sleep than either of you.” Robin says.
The three travel over to Cheryl’s cafe without really talking, they are all caught up in their own thoughts and worries.
Ocean runs to meet Spence with his oversized gym bag across his chest then stops, drops his bag and hugs and kisses each of the guys in turn.
“All my big brothers are here.” Ocean says with a huge smile on his face.
“That’s right we need to see your mom. Have a good day and gym and don’t give Spence any trouble.” Blue says picking him up and kissing his cheek.
“I am always good at gymnastics. Tell him Spence.” Ocean says most indignant that Blue might think otherwise.
“Oh he never goofs off at the chalk station and gets covered head to foot.” Spence says and they all laugh.
“See you later.” Robin says with a smile as they leave.
“Sit down boys, I’m just making some tea. We don’t open until 12 today.” Cheryl says.
“Do you know why we’re here? Did Blue tell you?” Andy asks as Cheryl sits with them.
“It was Gervais who called and I can guess. How much do you know?” Cheryl asks and they tell her what they’ve been told by Bea and Kit.
“Will momma really stop their tuition if I tell her I know?” Blue asks.
“She’ll stop paying it with nothing in return.” Cheryl says.
“She’ll make them volunteer in the way Andy and Blue do?” Gervais asks.
“And visit I imagine.” Robin says.
“That sounds like Momma, no one gets anything for free unless they are destitute.” Blue says.
“It’s always worked for her. You’ve never expected to be handed anything. You’re the least entitled rich kid I ever met.” Cheryl says.
“Hey I have no problem with how I had to spend the summer, it was good for me and she paid me way more than I expected at the end.” Andy says.
“I can’t see Chris doing what you did or what I did at the retreat.” Gervais says.
“I could see Bea working with the kids though. She’s over the top but they’d love her.” Robin says and the others nod.
“I’m going to call Momma now. I have so many questions.” Blue says pulling out his phone and walking away a few steps.
“Even if she cuts them off their parent should have put something aside. Clara paid way over the odds for those kids.” Cheryl says.
“I hope she does cut them off. I love Chris and would hate for him to leave school but I love Clara too. I know how giving she is and it feels so wrong how they’ve taken advantage.” Gervais says.
Blue comes back to the table and props his phone up so they can all see.
“Thank you for being honest and not trying to hide things. I’m sorry they tried to put the responsibility on you. Cheryl knows everything and I think it will be better if she answers your questions as you’ll have less emotive reactions to her. Robin, Andy, Gervais thank you for being there for Blue. I understand with your relationships it will be hard for you to remain neutral and I’ll make sure he has access to a therapist so he doesn’t overly burden you.” Clara begins.
“He’s not a burden.” Robin says.
“And I owe him so much but a therapist is probably a good idea.” Gervais says.
“Please don’t be mad at Cheryl for not telling you sooner. She never agreed with my way of handling it.” Clara says.
“Does Roe know?” Andy asks.
“Not everything. I’ll talk with her and Katelyn today. They are both fine and missing you. Katelyn has become quite the tycoon offering her nail services outside the café on weekends. She is always in demand and I know this isn’t the time to ask but if you can send supplies please do.” Clara says making them all smile.
“I’m not mad at you Momma or anyone.” Blue says quietly.
“Call me later.” Momma says and hangs up.
“Let me go and brief the staff that I’ll not be working this shift and then we won’t be interrupted. Do you need anything to eat?” Cheryl asks.
“Nah Blue made us a mountain of pancakes this morning.” Andy smiles.
“Blue you should ask your questions first. Are you okay?” Gervais asks looking concerned.
“I am. Telling momma was the right thing to do. I didn’t need that hanging over me and if Bea and Chris reject me because of it, so what. My loyalty should be to momma. It’s not like I’ll miss what I never had.” Blue says.
“Did you two bang anyway at Spence’s party?” Robin asks.
“No.” Blue says, surprising Gervais at how well he can lie when he wants to.
“We talked about it but I don’t think we’d have gone through with it.” Gervais says.
“Are you getting back together?” Andy asks.
“I love George.” Blue says simply.
“And I’m with Chris.” Gervais says leaving Andy and Robin open mouthed at the realization Gervais hasn’t dumped Chris yet.
“I’m sorry I kept everything from you, especially since you’ve all been so good to Ocean since you came here for college.” Cheryl says.
“You’ve been a good friend to Momma, it’s not like she can tell people about this, she’d be judged like crazy.” Blue says.
“That’s another reason not to tell you.” Andy says.
“Oh god imagine the pity party for the kid not allowed to see his siblings.” Robin says.
“Or dad. The rejected one.” Blue says with good humor.
“What do you want to know?” Cheryl asks trying to get things back on track.
“Why didn’t Momma go back and take the other two, once it was clear the adoption wasn’t happening and why didn’t she end her rights?” Blue asks.
“She was keeping her side of the promise. She thought that Paul, that’s his name would have a change of heart and sort everything out by the time you all started school.” Cheryl says.
“What was the fight about? Why did Momma run off? I thought she didn’t win the money until I was a little older.” Blue says.
“Once it was established that the boys were full twins Lena wanted to keep them together and insisted your mother give you up. Your momma said no and if keeping the boys together was so important she should keep all of you. Lena went mad, she grabbed you and pushed your mother out the door. Later Paul came round with you, told your mother that he wasn’t going to be lumbered with raising 3 kids and she had to keep her side of the deal and take you. The next day when your momma went to see them to try and clear the air with Lena they were gone. She kept in touch with the lawyer and later she hired a PI to look for you but she didn’t hear from them again for a couple of years and they were petitioning for child support.” Cheryl says.
“How did they know momma could afford to pay?” Blue asks.
“Bea said her mom knew about the money but kept it secret and she didn’t know how her dad found out.” Robin says.
“Your momma didn’t win the lotto. She moved to California and lived in a commune with you, it more rich kids trying to recreate the 60s than true hippies, from nothing she set up a business selling veggie baby food and a veggie parenting website to go with it. It was the tech boom, the dot com bubble and your momma was getting offer on offer for the website and separate offers from big players for the baby food. She saw what was happening and started trading in the crazy stocks, selling out her portfolio and her companies just in time, making millions upon millions. She had been to the retreat and heard they were in trouble. She bought the land and several surrounding parcels and you guys started the life you have now.” Cheryl says.
“Why did she lie about where the money came from? She should be proud of successful companies.” Robin says.
“Many people lost everything when the bubble burst, including people in her new community. She was embarrassed, especially when she realized how much the farming community was suffering up there. She felt guilty she had essentially made a killing out of the baby food and the farmers had seen nothing from it. She never told anyone she won the lotto but it was a rumor she never denied.” Cheryl says.
“That’s true she never actually told me that’s where the money came from.” Blue laughs.
“No wonder you momma has tried to dampen the vineyard idea. She’s worried you’ll become a capitalist monster if it’s a success like she was for five minutes.” Andy laughs.
“Shows just how alike you are. You take after her in more ways than we think.” Gervais says.
“There are worse people I could be like.” Blue says quietly.
“So it’s likely Paul saw her name in the paper for selling the company and then decided he wanted some of it. That doesn’t explain why he didn’t sort the adoption initially.” Andy says.
“He changed after he married Lena, became a lot more controlling. I imagine that he knew that the kids not being legally hers was an excellent stick to beat her with. Once they got back in touch she would send Lena a card each year, putting something on the envelope to make it uninteresting to Paul and told her there was always room for her and the children and she could send money if she needed it for travel.” Cheryl says.
“I find it very hard to understand how she left the others with him.” Gervais says.
“It would have killed Lena to remove them, Momma would never go back on her word.” Blue says.
“And she knew Lena would be a great mom and she wasn’t sure she could manage 3 on her own, not while working the way she did.” Cheryl says.
“You’re so calm about all of this.” Gervais says.
“I don’t feel like I missed out. Paul doesn’t sound like a dad worth having. I think I’m better off growing up without his influence. And if I’d known about them when I was growing up I think it would have just messed with my head. It’s a huge big deal and I guess at some point it will hit me but you know what? I know who I am and having siblings doesn’t change who I am, it won’t alter my outlook on life, I’m still me.” Blue says.
“It’s funny you have no siblings yet you have been the biggest influence on me in the last year. You’ve had no practice in trying to get one up on a sibling, trying to shape the way of the family and yet you are a natural leader.” Robin says and Cheryl smiles at the simple truth.
“I’m far madder at momma for not telling me about her baby food company than about Chris and Bea.” Blue laughs and the others join in.
“Anything else you need to know?” Cheryl asks.
“What do you put in Spence’s favorite smoothie?” Andy asks.
“I’ll give you a bag to juice at home.” Cheryl laughs.
“Thanks for being so kind, to me and to Momma, I know you’ll have given her a lot of support.” Blue says.
“You’re why we grew apart the last few years, I thought it was time you knew. I didn’t know they were at school here. I tried not to judge her choices and I don’t for most of them.” Cheryl says.
Gervais slips his arms round Blue and holds him tight. He knows Blue is hiding his feelings or pushing them down, he accepts however much he’s moved on and let Blue free, it’s his job more than Andy or Robin to help Blue through this.
“Can I buy some take out for later? We’re having pizza and spilling the beans to the others tonight.” Blue says.
“Your money is no good here and you know it.” Cheryl laughs and they walk to the counter together.
“Did she give the stuff for Spence too?” Andy asks in the car.
“Yes. Looked like you two were close again this morning.” Blue says.
“The lightbulb has clicked on and Spence has remembered I exist.” Andy smiles.
“I’m so happy for you.” Blue says stifling a yawn.
“I need a nap.” Gervais says yawning heavily.
“Stop it you’re both catching.” Robin says yawning himself.
They go to their separate rooms. George has been waiting for Blue but can see he’s exhausted.
“Is that food for the fridge?” George asks and Blue wearily nods.
“Don’t worry I’ll take care of it, you go to bed.” George says kissing Blue quickly.
“Thanks baby. I love you.” Blue mumbles as he falls face down on their bed too tired to remove his clothes.
George sorts the food and comes back to undress Blue and tuck him in. He lies alongside him for a while and watches him sleep. He looks so beautiful.
George suddenly feels at a loose end, everyone is working or sleeping. He grabs a book and lies back down, Blue reaches for him in his sleep and George is soon happily trapped in Blue’s arms.
“Hey sexy.” George says as Blue blinks awake. Blue pulls George close and kisses him hard.
“You’ve been taking care of me.” Blue says and snuggles wrapping his leg around George trying to pull him even closer. George loves feeling needed.
“Shall I made some tea or something?” George asks.
“No, more cuddles. I need to tell you something.” Blue says.
“What?” George asks gently.
“Gervais is dating my brother and Robin is dating my sister.” Blue says then howls with laughter at the absurdity.
“For real?” George asks, no wonder they all looked so grim this morning. That was a huge thing to discover.
Blue nods then gives a quick run through of the story.
“Holy chuck nubbits.” George says when Blue finishes.
“That’s right chuck nubbits. Can you not tell the others about my momma’s money? I think we should keep that private.” Blue says.
“Of course. I’m glad you told me. Not the money, the rest of it.” George says.
“I should have included you before. I stayed in Gervais bed last night. I’m sorry.” Blue says.
“You needed to be with someone who knew and while I wish that was me I understand. It was just sleeping right?” George asks certain he can trust Blue.
“And crying. A lot of crying. I needed to get all that out and I couldn’t face telling you everything first.” Blue says.
“Just so long as it’s me you turn to going forwards.” George says.
“I will. I feel a lot better now you know too. I should have brought you along this morning.” Blue says wrinkling his brow.
“I think you four gave us all a scare, you all looked like s and we thought one of you was sick or something. It’s a bizzaro situation but we can handle it. Though bad luck about Bea being your sister, I’m afraid she’s one in law I’m not inviting to Christmas dinner.” George says.
“It’s hard, her attitude is more understandable but I still think of her as obnoxious.” Blue says.
“I love you anyway. Do I need to worry about Gervais? I mean he is dating your near identical brother, which must mean he still wants you on some level.” George asks.
“I have you and he seems to be sticking with Chris.” Blue says.
“I really, really don’t want to lose you, especially not to him. If something is going to happen between you, break up with me first.” George says.
“I’m not running off with him just like you’re not running off with Spence. I’ve way too much going on to start messing around on you.” Blue says.
“It’s nice to hear it. I do trust you, I don’t trust him. I totally get where you were coming from last week now. I really do.” George smiles.
“You are my cutie and you are perfect for me.” Blue says.
“You’re finally over him.” George says.
“I think we’ve properly shifted into being best friends again. But this time its not whilst we wait to be together.” Blue says.
“Okay, I can deal with that. I kind of miss hanging out with him and Robin and I could use him on our project again.” George says.
“Good. That sounds positive. I’m going to talk to Andy to see if Spence will be done soon. I want to get some dough proving for tomorrow.” Blue says.
“Give it 30minutes and I’ll come with, we can pick pizzas up on the way back.” Andy says.
“Cool. I’ve told George everything. Can we keep Cheryl’s version of things, especially about Momma under wraps?” Blue asks.
“For sure. I agree, she didn’t want people to know.” Andy says and Blue heads to ask Robin and Gervais the same thing.
“He seems so calm about it all. Has it sunk in or is he going to freak out at some point?” George asks Andy.
“I honestly don’t know. We just have to let him take the lead and be ready to catch him if he needs us. I don’t want to push him into reacting.” Andy says.
“I just want him to be okay.” George says.
“Same and I think he will be. I think, the hardest part, no offence, will be dealing with Gervais dating Chris.” Andy says.
“I agree. He thinks the switch has flipped and they’re over each other and back into besties mode.” George says.
“Maybe they are. It was weird last night and today, it was like how they used to be in reverse, Gervais knew every way Blue was going to react and kept him calm somehow. I know you two have shifted up a gear and this isn’t me being unsupportive. I’m just letting you know.” Andy says.
“He stayed in Gervais bed last night but he is committed to me. I’m glad Gervais is being there for him and maybe making up for what he did a little.” George says.
“Yeah I don’t trust Gervais not to hurt him again but if that is who Blue is most comfortable with right now then we have to support it.” Andy says.
“Lets go.” Blue says coming back in.
In the store every time Blue puts something in the cart Spence puts in double.
“What are you doing?” Blue asks.
“You have been feeding my boyfriend all semester and he loves it. I want to make sure you have enough supplies for his appetite.” Spence says.
“I love baking for him. I was never trying to take him from you.” Blue says.
“I know but you could have if you wanted to and I think that was worse.” Spence says.
“But we’re okay now?” Blue asks.
“Yeah. I deserved to lose him. I get it, I’ll make him my main priority now.” Spence says.
“Good.” Blue says with a smile.
Back in the suite the all sit down with food and beers and the guys retell the story to the others.
“Holy shit. Welcome to the fucked up family club.” Elliot says.
“She came here, ate your food and lied to your face.” Jesse says stunned.
“Lied to Robin the whole time.” Spence says.
“That’s why I’m done with her.” Robin says.
“Whatever you need. We’re here.” Jesse says.
“I’m actually okay. The shock has worn off. Obviously I’ll need to talk to momma over winter break but I don’t see how it’ll make any difference to my life.” Blue says.
“We’re your family.” Andy says still struggling to get his head round it even after hearing the story several times.
“Exactly, you’re my boys.” Blue smiles.