“You are losing him, you might have already lost him for good. Are you prepared for that?” Roe asks Clara later that day.
“He needs to get out all his hate and anger, better he targets me than anyone else, goodness knows Gervais can’t take it. Once he’s calmed down we can talk. I’ll go to him in a few weeks. Combine it with a visit to your sister. I really think we should get her up here, we can’t indulge Katelyn forever.” Clara says trying to change the subject.
“Agreed. But stop trying to change the subject. Blue has gone and he might not come back. Spence found him sobbing in the snow. I hate to think why he might have gone up there and what would have happened if Spence hadn’t found him.” Roe says.
“You cannot honestly think Blue would do something that extreme.” Clara says.
“I think he would. He has lost George, Gervais and Andy and things between him and Spence were tense. Robin is lovely but while he’s dating Bea he isn’t someone Blue can pour his heart out to.” Roe says.
“Bea and Robin are over I think. Of all the things I worried about I never thought my daughter would be homophobic.” Clara chuckles.
“That was a huge surprise. Huge. I don’t know if she was just upset her boyfriend had played around or if she really feels that way. Frightening that she could say what she did surrounded by gay men. Imagine if she was in a room more sympathetic to her views.” Roes says.
“Well the only way I’ll be paying her accommodation and living costs next semester are if she volunteers in a lgbt shelter or charity.” Clara says.
“And Chris?” Roe asks.
“He did a lot of voluntary work on his gap year. Gervais showed me pictures and told me about it. I was impressed. I get the feeling despite Bea’s version of events Chris has always been in her shadow. Bea and I are very alike, both very able but not the easiest to like. Chris sounds like his father, incredibly charismatic but somewhat useless.” Clara says.
“Gervais is doing remarkably well. He’s been the one to get stuck in everywhere this break, doing chores here and at mine. Spending time with Katelyn and with you. It’s a real shame he and Blue haven’t got it together again yet.” Roe says.
“I have to stay on the fence, he’s dating Chris. For which I am so grateful because he came armed with pictures and stories. Blue suggested it to him, my thoughtful, strong son is still in there somewhere. I just can’t get past him having all these spats with his friends, so childish and pinning for Gervais and that mess with George.”Clara says shaking her head.
“I don’t think the falling outs were his fault.” Roe says.
“But he is the common factor. It has to be his fault. It’s not like they have fallen out with anyone else. Blue is spoiled, I’ve failed and he is spoiled and a bad friend.” Clara says.
“No he isn’t. He’s gone through his first major heartbreak and found out his life is not what he thought. You know this and you know you are responsible for most of his pain and you need to accept that and stop blaming him. He is a great friend, look at how he got Gervais through his dad’s death, how he got us here, how he does an extra yoga class so Ocean can compete in gymnastics. He isn’t spoiled. Not by a long chalk. You two have rarely clashed, he has always backed down before and now he has found his voice you are crucifying him for it and you are losing him.” Roe says.
“He’ll come out the other side tougher.” Clara says defiantly.
“Be careful. Don’t leave him too long. I need to take a trip to see my sister and the lawyer. I was going to take Andy back but I think he needs some more time up here recovering from his breakup and being with Katelyn.” Roe says.
“I’ll come.” Gervais says coming through the door and catching the end of the conversation.
“Thank-you. I hate to cut your stay short.” Roe says.
“It’s fine, I need to shop myself and I ought to see my lawyer too before school.” Gervais says.
“Is everything okay? Legally?” Clara asks.
“Yes I have things to sign for the military benefits. I kind of feel a fraud taking them but it would feel wrong to say no, like they don’t owe me for my dad’s death. And anyway he paid for that pension.” Gervais says.
“You could always donate to some veteran charities.” Clara says.
“I could. I should do that. Thanks.” Gervais says.
“I am going to come down in a few weeks, please don’t tell Blue I don’t want him to arrange to be out of town. I would very much like to meet Chris too. Could you ask him if he’s be willing? I want to talk to him face to face about tuition and everything.” Clara says.
“And meet him because he’s her son and she never stopped loving him.” Roe fills in.
“I know. He’s worried and if you could put his mind at rest he’ll be there. Also he isn’t like Bea and Blue so if you can bring him cash or take him shopping then you’ll have him on side in an instant.” Gervais says.
“I remember.” Clara laughs.
“So you will be covering his costs?” Gervais asks.
“Of course. I have hoops as always but I think he’ll take to them easier than Bea.” Clara says.
“Have you told her yet?” Roe asks.
“No I will when she gets back this afternoon.” Clara says.
“Chris struggles with study, he works hard but it just isn’t so easy for him. He won’t be able to work or volunteer during semester.” Blue says concerned.
“I know. I wouldn’t expect him to. Despite you all seeing me as being a monster to Blue recently I wouldn’t do anything to harm any of my children’s studies.” Clara says.
“Except break their pencils.” Gervais says.
“Is he drawing again?” Clara asks.
“Not that I know of, not since he drew me last summer. I think that’s my fault.” Gervais says.
“You did knock the stuffing out of him.” Roe says.
“I was a jerk, I was the worst.” Gervais says.
“You were grieving and we missed just how much support you needed.” Roe says gently.
“Well I am doing a lot better and one day Blue and I will be back to being the best of friends, business partners, neighbors.” Gervais smiles.
“I am not buying him a vineyard.” Clara says.
“But you know I will.” Gervais says.
“I wish he’d open a patisserie. I would queue for hours for his cheesecake.” Roe says.
“Did you see the gingerbread city he made with Robin’s family?” Gervais asks.
“No.” Roe says and Gervais shows them both the pictures.
“He has been obsessed with building a gingerbread house for years and I’ve always said no, such a waste.” Clara says.
“It was beautiful and Robin’s dad auctioned it at work and made a couple of grand for the children’s hospital, his company matched the donation or something. It really wasn’t a waste.” Gervais says.
“And it made my mom so happy to have all of us sat round doing a holiday activity together without any fighting or attitude.” Robin says coming in.
“He was supposed to make me some gingerbread, we bought the stuff but he didn’t really bake.” Bea says following Robin in.
“Where is Andy?” Roe asks.
“He and Katelyn are painting nails in the store, too cold to be outside the cafe and too smelly inside.” Robin says.
“They’ll call when they need collecting.” Bea says.
“You two seem friendly enough.” Gervais says expecting them to be fighting.
“We’re over it. It was just a shock I don’t think all gay acts are disgusting.” Bea says but Gervais is unconvinced.
“Clara do you have a cooler I could borrow? 3Blue left in such a rush he didn’t take any food and you have too much goats cheese. I’m sure he’d love some eggs and some preserves.” Gervais says in part for real and in part for a reaction.
“Of course. We’ll pack it first thing before you leave. I’ll bake you some rolls too for the journey. Bea can you come and help.” Clara says.
“Are we going back already?” Robin asks.
“I’m going with Roe tomorrow, we both have some business to sort. Will you be okay here?” Gervais asks.
“Of course. Bea and I are having a truce of sorts.” Robin says.
“I’ll see you for dinner. I must get on. I’ll bring Katelyn and Andy back.” Roe says.
“Lets go check the chickens.” Gervais says and Robin gives him a look and shrugs.
“You did the chickens already.” Robin says outside.
“Right, just wanted to talk out of earshot.” Gervais says.
“It’s so cold.” Robin says.
“We can go in the outbuilding.” Gervais says.
They flop down on some old sacks.
“What’s the issue?” Robin asks.
“I just want to check you’re okay. I thought you were breaking up soon anyway, why bother mending things?” Gervais asks.
“She apologized and I figured it was easier to accept than deal with even more shit up here.” Robin says.
“I thought you might have changed your mind.” Gervais says,
“After last night. No way. I missed her after we broke up and she was being so nice to Blue that I wanted another shot. But since we got here she has dominated Clara and barely spoken to Blue.” Robin says.
“I didn’t want to say anything.” Gervais starts but stops as they hear shouting and the door slamming.
“Oh boy.” Robin says.
“Clara was going to tell Bea the conditions to getting any money.” Gervais says.
“Oh shit. You take Clara, I’ll tackle Bea.” Robin says and they head back outside.
“She didn’t take it well.” Gervais says.
“She’d rather take loans. Her choice.” Clara says annoyed.
“How much were you asking for/” Gervais asks.
“3 hours a week during semester or a month of the summer.” Clara says.
“That’s not so much. Less than Blue does.” Gervais says.
“Less than you do, I know you’ve been taking Ocean out to give Cheryl a break.” Clara says.
“That’s just as fun for me as it is him. I can’t wait to have a family.” Gervais says.
“Does Chris want kids?” Clara asks.
“I don’t think so. Is it stupid that I can’t picture myself with a family without Blue being around? Not always as my husband but there.” Gervais asks.
“I was glad when you and Blue broke up. You were too intense and it wasn’t very balanced. But I can see you still have something. Are you sure you’re doing the right thing being with Chris while you haven’t worked out what you and Blue have?” Clara asks.
“I loved Blue so much and I left him anyway. My dad was always leaving me and I don’t want that for my kids. I see some sort of future with Blue but I don’t trust myself to not fuck it up.” Gervais says.
“But you trust yourself with Chris?” Clara asks.
“It’s easy with Chris. I mean all the drama with your family isn’t easy but together we are, no grand expectations. It’s a day to day relationship no future planning and I need that right now.” Gervais says.
“And Chris knows? Feels the same?” Clara asks.
“Yes. Like I said it’s easy.” Gervais says.
“Just don’t break both my son’s hearts.” Clara says.
Blue feels half dead as he and Spence get back to school.
“I am never doing that again.” Spence says.
“You’re lucky you don’t have to.” Blue laughs.
“Hey George.” Spence says.
“You couldn’t cope in the other dorm either.” Blue says keeping things lights.
“No, I am so glad I didn’t switch officially like Jesse wanted.” George says.
“I don’t blame you, I think there was a sea creature living in the microwave.” Blue says.
“You do not want to know what the bathrooms were like. Are you okay with me here?” George asks.
“Yeah, if you’re okay with me being back.” Blue says.
“Of course. I am sorry, I don’t know what happened.” George says.
“Me either I became a slug.” Blue says.
“And I was a dragon. We started so well.” George says.
“You two going to be okay?” Spence asks.
“Yeah we are. We might even be friends.” Blue says with a small smile.
“Where are the others?” George asks.
“Andy and I broke up and Blue and his mom have been fighting so we came back just us.” Spence says.
“You broke up? I am so sorry.” George says.
“It’s okay it was pretty mutual.” Spence says.
“You two should room together. I’m not trying to steal George’s single but you two got on so well this summer.” Blue says.
“And while we’re friends today, who knows what tomorrow.” Spence says and Blue laughs.
“I’d love to.” George says.
“You are not allowed to date though. You have to promise me before we sort this out. George is a total nightmare as a friend and Spence is totally on the rebound and George does not want that again.” Blue says.
“We won’t date.” George says.
“Not yet at least.” Spence says looking at George. His George from camp not Blue’s nightmare George.
“Not yet.” George says looking at Spence and realizing looking at Spence is making his stomach flip.
“Oh fuck you two are not allowed to date.” Blue says with a big grin.
“We won’t it is too soon for me and way, way too soon for Spence.” George says.
“I need to shower, have you unpacked?” Blue asks.
“Not really. Drop your bags and I’ll move my stuff while you’re in the shower.” George says and goes to his room.
“I’ll pack up Andy’s stuff.” Spence says.
“Are you sure. I can help.” Blue says.
“I want to. Hey thanks for suggesting George. He and I can share a bed a lot more easily than we can.” Spence says.
“I know, it wasn’t until we opened the door that I remembered you had a double bed. George is a good snuggler. I guess you know that.” Blue says.
“I do. Hey we can still have occasional fun.” Spence says.
“For sure. I had so much fun the other night. And we’re still going to go out looking for guys.” Blue says.
“We are. Do you think Andy is okay?” Spence asks.
“I don’t know. I take it you realized that Andy loves my community and belongs there and you want him to be happy there.” Blue says.
“Yeah. He wanted me to love it and I just didn’t. I thought before I got there that we’d make it work. I thought we’d live somewhere I could coach and you guys could make wine but he is totally himself there. He’s not lazy or unambitious he is amazing and I’m so glad I got to see him so happy.” Spence says.
“Be careful with George. Not just because he went nuts with me but he is hurting.” Blue says.
“I would never hurt him.” Spence says.
“I know. Just be careful with yourself too.” Blue says.
“I will. Hey make sure we stay friends. I need a kick at times.” Spence says.
“And I need pulling from the depths. I’ll go get some groceries once I’m cleaned up, give you two sometime.” Blue says with a smile.
“Thanks so much for everything.” Spence says and hugs Blue tightly.
“You too. I could have frozen to death without you.” Blue says.
Spence looks up and kisses Blue gently before they go their separate ways.
“Hey Blue thanks for this.” George says as Blue gets ready to shower.
“Feels right. Be careful. Don’t do to him what you did to me.” Blue says.
“Things just got crazy. I’m sorry.” George says.
“It didn’t help that our friends were trying to break us up all the time. I should have ended things when I found out about my siblings. I didn’t have the headspace for both that and you.” Blue says.
“I know and I went crazy trying to keep you by being shit. I’m sorry about my friends too. That was shitty I was just bigging myself up.” George says.
“I actually had fun cutting them down. I was pretty rude back.” Blue says.
“You were and it was hilarious. I was mad at the time but since then I’ve laughed about it.” George says.
“I hope we can be okay. Thanks for the room.” Blue says.
Later Blue makes some welcome home cookies and is making dinner for the three of them when DeShawn arrives.
“Hey man, you’re looking good.” Blue says checking DeShawn out with his single eyes.
“You too. Hey I am so mad at Deke, that shit is on my shit list for sure.” DeShawn says.
“Thanks. Dinner in 20minutes if you want to join us.” Blue says.
“For sure. I’ll just shower and be with you. You have enough for me too?” DeShawn asks.
“Yes and I’ll add extra tuna to yours.” Blue says.
“I love me a man who can cook.” DeShawn says and hugs Blue before going to shower.
The four sit down to eat. DeShawn is horny and Blue is being far more receptive than he expected.
“Not hungry?” DeShawn asks.
“I’m thinking maybe its better if I eat later.” Blue says.
“Can I?” DeShawn asks and Blue hands over his plate.
Blue reaches under the table to squeeze DeShawn’s leg. DeShawn bolts his food.
“This is great, I have missed your food. I bet you made amazing food for the holidays.” George says.
“I made a gingerbread city at Robin’s house.” Blue says.
“Why were you there?” George asks.
“My Deke is a dick and left Blue to get home alone.” DeShawn says.
“Shit. You have the worst holidays.” George says.
“It was okay, being with Robin’s family was great, everything went to shit when I got home.” Blue says.
“Blue is the black sheep of his family. When his family include Gervais who dumped him out the blue and is dating his twin, Andy who left Blue behind at school was rude as shit to everyone about it and Bea who is a homophobic lying asshole, you can tell he had a really shitty time.” Spence says.
“Seriously?” DeShawn asks.
“Blue is hated by his mother and it was a total shitshow for him from start to finish. My parents love Andy, they consider him family but as soon as they hear we’ve broken up he will be dead to them. Blue’s mom was treating Gervais like he was the second coming.” Spence says.
“It wasn’t that bad.” Blue says sadly.
“It was worse. George you know how Blue downplays everything. His momma was the worst. She actually expected him to share a house with Gervais and Robin for the next 2 years.” Spence says.
“With Chris coming over all the time. That wouldn’t be hell at all.” George chuckles.
“So momma is buying a house near school and I get to stay in the dorm until I graduate. If momma doesn’t cut me off like she threatened.” Blue says.
“Fuck man. My parents would love to have a kid like you. I mean they love that I am doing so great on the team but they would kill to have a really smart kid.” DeShawn says.
“She’s mad. If it comes out she has a brain tumor, I totally called it.” George says.
“She’s not sick, she just hates me. I think now the secret is out she can let me know I’m not the one she wanted.” Blue says.
“Want to feel better?” DeShawn says.
“Let’s go.” Blue says with a grin.
“Not like Blue to fuck a friend’s boyfriend.” George says as Blue and DeShawn shut the door.
“I think Blue doesn’t give a shit anymore. We fucked the night Andy and I split. It was awesome.” Spence says.
“That is really not like Blue. It was really bad for him up there?” George asks.
“Yeah. But he’s doing better. I want you.” Spence says.
“I know.” George says with a smile.