“Do you know who this is?” Brad asks.
“No.” Blue lies and Gervais shakes his head.
“Am I off the hook?” Gervais asks.
“Where were you Thursday at 4pm?” The Dean asks.
“At a kids yoga class that I help supervise. Blue runs the class.” Gervais says and breathes out. No way any of his friends would try and set him up knowing he had such a strong alibi.
“That’s true. Other students were there too, a freshman Deke Edwards, uh Deacon.” Blue says.
“What ages is it for?” Another faculty member asks.
“From 3 up for the kids, not suitable for those still in diapers. We have a family session after too. Its pay what you can, you’d be welcome to come along.” Blue says with a smile.
“I think you’re both in the clear. We hoped to keep everything informal which is why we hadn’t given you formal notice to build your case. Had either of you shown to have an ethics breach the formal process would have been triggered.” The dean says.
“So is the matter closed? Or do you still want to find out who accused me?’ Blue asks.
“We’d like to know of any student suspected of an ethics breach. If you do think find out who it was please email myself or the dean.” The other faculty member says.
“Okay. Sorry this has wasted everyone’s time. I keep finding myself on the wrong side of people. I’ve had a steep learning curve since getting to school.” Blue says.
“Young man you were the victim, both of you were victims. Your time was wasted along with ours and quite frankly proving we have upstanding, talented students here is not a waste of time.” The faculty member says.
“Thanks for believing me.” Gervais says and the boys get up to leave.
“No problem and hopefully I’ll see you Thursday for that class, can you send me the details?” The faculty member says.
“Of course.” Blue says with a grin.
“This situation is very worrying those two and their group have been targeted since the day they got here. They’re great students, involved with campus clubs and in the community and if they transferred it would be a big loss. I thought things were getting better for gay students but this shows nothing is changing.” Brad says once the guys leave.
“We don’t know it’s a gay issue.” The dean says.
“We don’t know it isn’t.” Brad says and they all sigh.
“Why did you say we didn’t know who it was?” Gervais says.
“Because we know he wouldn’t do it.” Blue says.
“Do we?” Gervais asks.
“He is too smart to mess it up like that. He knows we have yoga Thursdays, he knows I retain what I learn because he does too. He’s being setup as well.” Blue says.
“Come on. Who has got it in for all three of us?” Gervais asks.
“Chris.” Blue suggests.
“For you and me sure but I don’t know.” Gervais says.
“Chris has been nasty to him and used him for collateral damage before.” Blue says.
“I guess. I just hate to think that Chris would go that far. I thought he loved me. I know maybe I lied about my feelings so he probably did too. It’s just we had real moments too.” Gervais says.
“I know and I hate to think it of him too. I mean we’re the same genetic makeup and I could just as easily go bad.” Blue says
“No you couldn’t, you might have been playing at bad boy player the last few weeks but we all know you’ve been acting out your own hurt and not trying to cause others pain. Not really. Yes you cheated on George with me one time but he broke your agreement at that party, you were both in the wrong.” Gervais says.
“But I have been behaving badly I didn’t properly think how I could be hurting Andy or Deke or Dylan.” Blue says.
“You and Spence have been on a collision course for a long time. You two always had a spark. Sometimes it was an angry one but you always wanted to see what it would be like.” Gervais says.
“I’d not really thought about it before that night. You’re right we clashed a few times. I’d actually kind of like to date Spence. Not now, I’m not insane and probably never because of Andy but I don’t know I sometimes think we’d be good together.” Blue says.
“Other than his wobble earlier this year I think Spence has been a really great boyfriend to Andy. I do find it fascinating how he is one thing in everyday life and the opposite in the bedroom. I think I’d like to date him too.” Gervais grins.
“And you two would be on an equal footing with money.” Blue says.
“Yeah I am so cautious now. I don’t want anyone to know anything. I’ve even been thinking about changing my name and using my mother’s maiden name.” Gervais says.
“You want to get married. Might as well wait til you do and choose a name with your husband.” Blue says.
“You have to keep your last name when you get married. Else it doesn’t work.” Gervais laughs.
“I might rethink my whole name then. Give myself something normal.” Blue says.
“You’ll always be Blue Sky to me.” Gervais smiles.
“Let’s go see him to be sure. Then ice-cream.” Blue smiles.
“You read my mind. i want to go to the place with the giant waffles.” Gervais says.
“I miss our mind reading,” Blue says,
“We just stopped listening.” Gervais says.
“Can we come in?” Blue asks George.
“I thought you moved out.” George says.
“I have but we need to talk to you.” Blue says.
“Okay.” George sighs.
“Did you try and get us kicked out of school?” Gervais asks.
George looks at the two of them incredulous.
“No! Where did that come from?” George asks.
“Told you it wasn’t him.” Blue says.
“What are you on about? I might not be too happy with wither of you but I’m surviving.” George says.
Blue and Gervais tell George the whole story right up to the copy of a fake id using Gervais details and George’s picture.
“Chris isn’t that smart and really if you got kicked out does he really think Clara wouldn’t cut him off in an instant.” George says.
“It really wasn’t you.” Gervais says in wonder.
“Of course not. I have treated Blue badly and I’m mad at you for dropping me the way you did but I understood, as I was dating Blue. Anyway if it was me you could be sure I’d do a better job and take Andy down too.” George says and breaks into a grin.
“We’re going for ice-cream to celebrate. Want to come?” Blue asks.
“It is below zero and you’re going for ice cream.” George laughs.
“I’m going for the giant waffles and hot chocolate.” Gervais says.
“Come. You’re becoming pretty isolated and I hate that.” Blue says.
“It’s why I tried to do to you and Spence.” George says.
“We need to work on that don’t we. Strategies for George to have a healthy relationship.” Blue says.
“And Robin and I are totally stuck on our game and now neither of us are with Blue we should get back on it.” Gervais says.
“I’ll go find Robin to come too.” Blue says and leaves the room.
“Thank you for not implicating me today. I could have lost my scholarship.” George says.
“Blue didn’t believe it was me or you. Somehow despite treating him like shit he still believes in the good in us.” Gervais says.
“Are you worried this will escalate? If whoever it is sees that all three of us are still in school and unpunished?” George asks.
“Terrified. But don’t tell Blue. He has too much to deal with right now.” Gervais Says and George nods,
“How’s your new roommate?” Blue asks once their orders have been taken.
“I barely see him. I was glad you asked about his schedule so I knew he wasn’t avoiding me, I miss you though. I was looking forward to sharing again.” Robin says.
“Sorry. I just lost it. The thought of Justin moving in made me uncomfortable and al the moving about we’ve been doing and Andy vetoing all the options even though they didn’t affect him was so annoying. I had to get out of there. I need some space anyway.” Blue says.
“I know Andy is having a hard time but he could talk to me about it. I’ve known him forever and I know his mom. He doesn’t need to wait for you or Spence to talk. But he’s being a little bitch about it and is running out of friends.” Robin says.
“I’m too mad at him to talk right now. I was the bigger person and forgave him for leaving me behind and being a jerk when I got home. But then he got offended when I said I would never date him and to be honest it just felt like an excuse to stop us being friends.” Blue says.
“You were harsh but it was totally fair to be. He hasn’t apologized at all, unless he thinks fucking you in an actual apology.” Robin says.
“He hasn’t apologized?” George asks and Blue shrugs.
“Maybe it really was Andy who tried to get us expelled.” Gervais says.
“Wait what?” Robin asks and they tell the story again. Robin stares at them in shock.
‘You took 3 finals in one day and aced them all? Only you could do that and act like its no big deal.” Robin laughs.
“My friends are still spitting over your chemistry midterm, if I tell them you totally aced the final they will die.” George laughs.
“What do you see in those jerks?” Blue asks.
“We like the same stuff. We have a lot of fun when we talk movies and comic books but when we talk relationships or girls they are the worst. It was kind of fun to wind them up over my success, you and Spence, guys that even the straightest man knows are tens. They’d be happy with any girl, she doesn’t have to be human.” George says.
“So you get to be the leader of the pack in some ways. We all liked you before you started shrinking Blue. Gervais and I were happy to nerd it up. We should make time to do something, if you’re back to your old self.” Robin says.
“You guys are so nice it is impossible to have a proper feud with you.” George says.
“I don’t want to give up on you. I don’t want to have been wrong to have liked you. I really want to help you break these patterns and see you in a happy healthy relationship, that’s what I want for all of us.” Blue says.
“Sorry for trying to get Spence to kick you out. I should have been upfront about not wanting to live with you.” George says.
“I totally get it. I should have said no too but Spence and I were getting on so well and momma was being so unreasonable about things that I was desperate. I told her the next day you’d never let me move in.” Blue says.
“Maybe we’ll be okay by august. It won’t hurt so much.” George says.
“I’m not keen on living with Andy any more. I’d swap with one of you.” Gervais says.
“l think we have to not talk about rooms until July. We’ll have loads of arguments, hook-ups and breakups between now and then.” Robin says.
“True, very true.” Gervais laughs.
The food arrives and Blue tucks in to his sundae while the others eat warmer options.
“I have missed doing stuff like this.” George says.
“I actually love that we have Blue to use as an excuse to come to a dessert place instead of hitting a burger place or whatever. I mean I love that stuff but this is awesome too and I don’t have my little sisters around who would be my usual excuse.” Robin says.
“I don’t care. I get teased whatever I do, might as well do what I like.” George says.
“You don’t get hassle now do you?” Gervais asks.
“In some classes and when I used Jesse’s room my old suitemates were awful.” George says.
“I’m sorry that sucks. You don’t think it could be Jesse and Elliot who screwed us do you?” Gervais asks.
“No they wouldn’t.” Robin says but Blue doesn’t look so sure.
“They were really mad at me over the rooms. But Jesse made up with Blue and Gervais ages ago. It can’t have been them.” George says.
“I’m going to sound out Bea about whether it could have been Chris. I expect she’s calmed down on me now.” Robin says.
“Thanks. How would I manage without you?” Blue says with a smile.
“Out of curiosity why didn’t you suggest we move into Spence’s bed?” Robin asks.
“I did not want to be in the situation of getting into bed and it smelling of the girl you’d had the night before or worse.” Blue laughs and the other join in giving more and more disgusting scenarios until they are crying with laughter.
On Wednesday Blue meets up with Birch after class to go to the exhibit.
“Thanks for inviting me even though I dropped you on Sunday.” Blue says.
“I wanted to come to this with someone who would enjoy it for what it is and wouldn’t be going on about technique or how their own work is so much better and its all so derivative.” Birch says.
“Are you saying I’m here because you think I’m dumb when it comes to photography? Which I am.” Blue laughs not at all offended.
“I just think you’ll love it as much as I will and its much more fun to chat to someone who is having fun than someone who wants to look cool.” Birch says.
“I think you’re supercool. You’re just you.” Blue says.
“Come on lets go.” Birch grins.
Blue buys the tickets and a program and Birch doesn’t object and they wander through together enjoying themselves, laughing at giant blow ups of frogs and in awe of the migration pictures.
Blue really wants to take Birch’s hand but he restrains himself and works on having innocent fun.
“Fancy some noodles?” Birch asks once they have finished looking round.
“Love some, is there anywhere near?” Blue asks,
“Yeah* it’s vegan I’m afraid but so good,” Birch says and they walk to a tiny hole in the wall place.
Blue lets Birch order for them both and is glad he did as every mouthful is delicious.
“This is so good. You have been so much more adventurous than me finding places.” Blue says.
“I don’t knows I’ve heard you’re the go to for Indian. I’m the noodle guy,” Birch grins.
“And eggs. Your diner is great I took momma there and she liked it too.” Blue grins.
“I’ve got 2 pictures in an exhibition next week. Will you come to the opening? Its on Wednesday.” Birch asks tentatively.
“Wow that’s amazing. I will be there, no question. Should I bring the others?” Blue asks,
“Maybe bring them another night it’s open for six weeks downtown.” Birch says.
“So in a real gallery not a school event? I’m so pleased for you. How did you not lead with this?” Blue asks grinning like crazy.
“Feels too much like bragging but I am so excited I had to tell someone.” Birch says.
“I did not think of you as a hiding your light kind of guy. You look so cute all embarrassed.” Blue grins.
“I had fun tonight.” Birch says.
“Me too great pictures, great food.” Blue says letting great company hang in the air.
“See you tomorrow. I had so much fun last week.” Birch says as they part ways.
“I loved having you there.” Blue grins and walks home with a real spring in his step.
The following night George is heading to his Robot club when he sees Elliot arguing with Chris. He moves closer with the crowd and hides round the corner.
“That wasn’t the deal, I want my money.” Elliot says.
“We agreed half up front and half when complete, You didn’t complete the job. They are both still here unpunished. It wasn’t my fault you decided to go one further and implicate George.” Chris says and George feels sick.
“I carried out the plan. Your plan. I showed you the report, I did everything it isn’t my fault you didn’t factor in Blue being a freaking genius or Gervais having an alibi.” Elliot says.
“They’re still here. You get nothing” Chris spits and walks away.
George runs after Elliot.
“What did you do? You know I could lose my scholarship or be thrown out?” George hisses at Elliot.
“Boo hoo. You deserve it for fucking us around over the room.” Elliot says.
“I deserve to not get a college degree because you wanted me to swap rooms? Seriously? What did he ask you to do?” George asks.
“Fuck off George!” Elliot says pushing him away.
“Does Jesse know YOU almost got Gervais expelled?” George asks and Elliot stops and looks at George worried.
“I work in one of the administration offices on Thursdays for a couple of hours. Chris knew. He approached me and offered me money to pretend that Gervais had given a statement about Blue cheating. He figured one or other of them would get thrown out and the other would be too guilty to stay. I figured I’d try and get you back at the same time and knocked out an id from the system, part of my job is making replacements. It was easy I told the ethics chair that a report had been taken when she was out and that was that. But now Chris is snaking on the rest of the payment.” Elliot says the story tumbling out of him.
“You could lose everything.” George says.
“I can’t afford to stay anyway, not really. That’s why I took the money, $500 goes a long way for me,” Elliot says,
“Blue would have helped you if you’d asked. Or Spence or Gervais. Man those guys are all rich and would have done what they could. Heck Blue already helped you out a lot and you sold him out for five hundred bucks.” George says and Elliot’s face crumples.
“You can’t tell him.” Elliot begs.
“I need to at least tell Gervais about Chris. It’s not like he’s going to stop.” George says.
“But if they report him and there is an investigation it will be obvious I was involved.” Elliot says.
“Maybe if you turn Chris in they’ll be let you off.” George says.
“Maybe but I won’t keep my scholarship or campus jobs.” Elliot says desperately.
“Gervais will likely tell Clara and let her deal.” George says.
“That is true. Please tell me what he decides.” Elliot begs and George nods.
George gets a bus to Cheryls and buys a juice and sits down with his homework waiting for Blue and Gervais to finish their class. He can’t believe Elliot was involved, Chris well that was expected but Elliot was a shock.
Ocean comes down first and runs over to sit with George.
“Hey kid. Good class?” George asks.
“It was. My newest big brother and my new big sister came. Willow and Birch, nature names like me.” Ocean says and carries on chatting away about his school and gymnastics making George smile and taking his mind off things.
Gervais is next down and hurries over.
“What is it?” Gervais asks and George messages him the details to prevent being overheard.
“I don’t believe it! Are you just covering for yourself?” Gervais asks looking up, tears in his eyes. Knowing what George has said is likely true.
“What do we do?” George asks.
“Blue would hate for Elliot to get in trouble but Chris is out of control.” Gervais says.
Blue comes into the room with the professor from the ethics committee and her little girl.
“Who is your friend Gervais?” She asks.
“Shit.” Blue and Gervais mutter.