“They made Blue take 3 finals in one day with no study? That is inhumane and not what he is at college for.” Clara says.
“That is what you take from it? Not that Chris is a fucking psycho.” Andy asks.
“Language Andrew.” Roe says.
“I had hoped that the two of them could find some common ground.” Clara says.
“That’s it? Blue, Gervais, George any of them could have been thrown out of school. Elliot could have lost everything. Still could and your comment is you wished they all got along? Come on Chris is a really nasty piece of work with no consideration for anyone unless they are lining his pocket. He’s evil.” Andy says.
“Come on he’s adjusting.” Clara says.
“No he isn’t. Blue is adjusting, Blue is the one who didn’t know but made an effort. Chris knew and has done all he can to hurt Blue ever since he got here. You have to stop paying his tuition and you have to tell his parents that he has to leave.” Andy says.
“Andy you can’t tell Clara how to parent.” Roe says.
“Yes I can. I am terrified that Blue is in danger. So far Chris targeted Gervais before Blue knew Chris existed. He tried to push the stupid plan we had, more than anyone and not because he wanted to break up George and Blue but because he wanted to get Blue. And now he’s trying to ruin Blue’s academic career and frame Gervais for it. He is out of control, next time it might get physical.” Andy says.
“I’m hearing you and I am worried too. I never thought of this scenario. But I don’t think I can start punishing Chris at 19. Please don’t rush me. Thank you very much for calling.” Clara says.
“What do you think?” Clara asks Roe once Andy hangs up.
“I am worried about Blue and Gervais, no question. Very worried. I don’t see that you can get a restraining order unless they report him to the school and there is a paper trail but you need to be prepared.” Roe says.
“I need to talk to Lana. I need to understand if this is a pattern.” Clara says.
“I think you should just call the college. I know our boys are adults but they are trying to let their friend off the hook and so Chris is also being let off. I’d like the school to handle it.” Roe says.
“Can I try my way first?” Clara asks.
“Last night was beautiful.” Blue says kissing Spence in the morning.
“It meant a lot to me too.” Spence says.
“But?” Blue asks.
“But we’re not ready.” Spence says.
“And despite everything we couldn’t hurt Andy.” Blue says.
“I’m up for a repeat any time.” Spence says.
“You are not who I thought you were. I wish we’d never fallen out.” Blue says.
“You need a pounding before class?” Spence asks.
“You are finding your inner top with me.” Blue grins.
“Your body just does it for me.” Spence grins and slaps Blue’s ass.
Jesse pulls Blue aside at climbing.
“I am through with him. I just don’t trust him anymore.” Jesse says.
“I’m so sorry. I feel like I’m always getting in the middle of your relationships.” Blue says.
“This was all on him. I can do better. I deserve a lot better.” Jesse says.
“You do. You really do.” Blue says and hugs Jesse.
Antonio, DeShawn and Birch meet the rest of the guys at the club. Alternating between straight and gay clubs just isn’t happening but no one is complaining. The music is good and the crowd wild.
“Its good to see you.” Birch shouts at Blue.
“You look great.” Blue says and Birch grins. They dance together for a while before splitting off to try their luck elsewhere.
“Shall we go to yours?” Andy asks Birch when they run into each other.
Birch looks out and sees Blue is getting close to some guy.
“Yeah I guess. Lets go.” Birch says.
“Do you need the room tonight?” Jesse asks Blue.
“Nah, we’re going to his. I am having some beefcake tonight.” Blue grins and goes back to the guy and kisses him.
As he grabs a cab with his acquisition Blue sees Birch and Andy leaving together and feels down for a second before looking at the hunk of blonde next to him and grins to himself. Finally a guy who can throw him around.
“You have to go.” Birch says the next morning.
“What?” Andy asks sleepily.
“You have to go. I’m meeting my sister for brunch in a minute.” Birch says already showered and dressed.
“Can I come? I like Willow.” Andy asks.
“No. Come on get going.” Birch says getting irritated. He can’t believe he brought Andy back again. The sex was fun but Andy is kind of needy after which he didn’t expect. He thought it was just fun.
“Hey Blue did you make it to class?” Birch asks after they order.
“Just. I had no sleep, that guy had stamina and it was so good. I am destroyed but I snuck out as soon as he fell asleep ran home and just had time to shower before class. I am going to drop after seeing the houses.” Blue says.
“You dog.” Jesse laughs.
“I am glad you showered. Sometimes I feel I need a nose clip in that class.” Willow says.
“Blue and Gervais used to do yoga in their underwear every morning and I was so jealous. This was back when Gervais and I were together.” Jesse says.
“Your group has been so incestuous.” Willow says.
“We are not always the healthiest and we fight but we have each other’s backs.” Jesse says.
“Somehow I am always in a fight with someone. I was never, ever in that situation growing up, I just don’t know how to deal.” Blue sighs.
“You’re getting stronger. You were checked out for a while but you’re you again.” Jesse says and Blue grins.
“Are you coming on Wednesday Willow?” Blue asks.
“No I’ll go on the weekend. Hey maybe we could go as a group on Sunday before dinner.” Willow says.
“Ah if we are celebrating your showing on Sunday you get to choose dessert.” Blue says with a grin.
“Heaven.” Birch grins.
“What showing?” Jesse asks.
“I have a couple of pictures included in a show.” Birch says playing it down.
“In a real show and not a student one.” Blue says proudly.
“Congratulations man. That is so cool. Elliot loves to draw but limits himself to one class a semester.” Jesse says.
Willow grabs Birch’s arm as they leave.
“So Blue is the one stealing my plus one for your opening?” Willow asks.
“Sorry sis. Do you mind horribly?” Birch asks with a grin.
“Are you kidding, when you get married I never have to pay for a yoga class again. He’s perfect for you. Just be careful, it’s not long since Joe.” Willow says.
“We’re just friends. I’m not going to rush into anything. He is so nice and smart.” Birch says.
“And so easy on the eyes.” Willow grins.
“You lesbos are not supposed to notice.” Birch says.
“Its hard to miss.” Willow laughs and they join the others outside,
Willow heads off for the day and Blue drives them over to see the housing development.
“I need to go in the office. Go see the model homes, here’s a map showing which places, Spence, Robin’s mom and momma are having.” Blue says to Jesse and Birch.
“This is so weird. Like Stepford beamed down.” Jesse says and Birch laughs.
“Pretty nice of your friend’s parents to find somewhere so nice though, I mean it is totally plastic but my studio is freezing and the area is kind of sketchy. I mean I love not being in the dorms but it would be nice to have windows that shut properly and heat that worked and a yard.” Birch says,
“And no rent. I love how it’s right by the woods, you can almost forget you’re in the city but still be in range of Thai delivery.” Jesse laughs.
“You won’t pay rent?” Birch asks.
“Nah Spence is rich as Midas and plans to live here for a while after college, he’s just happy to have the company and it wouldn’t occur to him to charge rent. Robin’s parents see all of us as their kids too and plan on their house being for his sisters too down the line and to make money on it later and Blue’s momma, well she’ll no doubt have some conditions but they won’t be financial.” Jesse says.
“I’ve never had rich friends before.” Birch says.
“Me neither. You’d never know Blue was rich, he is so darn clueless about fashion and gadgets. Spence was a bit of a typical arrogant wasp when I first met him and he oozed money from his cashmere scarf to his Berluti loafers but he is an amazing guy and these days he’ll more likely be in sports clothes than anything else, working so hard. Robin’s family are not so rich, I mean they’re the sort of family I’d have considered really rich until I met Spence.” Jesse says.
“They can afford a second home for their kids, which is rich in my book.” Birch laughs.
“If you’re planning to ask to live here, which you totally should, Blue’s place will be the one that never runs out of toilet paper, just saying.” Jesse laughs.
“I’d get so fat living on his food,” Birch laughs.
“Oh man you should see us all drooling behind him waiting for him to take cookies out the oven. When he’s happy he bakes, when he’s stressed he really bakes. I used to hate him for the way he got in between me and Gervais but when I took the time to get to know him I had to let it go. Plus what Gervais did to him was unforgivable.” Jesse says.
“What happened?” Birch asks.
Jesse explains how Blue helped Gervais after his dad died and the dropped him and ran off with Fergus.
“How are they even speaking now? Geeze he told me about his breakup with George, I thought it was that he was recovering from.” Birch says.
“What do you guys think?” Blue asks joining them at the second plot.
“Is there space for me?” Birch asks.
“Of course. One of the houses has a dining room with glass doors through to the yard which might work for a studio.” Blue says.
“So do you get to choose which place you want? And Chris gets the other?” Jesse asks.
“I get to choose. Who knows if Chris will still be here.” Blue says with a smile.
“I need to get back for my shift. Thanks for this. I would love a room, seriously love it.” Jesse says.
“I’m sorry we left you out before.” Blue says.
“It is fine, we were being annoying, we get it, never in our room because it was a mess and rarely out other than for work.” Jesse says with a small smile.
“You want to do something this afternoon?” Birch asks as they walk to the car.
“I seriously need to crash but don’t have my own bed right now.” Blue says suddenly feeling utterly exhausted.
“Come to mine, I’ll even change the sheets. I ought to get on with some work. Be nice to have the company.” Birch says.
“Okay that’ll be nice. We can drop Jesse and go get some snacks,” Blue says.
“Perfect.” Birch says.
“I just need to calf momma if that’s okay.” Blue says as he helps Birch change the sheets.
“Of course. Do you need privacy?” Birch asks,
“No, just tell me to shut it if I’m too loud.” Blue smiles.
“Will do.” Birch says and busies himself preparing his paints.
“Momma I went to the sales office. They had everything through from your attorney. It showed the houses were both to be in my name, not just me signing on your behalf. Was that a mistake?” Blue asks.
“No mistake. You were right I need to trust you and let you be more independent. The only hoop is when you graduate you have to keep one house for the kids from up here like we said. You can charge them rent but not too high.” Clara says.
“Thank you so much. I can’t believe it.” Blue says.
“When I have everyone telling me I’m too hard on you I need to listen.” Clara says.
“If I own both. What about Chris? Do I have to give him a room?” Blue asks.
“I don’t think so. Blue, Andy called me and told me about the trouble he caused you. I don’t think antagonizing him is a good idea but I will not make you house him. I know I’m going back on my word to him but to say I’m disappointed would be a huge understatement.” Clara says.
“Andy told you?” Blue asks confused.
“He was very concerned for you and Gervais. I will be talking to his parents. I’ve left messages for them to call me urgently, I’ll go to their house if I have to.” Clara says.
“Thanks Momma. Call me when you’ve spoken to them. When you know what you’re doing.” Blue says.
“I will. Have you thought any more about the summer? I am still planning on having Chris here to shadow the vet. If he still wants to after whatever happens here.” Clara says.
“I’m thinking Australia with Gervais to visit wine country and to see the sights. Gervais want to take a long train ride and go to the opera.” Blue giggles,
“That sounds perfect. Let me know dates and I will sort your flights. For both of you. I’m glad you two are friends again.” Clara says.
“Me too.” Blue says.
Birch listens with interest not to the house stuff but that Blue will take his summer trip with Gervais, and Clara seems to approve despite what Gervais did. He imagines his own mother, a staunch vegan would cook Joe in oil and eat him before she’d let them vacation together as friends. She won’t even say his name.
“You look exhausted.” Birch says.
“Tuck me in.” Blue demands sleepily, Birch wipes off his hands and crosses the room. He is dying for Blue to make a move. Blue strips to his underwear and climbs in to bed. Birch grabs a blanket to put on top of the comforter as it’s so cold and tucks it under Blue’s chin and kisses him on his freezing nose, Blue grins and giggles and is asleep in moments.
Birch watches him for a while then takes out his biggest sketch pad and some charcoal and sketches Blue. Just like Blue drew Gervais back in the summer. Satisfied with his picture Birch returns to his work. Happy that his bed will smell of Blue not Andy tonight. The thought makes him stiffen a little.
“Wow that’s amazing.” Blue says startling Birch a few hours later, standing behind him as he works.
“Hey sleepy, want coffee?” Birch asks.
“I’ll make it. Sorry for disturbing you.” Blue says and kisses Birch’s cheek.
Blue puts coffee on and gets dressed. They sit together on the bed to drink it and talk and talk and talk. They eat the junky snacks they bought and chatter about everything. Birch asks about Gervais and how Blue could forgive him and Blue tries to explain the pull he still has and how he couldn’t throw away the friendship.
Birch talks a little about Joe, how he’d cheat and beg forgiveness and do it all again. How he delighted in getting caught and how Birch kept taking him back due to being raised around such fluid relationships at the commune. He tells Blue of how his mom and Willow sat him down and told him he was worth a lot more and fluid relationships only worked if everyone was on board and monogamy wasn’t a bad thing to want.
“I was all ready to dump him and I got back and he was in bed with my best friend. My straight best friend. So I lost them both and it hurts less every day but it hurts.” Birch says.
“That explains why you’re off dating.” Blue says happy that he and Birch can be so open together.
“Yeah I don’t trust myself, let alone any other guys.” Birch says.
“You have clearly thrown yourself into your work. I love all of this.” Blue says.
“I can’t not do it. I can paint whatever my mood. Some of my teachers hate my happy work, they love all that I did during my deepest heart break. I love the work I do when I’m in love,” Birch sighs.
“Will you really want to live with us? Don’t you prefer to be here where you can just get out of bed and paint?” Blue asks.
“I’d only need to walk down the hall at yours and I won’t go to sleep surrounded by paint fumes.” Birch laughs.
“Cool. I just wanted to be sure. I’m going to see if I can get a wash basin fitted into the room you’d have as a studio.” Blue says.
“Yes please. You’re so thoughtful.” Birch says.
“I like looking after people. I love having a man who I can take care of. Not that I like it all one way. Spence has been so nice to me recently, trying to take care of me.” Blue says.
“Are you two becoming something?” Birch asks.
“No, he and Andy were together so long, since they were 15, its going to take him a long time to be ready for someone new,” Blue says.
“Wow, don’t think I’d be getting out of bed yet if I were either of them.” Birch says,
“My momma gave me 3 days when Gervais left me. I could have cried for the rest of the summer if it wasn’t for Andy and Robin.” Blue says.
“You and Andy don’t seem that close now.” Birch says.
“No we’re not at all. I miss him but I’m waiting for him to make a move this time.” Blue says.
Blue’s phone rings interrupting them. It’s Robin.
“Hey I’ve not seen you properly in forever. Let’s go to a movie tonight.” Robin says.
“Okay. I’m out right now. What time?” Blue asks and they sort the details arranging to meet there.
“Want to come?” Blue asks Birch.
“Nah I want to continue this. Thanks for a fun day, I’ll see you tomorrow. Do you want me to bring anything? I feel bad you guys are so generous hosting.” Birch says.
“No you’re fine. Actually the cooks would probably appreciate some flowers. Doesn’t need to be fancy.” Blue says.
“I’ll do that.” Birch says with a grin.
Blue reaches out and hugs him tightly. For a second Birch thinks this is it, we’re going there but Blue pulls away and stands to leave.
“What’s with the soppy grin?” Robin asks when they meet.
“Had a nice day with Birch. I kind of slept most of it. But it was so nice. We talked for hours.” Blue says.
“You like him so much.” Robin smiles.
“I do but we’ve both had a rough time. He kissed my nose before I went to sleep and I almost passed out. Actually I was asleep in seconds so maybe I did. He is the cutest.” Blue says.
“So the guy last night and Spence not in the running?” Robin asks.
“Do you want to see the movie or shall we just go for dinner and catch up?” Blue asks.
“Dinner. I have missed you.” Robin says.
“So Spence and I have been getting really close and I’d kind of love to be his boyfriend one day but we’re not in that place right now. l feel like he’d be this sensible choice. He is a good boyfriend and he’s busy so I could take care of him, make his dinner and make sure he has clean clothes, all of that. And his body, oh man, it’s incredible. Ugh. But Andy would hate it and we both prefer to bottom.” Blue says.
“You have really thought about it? I was kind of kidding. I would love you two together.” Robin says.
“Gervais likes Spence too.” Blue says.
“Really?” Robin asks
“You know how he stepped up when he almost lost Andy I think we both found that so hot, and he is different without Andy, has less to prove. I feel like we’re seeing the guy who is true to himself and it is a real aphrodisiac.” Blue says.
“And the guy last night?” Robin asks.
“Was a successful hookup. Finally I did the one night thing had fun sex with someone who isn’t a friend and I left without saying goodbye or asking for a date.” Blue grins.
“It’s all is going well for a change, well as well as it can, given everything else that is happening.” Robin says.
“Not entirely. Birch and Andy are still hooking up. Like they did last night, Birch didn’t mention it today but I saw them get a cab together.” Blue says.
“So you think he sees you as just friends?” Robin asks.
“Yeah. He told Andy I’m not his type and I know he isn’t after a boyfriend, I’m enjoying having a crush and he likes spending time with me. I’m happy to just stay friends as he’s so much fun. How about you? Anyone replaced my idiot sister?” Blue says.
“I am off girls. I’ve not even been hooking up. Total woman detox.” Robin says.
“And how is Antonio?” Blue asks.
“Good. I like him. He likes living with us, he gets in late, like Spence and they eat together and crash. It’s kind of nice to have someone to chat to who doesn’t know the drama.” Robin says.
“That’s good. I forgot I have big news and need your take on a revenge strategy.” Blue says.
“OMG go on.” Robin says.
“Momma is buying both houses for me. She is putting them both in my name on the understanding I keep one so that any kids from home can use it in the future.” Blue says.
“Wow. Ahh so you could make Chris homeless.” Robin says.
“Or charge him crazy rent.” Blue says.
“And get him obnoxious housemates like George’s nerd friends.” Robin grins.
“And Bea.” Blue says.
“It would mean a lot to her if you gave her a room. I know she was a total jerk to you once she got to your place but it was a huge deal for her. No excuse for the homophobic bullshit but the rest.” Robin says.
“If she approached me now I’d be open to it. Did you ask her about Chris and the cheating set up?” Blue asks.
“Yeah. I meant to talk to you but you’ve been MIA. She didn’t believe it at first but when I said that Elliot confessed she was pretty angry on your behalf. She’s pretty mixed up. She and Clara got on so well at the start and she is feeling very rejected, feels like one slip up which was a lot more about me than you has cast her out. She wishes she hadn’t rejected the offer and realty wants to make amends. I think she is going to start volunteering, she wants to prove Clara was wrong about her. She’s pretty determined. She wasn’t prepared for how conditional Clara can be.” Robin says.
“I should go see her tomorrow. I might not forgive her entirely, she was pretty awful to me, not just dropping me but pushing me out.” Blue says,
“That is true. It was an extreme situation and I think she treated you as if you were Chris. She and Chris are no good at sharing, the both want it all and work hard to take it from each other and gloat. You are not at all like that and she forgot and I did a shit job of reminding her. I was utterly useless and I’m sorry.” Robin says.
“It’s fine. You were in such a weird situation. Over compensating because you knew you were breaking up. I was in the wrong to ask you to do that.” Blue says.
“No you weren’t. I value our friendship and I was hurting you. I know you gave your blessing initially but it was fine to change your mind. It’s been a really tough year for you.” Robin says.
“What dessert do you want tomorrow?” Blue asks.
“Surprise me. Something with chocolate not fruit.” Robin says.
“I’ll get thinking.” Blue laughs.
“I wish we could have a sleepover tonight.” Robin says.
“Ah you need my services after being off girls.” Blue laughs.
“No, well I wouldn’t say no. I just want to talk all night. I want to dissect your crush and speculate his real feelings. I want to tell you about classes and just normal stuff. Andy is being a Iil bitch right now, not just to you and I miss just talking.” Robin says.
“You sound like a girl.” Blue laughs.
“Shut up you know you are dying to analyze every move Birch has and hasn’t made.” Robin laughs.
“l am. I bet Spence will host us both and provide wine if you are okay with 3.” Blue says.
“Let’s go,” Robin grins.
Spence is delighted with the idea and grabs a couple of bottles and glasses from his closet.
“You keep the good stuff hidden well.” Blue grins.
“I don’t care about the good stuff. Not that fussy.” Robin laughs.
The three share all their non-drama related gossip and thoughts.
“The way I see it is that Birch might have had Andy in his bed last night but he did not have Andy at his brunch this morning.” Spence says.
“But does that make him a horrid user?” Blue asks.
“Not if he’s clear its only sex.” Robin says.
“And Andy is more than okay with that usually. Or he was when he was cheating on me.” Spence says.
“But why him. Of all people.” Blue grumbles.
“Because he has such strong sex appeal, he’s an animal.” Spence sighs.
“How are you doing?” Robin asks.
“Okay. Fun with you now and then really helps. I am working too much to spend much time thinking. I’m not ready for anyone new. I danced with guys and I’ve browsed for guys but I’m not ready for even a casual fling. Not yet.” Spence says,
“Any time.” Blue says and kisses him.
“I can’t believe out of all of this you two have become so close.” Robin says.
“I remember the first day when we had a standoff over the TV and then made up buying a new one. We found a lot of common ground and then somewhere along the line we lost it. George, Andy and Spence being related to Fergus got in the way.” Blue says.
“But we’re so happy, we’re good now.” Spence says and k Blue.
“It’s not just me with a little crush on you. Gervais does too.” Blue says the wine loosening his tongue.
“Really? Well I love the guy, I do but he is so far off limits he might as well live in Siberia.” Spence says.
“You should try him out. Have some fun.” Blue says.
“You wouldn’t be mad?” Spence asks.
“No, we’re not dating and we don’t want to. We’re both single and I don’t want to be dating him. That’s big progress right?” Blue says.
“It is huge.” Robin says and kisses Blue then Spence.
“So now only Dylan and DeShawn are dating.” Spence says.
“DeShawn is fiiiiiiiiine.” Blue grins.
“Can I come in?” Gervais asks.
“Yeah we have wine.” Blue says.
“Blue has had too much wine.” Robin grins,
“They say you like me.” Spence grins.
“Blue I will kill you.” Gervais grins.
“I said you should try it out.” Blue says.
“I tried out Justin and it was a disaster.” Gervais says.
“30seconds?” Blue asks.
“Not even naked. Came in his underwear.” Gervais laughs.
“I told you it was bad.” Blue laughs.
“Oh don’t be mean.” Gervais says squishing on to the bed.
“I know I’d hate for anyone to talk about my performance but it was pitiful,” Blue says.
“I doubt you will ever get any complaints. Unless he can’t take it.” Spence says,
“You’re all amazing.” Blue says smiling,
“Blue has big news and a possible revenge plan.” Robin says and fills them in on the house situation.
“Hahahaha making Chris share with Bea and the pretentious geek squad would be awesome, But so unfair on them.” Gervais howls with laughter.
“What about my plan?” Spence asks,
“I know why you suggested it but doesn’t he win that way, gets what he loves.” Blue says.
“What plan?” Gervais asks and Spence explains.
“Oh Spence. You are amazing to suggest that.” Robin says.
But it would be rewarding him. I just don’t know. If he tried anything else, if he escalates then yes go for it.” Gervais says.
“I almost want him to try again as then we could drop him in it at school without dropping Elliot in it.” Blue says.
“Let’s forget about my dick of an ex for the weekend. I want fun.” Gervais says.
“What sort of fun?” Robin asks.
“Are you trying to get your butt cherry popped?” Blue asks.
“No. Shut up. I just meant just drinking or have you any weed?” Robin asks.
“If you get stoned you really might want to take some cock.” Gervais says.
“None of you are fucking me. Ever.” Robin says.
“Want to watch us 3 fuck?” Blue asks.
“Fuck yeah.” Robin says.