Elliot being the one who can get to his room packs up quickly with help from DeShawn.
“Last night was perfect. Exactly what I needed.” Elliot says.
“For me too. Are you sure about leaving?” DeShawn asks.
“Yeah. I fucked up this year anyway and I’m just not motivated. I get to see my siblings and my parents and that is all I want right now.” Elliot says.
“I hear you. I’ve been toying with saying fuck it and leaving throwing my hat in the ring to go pro.” DeShawn says.
“Why don’t you?” Elliot asks.
“I want to finish school.” DeShawn says.
“Could you transfer? I mean you could get a release right now if you push for it.” Elliot asks.
“I actually like coach and the team. Next year living in the houses with the guys will be great. Dylan, Blue and George have all been a help with my studying. I hope George and Blue will still help next year.” DeShawn says.
“They will for sure. I’ll miss all you guys but I really need to be home.” Elliot says.
“It’s not forever. If you get fed up you can join me for summer school and get back on track.” DeShawn says.
“Yeah. I get the feeling I can take classes here for free until I graduate whatever my grades.” Elliot chuckles.
“For sure. You’ll be back for the memorial?” DeShawn asks.
“Yeah. I’m going to make sure my man has a real send off.” Elliot smiles.
“I love waking with you. I’m so glad we’re back together.” Spence says waking up in Andy’s arms.
“Slow down babe. I don’t think that is a good idea right now.” Andy says.
“But this feels so right.” Spence says.
“You have Magus now. I have loved having you beside me. No doubt I needed it but its just because of the fucked situation we’re in.” Andy says.
“I want to try again. Please Andy surely this shows that we are meant to be.” Spence says sadly.
“I don’t want to kick you while you’re down but no. I’m sorry babe, I do still love you but we’re moving on, this is just a little lapse.” Andy says.
“I doubt Magnus will take me back after this.” Spence says.
“Then you’ll find someone else. Spence you don’t want me any more.” Andy says.
“I do. It has always been you.” Spence says.
“Magnus will be good for you. You’ll have a great time with him.” Andy says.
“Being with Magnus is like dating W.” Spence says.
“Holy shit you’re right. Fuck.” Andy says.
“He wants me to go to a benefit with him on Friday.” Spence says.
“No fucking way.” Andy laughs and laughs.
“Babe.” Spence says.
“You’re dating your brother.” Andy laughs some more.
“You have to rescue me.” Spence says batting his eyelashes.
“Come on go pop his cherry. Eat some fancy food. Shop for overpriced shoes and have pedicures together. It’ll be a change from me.” Andy says.
“You date him.” Spence says.
“Look if you’re not in to him then tell him. I thought you liked him a lot. I thought you were going to be hot together. Don’t break up with him for me. I’m not saying not ever but I want my shot to find a guy from my world.” Andy says.
“While Blue is dating Birch what have you got to lose?” Spence asks.
“Birch and Blue are a perfect fit, I have given up there. I want to find someone to have fun with for a while before I find someone to grow fruit with.” Andy says.
“Are you sure? Really sure?” Spence asks in a final attempt.
“I am. If I change my mind. Well you’ll already be taken.” Andy says.
“Okay. Sorry for being pushy. I just woke up feeling right again. I fucked up on spring break going to Magnus and not exploring more with you.” Spence says.
“We’re not slamming the door shut.” Andy says.
“You want to wake me up properly for old times?” Spence asks kissing Andy.
“You know I can never resist your ass but do you deserve it?” Andy asks sternly causing Spence to quiver.
Over the next few days Gervais and DeShawn move in with Cheryl. Ocean is over the moon at having his big brother Gervais for a sleepover. He’s a little intimidated by DeShawn at first but DeShawn challenges Ocean to sit up and pullup competitions and soon enough Ocean declares he has another big brother. He bursts with excitement when DeShawn or Gervais take him to school or gymnastics. Both guys are determined not to be a burden on Cheryl and she loves having them.
Andy and Robin move in to Grant’s room. He has a futon they can use but they all usually end up sharing the one bed. Robin takes up barely any room anyway. Grant’s crush on Robin is growing and growing. Andy is his usual social self and just loves hanging with his friends.
Magnus and Spence have a heart to heart. Spence isn’t sure and doesn’t want to stay With Magnus
“The way I see it is we hadn’t defined anything yet. We were about to start dating but saying that there’s nothing to forgive.” Magnus says stretched out on his bed with Spence beside
“I abhor cheating. Andy cheated on me and we got past it but it was really hard. It shaped how relationships and I don’t want to be the guy who cheated but I am and I don’t think I can continue with you.” Spence says.
“But this crazy terrible thing happened. If it hadn’t we would be together, starting out, working out what we’re doing.” Magnus says upset that he’s losing Spence before they’ve even started.
“I’m sorry.” Spence says and leaves.
He heads back to the hotel and calls Antonio.
“Look I’m staying at the hotel a while longer. You’re welcome to stay in my room. I know it must be cramped and frankly weird to be in with Tyler. In the suite where Justin lived.” Spence says.
“Thanks. Oh god thank-you. I was so creeped out being here.” Antonio says.
“I’ll come pick you up now.” Spence says happy he isn’t alone and sad that it didn’t work out with Magnus. Spring break was a magical moment and he was caught up in that feeling at the party but analyzing it now. Well just like the distance he had from Edwin confirmed that was going nowhere looking at Magnus up close it was never going to work.
“Thanks for this. I felt a bit weird asking to go with Robin and Andy as I don’t really know Grant and Magnus.” Antonio says.
“You’re doing me a favor. Magnus and I are not meant to be.” Spence says.
“Still more in love with Andy than you realized?” Antonio asks.
“Been that obvious the last few days? He doesn’t feel the same or at least he wants to keep his freedom.” Spence says.
“For what it is worth you’re clearly meant to be. I wish I had a man look at me like he looks at you.” Antonio says.
“You seen how Dylan looks at George?” Spence asks wistfully.
“Yeah what a gorgeous pair. I never saw George as attractive but on Dylan’s arm he is hot.” Antonio says.
“Those two and Blue and Birch have become fully formed couples almost overnight. I am so jealous.” Spence says.
“You and Magnus looked like you might be.” Antonio says.
“Blue said something to me at the beach about him being a guy not the guy and I thought he was wrong but he wasn’t who I needed the other night and Andy pointed out Magnus is exactly like my brother W, from his clothes to his interests to his manners and I just can’t unsee that.” Spence says.
“Ew.” Antonio says fascinated that someone as hot as Spence has man troubles.
“Exactly. I used the excuse that I cheated but in my heart I don’t feel like I did. How was your break? With everything happening we’ve not caught up at alt:’ Spence says.
“It was awesome. We went to two sets of auditions, partied like crazy and had a blast. That’s the party line. It was intense and bitchy and a lot of waiting around. Tyler and I have both been cast in a out of town try out of a new musical. It’s great they we’ve both been cast. We can room together and much as we annoy each other after this I want a roommate I know and trust.” Antonio says.
“Amen. Where will you be based?” Spence asks.
“DC. We go as soon as we finish finals and straight into rehearsal.” Antonio says.
“Is Tyler okay with BB?” Spence asks. He left a message for Edwin when he got back but he never responded and is curious how Tyler and Blue ended things.
“He knew it was going to happen. He’s kicking himself for not locking things down with Blue but it wasn’t realistic. He’s open for a new friend with benifits if you’re interested.” Antonio laughs.
“Maybe.” Spence grins back.
“Or there’s me.” Antonio says.
“There is you.” Spence says with a grin.
Blue and Birch secretly both adore living together, not ready to admit it to anyone but they love that they’ve moved in so fast. They are firmly in a new couple bubble and love it. Birch loves waking slowly and watching Blue do his morning yoga on his floor before encouraging him back to bed for sweaty morning sex and then showering together.
Blue loves the sound of Birch working as he studies and cooks. The kitchen in Birch’s studio is limited but Blue still manages tasty bowls of comforting noodles, pungent with chilies and lemongrass which Birch wolfs down hungrily every night. Blue makes soups and muffins for lunches and breakfasts on the go. Birch knows food is Blue’s way of showing love and he feels fully adored. Eating home cooked meals every day is giving him energy and he’s painting with abandon every spare moment and sleeping better than he has in years.
Birch will lie next to Blue and stroke his back as he cries and worries about what happened with Jesse. Hold him when he breaks down in the shower, cheers him up when he gets morose and lets him have the quiet he needs, they both need, neither feel the need to fill silences with chatter. Blue keeps the studio tidy, makes sure Birch has all he needs and they both feel like winners.
Blue went back to classes straight away needing the distraction of learning, needing to put pictures in his head that are not of Jesse bleeding to death in front of him. On Friday instead of climbing they all get together to plan the memorial that is to be held on Sunday. Elliot faces times in and they work out the order, who will speak and what they need to do. No one is sure how they should dress.
“You know he would have loved us to all be in our underwear.” Gervais jokes.
“That is true.” Elliot grins from home.
Both climbing clubs have come together to organize the event and it feels good that someone as divisive as Jesse has brought them all together.
“We’ve missed you this week.” Andy says to Blue as they finish up.
“Why don’t Birch and I come round to yours now?” Blue says
“Yeah Deshawn and Gervais can’t stay with Cheryl much longer. They’ll burst.” Andy says.
“Ocean has a habit of coming in to our bed in the night. Well he did until his morn told him he shouldn’t, so he comes in a sleeps on the floor. Not that Gervais and I were planning anything but we can’t even jerk off just in case.” DeShawn says.
“And neither of us wants to in the shower there.” Gervais says.
“I’m glad Ocean likes you. I bet he thinks its one long sleepover.” Blue says turning to Deshawn, his back to Gervais, petty but it feels kind of good.
“He’s a terrific kid. It’s been great to be around him when it feels like the world is on fire.” DeShawn says.
“Have you been going to practice?” Blue asks.
“Yeah but not classes. We’re all planning to go back Monday. We had to take time to process you know?” DeShawn says.
“I went back but it is easier for me, we’re a small tight knit group. You guys get the stares and whispers.” Antonio says.
All the suite guys along with Birch head to Magnus and Grant’s place. Blue stops off at the grocery store on the way having been given permission to use the kitchen while he’s there.
Blue sets to work as soon as they get in and the others sit around the table in the open plan room watching him. Andy wanders in from the bathroom and grabs Blue in a hug like old times, nuzzling his neck as he bakes. Birch watches indulgently, knowing that Blue will be enjoying the contact.
“I’m happy to stay with Dylan the rest of semester. But I will support whatever you guys are asking for.” George says.
“Are we asking for anything?” Andy asks.
“Gervais and I can’t stay with Cheryl forever. We need to be housed, but we can’t expect to all get to stay together.” DeShawn says.
“But we’re united in refusing the dorm? I mean Gervais would be homeless anyway as he can’t be expected to sleep in that room again.” Robin asks.
“I’ve been looking at serviced apartments near school we could lease for 2 months. They’re expensive but I know I know I’d feel better having a doorman and decent security.” Spence says.
“I’ll split the cost with you.” Gervais says happy with the solution.
“Gives you somewhere to stay until the house is ready.” Andy says.
“Exactly. If we got 2, 2 bedroom we could keep a bed for George if he needed it.” Spence says ready to steam roller them all.
“I don’t need a room. I’m happy with Birch.” Blue says.
“And I don’t need one either. I really don’t.” George says.
“Yeah my room is big enough for us both.” Dylan says trying not to catch DeShawn’s eye.
“But George has an ability to implode relationships.” Andy says.
“If the worst happened he could live here.” Grant says quietly.
“That goes for Blue too. No need to pay out for more than you need.” Magnus says.
“I’ll see if they have a three bed then.” Spence says.
“So we don’t need to bargain with school. Just with the police to get our things.” DeShawn says far, far happier to be staying with his friends than moving in with a new group.
“While we’re all here I have applied to stay and do my masters here. I’ve spoken with the dean about the possibility of getting a scholarship even though it’s past the deadline and he suggested my name would be put forward for the leadership award.” Dylan says with a wink.
“So he’ll pull money out his ass for you. Nice one.” Spence grins.
“You’re not mad I’m using a tragedy to get my way?” Dylan asks.
“No way. You get what you can. Were your parents mad about you rejecting your job offer?” Gervais asks.
“No my mom said thank fuck for that and my dad was delighted, said they would pay and was I thinking about law school after. Basically they hated the idea of me working straight out the bat and are relieved and pushing for law school. As long as I work for my mom this summer they are fully supportive.” Dylan laughs.
“Great news. So you and George get a real shot.” DeShawn says.
“Sorry it’s awkward.” Dylan says.
“No I am happy for you. You two together are crazy happy we can all see it, even if it’s only been a few days. We’ve just had how short life can be rammed into our brains and I don’t begrudge anyone taking their shot.” DeShawn says.
“So will you be wanting to live with us? We’re all here maybe we should hash out who lives where.” Blue asks.
“We’re not sure, now Magnus and Spence are not together.” Grant says.
“You don’t need to live with Spence. I know Birch was hoping you’d still want to live with us.” Blue says with a smile.
“I do.” Grant says.
“I’m not so sure.” Magnus says.
“Have you told Chris he’ll be homeless yet?” Gervais asks.
“Magnus I think you and Grant could live with me and Birch pretty harmoniously. We’d be able to hang out when they are being all arty and I bake great cookies.” Blue says putting two plates on the table.
“I still say it’s too soon to decide who lives where.” Andy says.
“Just options to make everyone feel comfortable. Plus I need to know if I need to look for others.” Blue says.
“I don’t think anyone is going to object to any combination of roommates right now.” Gervais says.
“Hmmm.” Blue says narrowing his eyes.
Sunday arrives and it’s a sunny day. Elliot arrives early, unexpectedly with his parents. Blue has put on a brunch for everyone at Magnus apartment and they all fill up before heading to school.
The service is beautiful. They hold it outside in the quad and many, many students turn up. The student body has been rocked by the murder and the revelations in the media. Elliot looks around delighted as he knows Jesse would get a real kick of the turnout.
Gervais and Andy give a joint eulogy and talk up all Jesse’s good points. Various people from climbing share funny stories and Elliot’s dad leads the prayers.
Elliot surprises everyone by singing beautifully accompanied by Antonio. Its such a sad song that all the suite guys are weeping and smiling. Proud of Elliot and sad for themselves.
They finish and Spence reads a poem about love and loss. Before a DJ kicks off and the guys strip down to their underwear and socks and dance like crazy for their friend. Everyoe joins in and its one crazy dance party for Jesse.