“You were harsh on Gervais there.” Birch says gently as they get home.
“I’m done with him. That hasn’t changed.” Blue says quietly.
“He’s clearly in a lot of pain and it isn’t like you to lack compassion.” Birch says.
“Do you think I’m made of stone? Do you think I didn’t want to pick him up, bring him home and hold him all night long? He can’t push me away over and over and expect me to be there. He has to learn how to get through a crisis without me. That might sound harsh but it’s true. He has people he can reach out to.” Blue says.
“Okay. Do you mind if I reach out to him?” Birch asks and Blue feels conflicted.
“Do you have the time?” Blue asks.
“Sorry I was stupid to suggest it, if you were asking me if you could comfort Joe going through something then I’d be super mad at you.” Birch says.
“But?” Blue asks.
“But despite everything seeing someone look that bad its hard to not help. Especially when they’re alone.” Birch says.
“He has therapists, Cheryl, Robin’s mom, my momma, Robin, Andy and Spence. He has people.” Blue says firmly.
“Okay but you need to lay off the juvenile ignoring him tomorrow at dinner.” Birch says.
“I guess. It’s easier to be nasty to him than neutral. I’m kind of understanding why he treats me badly when we’re not able to be friends.” Blue says.
“I don’t think he can take it right now.” Birch says.
“I don’t need to be told what Gervais needs or what he can take. I’ve been there for him over and over and he’s shit on me every time. Please stop minimizing what Gervais put me through because he is having a rough time.” Blue says frustrated and feeling utterly unsupported.
“I’m sorry. I’m just conflicted over this.” Birch says.
“Well if you’re choosing between him and me then let me save you the trouble.” Blue says and heads for the door annoyed that he left the car with Andy.
“Blue stop. You can’t just walk out when we disagree.” Birch says.
“You are weighing up how much support to give the guy who put me through more pain than I ever thought I could take. The guy who stole every ounce of self-esteem I ever had. I helped him as much as I could all through his father’s death but he gave me zero support when I found out about Chris and Bea. He didn’t just not support me he actively made it worse by dating Chris. He never supports me when I need it, ever. No one did until you. I won’t share you with him.” Blue says.
“I’m not a possession.” Birch says.
“No you’re not and I’m not Mother Teresa.” Blue says grabbing some things and walking out the door.
Blue walks down the street to a coffee shop trying not to cry. He thought he finally had someone who was there for him. He sits at an outside table and calls Andy.
“Can you come pick me up?” Blue asks.
“Sorry bro I’ve had too much to drink.” Andy says.
“Is there anyone else who could come?” Blue asks.
“There is only me and Gervais here.” Andy says.
Blue sighs and calls Robin.
“Sorry we’ve been doing shots for the last hour. Come over, get a cab.” Robin says.
“I don’t want to put a downer on your night.” Blue says. He gets a cab, disappointed that Birch hasn’t come down to find him and heads to a motel booking from his phone as they drive.
He doesn’t cry when he gets there he is angry that Gervais has caused yet another of his relationships to go south. He really thought that Birch was the right guy. He really likes him a lot, they share so much. He knows he should be happy that Birch is so compassionate that he wants to help Gervais but Blue can’t help feeling that Birch’s loyalty should be with him no matter what.
The following day Gervais and Andy sleep late. They drank a lot and talked a lot through the night about Jesse and Justin and how they both feel about everything. Andy realizes he had kept a lot bottled up and it’s a relief to be able to talk about it all. They talk about what heroes Blue and Spence were for diving in and stopping Justin without any thought to their own safety. They talk about the good times they both had with Jesse and how he could be a fun guy to be around. They bitch about Jesse’s parents not letting them go to the funeral and how the memorial didn’t feel like a real goodbye. Mostly they talk about how they can’t believe he’s gone.
“Thanks for last night. I feel a lot better today.” Gervais says when they wake.
“Me too. I’d not spoken to anyone about it and felt that I couldn’t you know? Because I’m not Elliot and I don’t have the biggest claim on grief.” Andy says.
“Yeah I’d just dumped him and so felt like I couldn’t be publically sad but it hurts.” Gervais says.
“Sorry for leaving you to rot. I guess we all take Blue’s lead with you.” Andy says.
“I was a nightmare and deserved it. Its hard that he forgave you and not me but I guess I have used up more chances.” Gervais shrugs.
“Shall we get on with the prep for dinner?” Andy says.
“Yeah. That would be nice. Who is coming?” Gervais asks.
“Willow, Blue and Birch. I hope Robin and Grant. I asked them to ask Magnus but maybe he won’t want to come.” Andy says.
“I thought Magnus and Spence were super well suited.” Gervais says as they chop onions and peppers.
“Magnus is sooo like W and once you see it you can’t unsee it.” Andy laughs.
“Oh wow. Yeah. Magnus is a mini W. That’s super hot. Not for Spence obviously.” Gervais says.
“I am not in the market for another rich boy. But I would so go there for a hook up.” Andy grins.
“I have missed talking about guys. Do you think Grant is cute too?” Gervais asks.
“Super cute, I want to pick him up and pound him against the wall.” Andy says with a wicked grin.
“It sucks being small. I wish I could throw guys around like that.” Gervais laughs.
“I love that I’m so much stronger now. Lots of fun.” Andy says.
“Yoga has made me stronger and more flexible. I can get way better angles now.” Gervais grins.
“We tops need good skills to keep em happy,” Andy grins.
“This is all ready. Do you want me to make the honey cakes as Blue isn’t here yet?” Gervais asks.
“Yeah we might as well. It is pretty rude of me to expect him to come round and cook for me.” Andy grins.
“He loves it and you know it. I thought he’d have been here by now.” Gervais says.
“Me too. Do you know how to cook the whole thing?” Andy asks.
“Kind of. Yeah, yeah we can do it. We’ve watched him a few times.” Gervais says.
“He can swoop in and rescue it if we mess up.” Andy says.
“I think this cake mix looks about right.” Gervais says and Andy smiles.
The two crack on and George and Dylan arrive and George gives them a hand. Dylan watches with a stupid grin on his face.
“You two are so cute.” Gervais says to George.
“Thanks. It’s not always cute we have insane fights.” George says.
“And really great fun making up.” Dylan smiles.
“I hope you work through everything.” Gervais says.
“We’re getting there. Plus I think we like to fight. My parents never did and I find it great to just have a good shout.” George says with a giggle.
“He knows I love him.” Dylan says sappily.
“I hope its not too much pressure Dylan staying here next year.” Gervais says.
“It is loads but it isn’t like a masters is a bad choice is it?” George says.
“No it isn’t. And he’s actually a great loyal man so you won’t break up.” DeShawn says coming in to the room.
“Thanks babe.” Dylan says looking at his ex and smiling.
“Smells good. Where is Blue?” DeShawn asks.
“Not here yet. We’ve gone ahead and started cooking.” Andy says with a grin.
“We need to get the cakes out.” Gervais says turning back to the stove.
The guys continue to chat. Spence gets back from work and Robin, Grant and Willow all show up. No sign of Blue or Birch.
“I bet they’re back in their love bubble and forgot. We should go ahead as its done.” Andy says.
“I have a vague recollection Blue called me to ask for a ride last night but I might have dreamed it.” Robin says.
“We hit it harrrrrrrrd.” Grant says with a grin.
“I tried Birch and there’s no answer.” Willow says.
Birch took his anger and disappointment in Blue’s reaction to their fight and painted through the night and morning before collapsing in to bed and a deep, deep sleep.
Blue has spent the day with his headphones on blocking out the world and doing homework. He’s waiting for Birch to make the first move and has entirely forgotten Sunday dinner.
“Let’s eat.” Andy says bringing the pan to the table while George grabs bowls and forks.
Spence sorts out drinks and they are soon enjoying the food.
“It’s not quite Blue standard but it’s pretty great. Thanks Andy and Gervais.” Spence says raising his glass.
“To pretty great food.” Andy shouts raising his and they all laugh and join in.
Gervais barely picks at his meal his eyes not leaving the door. He knows Blue won’t take a call from him and wishes the others were more concerned.
Willow leaves early saying she’ll call by her brothers on the way back.
“So elephant in the room. What is going on with you two?” Andy asks pointing at Robin and Grant.
“We’re friends.” Robin says.
“Who have sleepovers every night.” Andy says wiggling his eyebrows and making bj motions.
“I’ve slept in the same bed as most the guys here. We’re not boyfriends. I’m still straight. Is it such a stretch that I want to sleep with a friend right now?” Robin asks frustrated.
“Happy to leave me alone.” Gervais says bitterly.
“I have my own issues to deal with. I can’t take any more from you right now.” Robin says and Gervais feels stupid.
“I know I lean on you all and I never treat you all right. I am grateful for all the support you’ve given me over the last 2 years and I am sorry for all the times I’ve messed up and treated you badly. For every time I’ve pushed you away or been ungrateful. I am really, truly sorry.” Gervais says quietly.
“It’s not us who need the apology.” Andy says.
“That’s not true. Yes I owe Blue a mountain of apologies but I owe you guys too. I am sorry and I do want to rebuild with all of you.” Gervais says.
“You’re good with me. I think we’re even after I chucked you out the beach house.” Spence smiles.
“I deserved it.” Gervais says.
“Still we all need to be kinder to each other like Spence said on break. We can’t let anyone get isolated.” Andy says.
“But no one has called Blue, He called Robin for help last night and no one has heard from him since,” Gervais says.
“Shit he called me too, I’d already had too much wine,” Andy says hitting his forehead.
“Call him, He won’t answer if I do,” Gervais pleads.
“Straight to voicemail, its off or out of juice.” Andy says.
“We’ll see him tomorrow in college.” Spence says gently seeing how wound up Gervais is getting.
“Can someone come with me to check his place? I don’t know where it is or if he’ll let me in.” Gervais asks.
“I can give you the address. I’m sure he’s fine.” Andy says.
“I’ll come with you.” DeShawn says feeling just as uneasy as Gervais. It is not like Blue to skip a responsibility even if it was just food with friends.
“Thanks.” Gervais says putting the address into his phone.
“I think we’re all a bit on edge right now. We know George and Dylan are okay as they’re together but Blue and Robin not being around has me uncomfortable.” DeShawn says in the car.
“I’m glad it’s not just me. I just want everyone to check in once a day but I can’t ask Blue to because he’s not talking to me.” Gervais sighs.
“Once we track him down I’ll ask him to. Both of them and me when I’m on the road.” DeShawn says.
“Thanks. Are you and Spence on the road to something?” Gervais asks.
“I like him and we have a lot in common but I’d feel like I was stepping on Andy’s toes. All you guys are off limits now.” DeShawn says.
“You have been really nice to George and Dylan. I wish Blue and I could have coped better with each other’s new partners.” Gervais says.
“You were okay with Jesse and Elliot. You and Blue expect a future together so its like your both cheating when you’re with someone else.” DeShawn says.
“I think Birch is good for him. I really do and I’ve given up on there being anything between us ever.” Gervais says.
“No you haven’t. You know you’re not right for him right now but I’ve seen you sneak those looks at him, even when you’re angry with each other.” DeShawn says.
“Oh I have the hope and the dreams but I know reality. The reality is someone like Birch is perfect for Blue and if not Birch then someone like him will snap Blue up long before my issues are ironed out.” Gervais says.
“You’ll find someone. We both will.” DeShawn says.
They’re about to ring Birch’s buzzer when Willow comes out the door.
“Are they okay?” Gervais asks.
“They are in a fight. Blue left yesterday and he’s not heard from him. He tried calling but no luck. Blue left his charger here.” Willow says.
DeShawn puts his arm round Gervais to steady him as he turns white.
“Thanks Willow. We won’t bother Birch, is he okay?” DeShawn asks.
“He’s fine, mad that he missed out on the food more than anything.” Willow says.
“So they’re not over?” Gervais asks.
“No it was just a small fight. Birch said Blue just needed to cool off.” Willow says.
“So no one knows where Blue is?” Gervais says anxiety on full alert.
“Calm down. It’s Blue he is super sensible. He’ll have gone to a hotel or Cheryl’s or something.” DeShawn says gently trying to talk Gervais down.
“Breathe kid, just breathe.” Willow whispers as she envelopes Gervais in a hug.
“Come on lets go back. I’m sure you know Blue’s schedule by heart we can go and wait outside his first class together tomorrow.” DeShawn says gently.
“This is what he does. He hides away and mostly we don’t notice because so much else is going on. I’m just mad at him for doing it right now.” Gervais says.
“Can you call me when you find him tomorrow?” Willow asks.
“For sure. Take care now.” DeShawn says and walks Gervais back to the car.
Back at the apartment only Andy, Spence and Antonio are still there.
“Was he okay?” Andy asks.
“He wasn’t there. He and Birch had a fight last night and Blue left.” Gervais says and heads straight to his room.
“Shit that’s partly my fault. Blue was pretty rude to Gervais last night and I know he surprised Birch, given what a mess Gervais is.” Andy says.
“I’m really surprised Blue is carrying on like this. I know why it started and I was proud of him but Gervais needs him. He’s barely functioning.” Spence says quietly.
“Gervais isn’t Blue’s responsibility. Gervais is a grown man and he and Blue have been broken up for ages and ages.” Antonio says confused.
“I know. It’s just we’re so used to Blue stepping in. I admire him for letting Gervais get on with it but worry that the rest of us can’t help.” Spence says.
“We need to spread the load. We’re all hurting but Gervais is handling it the worst. We need to take shifts,” DeShawn says.
“Agreed. Thing is he was a lot better this morning. We talked all night and set the world to rights and this has just sent him into another spin.” Andy says.
“I could see him getting more and more agitated through dinner as Blue didn’t show. He near fainted when he heard Birch didn’t know where Blue was. We have to watch out for each other. So what if he takes up more time than the rest of us. We don’t want to lose anyone else.” DeShawn says.
“Let’s set up a group chat and make sure someone is in his bed each night and someone has lunch or dinner with him each day. No need to be too ridged, and no need for it to be one person at a time. Let’s just make sure we all take a turn.” Andy says.
“Well I’m happy to move into his room for the week if Robin isn’t going to be around. Easier than swapping every night. It’s harder for me to do meal times.” DeShawn says showing he is much more a part of the group than any of them realized.
“Thanks. I’ll do lunch tomorrow and we’ll take it from there.” Andy says.
“I’m gonna stay with you for a few days okay?” DeShawn says climbing in to bed with Gervais.
“That’ll be really nice.” Gervais says with a real smile.
The next morning they get up early and Gervais tries to do his yoga while DeShawn runs on the treadmill Spence has bought. DeShawn wolfs down breakfast while Gervais nibbles at an apple his appetite still messed up.
They find where Blue would normally have class and wait. Blue is running late, he misjudged how far he was from school and how slow the bus would be in morning traffic. He sprints from the stop to class and doesn’t even notice Gervais and DeShawn waiting for him until he feels DeShawn’s hand on his arm.
“Hey DeShawn. What’s up?” Blue asks.
“We were worried. No one knew where you were.” Gervais says.
Blue rolls his eyes.
“You’ve not known where I was for weeks.” Blue says.
“Hey man calm down we just wanted to check you were okay as you didn’t come to dinner or answer the phone.” DeShawn says calmly.
“Okay it was rude of me not to cancel but I clean forgot. I’m fine. Can I go to class?” Blue asks.
“Sure sorry to be dramatic.” DeShawn says.
Gervais reaches out and squeezes Blue’s hand, Blue shrugs him off.
“I hope you and Birch work it out.” Gervais says and lets Blue go.