Gervais heads to yoga with Deke and Birch on Thursday, Blue and Willow are already there for the advanced class.
“Are you up for this?” Birch asks Deke.
“I doubt I can do much but it’ll be nice to see the kids and I’ll stick to wrangling them.” Gervais laughs.
“You should have gone to the police on Curtis, your neck is so bruised.” Deke says shocked at Gervais appearance.
“That would just cause more mess. Plus we were all drinking and I don’t want anyone to get in trouble.” Gervais says.
“Well at least Andy found out he was violent before he got too far in.” Deke says.
“It wasn’t going anywhere anyway.” Birch says.
“Yeah Andy’s already moved on to Magnus.” Gervais says.
After class they filter back to the café, Curtis is sat in a booth with Cheryl.
“Hey Ocean lets go back upstairs and you can teach me some gymnastics.” Deke says and the others give him a grin.
Birch and Blue sit either side of Gervais and each put an arm around him. He’s trembling and pale as snow. Willow sits next to Cheryl. Blue can’t help but smile as they look cute together.
“What is it you want from me?” Gervais asks putting on a brave front.
Birch and Blue squeeze him to let him know he has their support.
“I need to prove that it is true. That your dad was my mom’s partner for a decade.” Curtis says.
“To what end? What are you trying to get from me?” Gervais asks.
“Look.” Curtis says holding up his tablet and showing Gervais picture after picture.
“Stop it.” Blue says and Cheryl wrestles the machine from Curtis hands.
“I just needed him to see.” Curtis says.
“Why? Why do you have to cause him so much pain? He lost his dad. He didn’t just lose him when he died, he lost every moment you stole from him. So answer him. WHAT DO YOU WANT?” Blue bellows at him.
“My mom knows he planned to leave her some money. I want an apology for not including us in the funeral and I want what she’s due.” Curtis says.
Gervais wipes his eyes and sits up. Blue’s shouting has re-energized him.
“I knew that my dad was seeing someone. I suspected about several someone’s over the years, Blue will tell you. But I also know that he wasn’t seeing your mom before he died. I know they broke up over a year before he died and he had cut you both out of his life. You are owed nothing. And it was ever me who screwed your mom out of an inheritance. It was you. He cut you both out of his will when you had the hissy fit over graduation. When he found out I didn’t go to mine and there weren’t even pictures he was upset. I was mad as hell at him because it was his fault. Not that I wanted to spend a minute more in that hell hole than I had to.” Gervais says.
“I am so proud of you.” Blue whispers in Gervais ear.
Curtis is silent not confirming or denying.
“That sounds like it could be the truth. We will never know for sure. But it rings true to me.” Cheryl says.
“So was this all an act? Are you really in culinary school? Did you try and muscle in to Gervais friendship group?” Birch asks.
“Yeah was our friendship just a means to an end?” Willow asks hurt and feeling guilty that she brought Curtis into their lives.
“It’s all real, I’m in culinary school, I was placed here. I had no clue that Andy’s friend Gervais was the same one. Not until I saw him at the party. I am sorry for getting physical I was just so angry when I saw you.” Curtis says.
“You’re a low life scammer. Thought you could prey on me when I’m vulnerable. You’ll never get anything from me but pity.” Gervais says.
“I think it is best that you never come back here.” Cheryl says pushing Curtis to the door.
“This isn’t going to end is it? There were other women over the years. For all I know my dad could have other kids around.” Gervais sighs.
“We’ll be here for you if it happens again and we’ll be a lot more vigilant about who we get close to.” Willow says.
“I’ve done the worst there already with Chris and Justin.” Gervais sighs.
“Those were both my fault in a way.” Blue says.
“My goodness you held your own there. When did you realize they had broken up some time ago?” Cheryl asks.
“I didn’t know for sure. I was waiting for him to call my bluff and he didn’t.” Gervais says worn out.
“Is it safe to come down?” Deke yells.
“Yes come on foods ready.” Cheryl says and goes to get the food with Willow helping.
“It all fits. Such a weird coincidence that he ended up working here and dating Andy.” Birch says.
“Yeah have to wonder if he chose to go to culinary school here in part as he knew Gervais was in school here.” Blue says.
“Yeah. I bet he planned to work in all the student food hangouts until he found me.” Gervais says.
“You name is unusual enough that he must have guessed Andy’s friend was you. Else he wouldn’t have gone warp speed.” Birch says.
“He’s out of our lives now and Gervais is safe.” Blue says.
“I can’t believe I did that.” Gervais says.
“All those times you’ve been mean to me were great practice.” Blue laughs.
“Maybe. Thanks you guys for being here for me. That has to be the end of the drama.” Gervais says.
“Agreed.” Blue says.
Ocean comes to the table and climbs over Birch to get to Gervais.
“Your neck is very sore.” Ocean says and kisses it gently.
“Thanks Ocean. You made it better.” Gervais says hugging the not so little one tight.
“You did good in class today. You’re so strong now.” Blue says.
“I am. I’m moving up two times in gymnastics.” Ocean says.
“Two levels? Wow.” Blue says.
“And I am going to try for regional squad. My coach says next year I should easy make the under 12 team.” Ocean says beaming with pride.
“Eat up so you can get stronger.” Cheryl says.
Blue slips out of his seat and follows Cheryl back to the counter.
“Are you okay with the commitment to gymnastics?” Blue asks.
“He loves it. Loves every darn second and I can’t find an objection. Spence has been so amazing helping us out as have you with the extra class. I need to increase my income and get more people working in here, I want to be able to travel to his meets and watch more practices, else I barely get to see him. I hoped having the culinary students would help but the first one hasn’t worked out.” Cheryl says.
“There will be more. Maybe you should see if they need someone to teach a veggie food unit. Hey I know, get rich parents in for baby food making and weaning classes. Or offer to do it in their homes. AB, Spence’s sister in law would know people. I know you want to keep this place as pay what you can for classes but my advanced class has worked and not impacted the others. You need more extension classes that cost for the exclusivity. Plus they’ll stay and eat kale salad after.” Blue says.
“That’s an idea. Keep them coming.” Cheryl says as they sit back down.
“Veggie kids parties. Or gluten free, nut free, whatever they need. It’s not like adult catering you’d be done early and again its something wealthier families would jump on for status.” Birch says.
“You could literally drop the food off as you do the school run.” Gervais says.
“We’ll come up with something.” Willow says.
“Or you could let me cover all the costs. I know Spence is helping and Blue has before. It would mean the world to me if you would let me cover your costs for meets. Ocean deserves to have you around.” Gervais says letting everyone fill in the blanks.
“I couldn’t.” Cheryl says.
“Yes you can. You are my life coach, my councilor and my friend. You feed me and cheer me up and you never judge me. I have a large sum of money in trust because I lost my mother and I get monthly benefits from the government because they took my father and another lump that is guilt money from him, for never being there for me. I want Ocean to never have to wonder if his mom will show. Please let me do this.” Gervais says.
“l can’t. It is a beautiful sentiment but I can’t.” Cheryl says.
“Then how about I hire you 2 hours a week to teach me to cook for the rest of semester. Being veggie is taking some work and I want to eat better. I’ll pay you $500 an hour plus the cost of ingredients. I won’t take no for an answer.” Gervais says.
“Take him up on it. We can try some of the other ideas too. Nothing can bring Gervais parents back but we can all learn from his dad’s mistakes.” Willow says calmly.
“You give and give and give. Take something for your family for once. It is what you’d encourage us to do.” Blue says.
“Thank-you. I won’t let you pay that much but we’ll work something out.” Cheryl says and gives Gervais a hug.
“Blue, Birch are you free this Saturday? Would you come for dinner at the apartment?” Gervais asks as they leave.
“We’d love to.” Birch says.
“Come by at 7.” Gervais says.
“Will you be okay tonight?” Blue asks.
“Yeah Robin is back for good now. I don’t know if he and Grant are in a fight or what but he’s keeping me company.” Gervais says.
“See you tomorrow?” Blue asks.
“No, I need to work back up to strength for climbing and clubs. Early nights for me.” Gervais says.
“Saturday then. Take care.” Blue says and kisses his cheek.
“Gervais kicked ass tonight.” Birch says in bed later.
“Right. I was so proud he stood up for himself.” Blue says.
“If your siblings can sort out their lawsuit we’ll be home free.” Birch says.
“I promise this summer with be drama free.” Blue says.
“Oh you barely go two weeks without any.” Birch says.
“More kisses.” Blue demands and Birch obliges.
“Delicious.” Birch says.
“I think we should bring back date night. I miss you showing me things, we haven’t done anything for you recently.” Blue says.
“I’m not complaining. I like your friends and their parties. I love quiet nights at home with you. I love how you made this place nice. I can’t wait to see what you do with the house.” Birch says.
“You’re not going to help?” Blue asks.
“I guess. I think doing art and being gay means that people have always assumed that I love interior design and I don’t.” Birch says.
“Fine.” Blue says feeling like Birch has poured cold water on him.
“What?” Birch asks.
“I’m not asking you to be a stereotype. I want us to make a nice home together.” Blue says.
“I’m just saying I’m not the one you want for pulling a house together.” Birch says.
“I don’t know what to do either.” Blue says.
“You turned this place into a home.” Birch says.
“Do you just see my house as somewhere to live rent free?” Blue asks.
“Stop picking a fight. You know I want to live with you and I wish you’d move back in here properly.” Birch says and Blue keeps quiet not sure why he’s so upset.
Blue has a confused day. He finishes classes and heads to the suite to do his homework and decompress. The words with Birch are playing over and over in his head. He can’t see that he did anything wrong and yet it feels like he did.
He knows in the same situation his past boyfriends would have been excited to shop for furniture and decorations. Even George would have talked about what sort of desk and chairs they should get and Austin would have talked about organic cottons and ethical wood.
Arrrrgh just because Birch isn’t interested doesn’t make him a bad boyfriend Blue tells himself. It’s because they are rushing again, Blue sees the house as them setting up home when it’s not, it is just a place to live. Blue knows he needs to take a step back.
He gives Birch a call to say he’s going to stay in tonight and get his homework done rather than hit the club. He just needs some alone time.
Blue hangs out on the roof with Tyler and some of the others from the building. It’s nice to do something low key and chat with people outside his drama.
Birch paints and paints and then heads to the club. He dances with friends and randoms and flirts like crazy. A night away from the drama is just what he needed.
Coming home to an empty bed is not what he needed. He can’t work out what happened the night before. Blue was pissed. They need to talk but yet again Blue has run away. Birch is wavering again over whether Blue is worth it.
“He’s amazing and sexy and wonderful to be with but he needs a lot of reassurance and all the drama is draining.” Birch says to Willow over brunch.
“He does a lot for you, you just have lower needs right now.” Willow says.
“I know and that’s what I said last time we were fighting.” Birch says.
“And he said he needed to keep more space. He’s taking it. If he needs some time alone why shouldn’t he take it?” Willow asks.
“He’s not taking time alone. He’s punishing me for not wanting to play house with him.” Birch says.
“And why don’t you want to? You love what he’s done to your place.” Willow asks not sure what is going on or if anyone is in the right.
“I don’t want to shop for house shit. Rich kid spending his money, its kind of obscene.” Birch says.
“Wow. You don’t respect him at all. I didn’t expect that. I’m shocked.” Willow says.
“No, no. That’s not true. I do respect him a lot. I just don’t want to be a part of some massive shopping spree.” Birch says.
“I think you’ve got him wrong. He’ll get handcrafted stuff shipped down from home and hunt out things from thrift stores. It won’t all be new shiny mass produced stuff.” Willow says.
“Doesn’t matter if it’s a designer store or goodwill it’s still a massive shopping spree on his black card with no worries.” Birch says.
“You can’t be mad or jealous of his mom being rich. Not now. You knew it going in and I didn’t see you turning down a trip to Australia or a free room.” Willow says.
“I never stopped to think about it. Not really. I thought our backgrounds were similar but they’re not.” Birch says.
“You cannot fuck with him like this. He is crazy about you and if you are not sure you need to tell him now.” Willow says feeling really bad for Blue.
“When we’re together it’s great but when he’s being a stupid little bitch I can’t deal.” Birch says.
“It doesn’t sound like that. It sounds like his feelings are hurt and he’s taking some space. He knew you’d be going to the club, he’s have been alone half the night so he stayed where he was.” Willow says.
“I just over analyze it when he’s not there.” Birch says.
“Talk to him.” Willow says.
That evening Blue and Birch arrive at the apartment separately. They haven’t spoken all day but Blue has left messages and texts. Blue is feeling lost and adrift again. He doesn’t know why he is getting the silent treatment.
“I owe you all lobster dinners so I thought I’d make it myself.” Gervais says as they sit down.
“I helped.” Andy says.
“And George.” Gervais smiles.
“Wow you’ve gone to so much trouble.” Blue says with a smile and hugs them all.
“No Magnus tonight?” Birch asks.
“No, he is off to the opera with his parents and I have my limits.” Andy laughs.
“And I didn’t want this to be a big group thing. I wanted it to be personal.” Gervais says.
“So I’m just here as Blue’s boyfriend and so can go?” Birch asks.
“What the fuck? I invited you and you accepted. What have I done?” Gervais asks.
“I’m not in the mood to pretend things are fine with Blue. I’m sorry I shouldn’t have been so rude. Have a nice evening.” Birch says.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know what I’ve done wrong he won’t talk to me. I’m going to go. I’m sorry.” Blue says trying to hold back the tears and running out to try and catch Birch.
He stands in front of Birch’s car stopping him from leaving not sure what else to do.