“How did it go?” Gervais asks impatient for news.
“It started out okay and then he just turned on us and wants nothing to do with us.” Andy says his eyes red.
“What did you bitches expect?” DeShawn asks shaking his head.
“I guess I’ll save him from having to Say it to me.” Robin says shaking his head.
“Why didn’t you go to him?” Spence asks.
“I’ve been avoiding him since my party.” Robin admits.
“So he bakes you beautiful cakes, blows you and instead of thanking him you avoid him while he’s in trouble. Nice.” DeShawn says and Robin goes pink.
“So much for being kinder to each other. I guess we all thought someone else would call him.” Spence sighs.
“He’ll forgive us when he’s calmed down. He always does.” Andy says.
“I don’t think so, I think we were all on our last chance and I handled it badly. Why did you tell everyone he cheated without getting his side? I thought he must have confessed or something.” Spence complains to Andy.
“Grant told me that was why they broke up. Why would Birch lie to him?” Andy asks.
“I told you it wouldn’t be true. You just carried on telling people. I think you were happy that Blue had slipped up.” Gervais says annoyed that everything is messed up again for everyone.
“Turning on each other won’t help.” Robin says.
“No but at least it won’t look like all of us against him. I bet he thought we stayed away because we were on Birch’s side. He was alone in that room all week and we left him to rot again. We all know him well enough to know he doesn’t reach out when he’s in pain but only DeShawn made the effort.
He sucked up all his hate for me to help me through my sickness and Curtis and I repaid him by doing nothing.” Gervais says and breaks down feeling so sad that Blue has been alone again.
“He’s better off without all of you.” DeShawn says.
“Are some of us homeless next semester now?” George asks worried.
“Oh come on George.” Gervais splutters.
“He has a point.” Andy says.
“We’ll work it out.” Spence says.
“He’ll not go back on his word. He’s not like that and he won’t hold you and Dylan accountable for this mess.” Robin says soberly.
“Come on let’s move into my room, the bed is much more comfortable.” DeShawn says surprising Blue.
“I forgot your room. Fuck I was sad that Spence took his bed. I could have been in luxury this whole time.” Blue says with a smile.
“Those guys are all spitting over your reaction. But you did the right thing, you need to clean house. They take, take, take and never give anything back. I’ve watched you step back, I’ve watched you try and keep the peace, I’ve watched you take care of all of those guys and I’ve watched you spoil all of us with your beautiful food made with love, I’ve not even seen any of them buy you a coke in the club.” DeShawn says.
“Just you. It’s not been alt one way. Spence, Robin and Andy have all been there for me in the past and this was probably one time too many for them. But they’ve also all fucked me over and this time spreading lies about me was just too much. I don’t want to do the work this time. I knew I should have stayed away from Gervais but you were again the only one stepping in and I couldn’t leave him to face everything alone. He owes me big time and he still didn’t make an effort to check I was okay. I was okay, the breakup wasn’t that bad.” Blue says.
“What happened?” DeShawn asks.
“I thought moving to the house would be us setting up home together and he just saw it as living in a room at my place. It stung and I spent some time thinking about it and decided we’d been going too fast, I’d step back and work on us a lot more. He thought about and had the opposite conclusion, he thought breaking up was best. He threw out some major insults and accused me of cheating along the way but I could see what he meant underneath. I’m not what he wants and that’s okay.” Blue says.
“So you’re actually okay about it?” DeShawn asks.
“Yeah. I was well on my way to being in love but I’d kept my heart back a little and that protected me. Sure I was upset but I’m over it. I’m not over losing everyone else too. But I’ll be okay. Finals are coming then I’m off to a new school and new friends.” Blue says.
“One more year for me. I’m throwing my hat in for the pros next year.” DeShawn says.
“What about your degree?” Blue asks.
“Well summer school and a bigger load in the offseason next year should get me close and I’m relying on you riding my ass to make sure I complete the year after with online and distance classes.” DeShawn says.
“Oh you bet I will.” Blue says with a grin.
“Have to get through finals first.” DeShawn says.
“We can study together. I love exams. I am such a nerd like that.” Blue laughs.
“I know Mr 3 finals in one day.” DeShawn laughs.
Blue feels happy as he sleeps. Having just one friend who likes him for himself, his full nerdy, hippie self is enough.
DeShawn smiles as he sleeps too. It feels good to be the one who has come through for Blue. All year he’s watched this guy be superman and get shit on. DeShawn finally feels like he’s repaying Blue for all the lovely food and the kind welcome he gave DeShawn when he first arrived.
DeShawn has had fun with Spence and enjoyed spending time with Gervais, Antonio and Andy but with Blue he feels like he has a close friend and really wants to be here for him. It feels good.
“Wow are really warm to wake up to. You have coal in your belly?” Blue asks as he wakes sweaty.
“Yeah I run hot. Sorry if you’re uncomfortable.” DeShawn says.
“I’m really good a lot better, I think I’ve had half an ear awake every night since moving back.” Blue says.
“I slept like the dead. Shall we go and swim?” DeShawn asks.
“I need to stretch first.” Blue says.
“I’ll do things old school press ups and crunches. Let’s go.” DeShawn says with enthusiasm.
While eating breakfast together downstairs they fall back on their old friendship before the cold stopped their morning routine.
“Can we keep us totally platonic? I’m not saying you want me or I’m rejecting you. I mean we had a lot of fun that time. I mean can we hang out and keep things just friends?” DeShawn asks.
“I’m good with that. I mean you are incredible in bed but boy do I need drama free friends right now. I would hate for one of us to get more in than the other and get hurt.” Blue says.
“Yeah that’s what I meant. I mean I still find you super-hot but I don’t want to act on that because I value our friendship.” DeShawn says.
“Back at ya.” Blue grins.
“Are you as frustrated as me? We started this year as good buddies and we kind of forgot later on that we have each other.” DeShawn says.
“You had my back all year. You dumped Deke because of me. I’m the one who has let you down. I’m grateful for the second chance.” Blue says sincerely.
“You didn’t forget me. You’d leave me a plate of protein cookies to show you cared and all those meals. Man if I have grandkids the college stories I tell won’t be about winning games they’ll be about Blue’s desserts.” DeShawn grins.
“I really appreciate you coming over last night. I’m still kind of in shock about losing everyone. I feel okay and it feels right but I am really glad you showed up.” Blue says.
“Me too. It felt all kinds of wrong you being here alone and I feel good helping out. See you tonight?” DeShawn asks.
“For sure.” Blue grins and they head off to class separately happy to be part of a mutual appreciation club.
Over the next couple of days the pair become firm friends again. Blue helps DeShawn with his studies and DeShawn helps Blue with his self-confidence. At times Blue aches for what he had with Birch and misses Andy and Spence but the biggest hole in his heart and the one that is expanding is for Robin. DeShawn is wonderful and caring and fun and Blue loves hanging with him but he really wants to pour his heart out to his best friend and the silence is deafening.
Blue accepts that they drifted since the murder, that his moving in with Birch and not staying with the guys shifted things. He thought the birthday party, getting Robin’s family to come and working so hard to make it a success would have healed them but it just moved them further apart.
Maybe they went too far with the sex Blue thinks to himself, Robin often gets freaked out after. Or maybe it’s Grant. Maybe because Birch and Grant are together he’s taken Birch’s side. Maybe he thinks Blue is a cheat. Each day he thinks of calling but just can’t face the rejection.
On Wednesday Robin and Birch receive emails from Ciara.
“I understand that you are no longer friendly with Blue. I know that he is not the easiest person to be around.
The flights for your summer trip have already been purchased and I hope you will both still go. Enclosed are your eticket details.
Travel is a wonderful thing and I encourage you both to take every opportunity to you can to see the world.
Birch hadn’t really thought about the summer trip. He really wants to go but it feels too weird. He knows Blue won’t take his calls but they need to talk.
Blue goes to yoga on Thursday and feels sad that it’s his last ever classes. He’s enjoyed them as a connection to home and loved all the people he has met but it is time to finish.
“This is my last class here. I will be available for private classes for up to 6 in your home from September. If you’re interested drop me an email and I’ll send out the information once I know my schedule. I’ve had a lot of fun teaching this class and watching you all improve. Thanks for making it a success.” Blue says at the end of the advanced class.
Everyone in the class gives him a hug and take down his contact details. Blue feels sure he’ll be able to start his little business next semester. He’s not surprised Willow didn’t show this week but is a little sad. He’ll really miss her friendship and wishes she’d never introduced him to Birch. Then he’d still have a friend outside of the drama.
Deke and Gervais arrive to help with the kid’s class and Blue admires Gervais for showing up and putting their problems aside to not let the kids down.
“This is my last class here. I want to thank Gervais and Deke for helping out this year. If you ask nicely maybe one of them will take over the teaching of the class. You’ve all been marvelous bendy kids and I hope you continue to do yoga all your lives.” Blue says at the end of class trying to hold back the tears. Ocean gives him a look of pure anger and Blue can’t hold his gaze.
“You’re not teaching anymore?” Gervais asks.
“I normally stop for finals and even though I’m risking momma’s wrath I know I won’t be coming back here again.” Blue says quietly.
“Do what’s best for you. I know you hate me and I don’t blame you but for whatever its worth I told Andy I didn’t believe you’d cheated on Birch. I dropped the ball thinking that one of the others would have been there for you and I’m sorry. You always come through for me. I should have been there.” Gervais says.
“Thanks. Maybe we can have that dinner next semester, after we’ve had some time to heal. I am sorry I ran out after you’d spent all that time cooking.” Blue says happy that Gervais recognizes what went wrong between them this time and grateful that he had his back against the lies.
“I’d like that. You better send me some picture this summer. I want to see you with kangaroos and koalas and all the grapes.” Gervais says.
“It’ll be winter, more empty vines I expect.” Blue says.
“I want to see vast empty vines then. Something to keep me dreaming.” Gervais says and Blue smiles his heart melting a little.
Blue is physically and emotionally worn out at the end of the general class and he decides not to make an announcement. No doubt Willow will find someone to replace him anyway Blue thinks.
“Are you really not my teacher anymore?” Ocean asks as they walk down the stairs.
“Not any more. I have exams and then its summer. Then I’m going to college a little further away. But you can still come for that sleepover.” Blue says.
“Okay I will come see your yard and we’ll make ice cream.” Ocean says back in a good mood.
“That sounds great.” Blue smiles.
“Thanks for being the best teacher ever. I am going to teach yoga and gymnastics one day.” Ocean says.
“I think that sounds a very good idea.” Blue says and hugs his little brother close before leaving.
“Blue wait.” Birch says grabbing his arm as he reaches the door. Blue roughly shrugs him off.
“Get off me.” Blue says eyes flashing danger.
“I had an email from your mom and I need to talk to you about summer.” Birch says.
“Do what you like.” Blue says.
“Come on we can be civil.” Birch says.
“No we can’t. I have lost everything, you, my friends, my reputation, this place, everything because you decided to lie about me. Decided that it was better to tell everyone I cheated when really you were bored of me and couldn’t wait to get Grant in your bed. I will never be civil with you.” Blue shouts and leaves.
“You lied?” Willow asks from the table where she’s eating.
“Blue didn’t cheat. Antonio was with Tyler that night.” Gervais says firmly.
“So you threw away the best thing you ever had because you were insecure about the size of his wallet.” Willow says exasperated as Birch sits back down.
“It wasn’t that he has money. It’s that his money makes him totally different to us. We’re used to sharing and everyone taking their chance to contribute. I’d only ever be contributing a tiny amount. It’s not even like I can even do cooking or cleaning in exchange because he does all that too. It’s great but I feel useless and dirty. Using someone else’s money feels wrong and not our values!” Birch says.
“Who do you think paid for the commune property? A massive 12 bedroom house? Someone’s rich parents. Who pays for our school? Our parent’s rich parents. We might have been brought up living a hippie life with hippie values but we all relied on rich benefactors behind the scenes. Sure someone would sell a painting or some pottery and make a deal about buying some hemp candles and organic wine but that didn’t pay the bills. Wake up.” Willow says frustrated that her brother has been so blind to reality.
Birch just stares at Willow his world crumbling. He threw Blue away over some misguided values that were never real.
“Losing him is the worst isn’t it? When it hits you that that life you thought you’d have together is lost.” Gervais says quietly feeling bad for Birch even while hating him for hurting Blue.
Birch nods stunned.
“Are you and Grant together?” Gervais asks.
“We didn’t do anything. He fell asleep after working on a project with me. I let Blue think it to hurt him.” Birch says.
“Grant has been pretty mean about Blue to everyone. He told Andy about the cheating.” Gervais says.
“Grant has his own issues with Blue.” Birch says dismissively.
“People are often on at me for taking from Blue and treating him badly. Seems like you have done just the same. Grant too. Both of you accepting a room and joining his summer trip and then bad mouthing him to everyone. Making him feel bad. Turning his friends against him. Seems wildly disproportionate when he hasn’t actually done anything bad to you or to Grant. I thought you were the right guy for him. I thought I was nowhere near good enough and you were this perfect guy who took him on dates and praised his food and boosted his confidence but you were evil to him. You built him up and then let him crash and pulled away his safety net for good measure. Evil.” Gervais says and leaves, Deke following behind.
“That was a bit much. You could see he was broken.” Deke says.
“He deserved it. Blue had been living in our old suite alone. Only DeShawn bothered to speak to him.” Gervais says.
“You can make your move now they’ve split.” Deke says.
“No moves from me. I’ve used up all my chances. Best I can hope for is repairing our friendship and I am really going to try.” Gervais says.
The following morning Gervais gets up super early and arrives on the roof as Blue and DeShawn are swimming. He sets up breakfast for them and the come over looking curious when they finish.
“Lobster benedict. Your favorite.” Gervais says with a grin.
“Thank-you.” Blue says and smiles back.
“Shall I leave you two to it?” DeShawn asks happy that Gervais is making an effort.
“No I brought enough for 3.” Gervais says.
“So is he forgiven?” DeShawn asks as he licks his plate clean.
“Not yet, but I can see that he cares and that is all I ever wanted.” Blue says.