You promise that Birch isn’t going to walk in.” Blue says over brunch with Will on Saturday after hot yoga.
“I promise. Birch is seriously in the doghouse. I cannot believe he turned your world upside down like that after all he went through with Joe. I never, ever thought he would behave like that, he’s shocked me with the change in his behavior.” Willow says.
“It’s what do, I drive men nuts. Gervais told me he loved me in the morning and ran off with Spence’s brother in the afternoon, George went from utterly adorable sweet gentle nerd to controlling douche. Your brother went from caring, amazing, talented artist, I thought we had the most amazing relationship really going somewhere and he turned into a vindictive tool who hates everything about me. I don’t understand how we spent all that time being friends and getting to know each other only for him to pull the rug out.” Blue sighs.
“He was insecure and didn’t know how to sustain what you had and crumbled.” Willow says feeling sorry for her brother.
“I didn’t need much. Oh maybe I did with everything going on I guess I was exhausting. I didn’t mean to be. Curtis and Justin and Jesse were not my fault.” Blue says.
“No and he should have told you and you could have come to me or one of your friends.” Willow says.
“I was going too fast. I thought because he loved me he wanted what I wanted, a home together and I didn’t actually ever ask if that was true. I just steamed ahead. I loved living with him, loved making his space into a home, making things easier for him so he could paint and not worry about anything else.” Blue says sadly.
“You were perfect on paper but the reality wasn’t what either of you wanted. You went into overdrive being a homemaker and he became your councilor and sure you had a good physical relationship but you were both playing at being boyfriends and not being real. You thought you were but you weren’t. Him more than you I expect.” Willow says.
“But I felt I was myself. I thought I could tell him anything, ask him anything. I thought it was good.” Blue says.
“But you were being a Stepford wife with 3 meals a day and a bj.” Willow says.
“Is that bad? Taking care of my man?” Blue asks.
“A carer is not all you are.” Willow says.
“I guess. Maybe I lost myself a little but we were just starting out.” Blue says.
“And you broke up twice.” Willow says.
“So much happened in the few weeks. It was stressful.” Blue says.
“It was and it was a bad time to start a relationship. You couldn’t know what was going to happen. God knows if I had known about Curtis I would never have put him in Andy’s path.” Willow says.
“Not your fault. Is Birch okay?” Blue asks.
“Not really. He feels mad he messed things up but I think also relieved. You guys were intense. Your mom has written to Birch and Robin to tell them she hopes they still take the summer trip, They are planning to, Grant too. That is what Birch wanted to talk to you about.” Willow says.
“Nothing I can do about it. I’m not going to miss out just because those three hate me.” Blue says.
“Do you think you and Robin will reconcile by then?” Willow asks.
“He has taken Birch and Grant’s side and I have no idea why. He’s not spoken to me since his birthday really. It’s a lot losing your best friend and boyfriend at the same time. I guess I know how Birch felt after Joe. But at least Birch had a reason to hate the pair. I’m just bewildered.” Blue says.
“Do you want me to talk to him for you?” Willow asks.
“No, I just feel like my friends are not who I thought they were and I’d rather not let my self-esteem take a further kicking.” Blue says.
“You’re actually a lot more together than I expected. You’ve moved past anger to reflection quite quickly.” Willow says.
“I have DeShawn and Gervais on side and Deke too. I’m doing okay. I wanted things to work with Birch so much, I loved the good times with him and I’ll treasure the memories just like I do the good times I had with Gervais.” Blue says.
“It doesn’t sound like you expect to make any more. You sound sad.” Willow says.
“I’m done. I am just not a relationship guy. I’m a total failure and too much for anyone to have to deal with.” Blue says.
“You’re 19. You can’t give up.” Willow says.
“I have my business plans, my wine will be my husband.” Blue laughs.
“Well I won’t stop putting guys in your path when I find them.” Willow grins.
“How are things with Cheryl?” Blue asks.
“I love her. She is my world and we’re very happy. I can’t wait to get up to the retreat for the summer, the three of us having real family time.” Willow says.
“Does Ocean know then?” Blue asks.
“He knew from the start, we didn’t give him enough credit. He’s happy as long as Cheryl is happy. He keeps asking when I’ll have a baby sister for him but that’s not something I’m thinking about.” Willow says.
“I’m so pleased for you both. You better take good care of her, she’s one in a million.” Blue says.
“I know. I will.” Willow smiles sweetly lost in her thoughts.
That evening George and Dylan are in bed. Dylan loves that George is a totally willing bottom for him and they’ve just finished another incredibly satisfying session.
“Exams then I get to take you home with me.” Dylan says kissing George’s cheek.
“I’m a bit scared.” George admits.
“Well we best not fight too much, not in the house at least.” Dylan says,
“We don’t fight so much anymore.” George says,
“No, I just throw you down and pound your ass.” Dylan grins.
“And I love it. I love you.” George says.
“I love you. I’m so happy you told me you wanted me.” Dylan says.
“I’m happy you’re staying.” George says.
“I love how tiny and cute you are in my arms, makes me feel like a giant.” Dylan says scooping George onto him like a baby and kissing him all over his face.
“More.” George says with a grin he can’t get enough of Dylan. Things have never slowed, their chemistry was powerful the first time between them and it hasn’t dimmed. They love the roles they are in in bed and they love the passion that the other brings.
“I’m tired.” Dylan lies growing firm against George’s thigh.
“I can do the work. Wanna ride you.” George grins.
“Get on baby.” Dylan says nothing he loves more than his baby helping himself.
Dylan finds it weird that he was ever in love with John when they talk. They study together often and still have a lot in common but the attraction is long gone to the extent that Dylan can’t imagine that he ever enjoyed sex with John and that he was once his whole world. He’ll always be grateful to John for getting him out the closet but they are ancient history now.
He still thinks fondly of Deke and DeShawn at times but with George he doesn’t need any games or gimmicks. Just George is enough. They fuck 2 or 3 times a day and its still not enough. The smooth curve of George’s butt is the most wondrous thing for Dylan and if he doesn’t get to touch or taste is several times a day he gets withdrawal.
After George curls himself up on Dylan and Dylan rubs his back, his hand slipping south ever so often.
Dylan makes George feel so secure that he doesn’t need to try and take control. Dylan stamps on him hard when he tries George grins to himself.
Last summer George was scared of Dylan, now he thinks he was scared of the strong feelings Dylan stirred in him, it wasn’t hate but pure passion. He needed Blue, someone safe and gentle, to get him ready, get him out and comfortable with loving men. He still loves Blue as a friend and for a second is washed with pain that his friend is yet again heartbroken when he is so happy. Then Dylan’s hand brushes his ass and the jolt of electricity bumps him again and he’s fully focused on his man as he drifts off to sleep.
Andy insists on Sunday dinner, he wants their usual pre exam big meal together. Gervais and DeShawn automatically decline due to loyalty to Blue. George and Robin are reluctant to take charge of the cooking, neither confident enough to lead, so Spence orders in from a nice restaurant.
Spence, Andy, Robin, Dylan, George, Grant and Magnus sit around the table in the apartment pushing food round their plates. It feels weird without the others and the food hasn’t travelled well
“So what are you planning in Australia?” Dylan asks.
“Lots of sex.” Grant grins.
“You could do that here.” Robin huffs. He doesn’t want the trip to be one long party but wants to see the country he’s visiting.
“Well it’s not worked out for me so far.” Grant sighs.
“Patience little bro!” Magnus says. He is loving his new sex life with Andy and is going to miss it over the summer. They’re yet to discuss what will happen exactly but he’s happy to enjoy what they have for now.
“Oh please you’ve been doing it for a week, it barely counts.” Grant rolls his eyes.
“Oh it counts and counts and counts.” Andy grunts while thrusting.
Spence looks away. He was happy for Andy and Magnus but gets the occasional wash of jealousy, especially now DeShawn has moved out and he’s not getting any. He thought he’d have someone by now. He wishes not for the first time that Blue was around to talk to. He feels bad he’s not been there for Blue for his break up and wants to talk to his friend about his own feelings. He can’t talk to Andy and Robin has closed himself off from everyone.
Spence is worried he’s going to be really lonely this summer.
Over at the suite Cheryl has had an emergency and so Ocean is hanging out with Blue, Gervais and DeShawn. They have spent most of the morning at the pool and Ocean has been loving having his brothers to play with. The other students are a little surprised at a kid being there but several miss their younger siblings and don’t mind his childish laughs and squeals at all and are happy to join in some games.
Playing volleyball while sat on Blue’s shoulders is Ocean’s favorite thing and he can’t get enough of piggyback rides from DeShawn. Exhausted and starving they dry off in the suite and Blue and George make big sandwiches for lunch.
DeShawn fries himself a steak to have in his and the four are chattering away until Chris arrives.
Blue has pre-warned Ocean that Chris is coming but the kid is really unsure that it’s a good idea.
“I think maybe you should come another day.” Ocean says opening the door.
“Hey come on. You promised to be good if I took you swimming.” Blue says and Ocean grimaces.
“Hey kid.” Chris grins remembering their previous encounter all too clearly.
“Just sandwiches today, nothing fancy. Most of my cooking stuff is in storage and we’ve been making the most of the good weather all morning.” Blue says worried that Chris will expect a full meal.
“He’s being modest as he made the bread this morning.” DeShawn says sitting down.
“Oh I made you a veggie one like us, I didn’t think.” Blue says flustered.
“I love cheese.” Chris says taking a big bite and Blue relaxes.
“We get ice cream sandwiches for dessert if I’m good. Me an Gervais will go and get squidgy ice cream and Blue made cookies, choc chip and banana for me and choc chip and coconut for the grown-ups, Banana is my favorite food.” Ocean prattles on having decided Chis is no longer the enemy.
He does sneak looks from Chris to Blue frequently as if willing one of them to change their face.
“So all three of you are living here again?” Chris asks.
“Yeah. More drama. Blue and Birch split and we’re the two on Blue’s side.” Gervais says.
“That’s it? Seriously?” Chris asks surprised.
“My mom says that when 2 friends break up and one asks me to pick sides I should always be friends with the other one because they didn’t ask me to choose.” Ocean says solemnly.
“Blue didn’t ask us to choose.” DeShawn says equally seriously back.
“I choose Blue and not smelly Birch. Birch has a nature name like me but so does Blue because he is Blue Sky. Why don’t you have a nature name?” Ocean asks Chris suddenly very confused.
“My parents gave me and my sister traditional names.” Chris says.
“But not Blue?” Ocean asks.
“My momma gave me my name and Chris’s momma gave him his name. My momma carried me and Chris and Bea in her tummy all at the same time and then Chris and Bea went to live with their mommy and she got to choose their name.” Blue explains.
“Okay.” Ocean says not sure that he likes the idea of mommies giving babies away.
“Shall we go and get the ice cream?” Gervais asks sensing Ocean needs a few minutes.
“Can DeShawn come too?” Ocean asks.
“Oh you bet I’m coming.” DeShawn says.
“I like squidgy ice-cream. Do you want vanilla or poopy ice cream?” Ocean asks Chris.
“Both. I like vanilla on my poo.” Chris says with a straight face and Ocean squeals with laughter.
“How is the legal stuff going?” Blue asks.
“They offered a settlement of about half what Clara paid into our college fund. I said no straight off as it didn’t take into account what our grandparents gave and Bea agreed. If they have that much stashed somewhere then they probably have the rest. Even the half would have been enough to pay for my tuition this year without asking Clara and that really bugs me. What if Clara had lost it all in the crash you know? What then?” Chris says agitated.
“After lawyers’ fees is it worth going to court for more?” Blue asks.
“That is what my grandfather said but the lawyer thinks they’ll make another offer before it gets to court,” Chris says.
“I’m sorry that this has happened to you. I thought you were such a d when you got mad about it but I am now too. Just because momma has money doesn’t mean they are entitled to it. You are far more entitled to it than they are.” Blue says.
“Right and I am feeling a lot less entitled to it than I was. What Clara has arranged for me this summer means the world to me. I feel like she has parented me and Bea more in the last few weeks, than my parents ever did. She’s really made me and Bea work on our issues with each other. We’re a lot closer. Sure maybe she’s manipulated us against our parents but I’d rather have a functional relationship with Bea.” Chris says.
“You’ve been talking to momma?” Blue asks.
“Yeah since the lawsuit started we’ve been talking twice a week, the three of us and then separately. She’s really smart.” Chris says.
“Is that why you approached me?” Blue asks.
“No, that night at the hospital was it. I really did feel terrified about losing you. We owe Robin.” Chris says.
“He’s not talking to me.” Blue sighs.
“I saw him with a girl. She’s tiny and Asian, very cute.” Chris says.
“He wanted a girlfriend. It would be nice to think he’s been buried deep and not had time to call.” Blue says hopefully.
Ocean comes bursting back in with DeShawn and Gervais carrying bowls of takeout soft serve from the dining hall. Ocean has clearly already partaken in some.
Blue gets up and puts the cookies on two plates and grabs some spoons.
The guys crumble their cookies in while Ocean insists on making a sandwich and suffers drips everywhere but has a lot of fun making his mess.
“I am going to get Clara to teach me how to make these cookies this summer. These banana ones are so good. I can’t believe the banana caramel center.” Chris says.
“Those are minnnnnne.” Ocean says laughing.
“You have good taste kid.” Chris says and ruffles his hair.
Gervais can’t believe this is Chris in public. He’s so relaxed now and so comfortable with everyone.
The tension and all the posturing is gone. He’s so close to the guy he used to see sometimes in private, in their best moments.
“You’re different.” Gervais says.
“I let go of the hate. Gervais I am so sorry for what I did to you. Trying to push you out of school. I was so mad at losing you. The way I lost you, showing my true self, the self I hated and you rightly hated too. I’m not letting that guy win.” Chris says.
“I’m the king of getting a fresh chance. If you’re nice to Blue we can be friends. I like seeing the two of you get along.” Gervais says.
“Were you mean to Gervais?” Ocean asks.
“I was and I’m very sorry. He broke up with me and I was very sad.” Chris says.
“He had to break up with you. He’s going to marry Blue and have babies.” Ocean says.
“I would love it if he was my brother in law one day and gave me some nieces and nephews.” Chris says making it clear he wouldn’t object to any reunion between Blue and Gervais however hurt he would be inside.
“Not happening but thanks.” Blue laughs.
“These two are barely friends again. Gervais is still groveling. But it works to my advantage as he makes a mean chocolate milkshake.” DeShawn laughs.
Cheryl arrives shortly after to get Ocean.
“I’m afraid we over did the sugar but he was really good.” Blue says.
“We did so much swimming too.” Ocean grins.
“Thanks so much for taking care of him. I was so relieved you were available.” Cheryl says.
“Always happy to have our little bro over.” Blue says.
“That’s right. He’s a great kid we love having him.” DeShawn says and hugs Cheryl who despite her preference for women blushes.
Ocean kisses all 4 guys good bye and grabs a cookie in each hand before leaving.
“He’s a sweet kid.” DeShawn says.
“The best.” Gervais says with a grin.
“Have you been seeing anyone?” Gervais asks Chris.
“Not since you. Will the lawsuit and everything I’ve not been in the right place. It’s not like sex is so hard to find.” Chris says.
“For you.” Gervais says.
“Oh please. You’ve been depressed and sick since Jesse died not exactly out there trying. You only need to snap your fingers when you’re ready and you’ll have a queue.” Blue says.
“I forgot I was sick.” Gervais laughs feeling a bit better.
“I had the men’s volleyball coach the other day. In the locker room. Pure porn fantasy situation.” DeShawn says.
“Oh wow. What I wouldn’t give to join your team showers for 2 minutes.” Chris says and they all laugh knowing they feel the same.
“See I really, really missed out having no sports in high school. No coaches. No locker room.” Blue says.
“No teasing or name calling or steps to run in the rain either.” Gervais says shuddering.
“Would it be okay if I came over here to study this week? I find the library oppressive and the study rooms are all booked in my dorm.” Chris says.
“For sure. We’re going to be working together as much as we can.” Blue says knowing he is fully prepared and can afford to help the others.
“Is it okay with you G?” Chris asks.
“Yes, As long as you’re nice. If you turn back into old Chris then DeShawn will kick you out.” Gervais laughs.
“For sure.” DeShawn says looking terrifying.
The odd group do get into a routine during the exam period. They swim, study, eat and relax, Blue and Gervais help DeShawn and Chris with their studies. Gervais finds methods to help both of them and DeShawn comes back from one final beaming that he actually enjoyed it, Gervais had unlocked his brain.
“I don’t get why you two are here. You’re way too smart. I get that George is here because he got a free ride but you two are full pay. What gives?” DeShawn asks one night.
“I had perfect test scores and a bad gpa. High school was very, very tough for me with bullying and sexual assault and rapes. I rarely managed to get my homework handed in without someone destroying it. In class tests would be torn while being passed forward. I didn’t have the option of elite schools. Now though with good grades to transfer I can go to a school with a world class engineering program and I’ll be a pig in muck.” Gervais grins.
“I knew you had it bad but not that it was that extreme. You’re amazing. What a fight back.” DeShawn says really proud of his friend. He hasn’t always liked Gervais behavior but damn he’s been through it.
“What about you big bro?” Chris asks.
“In a tiny high school being number 1 in your class doesn’t mean a lot. I didn’t know where I would stand compared to everyone else, I didn’t know if I was average or dumb or smart. We weren’t sure how big my gaps would be from a normal high school curriculum. Momma insisted I go somewhere I could get a well-rounded education and this place fitted size wise and had everything I wanted. We wanted me somewhere big so I had the full college experience. Now momma trusts me to finish up where I’ll be happy. All our criteria out the window and it’s cheaper.” Blue grins.
“I think it’ll be better for us to be in different schools.” Chris says.
“Yeah me too. Different professors and different pool of men.” Blue says.
“Oh we’ll still be going to the same club but we expect you two to bring guys from your new schools.” DeShawn says.
“New men Sunday dinners.” Gervais laughs.
“Perfect! New guys, cheesecake and chat.” Chris says.
“Deal for every Sunday dinner we have to bring one new guy.” DeShawn says.
“Until we all have boyfriends.” Gervais says.
“That’ll take a hundred years.” Blue sighs.