“I’ll miss you.” Blue says as Robin packs the car to go home.
“I hate leaving you alone but I need to spend some time with my family before going back to school.” Robin says he’s actually pretty worried about Blue and determined to call regularly. He knows Blue has friends here and jobs and his dream but Robin still wishes Blue had a boyfriend or even a roommate to look out for him regularly.
“I’ll be fine. I have so much to do.” Blue says.
“I know, I just worry.” Robin says and hugs his best friend close.
“You be careful at school. Have higher standards find someone who makes you loopy.” Blue says.
“I will, I promise. I want that, you were so right to call me out for settling.” Robin says.
“I want us all to be happy. I’ll keep looking for my man too.” Blue says with a smile.
“Good for you. You and Gervais are something but you’ve only been a disaster together. You need to find someone who is a lot less drama.” Robin says.
“I know.” Blue grins and the hug for a long time before Robin sets off.
Blue walks around the house checking on all the work that has been done and all that is still to be done. He makes a list and feels a little more in control. He then walks through the garden and does the same and finally the rest of his land.
He has plans and backup plans and backup, backup plans. He’s excited and ready to get going. In some ways Robin and Gervais were a distraction. They helped but needed direction which slowed him down.
As it is snowing again he works on plans for the fields and gets prices for all that he needs. He puts the radio on for company and has a lovely time. Around dinner time Larry shows up with some beers.
“Though I’d bribe dinner out of you.” Larry grins.
“Wanna fuck first?” Blue asks boldly.
“You know it.” Larry grins and kisses Blue’s cheek.
They move into the empty main room and are soon rolling around the floor wrestling and kissing. They both want dick tonight and take turns to satisfy each other, dinner long forgotten.
They shower together after and Larry drinks a beer and watches as Blue pulls together a quick noodle dish for them to eat. Larry hugs Blue from behind and kisses his neck, just like Andy used to. Blue has a wave of sadness for his lost friendship, Andy was his first brother and he misses him. He’d love this house and the land and Blue wishes he was here to bounce ideas on.
“What’s up?” Larry asks sensing Blue tensing up.
“Just thinking of someone from my past.” Blue says.
Back at home Andy is thinking of Blue as he packs his things up for school. Andy and Chris have been sharing Blue’s room and it has felt weird from the start. Tonight they are having a farewell dinner for Willow. Birch and Grant drove up for New Year so Birch could see Willow before she left and so Grant and Bea could be together. Andy feels unhappy that Birch is here in Blue’s space. He’s felt weird all break. Clara has behaved as if Blue never existed and Bea and Chris have followed her lead. It has been pressure on Chris to be the good son, but he’s lived up to it, like in the summer Chris has happily stepped in to chores and the café without one complaint.
Bea has been more of a pain but she is clearly Clara’s favorite. The pair argue a lot but it’s usually on an intellectual level and they can snap straight out of it.
Because of the way Bea and Clara are close and the way Clara supports Chris in his dream to be a vet Andy is actually happy that Blue isn’t here. He hates how his former friend has been pushed out of his own life but really is grateful that he isn’t here to see it.
Andy has spent much of the break up at Deke’s dad’s farm working on plans for the summer, on preparing the land. He’s loved it but wishes he had Blue there to bounce ideas off. Chris tries to feign interest but isn’t much good at pretending. Katelyn and Sarah, Deke’s younger sister are much more helpful and give their opinions and listen to Andy’s ideas.
Katelyn has bounced back from their mom leaving and is back to the happy, confident girls that she was before their mom showed up again. She loves working with Willow at the retreat and with Sarah at the farm. She’s dropped the manicures as they remind her of her mother too much.
Clara’s relationship with Katelyn is probably the healthiest Clara has. Roe is always on high alert for her fuckery and tries to limit Clara’s influence when she can. Andy appreciates all that Roe is doing to bring Katelyn up well.
Spence and Gervais both sent lots of gifts for Katelyn for Christmas and that made Andy feel even worse about how wrapped up in Chris he has been for the last semester. Spence has been down but Chris gets jealous if he spends any time with him and he knows none of the others bother with him.
Andy sits at Blue’s old computer and checks his social media before sitting down. He is almost certain that Robin and Gervais have been with Blue from their updates. Though he sees pictures of Gervais with Spence’s family on Gervais and W’s feeds and no sign of Spence.
Chris is out with the vet and won’t be back for another hour or so. Without thinking further Andy calls Spence.
“Happy new year.” Andy says with a shy smile as Spence answers.
“Thanks. Surprised you remember I existed.” Spence says.
“What’s going on? I saw Gervais in pictures with the kids but not you.” Andy asks.
“I fucked up. Danny was everything I wanted, everything. We were crazy together, crazy. I thought he had the day off and AB was taking the kids out for the day. We set up a crazy scene in the pool house and we had the drapes open. W comes out looking for Danny and gets a full view of everything. Danny got fired and I had to leave too. I guess they asked Gervais to cover while they found a new nanny.” Spence says.
“Holy shit. Was it really bad?” Andy asks.
“Oh I was hog tied, red ass, covered in clothes pegs and hard as a rock.” Spence says.
“Oh fuck.” Andy says with a grin.
“And it turns out Danny knew he should have been working. Thought I would love the extra humiliation. Which I did. Of course I did. You know what I’m like. But he wanted to get fired, he already had an offer for twice the money and his own apartment. He used me.” Spence sighs.
“So you’re not seeing him again?” Andy asks.
“No. If I’m lucky I’ll be able to see Tommy again when he graduates. I fucked up. I should never have let my dick rule me. We should have gone to a hotel.” Spence says sadly.
“Are you back at school alone?” Andy asks.
“Yeah, its fine. I’ve been working out and having one night stands and getting ready for next semester.” Spence says.
“Are you coaching?” Andy asks.
“No, I can’t get any hours from any gym, even as a volunteer. I offer to pay my own insurance and everything but can’t get anything. Will has made sure of it.” Spence says.
“It’s not what I want. I’m sorry. What about going back to wrestling?” Andy asks.
“I just feel pretty defeated right now. I need a new plan.” Spence says sadly.
“We’ll be back in a few days.” Andy says.
“That makes no difference.” Spence says.
“I’m sorry. Chris gets jealous.” Andy admits.
“I don’t blame him. I was a fucking idiot throwing what we had away. I love you so much Andy.” Spence says crying.
Andy has no idea what to do or say. He has never seen Spence so low and is worried. He can’t believe Spence fucked up so badly. That Danny has left him and that his career is in tatters. That he is living alone and fucking around. Not what suits Spence at all.
“I still care babe. You’ll find someone. I know you will.” Andy says.
“I won’t. You were the one for me. I knew that the minute we first kissed and I know I won’t find anyone like you. I can give you so much more than Chris can. Please reconsider me.” Spence says.
“Fuck off. Fuck off and find your own boyfriend. Don’t you dare try and steal mine.” Chris who has been listening in the doorway says and walks over and ends the call.
“Why were you talking to that prick?” Chris asks angrily.
“I saw some pictures of Gervais at his family’s place and wanted to check he was okay. He isn’t. You don’t need to rub his face in it.” Andy says.
“When he is trying to steal you back I do. You chose me. I love you and I am not losing you back to him.” Chris says.
“You won’t lose me. I love you and I want to be with you. You know that.” Andy says and kisses Chris to try and calm him.
“Who else have you been calling behind my back?” Chris asks.
“I’m not in touch with Blue if that is what you’re asking.” Andy says with a sigh.
“And Magnus?” Chris asks.
“No. You can trust me baby. I love you.” Andy says frustrated.
“Come on we need to help with dinner.” Chris says and Andy follows him.
Willow loves the dinner, loves having her brother there and all his friends. Like Andy Willow feels weird about being in Clara’s house without Blue. She and Clara are having a relationship of sorts, she knew she’d like Clara, despite the way she treats Blue, she knew the women who shaped this town to be like a giant commune would be the one for her. She didn’t expect to fall quite so hard.
As soon as Cheryl left she went for it with Clara but it didn’t work out as she wanted she became just another of Clara’s playthings. It works both ways Willow is free to be with whoever she wants but that isn’t Willow’s way and she hopes that the travelling will get Clara out of her system.
The only worry Willow has is how Birch will cope. He has buried himself in his work again and has had a series of affairs but no one has come close to Blue. Since Birch got here he has been floored by how people in the town talk about Blue compared to how Clara, Bea and Chris talk about him. Birch is deeply ashamed of how he spoke to Blue in Australia. He can see clearly now how marginalized Blue had become in his own family. How Clara had thrown money at him and thrown him away.
Birch knew their breakup was a mistake but being here, months later he can see just how big a mistake it was. He wants to talk to Andy about Blue, about tracking him down to apologize. That Birch may have contributed to Blue dropping out of school and abandoning his family and friends kills him. Blue is the guy he thought he was at the start, he knows that he is that good guy, true to himself loving and kind. He hears it from everyone he meets. Everyone asks after Blue unless Clara is around.
“Can we be in the same car on the way back? I want to talk about Blue.” Birch whispers to Andy as they clean up after dinner.
“Won’t you want to be Willow?” Andy asks he wants to talk too but not in front of Chris. That Chris has refused to talk of Blue at all bothers Andy.
“Yeah I guess I can talk to her. Maybe Clara will have told her something.” Birch says.
“That would be good. I thought Gervais knew something but he’s been with Spence’s family. Could Willow ask Cheryl? I can’t imagine Blue abandoned Ocean.” Andy says.
“I just thought we’d get here and Clara would know where he was and say she was just giving him space or something.” Birch says.
“But it is like he never existed. All his personal things were gone from his room. It is so weird.” Andy says.
“How can you stay with Clara?” Birch asks.
“Its home. Chris has lost the rest of his family. Even his cousin wasn’t allowed to stay with us when she came for a college visit. They have all cut him off. Clara treats Blue like shit but she has supported all of us and treats us all well. I know it isn’t right. I’m weak.” Andy admits.
“I get it. I do. It’s not for me to demand you drop your family. I just feel guilty as sin for treating Blue so badly. For projecting this spoiled rich kid thing onto him when he was never that.” Birch says.
“No he was never, ever that.” Andy says.
“Let’s go to Cheryl’s together when we get back.” Birch says.
“Deal.” Andy says with a smile. Enough is enough they have to track down Blue.
Blue wakes early on Monday morning and gets ready for his new job. He heads up to Mike’s farm. Mike, Tad and Larry are having breakfast together when he arrives so he joins them for a coffee.
Larry grins and Tad scowls. Blue is sad that he and Tad haven’t been able to salvage a friendship.
“I am going away for a few days, got some furniture to deliver for Wilson.” Larry says and Blue nods, they’d talked about it a few days ago and Blue knew it was a possibility.
“Drive safely. I have a tin of cookies and a flask of soup for you.” Blue says pulling the bag out of his bag.
“Thanks baby.” Larry says before remembering where he is and blushing.
Tad scowls some more but Mike is beaming. Mike is so happy that Larry is happy and has come out of his shell as himself again. Since Tad outed him Larry has been himself, no more faking crushes on girls or making stupid comments. He is back to being the son he was before he lost his mother and to see him with someone as wonderful as Blue, Mike is so proud.
“You’re welcome.” Blue grins.
“Lets get going. Come on Tad.” Mike says.
“You’re coming too?” Blue asks.
“Yeah, Dad thinks it would be good for me to help see you guys set up the diversion and talk to Nick and Ella about wat they’ve already done and failed at.” Tad says and Blue nods.
“That sounds good. You’ll likely think of hundreds of questions I forget.” Blue smiles hoping to heal their rift as they were pretty close before Christmas.
“Dad you don’t need to come, I know where we’re going.” Tad says.
“Are you sure? I’m happy to come and smooth things over?” Mike asks.
“It’ll be fine.” Tad says.
“You want to drive?” Blue asks.
“Yeah.” Tad says and takes the keys and walks out.
Blue kisses Larry briefly and then follows Tad outside.
“Are you two official now?” Tad asks.
“We’re just having fun while Larry is on break.” Blue says.
“Did Gervais really have a shit time on our date?” Tad asks.
“Yes. You were straight out of a teen movie, the handsome football stuff expecting him to fall on his knees. What happened to the sensitive guy struggling with decisions about farming?” Blue asked.
“You. You’re younger than me but you’re so together. You can articulate what you want to people. You turned out home around, flowers in our rooms and clean sheets. You knew Larry five minutes and worked out he was gay. You took my spot in my family and did a better job.” Tad says.
“I didn’t know and as soon as you two got home I stepped back. I love your dad and wanted him to have a great time with you two when you got back. It’s not my fault that you hang so much on being gay and vegetarian. It’s hardly a unique combo.” Blue says.
“I know and I didn’t know how to deal. You’re so comfortable in your own skin and I am flailing around.” Tad says.
“And you saw Gervais and then found out he was my ex and felt I was getting there first again.” Blue says.
“Yeah. I mean he is the most beautiful man I have ever seen. He took my breath away and I wanted to win his heart. I crashed and burned and then he fucked Larry.” Tad sighs.
“Which he was free to do so.” Blue says.
“I know. I just wanted it to be me.” Tad admits.
“Why are you coming today? Cheese and ice-cream are not for you.” Blue says.
“I am thinking of fruits for both. I was thinking that you get cheese with apricots or blueberries in and maybe we can work on something like that. Also for the ice-cream. I love the idea of growing figs and pecans.” Tad says.
“I was planning on growing figs too. Good for so many dishes.” Blue says.
“Yeah, maybe we can see who has the best space for them.” Tad says.
“Your dad mentioned you wanted to do flowers.” Blue says.
“That is the dream. That is why I said I’d love to be in your situation. Have the chance to try something from scratch, no expectations, no time limit on getting it right.” Tad says.
“I’m happy to help. Any time. I get that you’re mad at me but I understand what you want and lets be honest I have your dad’s ear and I can get his thoughts without it being hostile for you.” Blue says.
“I guessed you were the one who told him to give me a shot.” Tad says.
“I figured I owed you.” Blue says.
“I’m sorry our friendship imploded due to my jealousy. You were a good friend and you have done so much for dad.” Tad says.
“I get it. I know how it feels to be sidelined and replaced. Your dad wants you and Larry to be happy. He just isn’t sure how. He doesn’t want me instead.” Blue says.
“I know. I’m pretty lucky.” Tad grins.
“So we’re good?” Blue asks.
“Will you get me another chance with Gervais?” Tad asks.
“You’ll need to work on that yourself and you might find someone at school. He’ll be here all summer.” Blue says.
“I’ve time to work on my game.” Tad says and Blue grins not sure how he feels about helping someone else with his love.