Sunday morning Blue is reheating the oatmeal as Will makes coffee and finds the dried fruit and honey.
“I love how you make me feel at home, not like a guest.” Will says and kisses Blue’s neck.
“What do you mean?” Blue asks.
“I’ve had mornings after with guys who have gone postal when I went to get a glass out the cupboard for a drink. You have no issue if I go into the fridge and make myself a sandwich.” Will says.
“You’ve had your tongue in my ass, not a lot to hide after that.” Blue grins.
“I loved your other house but this place suits you. You’re so much more relaxed and at home in this town. I don’t think you’re a city guy.” Will says.
“I’m not. I’m really not. I love it here. I love how I am getting to know everyone and they know me. At Christmas a whole extra family dropped by as they had a power cut and we made it work. It was amazing. Really made me feel part of the community.” Blue says.
“I wish I’d been here. I want this, a house full for the holidays and lots of just us time too. Big meals with friends, fresh food from your garden. Quiet nights by the fire. You.” Will says knowing he’s going way, way too fast but certain that this is right, that Blue is the one for him.
“It’s usually me who tries to make a home before we’re a month in. I want all of that with you.” Blue says and serves up breakfast.
“Oh man it is better on day two.” Will grins.
“l want there to always be a pot of oats overnight and a soup or stew on the stove, fresh bread and butter.” Blue grins.
“We are going to have to run together when I move in. I will not be able to handle that level of food.” Will grins.
“We’ll run, we’ll f, we’ll dig the fields and chop wood for the fires.” Blue grins.
“I don’t want to leave. Can you take me home early tomorrow?” Will asks.
“How about I take you this evening and stay over?” Blue asks.
“Deal. My bed is tiny though.” Will grins.
“We’ll just have to squish closely.” Blue smiles.
They take a lazy bath together and are dressed and having another coffee when Gladys, Mike and Abby arrive.
“Have you got the pie ready for lunch? Thought we’d collect it now, so I can get it baking.” Mike says.
“Oh gosh Tad’s leaving lunch I clean forgot. I am so sorry. I can make cookies quickly and we have ice-cream but he might be tired of ice-cream by now.” Blue says apologetically.
“Is this young man the reason you forgot?” Gladys asks.
“Yes, this is my boyfriend Will.” Blue says.
“Boyfriend? I thought you and my Larry were on the way to that.” Mike says confused.
“Larry and I were casual and had no plans to continue once he went back to school. Will and I well we lost our way a while back and have been lucky enough to start over.” Blue says with a smile that could light up a factory.
“I’m Abby, this is Gladys and Mike.” Abby says stepping forward to shake his hand.
“Cookies will be fine. We have ice-cream up at the farm, well we should have the amount you and Tad keep making. So one extra place, is he meat or veg?” Mike asks.
“I eat meat.” Will grins happy to be meeting the people that mean so much to Blue.
“We may have found a florist.” Gladys says and Blue’s smile falls.
“Oh?” Blue asks trying to compose himself.
“Rita from church had a business in the city for forty years. She sold it and retired here. I asked if she knew anyone who might like to branch out on their own and she said her. She’s bored in retirement and a smaller business sounds good to her.” Gladys explains.
“Would she need an apprentice, maybe with a view to them being a junior partner? Will is interested and has some experience with flowers but not the business side.” Blue says.
“I’ll invite her to lunch.” Abby says and Blue knows it will be in motion.
“We’ll let you get on with your baking. Welcome to town Will, anyone who puts a smile on Blue’s face is very welcome here.” Mike says showing there are no hard feelings about Larry.
“Thanks. I’m excited to meet all the people who have helped get Blue on his dream path.” Will says.
“He’s have done it wherever he landed. We are all grateful it was here.” Abby says and they leave.
Will and Blue set to making the cookies, Will asks if he can make some for him to take back too. He’ll freeze them and ration them and they’ll remind him of Blue.
“I hope I didn’t overstep trying to get you a job.” Blue says in the car.
“Not at all. An apprenticeship with a view to taking over when she retires again sounds exactly right for me. If we get on and she needs someone that is. I mean we don’t know if the business will be able to sustain two people.” Will says.
“If you’re living with me out outgoings won’t be high.” Blue says.
“That’s true and I’ll do my share in the garden and with the chickens when you get them.” Will says.
“I know you will. I’ve had nothing but good luck since I moved here and it’s just getting better, finding you and you wanting to live here with me. Oh Will you make me so happy.” Blue says not able to hold back.
“Same. I’m excited about living here with you and all your friends. I thought I needed to have a big flashy career, helping gymnasts make money, making money from them. Being a hot shot. I don’t actually want that. If I can work in a florist here learning a trade and coach a couple of nights in the city to keep my hand in. Maybe run a mommy and me class at the community center. Then I think I will be more than fulfilled.” Will says.
“This is real.” Blue says barely a whisper.
“Yes babe, it is real.” Will says and they head in to Mike’s farmhouse hand in hand.
“Will come and meet Rita.” Gladys says as soon as they enter.
Blue smiles as Gladys introduces the pair, he’s accepted already and he’s only been here 2 days.
“So that is your boyfriend. Wow. How do you do it? I know you’re a good looking guy but Will is a knock out just like Gervais.” Tad asks in awe.
“Hands off. He is all mine.” Blue says and hands Tad the cookies.
“Oh I am just looking. Man he is fine. I just want to know how you find them and tame them.” Tad jokes.
“I am crazy lucky. Just crazy lucky. This summer I walked into my favorite café and Will was there with the owner’s son, who is like my little brother. It was like a lightning bolt for both of us.” Blue says.
“Why did you let him go?” Tad asks wondering how Blue could have let both Will and Gervais slip away.
“I stupidly felt I owed a friend loyalty and didn’t pursue it further. Lucky for me Will was prepared to give me another chance. He’s crazy about me.” Blue grins.
“I can see that, he keeps looking over.” Tad says.
“You all ready to get back to school?” Blue asks.
“Yeah, reluctant to leave the business. Once I firm up my schedule we can set up regular calls.” Tad says.
“For sure.” Blue grins.
“I’m so glad I’ll be graduating soon, worth slugging through extra classes and summer sessions to be done in 3.” Tad says.
“You should go talk with Rita and Will, they’re talking about getting the florists up. You’ll want to be a supplier someday.” Blue says and Tad shoots over.
Dinner goes well. Mike has enjoyed having people around as much as he’s enjoyed going to Blue’s dinners. He has loved having his sons at home and is sad that Tad is going back to school. He knows that both Tad and Larry will visit more during semester now he’s come out of his fog of grief and the house is as welcoming as it was when they were younger. No doubt he’ll throw himself back into work when they’re away.
Mike looks across the table at Blue who is chatting with Abby and Heidi about the ice-cream parlor Blue has bridged the gap from himself to his boys and he will always be grateful. He’s a little sad that it isn’t going to work out between Blue and Larry but he’s also a little relieved that he won’t have to worry about losing Blue to a breakup.
He admits to himself that his sons lives will be easier if people take to Blue and Will as a couple. Things have progressed and Tad hasn’t had any trouble but he also hasn’t been seen with a man.
“What do you think about growing figs dad?” Tad asks.
“I do like that idea. Pecans too, we have the weather and market for both. I’m not sure about this flower business though.” Mike says.
“I’d like to try, even if just a little.” Tad says.
“We’d market local flowers at a premium, most people won’t care but local brides will. Well no some love the idea of their flowers being specially flown in but others want to have as many ties to home as they can. Makes it more special.” Rita says and Mike nods.
“Blue’s soups do well because they use the local suppliers. I mean they are delicious too but everyone sees buying them as supporting two or more local businesses at one and we all feel good. I know I bring it up a lot but it’s a small thing that has done so much good.” Mike says.
“They are very popular. Even more so now we have seating. So many people come in in the late afternoons hoping to take some home for supper but it’ll be long gone.” Heidi says with a grin.
“So why not put on another pot?” Gladys asks.
“Things selling out helps build my reputation and really I want the food over with by mid-afternoon other than cakes and cookies to have with coffee. I want to start leaving the late afternoon shift to the new staff.” Heidi says and they all nod.
“All I know is that Wilson’s crew loved the lunches that Blue provided and are missing them now they’ve moved on to the next job.” Caro, Wilson’s wife says.
“I loved making them. Felt like a true home, always having a pot on the stove.” Blue says with a smile.
“I thought more of your guys came in this week than usual.” Heidi says with a grin.
“If Blue has any small jobs in his house he’ll no doubt be able to get it done in exchange for dinner.” Wilson grins.
“I’d love that. I would totally fill someone’s freezer in exchange for work.” Blue says.
“You’ll never be short of offers.” Mike says.
“Maybe it’s a service you could offer. An in home cooking lesson and a number of family dishes for freezing.” Abby says.
“I have so many opportunities and not enough time for what I want to do. But that sounds like a good winter evening activity but I don’t really have the cooking skills to teach.” Blue says.
“He is so clueless. No idea how good he is. You should see how patient he has been with the ice-cream. I never thought I’d be able to make it but I can. I’m learning how to balance the flavors and how to scale up and add stabilizers. Blue has taught the three of us so much and I’m certain he’s using real techniques.” Tad says.
“It’s all instinct. I love making desserts and I work and work at them to get them right but the soups are just normal family food that anyone can make.” Blue says and Tad shakes his head.
“You do it all properly. Maybe we could do something together. Just like you I am struggling with time.” Heidi says.
“Maybe next year when the ice-cream is up and running. You don’t have to do everything right now.” Will says.
“True. For a small town everything happens really fast. These guys have city people patience, none.” Blue laughs and the table laughs with him knowing its true.
“I loved Rita, we totally hit it off.” Will says on the way home.
“Good. Oh Will are you really going to join me here?” Blue asks.
“If you’ll have me. Blue in one weekend my life has turned around. I don’t feel the pang of my decision any more. I feel focused and ready to learn something new. I cannot wait to have time with you. Time in this community. And we’re just a short drive from the city so we can party if we want to. Mostly we’ll be entertaining though. You’re place is made for it.” Will says.
“Well we have a house full this summer. So much for me having rooms for seasonal workers. You’ll be okay with Gervais and Robin here? I know you’ll love having Cheryl and Ocean around.” Blue says.
“I love that kid and Cheryl is amazing, I’ll be leaning on her for sure as I transition out of being a gymnast. Your friends, well maybe I’d prefer your ex to not be around but I know he was rooting for us and mad at Spence before so he can stay.” Will says laughing.
“I hope they are as welcoming of you being here. Ocean will flip out having us both all to himself all summer.” Blue grins.
“Oh man he is going to exhaust us. The gym camp better have killer conditioning to tire him out.” Will says.
“I’ll have him digging and chopping.” Blue grins.
“We’ll have to keep him out of the ice-cream.” Will laughs.
They spend the drive to Will’s school talking about the summer and that it won’t be summer break it’ll be the start of their life together.
“Will you come up for my senior meet? It would mean so much to me.” Will says.
“I’ll come to as many as I can.” Blue says.
“You will?” Will asks.
“You’re my boyfriend. I am going to support you all I can. I know you won’t be able to spend time with me but a chance to see you doing what you love. I won’t pass that up.” Blue says.
“Thanks Blue. It means the world, the world.” Will says
“You mean the world to me.” Blue says.
Will sighs, so content, so excited for the future.
They get to Will’s dorm room, it is tiny but Blue doesn’t notice he still can’t stop looking at Will. He feels like his attraction is multiplying by the hour. He cannot believe that they have so quickly turned Will’s misfortune into an opportunity. Blue feels so good that Will has had some luck too.
“Give me kisses.” Will says lying on his bed.
Blue looks at Will and licks his lips before joining him and kissing Will so lightly that Will lets out an involuntary gasp.
“I’m gonna make you louder than that.” Blue grins.
“Bring it on.” Will grins.