Blue is excited as Mike drops him off at the airport.
“A few days of fun is what you need. Forget about everything here.” Mike says.
“I will try.” Blue smiles.
“Because you don’t have a farm or a store of your own everyone thinks that means you’re free to start up new projects or take the lead. We all forget you’re a kid trying to find his way.” Mike says.
“It is flattering and I love sharing my food but I bet there are loads of people who make better soup than me, especially as they can use meat stocks.” Blue says.
“I expect there are. You’ve just shown what is possible.” Mike says.
“My Momma did it. Made her fortune in organic baby food and some website on raising hippy kids.” Blue says.
“Seriously?” Mike asks.
“Yeah but she was dead against me having a vineyard. She was helping my friend Andy set up an orchard though, when the thought just popped into his head.” Blue says.
“Doing it alone will be a better reward, even if the seed money came from her.” Mike says.
“Oh I know and I love it here, it suits me. I’ll be able to get started here.” Blue says.
“When you’re ready put the word out. We’ve all agreed to help you plant your vines and build the frames for you. I can’t guarantee there won’t be the hard sell on the soup but it would get you going.” Mike says.
“Oh, thank-you. I’ll let you know.” Blue smiles and heads into the airport with a smile on his face.
Domestic cattle class is a world away from first class to Australia but Blue doesn’t care. Spence is covering the hotel and no doubt it will be glorious. Blue is excited to see his friends. Enough time has passed for him to have fully forgiven Spence. His tie to Andy, just like his one to Gervais will survive a nuclear winter. Andy was right to have faith that Blue would forgive him, he could have helped it along but Andy is never too good at seeing that.
Blue’s second flight is delayed and he tries and fails to find some food. Not wanting to pay airport prices for rock hard fruit and there not being many options. He can’t believe he didn’t pack anything in his carry on. He’s checked a bag with a tub of cookies and brownies for the weekend. No doubt Andy will sniff them out and inhale them all before Blue has opened his case.
Spence texts him, they are delayed too and Blue should wait for them at the airport. By the time Blue has got his bag Andy and Spence have arrived and they get a cab together.
“I’ve not booked us at the meet hotel, I know that would be better for you seeing Will but it is not that nice. I wanted a bit of luxury.” Spence says.
“I expected as much. Its fine, actually it’s better. This way I get to go out and sightsee with you two and don’t end up waiting around for Will like a lost puppy.” Blue says.
“I can’t believe you still can’t party. Will you be mad if we go to a club?” Andy asks.
“No, not at all. You go have fun. I’ll enjoy taking pictures of the lights and watching the fountains. There are so many places I want to eat. I made reservations tonight, I hope that’s okay.” Blue says.
“Perfect, neither of us thought of it. It’s on me though.” Spence says.
“You might not say that when you see the prices.” Blue laughs.
“I think I can cope.” Spence laughs as they pull up to the hotel.
“Oh my gosh, the restaurant for tonight is in this hotel.” Blue grins.
“Perfect, I can charge to the room.” Spence grins.
The line for check in is pretty long and Andy runs off to explore while Blue and Spence wait.
“He’s looking really thin.” Blue says.
“He is really thin, have you not hugged him yet? He’s all bones.” Spence says.
“No he’s barely stood still. Is he on something?” Blue asks.
“I don’t think so. I think he’s just Andy, not getting enough and so has a ton of excess energy.” Spence says.
They get the keys and grab Andy on their way to the elevators.
“Look it only has one bed but I really wanted this suite type. I hoped to get the adjoining room next door but they didn’t have any available.” Spence says.
“It’s fine babe.” Andy says.
“I’m happy on the couch if I need to.” Blue says as Spence opens the double doors and their jaws hit the floor.
They walk through the suite together, it’s a corner suite with terraces on two sides and it is spectacular.
“I could sleep out here. This is amazing Spence, thanks so much.” Blue says looking out from the terrace.
Andy looks at Blue and sighs. He’d forgotten how beautiful he is and stands behind him and hugs him tightly as he always does when Blue cooks.
“I really missed you.” Andy whispers in Blue’s ear. Blue turns around and pulls Andy close.
“I missed you too. You missed my cooking. You’re all bones. Where did those muscles go?” Blue asks.
“They need your food. You have to let me come out for Spring break so you can feed me up.” Andy says.
“I think I will. You’re still not wanting to go to New York?” Blue asks.
“It’s expensive, I can drive to you and well not trying to take advantage but it won’t cost me much more than the gas money.” Andy says.
“That’s true and you can earn your keep in the garden.” Blue says.
“Yeah I’ll clean out your chooks for a week.” Andy grins.
“Can I trust you not to tell momma and Chris where I am?” Blue asks.
“Yes. I might have messed up with you but you can trust me. You can always trust me.” Andy says.
“Okay you can come stay.” Blue says with a smile.
Spence watches the pair from inside the room and feels relief. Andy has been impossible to get through to since his break up. Spence, Robin and Gervais have all failed and each week Andy gets thinner and more manic.
As Andy knows Spence wants to get back together he has kept Spence firmly at arm’s length and won’t listen to him about anything. Its been hard to watch.
“Did you bring me some treats?” Andy asked.
“I thought you’d have sniffed them out by now.” Blue grins.
“This hug is a treat. You’re nothing like Chris you know. I almost see now how Gervais didn’t see it at the start. Your hugs and kisses are totally different.” Andy says kissing Blue’s neck and squeezing him tighter.
“You’re struggling with this breakup. What happened really? I mean you knew who he was going in.” Blue says.
“He was different at home to school. At home we were totally in sync, we were country boys working on our goals.” Andy begins, sitting down on the outdoor sofa.
“I’m going to go and get some beers for out here. Shall I get some snacks too?” Spence asks.
“Some chips would be good. I have sweet stuff but Andy will probably devour it. Dinner is at 7.” Blue says.
“I won’t be long.” Spence says wanting to give Andy some space to talk with Blue.
“So at home you and Chris were a close fit. I saw that when I came back from Australia. You mellowed him.” Blue says.
“Right and it was okay but him and Bea together, its like Tom and Jerry or roadrunner. They are awful to each other and awful to others together. And that included me. If Bea didn’t like something I did then Chris would take her side. Bea would take Chris’s side against Grant too but he could take it and actually I think for them it fed into their relationship dynamic of rows and make up sex.
We didn’t work that way. He changed. You know how George changed with you? Got possessive and controlling. Chris was like that with me and with Gervais and Robin not really talking to me I was easy to isolate. I was grieving for you and he wouldn’t talk about you. He wasn’t you. At Christmas it was really clear he wasn’t you and he wasn’t going to be you and he wasn’t Spence and he wasn’t right for me. I wasn’t right with him. I felt totally lost.
When I realized Gervais and Robin knew where you were it hurt so bad. I knew it was my fault, you had no reason to talk to me. But I just couldn’t deal. The way Chris spoke to Gervais snapped me back to myself. Gervais was being fair and sensible and Chris and Bea were awful. Just awful.” Andy says.
“You’re not back to yourself yet.” Blue says.
“I miss you. I miss Spence. I miss being me.” Andy says.
“You don’t have to miss Spence. He misses you.” Blue says.
“I don’t want to get back together with Spence and I don’t want to lead him on. I don’t want to be a substitute boyfriend for him and stop him looking for someone real.” Andy says.
“Would getting back together be so bad? You clearly still love him and he you.” Blue says.
“We broke up for the right reasons and those reasons still stand.” Andy says.
“I get it. I do. Gervais and I were so close to giving it another try over winter break. But we both knew it wasn’t the right time and then Will came back into my life and I was so glad I was single.” Blue says.
“You not seeing him today?” Andy asks.
“No he has practice and a team dinner and early night. No distractions.” Blue says.
“I have missed this so much. Just cuddling and talking.” Andy says.
“I can feel your tension lifting.” Blue says kissing at Andy’s shoulder through his t-shirt.
They have quickly fallen back to being themselves together and they like it.
“Come on unpack the treats, Spence will be back soon.” Andy says not really meaning it. He could stay on this couch forever with Blue.
Spence is back two minutes later and Blue finds the treats. The three sit outside together enjoying a beer and relaxing. Andy can’t cram the cookies in fast enough and makes Blue and Spence laugh.
“You don’t need to worry about us stealing them.” Spence laughs.
“I have had no appetite for weeks, other than when Blue sent me that care package which was wonderful. George thought I’d turned into a dealer with all the wrapped packages in the freezer. I tried to pace myself.” Andy laughs.
“You didn’t stop eating when we broke up.” Spence says.
“Because Blue was around to feed me.” Andy laughs.
“I need to fly you out to fill up our freezers.” Spence laughs.
“Soon you’ll be able to buy my ice-cream.” Blue says.
“Seriously?” Andy asks and Blue explains.
“The soup though? Will you pursue that once the ice-cream is up and running? I always loved the veg and barley one.” Spence says.
“Its not part of my plan but I feel so much pressure to do it.” Blue admits.
“It would have been good at home. I love the board idea, I’m going to call Bob and get him to make one for the café.” Andy says.
“You should. People should know whose eggs made the frittata and whose cherries are in the cheesecake.” Blue says.
“No one dares make cherry cheesecake now you’re gone.” Andy laughs.
“I’d be willing to invest. In the soup. I mean I’d pay start-up costs, buy you a kitchen, a bottling plant or whatever it is you need.” Spence says.
“Money isn’t the issue, the farmers all want in on that. It’s time, know-how and a place to do it. I need someone to manage the practical stuff. I don’t have the inclination myself.” Blue says.
“Sorry, I barely spend my money. This week was a chance to have fun with it and treat my two best friends. I believe in the project, can see it working from what you’ve told us.” Spence says.
“I need some friends I’m not in business with. At home every meal, every coffee date turns into a business meeting and it’s doing my head in.” Blue says.
“No more business talk this trip I promise.” Spence says with a grin holding his hands up.
“Just a little more. You have to have us all come up for the opening of your ice-cream palace. We will all want to be there and you need to name the largest sundae on the menu after me. Also I still want to be part of the vineyard and so I’m coming for the summer. I promise it won’t be all shop talk. I can’t go home with Chris and Bea there. I will take Katelyn away for a week or two so we get quality time together but I can’t go home.” Andy says.
“My house will be stuffed.” Blue smiles.
“I’m coming too. Don’t worry I’m not asking for a room. I will rent a place. I’m coaching at Ocean’s temporary gym for the summer.” Spence says.
“So you know where Blue lives?” Andy asks.
“I know what city he lives near I don’t know the town he’s in. I only know as I had to talk to the coach there. Blue didn’t tell me.” Spence says.
“Okay. I guess I deserve to be the last to know after dating Chris.” Andy says good naturedly and Blue and Spence let out sighs of relief. Neither would want Andy to feel slighted.
“There is space if we double up. I have a lot of bedrooms. But we have to be careful to lock the doors when we can’t have a visit from Ocean.” Blue says.
“The five of us back together for the summer, with our little bro and surrogate mom. Sounds amazing Blue.” Andy says.
“Will too.” Blue says.
“I love Will. He’s so pretty. Will you be okay around them as a couple?” Andy asks.
“Oh I am so over that crush. Will is much better for Blue than me.” Spence says.
“We should be getting ready for dinner.” Blue says and they get up to shower and change.
“Hey this place isn’t too fancy. I understand the menu.” Andy says with a grin as they sit down.
“Tomorrow night I booked a fancy place. This should be great food though and it is pricy compared to getting similar dishes elsewhere.” Blue says.
Spence grins as Andy orders up a heap of dishes. Happy that his ex is eating and relaxed. Blue orders the twenty vegetable fried rice and a shrimp dish.
“You brought us here so you could have that rice?” Andy asks with a smile.
“You know me so well.” Blue grins back.
“It sounds good.” Spence says. Spence and Andy get cocktails while Blue sticks to water but he doesn’t mind.
They have a long relaxing meal. Andy eats more than he has in months. He’s been sticking to a tight budget at school which has contributed to his lack of appetite.
“Can we get coffee to go?” Blue asks the waiter as they finish dessert.
“Of course.” He replies.
“And another couple of portions of churros?” Andy asks hopefully.
“For sure.” The waiter smiles.
“I might need a snack.” Andy says to his friends raised eyebrows.
“That’s our boy, he’s back.” Spence grins.
“You don’t need to babysit me. If you want to go to a bar or club or gamble, whatever. I’ll be okay.” Blue says.
“Coffee on the terrace chatting with you two is exactly what I want.” Spence says.
“Me too, plus the sweets.” Andy says with a smile and Blue is convinced.
“I don’t want to waste your time here.” Blue says.
“I want Blue time, not bar time, not tonight. Sure I want to go to one of the big clubs but not tonight.” Andy says.
The waiter brings over the take out and Spence sorts out the bill and leaves a very generous tip.
“I’ve missed flash Spence.” Blue grins.
“He deserved it, looking after this one all night.” Spence grins and motions Andy.
They sit outside enjoying the dry air. It isn’t warm but it is so much warmer than where they all live right now. Spence spikes the coffees with brandy he bought earlier and they sit in silence watching the fountains and enjoying their friendship repairing itself.
“The meet is at one tomorrow. Will you guys be awake much before then or should I sightsee alone?” Blue asks.
“We can do the sights on Friday together.” Andy says.
“I think Andy is saying he would love a shot at a Vegas buffet for breakfast and can that be the sight we see.” Spence says reading Andy’s mind and making Blue laugh.
“If that’s okay for Blue. I mean there are bound to be veggie and seafood options.” Andy says.
“It’s okay with me. I want to see Andy try and eat his own weight in bacon.” Blue grins.
“I love you two. I am so glad you invited me.” Andy says almost shyly.
“Since we fell out, I’d forgotten how well the three of us used to get along.” Blue says.
“I am so glad Blue thought of me and didn’t come alone and stay in a dingy motel.” Spence says.
“I love this room.” Blue grins and goes inside to take a goodnight call from Will.
“He seems both happy and very lonely.” Spence says.
“Blue doesn’t do well with an empty bed or an empty kitchen.” Andy says.
“I get that Will is right for him but long distance must be hard. We didn’t manage it and we’d been together years.” Spence says.
“That’s why we didn’t manage. Too used to each other on tap.” Andy says.
“Yes I guess. I just believe he deserves more. A real full time boyfriend.” Spence says.
“Me too. And for once I’m not just saying that because I wish it was me. I do still wish that it was me but I also want him to be happy with someone who treats him right and gives him what he needs.” Andy says.
“Even after Chris you still want Blue?” Spence asks disappointed.
“Maybe its just being around him again after missing him so long. No one knows me like you two. Not even Robin.” Andy says.
“And our lives are still incompatible.” Spence sighs.
“When you’re ready we’ll be the best of friends again. You need to remember why we broke up. We got to the end babe.” Andy says and Spence nods.
“I just know I’ll never have another first love and you were an amazing one. So hard to let go.” Spence says sadly.
“Same. Why do you think I’ve jumped from guy to guy? This is my first single stint in a long time and it would be so easy to just get back with you. We’d be happy but we’d know it wasn’t going to last and I don’t want you to be in that position. Me, I’ll have a million relationships but you need to be with someone you can marry.” Andy says.
“Did you really love Chris?” Spence asks.
“I thought I did. Maybe it was just because our lives could mesh and the sex was okay.” Andy says.
“You would never settle for okay.” Spence grins.
“Not as good as you, no one ever is.” Andy says.
“Same. Danny and I did some awesome freaky stuff. But that is all it was. I was under his spell and got burned.” Spence says.
“Is W talking to you yet?” Andy asks.
“No. What do you think about Blue’s soup?” Spence asks.
“It sounds a really solid idea. I’d live on it if I could. I really would. Well as long as I could have a steak now and then.” Andy says.
“I feel like I want to get in before someone else does. I wish he’d got me in on the ice-cream.” Spence says.
“I am going to enjoy so much of it this summer. Work hard outside and cool down with a sundae. Mmmmmm.” Andy grins.
“Are you okay with me muscling in?” Spence asks.
“Of course. It feels right that our last summer from school, we spend all together.” Andy says.
“I’d not thought of it like that. You’re right we should. I’ll cover your trip with Katelyn. Don’t argue. I love you both and want to help.” Spence says.
“Are you sure?” Andy asks.
“Yes. Look at somewhere nice, the Caribbean, Hawaii or Costa Rica, somewhere hot she’ll enjoy.” Spence says.
“You’d send us to Hawaii?” Andy asks.
“For sure. I want to see videos of Katelyn dancing with flowers in her hair.” Spence says.
“I can do that.” Andy says and hugs Spence tightly. This trip has been the best thing to happen to Andy in a long time. Having his true friends around who love him is healing him up fast.
Blue comes back out looking a little cloudy.
“You okay.” Spence asks.
“It’s even harder being this close but still apart.” Blue says.
“Is it right for you?” Andy asks point blank.
“He is right for me and it’s only a few months.” Blue says.
“But you’re struggling. Not just with distance from him but from all of us too.” Spence says.
“It is hard. We get by day to day with calling each other but I feel heartbroken every time he leaves and it takes me time to get back on my feet after. I hated Robin and Gervais leaving too. I get crazy lonely. Like Gervais I need my quiet time but I am not suited to living alone. I have my chickens but they don’t cuddle me back.” Blue says quietly.
“Stop working so hard and go and find some friends.” Andy say bluntly.
“He’s right.” Spence says.
“I want to, I do, but I’d never sleep.” Blue says.
“You need to cut back.” Spence says.
“From the man who would work every minute of the day if he could.” Blue grins.
“Sure but I have friends, we might not have been close recently but I had DeShawn and Magnus at least.” Spence says.
“Robin and Gervais call often. So do Ocean and Cheryl. I have people to talk with, I just need more hugs. We’ve always been a tactile group.” Blue says.
“Even scaredy mouse Gervais.” Spence says.
“Well you have us two hot studs in your bed tonight.” Andy says.
“Just remember, long distance doesn’t mean open to me.” Blue says.
“You’re crazy but I know you’re a good boy.” Andy smiles.
Spence stands in between Blue and Andy and slips an arm around each waist.
“This has been the best night in a long, long time.” Spence says squeezing his friends and kissing each on the cheek. Blue and Andy sigh with happiness.