“I should be so mad at you.” Blue says hugging his friends closer.
“I’m sorry. We felt so bad after that call, we were so rude, obnoxious. so we thought we’d be even ruder and apologize in person.” Robin says.
“What he said. We absolutely know you are allowed to say no to us coming to stay and you can drive us straight back to the motel and we won’t argue. But we could see you were stressed and hurting and I knew you needed us here. I know, I know, my ego but I was worried. We wavered at the market as you were looking so happy and in control. Went to the motel but the couple next door were fighting and we couldn’t deal. And here you are happy to see us.” Gervais says and hangs tightly to Blue.
“Blah, blah, lovely speeches can we all get in bed now?” Andy complains.
“Carry me.” Gervais says jumping on to Andy’s back and making them all grin.
The four pile into Blue’s bed and snuggle close together. Blue stays awake for a minute and smiles. He is mad as hell and delighted all at once. Gervais and Robin knew he needed them and they pushed their way in instead of leaving him be. Blue feels his stress and resentment lifting. Sometimes his friends really do know him best.
Gervais wakes first and smiles. He feels like he’s with family. He’s had a lot of time to think about what family means to him since his dad died. Since he discovered his dad could do family just not with him he’s thought about it more and more. Paul being a dick to Blue has helped in a way, knowing that a father could reject someone so easy to love.
That his friends and just as importantly their families all accept him and want him has turned everything around. Not just Clara and Robin’s mom but W and AB seeing him as more than Spence’s friend and as more than the nanny. Gervais smiles and feels good, wanted and loved. He might not have a boyfriend but all his friendships are stronger now. He’s almost ready, he just has to be really, really, careful, Justin and Chris have made him totally paranoid.
Blue stirs and smiles back at Gervais.
“Yoga?” Blue asks and Gervais nods.
They shimmy out of bed trying not to wake the other two and go outside and work though their poses together. Feels good. It’s cold but the sun is fighting through. They shower together downstairs, standing back to back as they get off, knowing without words what they need and how far they can go.
They head upstairs and get dressed before hitting the kitchen. They bake and cook side by side, Robin and Andy eventually make it down and join them, Andy tasting more than cooking.
Mike knocks and comes straight in.
“Sorry for the short notice, the farmers are coming too. They’ll bring food don’t worry but they want to have a debrief on yesterday.” Mike says sheepishly.
“No problem. We’ve been baking up a storm all morning. We need more milk though if you can bring some.” Blue says.
“I’ll put word out.” Mike grins.
Only a few minutes later people start arriving with trays of food. The grill gets fired up and Tad takes control. A couple of patio heaters and more tables and chairs appear and soon the place is full of people inside and out sharing food and talking about the day before. What they did and didn’t like and what they will change for the next one.
Blue isn’t really listening. He will fall in with whatever is decided. He’s watching Andy laughing and joking with some of the farmers and eating away. He smiles at Larry and Spence sitting further up the garden on the bench, eating and kissing and looking adorable.
Gervais as usual is helping at the kids table, two little ones sat on his lap and trying to cut up food for others while keeping them all entertained.
“You okay?” Robin asks slipping his arm round Blue.
“Yeah, just wish Will was here too.” Blue admits.
“Long distance is hard, especially when you’re both busy.” Robin says.
“You barely gave yours a shot.” Blue says.
“And I’ve had zero luck in relationships since.” Robin says.
“You should have accepted me from the start and then I’d never have fallen for G.” Blue says.
“You’d never have found this place.” Robin says.
“Jesse would be alive.” Blue says.
“You cannot pin that one on me.” Robin says.
“No I wouldn’t. It was on me.” Blue says.
“No it was on the hospital that let him out and school that let him in without proper care in place.” Robin says.
“I guess. Sorry I don’t know why it came into my head.” Blue says.
“I think about it a lot too. Spring break, Jesse always brought the drama.” Robin says.
“Yeah. I guess that’s it. I knew something was bothering me. It is who isn’t here. What is Birch up to? As you’re all here?” Blue asks.
“Uh he and Grant have gone up to the lake. They’re staying at your house.” Robin says.
“Oh. That’s kind of weird my ex and Bea’s ex going up there.” Blue says.
“Are you mad? They’re going to paint with Roe, your mom suggested they use the house as it is empty, keep an eye on the chickens and goats.” Robin says.
“I’m just glad Birch isn’t left out. We’ll never be close like we were but I’d hate anyone to be isolated.” Blue says.
“He’s fine. You’re the isolated one. Even now surrounded by half the town and all your friends.” Robin says.
“I’m in a funk. It is better now you’re here and Andy has been amazing. There’s a lot going on and I’m not stopping to deal with any of it. I’m taking it out on Will, mostly in my head so I’m building resentment and he is so not at fault.” Blue says.
“Whatever you need. Gervais and I will help in the garden and we’ll visit Gladys and Abby and cook for them and we’ll do laundry. We’re not here to make things harder. Just keep talking babe. Will is so right for you, you know that. You’ve waited so long for the right one. We’ll work on how to cope.” Robin says.
“Thanks.” Blue says.
“Arnold is saying you can get the basic ice-cream to me this week.” Marsha says coming over.
“Yes, but not the advertising material and not the final labels.” Blue says.
“Wilson has already done the board, Nick is going to paint on the logo. I’ll take what I can get, we’ll put a spin on it.” Marsha says.
“The others will be a few weeks to get everything finalized. We’ll have all the materials ready for then too.” Blue says.
“That works for me. Gives me a lead on everyone and then when other places have the basics I get the specials.” Marsha grins.
“Did yesterday go well for you?” Blue asks.
“Exceptionally, in the store and on the stall. Much better than last time, much more our demographic. Although we do have a few customers who came to us from the last one and we do a good trade in the budget meal range now.” Marsha says.
“Cool. I hope yesterday works out for you too.” Blue grins and starts to pass out the plates of baked goods. Which gives Andy an initial happy face followed by a sad one when he realizes how many people he’s sharing with.
“Don’t worry I put a lot aside for later.” Blue whispers in Andy’s ear putting the smile right back.
“Maybe tomorrow for pancakes?” Andy asks.
“If you make them, I have a bakery shift tomorrow. You can come by for a cinnamon bun.” Blue says.
“I’m going to work with Mike, maybe you could bring one by.” Andy pleads with a big cheeky grin.
“Maybe I’ll finish early and bring the pair of you lunch. Hey why are you working for him and not me?” Blue asks mock grumpily.
“You just said you’ll be at the bakery anyway. I love this garden and the tunnels are amazing. We are going to have so much fun this summer and I cannot wait to see what crops we can come up with. I can’t wait to get on with the vines. You know I live here now, right?” Andy says.
“I know.” Blue says and kisses Andy’s cheek and moves on to check on Abby and Gladys.
Robin insists they will clear up and sends Blue to take a nap once everyone has gone. Blue is grateful he is exhausted and falls straight to sleep.
“You two took a risk.” Andy says.
“Was the right one.” Gervais says.
“It was. Although can you give us some space, we’ve both been looking forward to some time together.” Andy says.
“I think we all need some one on one time with him.” Robin says knowing he wants to continue their talk from earlier.
“I should have come before, when the story came out.” Gervais says shaking his head.
“He had Clara here and Mike, Nick, Ella and Heidi. He has a lot of friends here.” Andy says.
“He wouldn’t have wanted us here, not missing school. He’s doing really well. He is down about Will more than anything and we need to help him come up with strategies for dealing with that.” Robin
“Gervais not showing up would have been a start.” Andy says.
“Should I go and stay with Tad for a bit?” Gervais asks.
“Are you and he?” Andy asks curious.
“We had one terrible date but he really likes me and I could have some fun. Plus I really like hanging out around Mike.” Gervais says.
“You can’t date a guy because you like his dad.” Robin says.
“I know. And I don’t want to lead him on when I have no feelings.” Gervais says.
“You don’t? Can I try?” Andy asks.
“Really?” Robin asks.
“Uh big beefy farmboy, what’s not to like?” Andy asks.
“Go ahead but he liked me so you might not get anywhere.” Gervais says.
“Pfft not everyone has a narrow type. Everyone loves me in the end. You’ve all had me.” Andy grins.
“You’re totally irresistible. Spence and Larry are super cute together, Larry seems to be very protective already.” Robin says.
“I totally love them together. Spence says it’s been all vanilla so far but they are talking about what they want and need. I said they should get to know each other in a simple way first and Spence said that was exactly what Larry said. They are taking their time, he doesn’t want a disaster like Danny.” Andy says.
“Sounds like they’re serious already.” Gervais says surprised.
“Spence doesn’t want anything else. I mean messing around with me doesn’t count but the casual and dating he’s tried haven’t been what he wanted. He needs a boyfriend who he can be serious about.” Andy says.
“I am happy for them too.” Gervais smiles.
“I’m going to nap with Blue. I take it you can amuse yourselves.” Andy says.
“Yeah we brought a console with us. We need to check out our study too and work out what we’re going to buy to finish it.” Gervais says.
“Cool I’d forgotten.” Robin says with a grin.
“We’ll come and wake you in a bit.” Gervais says.
Blue shifts as Andy climbs in and cuddles his friend tightly and smiles. Andy melts into Blue as he always does. He’s so tempted to push for more but he knows that isn’t what Blue really wants. Feels
Andy meant what he said before, he loves the house and the land and wants to work it with Blue. He knows he can get part time work on other farms, met loads of people over the last two days and they all spoke to him as an equal. Being Blue’s friend has given him a big foot in the door, more so than being Clara’s family at home where he’d be expected to work for free. Heck before he arrived Arnold had asked him to help run a business. Not that cheese is where Andy sees himself, he loves the outdoors too much but it is flattering and a good way to prove his worth.
Andy snuggles a little closer and relaxes. Having Blue back in his life means the world. Every few days he tries to work out how he ended up with Chris and what happened to the Chris from the summer, which one is real, which is fake. Blue has grown and changed but he’s always the same Blue at his core and Andy loves that even when it means they are estranged.
He won’t lose Blue again. He knows he’s said it before but this time he knows he just can’t mess up. He knows what Blue is capable of and how much it hurt when he left.
“You okay, you’re fidgeting.” Blue mumbles.
“Just thinking about the way you left.” Andy says.
“It was the best thing for me. I missed you. A hundred times a day I wanted to run things by you. I like you being here. I’m sorry we won’t have more just us time.” Blue says.
“I really, really like it here. I love home too and being close to Katelyn and Roe. I could work at home but I could live here and have a life in the city too. I’d not be so limited.” Andy says.
“And we can make soup and wine and ice-cream and grow purple carrots and rainbow chard and striped tomatoes.” Blue says happily.
“Mmmmmm perfect.” Andy says.
“And Gervais will be here too working in his nerdy world and Spence will pop by after work every night.” Blue says.
“And Robin will live in the city with a girl one year and a guy the next.” Andy giggles.
“And Katelyn will visit on breaks from college.” Blue says.
“And you’ll finally give in and marry me.” Andy says and kisses Blue’s cheek.
“You’d have me baking all day and I’d never make us any money.” Blue says with a giggle.
“I’d work hard to keep you in flour and sugar, if I can fit through the door.” Andy laughs, surprised Blue didn’t shut him straight down but knowing not to read anything in to it.
“I don’t know how Will will feel about us getting married. He’s pretty strong, you’d be in trouble.” Blue says.
“Have I lost you to him forever?” Andy asks curious as to how Blue is now feeling.
“If I can get through this difficult patch. I do worry about him a lot. Surgery is always a risk isn’t it? People die having their tonsils out.” Blue says.
“Is that why you’ve been stressed? Not sex but worry about Will?” Andy asks gently.
“I expect that is part of it. Feeling totally helpless about a lot of things right now.” Blue says.
“Like what?” Andy asks gently.
“Will, what if surgery is unsuccessful? What if he gets injured again? What if he decides he can’t have the distraction of a needy boyfriend? Then there is Chris, Bea and Paul. What story will they sell next? When will they be on TV? Will I always have to check trashy magazines and keep suing when they make things up? What if they come for me? What if they track me down and ruin my life here where I feel safe, where Gervais feels safe, where Will and I are building our life? And there’s momma and the businesses. Why are people trusting me? What if they all fail and I lose everyone’s money? Will I have to move away?” Blue says in a flurry.
“The businesses are not solely on your shoulders. You’re not asking anyone to invest, they want to. I don’t think you’ve promised any returns. That is all on them. You just do what you do and stop worrying about the rest.” Andy says.
“I know I’m not responsible for any of it but I feel like I am. I am so embarrassed that people are reading about my life. I still don’t have my head round Bea and Chris existing, let alone the disaster that is our relationship. And Paul? Who I’ve had 2 conversations with. Who is he to comment on my life and who I am?” Blue rants.
“He is scum. I will never, ever understand your momma facilitating that man having kids. Not ever.” Andy says.
“I’ve been pushing it away. Just like I did when I found out. I just can’t deal and I can’t get help because therapists with experience of triplets separated at birth are not exactly plentiful and I don’t want to become a case study.” Blue says.
“That is why you refused therapy?” Andy asks surprised.
“Yeah. I’m sure they can unpick my issues with momma but not the rest, not really.” Blue says.
“You can’t know without trying.” Andy says.
“It’s too late now. People will already have an opinion. And I have you.” Blue says.
“And the others but we can’t fix you, we can only listen the way you do for us.” Andy says and wipes Blue’s tears.
“I’m sorry. This is a shitty spring break for you.” Blue says.
“Rubbish, I party at school. A week with you is what I wanted. Hanging out in this house and in your garden. But mostly you’re letting me back in. You’re talking to me like old times which means everything to me. We’ve both been through shit recently and you’re the only person I’ve wanted to talk to about it all.” Andy says.
“It’ll be hard for me to talk about Chris with you, especially right now.” Blue says.
“I know, it’s still hard for me too. I feel like I owe you such an apology for the George stuff, I get it now what it’s like to cling to someone who has changed in the hope they’ll change back.” Andy says.
“I have no idea who the real Chris is. Or Bea for that matter. Did you watch the TV show?” Blue asks.
“Yeah, Bea was scared shitless of Paul. First time I’ve felt any sympathy for her. No way was that an act.” Andy says.
“You think Chris was working with Paul all along?” Blue asks.
“No. He hates his parents for stealing his money and not paying up when he proved it. He hates him big time.” Andy says.
“I thought so. I want to talk to him but I don’t trust myself to not knock his teeth out.” Blue says.
“That works for me.” Andy grins and the roll around laughing.