“Excuse me?” Blue asks.
“Lets go home and talk.” Cheryl says.
“Fine.” Blue says and they extract Ocean from Gladys and head to the car.
“I am going to play with the chickens.” Ocean announces as they get back.
“Don’t get them all riled up before bed.” Blue grins.
“Tea?” Cheryl asks and Blue nods.
“You were the one person I trusted when I left college. The only person who I kept in contact with. You should have told me you were in touch with Chris before you moved in to my home.” Blue says.
“He is sorry but knows he can’t put the cork back in the bottle. He won’t contact you. He’s not talking to his father or Lana. He is building his relationship with Clara and is trying to help Bea find the right therapist.” Cheryl says.
“Why are you telling me this? What has any of that got to do with you?” Blue asks.
“He talks to me. He trusts me. It started when he asked for my help with sifting out the real therapists from the snake oil salesmen. He thought I’d be unbiased.” Cheryl says.
“I don’t care. The great thing about not knowing about my siblings my whole life is I have been able to cut them out of it again. All they have done is bring hurt and destruction to me.” Blue says.
“I won’t bring them up again.” Cheryl says with a sigh. Before Blue can reply the door opens and Heidi, Abby and Gladys come through followed by Mike, Claud, Nick and Ella and finally Arnold, Liberty and Marsha.
“What’s going on?” Blue asks.
“We clearly need an emergency board meeting.” Arnold says.
“Is Marsha on the board now? Am l? Are Liberty, Nick and Ella?” Blue asks.
“Don’t be obtuse.” Mike says.
“I’m not. You’ve been making decisions behind my back. Major decisions that seem to put me in the position of employee. I am actually asking for clarification.” Blue says.
“Such as?” Heidi asks.
“Forcing me to take college classes in dribs and drabs. Something that does not fit in with my plans at all. And announcing it to me as a done deal in front of Ollie so I couldn’t argue. I asked Cheryl for help but I didn’t expect her to take over, pushing me and Heidi out.” Blue says surprising Heidi.
“How is the company paying for college a bad thing?” Mike asks.
“My mom has a college fund for me, it would be an expense that isn’t needed. I like the idea but it shouldn’t apply to me or anyone until we’re making money and then it should be a choice and not have an age cut off. When I complete my degree I will do it full time, I have plans for that and I don’t think that you lot have any right to dictate when that is and I certainly don’t think I should have to report my grades to you.” Blue says.
“He’s right, Blue was asked to start the business because of his skills. You can’t turn around and say he has to go back to school however well-meaning and he’s also right that we’re both being pushed out. Yes Blue asked for less responsibility but I didn’t. You’re all treating us both like children when you’d be nowhere without us.” Heidi says and Blue gives her a grateful grin.
“So either we are both full members of the executive or board or whatever. With full voting rights or we both walk. And we’ll take all our recipes and menus with us.” Blue says and Heidi nods. They might have fallen out this morning, Heidi’s personal life might be a mess but they both know each other well and they still have the same goals. They know they are stronger together.
“I think you should both go.” Arnold says.
“Then I suggest you all leave my house and have your meeting elsewhere.” Blue says.
“Wait Arnold doesn’t speak for all of us.” Abby says.
“He’s put the most money in. If he doesn’t want me and Blue involved then we’re finished anyway.” Heidi says.
“How do you go from quitting the bakery this morning to being thick as thieves this afternoon? You’ve not even had a conversation.” Abby asks.
“Cheryl floated buying Heidi out and it felt wrong. I was ready to walk away from everything after this morning. But that feels wrong too. It feels like all my work and all Heidi’s work is being belittled and history is being rewritten. You invited me to help with the ice-cream, because of the success
Heidi and I were having using local ingredients. It was never about ice-cream, soup, bread or cheesecake it was about helping all the farmers showcase what they produce in the best way. Heidi and I unlocked that for this town together. And now we both feel pushed out.” Blue says.
“He’s right. Blue and Heidi started all of this with that board in the bakery. I’d be a supplier but nothing more if they are not on board.” Claud says.
“I feel the same. We all begged Blue to start the soup business, he didn’t want to. None of us believed in it without him. And we’ve all forgotten that it is Heidi’s bakery where that all started.” Mike says feeling bad that he had been supportive of losing Heidi.
“Well my two can’t work with her and I don’t want to. I can’t believe you’d take Heidi’s side over Ella.” Arnold says.
“Why is it me against Heidi?” Ella asks.
“Oh great her dad knows but no one thought to tell her. Has Jett not lifted his slimy head?” Blue asks.
“This isn’t the place.” Cheryl says.
“No you might as well tell me. Heidi have you and Jett been fooling around?” Ella asks gently and Heidi looks her in the eye for a split second before nodding.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t think about you.” Heidi says.
“I knew he liked you. I just thought he liked me more. He’s hardly a great prize for either of us is he?” Ella says.
“You can be mad.” Blue says.
“I want this business to work. More than any of you in this room this is my future. Nick and I don’t have the options that any of you have. We need the ice-cream business to work and we know that you, Cheryl, Heidi and Ollie are integral to that. I liked Jett a lot and sure on a personal level I am mad at him and Heidi. I know it isn’t going to continue and I know Heidi would never have rubbed my face in it. If you hadn’t found out it would have fizzled out and I wouldn’t have known I was dating a cheat.” Ella says. Blue moves across the room and hugs her tightly and then Nick, he knows his two friends are on side and that means a lot. The small effort he has made with them has been worth it.
“Basically dad, even if you are out we are still in. We know we’ll never get a chance like this again.” Nick says.
“So is everything back to normal? This was all over a punk kid?” Claud asks.
“Not yet no. We need to formalize the structure again. We need to decide which businesses will fall under the umbrella and which don’t and I don’t think everyone needs to be here.” Heidi says.
“Meaning me. I don’t want to be anything other than a supplier for ice-cream and soup don’t worry. However with the second deli Cheryl and I want to use the farmer’s board and have a similar feel to the bakery. It’s more than that though we should be pooling the admin side and staffing and even some ordering. We both hit brick walls with minimum order levels for some goods.” Marsha says.
“That’s a conversation for another day. But I get it and I would totally be on board. This is the thing we’re growing in so many directions, so much to sort out.” Heidi says.
Ocean pokes his head into the door.
“I shut them up. It’s cold though.” Ocean says.
“Come on pup, lets go and play some scrabble.” Gladys says.
“I’ll check the other fire.” Blue says following them.
“You stand your ground kid. Abby has your back, you and Heidi don’t worry.” Gladys whispers.
“It is all a mess and so stressful. I have been on about this crap from the start.” Blue says.
“Well you finally have everyone together, go work it all out.” Gladys says.
“Thanks Gladys.” Blue says and gives his friend a big hug.
Clara joins them on facetime and the group work hard long into the night. Finally thrashing out all the issues and worries that they all have. Everything has been happening so fast and is so disjointed it is hard to pull everything together and make everyone happy but they can see a path through.
“So will you come back to the bakery?” Heidi asks as people start to leave.
“Can I take some time to think? I’m really not sure I trust you and I really, really hate what you did and Ella is putting on a brave face but she’s hurt.” Blue says.
“Not least because he still hasn’t called her.” Heidi says.
“Why did you do it? To get back at Arnold?” Blue asks.
“Do you have any wine?” Heidi asks.
“I expect so, Spence bought me loads.” Blue grins.
“Oh wow this is fancy.” Heidi says.
“Shall I make myself scarce?” Cheryl asks coming in after checking Ocean is sleeping.
“No I think we three need to talk. And it save Blue repeating it to you.” Heidi says.
“Thanks. Is this from Spence?” Cheryl asks pouring a glass.
“Yes, it is not vegetarian.” Blue grins.
“God I get tempted every time I see those hams in Marsha’s deli.” Cheryl grins.
“So you both know I was in a thing with Liberty and Arnold. Liberty cooled off, she has a crush on you Cheryl. Arnold didn’t and kept trying to pressurize Liberty into continuing it. I felt pretty rejected and Jett was just an ego boost, I liked him a lot when we met, he’s smart and sarcastic and totally not right for Ella, I know that wasn’t my decision to make.
He was totally in to me from that first night and chased me hard. I didn’t want him to break up with Ella because it would cause a shit storm and I just don’t want a relationship. I was so mad and embarrassed when Ollie found out that I made it out to be more than it was. Then you found out too and I felt worse and so much more embarrassed and judged. So I made out like Jett and I would be a thing and just imploded.
Then Cheryl found out and you’re defecting to Marsha and I’m out in the cold after months of work. Which is why I was such a bitch when Cheryl and Abby showed up.” Heidi says.
“But you knew you were putting everything at risk. That is what I don’t get. Arnold has barely been placated, he still likes you and is mad and jealous. Were you trying to get attention, to make him really notice you?” Blue asks.
“No, I didn’t think of the implications at all. I forgot Ella was Arnold’s daughter. That was why I was so defensive when you found out. I can’t believe you were going to take your recipes to Marsha and Cheryl I can’t believe you have been setting up a business with Marsha while trying to push me out entirely. I could lose everything.” Heidi says.
“I am sorry. The two issues are separate. I wanted to set up a veggie deli with Marsha and Clara, an all-woman business, it appealed to me. Separately just like Blue, I felt that you were taking stupid risks, had become volatile and I as I was on Blue’s side I thought buying you out was the safest option. I had no idea Blue was talking to Marsha about soup when we spoke.” Cheryl says.
“Marsha has an awesome kitchen.” Blue says with a smirk.
“I am sorry for what I said about your family. I know it isn’t your fault and I know it has also given us a boost with that TV tasting.” Heidi says.
“That hurt. I hate what they’re doing to me.” Blue says.
“And I am sorry about the college plans. None of us stopped to see we were railroading you. We all thought it was in your best interests, all too stupid to realize it is probably in your long term plan. And too dense to ask.” Cheryl says.
“You are treating me like a kid. The pair of us. You’re only noticing what you are managing and not seeing the huge amounts of work we have put in from menus to stock systems. We’ve put in so much more than anyone else.” Blue says.
“You’re right. I guess I thought you two were working under remit from Arnold and Abby and even your mom. But you’ve been leading the charge and I just didn’t see it or know how things worked. The pair of you have worked so well with suppliers and on the products and so much of the practicalities and you’re both so young that I misjudged you. Even though I know how much drive Blue has when he has a plan. Lets toast to a fresh start.” Cheryl says.
“A fresh start.” They say and clink glasses.