Blue and Will sleep deeply together, happier than either of them dare voice. Finally is running through both their heads. The contentment runs from one body to the other and back.
In the morning Cheryl drives Will and Ocean to the gym and Blue heads out to the airport to get Katelyn and Andy.
Blue is totally overwhelmed when they arrive, it has been so long since he saw Katelyn and she has grown and changed so much. Katelyn drops her bags and throws herself at Blue, Ocean style and they cling to each other both crying. Andy just laughs and then joins in the big hug.
“You both look so tanned.” Blue says.
“We have had such a good time.” Katelyn grins.
“Such good weather.” Andy smiles.
“Well I am glad to have you back, even if it’s only a few days for you Katelyn.” Blue says.
“I want to stay longer but I want to get back and see my friends and work with Willow for the summer too.” Katelyn grins.
“I don’t know passing over her brother for a bunch of smelly hippies.” Andy laughs.
“I think you’ll be the smelly lot, a house of smelly boys, poor Cheryl.” Katelyn grins.
Blue listens as Andy and Katelyn chatter away about their vacation and what fun they have had. Spence did them a really good turn sending them and Blue sends him a gushing message when they get back.
Ocean is ecstatic to see Katelyn and the pair disappear to the hammock to catch up.
“You look amazing.” Blue says.
“You really do.” Will echoes.
“Thanks. We really did have a lovely lazy time, I have never been this tan even after a summer working outdoors. It was good to reconnect and we’ve made plans to go somewhere for winter break too.” Andy grins.
“Ready for some hard work. We best get on with the garden, see what we can get ready for Saturday.” Blue says.
“You just want me away from the kitchen. All those pies! All those jars of cookies.” Andy grins.
“Yeah we’ll be rivalling the bakery.” Blue grins.
“You and Heidi won’t ever be as close.” Andy says.
“I can’t throw stones. But I’m trying to put myself and our businesses first and not worry about stepping on toes so much. There is enough trade to go around.” Blue says and Andy nods.
“Yeah we have to start building our reputation and we can’t do that always supplying everyone else.” Andy says.
“Well we could but that isn’t the route either of us want long term.” Blue says and Andy nods.
“Right. I can’t wait to get on with the wines next week and I’ll be taking over a tunnel for salads and getting my tomatoes going. So much to do.” Andy grins.
“I need your enthusiasm, it is hard alone when I’m still being pulled away to the other businesses. Once the parlor is open and the menus settled down I’ll be able to focus properly.” Blue says.
“Yeah right, the minute that is up and running you’ll be pulled in to operation soup.” Will laughs.
“Ugh I guess.” Blue shrugs.
“See you later Will.” Andy grins.
“You be okay?” Blue asks.
“Of course. I’m going to sneak a soak and a nap.” Will grins and kisses Blue.
“Lazy.” Blue teases.
“You bet.” Will smiles and Blue melts, he loves Will’s wide grin.
Blue takes Andy round all the plots and they make notes of what they can harvest, and get started. Andy is impressed with what Blue has done, the soil has benefitted from years of neglect and they have a lot more to sell than he expected.
Having the parlor opening on market day is a lot of work for Blue. He knows it is the best option but he feels really torn as he fields multiple calls from Ella and Cheryl.
“If you need to go down there we can manage.” Andy says.
“No, it’s fine. Ollie is in charge up at Arnolds and they have produced almost as much as they can. As soon as Nick takes a van out for delivery they replace the stock. The parlor is full. I just need to make the opening special in the morning at the store and set off some more of the non-dairy options. That should then all be ready so I can spend Saturday with you. It means I’m leaving you to it tomorrow, boxing up and loading.” Blue says apologetically.
“No problem. Ocean and Katelyn will help. Clara and Roe too I expect. When are Tad and Larry back?” Andy asks.
“Tad is coming back tonight. Larry not until end of next week. He finished last week but his school do an early summer school and he’s stayed for the first 2 week session.” Blue says.
“Can’t see Spence being happy about that.” Andy says with a glint in his eye.
“Don’t you be causing drama your first week. Spence will be busy settling in at the gym.” Blue says.
“But he will live here won’t he? I mean he won’t be up at Mikes with Larry not there. How the hell are we fitting everyone in? We’re already full.” Andy says.
“Uh I know. I was hoping you’d be okay in with us while Katelyn is here. Robin and Gervais can go on an air mattress in their study and Spence will have to take the pull out couch.” Blue says.
“It’s a pull out? I’ll share with him.” Andy grins.
“You will not be fooling around in the lounge with Katelyn and Ocean able to walk in any time.” Blue says and Andy grins.
“I can always use the barn again.” Andy grins.
“Or you could not come on to your ex who has a boyfriend.” Blue says.
“Spoilsport.” Andy sulks.
“Anyway, what is wrong with sharing with me and Will?” Blue asks.
“Sometimes it is just too hard to let you go.” Andy says suddenly serious.
“You dated my brother. You pushed any remote chance of us out the window on the 58th floor.” Blue says.
“You and Gervais got past that.” Andy says.
“Will is the one for me. You’d be bored after a month. It is because I say no that you want me, not because I’d be the right one for you.” Blue says.
“Wow that’s quite the arugula crop.” Andy says changing the subject.
“The spinach has come along well too, but not quite ready.” Blue says.
“Tastes good, we could sell as young leaves.” Andy says.
“We’re going to eat well all summer.” Blue says and scoops up Candy the cat who is rubbing his legs.
“Who is this?” Andy asks.
“This is our mousecatcher Candy. She is loving having the run of the place. Her sister Cookie is a lazy one and can usually be found in the sun or by the fire. Or curled up on ocean.” Blue says.
“We have cats? Since when do we have cats? Does Katelyn know?” Andy asks.
“You were here when it was decided. They came with the stripper names and we didn’t have the heart to change them.” Blue laughs.
“I didn’t know it was seriously going to happen.” Andy laughs.
“Here, she’s pretty friendly. Happy to be here and able to stretch her legs.” Blue says passing her over.
Andy melts as she claws at his t-shirt.
“Lets go show my sister.” Andy grins.
“Looks like she already knows.” Blue laughs as they find Cookie curled up with Ocean and Katelyn on the hammock.
Andy lets Candy go and she bolts off.
“They are so cute. I want to take them with me.” Katelyn grins.
“Are you not staying all summer?” Ocean asks.
“No just a few days then Roe, Clara and I go home.” Katelyn says.
“You should stay with me and Andy.” Ocean pouts.
“I am working with Willow at the retreat this summer.” Katelyn says.
“That’s not fair. Why am I not going to the retreat with Willow?” Ocean shouts, having his first wobble about the move.
“You’re here with me and the kitties so you can do gymnastics.” Blue says.
“But then I don’t get a break to go fishing and camping.” Ocean wails.
“Then you best start researching where we can go fishing and how much a license is. Yes we don’t have the beautiful lake but we’ve been there a gazillion times. This summer we can try somewhere new. You, me, Will and Andy can go together.” Blue says.
“That sounds good fun to me.” Andy says pasting on a big smile.
“And we already have yoga every day. You’re not missing out, we’re doing more.” Blue says.
“I bet Gervais will take you on a nature walk when he gets here, or better still I bet you and Jane could take us on a walk in the woods and show us everything.” Andy says.
“Maybe we could explore tomorrow after gymnastics or Saturday. We don’t want to go to the boring market.” Katelyn says.
“No we don’t. But we want to go for ice-cream.” Ocean says torn but cheering up at the thought of ice-cream.
“You can stay here with me Saturday morning and then we’ll go and see the official opening and get an ice-cream.” Roe says, she’s been sat nearby the whole time.
“And banana milkshake.” Ocean grins.
“Are they good?” Katelyn asks and the two are soon chatting away again, Ocean back to his cheerful self.
“Those two are going to run the world one day.” Andy laughs.
“Lets go check we have enough boxes and brown bags.” Blue says.
“Okay.” Andy grins.
Will takes it upon himself to make dinner when he wakes up as he knows everyone is busy. Ocean and Katelyn come in and happily help. Spence unexpectedly arrives as they are cooking much to Katelyn’s delight. She hugs him close for ages.
“Thank you so much for Hawaii.” Katelyn says.
“I knew my favorite girl was missing her brother.” Spence says hugging her closely.
Will calls Blue and Andy to come in.
Andy stands in the doorway and watches Spence hugging his sister and his heart leaps from his chest. Time rolls back and he sees the Spence he first fell in love with. All the feelings he’s been getting the last couple of months come into sharp focus and he can barely breathe. The loss hits him hard again.
It’s funny just a few hours ago he was thinking about Blue as a boyfriend again, no as a life partner, here with the business, getting to spend all their time together and supporting each other and it was a nice thought. But seeing Spence, the human Spence, totally off guard, not trying to impress anyone or outdo anyone makes Andy’s heart flutter.
Blue puts his arm around Andy to steady him and Andy leans back gratefully and kisses Blue’s cheek.
Spence turns around catching the gesture and feels a white heat of jealousy. Andy looks amazing, tanned and fresh from the outdoors he’s the image of Spence’s fantasy man.
Blue watches Spence’s reaction and feels bad for Larry. There is no way he and Andy won’t be back together before Larry gets back. This summer would be a perfect trial run for life after college for Andy and Spence and whilst Blue adores Larry he’s totally going to be pushing for Andy and Spence to see sense.
“Hey guys, uh Blue can we have a chat in private?” Spence asks pulling himself together, he knows nothing is happening with Andy and Blue, Will would never let Blue go.
“Sure, Lets go outside, I expect you need to stretch your legs.” Blue says.
“Yeah.” Spence smiles.
“Do you want an iced tea or something?” Blue asks.
“That would be great.” Spence smiles.
“Don’t be long, dinner is nearly ready.” Will says.
“It won’t take long.” Spence smiles.
“What’s up?” Blue asks.
“I realized half way here I am meant to be staying with Larry but he isn’t back for a week. I drove straight here not even thinking about it and of course you’re overflowing.” Spence says.
“We’ve already discussed it. You and Andy can use the pull out couch in the lounge. Well I guess you could use the study tonight but that would be an airbed.” Blue says.
“So you don’t mind? I know you were pretty mad at Robin and Gervais just showing up. I didn’t want to be that guy.” Spence says.
“It’s easier now, Roe, Momma and Cheryl all help out a lot, Will too.” Blue says.
“Phew, I was worried about sleeping in my car. Spence grins.
“Oh like you couldn’t afford a nice hotel in the city.” Blue laughs.
“I didn’t even think of that, you lot and your country ways have converted me.” Spence grins.
“I thought you were going to tell me to get my hands off your man.” Blue says gently.
“I thought it for a minute and then remembered. He looks so good with that tan.” Spence grins.
“Dump Larry and win Andy back.” Blue says.
“It’s just a grass is greener thing. I always want Andy when I don’t have him.” Spence says.
“Bullshit. You love Andy. You’re having fun with Larry but nothing more, you thought it was the real thing but he’s just a substitute for Andy. Admit it and get on with your life together.” Blue says.
“I didn’t expect this from you.” Spence says.
“I love you both, I probably know the pair of you better than anyone other than Robin and I’d argue we’re closer these days despite the distance. You should have got back together before but Andy needed time to come round. He has now and you need to grab him with both hands and not lose your chance. Take him out the barn after dinner and bang each other’s brains out. I mean that literally too, make sure Andy gets a stuffing.” Blue says and Spence blushes so deeply he looks like a plum.
“I ought to tell Larry first.” Spence says.
“Really? You’re going to?” Blue asks.
“I will talk to Andy after dinner.” Spence says and hugs Blue hard. He can’t believe he thought even for a second that Blue was a threat.
“Finally. Come help me serve up.” Will says and Blue washes his hands and helps out. Everyone drifts in and digs in to the meal that Will has prepared.
“Spence are you staying with us this week?” Cheryl asks.
“I’ll probably stay here all summer. It makes sense for the three of us to share a ride and I can take Ocean when Will is staying in the city.” Spence says casually and Blue smiles.
“Are you going to be Andy’s boyfriend again?” Ocean asks.
“He’s dating Larry, you know that.” Cheryl says.
“But he should be with Andy.” Katelyn says.
“I know right, Andy and Spence need to get married.” Ocean says.
“I know.” Katelyn says exasperated.
“You two need to quit the match making.” Andy says embarrassed.
“Maybe. I used to think that Blue and Gervais should get married even when they broke up but now I like Blue and Will.” Ocean says.
“Who should Gervais marry then?” Spence asks curious what other schemes the little scamp is dreaming up.
“Nick. Gervais needs to marry Nick.” Ocean says firmly.
“What makes you say that?” Cheryl asks curious.
“Nick is nice and he is really, really handsome. He’s not too tall, like Blue was a lot, lot taller than Gervais but Gervais wouldn’t have to stand on tip toes to kiss Nick and Gervais likes it when it is all quiet and Nick is quiet.” Ocean says.
“Maybe Nick would like a girlfriend. He likes girls and boys.” Blue says.
“Oh. I still think he should date Gervais, just one time to check.” Ocean says and Andy smiles. He thinks Nick and Gervais might be a good pair too, given how similar Gervais and Brian are.
“Want to show me round the garden?” Spence asks Andy after dinner. He’s a mass of nerves.
“Sure.” Andy grins.
“Blue thinks we should get back together and I agree.” Spence says once they’ve been walking a while.
“Really? Earlier he told me I shouldn’t come on to my ex with a boyfriend. You and Larry break up?” Andy asks.
“Not yet.” Spence says.
“Hedging your bets, asking me before you end it with him is not cool.” Andy says.
“This is us. Larry is just a detail.” Spence says.
“And if I say no?” Andy asks.
“I don’t know. You’re saying no?” Spence asks.
“When I saw you earlier, you were all I wanted. But it was the heat of the moment. We don’t work and every time I feel myself falling for you I need to remind myself of the bad times and stop romanticizing what we had.” Andy says.
“We have both grown a lot since we broke up. A whole lot. Neither of us have truly found anyone better. I will break up with Larry right away. Given I’m hear begging you to take me back means Blue is right Larry is fun but nothing more. Don’t give me an answer now. I wouldn’t want to mess up anyone’s opinion of you, if you’d be seen as stepping in too fast anyway. Give me some real thought. Please.” Spence says and kisses Andy lightly.
Spence walks back to the house feeling down. Kicking himself for doing things in the wrong order for getting caught up in Blue’s enthusiasm. It feels good though to have said what he feels out loud and to know it is still true, has always been true.
Andy walks up into the woods and takes a seat. Spence has said everything he wanted to hear and the temptation to run after him and agree is very, very strong. He knows Spence is the one for him, but he still isn’t sure that Spence is the one right now. Andy has no idea what has changed in a few hours, where the doubts have come from.