“Don’t you dare use Ollie.” Blue says to Andy harshly as people begin to leave.
“I’m not, he’s cute and he made an amazing cake. You know baking is the way to my heart.” Andy says.
“Don’t be obtuse. You can’t lead him on like you did Deke and discard him for Spence at the end of the summer. He’s sensitive and has a lot going on in his life and he doesn’t need you fuck it up further.” Blue says angrily.
“This is so rich coming from you, given how well Spence asking you to back off from Will went.” Andy hisses.
“Ollie is my employee and he’s a good friend. He’s only 19, he’s very young for his age and using him to make Spence jealous just isn’t on. I totally understand if you want to have a summer fling, get everything out of your system before you and Spence get serious again but find someone else. You had a pack of guys drooling over you tonight.” Blue says and Andy sighs.
“I’ll take him out for dinner and show him a good night. I won’t take it further unless there’s a real spark. If there is then no promises.” Andy says and Blue nods, not happy but he knows he can’t push any further.
“What’s up?” Will asks Blue as they wash dishes.
“I warned Andy off Ollie. I feel bad and controlling but he isn’t in to Ollie on any level other than food and I just feel protective.” Blue says.
“Ollie knows his own mind. I bet he’s using Andy as a practice date and maybe it’ll make Nick notice him. I don’t think he’s about to fall for Andy.” Will says.
“Andy can be incredibly charming and his sss appeal usually gets him whoever he wants. He isn’t the most handsome of my friends but he is the one most guys want.” Blue says.
“Then they all have terrible taste, as you are clearly the prize which is why you are all mine.” Will grins and hugs Blue closely.
“Did I do the wrong thing?” Blue asks.
“Your heart was in the right place. But they are both adults and you can’t interfere again.” Will says.
“I best go apologize and smooth things over.” Blue says.
“Don’t stress too much.” Will says.
“I always will.” Blue grins sheepishly and goes to find Andy.
Will finishes the last of the cleaning up, mad that everyone left it for him and Blue to do. He knows everyone had a long day but it would have been a lot quicker if everyone had chipped in. Blue cooked a beautiful meal on top of a full days work and no one even helped bring the dishes in.
Will looks around and double checks everything is done and then goes through to the bathroom and starts running a bath. It is later than he wants to be going to bed but knows that Blue needs some tlc before they go to bed.
“Oh you are perfect.” Blue says coming in.
“I know we should have been in bed an hour ago, but I thought we needed some alone time.” Will says.
“You know me best. Sorry about leaving you with the end of the cleaning.” Blue says.
“You shouldn’t have been doing any of it.” Will says.
“I was the host.” Blue shrugs but feels the same. The stress of having a houseful of people is hitting him and tonight was way too much clean-up for two.
“How’d it go with Andy?” Will asks.
“It was fine, he got where I was coming from and is glad I have some friends here that I care so much about. He’s sleeping in our bed again.” Blue says rolling his eyes.
“Well you two have to be up early.” Will says.
Will wakes with a start and shudders. The water is freezing and they’ve both fallen asleep.
“Wake up babe.” Will says shaking Blue and climbing out.
“Oh god, oh babe I’m sorry.” Blue says getting out and wrapping Will up.
“Lets get to bed, at least Andy will have warmed it for us.” Will grins and they rub each other dry.
Neither Will nor Blue sleep well. They need some time alone and they both know it. Not just for sex they’re both pretty tired but for taking care of each other without having to worry about anyone else.
Andy has to shake Blue to wake him in the morning. They get up together and head outside to gather bunches of herbs they’ll be selling and the salad leaves. It doesn’t take long despite their woozy state. They load up Blue’s truck and go inside to get coffee.
Will is up and has made it for them and filled them a thermos each.
“You have change?” Will asks.
“Thanks for the reminder.” Blue says and goes to his office and gets what he needs from the safe.
“I’ll come by later. Hope it goes well.” Will says and kisses them both.
They box up the pies and add them to the truck and head into town. Abby has seen to it that they get a good pitch and they soon have everything in place. They check help out Mike and Claud as usual. Tad is helping them too.
When Nick and Ella arrive Blue helps them double check everything in the parlor. They’ll be selling coffee and scoops from the window until the main opening at 11.
“Excited?” Blue asks.
“Yeah. I can’t believe it is finally today. Who knew when dad brought you home all those months ago that we would really have an ice-cream company and a store?” Nick grins•
“It really is a dream come true. We have so many parties booked and so many stores took the starter packs and it is all really happening.” Ella says her eyes shining.
“Our dad is finally proud of us.” Nick grins.
“Don’t forget to use the counter and make a deal out of the promotions.” Blue says.
“We won’t, we’re excited.” Ella grins.
“Call me if you need me. Andy will be able to cope without me if anything happens.” Blue grins.
“You’ll come over at 11?” Nick asks.
“Yes. See you then.” Blue grins.
“All ready?” Andy asks when Blue reappears.
“Yup. Looks like people are arriving here.” Blue grins.
“Blue, that soup we had last night, not one of your normal ones. What do I need to put in the bag?” Claud asks and Blue smiles and goes over to help.
“We should print up bags with recipes on.” Blue says.
“We could but we don’t want to lose all our customers before we start production. I like to keep em guessing, they try and make it themselves then have a cup in the bakery and know they haven’t got it quite right.” Claud says and gives a bellowing laugh.
“You have a lot of sweet potatoes here, my new soup had good timing. I’ll add it to the menu this week, the leeks haven’t been great recently. Could do a few pies too if you’ve an excess.” Blue says.
“I’ll bring them down Monday early.” Claud grins.
Blue’s pies start selling quickly and Andy and his sales patter ensure that no one leaves with just a pie or bag of brownies.
“It’s a good job you two have ambitions in wine. We have no hope against the pair of you if you made a switch to farming full time.” Claud says.
“You’re doing alright.” Blue bats back.
“You two are like our mothers, bribing us with pie to make us eat our vegetables.” Mike says.
Blue smiles every time he sees someone with a coffee cup from the parlor or an ice-cream cone.
“Looks like you’re doing a good trade back there too.” Claud says.
“Can I get you guys a coffee or cone?” Blue asks.
“Go on get us both.” Claud grins.
“Mike?” Blue asks.
“I’ll come and help you carry them. Tad can manage for a while.” Mike grins.
“Tad, Andy?” Blue asks.
“Just an ice-cream for me.” Andy grins.
“Same, surprise me with the flavor.” Tad grins.
Blue and Mike join the line which is impressive.
“Can’t you just pop in and get it yourself?” Someone behind them asks.
“And give you something to complain about. Not a chance.” Blue grins.
“Look like you’re rushed off your feet Ella.” Mike says as they reach the front.
“It has been amazing. Clara and Cheryl are doing the coffees. We didn’t expect so many so early.
“Keep it up.” Blue says and Nick and Ella beam at him.
“These cone carriers are brilliant.” Mike says.
“Nick designed them, not good for too long when it’s hot but to carry to a car of people or table they’re great.” Blue says.
“Blue you have outdone yourself. This is better than Ollie’s chocolate cherry.” Claud beams.
“It’s the monthly special so enjoy it while you can.” Blue grins.
“It’s been flying out the door. I’ve restocked the cabinet already this morning.” Marsha grins.
“Are you busy?” Blue asks.
“Crazy busy, sold out of quiche and feta pies first thing. Most my prepared stuff is gone and hams and cheeses are flying out.” Marsha grins.
“That is brilliant.” Blue grins.
“Makes me feel a lot better about the new place.” Marsha says.
“Claud has a bumper crop of sweet potatoes, I was going to make some pies as well as soup for the bakery. Can I interest you? I was thinking of both sweet and savory versions.” Blue says.
“Yes please. Come on over and bake at mine, I’ll have everything you need. Claud I’ll call an order in.” Marsha says before heading back.
“Look at you making sales.” Andy grins.
“Sounds great to me. My potatoes in the bakery and deli at once, can’t be bad.” Claud grins. He’s had a hard time recently losing a contract. His produce is good and he hates to sell underpriced. He really hopes the soup business will bring him more stability.
“The parlor too, we’ll have pies there too.” Blue says and Claud grins.
“So I can come in for a slice of pie and a coffee in the afternoon?” Claud asks.
“Of course. Though you might want to sit out front if there is a kids party on.” Blue grins.
“Well I’ll be. I thought it would just be ice-creams and milkshakes. You’ll be a worry for Heidi.” Claud says.
“Her coffee is better and we meet different needs.” Blue says.
“You better get over there for pictures.” Andy says.
“Sorry, I’ve taken 2 breaks and you’ve not had one.” Blue says.
“Ahh its fine I am loving it.” Andy says.
“You should both go. I’ll look after things.” Tad says.
“And bring back some more coffee.” Mike says.
“We will.” Blue grins.
“It’s been a good morning. We’ll be sold out soon enough.” Andy says.
“Yeah we’ve been lucky. Claud is doing really well too with the soup bags. You really started something there.” Blue says.
“I’ve had so much fun. I’m a bit disappointed the others didn’t come by.” Andy says.
“Me too. I hope they all show up for this ribbon cutting.” Blue says.
“They better or you can kick them out.” Andy grins.
“Hey baby. Sorry I didn’t come by, my knee is pretty sore after our sleep in the tub.” Will says.
“You’re here now. Who else is here?” Blue asks.
“I brought Roe, Katelyn and Ocean down. The four of us have been lazing in the garden all morning, talking about going on a nature walk but none of us wanting to get up. It is such a nice day.” Will grins.
“Are the others coming?” Blue asks upset that Gervais doesn’t appear to be there. They haven’t even spoken since he arrived other than to talk about the bedroom situation.
“I don’t know, the three of them went into the city first thing to get summer clothes.” Will says.
“Robin is part of the business too. I thought he’d be here.” Andy says confused.
“Hey Blue are you ready?” Ocean says taking Blue’s hand.
Andy slips his arm round his sister and they all cheer as Abby cuts the ribbon and Cheryl announces they are open. She and Gladys go inside and are served a milkshake each.
Will takes Ocean and Katelyn inside and Roe joins them. Blue takes a few pictures while Andy gets the coffee and they head back to the stalls.
The crowd is swelling more than before and Blue and Andy grin at each other. As the boys run out of stock mike and Claud share their stand to get more of theirs on display. All three are left with very little as the crowd begins to thin around 4. It has been a fun day. They pack up and head over to the parlor to see how things are going.
“Wow still swamped.” Blue grins.
“Looks like it.” Andy smiles back.
“Hey guys, how was the market?” Ollie asks coming over.
“Great, we sold everything, made some money and it felt like our little business was really starting.” Andy says with a smile.
“That’s cool. I brought my siblings down for an ice-cream, we all squashed in to one booth and they loved it. It was nice to hear people enjoying some of my flavors too.” Ollie says.
“So cool. Come on lets go and check the freezer see how much has been sold.” Blue grins.
“Are you going to warn me off Andy?” Ollie asks once they battle through to the back.
“I already warned him not to use you. I’m sorry if I overstepped. Will thought you might be using Andy for a practice run and to get Nick’s attention.” Blue says and Ollie blushes.
“Maybe that is true. I never had a date before and I want to have one. I’d be a lot less anxious having one with Andy when I’m not in to him and not trying to impress him.” Ollie says.
“Understood and enjoy yourself.” Blue says.
“You’re a bit hypocritical not warning me off using Andy.” Ollie grins.
“I totally hold my hands up to that but he can take care of himself and it would be quite the boost if he chased you a bit.” Blue says and Ollie blushes again.
“Do you think I’m too young for Nick?” Ollie asks.
“You’re both at the same life stage, starting out at work. In some ways you’re ahead, having a defined role that you know is going to expand as the business grows. You both still live at home. You’re close to your siblings like he is to Ella. Sure he’s been to college but that isn’t everything. If anything I’d think you’ll outgrow him in a year or two. But you’re 19 and not looking for forever quite yet.” Blue grins.
“That makes me feel a lot less hopeless.” Ollie grins.
“You’re going to be a major catch if the business takes off. You are so talented you would get work as a pastry chef, or some other food development position.” Blue says.
“Thanks Blue. I’m so glad you gave me the confidence to stand up to Heidi and it got Freddie a job too.” Ollie says.
“Things are working out. Looks like chocolate cherry and the opening special have had a bumper day.” Blue says.
“And both types of banana. I bet that is the milkshakes and banana splits.” Ollie says and Blue nods in agreement.
They wave at Cheryl and Clara but leave them to it as the place is so packed.
“Andy can you take the kids home? I want to go and visit Abby and Gladys with Will.” Blue asks.
“Sure thing.” Andy says.
“Here are my keys. I’m parked over by the new deli.” Will says with a smile.
“Thanks Will.” Andy grins.
“Can you have a word with the other three before we get back? Leaving Blue to clean up last night and not showing up today wasn’t on.” Will whispers.
“But I didn’t help last night.” Andy blushes.
“I’m not excusing you entirely but you’d been digging all day, made the salad and bread and you had to be up as early as Blue. Same with Cheryl and Clara being on their feet all day and even the kids helped with the cooking.” Will says.
“Understood, ship up or out.” Andy whispers and Will nods.
“Everything okay?” Blue asks when Will catches up.
“Yeah I was just explaining the booster seats.” Will lies.
“Ocean can pull those up.” Blue laughs.
“Ahh you know he likes to think he shouldn’t have to use it.” Will says and takes Blue’s hand.
“Hello boys, Will it is lovely to have you back in town.” Gladys says ushering them in.
“We thought we’d pop in for a quick visit as we didn’t get to talk last night and we barely see you.” Blue says.
“Yes all those young ones fawning over you at yoga, we don’t get to have a chat.” Abby says.
“Young ones? The youngest is 67.” Blue says.
“Quite.” Abby says with a smirk.
“Cards on the table what did you think of the parlor?” Blue asks.
“The milkshake was perfect.” Gladys says.
“As was the banana split.” Abby says.
“But?” Blue asks.
“It was the first day and busy but a few wrong orders came through and some people had long waits. If Clara or Cheryl took the order it was efficient but your staff were less confident. They should have switched in Ella and Nick and put those without confidence at the window on the straightforward options.” Abby says.
“But everyone was good natured and loved the food. Really loved it, a lot of people bought take out tubs.” Gladys says.
“They did and all the feedback on the food we could hear was positive. There were a few people who picked up the no dairy flags and they all loved the menu and choices they had. They all bought take away. At least 4 tables. We couldn’t believe four groups came to an ice-cream parlor who didn’t eat dairy.” Abby says.
“We’ve never seen anything like it.” Gladys says.
“What else is going on with you two?” Blue asks and begins to relax.
Andy enjoys listening to Katelyn and Ocean chatter on the way home, they could talk about ice-cream for hours and Andy loves hearing all about it and can’t wait to get in and try a few creations himself.
They get in and Robin, Gervais and Spence are sprawled out in the lounge room gaming. Junk food everywhere, a bunch of plates and glasses scattered about, a total mess.
“You two go and check on the chickens.” Andy says.
“Sure think. I bet there are lots of eggs today.” Ocean says happily.
Katelyn rolls her eyes at the scene and follows Ocean out, hoping Andy is going to give it to them.
“Clean this shit up.” Andy says.
“We will when we’re done.” Gervais says.
“Why didn’t you come to the opening?” Andy asks.
“It would have been busy. We’ll go eat there in the week.” Robin says.
“Is this because Blue didn’t come to your birthday, even though you didn’t actually invite him?” Andy asks and Robin scowls.
“CLEAN UP. God we’ve been working our butts off all day while you three just laze about and make a mess. You can’t stay here and pull this shit. Not when there are so many of us here.” Andy says and walks out.
“What is up his butt?” All three ask together.