“That was a good party.” Blue says when he wakes.
“Yes it was. You did an amazing job, So much better than a boring ceremony at school.” Will says.
“Will your parents be mad they missed it?” Blue asks.
“No they will enjoy going to nationals and maybe worlds.” Will says.
“Shall we move back upstairs this weekend? Once the others go?” Blue asks.
“Yeah that would be good. I have to get to training in an hour but I am free tomorrow.” Will says.
“Okay. Nick and Ella are doing the parlor again so I am free all weekend.” Blue grins.
“Well you better hold that pose because you nude and grinning in bed is what I want to see when I get home.” Will grins.
Blue pulls a few poses and makes them laugh before they get up and shower together. Blue heads outside to do yoga with Ocean and Gervais and Will and Spence head to the gym.
Blue and Cheryl make pancakes for everyone and soon they are saying goodbye to Katelyn, Clara and Roe.
“I think we should have a day rearranging rooms and doing the cleaning. Sorry if that’s a bummer.” Blue says.
“No it has to be done.” Andy says.
“Will and I are happy to move upstairs.” Blue says.
“That works for me, give you boys some space. I take it Andy you and Spence will be sharing?” Cheryl asks.
“Yeah I think so.” Andy says.
“Are you boyfriends again?” Ocean asks hopefully. He’s feeling a little down with Katelyn gone and pretty tired from his week at the gym and the late night.
“No but we are very happy.” Andy says.
“I like it when you two are together and I like Blue and Will together and Mom and Mike together. Gervais needs a boyfriend now. Do you want to date Nick? He’s very pretty.” Ocean says.
“What about Brian?” Blue asks.
“Brian left with Larry last night.” Andy says and Gervais feels deflated.
“Tad is still keen.” Cheryl says.
“I think it would be healthy for me to look a little further afield and anyway being single is good for me. I am a nightmare when I’m a boyfriend.” Gervais says.
“Oh Gervais, you have come so far. Don’t give up on happiness.” Cheryl says.
“I don’t need a boyfriend to be happy.” Gervais counters.
“But you want a husband and kids and I don’t think an arranged marriage will be possible.” Blue laughs.
“l am 20. I have a decade to find a husband. I’d rather be single than be with just anyone.” Gervais says firmly and Blue smiles. Gervais truly has grown up a lot.
“Once we have the laundry on we should go and see Abby’s place. Ocean do you want to stay here with Gervais or come with?” Blue asks.
“I’d like to come too. Is that okay Ocean?” Gervais asks gently.
“Yes I want to see Abby’s farm.” Ocean says excited.
The group work swiftly stripping the beds and moving belongings around. Ocean is happy that Gervais will be next door, although he brings up sleeping outside many, many times.
Blue and Andy drive to pick up Abby and Gladys and the others head straight to the property.
“Did you enjoy last night? I barely got to see you.” Blue asks as he walks the ladies to his car.
“We had a marvelous time. So lovely to see so many people.” Gladys says.
“Yes we enjoyed every minute. Lovely food too. You and Cheryl have real talent.” Abby says.
“I enjoyed preparing it. Stepping back from the bakery a bit has made a big difference to me.” Blue says.
“I hope you’re motivated to get started on soup.” Abby says.
“Yes, Ollie and I are going to do a big test of equipment this week. From the peelers to the boilers.” Blue grins.
“Oh cool, loads of food for me.” Andy grins.
“It won’t be made to taste nice. Just to test settings and throughput.” Blue says.
“Oh please, like you two will let good food go to waste.” Andy grins and Blue smiles back knowing he’s probably right.
“I expect Cheryl will use any peeled veg for the new deli. It is close to being ready I hear.” Abby says.
“I think the refit is mostly done. Cheryl and Marsha are still dealing with suppliers and working on their ideas for fresh offerings.” Blue says.
“We still need a manager for the parlor. Nick and Ella are doing a good job standing in but we need them back in marketing and sales.” Abby says.
“Yes we do.” Blue says.
They get to Abby’s place quickly and Andy is overjoyed.
“It’s like yours but smaller, just as pretty. We could build a glass dining room on the back and it would have amazing views.” Andy says seeing the potential immediately and seeing a home for himself and Spence.
“Oh that would be lovely.” Gladys says.
“I’m in. I love the idea diners would have a scenic view or a working garden view.” Gervais says.
“Can we bring Spence and Will round later or will the tenants object?” Blue asks.
“They have gone already. As soon as I confirmed I wouldn’t be reducing the cost of the lease and I certainly wouldn’t be willing them the land upon my death they negotiated an early exit. I was happy to give it. I’ve retained their staff and Mike will step in to manage in the interim, there are some good workers here you can inherit.” Abby says.
“What about the land leased to other farms?” Blue asks.
“It all has different lengths. I’m negotiating to sell some and have some returned.” Abby says.
“You’ve been busy.” Blue says.
“You know me, don’t like to sit on an idea for too long.” Abby says.
“Spence and I would want to buy it. But I know how much land costs around here and I don’t know that we’d need it all.” Gervais says.
“And you know me. The right person gets the right price. I have no children or grandchildren only some ungrateful nieces and nephews. Money won’t stop this venture, I can retain a part share to make you feel better. And I’m not expecting a return for a good while.” Abby says and Blue starts to object.
“I don’t want to rip you off. I have the money, more than I can spend in 5 lifetimes. I just know Spence would want to invest equally and his funds, while enormous are more restricted and finite than mine.” Gervais explains.
“I like it here. Can we fish in the stream?” Ocean asks running back from exploring.
“Yes and if you go further along it gets wider.” Abby says.
“We used to swim in it as kids, it was higher then, all through here.” Gladys says with a grin.
“It is stunning. I see exactly what Andy wants, if we can have flexible space to open up in summer and have outside tables too.” Cheryl says.
“I need to talk to Heidi. I still feel bad that we’re pushing her out.” Blue says not wanting to get too excited.
“Agreed. We’ll talk to her Monday. I am running some interviews from the bakery, with the hope you can join me for some of them. I’ll come in early and we can tell her.” Cheryl says. She also feels bad as she had vowed not to get in the way of Heidi and Blue’s project but seeing the space and knowing what Andy and Mike can produce she is itching to give it a go.
“Interviews for a manager?” Abby asks.
“Yes, no one we have who is capable wants to do the longer hours, and the ones who do are not ready.” Cheryl sighs.
“But otherwise things are going well?” Abby asks.
“Yes, Blue and Ollie are having issues with the coconut suppliers but the rest is going well and they are working with the farmers to get the seasonal flavors ready.” Cheryl says.
“It is all so exciting. I love popping in for a coffee and tiny scoop or a milkshake,” Gladys says.
“We’ll have our first date night, dessert night in a few weeks. I hope you will come.” Blue grins.
“You can’t keep us away. What’s the use of being old if we can’t eat what we want?” Abby smiles.
“We love it when you come in.” Cheryl smiles.
“If you and Spence make upstairs here your apartment, I guess that leaves me the barn.” Gervais says.
“You are always welcome in the house. You do know that?” Blue asks.
“I love the house, I do but you and Will are making your life there and I don’t want to be far away but I can’t live with the pair of you forever.” Gervais says,
“Imagine waking up to the smell of Cheryl or Blue baking in the morning. Oh boy living above a restaurant is a dream for me. Will you be okay with us totally changing the indoors?” Andy asks.
“Of course I am son. I loved the farm, not the farmhouse. My sister’s place holds better memories that way and Blue’s renovations are in keeping with how it was.” Abby says with a smile.
“And the idea of sitting on a deck out here in summer, snoozing the afternoon away with the view she has loved all her life will be perfect.” Gladys says.
“I know we’ve been friends for decades but I am always surprised just how well you know me now.” Abby says.
“Years of pushing people away never paid off, just made me more curious. We rub along okay together.” Gladys says with a smile. She cares very much about Abby now and is very glad they live together.
“It was a wrench moving out of here. I thought it was going to be a family home again and I was happy. Now it isn’t working out I am excited by a new challenge. The party last night confirmed it. I asked around last night if people would pay for a meal of the food you had last night and they were all saying they would love somewhere that served family style food locally.” Abby says.
“I think I’ll get Mike to show me around properly this week if he has the time. Then I’ll get a proper idea of what is in the current plan. If that isn’t jumping the gun.” Andy says.
“Sounds just right. Tad and Larry will hold the fort for Mike.” Abby says.
Later that day Andy shows Spence around.
“I’m in, you know I am. I agreed to support this as soon as Blue brought it up and with Cheryl rather than Heidi behind it, well that puts me in more but…” Spence begins.
“But we need to be married if we’re going to live here together. If we’re going to spend money converting upstairs to an apartment for us,” Andy says.
“Yes.” Spence says.
“I want to marry you. Not because of this place. I want to because I have loved you since I was fifteen and that is never going to change. However many times I fool around or think I want something else, someone else it is never the same as when I am with you. Whenever we think our lives won’t fit together the universe shifts and shows us a new way. I don’t need a year to decide!” Andy says.
“You don’t?” Spence asks.
“Will you marry me?” Andy asks.
“You know that I will. I love you so much and we can’t fight the universe.” Spence says.
They hug and kiss and cry. They sit on an old bench on Abby’s property and enjoy the view holding hands and dreaming of a future together. They both know it won’t be perfect always, that Spence might not be able to work locally always but they know that this is going to be their home and they are going to be together.
“Do you want to do it here or at the beach house?” Andy asks once he’s calmed down.
“Here. My family can afford to travel and stay in the city and your family can stay with Blue. I feel like my true self here. I love the beach house but it isn’t us.” Spence says.
“This is. It is totally us. Less chocolate box than Blue’s place, bit more grit.” Andy says.
“Yes it is more utilitarian but we’ll make it a home.” Spence says.
“Katelyn can come here for the holidays. And Tommy and Harvey.” Andy says.
“I think I’ll sell the beach house. My parents will go nuts, but if I sold it we wouldn’t need Gervais money. This will be our legacy to pass on, not the beach house. We’re workers you and l, passing on a farm and restaurant means more to us than passing on a vacation spot.” Spence says.
“We’ll never be free in the summer to use it. Not really. You’ll always be in demand for coaching camps and I’ll be in my prime salad, harvest and market time. But it isn’t fair to cut Gervais out. “ Andy says.
“If he and Blue were together sure, but they are not and won’t be.” Spence says.
“He’s family Spence.” Andy says.
“I’ll talk to him.” Spence says.
“No, we will. We’re a team again.” Andy says.
“We are. Are you really sure?” Spence asks.
“Yes. I am utterly and completely sure I want to be with you forever.” Andy says.
“What changed?” Spence asks.
“You love me so much, you gave me a year. You were willing to go through another year of pain and rejection to be with me. That was the proof that my brain needed. Suddenly I didn’t want anyone but you.” Andy says.
“I pushed away anyone who might have become serious. I couldn’t be with anyone who might prove my heart wrong and replace you. I only ever wanted you.” Spence says.
“I am so glad you hung on.” Andy asks.
“Me too.” Spence says and they kiss some more.
“We’re engaged.” Andy says as they burst into the kitchen.
“So much for telling our families first.” Spence laughs.
Ocean looks at them both with a huge grin on his face and runs to them and Spence lifts him high before lowering him to accept his kisses, Ocean kisses them both repeatedly and hugs them tightly not letting anyone else get their congratulations in.
“Can I be bestest man?” Ocean asks.
“You can’t ask that.” Cheryl says.
“I think having Ocean as a shared best man is a great idea, saves me from having to decide between my brothers and my friends.” Spence says.
“And Katelyn as bridesmaid.” Ocean says.
“Exactly. Perfect.” Spence says and Andy is so overwhelmed again he can’t get any words out.
Eventually Ocean lets them go and they accept hugs and good wishes from their friends.
“We need to go and call the rest of the family.” Spence says.
“I will make some cookies to celebrate.” Blue says with a grin, he is so delighted for his friends.
Spence and Andy call Katelyn first. She’s in the airport with Roe and Clara, they can see Bea and Chris sat further away in the background.
“We’re engaged.” Andy beams. He sees Chris’s face fall in the background and realizes he feels nothing. Not joy or sympathy at Chris’s pain or any residual feelings. It is as if their relationship never happened.
“Oh that is amazing. I knew you two would make it.” Katelyn says clearly delighted.
“We’re sorry it happened a day late for you to celebrate with us in person.” Spence says.
“We are just delighted that it happened at all.” Clara says.
“We are. We love you both and it was painful to see you apart.” Roe says.
“I was just too stupid to see it.” Andy says.
“How did it happen?” Katelyn asks and they explain about Abby’s place and their plans.
“Ocean has declared himself best man and you bridesmaid. Will you?” Spence asks.
“Oh yes, can I choose my own dress? Can I wear heels?” Katelyn asks.
“Yes and if Roe says yes. Andy laughs.
“Congratulations you deserve to be happy.” Chris says coming over.
“Thank-you.” Andy says and Spence smiles.
“We best go, we haven’t told my parents yet.” Spence says and they say their good byes.
They call Spence’s family in turn and then DeShawn and Magnus, Dylan and George. They decide not to talk about the beach house yet, don’t want to dampen the celebrations. Spence’s family are delighted, as are their college friends.
When they get back into the kitchen Blue and Gervais are putting cookies to cool and Ocean is making a batch of banana milkshake, he thinks it is far more appropriate for a celebration than champagne and secretly Andy agrees, though he knows Spence would prefer some fizz.
The group sit around sipping the warm cookies into the cold milkshake and chatting happily. Gervais looks at Spence and Andy and smiles. He is so happy for them. He then looks at Will as he’s feeding a cookie to Blue and has to look away the pain is so sharp, the longing so intense.
Blue, as if sensing Gervais pain, looks up. Their eyes meet for a second and Blue feels a stab of what is in Gervais heart. He shakes it off and looks at Will. Will who will never treat him badly, who will always put him first. Beautiful, wonderful, safe Will.