Blue is stood with the door open totally glued to the spot unable to move, reply or react at all.
“I just wanted to see all my children on their 21st birthday. I know your mother is bringing Kit and Bea round for lunch. I thought if I was here when they arrived they would see me. That you all would see me.” Lana says.
Will comes down the stairs as Blue is taking too long, confused to see the front door open as all their friends use the back.
“Everything okay Blue?” Will asks worried at Blue’s ghost white face and frozen demeanor.
“It is Chris and Bea’s mom.” Blue whispers not sure what to do. What does she want? Is Paul with her? Is his mom really in town with the other two? Are they moving here? He feels dizzy and grips the door frame.
“Do you want her to come in or go away?” Will asks gently putting his arm around Blue’s waist to support him.
“I don’t know. Is Paul with you?” Blue asks.
“No I left him. We are divorcing.” Lana says.
Blue stares at Lana’s face knowing he has no idea if she is telling the truth or lying.
“How did you get here?” Blue asks.
“I got a bus from the airport to the city, another to here and then a cab. I got your address from Bea. Since I told her I was divorcing Paul she calls me a little.” Lana says and Blue still has no idea if it is true.
“I don’t want you coming in. You can wait out here while we dress and we can go for coffee.” Blue says.
“There are seats around back.” Will says closing the door and pulling Blue into a tight hug.
“I need to call my mother.” Blue says.
“I will do that. You go and take a shower. Take your time.” Will says and rubs Blue’s back.
Blue nods still totally disorientated.
“It is okay baby, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.” Will whispers and Blue nods, kisses Will and goes upstairs for a hot shower.
Will dresses quickly and makes the call.
“Are you in town with Chris and Bea?” Will asks abruptly.
“It was supposed to be a surprise.” Clara says.
“Well he doesn’t like surprises that involve his siblings, you know better than that.” Will says.
“I didn’t expect him to see them. We are staying in the city and Bea is visiting colleges, I hoping so see Blue without them later. How did you find out? Did you see us?” Clara asks.
“Lana is here. Says Bea gave her Blue’s address and she’s divorcing Paul.” Will says.
“Oh fuck.” Clara says and Will laughs at her reaction. He can’t help it, it is clear Clara had no idea and likely just wanted to see Blue today which he finds sweet.
“Will they want to see her?” Will asks.
“I expect so if she is really without Paul and divorcing him.” Clara says.
“Blue can’t tell if she is telling the truth or lying. He’s in the shower then we’re taking her into town for coffee.” Will says.
“Do you think he is up to dealing with everyone? I think I should bring them in now, save any more dramatic door-stepping. Lets meet in the parlor in an hour.” Clara says.
“I can’t guarantee Blue will come in with his siblings there.” Will says.
“I understand.” Clara says and Will lets out a long breath after hanging up.
Blue comes through still looking dazed. Will picks out some clean clothes for him and helps him to dress. Will is happy to take care of him but very worried. He isn’t surprised Blue isn’t coping, he has had far too much to contend with the last few months and this he is totally unprepared for.
“I’ve spoken to your mom. She is going to meet us in an hour with your siblings. She didn’t plan on having you see them today, she hoped to see you on your own. You don’t have to see them or if you don’t want to. I will be with you the whole time.” Will says.
“Lets get it over with.” Blue says.
“Yeah. We at least get to have ice-cream for lunch.” Will grins and Blue smiles.
“It’ll feel good for Lana to see what I’ve done without her input on my life.” Blue says.
“Exactly.” Will says glad that Blue is brightening up.
Will quickly messages all their friends to warn them the spawn are in town and that Lana is here.
Then takes Blue by the hand as they go to find Lana.
“You have an incredible garden. You get that from your mother. She was always growing things on the windowsill in college. Made our room smell wonderful.” Lana says.
“She has a beautiful garden at home and raised me in it.” Blue says realizing it is true and that along with cooking, gardening was a wonderful gift his mother gave him.
Blue can’t manage to speak the rest of the way in, and Lana falls silent too, she sits in the back looking at Blue the whole time. Will keeps an eye on her, very uneasy and confused as to what she might want and why she has chosen now to show up and what the hell Bea was thinking giving out
“Table for 6 please Saul, the other 3 will be along in a little while.” Will says.
“This place is cute.” Lana says.
“It is. Would you like coffee?” Will asks.
“You should try a sundae too.” Blue says.
“I would like that. I haven’t eaten since last night.” Lana says.
“Do you like marshmallows?” Blue asks.
“I do.” Lana says with a smile.
“The squidgy monster sundae is great, just ask for it without the blue.” Blue suggests with a small smile.
“Have you decided?” Saul asks.
“Coffee and can I have some melon a banana?” Will asks.
“Of course, you can come up to the counter and show me what fruit you want, we have good strawberries today.” Saul says.
“You do?” Blue asks.
“Andy brought them by this morning. They are incredible.” Saul says.
“Awesome.” Blue grins.
“Blue recommended the squidgy monster without the Blue if that means anything. And a hot tea please.” Lana says.
“That I can do. I recommend a strawberry and a caramel scoop as replacement for the blue.” Saul says.
“Sounds lovely.” Lana says. Blue looks at her surprised, she does seem so much more relaxed than in previous meetings.
“I’ll have an Ocean special.” Blue says and Will laughs and gets up to choose his fruit.
“I didn’t see Ocean special on the menu. What is it?” Lana asks.
“Banana milkshake and a banana split.” Blue grins like a little kid.
“Kit had a sweet tooth as a boy.” Lana says.
“He still does. He loved my cheesecake.” Blue says.
“Oh honey everyone loves your cheesecake. He has a line down the block when it goes on sale.” Saui says putting down the hot drinks.
“Thanks Saul, did you enjoy your leftovers?” Blue asks glad for the interruption.
“I have frozen it in pieces and we are saving it for special occasions.” Saul says.
“You don’t need to do that! I can make you another, any time.” Blue says with a smile.
“Do not tempt me. I’ll be right back with your milkshake.” Saul says and Will sits down and tucks in to his fruit.
“You are so friendly here. I guess being locals helps.” Lana says when Saul comes back with the milkshake and sundaes.
“Blue being my boss means I have to be nice but I try and treat everyone the same.” Saul says with a smile and goes to greet some new arrivals.
“Are you his boss?” Lana asks.
“I guess kind of.” Blue shrugs.
“Is this your ice-cream?” Lana asks after eating a spoonful.
“I might not have made that batch, I am not full time any more but both the flavors you have are mine.” Blue says.
“And this place?” Lana asks.
“Are you going to feed this back to Paul?” Blue asks.
“We’re not talking at all. Only through our lawyers. I am not talking to my parents either. Lana says.
“I am a part owner and I don’t believe you.” Blue says abruptly.
“Me neither.” Robin says, coming in and sitting next to Blue.
“Why are you here?” Blue asks.
“Will messaged us all that the spawn were here. I thought you might need some backup.” Robin says and Blue smiles a huge smile. Robin is still in there and has come through for him.
“Clara is on her way with the other two.” Will says happy that Blue has support but not sure about it being Robin.
“Ugh I did not want my new girlfriend meeting my ex just yet.” Robin says.
“New, what? When?” Blue asks.
“Ella, since Sunday. You always painted her as an idiot and she’s feisty as anything under that soft pretty exterior.” Robin says.
“I misjudged her and Nick. Well no, they were total and complete airheads when I met them. They have come a long, long way.” Blue says.
“Well we’re together and I like her a lot. She’ll be here for her shift soon.” Robin says.
“You better treat her right.” Blue says.
“What can I get you Robin?” Saul asks coolly.
“Coffee and a scoop of mixed berry please.” Robin says with a smile.
“What’s with you two?” Blue asks.
“I don’t know.” Robin shrugs.
“Are you worried about seeing Clara, after everything?” Will asks.
“Yes, very.” Lana says.
“She wrote to you every year. She kept lines open but you loved Paul and my mom’s money more than anything. More than the chance to see me, to have Chris and Bea know me. You should be worried.” Blue says and Lana shrinks in her chair.
“Blue come on she’s clearly hurting.” Will says.
“She deserves everything she gets.” Robin says.
“What happened to the boy so keen to impress his girlfriend’s parents?” Lana asks letting the wronged wife mask slip.
“He found out the girlfriend and her parents were psychos.” Robin says cheerfully and Will snorts, maybe Robin isn’t so bad.
Clara comes in with Chris and Bea behind her. Blue gets up to hug his mother. He is mad at her for bringing Chris and Bea to town but also deliriously happy that his mom wanted to see him on his birthday.
They shuffle round, Blue is sat between Robin and Clara on one side the table, Lana between Chris and Bea on the other and Will is at the end like the judge.
“What can I get you guys? Oh boy, wow.” Saul says looking from Chris to Blue and back again.
“Chris will have the Ocean special with extra caramel sauce, Momma and Bea will have hot chocolate and the bitter special, that is not a comment on you momma but you will love it I swear.” Blue says with a smile.
“This is your mom? So pleased to meet you, boss. I am Saul the new manager here.” Saul says with a grin shaking Clara’s hand.
“Call me Clara, these are my other children Bea and Chris.” Clara says.
“The resemblance is crazy. Is Blue’s suggestion okay?” Saul checks.
“Yes, yes.” Clara says.
“Oh can you put marshmallows on Chris’s sundae, the blueberry ones.” Blue says.
“Actually make that a side of those, if you have enough and some strawberries too, we saw them in the window coming in.” Clara says and Blue smiles.
“Blue replenished yesterday, he and Ollie have been experimenting.” Saul grins and goes off to fill the order.
“He seems perfect how did you find him?” Clara asks all business, ignoring the situation they are facing.
“He is the husband of Gervais boss. He was in the bakery when we were interviewing and offered to do it. He has worked in loads of hotels, restaurants and cruise ships in the past as a server and maître d. The customers all love him and he has built up a weekend team already.” Blue says.
“Good, that sounds good. This bitter special is it one of yours?” Clara asks.
“Collab between me and Heidi. I’ll let it be a surprise. I am certain you will both like it.” Blue says not at all sure why he ordered anything for his siblings.
“Here are the drinks and sides. I’ll be back with the Ice-cream. Ella is just in and she’ll bring more coffee in a moment.” Saul says with a grin.
“Banana milkshake. I should have guessed. How is Ocean?” Chris asks and Blue bristles, how dare Chris ask about Ocean?
“He’s doing great, really great.” Will says hoping Blue doesn’t combust.
“I guess I have a banana split coming. You got my order spot on. Twin instincts don’t die.” Chris says taking a good mouthful of milkshake.
Will looks at Chris curiously, he can’t work out how he can be so calm, Clara too. The pair seem totally oblivious to the pain they have caused Blue, the pain they are causing just being there.
Saul and Ella come back with the rest of the order and more coffee. Ella blushes when she sees Robin, making it clear she is happy to see him. Then looks at Bea and Chris and almost drops the coffee pot.
“Are you okay Blue?” Ella asks looking from Bea and Chris back to Blue.
“I’ll be fine, I have Will and Robin here.” Blue says.
“I’m right here if you need me.” Ella says hugging Blue from behind his chair and kissing his cheek, the turning and kissing Robin’s cheek too.
“Well your new girlfriend couldn’t be further from me.” Bea says breaking her silence.
“Yes, she’s totally sane.” Robin says with a big smile and Chris can’t help laughing.
“I’m working on it. Blue this is the most perfect dessert, thank-you.” Bea says, the first civil thing she has said to him in a long, long time. Blue is instantly on alert for a follow up asking for something.
“What is in it?” Lana asks.
“I think coffee cheesecake, dark chocolate coated cherries, vanilla ice-cream with bitter chocolate chips, coffee ice-cream and coffee chocolate pieces, a dark gingery crumb and some sort of cherry shards. All things I love made into a sundae with whipped cream. Just about the best birthday dessert I ever had.” Bea says looking pointedly at Lana.
“You might just be the triplet but he knows you too. Bro when is the silence going to end? We need to get back on track.” Chris says.
“Maybe when you two learn to apologize and stop being cunts.” Robin says.
Blue looks at Robin and laughs.
“Excuse us, sidebar.” Robin says getting up and pulling Blue outside.
“You just called my sister a cunt.” Blue says.
“Well I am so not sorry for that and I am very, very sorry for my own cuntery.” Robin says.
“About fucking time.” Blue says.
“Now is not the time, I have so much to say and I have wanted to but have been too stubborn. Also full disclosure I promised Ella I would patch things up with you. I would have apologized but maybe not for another month or so, you know how slow and stubborn I can be, she sped things up.” Robin says.
“But you are sorry and not just to get in Ella’s pants?” Blue asks.
“I am. I have been so jealous and as soon as something good happens I see what a dick I am. In some ways I knew I was doing the wrong thing but I just couldn’t stop myself.” Robin admits.
“I can understand having self-destructive moments. Hugs.” Blue says and the pair embrace.
“You need to be less forgiving.” Robin says.
“Not with you. We all kind of felt you were about to fleece us and I am sorry we thought that of you.” Blue says.
“Stop, I was jealous and feeling entitled to a share. You shouldn’t apologize.” Robin says looking down.
As they walk back to the parlor Bea comes out crying.
“What is it?” Blue asks instantly concerned, caught off guard.
“That bitch doesn’t believe what dad did. She’s not dumped him, he has dropped her, Chris knew he had a new girlfriend, called her on it and she blamed me and my lies.” Bea stutters out between sobs.
Neither Blue nor Robin is made of stone and they both hug her and try and wipe her tears.
“Come sit down.” Blue says gently and they take her to an outside table.
“You need to stop trying. You have Clara and she loves you, sure she might want to change you and she might argue with you but she does love you. Lana has always favored Chris and always blamed you for Chris’s shortcomings. I am not excusing how you have treated Blue or me for that matter but we both get why you are a nightmare!” Robin says gently.
“Why did you tell her where I lived?” Blue asks,
“I didn’t. You’re not so hard to track dawn since your cheesecake and soup is all over Instagram. I imagine asking in town would get an answer, I mean she doesn’t look like Chris or me.” Bea says.
“I swear I have never heard her tell the truth. But she knew you were here with momma.” Blue says shaking his head.
“Maybe Chris told Paul. Chris keeps tabs on him.” Bea says.
“Is Clara giving Lana what for?” Robin asks.
“No, Will is. You’ll need to be careful bro, Chris is in Iove.” Bea smiles through her tears.
“He has no chance.” Robin says and Blue smiles knowing it is true.
“Is Chris okay?” Blue asks.
“He has been loving working for the vet again but has been pretty down about Andy he was in tears all the way home, embarrassing him having a big ugly cry on the plane.” Bea says-
“And you, you’re working with Willow?” Blue asks.
“Yeah I am sharing the house down there with her and Birch, rather than be at momma’s house, Chris and I do a lot better when we’re not living together.” Bea says.
“And you’re in therapy and giving it a proper go?” Blue asks-
“Yeah, I am. I still wish you’d let us do the triplet study though- I am working on me with a therapist and Clara works on me and Chris having a relationship that is healthy but we need to work on all three of us, together.” Bea says.
“No.” Blue says gently and Bea nods accepting for now but not defeated.
“You know how Chris becomes human again after a few weeks with momma?” Bea asks.
“Kind of, we were friends once but he regresses and lashes out real fast, look how the pair of you treated Andy.” Blue says and Bea has enough conscience to blush.
Bea is about to continue when Lana comes out.
“I hope you are happy with yourself. Tearing my family apart over and over. You will pay for this Blue, you and that slut of a mother.” Lana shouts in Blue’s face.
“Shut up and go. You are nothing to Blue, less than nothing. He has never done anything to break up your family. He tried with you and his siblings but you all fed him lies and shit on him from a great height. You are the lowest of the low and I am glad you have nothing. You are lucky you are not in jail for child abuse.” Robin says calmly, standing up to Lana and not moving.
She flounces off.
“Thanks Robin.” Blue says.
“Yes thank-you.” Bea says looking at Robin gratefully.
“What were you going to say? About Chris?” Robin asks.
“I know you want us to stay away, as far as possible but momma is going to be based here, at least part the year I think Chris should transfer to school here. He has 2 years to go and could live see momma regularly and they would go up to the lake during school vacations.” Bea says.
“What about you?” Blue asks knowing it is inevitable and he has no options.
“I have to finish back at school and would go to the lake over winter break. I’ll apply for my masters in the city. Hopefully not at the school Chris ends up at.” Bea says.
“Isn’t it too late for Chris to transfer?” Blue asks.
“For next semester yes. Some of the schools are on the quarter system and so he might not have to wait a year.” Bea says and Blue nods.
‘Is this all decided? Has Clara bought a house already? Was she aiming to see Blue alone to soften him up?” Robin asks.
“I think you best ask her. Blue I meant it about that dessert, it was the best birthday cake I ever had, ever. No one ever made one for my tastes before, it was always for Chris. Even when we got separate cakes as little kids with our favorite characters on Chris would get to choose the filling. I know I sound ridiculous when I say it and I should let it go but you did a really nice thing and I appreciate it. Lana would have had no idea I love cherries and dark chocolate and she would never have thought I’d enjoy hot chocolate instead of coffee.” Bea says.
“I created it with momma in mind. I’m glad you liked it. I can’t stand you but you know I love it when people love my food.” Blue grins.
“The downside to living here would be getting so fat from coming to this place all the time.” Bea says as they walk back in.