Will hugs Blue tightly as they finally leave the parlor and Robin jumps in too. Chris can’t help himself and joins them making Bea smile. She knows how desperately her brother wants to be friends with Blue again. She also knows he has no clue how to get Blue on side and just expects it to happen.
Bea herself knows that the mountain between them is probably too high. Her single minded plan to become Clara’s daughter rode all over that and the magazine thing just pushed the gulf wider. She is more angry about the magazine issue than ever Chris knows. Their original agent pushed them to be more and more sensationalist about the story. The agent they have now, which Clara helped them vet told them what they already knew, that the basics of the story were shocking enough and the next book should help reset their image with the public, as it pushes the exploited by their parents and the media angle.
Robin approaches Bea slowly and then hugs her tightly. He liked her so much when they were together and she still had a handle on reality. He’s probably the only one of Blue’s friends who believes there is a human in there.
“Thanks Robin.” Bea says shyly.
“You have my number if you need to talk to someone who isn’t a total hippy. Willow and Birch are great but they are not entirely from the modern world.” Robin says.
“Why did you and Blue have to go outside in the first place?” Bea asks.
“He and I have been in a fight and I needed to apologize. Couldn’t rag on you guys for not doing so when I hadn’t.” Robin says.
“I know you’re dating Ella and I have been a nightmare but could we hang out some when we’re back at school?” Bea asks.
“That would be good. As long as you’re in sane mode and not crazy.” Robin says.
“That is exactly what Birch said. I miss Grant.” Bea says.
“Me too. We were really close once.” Robin says.
“He wanted to be closer.” Bea laughs.
“Yeah and I had a crush on Birch, which was so weird.” Robin laughs.
“When he was with Blue?” Bea asks.
“Yeah, it went away just as we left for Australia.” Robin says.
“That was the best time. Asia with Clara was amazing too.” Bea says.
“Why are you going straight to your masters and not taking time off to travel?” Robin asks.
“I want to be around Clara and Chris. If I’m lucky Blue too but I don’t hold out too much hope there. I think I might like to live up at the lake long term and teach up at the school. Blue and Deke are both super smart but had no real idea and no one to push them. Sure they were pretty self-motivated but a little guidance could have gone a long way. I think I do better away from people and I’d still have the summer to travel and with so few students I’d have time to write.” Bea says.
“That sounds a really good plan but you would get lonely. The retreat brings people but it will always be mostly women and you are straight. You have done awful things but I don’t think you deserve to be alone your whole life.” Robin says.
“The farms also bring men.” Bea grins.
“Drifters and illegals, but sure you might find a good-un. Andy’s mom found someone to run off with.” Robn laughs.
“I think Birch and Roe will bring more artists up. Birch will be living up there at least half the Year.” Bea says.
“Shame he’s not straight.” Robin says.
“I say that to him all the time. Surrounded by gay boys.” Bea laughs and looks over to Blue, Chris and Will.
“Do you think we could have dinner, just us 3? I should get to know Will.” Chris says.
“Does anything ever get into that head of yours? I have asked for space.” Blue says.
“But I can’t make things up to you if I can’t see you.” Chris says.
“Dude, you don’t get to set the pace. Blue needs some time to process and heal.” Will says.
“Just me, not Bea. We’re only here until Sunday. Please Blue. You have your bodyguard and you can
“We are putting the vines in this weekend. You can help with that and stay to dinner. Bea you two. We’re going all day Friday and Saturday.” Blue says.
“I would love to.” Bea smiles.
“You trust them?” Will whispers, pulling Blue aside.
“What can they get up to with Mike, Tad and Arnold around?” Blue asks with a smile.
“You’re ready to give them a chance?” Will asks.
“No. But I am human and I can see how broken Bea is and I expect Chris needs a break. I ought to check with Andy but he’s in such a good mood these days I expect he’ll be fine.” Blue says.
“Gervais will need gentler handling.” Will says.
“Yes he will. Momma is just coming out the bakery, let me go talk to her and see what her plans are. Could you bear a family dinner tonight?” Blue asks.
“I made reservations in the city but we can go another time.” Will says wishing Blue would be more cautious but knowing how forgiving he is, knows it is futile to try and damper him right now.
“I just don’t want to ask momma to choose who she spends the evening with. Our birthday must be a really tough time for her and I get why she showed up and why she couldn’t leave them behind.” Blue says and Will suddenly feels guilty. He had spent a lot of the morning wondering what the hell Clara was doing and had never once thought about how the date might affect her. How the birth of the kids marked the end of her relationship with two of them.
“Let me talk to your mom and see if she minds me coming to dinner with the three of you, then I’ll see if our table for two can be changed to one for 5.” Will says.
“Thanks Will.” Blue says and kisses him swiftly.
“Clara I need to apologize for being so rude before. I totally didn’t think about what today represents for you. I completely understand why you’re here. Lana too I suppose though I still wish she hadn’t come.” Will says.
“Well that makes two of us. That woman is a totally spoiled princess and has no idea what I did for her. She and Paul are all take, take, take and have no clue how to work for a living or raise decent human children. Whilst I don’t begrudge picking up the pieces, I love that I get to spend time with them both, I am so mad that they did this to them and I didn’t step in.” Clara says.
“You protected Blue. The more I learn of what happened the happier I am with your choice. I keep picturing summers of Blue being bullied relentlessly by those two for his clothes, food and interests. He wouldn’t be who he is today if he had their influence growing up.” Will says.
“Have you told him that?” Clara asks curiously.
“No. I try to remain supportive but not speculate, I don’t want to influence him.” Will says.
“You are by far the best partner I could wish for, for him.” Clara says.
“Thank-you. It isn’t one way, he is everything to me. Anyway I had a table booked for tonight, shall I change it to 5? It’s a Malaysian place that specializes in seafood so lots of choices for you guys.” Will asks.
“Make it for 6, I think Bea could do with Robin there.” Clara says.
“Robin is dating Ella. I don’t want to cause an issue. I can stay home if you want it to be just family.” Will says.
“Good grief no. I just don’t want Bea to feel like an outsider.” Clara says.
“I’ll go speak to Robin.” Will says.
“Thanks Will. Oh and the restaurant sounds perfect.” Clara say and Will smiles.
“Hey momma. I guess today wasn’t what you were expecting.” Blue says.
“Not at all. Are you holding up okay? Not about to run off?” Clara asks hugging Blue.
“No. I guess Lana gave us an enemy to unite against. Her continued treatment of Bea is frightening. I never knew someone who lied so much. We are all wondering how you were ever close enough to do what you did for her.” Blue says.
“That is a talk for another day.” Clara says.
“I have asked Chris and Bea to help with the vines on Friday and Saturday. Without sounding wanting to sound horribly sexist, we could do with you on iced tea and food duty if you can spare some time.” Blue says.
“I would love to help and I can be handy with a hose if needed.” Clara grins.
“Thanks momma.” Blue says and kisses his mother’s cheek.
“You are being very selfless letting your siblings back in to your life.” Clara says.
“Chris has worn me down already. A few days of them helping me out is a lot easier to handle than Chris constantly badgering me for the next couple of days.” Blue grins.
“He misses you. I think being single for a white he has noticed he misses having a connection to someone. He knows he needs to do some work to get over Andy before looking for a new boyfriend and so has become somewhat fixated on the connection the pair of you share. I know you find it hard to say mad at him, the way you can’t with Gervais.” Clara says.
“It is Bea who I’m more concerned about. She is so broken and not at all herself.” Blue says.
“She’s having a bumpy ride along the bottom. Some nights we debate and argue and she has her old fire back and others one wrong word and she’s in floods of tears. She needs a lot of attention, which is giving her what she always wanted, and I am a little uncomfortable with that. But I’m her mom and she needs me and I can finally be there for her.” Clara says.
“I know. Just don’t forget I need you too.” Blue says.
“Just let me talk to Will a moment.” Clara says.
“Sure.” Blue says and gives her another hug.
“I was thinking we ought to invite Gervais too tonight as it is almost his birthday and I count him as one of my own, which means we need Andy too which means Spence and we can hardly then leave Cheryl and Ocean out. Can you call the restaurant and see if they can put together a take out order for 15. I know how much Andy and Chris can eat. And we’ll collect it later. Here, take my card, no expense spared we will want the lobster options.” Clara says handing her card over.
“That sounds perfect, much more Blue’s style, he’s spoiled this will be his third party. But you need to warn Andy and Gervais.” Will says and gets on the phone.
“Three parties for a triplet sounds about right.” Clara laughs and calls Gervais and then Andy.
“Are you okay with this? Having them in the house?” Robin asks, concerned.
“Yeah I need to be an adult about it. They are my siblings, they are momma’s kids and have to suck it up. At least while they are being human.” Blue says.
“I think Bea is very sorry but doesn’t know how to apologize. Everything is overwhelming her right now.” Robin says.
“I think I need to do what I can to make things easier for her right now. I’m not saying should forgo an apology or go out my way to be nice, but I need to be one less thing she is stressed about.” Blue says.
“Yeah. I think that sounds like the perfect attitude. You are such a great guy, none of us deserve you.” Robin says.
“Ah you were the first friend who was truly there for me. Who listened to my stupid problems and didn’t laugh at me. You accepted me no question when I came out. It was my dislike of pizza that caused more issues than my liking for dick.” Blue laughs.
“I’ll never forget you trying to pretend you liked pizza and your reaction to me suggesting McDonalds.” Robin laughs.
“I’d like us to get back to that.” Blue grins.
“It was good wasn’t it, climbing club. And climbing and clubbing. I miss watching you dance night, you loved it. You are a bit boring with Will.” Robin says.
“We’ll still be early twenties when Will retires again and can do those things. Plus we are going out for Gervais birthday.” Blue says.
“We are and we will be wild. Spence will no doubt get us bottle service.” Robin grins.
“Yeah it’ll be a big night, and it’ll be like celebrating all our birthdays.” Blue says.
“Greedy, this is your third party tonight.” Robin laughs.
“Wish I’d be here for Gervais birthday. Sounds like the night out I need. I love, love living at the lake and working with the vet but I really need to let loose too.” Chris says.
“Don’t look at me. No way would I ask you to stay longer or invite you to Gervais, your ex remember, birthday.” Blue says and rather than be offended Chris bursts out laughing.
“I really don’t know when to stop pushing do l? You know cutting mom off today felt good, the last loose end of my old life. Momma is my only mom now, I don’t have a dad, I have 2 great siblings and I’m ready to live this life. I love that you and momma have high expectations of me. That you don’t let me get away with playing dumb or give me money to shut me up. I’m not going to be a lazy gold digger anymore. I’m probably not as smart as you and Bea but I’m not as dumb as I believed.” Chris says.
“You’re not dumb at all. You picked things up so fast when we studied together. I guess getting the money from your dad helped. Have your aunts or cousins been in touch at all?” Blue asks.
“No. Hurts Bea more than me. When she’s better I expect she’ll confront them but I don’t see the need. Getting the money, and Clara taking it away, or rather helping me be tax efficient with it makes me feel a lot more settled for sure. It isn’t a huge amount but it is enough to get started and I’m going to be a vet in the country and live with momma, I’m not going to be living the flash life I used to crave. I love animals a whole lot more than clubs and clothes.” Chris says.
“When you are like this, I can see why Andy dated you.” Blue says and Chris immediately tenses up.
“He’s really happy with Spence. Those two were always right for each other.” Robin says gently.
“I know and I know I messed it up turning back into the old me. I miss him and I miss the dream we had.” Chris says.
“I can’t believe I’m saying this but talk to Gervais. He is going through similar things right now.” Blue says.
“He might not want to but he understands more than anyone.” Robin nods.
“Might be really good for both of you.” Blue says.
“On the plus side there are a bunch of gay and bi farm boys around here, most are taken right now but that could well change by the time you get here for school.” Robin says,
“I do not want my brother dating any more of my friends it is so weird.” Blue grins.
“You know it is inevitable. We like the same men. Will is amazing and I am so mad you got to him first.” Chris grins.
“Don’t even think about it.” Blue says.
“I know I have no chance. But he’s just further proof of our similarities. You can’t escape it however much you push me away.” Chris grins.
“Ahh little bro, it is just you wanting to emulate your big brother. I always get there first.” Blue grins and Chris laughs and feels happy that down the road, as long as he doesn’t fuck up again he will have his twin back.
“All sorted a mega feast will be on its way, they are happy to deliver.” Will says with a smile.
“And Gervais and Andy are wary but will cope. They have both been worried since Will’s message and want Blue to check his texts.” Clara laughs.
“I don’t think I even picked up my phone when we came out.” Blue says.
“Use mine.” Will says handing it over.
“Oh god he really is perfect. No secrets in his phone.” Chris swoons and Blue slaps him round the head, which makes Chris grin.
“If you two had grown up together you’d have been amazing wrestlers.” Robin says.
“Are you all full from ice-cream or do we need something to tide you over until tonight?” Clara asks.
“Momma.” Chris says giving Clara a look.
“I’ll be in the bakery. Will you can head on home with Blue. We’ll catch you up.” Clara says.
“I best put in an afternoons work. Bea will you be okay?” Robin asks quietly.
“I think so. Blue has a beautiful property that I can explore.” Bea says.
Blue and Will lie out in the hammock and Andy comes down to check on them.
“Are you okay with Chris being here?” Blue asks.
“I am over it, so, so over it. But if he starts on you or Clara then my foot will be firmly implanted in his ass.” Andy grins.
“Not if I get there first.” Will says.
“Hey you need those feet to make my husband famous.” Andy says and Will laughs.
“You feel already married?” Blue asks.
“Kind of. I think it’ll be real when we get Abby’s place. She is being amazing about waiting on the sale of the beach house before we pay her for it and Tad is doing great working the land and putting our plans in place. I’m just so happy.” Andy says with a smile and the pair can’t help but smile back.
“So happy for you.” Blue says.
“I’m going back in the tunnels. Feel free to stop being lazy and help any time.” Andy grins.
“You’re doing a fine job.” Blue grins.
“Hey guys.” Gervais says dropping his work bag and slumping in a chair.
“How come you’re home?” Blue asks.
“Jeremy found me stressing out and told me to go home. I didn’t argue.” Gervais says.
“He’s a good boss, you could do worse than working there. Are you okay with them coming for dinner?” Blue asks.
“If you are. I’m more worried about you and Clara.” Gervais says.
“It isn’t what I want but they are being on best behavior.” Blue says.
“Do you trust them when they’re being good?” Gervais asks.
“No, I’ll never be able to trust them but I do have a much better handle on when they are being truthful. Chris just plain can’t lie to me anymore, and I can’t to him, an hour together and the twin thing returns in full force. It’s weird.” Blue says.
“And Bea couldn’t hurt a flea right now unless she is being one hill of an actress. She is one broken woman.” Will says.
“She isn’t the Bea who tore down Andy’s garden that is for sure.” Blue says.
“I worry more about seeing her than Chris really.” Gervais says.
“This might be way, way over the line but Chris could really do with talking to you. You are going through similar emotions right now. He’s having a hard time letting go of the dream he and Andy shared.” Blue says.
“Over the line and totally weird but might be good for both of us. We had a good relationship once upon a time, it was totally screwed up but I still believe we had something genuine at the core.” Gervais says.
“It is so weird. I can’t imagine the two of you together.” Will says.
“I can’t now. It was a weird time for me, after my dad. I’d thrown Blue away, spent the summer with a married man and had a total breakdown. I wasn’t my best self when it started.” Gervais says.
“We were both a huge mess. Wanting to be together despite what had happened between us but not wanting to admit it and using Chris and George as shields.” Blue says.
“I guess. I wanted us back so badly but knew it was the wrong thing for you, taking your choice away twice.” Gervais says.
“Well I thank you for your supreme stupidity.” Will laughs and Gervais and Blue snap out of their funky mood.
Clara, Chris and Bea arrived laden with the remains of the bakery stock and half the new deli.
“Uh I made a huge order for later.” Will laughs.
“Go and get Andy, I’m sure he’s starving. Hello Gervais, you’re looking very well.” Clara says.
Blue goes to get Andy back.
“Come to help?” Andy asks.
“Momma has food.” Blue says,
“Oh, I am so easily won over.” Andy grins and comes down and cleans up as the others unpack the feast.
“Seriously we have lobster coming in a couple of hours.” Will laughs as Chris and Will seem to enter an eating competition.
“Once I met Blue and found out we gain muscle pretty easily, I have been letting myself eat, I look amazing and I am less cranky.” Chris says.
“That is very true. Though I think it was Blue’s cooking that awakened you appetite.” Bea laughs.
“That is also true. That first Sunday dinner cheesecake,” Chris says.
“I know, right. Blue would casually pass round a box of cookies and I’d have to sit on my hands to stop myself grabbing handfuls.” Andy says.
“You’d stuff three in your mouth at once and deny it and take three more.” Gervais grins and Andy grins.
“Well Blue gets a full day off from cooking today.” Clara says.
“I love to bake. I love making the bits for the ice-cream. Did you like the marshmallows?” Blue asks.
“Bro, the blueberry ones were unreal. Way too good for little kids.” Chris says.
“I loved the coffee chocolate beans on my sundae.” Bea says.
“Those are Heidi’s creations. She is an artist with chocolate.” Blue says.
“It seemed to be doing well. Lots of people came in while we were there, good for a Wednesday morning.” Clara says.
“Saul wants us to put some salad options on, so the school run moms will come in more. I am pushing for him to use the deli for it but he thinks it should be in house, from my garden where possible.” Blue says.
“Like a slaw, beets, something green and a tomato salad? Sounds like a good idea and you should jump on it.” Clara says.
“I have a million projects to deal with.” Blue says.
“Can Saul do the prep in house? I am happy to take down what he needs and you can order bread from Heidi to go with it. Or we could make flatbreads.” Andy says.
“Fine until you go home. It isn’t even like school is in session right now.” Blue says.
“You are so stubborn on every idea anyone has.” Clara says annoyed.
“Come on no more work talk today. Blue has given himself a day off.” Will says.
“I did, sorry. I’m all work these days and don’t have much else to talk about. I am boring.” Blue sighs.
“How is training going?” Clara asks.
“Better. I am not at full strength, not by a long way but I’m getting there. My shoulder is fine but my knee isn’t yet, part of that is psychological, not wanting to put weight on it. we’ll see after camp and nationals if I do an event or two.” Will says.
“How did you do it Blue? How did you land a superstar athlete?” Chris asks.
“I walked into Cheryl’s café and there he was.” Blue says.
“He came to my meet in the city here and I knew I couldn’t ever let him go. I feel like I landed him, not the other way around.” Will says.
“All the feels. I totally want what you two have.” Chris says.
“Me too.” Gervais says with a sad smile.
Spence and Ocean arrive back and Blue watches Ocean’s reaction to Bea and Chris closely, knowing his young friend can easily tell if their intentions are good or bad.
“Hello Chris, Hello Bea, Happy birthday.” Ocean says kissing them each on the cheek before coming over to Blue and climbing in his lap and getting a cuddle before filling Blue’s plate back up and eating as much as he can.
“We have dinner coming soon.” Blue says.
“I am starving. I promise, I will eat two dinners. Gymnastics makes me so hungry sometimes.” Ocean says.
“Did you work hard?” Will asks.
“I always work hard.” Ocean says rolling his eyes.
“He did a good job, we missed you. Oooh these look good, can’t believe Andy left any.” Spence says scooping up a ginger cupcake.
“I was saving it.” Andy grumbles.
“Oh well, too late. Shall we do gifts now?” Spence asks.
“We should wait for Robin and Cheryl. Or tomorrow, it’s a bit rude to do it with Bea and Chris here.” Blue says.
“Robin?” Spence asks.
“We made up. He had my back when Lana appeared.” Blue says.
“I have a few gifts for Bea and Chris. Seeing Blue get more than they do will be a good test for them.” Clara says.
“Just a big reminder we have no friends. Bea says.
“I bet Willow and Birch have got you something.” Blue says kindly.
“I know Katelyn is planning to do your nails.” Andy says.
“She is? Your sister is so nice, even after I was so grotty to her when we first met.” Bea says.
“I am going to take a nap outdoors before dinner. Coming Gervais?” Ocean asks.
“Put your kit in the laundry before your nap buddy.” Blue says and nuzzles Ocean once more before he wriggles down.
“I am going to take a walk. Coming Chris?” Gervais asks and Chris jumps up.
“So Blue figures we have the same issue. This is never going to be our home with Blue or Andy. They are with the right people and it hurts so bad.” Gervais says.
“Yeah. I barely remembered what Andy and Spence were like together but seeing them today, they’re a total unit. Blue and Will too. I always thought you and Blue would get there, I can see you two here living that dream. Sorry that was insensitive.” Chris says.
“We both messed up and they deserve better but it hurts. I moved out for a bit but I missed him. It isn’t like I want him to wake up and see me and dump Will. It is just hard for me, to see me with anyone else.” Gervais says.
“You want him happy but you can’t see a way for you to be happy without him. That is how I am. But I doubt we’ll ever have the friendship you have with Blue.” Chris says.
“That’s it. I am friends with Blue because I can’t not be. But being just friends is killing me.” Gervais says.
“Yeah I think it might be easier to have Andy hate me.” Chris grins.
“How weird was it that Lana showed up?” Gervais asks.
“I should have known when she asked me what I was doing for my birthday. I’ve always excused her for being under dads control but she wasn’t. Today was good, she showed me exactly who she is and letting her go from my life was easy. Clara is tough but for me it has always been a good tough and she always follows through, even when it means I make big mistakes.” Chris says.
“She sets you up to fail sometimes and has been beyond awful to Blue. But I am glad she’s in my life.” Gervais says.
“Somehow I feel like I have a family now, even though I only have one parent.” Chris says.
“Why did you lie about Blue in the magazine?” Gervais asks.
“We were pushed to be more and more sensationalist. They clearly wanted the narrative of Blue being the spoiled rich kid and us being the unlucky pair. I got swept up in embellishing everything.” Chris says.
“It was the shittiest thing you’ve done. You know you need to apologize over and over. He needs to hear it. Show him too. I did so many little things to win his friendship back. Little personal things are what mean the most to him.” Gervais says.
“I’ll keep that in mind. I need him in my life. I rejected him when we first met and now well if I had the choice between having Blue back as my twin and Andy as my boyfriend I’d choose Blue.” Chris says.
“Tell him that. Honestly, tell him that.” Gervais says.