“Where is Bea?” Chris asks.
“Outside with Andy, she didn’t think she should come in.” Cheryl says.
“I’ll go see her.” Chris says.
“Why are you here?” Blue asks.
“We came to get the rest of my things.” Cheryl says.
“Where will you go?” Blue asks.
“I’ve found an apartment in the city. It isn’t too far from the gym.” Cheryl says.
“You moved here so Ocean could be outdoors and you could have more time together. So why move back to an apartment, be working all hours in the deli and never seeing each other. Why spend all your money on rent and childcare? If you had an issue with living here, with how we treat Ocean, with noise or cleanliness or whatever you could have said and we would have worked on it, we would have tried to accommodate you. Hell you could have moved to Abby’s place for a while. You still could. Spence will still take Ocean to gym.” Blue says.
“I don’t see us staying here long term without the other businesses. It is very insulting being pushed out of the ice-cream business.” Cheryl says.
“You were paid as a consultant to get us up and running. You did that and moved on to the deli. I would never have wanted you to go but you are eyes and ears for her.” Blue says nodding at Clara.
“I owed Clara for helping me out with the café at home and getting the money for the deli. Keeping her up to date on you was a small price. And moving to the small holding together felt like a great idea. Most the year it would be just me and Ocean in the house as Clara will be at the lake or travelling.” Cheryl says.
“I feel like I did a lot for you too. Maybe you saw it as payback for what you did for me when I was in school but I thought we were all supporting you. I asked for advice with the business. You decided to come on board full time. I didn’t push for that, it was as much for you as for me. For you to betray me again. To bring Ocean in to it is such a kick in the teeth.” Blue says.
“I didn’t know you would be so against Clara’s plan. Her offer was very generous, for all of you and you are being very ungrateful.” Cheryl says.
“No I am not. She is stealing my dreams from me. She is trying to control the whole business buying in a bigger share. She is trying to control me forever more. She is using me to control Bea and Chris too. She has tried to drive the wedge between us, she has tried to put a wedge between Andy and Spence too. She has no idea that Spence would never, ever screw Andy over or leave him with nothing. Not ever. Spence is a far, far better guy than she gives him credit for. Just because he is different to us. I am done. I moved here to get away from everyone trying to control me and I am putting my foot down for the final time. Clara is never, ever welcome here. She is not in my life. Not ever. She just can’t handle not being in control of my life. I am done. Gervais is done. Andy is done.” Blue says.
“And I am done.” Bea says coming in with Andy and Chris.
“You don’t have to be.” Blue says.
“I do. I know you don’t trust me. But you believe in me. You, Andy, Spence, you all believe in me.” Bea says.
“I do too.” Chris says quietly.
“I won’t pay for school.” Clara says.
“I have my scholarship. We have enough for my living costs and Chris’s final 2 years and a year or 2 of grad school each. We’ll work it out. I love the lake but I can’t side with you any longer. I always thought you were the missing part of my life. Maybe you are but maybe it’s Blue. I can’t live on your terms. Every time you let up on one of us you put pressure on another. Blue and I have both cracked up and I don’t want to see Chris hit this kind of bottom.” Bea says quietly and firmly.
“You need more therapy.” Clara says.
“Yes I do. But I can access student counselling and if my next book sells well I can pay for someone. Willow will skype with me and I can put all my strategies in place and see how well I am doing. I can’t risk being around you, being dependent on you when I know you will drop me like you dropped Blue.” Bea says.
“I am here for you. We all are. Everyone wants to help.” Andy says quietly. He hates what this might mean for Katelyn but knows Bea and Chris have to do this.
“If Andy can forgive me for destroying his garden then I think I can make everything right with everyone. Helping with the vines and outside here should make up for that.” Bea says.
“That would be a start.” Andy smiles and Bea relaxes for a second.
Blue is terrified that he is now re sponsible for his siblings and isn’t sure that it is a better position to be in than under Clara’s thumb.
“Bea, Andy will take you to get your things.” Blue says and Bea nods.
“I won’t fight you for them.” Clara says.
“I don’t want them. I really don’t need this shit. They are rejecting you. After Lana and Paul you seemed like an awesome parent but they have realized you are not what they want. They have seen us struggle and they know I have done very little wrong in that time. They are both terrified of you, of your expectations. Bea can’t recover with you. Just leave and leave us alone. Cheryl I don’t know what to say. We can manage Ocean until you get settled if you need us to.” Blue says.
“I’ll call you later.” Cheryl says and Blue nods.
Blue grabs his phone and texts Andy, telling him to call Roe to ask her to ship Chris and Bea’s things to his place. He wonders why Roe didn’t call and warn him or Andy. Or even Birch. Blue shakes it off. There is only a few weeks of summer to go, he can find somewhere for Bea and Chris to live and then send them off to school and get on with his life.
“Blue you need to be careful of Arnold.” Clara says and leaves. Blue snorts. He knows Arnold wants control of the business and he knows Abby won’t let him take it. Blue and Heidi don’t want it, they both just want what they are due if the business is a success.
Blue sits and stares at the empty room, then looks up realizing Chris is still there.
“You are amazing. You found all the words Bea and I wanted to say.” Chris says.
“I’ve no time to babysit you two. Behave or fuck off back to school.” Blue says.
“We know the score. Will you forgive Cheryl?” Chris asks.
“I don’t know. I want to understand what happened. I want to share the success we’re having with the ice-cream with her but I can’t see how right now.” Blue says.
“Is there food? I had cake but we’ve not had lunch.” Chris says with a smile.
“Come on, about time you learned how to make pasta.” Blue grins and puts Chris to work.
“Ooo what smells so good?” Marsha asks coming in the door a short while later.
“Twins pasta.” Blue grins. Cooking always relaxes him.
“Oh wow, you are twins.” Marsha grins.
“We are, I am not a chef though.” Chris grins.
“Blue can we talk a little? I have just been talking with Cheryl. I met with Mike, Abby, Heidi and Arnold earlier.” Marsha asks.
“Sure. Sorry to bring stress and drama.” Blue says.
“No problem. I have said I am happy to remain a premium customer. I don’t need in on the business. I do want the same soup deal as I had for ice-cream. I want my exclusive flavors and to be the launch site.” Marsha says.
“Are you sure?” Blue asks.
“I am happy. Two delis, and hopefully a cooking school. I am happy to take on apprentices from Freddie’s school, help Heidi out with her venture. I don’t need or want more. I’m benefitting from the raised attention on the regional produce and my team is just keeping up.” Marsha says.
“What about Cheryl?” Blue asks.
“I spoke to her briefly and she agreed with me. Says she got swept up in everything but needs to step back or she’ll never see Ocean. She needs time for his home schooling, she needs to be there evenings and weekends. Maybe later we’ll come up with mass market chilled meals but now isn’t the time.” Marsha says.
“I hoped that was the case. I hope she stays a part of the ice-cream. Did Arnold tell you the news?” Blue asks.
“Yes he did. Congratulations, it is no surprise. The vegan stock still sells out within the day. Will your mom go quietly?” Marsha asks.
“I don’t know.” Blue says honestly.
“I didn’t know. I had no idea what Clara and Cheryl were planning. Cheryl never once mentioned not wanting to live here. Heck she didn’t mention breaking up with Mike either.” Marsha says.
“Want to join us for a bowl?” Blue asks.
“No I best get back. I just wanted to tell you in person.” Marsha says.
“All the more for me.” Andy says coming in with a grin, Bea looking exhausted close behind.
“I’ll let you guys eat. Actually, let me taste the sauce first. I want to know if I have a rival here.” Marsha laughs as Blue offers a spoon.
“So good.” Marsha says.
“This is just for home.” Blue grins.
“Good. Though I think mine is better.” Marsha smiles.
“It is. I am still working on it.” Blue winks.
“Andy I need these striped tomatoes in my life. Beautiful.” Marsha says.
“They are amazing. I’ll bring you down a sample box tomorrow, early. We’re putting the vines in tomorrow.” Andy smiles.
“Best of luck and I’d love a sample basket.” Marsha grins and Andy smiles.
“You guys are so slick with your sales.” Chris laughs.
“Shut up and serve up.” Blue grins and Chris nudges him. Andy smiles.
Andy has no idea how they have Chris back in their life but it feels okay. Like when George and Gervais made it back in. Dylan even.
“Did you get your things okay?” Blue asks.
“Yeah and good idea about Roe. She is so mad and is going to ship our stuff here no problem. Said she doesn’t even want paying for it.” Bea says.
“We need to find you somewhere to live. Chris what are you doing about school?” Blue asks.
“I think I should stay where I am. That way Bea has me around and I don’t need to explain my parental situation again. We’ll come here for breaks if we can.” Chris says.
“Same as the rest of us then. You’ll have an extra year down there though. Will it send you nuts?” Andy asks.
“Maybe. Risk I’ll have to take.” Chris says.
“I don’t mind if you transfer.” Bea says.
“I’m not leaving you now. I can make friends you know and I think it’ll be a good test for me.” Chris says.
“Are you going to live with us back at school?” Andy asks.
“We paid deposits for the dorms again.” Bea says.
“Momma is such a bitch.” Blue says.
“Both of them. One steals the other withholds. No wonder we’re all fucked up.” Bea says and they all laugh.
Spence, Gervais and Ocean are soon back. Blue takes Spence aside as Gervais sorts some food for Ocean.
“Did Cheryl call you?” Blue asks.
“She came down to the gym and told Ocean he could stay with us a few days if he wanted to. He said the chickens need him and he’s bored of hotels. He is super mad at Cheryl, never seen him like it.” Spence says.
“Oh well, no big deal to have him stay.” Blue says.
“No. Will is staying away again?” Spence asks.
“Yeah as it’ll be full on here and he has early therapy.” Blue sighs.
“But you two are okay?” Spence asks.
“Yeah, he’s worried about me, being apart right before you two go away sucks but we will make sure to spend Sunday together before you go.” Blue says.
“I made all my routines today.” Ocean says as Blue sits down.
“That is awesome. Banana dessert to celebrate?” Blue asks.
“Can you make banana custard?” Ocean asks.
“Yes I can.” Blue grins and Ocean cheers.
“Why are you so down?” Spence asks Gervais.
“That guy Norm, we had a lunch date and it did not go well. I’ll tell you later.” Gervais sighs.
“Bea you might as well take Cheryl’s room down here tonight. Chris ready to move to Robin’s place?” Blue asks.
“I should stay here as we’ll be starting early tomorrow.” Chris says and Blue knows he’ll never get rid of them. He’s not sure if he minds or not.
“If you are staying you have to do chores. I do the chickens.” Ocean says solemnly.
“I’m sure Blue will put us to work.” Bea smiles.
“You won’t fly off the handle?” Gervais asks wary.
“No. I am not that person anymore.” Bea says.
“Glad to hear it.” Spence says.
“You can have my room tonight Chris, I’ll go in with Blue, we need to chat anyway.” Gervais says.
“Thanks. Thanks to all of you for giving us yet another chance. We promise we won’t cause any more issues.” Chris says.
“Yeah we are human again now.” Bea smiles.
Blue smiles and watches Ocean who seems to accept everything.
That night Gervais comes in to Blue’s room and snuggles in with him.
“What went wrong?” Blue asks.
“We met for lunch and he got really full on about what he wanted to do to me. When I pointed out I wasn’t a submissive bottom he went nuts at me. He was really aggressive. When we walked out he tried to grab my arm and I was honestly worried he would attack me. He came in to the office to see Jeremy and he was rude to me the whole way there. Then I caught him fucking Brian in the bathroom.” Gervais says.
“Well you managed and didn’t panic. Weird that Jeremy and Saul would recommend a friend that I sso aggressive. He seemed so nice.” Blue says.
“I don’t blame them. If they’re not fucking him they wouldn’t know.” Gervais says.
“Will you tell Larry?” Blue asks.
“No. I’ll told Brian I would if he doesn’t.” Gervais says.
“You and your cute twink look. Never what people expect.” Blue says hugging his friend close.
“Will I ever find someone decent?” Gervais asks.
“Of course you will. You are so beautiful that you attract people with superficial tastes and genuine guys don’t try as you’re too pretty.” Blue says.
“Thanks Blue.” Gervais says and kisses Blue’s cheek. A minute later Ocean knocks and comes and climbs in with them.
“I like it when you are best friends. I don’t like it when you fight.” Ocean says.
“We don’t like it either.” Blue says.
“Will you make up with mommy?” Ocean asks.
“Yes of course. When lots of people live together like here there are fights and people say things they don’t mean. You and your mom need some space for just you. You haven’t had enough time together this summer and she misses you.” Blue says.
“And she took her anger out on Blue. They will make up and everything will be okay.” Gervais says.
Ocean sleeps deeply between his brothers, feeling much more secure.
The next two days are a hive of activity. Blue has no time to think about his family situation at all. The vines go in and Blue and Andy are delighted. They feel like things are finally happening. They are in business.
Cheryl collects Ocean on Saturday and takes him to Abby’s place. It is an arrangement everyone is okay with. Ocean plans to ride his bike to Blue’s to look after the chickens and Cheryl agrees it is a good idea.
On Sunday Blue and Will are enjoying a romantic walk in the woods. They have had a picnic lunch and are happy just walking hand in hand.
Blue’s phone rings.
“Blue come quickly. The parlor is on fire and your mom has been arrested.” Saul says.