“You look cheerful.” Blue says to a whistling Ollie as he arrives at the bakery.
“I stayed over with Tad last night.” Ollie beams.
“Is he your boyfriend?” Freddie asks excited.
“Yes he is.” Ollie says blushing.
“That is so cool. Tad is really cool. Does he play football with you?” Freddie asks, he has an obsession with sports stats which peaked when Tad was a player.
“He could probably use me as the football. He actually suggested we have a game with the kids some time, Ocean and Wilson’s kids too. You could come Freddie and bring your friends.” Ollie says.
“Really? I cannot catch a ball at all. Can I be the referee?” Freddie asks.
“That sounds like a good idea. You need to teach me the rules. we had no team sports at my high school.” Blue says.
“Wow. Did you have to run laps every PE?” Freddie asks.
“Mostly I did yoga. Have you tried yoga Freddie?” Blue asks.
“We did some stretching at school.” Freddie says.
“Would you and your friends like a class? I teach Abby and Gladys and their friends, we have some moves for those in wheelchairs or limited mobility.” Blue says.
“I don’t know. Do we have to wear funny tight clothes? I do not like tight clothes.” Freddie says.
“You can wear loose clothes or stretchy clothes. You cannot wear jeans or clothes that make it hard to move.” Blue says.
“I will ask my mom.” Freddie says.
I” think it sounds like a great idea. Even if it isn’t every week. Are you going to run a general beginners class?” Heidi asks.
“I have a few private clients right now, for money. I would love to do more classes. I had plans to and they fell through and I have so much on it is hard to commit to a set day but I am thinking I could take a whole day for yoga and add some early morning advanced classes. Especially as I don’t have Ocean with me in the mornings now.” Blue says.
“What day?” Freddie asks.
“Thursday. I already teach on Thursdays.” Blue says.
“I like the idea.” Freddie says after giving it some consideration.
“Me too. I want a body like Gervais and Robin.” Ollie says.
“Well Robin has his from cheer and Gervais does cheer and yoga but his body was pretty amazing before he started.” Blue says.
“Quite a difference between Will and Gervais.” Ollie says,
“Only in muscle size. They are similar height wise.” Blue says.
“Will seems taller than he is.” Heidi says.
“Will is amazing.” Freddie says.
“You think?” Blue asks.
“Yes he had the highest difficulty score of college gymnasts before he retired. He was gymnast of the week for his conference more times than anybody else, ever.” Freddie says.
“I didn’t know you liked gymnastics.” Ollie says.
“I like all the numbers.” Freddie says simply.
“Blue that looks amazing. Is that coffee and caramel?” Heidi asks.
“Yeah. The downside to the upswing in popularity of our suppliers is not being able to get the best seasonal fruit. I guess we’re getting a lot of it at the factory.” Blue says.
“Yeah I am using frozen blueberries and raspberries for the muffins.” Heidi says.
“Let me call Andy and tell him to bring down all that we have. I know this cheesecake will sell but we need to have something seasonal too.” Blue says.
“That is a great idea. Ask him for tomatoes and greens too. I will pay proper rates.” Heidi says and Andy and Bea arrive an hour later with three large boxes.
“We have beautiful scallions I thought would work for soup garnish. And all of these. The plums are just ripening, we’ll have more soon. Amazing fruit trees we uncovered over winter break and we’re being rewarded.” Andy says.
“I call dibs on the plums. I have a cake I want to do.” Ollie says.
“Can you supply us for the rest of the summer? We can use almost anything, which is what we’re famous for. But we’re not even getting our staples through properly right now.” Heidi says.
“Are you having issues on more than berries? I did wonder when I opened the refrigerator.” Blue asks.
“Yeah my orders are just not coming in for fresh stuff. We’re find on the bread side. But butter we’re struggling again and all the salads, fruit and vegetables. I’ve been reaching out to other farms and going to markets some weeks which is fine. I just wish they’d tell me up front that it isn’t coming, not pretend it is.” Heidi says.
“Sounds weird. I thought everyone loved supplying here, it is quite competitive. Well I want to see my name all over that board.” Andy grin and Blue coughs.
“Okay Blue too. Given he has actually done most the work.” Andy laughs.
“It is fine. I want Andy up there. We need to come up with a farm name though.” Blue says.
“Blue Drew.” Bea says quietly.
“Ooooh love that.” Andy says with a big grin.
“Do you two want coffee before you get back? Cinnamon rolls are just being frosted.” Heidi says.
“Like I would ever turn that down.” Andy grins.
“I can make the coffee. Do you guys need some too?” Bea asks.
“Not for me I do not drink coffee. Are you Blue’s sister?” Freddie asks.
“Yes I am. We are triplets.” Bea says.
“Wow. I never met a triplet before. That is so cool.” Freddie says and Blue grins.
“You’ve met me lots of times.” Blue laughs.
“But you didn’t tell me.” Freddie says and Blue marvels about how relaxed Freddie is now around them all and isn’t shying away from new people. Though he doesn’t let up from his baking routine while talking.
“Blue likes to pretend I don’t exist. To be fair we didn’t meet until we were 19.” Bea says.
“But you met in utero.” Freddie says.
”I guess we did. We just forgot for a long time. Bea a coffee would be great. Thanks for helping, I know it is early.” Blue says.
“I got up to see Chris off to the city. Gervais has driven him in.” Bea says.
“That’s good. Are you helping Andy for the day?” Blue asks.
“I’d really like to see Katelyn and Roe but I don’t want to risk seeing momma right now.” Bea says.
“I totally understand. I am so tense waiting for her to show up.” Blue says,
“I’ll go do coffee, maybe you can take a break so we can chat.” Bea says.
“Sure.” Blue says, he finds it very hard to say no to this new quiet Bea. He is very aware that Clara might have talked Bea into spying like she did to Cheryl and so will be very cautious with what he says to her. Chris is more of an open book and he’s less worried about him.
Blue, Heidi and Ollie sort out the produce and discuss options. Andy has brought over great stuff and Blue is excited to be using it. He knows the deli is taking items too and it makes him feel like things are happening.
“So weird that no one is filling your orders. I thought everyone loved this place. We should be able to divert the parlor fruit deliveries to here.” Blue says.
“That is true. Can you sort that as we can sell it, especially with the parlor out of action? I’ll talk to Arnold about upping the milk order and getting milkshakes back on the menu too.” Heidi says. Yeah I will call Ella now.” Blue says and does.
“It all seems a bit mad, can I help anywhere? I was going to ask to work in the parlor but I can’t now. I can make coffee if Heidi needs someone. I’d like to do something.” Bea says.
“I imagine Heidi would love the help. Though we might have to take some of the parlor staff on for a while.” Blue says.
“Bea I would love you here. Lets get the public perception of you reset quick smart.” Heidi says coming in.
“Are you sure?” Blue asks.
“Yes I am. She knows how to make coffee and she is really pretty. Stay here this morning as Saul and Cheryl will be in to talk staffing plans later.” Heidi says.
“Thanks.” Bea says blushing.
“Not like you to want to do something.” Blue says bluntly.
“I have buns.” Andy says coming through with a plate piled high.
“You should leave some for the customers.” Blue laughs.
“He can have whatever he wants, he’s got us out a hole.” Heidi says.
“Did you want to open today?” Blue laughs.
“Never, ever underestimate Andy’s appetite.” Bea grins.
“Oh I know. I’ve seen him have a soup lunch and go to the parlor for dessert and come back again for more.” Heidi laughs.
“I am a growing boy.” Andy grins. He is looking altogether healthier than a few months ago, his face has filled back out and softened, he is tanned from being outdoors and his muscles are growing. Spence no longer gets the ‘what are you doing with him’ looks from the shallow. Andy is legitimately hot and has absolutely no idea. He and Spence are a stunning pair.
Claud raps on the window as they are talking, it is close to opening time and a line is forming outside. Heidi holds the door to let him in.
“I have a few excess crates of summer squash. It has been selling well but I just have too much and it needs using.” Claud says.
“That is great but I wish you’d fill my regular order too.” Heidi says.
“What do you mean? You’re my favorite customer, I always make sure you get extra as you are happy with wonky shapes.” Claud says confused.
“I’ve had nothing from anyone for a couple of weeks. I call and ask where it is, all your people say it is out for delivery, nothing comes or I get a box of rubbish I can’t accept. We’ve been using all we have frozen and what Blue has preserved and I’m buying retail. It isn’t just you. Have you all taken on a rogue driver?” Heidi asks.
“Heidi I will go back to delivering your order personally and chase up what has happened. Do you want the squash?” Claud asks.
“Yes please. I am sure we’re all imagining Blue’s summer soups right now.” Heidi grins and the others laugh.
“I best get back. Claud you need me tomorrow?” Andy asks.
“Yes please. I have some great stuff right now. I’ll pick you up at 5.30.” Claud says.
“Okay.” Andy says cheerfully.
“Bea you might as well stay for the shift. Looks like my usual opener isn’t in.” Heidi says shaking her head and checking her phone.
“Perfect I’ll drop you home later. I guess Ollie and I need to get on with this soup?” Blue smiles.
“Yeah do you have all you need?” Heidi asks.
“Could you keep some sourdough back for it? It needs tasty croutons.” Blue says.
“Sure tell Freddie what you need and he’ll put it aside.” Heidi says and starts to show Bea around.
Blue and Ollie work diligently and have a pan chilled and ready for lunch time. The bakery has been buzzing all morning as the parlor is not taking any of the coffee trade and Mondays are known for being cinnamon bun day.
Lunch is has a slow start then suddenly the place is packed and despite having 3 soups not 2 on offer it all sells out. Blue feels great, it has been a while since he and Ollie stayed so long and they have missed the buzz of the place and reward of hearing their food enjoyed.
“I can’t wait until the restaurant is running.” Ollie says with a smile.
“I thought you were going to stick with production and developing new recipes.” Blue says.
“I want both, just like you.” Ollie grins.
“I am excited for the restaurant too. I have been working on dinner rolls for you and Heidi is teaching me how to make croissants. It is really hard. We had to take a break as we can’t get enough butter. But when you have a restaurant I will make your bread.” Freddie says as if it is a done deal.
“I bet you will.” Blue grins.
“I have to go home for my nap now. See you soon.” Freddie says and heads out the door.
“He’s doing amazingly.” Blue says.
“Confidence. Having a skill and friends is helping. He has practiced social situations for years and years but mostly only been around family or other kids like him. Now he is here and he has other friends working here during the week who are in awe of what he can do. It has been life changing for him and his mom.” Ollie says.
“She still working with Robin?” Blue asks.
“Yeah, she sometimes comes in here to work or from home. She loves being useful outside her family. I bet she and her friends would love a yoga class with you. I shouldn’t be distracting you from food but I bet they would love something to help de-stress.” Ollie says.
“I’ll ask her when is best.” Blue says.
As things calm down Ollie heads off to see Tad at Abby’s farm and Blue grabs a coffee and a sit down with Heidi. Saul, Ella and Cheryl soon join them,
They talk through all their ideas for the parties, running an ice-cream stand and how to utilize at least the best staff if not all of them.
Marsha come in just as they are finishing up.
“Heidi I am so sorry. We’ve been getting your produce orders. Somewhere along the line the news of us combining our buying must have spread and it has all come to me. I’ve been sending back what isn’t on my invoice and I don’t know why it hasn’t come to you. I wondered why I had so much butter, I thought new minimum buys were coming.” Marsha says.
“That is so weird, why would all the farms do that? If it happens again just call and I’ll come and get my things.” Heidi says shaking her head.
“Normally I’d think it was an honest mix up but given the fire it feels like deliberate sabotages” Bea says.
“Agreed.” Blue says looking at his sister knowing it feels a lot more like a Clara trick than a Lana one
“I am sure it isn’t anything sinister.” Cheryl says, her eyes suggesting otherwise.
“At least I know I’m not a pariah.” Heidi grins.
“Freddie will be happy when you can get back to teaching him croissants.” Blue smiles trying to make light of things.
“Blue is there formal ordering from you and Andy? The salad greens were amazing.” Marsha says.
“Not really, we can’t guarantee yields or anything so we’re quite informal right now, getting samples out this summer to gauge interest for next. Just call him up and say what you want. Or on days when he doesn’t have markets we might bring the best we have down so you can both buy direct.” Blue says.
“That sounds good. We don’t want to annoy any of the farmers but you boys are growing terrific stuff. I miss it already.” Cheryl says.
“You need to get Tad to drop off some of whatever he is harvesting. Or come to dinner.” Blue grins.
“Once Clara is gone. Blue are you going home now? Can I come round now?” Cheryl asks.
“Sure and I’ll message Gervais and ask him to bring Ocean to the house.” Blue says getting up.
“Am I okay to go?” Bea asks.
“Of course. Thanks for all your help. Can you open tomorrow too?” Heidi asks.
“Sure.” Bea says with a small smile.
“Blue hold up a minute.” Saul says outside.
“What is it?” Blue asks.
“Just a heads up. Jeremy guessed it was Brian and fired him this morning. Gervais might be feeling a bit down.” Saul says.
“Thanks. And wow that Jeremy would fire someone good but keep on all the eye candy.” Blue says.
“Just don’t.” Saul says clearly it has been an issue.
“See you tomorrow. Come up any time to Arnolds. It would be good to get your opinion on our potential new lines.” Blue says.
“I’ll do that.” Saul smiles.
“So we didn’t get to finish our conversation earlier. What is going on?” Blue asks Bea as they get in the car.
“You suggested I get a job but didn’t dictate. I am much better at doing things off my own back. I like the bakery, I like Heidi and Freddie. I do need to be working and this is better than working outdoors with Andy. Also I guess if I do come here to do my masters then I will need a job and having a local reference will help.” Bea says.
“Are you here because you are mad at mom or are you here to spy for her?” Blue asks.
“I am here because I can’t see my life working without you and Chris. I chose you two over Clara as even though I know that Chris has messed me up in the past, he only did what my parents let him get away with. Clara is messing with us all and it warps my perception of reality. You don’t do that, you’ve never done that and you are the only one who welcomed me as I was. I may have lied to you over and over but you have always given the truth back, even when you were sinking. Even right now, I’m a mess and you are still checking if I am for real.” Bea says.
“So my idiot behavior accepting you as you pretended to be has me stuck with you for good?” Blue asks good naturedly.
“Yeah, you and Robin pass all tests with flying colors.” Bea laughs.
“Look I’m not going to trust you. Not for a long while.” Blue says.
“I know. I totally deserve it after the magazine stuff and everything with momma.” Bea says.
“But I respect that you are making an effort and I won’t hinder your recovery.” Blue says.
“Thanks. I’m actually feeling really good. Having some distance from momma and seeing you coping with everything right now is really helping. I have no idea how long you’ll be able to hold it together given everything that is going on but I am here for you. I won’t ever be your first choice but I am here.” Bea says.
“Thanks. I pretty much lost it at the airport yesterday. I miss Will like crazy. If it looks like I’m doing too much don’t try and stop me. I am just trying to stop myself dwelling on him being away.” Blue says.
“Well we need to make something fancy for dinner then.” Bea grins and they go inside.