“Be gentle.” The lawyer says as Gervais finishes his rant.
“I think everyone has been gentle with Lana for more than twenty years. Yes it sucks that she lost her fertility so young, she had two kids and still would if she didn’t prioritize her husband over her daughter. At some point we all have to hold Lana accountable for her choices. She doesn’t even know for sure that Paul did this.” Gervais says.
“Is that true?” The lawyer asks.
“I know he did it.” Lana says.
“Did he tell you he did it? Do you have proof?” The lawyer asks.
“No, he won’t talk to me at all.” Lana says.
“But it could have been Jett working alone. Using your name to throw everyone off.” Gervais says and Lana goes white.
“Are you ready to retract your statement and tell the truth?” The lawyer asks.
“I don’t know. How did that Jett know my name?” Lana asks.
“Because your kids plastered your story all over the media and Jett worked for his school paper and paid special interest in the story. But aside from all of that Bea really, really needs her mom right now. Don’t fuck her over again. My mom didn’t get the chance to be a parent to me and you throwing everything away is so wasteful, so disgusting. Especially given everything you put Clara through to get your kids.” Gervais says and leaves the room.
Bea hugs Gervais as he comes out wiping away a tear and Robin joins in.
“Give the lawyer a few minutes and then go in. I’ve planted a few seeds, most importantly that you need your mom and that maybe Jett acted alone, maybe it wasn’t Paul at all. Also I suggested you and Chris would be unsafe if she is inside and Paul isn’t. She didn’t take that on board. Be honest with her, tell her you love her and she’s suffered enough.” Gervais says and Bea nods.
“Also see what you can do to reverse your stance that you never felt part of the family. You two had a strong bond once, do what you can to find it again.” Robin says and Bea smiles.
“Yeah I planned to tell her that being apart makes me even more incomplete, that Blue was the missing piece for all of us not Clara. Which means that what you said about the risk to us being there if the real culprit doesn’t go to jail all the more meaningful. If it hadn’t been your birthday Blue would have been in the factory when the fire started.” Bea says and Gervais nods.
“If you feel uncomfortable or she lays into you get out.” Robin says hugging Bea.
The lawyer comes out and waves Bea inside.
“I miss you mom. I really thought you wanted to heal things when you came for our birthday. How could you burn down the parlor? How could you ruin the place where we were finally a family?’ Bea asks and Lana immediately softens. Bea was right it was a treasured memory for Lana even though it ended badly.
“I didn’t do it. I just don’t want to see your dad go to jail.” Lana says.
“You know that without Jett talking they might not have enough evidence to prove dad paid him.” Bea says clutching at straws.
“That is true. They have a tough case if Jett stays quiet.” The lawyer says.
“So we might both be free.” Lana says quietly.
“Might stop the divorce too mom, as you wouldn’t have to testify against your husband.” Bea says quietly.
“But he could choose to testify against you and he might do more to build a case against you. It is in your interests to retract your confession and cooperate fully.” The lawyer says firmly and Bea nods.
“Mom it wasn’t Clara, it was Blue who completed the puzzle for me. I never thought I needed a second brother but I did. I do. Please don’t make me lose you just as I have him back in my life.” Bea says and hopes that she has done enough. Her mom is a bitch and a fool and a cold hearted cunt but she is her mom and nowhere near as bad as her dad.
“I am going to find us some coffee. Bea follow me. Lana have a good think, you don’t have long.” The lawyer says.
“Did I do okay?” Bea asks.
“Yes you did, you did great honey. Clara has told me a lot of what you have been through.” The lawyer says.
“You work through one of her women’s charities right? Do you know about family law?” Bea asks.
“I have a reasonable grounding, though I do more criminal cases now. You wouldn’t believe the number of men who press charges against their partners who they have beaten for years the second she fights back.” The lawyer says.
“You know my mom was supposed to adopt me and my brother Chris but my dad fucked it up? Or fucked her over, however you see it, it comes out the same. Could she adopt me now, as an adult?” Bea asks.
“That sounds like a very good idea. But you must talk to Clara too.” The lawyer says.
“I will. Clara will understand.” Bea says.
“Thank-you, both of you for coming. The bad cop good cop routine you did has given Lana options. I hope she will change her mind now.” The lawyer says.
“Thanks for everything. You make sure you bill us to the full extent and let us know how we can support your charity.” Gervais says.
“Thank-you.” The lawyer says and the three leave.
“You okay?” Robin asks Bea in the car.
“I asked the lawyer if mom could adopt me. Is that mad, given everything?” Bea asks.
“Yes, but I would do the same. I get that need for security, even if only on paper.” Gervais says.
“Do you think Chris would do it?” Bea asks.
“No he won’t.” Robin says.
“I thought not. I can ask though.” Bea says feeling a little lighter.
Half way home Clara calls to let them know Lana has recanted and has been released without charge for now.
“Put her in my place for now. If she has to stay local.” Robin says.
“Thank-you. That will be a big help.” Clara says.
“Have they charged Jett or Paul?” Bea asks.
“I believe they have been allowed more time to question Paul and rumor is that Jett will be asking for a deal tomorrow. I have no idea if that will go Lana’s way. If Paul has paid him enough Jett may drop Lana in it.” Clara says.
“Oh hell. I can’t stand Lana but she doesn’t deserve that.” Gervais says.
“We’re working on shoring up her alibies and trying to prove she didn’t make the payments. We have investigators and a team working on it.” Randolf says.
“Has Jett got a lawyer? I mean one that isn’t the public defender?” Robin asks.
“Yes. It seems he has the good sense to use the money he was paid to pay for one.” Clara says.
“Really? He hasn’t had his account frozen?” Gervais asks shocked.
“Not yet.” Randolf says.
“You guys need to stop worrying. Be vigilant and keep in touch.” Clara says before hanging up.
“Can we go via my place so I can get my things?” Robin asks.
“Of course. Might as well move you out.” Gervais says.
“Yeah.” Robin sighs. He is happy to be going back to his friends really. Ella will like it too, though maybe not as Bea is around.
Late that night they get to Blue’s and decide to leave unloading the cars for the morning. They find beds and fall fast asleep.
“I think we should do Gervais delayed birthday tonight. There is a gay night in the city.” Blue says as he serves up pancakes and eggs to his friends.
“I think that sounds just right. Celebrate or commiserate the factory decision at the same time.” Gervais says.
“I am so up for it. Bea will you be okay here? You can invite Ella and Heidi over.” Blue asks.
“I’ll ask them round for a girl’s night. That’s a good idea, I don’t want this place left empty.” Bea says.
“You could come with us.” Gervais says.
“No thanks. But I think Chris would like to join you, if you’ll have him.” Bea says.
“Are you sure? You love clubbing.” Robin says.
“Yes and I really like your girlfriend who hates clubs.” Bea says.
“Thank-you.” Robin says.
“Gosh we really need a girl’s opinion at times.” Blue says.
“Blue, Chris. If all goes well with mom I am going to ask her to adopt me, as an adult.” Bea says.
“That’s a lovely idea, but she is batshit and you had escaped so well.” Blue says.
“Clara isn’t much better. I just feel like if we have a legal bond we’ll find our way back to a family one.” Bea says.
“Once she’s had some psychiatric help. I won’t be joining you.” Chris says and Bea shrugs.
“Be careful with that. It got my mom so empowered she stole someone’s husband.” Andy says with a grin.
“I would love mom to find someone who loved her and put her first, she’s be a whole new person.” Bea says.
“Someone like Mike, she could take care of and know he always had her back. I wouldn’t wish Lana o him though.” Blue says.
“That is exactly it. She loved taking care of us and us going to college hurt, especially as I went on my gap year the same time Bea left, no easing in to it.” Chris says.
“So she hyper focused on dad and he hated being smothered and got more and more controlling but she was willing so it didn’t work.” Bea says.
“Stop making her the victim. She wasn’t. She had the option to go and you two would never have cut her out. I don’t think she did this but we cannot rule it out. She has played the victim of Paul before and it has been lies.” Blue says.
“Yeah we’re all being too nice. My mom was seen as a victim of her partners and I’m not saying she wasn’t but she chose them over me and Katelyn every time when it came down to it and would fake anything to get money.” Andy says.
“Yeah Lana isn’t so different. I guess Bea and I always thought she could be. We have good memories of her. More so than dad.” Chris says.
“You’re hoping we’ve changed.” Bea says.
“I hope you won’t shit on me again but I don’t give a shit. I just want this summer over and you two out of my life.” Blue says and leaves for work.
“Whats with him?” Chris asks.
“You sitting here talking about giving Lana loads of help when she may have been involved in the destruction of his businesses. Fucking hell you have no idea how much he has put in to this, how long he has worked on this, putting his own business plans on hold.” Robin says giving them the truth.
“Is he mad at me for going?” Gervais asks.
“No of course not but you know how he’s feeling.” Robin says.
“I hate that the parlor is going to be a diner. I understand why but the parlor was totally Blue, everyone knew it was his ice-cream and the kids loved it. I will really miss that place. I will love being able to have a burger but I will miss it.” Andy says.
“I will too and I only went the once. Man that was the best.” Chris says.
“Come lets get going. Bea there is loads of ice-cream in the freezer if you want it for tonight. Though Heidi and Ella might prefer something else.” Gervais grins.
“Now you tell me.” Chris grins.
“Come on, lets get to work.” Gervais says.
“Slave driver.” Chris grins.
“You wish.” Gervais says.
“Blue is going to be in a bad mood until Will gets back isn’t he.” Chris says in the car.
“He’s so up and down with you two. Don’t push him too much but yes he’s upset he can’t be there for Will this week.” Gervais says.
“Are you trying to get back in there while Will is gone?” Chris asks.
“No. I adore Will and I would never, ever try and break them up.” Gervais says.
“Blue needs a break. More than just a day off fishing.” Chris says.
“He’s a working adult now. He can’t have much time off an was looking forward to heading east to watch the gymnastics. With everything I doubt he’ll have a break until next year now. Not if they get the soup going as planned.” Gervais says.
“That blows. I guess Bea and I should stay at school for winter break.” Chris says.
“We’ll work that out later. Don’t you think you’ll have made up with Clara by then? You might have a boyfriend and want to be with him.” Gervais says.
“Yeah I might. It’s really hard now I’m almost famous.” Chris says.
“The gold digger is being dug.” Gervais laughs.
“Yup karma keeps on biting. I deserve it, all of it. I feel like something was really wrong with me. But I know that I need to take responsibility.” Chris says.
“I feel the same. I don’t recognize the guy who dumped Blue and ran off to Europe. Who dated you even after I knew who you were and how awful you were to him. It is like someone else’s life. As long as we don’t slip backwards and we keep atoning everything will work out.” Gervais says.
“I hope so. I don’t know if I’ve hit bottom, but I really hope I don’t need to. If mom goes to jail. I don’t know what I’ll do. Paul’s life won’t be worth living. That scares me, that despite everything I still have that capacity for revenge and might well take it.” Chris says.
“Get ready. Call your agent and get the stories out there that bring sympathy for your mom. You’ll have to be careful what you say directly to not get sued again but you know better now where the line is and the magazine’s legal department will help.” Gervais says.
“Blue will hate it.” Chris says.
“Blue will get a national advert for his ice-cream.” Gervais says.
“I will talk to Bea. If she thinks it will set her back I won’t do it.” Chris says.
“I’ll handle Blue. Talk to Arnold too, get Ella and/or Nick pictured and interviewed.” Gervais says.
“Great idea. Nothing sells like beauty and scandal. Thanks for the ride.” Chris says and heads into work thinking hard. Gervais is right, Paul will no doubt run his own campaign, and they need to counter it, Blue will hate it no doubt but he has to see the benefit long term, he has to.
That evening Gervais picks up Chris and they get ready in Will’s apartment and meet the others in a bar. Ollie and Tad are spending the evening at Heidi’s place, not wanting it to be empty. Ollie is still very upset at what has happened, even though they are back to production tomorrow. And Tad is happy to have a night making out with Ollie.
Tad is happier than ever, despite everything going on. Managing Abby’s farm and bringing t through the transition year before Andy is back full time is amazing and he knows he will happily be able to share the job with Andy and Blue later, he knows they all have different strengths and he won’t be pushed out.
He loves Ollie, neither of them will say it yet. But he knows and it feels good. Ollie is perfect for him and he really hopes that they can live together full time soon. Not just when his siblings are away.
“You look happy.” Ollie says.
“I am. I know things are shit for you with the fires and I wish I could make it better.” Tad says.
“You do, every night when you hold me.” Ollie says.
“I don’t want you to go home next week.” Tad says bluntly.
“Unless you can magic up Mary Poppins I have to go.” Ollie says.
“Ugh I will wait for you but I will complain and grumble and come up with ways to set you free.” Tad says.
“That is why I love you. You are always looking out for me. I’m not easy and you haven’t given up.” Ollie says.
“I love you because you are you.” Tad says and they kiss for hours and hours.