The trio hole up in the nice hotel for a week while Blue is sick. Chris and Gervais get out to the museums and to shop while Blue sleeps or reads. He’s happy to sit looking out the window and snooze when he needs to. He also loves it when he wakes and finds one or both of the guys holding him. Blue feels loved and cared for, for the first time in a very long time.
They find a beautiful beach front villa and book it for three weeks. Gervais gulps at the cost but other than the trip to Rio he hasn’t spent excessively, ever. His dad’s money hoarding is deeply ingrained in him and Blue has always been the one to unlock it.
Gervais calls Andy to let him know how long he’ll be away, claiming to have seen a deal he couldn’t pass up. Andy totally buys it and Gervais relaxes. Blue is still achy and tired but feeling a lot better in himself and gets to have a day exploring the city before they head off on holiday.
Ocean has had a great week. He and Adam have truly hit it off, much in the way Blue and Birch did with their shared background. But Adam isn’t sleeping with Ocean’s best friend. One night Ocean calls up Birch and Willow, and they both remember Adam and are delighted to catch up with him and hear his family news.
Ocean relaxes after that and opens up a little more. Adam senses the shift and suggests they become a couple. Ocean is delighted and they are soon spending all their spare time together. Chris was right, college is a lot better with a boyfriend.
Ocean’s stretch and yoga session is going okay. He still feels a little on the outside with the team. He worries that leading a session and effectively being a tutor during the study group is setting him further apart.
He asks a sophomore Garrett to go for juice after practice one afternoon. Garrett has been one of the most receptive to the yoga sessions and Ocean figures he might tell him where he’s going wrong.
“You’re fine, we all like you. You just don’t hang out with the other lower classmen as much as you live in a different dorm. I don’t think you’re seen as a try hard or anything or a snob.” Garrett says.
“Thanks, though having this conversation inherently makes me a try hard.” Ocean laughs.
“Yes probably. You’re good and we’re excited you chose to walk on here. Were you recruited at all? I’m surprised you didn’t follow the money somewhere else.” Garrett says.
“I knew I had a good chance of merit money and scholarships and so we decided to sidestep, I contacted coaches after acceptance figuring most would want me. A bit arrogant maybe,” Ocean says.
“A few guys do it that way. Doesn’t always work out but it doesn’t make you totally up yourself. Living in the fancy dorm raises more issues.” Garrett says.
“One of my coaches suggested I should to make friends outside of gymnastics. He worried if I quit the team I would be lonely and drop out. And he’s big on making connections. To be honest I have a single and that means I can get loads of sleep when I want to. I’ve seen the doubles and triples some of the guys are in and those high bunks scare me. I get it would be all in together but I’d still rather be comfortable.” Ocean grins.
“Yeah male gymnasts are at the bottom of the heap when it comes to room allocation and no one gets a single, even though most of the rooms are. You’re lucky.” Garrett says.
“I’ll stop worrying so much and accept it’ll just take me a bit longer to fit in.” Ocean smiles.
“There is one thing. You never come to steak night. You join in all the other team events but that is the most social.” Garrett says.
“I don’t eat steak and I’m not keen on the smell. I’d also look stupid sitting there with a side salad which is the only thing I can eat on the menu. There are not even any appetizers without meat and all the potatoes are cooked in animal fat.” Ocean shrugs.
“You don’t eat meat?” Garrett asks laughing.
“Nope.” Ocean replies.
“And all of us sitting there gorging on bloody flesh is repulsive to you?” Garrett asks being far too graphic.
“That’s about it.” Ocean laughs.
“No meat at all?” Garrett.
“I eat shellfish. I used to eat all fish but not anymore.” Ocean says.
“So if we went to the big seafood buffet place for a change you’d come along?” Garrett asks.
“Of course. I noticed not everyone goes to every event, and didn’t think it would notice. Most the guys know about my diet, we’ve had countless training camps together over the years.” Ocean says.
“I never noticed. I guess that’s the weird thing, we have all competed together over the years, you and Billy have been on the same team for internationals and you still feel like an outsider.” Garrett says puzzled.
“Do you think it is because I was blackballed last season and people want to not be associated with me? I mean I wasn’t at camps and meets with everyone.” Ocean asks.
“I doubt it. That was so dumb, you should have won the junior title by about 3 marks. It was a total joke. Do you know what it was?” Garrett asks.
“No idea, I was given no assignments, with reasonable excuses, I was third best all round and not a strong enough specialist. It wasn’t true, I was second and could have outscored some of the specialists. It was annoying as I’d never bombed internationally unlike some. Still it’s fine and I’m over it, I am more than happy to finish up a college gymnast.” Ocean says.
“I still want the big time. I am totally going for worlds and Olympics.” Garrett says.
“You should, you’re awesome. You were unlucky with injury last year, bad timing to break a finger.” Ocean says.
“It sucked. Still I’m young, got loads of time left. Are you really not going for more?” Garrett asks curious, he and Ocean had been rivals for junior assignments quite often and he was actually excited Ocean was joining the team, thinking he’d make a great training partner in the off season.
“Nah. I decided pretty young I didn’t want that. Maybe that counted against me last year, they were done with me as I only wanted college. I saw how much Will had to give up to get there and it was too big a price. I’m not saying he regrets it but I know he regrets parts of it.” Ocean says.
“The photo guy?” Garrett asks.
“Not just that. He had a chance at a business that he would have loved. Also the sheer energy it took, he could do nothing else, train, eat, sleep, sponsor events, physical therapy and competing, He could barely have a ten minute conversation. I don’t want to be in that tunnel.” Ocean says.
“It isn’t forever. I think its worth it but I see why you might not. I had a teammate at Tokyo and it did get crazy. Garrett says.
“Thanks for today, I figure if I have a coffee with everyone in ones and twos it’ll work out.” Ocean says.
“Sounds like a plan, but you shouldn’t have to do all the running. What are you up to tonight?” Garrett asks.
“I have a date. He’s hovering outside right now.” Ocean says grinning at Adam through the window.
“I’m meeting a couple of the guys for a comedy night. Bring your date along.” Garrett suggests.
“I’ll ask him now, we don’t have firm plans.” Ocean says not entirely sure of Adam will be okay with a group thing.
“Hey, ready to go?” Adam asks as Ocean heads outside.
“How would you feel about a comedy night with some of my team mates?” Ocean asks.
“Sounds great, about time I met your friends.” Adam says. Ocean loves how easy going his is.
“That is so true.” Ocean grins and takes him inside to meet Garrett.
Across the sea Blue, Chris and Gervais have arrived at the resort.
“Three bedrooms.” Blue says puzzled as they are shown around their villa.
“They don’t have two bed ones, only studios, three or four bed.” Gervais says taking Blue’s hand and squeezing it.
“Okay.” Blue says and kisses Gervais on the head.
“I want to sleep in your bed, always.” Gervais says.
“And I want to be at the other end of the villa when you do, well preferable on the other side of the island.” Chris grins.
“Look there are packets macadamias in the fruit basket, I’m all sorted.” Blue grins.
“Ha I get the chocolate covered ones.” Chris says swiping them away, watching Blue to see if he looks jealous.
“Leave me some HUGO.” Gervais says, shouting Chris’s silly new name.
“Shut up. Just because you’re not the only one with a fancy name now.” Chris grins and knows he’s fully accepted and going to have a good time.
“I’m going to chop up some of this fruit and take it outside. I just want to sunbathe for a bit, totally chill.” Blue says.
“Flying up to find you guys was the first day off I’ve taken in two years, I am loving this life of leisure. Hurry up and you can lotion my back.” Chris says.
Blue grins. He’s happy he’s feeling better and it is going to be nice to be able to take care of Chris a little, and have Gervais watching out for them both. Blue peels and chops the fruit slowly then pops it into the freezer, they have a small kitchenette area, only a microwave so he won’t be baking but a good size fridge with a freezer shelf.
“Hey they have made us jugs of iced tea, mango drink and ice-cubes to match.” Blue says in delight.
“What do you mean ice-cubes to match?” Gervais asks.
“Look ice trays with cubes of tea and of mango. How lovely is that? Thanks so much for bringing us here.” Blue says kissing Gervais and hugging him.
“Lets go get changed and then enjoy the sun while we can.” Gervais says and Blue grins.
Their things were unpacked for them while they were shown round, which impresses all three of them no end, it was so unobtrusive and quick.
Blue grabs the fruit, Gervais the jug of mango drink and some glasses and Chris brings the sunscreen and their books. They quickly set themselves up and Blue slathers the sunscreen on Chris and Gervais. Gervais is sat under a big umbrella and smiles as he watches Chris and Blue. He’s really missed these casual friendship moments since Andy, Spence and Will got married.
“It’s funny seeing you two read real books.” Gervais says.
“I don’t join any loyalty scheme or subscription service. I am so paranoid that my data would out me as me. I know it’s farfetched.” Blue says,
“Same. I am exactly the same.” Chris says,
“Hive mind with you two.” Gervais laughs.
“I don’t want to have a loyalty card and then start a new life, new loyalty card, exact same profile. I know it’s beyond careful but it is how I feel. I change what brands I buy regularly, even though I mostly pay in cash.” Chris says,
“Me too. I change which branch of a supermarket I use. I make sure even though I have a routine, where I do each part of the routine changes regularly.” Blue says.
“You two have lived a crazy, crazy life. You’re both really smart to have kept yourselves safe. You might have gone to extremes but you’re both here and I am very grateful.” Gervais says.
“I’m going to explore and have a swim before the pool closes.” Chris says.
“Sounds good. Are you okay if we get dinner delivered here tonight?” Blue asks.
“Sure, we’ll visit the restaurants tomorrow.” Chris says not wanting to push Blue too much over food.
“You look sleepy.” Blue says to Gervais once Chris has left.
“My feet are aching after that trek to the airport today.” Gervais says.
Blue sits on the end of Gervais lounger and massages his feet one at a time.
“That feels good.” Gervais says and Blue smiles.
“You’ve been taking good care of me. Plus you know I always loved your feet,” Blue grins,
“You always did, the one thing I had over Will.” Gervais giggles.
“Turn over and I’ll rub your back.” Blue says tenderly.
“Spoiling me.” Gervais says turning over and sighing with bliss as Blue straddles him and massages his shoulders.
“Not spoiling, treating you right.” Blue says and gently kisses Gervais neck.
“I could really get used to this.” Gervais sighs.
“I hope we get to stay together.” Blue says.
“I don’t think I can give you up again.” Gervais says.
“If we’d never broken up the first time, I’d never have left school and we’d have been living together when I had to leave. Do you ever think that?” Blue asks.
“I didn’t have Olympic aspirations or a family. There would have been no reason not to come with you.” Gervais says.
“I think that too. But then Chris would still be in hiding, living a rotten life.” Blue says.
“Still selfless, after all you’ve given up. After all we’ve done to you, you still think of us first.” Gervais says.
“I’ve only had me to think of really for seven years. I mean I made sure not to do anything that might impact Chris. But mostly I only had me to think of. I missed taking care of people. Before I became a baker, I volunteered for the elderly sometimes but it wasn’t the same.” Blue says sadly.
“You’re still lovely caring Blue inside. You’re not this stone cold shell, you might feel like it but it isn’t forever. Look at how you helped me to change form a scaredy mouse to a regular outgoing guy. Just a week back around each other and you’re changing and it is lovely.” Gervais says gently.
The two lie together on the lounger and enjoy the sunset. Chris comes back and they all go and shower.
The dinner they order arrives swiftly. Blue picks at his veggies and rice while Gervais and Chris tuck into grilled pink snapper and roasted pineapple.
“Can I try some pineapple?” Blue asks and instantly he has two forks in his face. Blue giggles and bites each of them.
“It is so good and the fish is crazy fresh.” Gervais says.
“If you want to try it you’ll have to be quick.” Chris grins.
“I don’t eat fish anymore.” Blue says.
Chris and Gervais share a look and shrug.
“You need to eat a bit more though, you need to get your strength back after being sick.” Gervais says firmly.
Blue looks up in anger for a second and then smiles.
“You really are looking out for me. They replenished the fruit basket, I was planning to have some more as dessert and the nuts for a snack while we watch a movie, Okay?” Blue asks.
“That sounds great. We’ll try and get you some other nuts tomorrow.” Chris says gently.
“I know being vegan isn’t what you expect of me. But giving up dairy really did help my skin and the rest just followed. It is difficult sometimes but I manage.” Blue says.
“You’re just so thin bro, you were always the beefcake.” Chris says.
“I didn’t suddenly get thin. I got older, I stopped having physical jobs and gradually lost weight. You are just as thin and you eat a full diet. Don’t rag on me about food or this trip is going to be tedious for all of us.” Blue says.
“You know that a bit of rice and fruit isn’t a balanced diet and you would be worried about us if we were eating that way. You know we care and you know we’re worried and you’ll also see that Chris is eating more now he’s feeling happier.” Gervais says.
“I know it is something I have to work on. This most recent change has been the hardest and I had totally given up on myself. I can’t change overnight. Chris is better at putting on an act and he’s not paying for the food so he’s happy to have more than egg on toast or instant noodles.” Blue says.
“You know me too well bro.” Chris says.
“Well we have 500bucks of food and drink a day with this villa and Andy isn’t here so start working out how to get best value.” Gervais says and they all grin.
They enjoy lots of time on the beach and go off walking and on fishing trips. Blue tells them about his fishing day with Ocean and how good it felt to be normal for a day.
The three spend the evenings curled up on the couch together watching funny movies and laughing like crazy. Chris doesn’t feel at all like he’s in the way and is almost as affectionate with Gervais as Blue is. All three just happy to be around someone who isn’t a stranger.
They have all agreed that the first week is to be a real vacation, no looking at farms or houses or sorting out what they’ve left behind, just a total rest.
Gervais snaps a picture of the beach and sky and sends it to Andy and Spence.
“I think Gervais is with Blue.” Spence says to Andy when he comes in for dinner.
“What?” Andy asks confused.
“That picture he sent today, he captioned it, not a cloud in the sky.” Spence says.
“And you jump from a blue sky to him being with Blue Sky.” Andy snorts.
“He took a picture of the blue sky. Not himself on the beach or his dinner or even his room.” Spence says.
“Nah, if Blue could he would have called us. And G could not have hidden that he knew where he was.” Andy says.
“I know he didn’t know. I am saying he does now and they’re together. I think we should go and join them.” Spence says.
“Don’t be daft.” Andy says.
“I mean it. Tad can cover for you, Will can manage. Lets go. We never take vacation. Worst case we have a week on the beach.” Spence says.
“I guess we could. Oh hell why not? Book it.” Andy says with a smile.
“The best thing about being rich is we don’t have to worry about last minute fares. Now go pack us a bag and I’ll sort it out.” Spence says.
Andy doesn’t dare hope as he’s packing. There have been many false alarms over the years. He is always thinking he’s seen Blue or Chris in a crowd. He reads an article about a café or food type and thinks it must be Blue behind it only to be disappointed.
Only Spence is aware how much Blue leaving affected Andy, they only talk about it between themselves. Unable to deal with Gervais grief along with their own. They know its selfish and Andy always feels like he’s let his friend down, so they side with Gervais over Robin and he does his best with the business even though he doesn’t need anything so large and could just specialize on his favorite heritage lines.
A week away in the sun is exactly what he needs. The planting is done and Tad can manage. It is the best time to leave. And Spence will look so hot with a tan and in shorts Andy smiles to himself.
“All booked, we go tomorrow.” Spence says with a grin.
“I hope we don’t get there and find we’re gatecrashing Gervais romantic getaway with a new man.” Andy grins.
“If we are we can have a romantic time of our own.” Spence grins.
“I quite fancy covering you in tropical fruits and munching away.” Andy grins and Spence smiles.
Their sex life will never get stale, they are both always coming up with new ideas and they have complete trust in each other to air them. It isn’t often one of them says no.
“Oh shit.” Chris says coming face to face with the pair as they walk down to the beach after getting set up in their villa.
“Oh wow. Chris?” Andy says in a whisper.
“Hugo, its Hugo. I can’t believe you didn’t remember my name.” Chris says loudly causing Blue and Gervais to panic.
“Hugo.” Andy giggles.
“Come on over to our place.” Chris says.
“I did not expect Chris.” Spence whispers.
“Me either.” Andy whispers back.
“What the fuck have you done G?” Chris says mock sternly.
“Andy, Spence.” Blue says in shock.
“I didn’t tell them you were here.” Gervais says as Andy and Spence engulf Blue in a hug.
“How long have you known where Blue is?” Andy asks accusatorially as he breaks away from the hug. His emotions are all over the place. He is both elated and angry and ever so grateful that Spence’s hunch was right.
“Sit down. Would you like a drink? We have iced tea, lemonade and beer today. We can tell you all about it.” Blue says his hosting skills kicking back in. Chris and Gervais look at him and smile, they exchange a look both feeling like their Blue is coming closer and closer to the surface.