“Its good to see you back bro.” Chris says unable to stop grinning at the smiling Blue.
“I’m thinking we leave the program to do this. You’re right cheesecake will get us going, it always works. We need to find somewhere like home, close to a city where people will travel for food and hiking, maybe yoga too.” Blue says.
“Ahh I could lead hikes where we exercise some of the dogs.” Chris says.
“Exactly. And Gervais can look at running a kids program. You might be a nerdy computer whiz but you were never happier than when looking after little ones.” Blue says.
“That is very true, I’d be more than happy to babysit kids while parents get out hiking or riding. We’re getting somewhere.” Gervais says.
“I am so all in. Maybe I get to go back to school if we can afford it.” Chris says.
“I think you should do that. I have enough to cover that. And actually mom should still have the remains of our education funds. I don’t want to talk to her but if the money is still there I think we should access it through the lawyer. I doubt she’ll have cashed them in. You can use the remains of mine as it had enough for grad school.” Blue says.
“You really would be okay with that?” Chris asks.
“Yeah we’ll start with the coffee and cake and build up. Get everything ready for animals. I will get a load of rescue chickens in and goats too. I imagine you will get yourself some dogs. If you don’t mind we’ll build the animal side slowly while you’re in school.” Blue says.
“Get the b&b business going with you cooking, just breakfast while you build up your garden.” Chris says.
“I love to see you both so happy and motivated. It is so easy to get swept along. I suggest we sell out the farm to Spence. But we keep the share of the soup business. Spence will give a fair price. We also have an income from Abby’s buildings and a large lump sum. I know she would be one hundred percent behind this venture. And if we fall on our asses we still have income from the soup and the property rentals.” Gervais says.
“So there is money for school with or without momma? Tomorrow we get our identity sorted and I can start studying. Is this real? We’re going to start living again?” Chris asks.
“Yes we are. I know my life hasn’t sucked anything like as much as yours but my life has been on hold, subconsciously or not. And no one knows me like you two. In seven years no one has suggested I work with kids doing what I love. No one said hey Gervais why don’t you run the daycare for the factory. You two would have.” Gervais says.
“No brainer.” Chris says.
“This is going to take a lot of work, insurance, permits and we might not get to do all of our plans.” Blue says.
“And I have not long missed the application date for school so have near a year to prepare and get more up to date work experience.” Chris says.
“No point buying until we know where you are going to school. You might not get in first try and we don’t want you too far away.” Blue says.
“It is a long shot and if we find the right property I will have to suck it up being away for school if I get in. If I don’t I’ll study something related nearby. I am feeling good about all of this. If we find the right property we’ll know.” Chris says.
“Agreed. The number one priority, what we need for you two to get better is a home. The rest will come. Blue can turn nothing into something wonderful.” Gervais says.
“No one can make a home feel like home better than Blue. I think that is why I was so keen to steal your room at the lake.” Chris says.
“I really hated you for that.” Blue says.
“As you should. Lets be real, we got through everything I threw at you and we came out friends. I have no idea if I was testing you or trying to break you but either way you survived and came out stronger. I did too. You created my moral compass. I’ve been a really good guy all this time apart.” Chris says.
“I know. If we had grown up together we would have butted horns and pushed each other and I think we would have come out of it firm friends. We have a twin connection. Just like Gervais and I have a connection. You and Gervais have one too, lesser but it is still there. I see you both having conversations about me with your eyes. These connections can be hard to deal with, Gervais and I pushed each other to the limits and did all we could to break it. I loved, loved Will beyond measure but he knew part of my heart was with Gervais. All three of us are here together because we couldn’t be apart. It is no accident that Gervais found me the first time I left, or you found us. The weird thing was how long it took.” Blue says.
“If I had approached Andy at that market.” Chris says.
“He might not have been any help at all.” Gervais says.
“True. Maybe Blue and I had to reach the depths of despair before we could accept each other fully.” Chris says.
“Have you been honest with me about how bad a state you’re in?” Gervais asks gently.
“No, not really.” Blue says as he puts the pasta dough in the fridge.
“Not at all but you know that. I see you watching me as much as Blue at times.” Chris says.
“You’ve been going out with Chris and not volunteering to stay home with me when I can’t deal with crowds and people or when I was sick. Usually you would but you knew Chris couldn’t be alone.” Blue says.
“We love you looking after us.” Chris says.
“We do. We’re not hiding from you deliberately, we just need to keep a bit buttoned up still.” Blue says.
“Yeah if Spence and Andy hadn’t shown up we might have relaxed enough to let go. But they did and Ocean got broken in to and we had to keep buttoned up.” Chris says.
“What about therapy?” Gervais asks.
“I would still love to do that triplet study. Especially now we’ve had time in isolation again. But no I don’t think I want therapy. It isn’t like your issues, no offence. While what we’ve been through has been hard and frustrating it isn’t the level of trauma you had in your life.” Chris says.
“I think we might write a book to get it all out. Lost and found.” Blue says.
“Without Bea?” Gervais asks.
“I don’t know her.” Blue grins and Chris laughs.
“Blue and I are closer than Bea and I ever were. If momma had taken Bea or the pair of us then I think none of this would have ever happened.” Chris says.
“I’d have loved a sibling to explore the mountains with, fish and camp.” Blue says.
“I would have loved to have had your childhood.” Chris says.
“I’d have taken what either of you had.” Gervais says.
“Taste this.” Blue says holding up the spoon from the sauce he is making.
“Perfect.” Chris says getting to it before Gervais can.
“Uh me too.” Gervais says with a grin and Blue refills the spoon, none of them worry about sharing.
“Well?” Blue asks.
“Beautiful. It’s a long time since I had such good veggie sauce.” Gervais says.
“Oh please it hasn’t had near long enough yet.” Blue says.
“Bro, you need to relearn how to take a compliment. It is good. We love it. You want me to start rolling the pasta?” Chris asks.
“Yeah that would be good.” Blue says.
Gervais and Chris start feeding the dough through the machine as Blue works on the sauce. They don’t need to talk, they all know this is the happiest they have been in a long, long time. They put together a meal and sit down with steaming bowls, Chris and Gervais liberally douse their serving with cheese and Blue looks on longingly.
“That is the most you’ve eaten since we found you.” Chris says when Blue is half way through his bowl.
“It is good.” Blue says with a grin.
“It really is.” Gervais says his face covered in sauce like a little kid.
Blue looks at him, giggles and leans over to lick him.
Gervais giggles and wipes his mouth and kisses Blue. Chris looks on at them happy. Chris is certain Blue and Gervais are on their way to being something good, something special. Chris surprises himself at how happy he feels for them and not jealous. He knows his time will come. School first. Man if he could get in and become a vet, with Blue and Gervais supporting him, well that would really be the dream Chris thinks.
“We should have made bread to mop up the sauce.” Blue says.
“Next time.” Gervais says.
“How do you feel with a full belly for once?” Chris asks.
“Sleepy.” Blue grins.
“You relax and tell us more about the properties you’ve found while we clean up.” Gervais says.
“Cool.” Blue says and reads out the descriptions and locations. They spend the evening looking at places and running the numbers. They know what they want, a central house for them that they can host guests in while they get the rest up and running. Lots of outbuildings, lots of space. Not too far from a city. It is a big ask and Blue realizes he’s looking at lots of the areas he considered before finding home.
“You okay?” Chris asks noticing Blue getting agitated.
“I’m a bit frustrated. I did this search 9 years ago and found the perfect spot. But I don’t want to go back there. I just feel I’ll be disappointed with everywhere or comparing it all to home. I want to go home and see the flaws. I want to visit Gladys too.” Blue says suddenly.
“If we leave the program we can do as we please, as long as we are careful. Lets go home without telling anyone. G can hire a car and we can visit Gladys and have a sneaky look at your house. Then get Gervais car and go, sell it and buy a new in one of our old names after a couple of hours. We can cover our tracks when we have each other.” Chris says.
“Sounds like a good idea. I can get some things up together too. It’ll be a quick trip.” Gervais says.
“It would be so cool for you to call a board meeting and have Robin sweat. But we can save that for another time. You selling the farm is going to put the wind up him anyway.” Chris says.
“Yeah. Lets go to bed and we can sort it tomorrow when we know what your position is. We need an honest assessment of your safety before we can make any real decisions. But for what it’s worth I think the former agricultural college looks amazing and is very cheap for the amount of land.” Gervais says.
“Agreed. It has a lot of lovely buildings and some ugly one’s we’d replace or repurpose for the animals.” Chris says.
“And it is an hour from the city, weird it hasn’t been sold before.” Blue says.
The three share a bed that night and don’t get much sleep. They are all worried that there won’t be a good outcome and all their dreams, as new as they are, will be painfully smashed.
They shower and dress somberly and pack all their belongings to take with them. They can’t face breakfast, they stand and hug and go down to the waiting car.
The three sit across the back seat, Gervais in the middle holding the twins hands. They don’t speak, they don’t need to. They all feel sick with nerves.
Ocean wakes in his hotel room feeling disorientated by the strange bed. He’s late, grabs his clothes and his gym bag and heads to morning practice.
“Ocean you can’t practice today. Come see me in an hour.” Coach says.
Weird Ocean thinks, Coach isn’t normally involved in team lead practice. Then he begins to worry that he’s done something wrong and is suspended from the team. He wonders if this is more payback from Adam or if it is something worse. What if someone paid Adam to spy on him after they got together? Will they target his team mates?
Ocean goes to the dining hall and eats and worries and puts off calling Gervais as he knows it’s the big day for them. He mentally goes through all the accounts he closed or changed the password for as soon as he discovered the break in and he couldn’t see that anything had been sent to discredit him.
Ocean knows he hasn’t done anything wrong, but he also remembers some of the ssss that Blue and Gervais went through with false accusations and all the stress that caused.
“What is it coach?” Ocean asks.
“As a freshman you can’t be on the team unless you live on campus.” Coach says.
“My dorm was busted in to on the weekend and so I am just in a hotel, temporarily. How did you know already?” Ocean asks.
“I had a report that you’d moved out over a month ago.” Coach says.
“No, just since Sunday. I was going to ask about moving out permanently, but obviously that can’t happen now. I’ll talk to housing about when my door will be fixed. Am I seriously not able to train?” Ocean asks.
“You’ll be fine. I’ll call housing myself and see what is happening and if you can have another room for the interim. Are you okay? Was anything taken?” Coach asks.
“My laptop and tablet. Such a pain.” Ocean says relieved that coach believes him.
“Will you have lost any assignments? If you need extensions I can help.” Coach says.
“I always save them in two places so I’m fine, nothing lost.” Ocean says.
“I hoped it was a malicious report. They also claimed you were using substances but given you regularly test for me and the national body I knew that it was bunkum. But I needed to investigate fully. A violation from you could lead to sanctions for the team. I am sorry.” Coach says.
“I’m relieved. Two of my friends had to deal with malicious accusations in school and it lead to all kinds of difficulties even though they were completely exonerated. I broke up with my boyfriend at the weekend, he didn’t trust me as he found out I had a second phone. I believe he stole it along with my other things and reported me to you. He accused me of dealing or using steroids. I don’t, I mean it is obvious I don’t I’m tiny compared to some of the guys and I am not insecure about it or trying to pump up. I know how to use my strength.” Ocean says.
“Give me his name. I can’t have him spreading rumors about you and casting negative light on the team. You can come to me or any of the coaches or support staff, you might be a walk on but you are an integral part of the team. Why did you have an extra phone?” Coach asks.
“Remember Will’s photo at the Olympics?” Ocean asks.
“Yes I do.” Coach says.
“That was my best friend in the world. He was one of the so called mafia triplets.” Ocean says.
“Don’t say any more if it could compromise anything. I am glad you trust me. I’ll get on to housing now and speak to someone about your ex. Malicious accusations are not tolerated here, there won’t be any more comeback from that. See you later.” Coach says and Ocean leaves relieved.
Ocean totally trusts coach, he has been coach at the college for 15 years and Will spoke highly of him. He is especially pleased he didn’t ask to know the details about Blue and accepted his word on everything.
“Everything okay?” Garrett asks after training that afternoon.
“Yeah just a misunderstanding. All cleared up now.” Ocean says.
“You and Adam want to come to the open mic night? James is going to give it a go.” Garrett asks.
“I will. Adam and I broke up.” Ocean says.
“Shit why didn’t you say so?” Garrett asks.
“A bunch of stuff has happened and that was the least of it to be honest.” Ocean says.
“Smoothie time?” Garrett asks.
“Sounds good.” Ocean says.
“What happened with Adam, you were really cute together?” Garrett asks.
“It was too heavy too fast. He wanted access to my phone, and I saw that as the first sign of trouble.” Ocean says and explains about the break in and what happened with coach.
“So you’re in a hotel? Has it got a bathtub? I would give my left nut for a real soak in a hot bath. Ice baths are the devils work and I swear my bones feel cold for days after.” Garrett asks.
“You are welcome to come over and use the tub. It is pretty nice, full size, not the sort to cut you off at the knees. Honestly my big brothers are the best when it comes to things like that.” Ocean grins.
“Awesome. After the open mic?” Garrett asks.
“Sure, you can stay over, there are 2 beds.” Ocean says.