When Ocean and Garrett finished grocery shopping they went to visit Cheryl and Marsha. Ocean was feeling guilty that he hadn’t already and also wanted Garrett to meet her, so he didn’t feel like he was being hidden.
“We ironed things out with Robin.” Ocean says after introductions are made.
“You did?” Cheryl asks.
“He’s not having the easiest time right now. I’ve invited him to come tomorrow.” Ocean says.
“You can’t believe his side, what about trying to use cheaper suppliers and offshore the vegan line?” Cheryl asks.
“He was trying to get fired, he hated the job. Especially once Ella married Mike, it was so awkward for him. I think he wanted to be paid to go away.” Ocean says.
“That sounds about right.” Marsha says,
“You can’t believe it.” Cheryl says.
“Yes I can. You didn’t want the job, someone had to do it and Robin was one of the inner circle. He worked bloody hard for the company and was the golden boy until Ella decided otherwise. I can see him hating it. He worked hard for their future and she married Mike.” Marsha says.
“Actually Robin dumped her after the Nick thing, things she was behind it. The pictures part, not Norm’s death.” Ocean says.
“Well good for him.” Marsha says.
“Abandoning a pregnant woman and taking no responsibility for the child is hardly something to celebrate.” Cheryl says,
“He didn’t know she was pregnant and is legally fighting to get access. Took over a year to get the paternity test. I have agreed to give him a recommendation or whatever he needs.” Ocean says.
“Team Robin.” Cheryl says.
“Jesus poor man. I’ll bring some of those popovers he likes tomorrow.” Marsha says.
“If he isn’t welcome then we’ll move dinner to mine.” Ocean says.
“I cannot believe Gervais gave you that house.” Cheryl says.
“They’re never coming back.” Ocean says.
“It just isn’t right.” Marsha says.
“You’ve spoken to Blue?” Cheryl asks.
“I know Gervais plans, he isn’t coming back,” Ocean says.
“Still think I’m a spy for Clara.” Cheryl says shaking her head.
“So Gladys isn’t loopy? She saw Blue.” Marsha asks.
“Gladys isn’t loopy.” Ocean says.
“Is he okay?” Cheryl asks.
“Mom please don’t ask.” Ocean says.
“Ocean has had his room broken into and his ex was bribed and we’ve had the fbi talk to the team. He’s trying to keep you safe.” Garrett says as Cheryl blanches.
“Quite right but you can trust us.” Marsha says.
“I can’t. I’m sorry Marsha but I can’t. Not after Aled, Jett and what happened with Adam.” Ocean says.
“I didn’t raise you this way.” Cheryl sighs.
“I’m grown now and you knew I’d have some secrets.” Ocean says.
“Yes. It is just I worry for those boys.” Cheryl says,
“Me too. If there is ever trouble you tell us. Anything you can’t handle we’re here.” Marsha says and Ocean nods.
“See you tomorrow.” Ocean says getting up and hugging them.
“Nice to meet you officially.” Garrett says.
“You two be good to each other.” Cheryl says.
“Why are things so strained with your mom?” Garrett asks on the way back.
“I chose to stay with Gervais when she married and she never got over it. She gave up on someone because of me and my gymnastics. Then she left me anyway and I never got over that, I wish she had gone and been happy up in the mountains with Willow and left me here to train and study and we’d have had a better relationship with proper quality time.” Ocean says.
“What about your dad?” Garrett asks.
“No idea. I used to spend time with his parents and we still email occasionally. I stopped asking about him a million years ago. It sounds stupid but with my big brothers I never felt like I was missing out. Gervais is all the dad I need.” Ocean says.
“That is so cool. People always talk about their friends being the family they chose but you really have created an extended family, who are not just there for Thanksgiving dinner but step in to pay for your room at school, that’s something.” Garrett says.
“Spence, Blue and Gervais paid for my gym classes and kit when I first started. To blow your mind they were our age now when they did that. Good people, really good people.” Ocean says.
“Wow.” Garrett says.
The pair put the groceries away and spend hours in bed just talking. Ocean tells of his unconventional childhood and Garrett Of his more regular one but how he feels he can’t go home now his parents are enjoying retirement and freedom from his early practices.
“Feels like we’re pretty similar in the end.” Ocean says.
“Totally different and totally the same.” Garrett smiles and they snuggle together and sleep.
The next morning, they stretch and workout a little before enjoying each other orally in the shower and getting started on the cooking. Nick and Liberty are out visiting family for the morning. They don’t say much about it so Ocean guesses it means Randolf and his family are passing close by.
Robin arrives mid-morning to help and because he doesn’t want to arrive at dinner alone. Ocean has told Spence he is bringing an extra friend and Spence didn’t ask any more just laughed and said they always know to expect extra and he has a stack of chairs ready.
“I told morn and Marsha a little of your side,” Ocean says.
“He won them round.” Garrett grins, he likes Robin and can’t see how he was ever shunned by Ocean and his friends.
“Thanks, I gave up fighting my corner years ago. I’m taking the gaming job, had a long talk with Brian after you left and he is more than happy for me to work from home after the first few weeks. Less money but it is something and if a game takes off I’m in at the start with a share in the business this time, not just the hired help.” Robin says.
“Good. Be weird when you get access, for the kids.” Garrett says.
“I know and I don’t know how to deal with that. I’d happily take them both but I’m sure Mike and Ella wouldn’t agree.” Robin says.
“Has she asked for maintenance?” Ocean asks.
“No but I have put money aside at the level I think I should have been paying, put in a lump sum to cover before I knew and I add to it each month. So I’m prepared for when she does and if she doesn’t well it’s a college fund or whatever.” Robin says.
“That also works as a record of you not knowing. I mean it isn’t conclusive but it might help.” Garrett says.
“We best get going, I think we’re ready.” Ocean says and they pack everything up.
The trio step in to Spence and Andy’s place and put their food down on the counter. Andy and 0Spence are wrestling with the Turkey.
“So there is more than just dessert.” Garrett says with a grin.
“Can we do anything?” Robin asks.
“What are you doing here? Ocean is this a joke?” Andy asks.
“If we’re not welcome we’ll go now. But I have made cheesecake.” Ocean says.
“Cheesecake doesn’t make up for seven years of being a dick0.” Spence says.
“No but we can start with cheesecake. We’ve all been awful to Robin and he needs us right now.” Ocean says.
“We’ve been awful to him?” Spence says incredulous.
“Yes we have, we used him as a focus for our anger when he was the one who stepped up and ran the business when no one else wanted to. Did a great job too.” Ocean says.
“Ocean its okay, I’ll go.” Robin says.
“We’ll all go.” Garrett says.
“Yeah. I’ll call mom.” Ocean says and grabs their things.
“Stay, all of you should stay and not just because you bought cheesecake.” Andy says.
“Garrett and I will take over in here, you three go and sit down and listen to Robin’s side. Please.” Ocean says.
Spence grabs a bottle of wine and Andy the glasses and looks longingly at the goodies Ocean has brought.
“I’ll bring in some cookies.” Ocean laughs. Andy’s attitude to food has never changed.
“So much tension.” Garrett says.
“Yeah I don’t know how we let it go so wrong.” Ocean says and takes in the cookies.
“You cook so well. I can’t imagine having time for it when you were training full time. My mom made my dinner, even bagged up my lunch for me to take to the gym. I barely did any chores. You’re at college a fully functioning adult.” Garrett says when Ocean comes back.
“My mom didn’t raise me to be useless. I’m not saying yours did. She and the guys did lots for me but I was always expected to be capable of doing things myself.” Ocean says.
“I was pretty indulged, which makes their hands off approach now so difficult.” Garrett says.
“Spence’s parents basically left him when he was a sophomore in high school, and Andy moved in with him. Isn’t that crazy?” Ocean says.
“Wow, totally.” Garrett says.
The pair get on with prepping the veggies Andy has on the side and setting the table.
The three come in all a bit teary and they all hug Ocean.
“We were stupid to let this go for so long.” Andy says shaking his head.
“You believe Robin?” Ocean asks hopeful that his brothers are finally reunited.
“Yes we do. He’s our oldest friend and we know he would never shirt his responsibilities” Spence says.
“And never deny his mom her first grandchild. Man I feel so bad about that. 1 mean 1 know Liberty and Arnold are great at being grandparents but the kid deserves to know Robin’s parents too.” Andy says.
“Yes they do.” Liberty says coming in with Nick. Marsha and Cheryl follow in behind with Gladys, who Andy immediately helps into a chair.
“Something smells good.” Gladys says with a smile.
The bird is soon out and resting and Cheryl quickly organizes them all to get everything finished and on the table. Tad and Ollie arrive with Heidi just as everything is ready.
“Perfect timing.” Heidi says passing over a basket of rolls.
Ollie puts his cakes onto the over laden dessert table and they all sit down together.
“l don’t know how many more gatherings like this I have. I am thankful to you boys that you always invite me and let me take leftovers. Lets raise a glass to those who cannot be here this year.” Gladys says.
They are making a toast as Will comes through, on his own.
“Sorry I’m late, my first few days without my human alarm clocks and I overslept.” Will grins sheepishly.
“They’ve gone?” Ocean asks.
“To their grandparents for the holiday.” Will says and sits down.
“Sorry we forgot you were coming.” Spence says embarrassed.
“Has anyone heard from Larry? He usually shows his face for Thanksgiving, even if he doesn’t for Christmas.” Tad asks.
“He’s gone travelling with Gervais.” Ocean lies easily.
“I’m sure he’ll send a postcard.” Will says helping Ocean out.
“Weird he didn’t tell me.” Tad says.
“Maybe he did.” Ollie says, clearly annoyed with Tad over a different listening to information issue. Tad rolls his eyes.
“Robin is back in the fold?” Tad asks deflecting.
“Its lovely to see him here.” Gladys says firmly, making sure no more is said.
“These eggs are delicious.” Marsha says.
“l can’t believe I’m surrounded by such good cooks. I’ve never seen so many homemade dishes.” Garrett says, aware he’s eating way too much and has some extreme exercise in his future.
“How is your wrist doing?” Will asks.
“Almost better, I’m pretty restricted in what I’m allowed to do right now and I have to wear a support in the gym but I’m hoping for the all clear next week.” Garrett says.
“We will get to what meets we can and we’ll be at winter cup, we have a squad competing.” Spence says.
“Can I train with you guys this summer?” Garrett asks.
“Yes but we need to agree with your college coach first and it might not be the best for you.” Spence says.
“After Ocean was iced out. Yeah. But in theory it isn’t a no?” Garrett asks.
“It isn’t a no.” Will smiles.
“Be pretty cool.” Ocean smiles he loves the idea.
“Someone to push you.” Spence says.
“How was Randolf?” Ocean asks Liberty changing the subject.
“We can’t get anything past you. He’s really well, just passing through. Will he gave me a recommendation of a lawyer for you.” Liberty says and gives the details.
“That’s who I am using.” Robin says.
“Against my daughter?” Liberty asks.
“I don’t see it as against Ella.” Robin says.
“Not at dinner.” Ocean says.
“How long have you two been dating then? If he’s moving here for the summer?” Gladys asks.
“Couple of days.” Garrett grins.
“But we’ve known each other for ages, just not well.” Ocean says.
“We need some young love around here. It’s beautiful.” Gladys says with a smile.
“Yeah this lot are all old and boring.” Ocean grins.
“Sorry we’re late. The little one would not get dressed.” Mike says coming in to a table of open mouthed guests.
“Oh hell I forgot I asked them.” Tad says slapping his forehead.
“Who the fuck invited them?” Ella screeches coming in and seeing Nick and Robin.