Larry, Spence and Chris are working on two cottages at the retreat for the seven of them to use for the next few months. As well as that and overseeing the gym, they are helping Heidi too with rebuilding the kitchen block, adding room for a bakery and they are adding several outdoor cooking options.
Spence is happy to be working on physical projects to keep his mind off everything and he’s pretty surprised at how empathetic Chris is being and how well he is getting on with the two of them. It helps having Heidi and Willow around who are utterly adorable together.
Bea has gone home to her fiancé Macon. She wants a few days to reconnect and get back to work before Chris meets him. She’s even thinking of putting it off until Blue arrives. She’s looking at her relationship with new eyes and is less sure than she was.
“My brother will do the catering for the wedding. He and Heidi want to. They’ll do the cake too. Blue can do an amazing coffee and dark chocolate cake and he suggested maybe a lemon or vanilla layer for those who don’t like chocolate.” Bea says testing the waters.
“We can’t have coffee in a wedding cake. Its our wedding not afternoon tea.” Macon says.
“Coffee and dark chocolate is my favorite type of cake. Even if it is the smallest layer I’m having it.’ Bea says.
“When he gets here we can talk.” Macon says.
“Are you going to reject everything I want?” Bea asks.
“If its stupid, yes. It isn’t like you’re accepting any of my ideas.” Macon says.
“Because it seems you only come up with suggestions to counter mine. You never say oooh yes and how about x to compliment it. It is always a straight no, so I am always on the defensive.” Bea says, she knows she was testing him. She is upset not that he isn’t compromising but that he seems to have no clue about what she likes and doesn’t like. And she expected some special treatment after so long apart.
Bea heads over to the retreat, she wants to talk to Spence anyway and really needs some air. She gets on her bicycle and sets off without letting Macon know she’s going.
“How did you decide on what to serve at your wedding?” Bea asks Spence.
“Andy loves food and I love to see him happy. He knows I love steak and seafood and so a cookout showing off all his veggies and lots of meats and fish suited us. Heidi got kids from her scheme to do most of it and she had a lot of input, including some fancy options so my family felt more comfortable. I let him choose the cake because he loves cake and I knew Ollie would make something tasty.
If Blue had been around sure it might have been a little different, we’d have had cheesecakes for desserts and he would have sorted the intricate canapés that my mother loves. At the end of the day, we could have had horse oats and tap water on the menu and I would have been happy.” Spence says.
“Macon shuts down everything I suggest, everything. From the cake to appetizers. And so of course I say no to anything he counters with. I know it’s a stupid battlefield and I could back down and let him have everything he wants but he keeps suggesting things he knows I don’t like at all. It isn’t going to be some formal sit-down wedding so I don’t see why we can’t be like you and have loads of options. Blue and Chris suggested something informal on the lake shore and it sounded amazing.
Blue has an idea for a cake its based on the sundae he made me for my 21st, all the flavors he knows I love. Blue might be my triplet but we have never spent that much time together, none in seven years and yet he knows exactly what I would love.” Bea says.
“That’s Blue’s talent. When DeShawn first moved in with us he made him some peanut butter protein cookies. He knew exactly what DeShawn would love and he still makes those cookies for himself today. DeShawn actually gets pestered to put his name on commercial ones or to make a cookbook but he always says no, it isn’t his recipe. He always just knows what people will love, not just you.” Spence says.
“Lovely DeShawn, one of the few not to profit off my brother.” Bea says with a small smile.
“Exactly. Though now he’s back DeShawn might suggest that he and Blue go in on a range together. Bea if you have any doubts call the wedding off. You are clearly not happy right now. I know you are adjusting to being properly free and having your brothers back but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trust your instincts. You shouldn’t settle. You are beautiful and so smart and are so loved here, best teacher they ever had. We all adore you for the way you helped Katelyn and for becoming who you are today. You’re not the family misfit anymore and you’re not the raging beeeotch. And quite frankly Macon should have thrown a parade on your return.” Spence says and Bea blushes.
“I’ll never be beautiful but I accept I am pretty kick ass and a catch.” Bea says with a giggle.
“Hey as a gay man I am totally objective here, you are beautiful, you’ve grown into your looks. You carry that height with pride and you have great hair. You are seriously beautiful, you were not at 19 when we met, but you are now.” Spence says.
“Macon still calls me awkward. I can be clumsy.” Bea says and hits herself on the forehead.
“Wow, there are the shades falling from your eyes. Come stay with us if you need to.” Spence says.
“No, he can fuck off out of my house. Invite us both to dinner and send Larry over to change the locks while we’re here. Is that too sneaky? He’s a café shift soon, I am going to pack his stuff. How did momma not warn me?” Bea says angrily.
“Yes, Larry will change the locks. Clara loves it when her kids are in bad relationships, she knows she can swoop in and save the day and take over control when you’re at your most vulnerable. She will push you beyond rock bottom and right over the edge if she can.” Spence says.
“One person to us, Mother Teresa for everyone else. Only taken me a decade to see what Blue went through clearly.” Bea says.
“Now you’ve made up your mind about Macon, why don’t you wait two days for Blue to get here and then introduce him formally to the twins. Just to let him have both barrels from them. It would be so fun. Sorry I shouldn’t turn your break up into a spectator sport.” Spence says embarrassed.
“No, it sounds very, very fun. Especially if Blue brings dessert.” Bea grins.
“Gives you some space too, to get your head round it.” Spence says.
“Thank-you for sorting my life out. I actually came to ask if you would come and coach the kids for an afternoon a week. We have a slightly higher roll than usual and they deserve more than track and yoga. I want them outside having fun.” Bea says.
“l would love to. When the gym is ready we will sort out summer activities for everyone. We’ve space outdoors and in. I will email you all my certificates and insurance details so you’re covered. Can I come in tomorrow and see what equipment you have? If I order some things for the gym and they end up at the school you’ll gratefully accept?” Spence asks.
“Absolutely. Thanks Spence. Most the kids are fit and strong as you know, most of them don’t need more exercise, but they do need more fun.” Bea says.
“l remember how Deke was at 18. You’ve a school full of Dekes and Blues. I can make up some fun drills. You should consider asking Robin and Gervais too, their cheer stunts might actually work with the mixed sizes.” Spence says.
“As long as we don’t call it cheer.” Bea grins and they both laugh knowing how some of the families can be.
“Are you okay? I’m not pushing you to break up just because I want miserable company.” Spence says.
“Blue and Chris hate Macon and they haven’t even met him. Chris is the single biggest influence on my life. You’d have thought Macon would have been straight down here to meet him. I know I haven’t set anything up but wouldn’t you be curious?” Bea asks.
“l would have come down here and met him myself. That Chris has stayed away at your wishes shows how much he has changed.” Spence muses.
“He’s all grown up. Larry is good for him too. Gives him real confidence.” Bea says.
“And Blue is getting better. You three will be okay. We’re all going to be okay.” Spence says.
“Any time you need to talk just call or drop by.” Bea says.
“Thanks. Dinner Friday then?” Spence asks.
“Yes, see you here at 7? As long as they get here tomorrow as expected.” Bea says and Spence nods.
They do arrive late Thursday night, exhausted but happy. Blue insists on going to the lake to skinny0 dip as soon as they arrive. Larry, Spence and Chris are more than up for it and the group drive down, strip off and run into the water together. It is freezing.
“l forgot its barely spring. We keep talking about summer.” Blue says grinning, his teeth chattering.
Larry ever practical gets a fire going on the shore and they huddle round it wrapped in towels.
“Felt good though, washed the cobwebs away.” Spence says.
“I’ve not been home in so long.” Blue says.
“Does it feel like home?” Chris asks.
“Yeah. For you?” Blue asks.
“For sure. This is where we should have grown up together. I always feel so grounded here, all my Paul traits disappear.” Chris says.
“l feel home too. Clara always told me I had a home here. Of course she was just manipulating Blue but I’ve always felt welcome and part of the community here.” Gervais says.
“What’s funny?” Spence asks as Robin laughs.
“Larry’s towel slipped and for once I don’t feel inadequate as the freezing lake has given you all
“Excuse my friend, he is obsessed with cock now he has bottomed.” Blue says.
“Seriously. Congratulations, welcome to the underside.” Spence says.
“With who?” Chris asks.
“Blue, then Gervais, then me. He’s a greedy one.” Will says with a smile.
“We’re having a dinner to meet Bea’s man tomorrow. I think it should be a party for Robin. Blue you have to come up with a funny cake.” Chris says with a grin.
“l think I can do that. Wait am I cooking?” Blue asks.
“You’re on dessert duty, if that’s okay. You guys certainly brought enough food with you,” Chris says.
“Some of it is for Willow, Heidi and Roe.” Blue says.
“We brought all those crabs we have on ice. I’ll fry them up for appetizers.” Gervais says.
“Oh yeah.” Spence says.
“And Larry told me about the outdoor ovens so pizzas it is.” Robin says.
“You guys are awesome.” Chris grins.
“How did I end up with the one of you who doesn’t cook?” Larry asks with a grin.
“My cute face. In more news, I am starting work on Monday with the vet, same guy as years ago.” Chris says.
“All the more reason to celebrate. You get to choose a dessert too.” Blue says.
“Bro I have never, ever disliked any dessert from you ever. Make what makes you happy. And something chocolate and Coffee for Bea.” Chris says.
“l have been thinking of a special cheesecake to celebrate her engagement and I am itching to get started on it. Chris have you been home?” Blue asks.
“Nah bro. I’m kinda creeped out.” Chris says.
“Come with me tomorrow. I want to see what we can harvest and check on the animals. I need to find out who has been taking care of them, I am sure someone has, but they’ll probably need a good clean out.” Blue says.
“l think Willow has been taking care of them.” Larry says.
“Oh that makes it easy then.” Blue says.
“I’ll come with you, it won’t be so bad with us both.” Chris says.
“Thanks. We might use the kitchen there, to keep out of Willow and Heidi’s hair.” Blue says.
“I’ll come and help clean up. Clara has been gone a while.” Robin says and Blue beams.
They chat late into the night, happy to be all back together and enjoying the night air. They’re all feeling happy, positive about the future and comfortable to be around friends.
“So am I sharing with you?” Robin asks on the walk back to the cottages.
“Don’t why not,” Spence grins,
“Are you worried about anything getting back to Andy?” Robin asks.
“l already filled.” Spence says,
“Wow, I have you spoken to him?” Robin asks,
“l don’t intend to. Seeing him with Nick was beyond painful and killed any goodwill him, I could have come back and said I was ready to try again and he wouldn’t have cared, already on to something new,” Spence says shaking his head.
“It is his loss. He’s my oldest friend and he will be totally lost without you. Marrying you was the best thing he did.” Robin says.
“Well my next husband will be better.” Spence says absolutely sure he will find someone to share his life with.
“No need to rush.” Robin says.
“l know, I am going to enjoy the next few months up here. Total me time. No men worries.” Spence says.
“You are in a lot better place than your previous breakups.” Robin says.
“l really am. It’s easy to have some perspective when I look at the triplets and all they have been through. I didn’t like Andy any more, I loved him but I didn’t like the man he had become. I’m moving on not losing something.” Spence says.
“I’m glad. You will find someone. How could you not?” Robin says.
“Come on, lets go warm each other up.” Spence grins.
“Like at that wrestling comp.” Robin grins.
“l think we can do better.” Spence says flashing his beautiful smile.
The next morning Willow is relieved that Blue and Chris are taking over goat and chicken duty. They head down to the house and clean out the animals, milk the goats and collect eggs. They head into the kitchen to wash off and clean it up.
“Boys?” Clara says.
“Momma?” The twins say together.
“How can I ever tell you apart now?” Clara asks with a laugh, throwing her arms around them both.