“Are you stalking Will now?” Blue asks as he sees Ocean on the shore.
“I just came out for some air. You two are such fucking liars.” Ocean shouts.
“Gervais and I broke up because of me. Just me. I have too much baggage, too many hang ups, need too much work to be the boyfriend Gervais deserves. I was holding him back. I asked for a break to get myself together, so I could be better for him but he didn’t want that. I tried my very best but it wasn’t enough. I’m not good enough for Will either. He doesn’t want me and a hug at lunch is the most I’ll ever get from him. You’ve no fight with Will, he’s just looking out for me. If that is too much for you then I’ll leave tomorrow. It won’t make any difference to me and Gervais, we’re over for good, that was his choice.” Blue says.
“You can try again.” Ocean says.
“I can’t live at the farm, I just can’t. Gervais doesn’t want to live at my place by the lake. Someone would lose and resent the other. This way is better, cleaner, he can find someone who is everything he needs, who loves him more than enough.” Blue says, tears streaming down his face at the realisation of the life ahead without Gervais or Will. A life alone.
“You’re just a coward.” Ocean shouts and leaves.
Will shakes his head and wraps Blue up in a blanket and tries to calm him.
“I have to leave. I’ll had back tomorrow.” Blue says.
“You don’t have to. But it might make things easier. You don’t need this level of stress. I never thought Ocean would turn on you. Man if he had any idea of the stunts Gervais has pulled, he’d never be on his side.” Will says.
“Yes he would. Gervais gave him a home and stability.” Blue says.
“You created the home for both of them. Give yourself some damn credit.” Will says.
Blue’s sobs subside and he dresses and heads home.
“What are you doing here?” Spence asks Ocean the next morning in the gym.
“What?” Ocean asks confused.
“I’ve not had an apology, Will hasn’t had an apology. You might wish yesterday had never happened but it did. So man up or go home.” Spence says.
“I’m sorry for being a dick yesterday and I’m sorry for being unsafe.” Ocean mumbles looking vaguely from Spence to Will.
“Just don’t do it again. Goes for all of you, respect and safety come first in the gym just like any other.” Will says and all the guys nod.
“We’re coming too bro. We’ll take two cars but we’ll stop loads together.” Chris says bounding in to the house during breakfast.
“Because we have great news.” Larry says nudging Chris.
“I’m in. I get to be a vet, or try to.” Chris says the pride brimming out of him.
“Congratulations. Oh I am so proud of you, look how far you have come. Are you sure you can’t all stay and celebrate?” Clara asks.
“I need to get back, I want to study and be super ready to go when I get there. Sorry momma, lets make this a celebratory breakfast.” Chris says.
“I’ll call Bea. Congrats little bro.” Blue says squeezing the life out of Chris.
The family are soon tucking in to pancakes and eggs, with Sunny trying to move from person to person for his portion.
“Take care of yourself. I’ll visit as soon as Chris and Larry are settled.” Clara says when it comes to leaving time.
“Me too, though I want to stay at the hotel and get all the spa treatments.” Bea grins.
“Come any time. Both of you. I’m going to miss you.” Blue says.
“You’re going to be okay. There is better out there for both of us.” Bea says hugging Blue.
“There better be. Chris can’t be the only one married and fat.” Blue grins.
“Right.” Bea laughs.
The guys get back eventually. Sunny is happy to be home and runs around in mad circles. Andy hasn’t turned the place into a sex den but the possibility is still there when Deke arrives a couple of days later.
“Uh ever since I found out you were divorced I couldn’t get you out of my head.” Deke says sad on Blue’s deck, the other three are out with Sunny.
“It’s good to see you.” Andy says honestly, he always enjoyed spending time with Deke.
“Seems a bit crowded here. I’m teaching here next semester. Blue and Spence said I can have a room at the hotel. It would be good if we could have a beneficial arrangement.” Deke grins.
“Chris, Larry and I move up to the farm next week. Spence and I have sold our place, Robin and Birch have bought it, they will lease the land to someone, probably Tad and Mike. I’m going to work with Larry until somewhere comes up for me here. We’re going to have a weekly market at the hotel, Sundays. So I’ll be around.” Andy says rubbing Deke’s thigh.
“Spence and Wyatt are pretty great together. That must sting.” Deke says.
“It does. It fucking kills. But I accept that he’s set me free. I love him and I would be happy to be with him forever, if I could have a few flings on the side. I can’t be fully monogamous, I was for several years but I cracked when things got rough.” Andy shrugs.
“But you lived the dream for a while, own business, hot husband.” Deke says.
“On a farm which you never wanted.” Andy laughs.
“The city is hard. I mean it was okay in college but tough after. I thought you guys were mad living in each other’s pockets but I was jealous as hell too. I can’t believe I’ve ended up with a bunch of you.” Deke grins.
“And we’ve left the dramaqueens behind. Spence and Wyatt are cool. Chris is totally changed, he and Larry are awesome together. And Blue is still Blue, sweetest guy in the universe, no clue how amazing he is and utterly broken.” Andy says.
“I didn’t really see him at home but mom mentioned he didn’t look well. Said his cooking was still amazing. She managed to somehow snag a tray of brownies and froze them. Amazing.” Deke says.
“Worst thing is, he is a lot better than he was a year ago. He’s gaining weight and can hold a conversation now. And he loves that dog.” Andy grins.
“You two together?” Blue asks as he gets back.
“We’re discussing terms.” Andy grins.
“Well that will stop you trying to jump me all the time.” Blue grins.
“Is it okay if I crash for a few days?” Deke asks.
“There really isn’t the space. I can give you a tent and sleeping bag.” Blue says.
“That sounds great.” Deke grins and Blue smiles back.
“We get our place end of the week. If you help us move you can have a room until the hotel is ready.” Larry says.
“Cool. I’m happy to work the land too. I kind of miss farming. I think it was just my brothers that made it hell.” Deke says.
“Assholes. I love your sister though, she’s awesome.” Larry says.
“She is a spitfire.” Deke grins.
Chris surveys the scene and worries. Having Andy around has been good for Blue, they’ve been having fun. With Deke arriving that makes Blue the odd one out again. Chris knows Blue is a lot better than he was and getting better day by day. But he is alone.
Blue misses Will and Gervais. Andy is great but Blue misses having someone to talk to that doesn’t need filling in on the gaps. Every day he thinks about calling but doesn’t pick up the phone. He isn’t sure Gervais would answer and Will is in the gym long hours. He calls Blue a couple of times a week and Blue makes do with that. He talks to Spence every few days but contact with Robin has fallen away.
Andy and Deke move up to the farm with Larry and Chris and Blue visits often but feels himself detaching.
In mid July the whole group meet up to watch Ocean, Garrett and the others compete at nationals. Spence has bought a big block of seats for everyone.
“Wow I can’t believe so many people from home are here.” Blue says as he takes his seat.
“I’m combining it with college visits for all the high school aged kids, and almost every other kid is here with their family. The gymnasts have been a great source of interest all summer.” Bea says.
“That’s so clever to combine with college tours. You’re expanding their world. I wish I’d had a teacher like you.” Blue grins.
Blue goes to get some drinks and snacks before the competition starts and finds he’s sat next to Gervais when he gets back.
“Ocean doesn’t want you here.” Gervais says without even saying hello.
“I’m here to support Spence and Will.” Blue says quietly.
“Leave. Please just go. This isn’t about Will and Spence, it is about Ocean and him having the best possible environment to do well.” Gervais says.
“Okay.” Blue says a little choked up. He gets up, passes the food and drink to Bea, claims a headache and leaves.
Clara comes in and sits next to Gervais.
“You okay?” She asks.
“I just miss him when everyone is here.” Gervais says.
“Me too.” Clara says. She’s been standing at the back, pretending the empty seat next to Gervais was filled by her son. Making up conversations that he might have had.
“He would have been so proud.” Gervais says.
“Yes he would. Of all of you. Thank you so much for including me.” Clara says. Looking round at the group of friends Blue amassed in his short life. If only she could have stopped him jumping from that roof.