In this chapter: David begins his extra-curricular classes, learning the violin, this is to find that his teacher is Edward. Also, a fire occurs at the school, both David and Edward ending up as casualties. David celebrates his birthday which ends in a rather sticky situation.
Two nights before they were due to switch rooms on the weekend, Edgar was released from hospital, and so for the protection of everyone, Edward had to crash in David and George’s room for the time being. Because there were no sleeping bags available, Edward and David agreed to share a bed, which remained discreet between the three students and Miss Howard. By now, David had been a student at Hounslow for nearly a week, and providing that Edward was still there, his behaviour had calmed down a little, and his eating habits were showing signs of improvement. The former remained until the Friday night.
The Friday in general had provided one surprise. As part of the extracurricular course, each student has to take on an extracurricular activity, and David chose to learn the violin, where he would be performing on Parents’ Night. He already knew the basics to the violin, but if he was to do well, then there was work to be completed. What he didn’t expect was to find Edward as his teacher. By the description Mr Garrison had given him that morning when he attended his office, he knew that the teacher was young – a student to be exact – and male by the sound of his voice when David knocked on the door to the music study room that morning, commanding David to enter. David remained patient but itching to find out who his teacher was that midmorning, walking in to find Edward preparing his station. David gasped as he dropped his case in shock, lucky that the violin was protected. Ed continued to prepare his station, acknowledging David was there as he moved around the room as if things were perfectly normal. Finishing off, he turned to David and threw him a smile. “Morning Dave.”
As Edward and David were the only ones in the room, David began to question him. “Ed, are you practising with me and where’s the tutor?”
“Here,” Ed replied, pointing to himself with a wild grin. David was still bewildered. “You can’t be serious?”
“I am. I’m the tutor. I’m going to be teaching you.”
“They never told me that. Garrison said to me this morning that my teacher was to be young and that he was a student. I didn’t think he actually meant one who goes here and that I know of and get on really well with.”
“So you’re pleased then?”
“I’m over the moon. If I’d of known sooner I’d of got here ridiculously early.”
Edward grinned and picked up David’s case, preparing his station up. David came away from the door to help out. “He wouldn’t have mentioned my name. It’s the first time I’ll be performing as well as tutoring, and he probably thought of the smile on your face when you found out.”
“How come you’ve never performed before? I’d of thought if you were that good you’d of have least performed?”
“Back on that parents’ night when I found out about my parents death, I was supposed to perform my first composition. They of course never got to hear it, and since then, I’ve never had the guts to return to performing, so I’m pulling myself together and performing this year, as a tribute to them.”
“That’s amazing! You compose and you tutor others, well, me.”
“Hey! I’m not the school’s prodigy for nothing, and best of all, I’m teaching the best student I know of.”
David grinned before reaching his arms out. “Come here you sod!” Edward slid off the table to cross the room and hug David, and then grabbed his hand to guide him over to their station, closing the door behind him, letting the hour session slip away.
During that evening just after dinner, George was watching life from the window when he saw smoke coming from the woodland area. George never took particular notice to things before but he needed air from the stuffiness of the room, and the smell of smoke caught his attention, not mentioning the clear scene. David was practising the first composition he had been given on the violin, and Edward was at his thinking spot, needing some time to calm down after a disruption at the dinner table, David also getting involved, but was using the violin to calm himself down.
“Dave, I can see smoke. There’s burning going on towards the fields.” David immediately stopped playing and turned to George, meeting him at the window, voice growing with concern. “What?”
George pointed in the direction of the back end of the school. “Look, from the woodland.” David looked out, where he saw the flames and rising smoke, and had an idea that Edward was in danger. Only David knew about Edward’s sanctuary, and began to panic.
David dropped his violin and bow onto his bed, careful to knock over his stand. “Oh shit! George, report the fire to Miss Howard and get her to phone for the fire brigade. Get everyone out of the buildings.” David shoved his trainers on and made a dash for the door.
George went to the other side of the room to grab his trainers. “Where are you going? You better help out.”
“I am. I’m going to save Ed.”
Dropping the shoe, George was astounded. “What?”
“That’s where Ed’s gone. Where he goes to clear his mind. Don’t you dare tell anyone else about it or he’ll kill me. I’m sorry but there’s no way I’m letting him die.”
“Shit! Your secret is safe with me, now go!” As David made a run for it, George done the laces up on his final trainer and sprinted out of their room to the top of the landing. At the top of the stairs was a fire alarm. To allow the alarm to go off, he needed to smash the glass. Finding a sharp object nearby, he smashed the glass, the alarm blaring as the other students came out onto the landing, some at the bottom of the stairs. Miss Howard was soon nearby. “George Crofts! What do you think you’re doing? You know that’s only used in emergencies!”
“Fire Miss. There’s a fire coming from the back of the fields.” Miss Howard followed an erratic George back to his room, where he pointed out the smoke to her from the window. Noticing the fumes, she returned to the landing, searching for everyone. “Everyone get out onto the tennis courts. Fire!”
Managing to dodge the household and breaking the rules, David distanced himself from the boarding school houses and sprinted across the fields at great speed, the fire much ablaze, ripping through the woodland. David shouted for Ed at the top of his lungs as he trekked through the woodland, searching for his friend.
Having the entire school population out onto the tennis courts, the students got into their form groups as Miss Howard and the others collected their registers and began a routine check, making sure that all their students were safe. Noticing David was missing in the line, she called for attention. “Has anyone seen David Chamberlain?”
“Where is Edward McArthur?” George wasn’t going to see two lives lost, and raised his hand for attention. “David went looking for Edward, who likes to have a stroll now and again. He went towards the woodland.”
Edgar was also in line, perfectly hearing everything that was going on. He was about to mention that they were going to the woodland for intimate moments, knowing that they would have no success in attempting to share moments inside school, but before he could say anything, the student behind him kicked him and told him to keep his mouth shut.
“Oh bloody hell.”
As they were beginning the search, and the fire fighters were turning the hoses on to put out the fire, David was still searching for Edward. The smoke caused David to crouch and crawl on his hands and knees for purer air. Taking a few steps forward, his right thigh prodded into something. Edward was on his way out when David shook him. “Ed!”
No answer. Feeling the tears coming down his face, but knowing for the sake of both of their lives they needed to get out of the woodland quickly, David pecked Edward’s lips without thinking, uttering words as he sobbed. “Don’t you dare die on me now you little sod!” He managed to pick him up and retreat back to the tennis courts, arms and knees almost giving out from the weight of Edward, the weakness of his arms and legs, and the smoke filling his lungs. Both of their form tutors weren’t easily impressed when they returned, regarding David’s heroic action.
Edward’s form tutor, Mr Lewis, rushed to the pair when they came into near distance. “Where have you two been?” Edgar was about to open his mouth, but a student in front of him kicked him, muttering. “Keep your mouth shut.”
Mr Lewis turned to the other three. “Pack it in you three!”
“He needs oxygen!” David choked out as he gently placed Edward down onto the grass, knees buckling as he went down as well, completely exhausted from carrying them both. The students clapped for David’s actions.
“Good work Chamberlain,” Garrison had noted. David passed out. “Now we need oxygen for both! Quickly!”
Lucky enough there was an ambulance nearby just in case of casualties, which rode off with Edward and David inside it. Dismissing the students, the teachers went their own way. Mr Lewis, Miss Howard and Mr Sachs, the deputy head, were concerned over the cause of the fire and Edward.
Mr Garrison continued back to the main building, where Mr Lewis caught up with him. “Andrew, Andrew?”
Garrison turned around to find Mr Lewis behind him, Miss Howard and Mr Sachs soon catching up. “Alex, Grace, Martin, what can I do for you?”
“Andrew, I’m a little suspicious of the fire. It’s likely that someone deliberately started the fire.”
“Edward probably caused it doing one of his science experiments?”
“In this weather, Andrew, have you lost your mind?”
“Grace you of all people should know what he’s like.”
“I know he’s a keen scientist and yes he accidentally almost blew the lab up last week from one of his experiments, but David brought him back unconscious. He’s got injuries.”
“Well, they can have side effects.”
“Andrew, what we’re trying to say is, if we may speak freely, that it’s best to check the CCTV cameras. If we find that during the time that Edward went down to the woodland that there was no one, then fair enough, you have your word. But if we find someone else down there, well then it leads to further questioning.”
“It was probably a wild fire then.”
“At this time of year? It’s too cold and damp for that to happen. Look, we had these cameras installed for a reason.”
“As long as I’m charge, we don’t need to check them, unless we have a burglary. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some rather important things to be getting on with. Once McArthur’s back from the hospital, I’m giving him a warning, which includes no more experiments. He’s on rather thin ice at the moment.”
Inside the hospital, Edward was recovering from the fumes as he awoke in a hospital room finding David next to him, an expression of relief on his face. Eyeing the room, the curtains were shut and the main lights were off, meaning that it was sometime during the night. Edward also noticed that David’s hand was gently caressing Edward’s left wrist. Bandages were covering the few burns that Edward had on his face and arms. From hearing movements, David woke up, Edward groggily asking David questions. “Where am I and what time is it?”
“Ssh, it’s okay. It’s night time and you’re in the hospital.”
“How did I get here? All I remember was smoke, burning and someone knocking me out.” David got up from his chair and poured a cup of water for Edward, David helping Edward hold the cup with his weak hand, Edward managing a few sips.
Dropping the cup on the table, David went to Edward’s hair. He was a little warm and he brushed back the strands of hair that was covering his face. “I don’t know about the beating up, but I collapsed myself, and here we are.”
Edward coughed, flinching in pain. “You, your bravery and your strong arms saved my life.”
“Sort of. It was George who noticed the fire, and then as soon as he pointed it out to me, I shoved my trainers on and came running from you.”
“Thank you.” Edward attempted to raise himself with his elbows so that he was sitting up, but only got partially up, David holding onto him to give him support. Edward placed a hand to David’s face and stroked his cheek, Edward becoming teary. “You’re hurt. You’ve suffered from burns and you collapsed. You could have died out there because of me. They have attended to you properly haven’t they?”
“Shh my petal, I’m fine. Never mind about me, saving you was more important.” David placed a finger to Edward’s lips – Edward having the urge to kiss his forefinger – the other hand going onto Edward’s back as he gently lowered him back down onto the bed, David going back to stroking his bed head curls. “Now you get some rest.”
“And you.” With Edward trying to force himself up, David lowered himself so Edward didn’t have as far to reach. He tangled his arms around him, embracing him as he kissed David’s forehead. “Thank you.” David planted one in return. He then pulled the chair forward and sank into it, trying to get some rest, their fingers knitting together.
Due to an extraordinary rapid recovery thanks to the oxygen mask and lots of rest, Edward was discharged the morning after but needed to take it easy. They went shopping in the town on the afternoon, taking it easy.
The whole intention of the shopping trip on the afternoon was for David to get some new clothing for the winter, and for Edward and George to get David a present for his 16th Birthday. Because George was able to catch the morning bus into town, and that due to the events from the night before where David and Edward were still in the hospital, Miss Howard dropped them off in her car to the main high street to complete their shopping. She then carried on through the town to Sainsbury’s to fetch the weekly groceries, including the ingredients to make David a birthday cake. Whilst shopping, she made that she bought enough pasta, as that was the one thing that she could guarantee David eating.
In the town there was a small clothes shop, and inside the one thing that David admired the most was a violet woolly jumper. The material was soft enough to snuggle in on a cold day or night; the only problem was the jumper being too expensive. Knowing that David couldn’t afford the jumper, and that David had to settle for the cream one, feeling a little disappointed, Edward went and bought it himself along with a few other items for the months ahead.
Today was David’s birthday, where he turned 16. He was first greeted that morning with a present from Edward. As the clock turned 7am, David could hear the alarm go off, Edward not bothering to reset it for a different time, now being the weekend. He then heard Edward get out of his bed and then fumbling in the closest that they shared. David whined as he tossed and turned in his bed, hearing items in the closest being rearranged. “Ed, it’s too early. Can’t we sleep?”
David didn’t realise that Edward was not only collecting his clothes to change into but also David’s present. Knowing it would wake him up, Edward dropped his clothes onto his bed before he crawled onto David’s and parked his legs either side of David’s body, the duvet separating the both. His fingers elegantly traced David’s neck as he stroked down his neck to where the duvet was, and began to pull it away.
“Too early!” David pulled the end of the duvet towards him whilst raising his hips to try and get Edward off him. Instead Edward tickled him, knowing where he was most ticklish, David giggling, now near enough awake. Edward leaned down so that his lips were millimetres apart from David’s right ear as he nosed the shell. “Wake up my sleeping beauty.”
David’s eyes fluttered as they opened, a smirk on his face to go with his bed hair, eyes directly on Edward. “What did you call me?”
Edward tried to hold his laughter. “Nothing.”
“That’s what I thought. Now sold off, it’s only early morning and it’s Saturday. Can’t we have a lie in?” David closed his eyes, shuffling so he could get comfy, pulling the duvet back so Edward could slip in as he closed the duvet around them. Allowing him to get comfy – David’s present on the floor for the time being – Edward leant down and grinned. “No, big day ahead of us.”
Returning to the ear, Edward started whispering sweet things about his birthday and how they were going to spend it, and that caused David to fully wake, his eyes crinkling from the extreme beaming.
“Morning you lazy sod.”
Another smirk appeared. “Lazy, we’ll I’ll just break some rules then and get myself expelled…”
A hand went straight to Edward’s chest as Edward gasped, imitating shock. “You dare leave me here all alone.” Edward grabbed the present from off the floor and placed it on David’s chest.
“I’m only kidding. I wouldn’t leave you, as I said I wouldn’t. And if I get expelled, then I’d take you with me and we’d live in my house.” David eyed the present. “Anyway, I thought I was opening presents later on?”
“You are. After dinner, but I want you to open mine now, and then it’s the shower, getting dressed and breakfast, and then I’m taking you out.”
David really needed to stop smirking. “Like on a date? Aww, you really know how to treat a man.”
“Shut up,” Edward beamed as he ruffled David’s bed hair and David eyed the parcel. “Now open.”
Unlike with the journal, David tore off the paper as if he were five and found it to be the jumper he wanted. Hysteric, he threw himself to clasp Edward in his arms and kissed his temple, Edward laughing with joy. “I bloody love you. Lean back down so I can kiss you.”
“Erm, how about a hug?”
“Works for me.” David set the jumper aside near the bed before pulling Edward back down on him, fingertips tracing near his neck and cheek and the other hand trailing near his arse as David quickly kissed Edward’s forehead and cheek. Then they shared a long embrace, for some reason whispering sweet things to each other as their hands roamed around each other. What they weren’t expecting was for George to walk in on them announcing breakfast. George opened the door to mention, “Guys, breakfast is…” and then sees them snuggling, limbs interconnecting as he threw “okay, never mind” on his way out.
That led George to ask David about whether they were together or not at the dining table later that morning as they were finishing off breakfast. Edward had gone to help Miss Howard clear up before grabbing his wallet from upstairs as George turned to David, noticing David being fussy with his cereal, the bowl half empty and a half-eaten slice of toast on the plate George smiled as a hand went to David’s shoulder, David taking his eyes off the bowl and towards George. “I’m guessing he’s taking you out today since he’s in such a rush?”
David nodded. “Yeah, we’re going into the town for the day.”
“Practically a date then?”
“We’re not dating.”
“It seemed like it this morning when I walked in on you two.”
David let the spoon fall back into the dish with a clang; milk splashing on the tablecloth as both hands went straight to his own hair, David cursing himself. “Shit! You saw that?”
“Yeah. I came to announce breakfast but you pair were busy being all lovey-dovey so I left you alone.”
“It’s not being all lovey-dovey…” George glared at him, George not fooled for. “It’s just that we were snuggling because he bought me the jumper I was after last week for my birthday. It was a way of saying thank you.”
George reduced his tone to a whisper. “Yeah, sure thing. I didn’t know saying thank you meant both of you under the duvet feeling each other up practically naked.” David went beet red from George’s words, trying not to cough and make things look obvious. He knew it was far more than that and because he was stepping on shaky grounds, so he worded the question to the best he could. “Okay, so if you’re not dating then do you like him? If you don’t then that’s fine, but if you do, well then I support you. I’ll support you on whatever decision you make?”
David thought a little about it, but no one had ever come up with the question, as most kept themselves out of the picture, so an honest reply came from David, as minus Edward, George was the only one he could trust. “I don’t know. He’s attractive by all means but I don’t know whether I’m in love with him or not.”
“Okay, this should define it. Have you ever come into contact before?” David was puzzled and gazed at George in question, wanting a more straightforward question. “Contact?”
“Yeah like, has he ever touched you in a close way? Like skin on skin that was meant to be friendly that could mean something more?”
A little awkward to be on speaking terms at normal level, David reduced his tone to a murmur. “Erm, I don’t know if this counts but he touched me a few weeks ago, accidentally of course. I was getting changed out of my uniform and my t-shirt got stuck when he walked in on me. Of course he apologised. Because I was in a muddle, I asked him to unravel it for me. He undone the knots and then pulled it down on me, his knuckles running down my sides.”
“And did you feel as if your stomach was flipping over, your blood boiling, your pulse quicken, eyes misty as if you’d gone weak and was about to faint.”
“Yes, but that was one time.”
“No matter. I’m saying this because you both deserve someone and you pair are perfect for each other. From what I can see he also likes you.”
David chuckled, knowing this wasn’t true. “No he doesn’t.”
“Yes he does. The way his eyes slowly rake over you, scanning every inch if you in when you don’t notice. When he tries to avoid your gaze when you directly speak to each other because he’s afraid you’ll see his true feelings. The way he always talks about you all the time, and that touch was intentional, he wanted to do that, he desired to. Did you feel him startle a little when he made contact?”
“A whimper came from him.”
“He liked it then and he wants more. He wants more but he’s afraid to admit it.” Whilst George was going through Edward’s hidden motives, David blurted out something Edward has told him. “He mentioned that I’m beautiful.”
A hand went to David’s shoulder. “Well there you go then. Ask him out!”
“You know we’re not allowed to date! School rules. What if we were kissing and suddenly someone noticed us? We’re just about lucky that we have locks on our doors.”
“Do what I do. Date in secret.”
“You’re dating Lisa from St Anne’s. It’s fine for you. It’s not fine when you constantly see each other and live together, and more importantly, it involves two lads. I’m not saying that I won’t because it’s unnatural. I kissed my friend Jason before I came here – long story, he’s dating a woman for crying out loud and I absolutely loved snogging him. It’s just that it doesn’t help when you’ve got Garrison and co. preaching about god and all that left, right and centre.”
“Well at least declare your love for him instead of hiding it.” George left David to finish up eating breakfast. David had managed to eat the slice of toast, but had left the cereal. Edward came in to collect dishes up and saw David’s half-full bowl, and sent David a commanding look to make sure that David finished all of the cereal or they weren’t going out. “No empty bowl, no town.”
“No buts Dave. I want to see it all gone, remember, you look fantastic and I’m going to sit here until you’ve eaten it all and at your rate we’re going to miss the bus.” The bowl was soon empty.
Edward and David took the early bus into town, where Edward took David to this fancy restaurant for lunch, where they sold all types of food. As they walked in, Edward asking for a table for two, at first the waiter thought they were just friends, but from the way they kept glancing at each other when he provided the menu, he took the candle from the table and lit it. Placing it back on the table, he eyed the two lads. “It makes things more romantic.”
A few people were already in the restaurant – people on lunch dates, a family gathering, some elderly women meeting up in the town having tea with scones, some continued on with their own business, some customers giving them filthy looks. So to annoy the ones giving them the looks even further, they pretended to be an actual couple, hands knitted, feet nudging each other under the table as they dined, feeding each other bits of their food and chaste kisses being passed to one another as they dined in the booth seats towards the back of the restaurant. Not that they meant anything – although the both wished it did.
As they were leaving the restaurant and paying for the food and drink, David went to take his wallet out. Edward noticed his game, and argued with his friend.
“Put your wallet away.”
“No buts, I’m paying. It’s your birthday so today I’m paying.”
“You’ve already given me a birthday today.”
“And now I’m giving you another one. It’s my treat and you deserve to be treated.” The waiter noticed the bickering and thought to himself ‘aww, young love.’ More filthy remarks came along, but they just shrugged them off.
Leaving the restaurant with some very unhappy faces, Edward led David out of the restaurant hand in hand, their faces crimson from the giggling they held in until they were outside. Once outside and away from the shop window going back towards the bus stop, they doubled over in laughter, holding onto each other and the wall for support.
“Did you the ladies’ faces? They were probably like that with their men at our age.”
“Bless them, they need to come to terms with modern society.”
“They actually thought that we’re dating!” David snorted as he leant against the wall in the town centre. Edward closed him in, whispering in his ear as a hand rested on David’s bicep and his fingers from the other hand curling around David’s neck, stroking the hairs at the back. “Would you like us to be a couple?”
David froze, remembering the conversation from earlier between him and George, but never knew how to respond, and never got to respond. Edward checked his watch and found they needed to head back to Hounslow. “Come on or we’re going to miss the bus,” and grabbed David’s hand, tugging him along in the direction of the bus station. Meanwhile, George and the others prepared a small party for David when he returned, and Miss Howard baked a cake, the cake loaded with blue icing and 16 candles decorating the top.
After dining on the night with a small buffet and a slice of cake with everyone singing happy birthday to him, David undone his presents, this time David not resisting the cake. He received some stationery from Miss Howard and the Twister board game from George, which came in handy. Miss Howard also praised David for actually eating the entire slice as well as that his eating habits were also improving, David looking a little less skinnier than when he first arrived. On the other hand, the comments made David feel he was repulsive, as he’d put on weight, even if Edward had given him soothing comments for his praise.
When everyone had departed the table and had gone to their own rooms for an hour of free time before bed, David quickly wrote his last few entries of his journal and got out the game, carefully putting away his sacred jumper in the closest. They were half dressed – just leaving their jeans on when they played the game that night, and both of them were urging to steal glances from each other, making sure it was invisible to the other.
Getting out the spinner, David started out with left foot blue, Edward landing on left hand yellow. Within about 10 minutes, they were tangled up, as Edward strained for the spinner to make the next move. Straining, David was on his way to giving up. “I can’t reach it. You try.”
“I can’t. I’m stuck between you.” Both tried to shift so that they were in a more comfortable position, their efforts hopeless as their bodies continued to graze each other, both of them furiously blushing from the contact.
“You know this is really uncomfortable.” Not that the fact that they were blushing, but their current positions were uncomfortable to get out of. Edward used his sarcastic tone. “Considering the positions we’re in yeah it’s uncomfortable.”
Edward’s heartbeat quickened. “Yeah.”
“It’s a draw then.”
“Better put this thing away then.” Trying to untangle themselves now that the game was over and not bothering to ask anyone for help, both of them slipped on the mat in their socks – Edward on top of David – where they ended up falling on top of another, their noses bumping, making them notice each other and just how close they were, and what they were intending to seek.
“Sorry,” David muttered, both wincing a little from how they landed.
Edward noticed that they were chest to chest; their torsos naked as his voice came rough and hoarse. “Don’t be.” As Edward was mesmerised by David’s beauty, he began stroking fingers down David’s chest, feeling the contact the skin and shivering from the contact, David’s voice hitching in response, which Edward took as a welcoming signal.
“Ed, what are you… mmpph.” David tried to protect as Edward leant down, his lips coming into contact with David’s as he briefly kissed them. David’s lips slightly moved as Edward went deeper, David at first responding to the kiss, a hand snaking around Edward’s neck to pull him closer as the kisses got deeper, but when thinking about Jason at home and just how little time it had been and who could be listening on the other side, he pulled away.
“Something wrong? I’m so sorry if I’ve done wrong. I thought though it was more?”
“It’s… I don’t know. It’s not your fault though. It’s my own.”
“You don’t know.”
“So you don’t want to date me, in regards to my unanswered question?”
“I…I just don’t know at the moment okay. I need a little time to think.” David nudged Edward with his knee as to get up so he could help tidy up, the knee sending Edward crimson. David would not speak of this until about a week later. David did find Edward incredibly attractive, but a voice inside his head kept on saying that couples weren’t allowed here and that someone will find out, as well as his self-conscience caring about how much weight he’s put on and how unattractive he is.