Finding the Perfect Companion: Chapter Eight

In this chapter: Jason makes a visit to Berkshire and visits Hounslow, wanting David back in his life to find that David is dating Edward. Hounslow are in the finals which an interview is given afterwards, causing their relationship to put in jeopardy. Mr Garrison sends Edward to Wyckham House.

26th October

For the remainder of the evening, Edward and David were kept fully apart, making sure that they focused on their dances and partners. Unlike most weekends, this one remained unusually quiet; George knowing that something had happened that involved the pair. Edward concentrated on his assignments, whilst Jason came up from London to meet David. Whilst David was out, George kept Edward company, the pair now friends. Instead of taking Jason to the fancy restaurant that Edward had taken David out to on his birthday, they grabbed some fish and chips from the chippy and went to the park, eating them on the bench.

As David opened up his half, passing the bag to Jason to retain his portion, Jason noticed the many changes that had gone through David. Firstly the fish and chip portion was much larger than what David ever ate. Secondly, although David had gone taller, he’d also put on weight but in muscle from the training, as well as weight in general.

“You’ve changed. You never mentioned about those posh people in any of your letters.”

“That’s because I only met ridiculously posh people on my first day. I’ve made two friends. George who’s up from Ludlow, pretty common even though over the years his accent has changed. He’s in a band and he’s performing tonight at the coffee bar. We should go and watch him.”

“What type of music does he prefer?”

“Rock bands of the 70s and 80s. He plays hard rock music though.”

“Hmm, we’ll give it a try.”

“When are you due back in London?”

“Tomorrow morning. I’m to stay with my parents at a bed and breakfast. They didn’t trust me coming up on my own. Who’s your other friend?”

“Ed.”

“Right. Well, what’s he like?”

“Smart, really smart. He’s the prodigy of the school. Wants to go into science. He’s Welsh and he’s encountered many problems over the years.”

“Such as?”

“He’s an orphan and he’s been bullied because of it. When he loses his rag he relents to violence. Lives not far from us – Belgravia to be exact, we met on the train the day I departed.”

“Seems a nice guy. Seems rich as well.”

“He’s wonderful. Turns out he’s also my roommate but he’s not rich. Like me, he’s on a scholarship.” A few moments of silence passed as they continued eating.

“I’ve ditched Katherine. I found her cheating with another man, someone much older than us. Well into his twenties.”

“Right. So who are you onto next?”

“I’m not. I thought… well I’d like to give something a try.” Jason never got to try though, well, not until they got back onto the campus. Walking past the gates and towards the houses, David opened the front door and walked in to be met with George, who didn’t seem the least impressed, and wanted to know what had gone on.

“What’s happened between you two? He was upstairs on his own and now he’s in his thinking spot.” George noticed Jason. “Oh hello.”

“George this is Jason.”

“Hello.”

“George, I’ll talk later because it’s a serious matter but I swear, I’ve done nothing to him.”

“Fair enough.” Jason followed David into the bedroom, where Jason collapsed onto the first bed.

“Just to let you know, that isn’t mine.”

“Oh.” Jason got up and moved over to David’s where he got comfy. David took the desk chair. “Oh, I found you in the papers.” David paused at the thought, thinking he was going to mention about the Anne/David + Edward case, thinking it had already gone national.

“Did you?”

“Yeah. I bought a copy of the local paper this morning. You were one of the people who are in that dance thing. I thought you didn’t want to do it?”

“I didn’t. Funny enough I ended up being one of the best, and was chosen. I asked to be taken out of the competition after an argument with my dance partner, but I’m still there.”

“Right. Say in the photo there’s you as a group, a male beside you with brown curly hair and a girl in front of you with dark frizzy hair, which has been all done up, where she has a twin. You are with them people in other photos on there. You and the girl are together in one – which you don’t look too happy, and then there is you with this other lad with the curly hair again, where you’re back to back and you seem over the moon. Who are they?”

“The girl is Anne. You know, the girl I spoke about who I couldn’t stand, as in my dance partner. The guy is Ed.”

“He isn’t bad looking, and Anne is a fine woman. Why aren’t you dating her?”

“Because I can’t stand the sight of her.”

“Takes guts to be her partner then. So no women?”

“No women.”

“Good.” Jason got up from off the bed and wondered over to the desk and leaned into David’s chair with dark, wide eyes. Straddling him, David felt a little nervous and uncomfortable as Jason stroked a finger down David’s chest, following with some ghostly touches.

“You haven’t lost your touch for men have you? The school haven’t made you fully heterosexual again have they?”

“Tried to but no.”

“Good. I’ve thought lots about you; your perfect body, your firm arse and your plump lips. About kissing you and actually doing it with you. You screaming my name out in delight as you writhed under me, telling me to go harder and faster each time I went in. When you would grip my hair as you threw your head back when I took you down my throat, you thrusting your hips that you almost gagged me, and when you came I swallowed it down, every drop. Yeah, and you know I wouldn’t do that with any other man.”

Coming closer, David was trying to back out and not be disloyal. “Jason, I don’t think it’s a good…” Jason cut him off as a hand slipped to his neck, another trailing south as he undone the button and zip to David’s jeans, slipping a hand underneath his underwear and rubbing as lips met, David hands trying to shove Jason away.

“No…!”

“Ah come on David. Your eyes are practically dinner plates and it’s been so long since you’ve had me. I bet really you’re dying for it. You’re already partly hard now.” The only reason for that was because he was imagining it was Ed trying to bring him off, not Jason. He continued silencing David’s protests and continued rubbing. David’s hand gripped harder to shove him away as Jason straddled him and thrust his hips. Hearing a moan which was certainly not complete pleasure, Ed heard the noise come from their own room as he climbing the stairs. Because the door was slightly locked, he kicked the door open.

He noticed the scene, but instead of running away in disgust and betrayal, David’s eyes diverted to Ed’s where Edward acknowledged that David was trying to shove Jason off him. Knowing what to do, he grabbed Jason’s t-shirt by the collar and tugged him away, his other hand on his shoulder to pull him off David. As Jason turned, wondering what all the commotion was about and to see who exactly was pulling him away, Edward punched him in the face, giving him a nosebleed. Jason held his hand to his nose to stop the blood from staining his clothes his eyelids dropped, eyes showing anger. Grabbing some tissues, he held them to his nose to soak up the blood. Jason howled at Edward, Edward in no position to back down from an argument.

“What the…? How dare you walk in on us?”

Edward pointed towards David, who was mortified, his head in his hands, guilt and shame building up in him. “Listen you moron! That there, you know what you were trying to do, is my job, not yours. That’s my Dave, not yours. Go and find your own Dave,” Edward trying not to sound too possessive over his lover.

“I… what? David who is this?”

“My boyfriend, Ed, if you’d of let me finish!”

“Boyfriend? Oh, you’re the brain box orphan lad. Yeah, I heard about you. All smug with your praise in the papers, how you’re the prodigy and all that. Supposedly you’re Britain’s best student as well. To be honest I couldn’t give a shit, and don’t you dare make up lies saying that you’re Dave’s love, because I clearly love him more.” Not that Edward was fully listening either. Pointing at the culprit, he turned to David, who hadn’t moved.

“This is who you last dated? Jeez Dave.”

“That’s who I thought I last dated. Clearly he’s changed.”

“If you’d of loved him you’ve of done everything in your power to get him, regardless of the consequences. You’re only after him because no one else will date you, like he’s worth nothing.”

“For your information I’m his boyfriend so go and shove your prick up someone else.”

“I’m not making this up Jason, Ed is my boyfriend.”

“Don’t worry.” Jason dressed himself and went to the door. “I was just leaving.” The door slammed behind him, Jason stomping his way down the stairs and insulting everyone that came in his path. Leaving the two of them alone, Edward rushed over to check David over.

Edward crouched next to David and hands went flying to make sure he wasn’t hurt. “He hasn’t hurt you has he?”

David released his hands from his head, head raising to meet Edward’s, where there were traces of tears. David had been silently crying. Edward brushed them away with a flick of his thumbs. “No. Just a bit of shock and mortification that’s all, and this prodding member has awoken.” David pointed down to where a tent formed in his trousers, Ed a little pleased if to say things honestly. Taking massive strides to cross the floor, Edward bolted the door, he then pulled David up, a hand slipping between them and tracing his fingers over David’s covered privates. He leant in to suckle David’s neck, butterfly kissing the area and huskily murmured, voice filling with want.

“Well, we better take good care of this one then.” David’s voice hitched, Ed rubbing with deeper strokes. Ed pointed towards his bed. “Bed. Now!” David couldn’t chuck his trainers and socks off any quicker when got onto the bed, Ed immediately joining him as they undressed each other and got to work, David gripping the headboard for support, tugging Edward closer as he gritted his teeth to trap the moans and screams.

To their surprise the following Monday, neither of them were called upon by Mr Garrison over being caught last Friday and would say no more about it. A meeting however was held between the pair, Mr Dubois and Mrs Dancy on the afternoon, where they both would allow them to continue in the competition, knowing that there was only one more round remaining, providing they keep their affairs private and out of the public. The coaches both knew that Garrison’s rules, especially now that it was the mid 90s, were rather harsh and that if they were in their boat then they’d be doing the same thing. David and Edward could at least come to an agreement on that one.

It was revealed in the assembly that Monday morning that for the second year running, Berkshire would be facing Londonderry in the final. This year competitors were Northwood Contemporary, which specialised in the arts. Instead of travelling to Northern Ireland, the final was to be held in London on the Saturday night, where the contest would be filmed and shown nationally, meaning that all outside affairs for the time being were to be ignored, which from their agreement, was understandable.

NOVEMBER

2nd November

Providing many dance sessions across the week – that was in between the prioritised classes of course -, everyone involved in the event was to head on to bed early the night before travelling to London. To cheer on their school, many of the year group would be heading out on the coaches to watch the four couples perform, and maybe the understudies just in case of a sudden event. As for the couples themselves, a quick breakfast led to them grabbing their bags and to be in the minibus before 9am. David and Edward both had two books each to read to keep them entertained, minus each other obviously, David’s parents and Edward’s grandparents sending some during the week – simply because they were running out. The books would come in handy when they were bored when they were at the studios where they couldn’t be seen together.

The party were in London by noon and went straight into the BBC studios, who were broadcasting the show on BBC One. To begin with, they would only practise in their sports kits before a quick lunch break. The starter of the afternoon would be spent in trying on their outfits for the night and then a quick dress rehearsal to make sure everything was in place before the seats began to be filled by 5pm, where they would go live at 6pm. The competition and the winners would hopefully be declared before 10pm, meaning that by midnight, they might just able to get some form of sleep. Already exhausted, for now they would just to have to rely on coffee and energy drinks, making sure that they avoided upsetting them.

In the dressing room, – where the couples would begin with the American Smooth – the students from both schools were chatting amongst themselves. Clara, one of the St Anne’s back up’s, noticed the close connections to other dance competitions, notably the televised ones.

“Hey, I’ve just realised. This is practically a student version of Come Dancing.”

Johnny Quinn, one of the Northwood back up’s, filling in for Patrick Byrne, questioned Clara. “What’s that?”

“You know, the BBC ballroom dancing competition show. It’s been around since the early 50s.” Of course only Zach knew this type of information, which many of the students told the dancing prodigy to keep his mouth closed for once. It couldn’t be helped that was he forced into dancing because his mother is a professional dancer herself. Clara was technically right though, this completion, well at least the final, is a bit like the television show.

All dressed up, they noticed on the small screen the seats being filled up with students, teachers and celebrities. One of the crewmembers called for the students to link up with their partners, as they were about to go live. The famous music played in the background, as the hosts walked down the steps onto the stage, where they went blah blah over this and that. Eventually shutting up, one by one, the males led their ladies down the steps and onto the dance floor to make an impression, some of them forcing grins as the camera was aimed in their direction. In terms of the voting on that night, not only the judges were voting, but also the general public had half of the vote for the first three dances. The couple from each school with the highest score would dance the final dance, which was freestyle. The judges would cast these votes, where the scores weren’t revealed, but written down on paper instead. They commented on the dances though. Instead, the written scores would be added to the total score, where at the end the two couples would be on the dance floor, the other representatives on the stage and stairs, Northwood one side and Hounslow/St Anne’s on the other. Then the winner was announced and the couple that won for the school lifted the trophy. This is how it had always worked.

Standing on the dance floor holding Anne, Dave’s eyes danced across the room, where many people were admiring them. David tried to keep a straight face while going hysterical over the fact that he was on National Television. The only thing that would have made it much better would be if his parents got to see the footage.

Providing that the time actually went quicker than expected, the only way David and Edward could keep themselves going with a loss of contact was to communicate with either the back up’s or the Northwood community, or read their books if they wanted solitude . The worst of the separation was the voting time, which dragged on with the presenters trying to be funny, and Dubois and Dancy keeping a close eye on their students. Even when it seemed that they had other matters to attend to, neither Edward or David had the guts to sneak off together. The judges had clearly given their scores at the end of each dance, where by the end of the main dances, Northwood were slightly ahead of Hounslow.

The worst thing about the competition, as it now seemed, was the date of the final. Being early November, they were not far away from sitting their early entry exams in Language (two languages – this being French and Welsh – consisted of four individual assessments – written, oral, listening and reading), Maths, English and Science. These were to be completed within a week, so more pressure was on them.

Following the voting, all the couples were dragged back down to the dance floor to find out who would be facing whom for the final dance. It was revealed that Edward and Eliza would be participating in the final dance against Douglas and Nicola. Unfortunately, it had been announced by the two presenters during the voting slot that the winners of the competition this year were to be interviewed on the Monday morning breakfast show on the BBC. Hounslow did win in the end, Edward and Eliza lifting the trophy, and a bouquet of flowers were presented to Mr Dubois and Mrs Dancy for the coaching, however, no one managed to get a perfect score. Until next year as they say.

Staying in London for another day, before leaving Monday morning, the Hounslow and St Anne’s students took to sightseeing and shopping, David and Edward having a little romantic day out in central London. Many of the times they, as well as the others, were stopped by members of the public, who asked to take their photographs and sign something of theirs, as if they were celebrities themselves, rather than just regular students who had performed on TV. Give it a few months or so and the hype would die down, as so the coaches said. Eventually towards the late afternoon they got to spend time alone in the London Eye, viewing the London landscape and taking photographs of various monuments, as well as being lovey-dovey, not caring if anyone thought different of them. Things for them were in high spirits until the Monday morning.

4th November

Waking up in a shabby hotel where the beds were so narrow they practically had to sleep on top of each other, which was as good as it would get, a quick shower and light breakfast along with a minibus ride lead the eight students back to the BBC television studios. To begin with, they got a mini tour of the building, not that it made much difference to them – before they came to the studio and backstage rooms where the morning news was broadcasted. They were due on for 8:45am, just after the weather broadcast until 9:15. The extra time allowed the journalists to interview each member, as well as spend time talking to the coaches and the main victors of their school.

Heading towards the broadcast, the studio showed a male and female journalist. A young blonde lady from Wales was presenting the weather, and as she was focusing mainly on London rather than the whole UK, the crowd came onto the sofa, just managing to find room for them all. David had been dressed in a light blue shirt with tight jeans and black shoes, his hair ruffled up by Edward after the hair stylists made a piss poor job of it. Edward was dressed in a dark purple shirt and black jeans with shoes. Products had gone into his hair to make his curls stand out more, Edward hating the feel of the products mucking up his precious curls and the idea of having to attempt to wash the lark out later. Eliza and Anne had been given matching dresses, giving the public the hint that they were twins, whereas Yvonne and Joanne were both in checked shirts and jeans, near enough matching, initiating some form of family resemblance. The other two lads were dressed accordingly.

Turning to the group, the male journalist, who went by the name of Duncan Phillips, began the story. “Well, after a spectacular Saturday evening following the National Youth Ballroom Dance Competition Final, in a few moments we will be talking to the champions, but first, let’s show some of the highlights from Saturday’s show.”

After the two-minute footage, a camera turned in their direction, where they were live once more to the nation, only this time; it was half an hour of uncomfortable questions instead of dancing. At this moment, a police interrogation seemed more comfortable. The female journalist, Maria Snowdon, welcomed the group with the first question. “First of all Hounslow and St Anne’s, since the competition began in 1954, no school has ever represented their county twice and won consecutively. How does it feel being the first to do it?”

Dubois took the question, giving a confident answer in his strong Canadian accent, the cameras adding his nametag of Jean Rene Dubois to people’s television screens so they knew who he was. “Brilliant. I must say absolutely phenomenal. For the school to come out of nowhere and win the competition last year was wonderful, but to do it twice is incredible. Berkshire should be proud of these students, for they have all worked incredibly hard, even the backup students, who couldn’t be with us this morning.”

Duncan then asked a question. “And I guess that you received some support?”

Dancy took this one. “Yes, the whole school of course we’re supporting us the entire way, many of their year coming to the show on Saturday night. Even Newbury town were putting up banners wishing us luck.”

Duncan continued. “Now onto the students. First of all we must congratulate each of you on your achievements, considering that you all have exams coming up within the next few weeks. Now, turning to the winners of the final dance, Eliza and Edward, what was it like to being declared winners and picking up the trophy?”

“It was bloody heavy I can assure you, and that’s with both of us lifting it up.” Eliza smirked, flowing into the conversation easily.

“I also believe between the students here there has been some ballroom romance going on as well.” Some of the students remained perfectly calm, whilst Anne, David and Edward stiffened, afraid to admit the love triangle that happened during the contest.

“We know from images and backstage footage that James and Joanne as well as Yvonne and Zach are dating.” There was a screen next to them, which showed them the pictures and footage. Some smiled, going rosy pink. Maria added, turning her attention to the Richmond sisters. “A question everyone wants to know, are you pair actually twins or just sisters?”

“Even though we look alike, coming from the same family and are in the same year, we are actually sisters. I was born in September whilst Yvonne was born in August.”

“We also believe that there was some trouble and disagreements between the students?” With Anne, David and Edward unable to answer, Dubois cut in, keeping things short.

“Well, with the amount of training taking place on top of school work and preparation for the Christmas Concert in a few weeks time, they’re obviously going to get tired and frustrated, so yeah there was some disagreements, but it was soon settled.”

“In relation to that, Anne I believe at one stage you were going to forfeit your place in the team? Is that true and if so why?”

“Well, yes I did. David and I had to kiss in the one dance two weeks ago, which we both disagreed to. Not that I don’t like David in that way, but there had been some drama between us within the few weeks before we started the competition, and we didn’t find it right. David was offering to quit himself, but we got on with it through shaking hands and we pulled it off in the end.”

“The papers also show many photos of you in the contest, many of the front pages showing the picture of Eliza and Edward raising the trophy. We have one here on Anne banging on a door backstage, where apparently you were shouting abuse. We’re guessing that some students were in there and you probably had a dispute with them. There’s another one, linking back to the romance of David and Edward sharing a kiss the one night backstage.” David held his palm to his face to try and cover his reactions, David going bright red. Edward sat there twitching, wishing time would move on so that they could go home. “If I can make things out, there seems to be some sort of love triangle going on.”

“I’m afraid that’s none of your business.”

“Surely you can explain how your relationship began?”

David, who was seated in between Edward and Anne, commuted with the two, before coming to an answer. “Again, this is clearly no one’s business, but to keep the public happy, we’ll briefly explain. Edward and I have been dating for just over a month so if anyone doesn’t agree then they can go and get stuffed.” He knew that this was all being broadcasted, and yes the papers may twist their comments to make it more appealing to the nation, but at the moment David didn’t have a care in the world. “When me and Anne met in mid-September, we weren’t dating, but since we began, we kept it quiet. Anne did have a crush on me and a friend of mine advised me to tell her about it, which I didn’t. She was spying on us the one night and followed us, which is where the picture of Anne banging on the door comes into it. As for the other picture of Edward and I, we weren’t actually kissing. I had fallen asleep on the sofa due to a lack of sleep and Edward came to wake me up. I went to kiss him but he placed a finger on my lips, whispering to me not to kiss in public, just in case all you lot found out.” He glanced at the others to see if anyone wanted to add any further details but everyone remained silent. Turning to Mr Dubois, Dubois was trying to keep a straight face, but underneath the shell he was shooting spears at him for confessing. With all remaining silent, Edward trying to hide his face, David shrugged his shoulders to finish off. “So there you have it.”

Having to wrap up the interview due to the time, Duncan had one final question. “So next year when you represent again, do you think you can be victorious three years in a row?”

With Dubois too much in a foul mood to answer, Dancy had to cover for him. “Only time will tell. There’s no guarantee, but it would be nice to accomplish that. After three I think we would need a rest.”

“Hounslow and St Anne’s of Berkshire everyone.” Duncan and Maria said their final words of the events of tomorrow’s show and then the cameras rolled out, the lights fading. Given the all clear, the journalists moved off the sofa, the students and coaches following. As soon as they were back in the dressing room getting changed into their ordinary clothing, David was pulled away from the crowd by Dubois.

“Just brilliant isn’t it?”

“What?”

“They had to ask! You do realise that your confession on national air has put both you and Edward in a very tight position right now. For disgrace and shame on the school, you pair could likely be expelled.”

“I don’t care if I was! It’s not fair on Edward though. I said when I arrived here I couldn’t stand it and I still can’t. The only reason I’ve stuck it out so long is because of Edward, oh and George. It’s about time that Garrison understood that people need their social lives as well as their education, and some people happen like their own kind.”

“And if Edward gets expelled but you don’t?”

“Then I’ll walk out.”

“You know you can’t do that.”

“Try me.”

Arriving back at Hounslow for around midday, David and Edward returned back to the house to change into uniform due to having half a day left. Even though that had been away for the morning that gave them no excuse to attend their afternoon lessons. Because many don’t read the papers and won’t watch the news until the evening, the students wouldn’t be aware of the scandal, so when they arrived for lunch at Ashbury, everyone continued about their normal business, as they did when they walked around the grounds together before heading to Drama. Garrison hadn’t asked for either of them to come to the office either, so at first the pair thought that maybe he’s let this one slide.

It was only until later that evening when word began to come out. Nothing was mentioned at the dining table, but once they were free to do as they wish until bed, that’s when a few of the students went to the living room and turned on the news. David and Edward were away upstairs doing things when the story was reported. Edgar and George were two of the students watching the coverage.

The story started out as the newsreader spoke about Hounslow and St Anne’s victory, where they played parts from the interview from the morning show. There was shown clips of the stories of romance and the love triangle between David, Anne and Edward. All of the students were on the edge of their seats as the confessions were shown, some showing marvellous grins, others completely disgusted.

One of the students turned to Edgar completely shocked. “Oh my bloody! Oh my god! And he denied it, right in front of you! In front of everyone including Edward himself!”

“I knew he was lying, I knew he loved him and now his little world is all going to crumble.”

Miss Howard was drying the dishes in the kitchen when she heard the students debating the situation, and was curious, padding into the common room to find out the fuss. “Who denied what?”

A student told Miss Howard the news. “David denied to Edgar weeks ago that he wasn’t in love with Edward, and yet they’ve been caught kissing each other. He also confessed this morning that they are in love, even though it’s not anyone’s business.”

George continued on, putting his own argument forward. “Well technically it isn’t anyone’s business, but maybe at the time he denied it, that he didn’t realise that he was in love with Edward. Maybe he only realised after. We don’t know how long they’ve been dating. For all we know they could have dated in secret long before you tormented him.”

Edgar rounded off their views. “Never mind that, we know one thing. David and Edward are both done for, as long as Garrison is still in charge anyway.”

George muttered to himself. “Not if I can help it.” Departing the group, Miss Howard knocked on the lads’ door for a talk. David opened it, allowing Miss Howard to come in. She took the desk chair as David and Edward sat on the edge of Edward’s bed, Miss Howard having to climb over objects scattered across the floor. As their bedroom was directly above the living room, they knew exactly what the others had mentioned, and knew what Miss Howard was going to mention, both of them rather expressionless.

“They know don’t they?” Edward started off, Miss Howard nodding.

“Is it true?”

“Yes. Everyone was going to ask anyway so it might as well be said. That’s what the discussion between us and Anne was about on the interview. I wasn’t going to say anything without their permission.”

“And how long has this remained a secret?”

David found Edward’s hand and clasped it, knowing that they were in this together. “We’ve dated since the end of September.”

“Does anyone else know before you were caught?”

“George knew because he was the only one we could confide in and he was suspecting things well before we were dating.”

“I know you love each other, and I respect that. I do think you’re a little young to be that engrossed with each other but that’s just my opinion, but you do realise the amount of trouble you’re in?”

“We know, and if it has offended anyone, then we’re sorry, but I don’t see why either of us should be suspended or expelled because of love. Nearly every other Hounslow lad has a secret girlfriend or boyfriend and is still here, so why should we be kicked out? Okay we were caught out through the media and we’re men, but so what? Love is love at the end of the day. And we’re telling you this now, if either of us are expelled, then the other will walk out.”

“That’s not for me to decide.”

5th November

Night passed and soon became morning. Students were mute – Edgar included – when the pair came downstairs, knowing that if they mentioned anything, either of them might break, which could lead to serious injuries. Sleeping together the night before, both managed to do anything they could to the other knowing that it might be their last night together for an incredibly long while. Again during that night, they promised that if one or both were kicked out, they would still be together, no matter what. At the breakfast table, Miss Howard went through the usual errands of making sure that everyone had completed their work and the rooms were tidy enough before their weekly inspection, and then whisked the students off to their first lesson. She noted to the pair that before their first class that morning that they were expected at Garrison’s office within the next 10 minutes, where she was to escort them. This is where it would all crumble.

Going through the entrance and up the two flights of stairs before anyone could mention a thing, she left them at the PA’s room where they were to remain in silence until they were called in.

Garrison was at his desk reading the morning paper when the lads took their seats at the opposite side of the desk. Both knew that this was coming, and that they expected the worst. Garrison had a stern face to him that morning and was in no mood for nonsense. Their hands were clasped together, giving the other the sign that they were in this together. He grabbed the copy of yesterday’s paper from one of the desk drawers, unfolded it and slid it across the desk so that they could see the evidence, already on the page of the article where the pictures were held. A circle drawn in a black biro was focused around the quote and the photograph of them.

Mr Garrison pointed at David’s quote and then to the photograph. “Can you explain this to me?”

Edward couldn’t help it but to start off with sarcasm, even if it got him into more trouble. “Well, it’s a newspaper with a quote and a photo circled in black ink.”

“I’m not in the mood for sarcasm McArthur! This is serious. You have ruined the school’s reputation and brought shame on us all.”

“No, we’ve ruined your reputation and expectations as headmaster where you think the bible is the book of life!”

“I will not have backtalk!”

“I was clearly stating a fact. Yes we may be young, but I promise you David and I have not done anything underage such as sexual intercourse of any kind.” Okay, so that was a partial lie, but Edward was a good liar and Garrison was good at falling for Edward’s lies.

“Well, we might be forced to withdraw our place for next year’s competition, but we can’t bury ourselves in the ground any further than what we’ve already done.”

“Wouldn’t the amount of violence caused between myself, David and Edgar’s gang be more of a reputation ruiner, bringing down the morality of the student welfare?”

“Well, yes, but at the same time we are looked upon by everyone in the country. Some of the most prestigious and royal students are sent here. What would the royals, government and church think?”

David allowed Edward’s tongue to rest and spoke on behalf of them, as he was just as guilty as Edward was. “The churches are obviously going to be outraged, saying that it is immoral and we worship Satan. The government and royals, well I’m not so sure, but it’s none of their business anyway. It’s not as if by us pair being homosexuals the whole student body will turn homosexual or bisexual. And anyway, I can guarantee you now that in this school we are not alone. There is probably someone out there who is also gay or bi. There are students all over the country who are not hetero, so basically if you don’t like it then you’re going to have to live with it.”

“Well, because I don’t want to start a row between us and the LGBT community, I’m not going to expel either of you.” Their hands squeezed in hopeful success. “Because I can’t suspend David due to his parents being away and no family able to take care of him in the country, I’m going to have to restrain you pair from seeing each other as much as possible. Until your return in January, Edward, you are suspended.”

“And what about my exams?”

“I will arrange for exam specialists to attend to you in London, as well as a daily tutor.”

“This is an outrage! What about the Christmas concert? We were planning to perform together in front of Edward’s grandparents and dedicate it to his parents. It was the piece he was intending to perform 5 years ago to his parents! His very first performance! You can’t just go and jeopardize that!”

“You will return for parents’ night to perform together, I will give you that right. Once you return in January, I’m transferring you over to Wyckham House.” Edward said nothing, swallowing a lump that had formed. David continued protesting for justice.

“If you suspend him, then you suspend me too!”

“That is not possible.”

“Send me to stay with my neighbours then until the end of the term.”

“Again, that is not possible. It has to be family, and you have no family at this present moment in the country.”

“Then I’ll complete my exams and drop out at the end of this year! You mark my words Garrison. We’re not alone on this one.”

“The car will arrive at noon. Miss Howard will come to collect you at eleven to pack. Now get to class!” Both went silent as they picked up their bags, holding hands as they departed, Mr Garrison leaning back in his chair, gritting his teeth before he threw a wobbly.

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