In this chapter: David finds out exactly what Wyckham House is, David and Edward start the revolution of ‘not hiding’ and Edward and David say a tearful goodbye. This is the final chapter to Part One.
Grabbing their bags from off the floor, walking out of the office in silence and holding hands, David and Edward retreated out of the door and out of the PA’s room. Walking to the end of the corridor, they went down the first set of stairs together, reaching the 1st floor. However this is where they departed, Edward having History on the 1st floor whilst David had English on the ground floor. Lingering by the double doors on the 1st floor, a hand came to David’s cheek, wiping the escaped tear away. “Hey, I’m not going yet.”
“No, but you will be in a matter of hours.”
“Well, since as lunch is at 12, I’ll pack a little slower so you can run back to the house to say goodbye. And I’ll meet you at break, where we’ll visit the thinking spot. And we’ll see each other on parents’ night and at Christmas because I’ll work around that. This is not the end of us, my love.” Edward pulled David in to comfort him, trying to comfort himself at the same time, the turnout of events being hard for both of them to manage. With the sobs fading, David started to ask questions. “Ed? Where is Wyckham house? I don’t remember there being a Wyckham house.”
Edward convincingly lied, which he knew that at some point, he would have to tell David the truth. “Oh there is, now we better get to class.” A brief kiss left David at the stairs as Edward passed through the double doors and down the hallway, where at the top; he knocked on the door and walked in. David picked up his own bag and continued to the ground floor.
Meeting up outside in the playground, David and Edward took the usual route, going past the tennis courts and towards the fields, but once they approached the field, David halted, wanting answers from Edward.
“Nothing, I thought I’d like to see Wyckham house first.”
Edward grabbed David’s arm and forcibly dragged him towards the fields. He knew what was coming as tears spilled down his face, knowing he would have to tell David the truth, a little too soon than he expected. “No you don’t,” was all Edward could say. Trying to walk towards the woodland, David forcibly pulled his own arm back, trying to lead them back towards the dorms.
“Erm yes I do. Is it a nice house like ours, or does it need doing up like Ramsgate?” Edward remained frozen, unable to think of something to say, and continued on walking. David grabbed the sleeve of Edward’s blazer and turned him round, crashing straight into David. “Why won’t you tell me?”
“Fine, but not here. Come on.” They continued their journey from the fields into the woodland; where they dropped under the oak tree, David curling up into Edward, as he stroked his hair, leaning down to kiss his temple as silent tears spilled down both of them.
“You’re not saying much Ed, what’s wrong? Tell me please because you’re scaring me.”
Wailing, tears trickled down Edward’s face as he cupped David’s. “Oh Dave… my wonderful Dave, I’m so sorry.” Edward planted a bruising kiss to David’s lips. “Wyckham House is not actually a house. It’s another school about a mile from here.”
Tears flooded David cheeks, but David also showed anger in his response. “What? So Garrison lied and so technically you are getting expelled.”
“He likes to call it ‘transferring’.”
“Because of your sexuality and because of our love?”
“More or less. He’s threatened me before when my behaviour was much worse that’s where I’d end up. I’m guessing our relationship has put the final nail in the coffin.”
“I want to leave here. Your departure is going to be the death of me.”
“No. I say you don’t. Complete your exams first and gain some GCSE’s. Once you’ve got at least five in the bag then you’ve got the golden ticket to college, and I assure you, we will be together in college. In college and forever, always together.” Edward checked his watch, the current time being 10:53am, having only a few more minutes together, where classes began three minutes ago.
“We better get moving.”
“I don’t want to leave here. I love being together, and I wished we could have made more memories.”
“And we’re going to make more for many years to come.” Edward pulled David up and walked the distance back to the school. Whilst walking up the stairs and down the corridor to Dave’s history class, he remained hand in hand with him until the teacher arrived. Noticing the pair, he asked them to let go and stop touching one another because it was shameful.
Instead, Edward did the complete opposite and snogged David then and there, some chanting for their rights and others turning away. Letting go, the teacher was repulsed by their actions.
“You pair don’t understand love. You’ll forget each other later on and marry someone else and have children, like it’s always meant to have been.”
Edward glared at him. “Shut up you old fart!” David and Edward took stand, now having an audience, Edward starting off. “We know exactly what love is. Love is when you deeply care for someone that much you’ll do anything just to be with him or her. Love is not just about the sex and body interaction, it’s about compassion, loyalty and being there for someone when they’re hurt or feeling down. Never leaving them behind, treating them as your equal – not that anyone should be inferior to you – to be with them when they’re happy and share their happiness because you know when your lover is happy, so are you. When they’re sad, you’re also sad because you feel for them and you know them. So don’t come telling us what love is and isn’t.”
David took over. “Now I say we should all – regardless of gender, race, religion or sexuality – be allowed to lead our own lives and not have to keep our feelings hidden. We shouldn’t have to date in secret. It should be open, we should embrace our love for one another because when we’re here and there’s no one else left, our loved ones are the closest thing to us. Now who is with me on this? No more hiding!”
The audience of students chanted with the pair, which was until Garrison noticed what was going on, and ordered everyone off to class. A kiss was shared before Edward jogged it back to the house.
Miss Howard was already inside talking with his grandparents when he arrived. Walking into the living room, his grandparents immediately stood up, making sure they didn’t damage their already aching backs and in turn hugged him.
“As soon as you’ve packed, we can leave. We’ve got a long journey ahead,” noted his grandmother Sylvie. Sylvie was a loving grandmother, which with her husband Alfred, they took Edward into their home following his parents’ death as their own son, bringing him up in Belgravia as their own son.
“I’m not leaving here until I’ve bid farewell to Dave. He’s my boyfriend and companion and it’s only fair.”
Both of his grandparents smiled lovingly at their grandson, proud of him that he had finally found happiness. Sylvie continued. “I’d like to meet this man of yours. He seems a good fellow.”
“He is, he’s an incredible young man and you will do one day.” Edward left the room and went upstairs to pack, Sylvie soon following, offering to help. Entering the room, she took a good look of it before she started collecting things, some of which Edward had to take from her and put back in its place.
“Is this jumper yours?”
Sylvie grabbed a book from off the desk. “And what about this book?”
Sylvie grabbed a book from off the desk. “And what about this book?”
“That is mine.” She passed over the book, which went into a box. He knew he’d have to leave things behind, but knew that David would take good care of them, knowing that they had a home. Sylvie found a photo frame containing Edward and some students, and continued to ask questions.
“Who’s in this one then? It seems like you’re all having a wonderful time.”
Edward stopped and sat down next to Sylvie, taking a glance at the photo. “It was on Dave’s birthday. Miss Howard insisted that we should throw him a party, as it was his first year here. Dave is next to me on the left, the one who’s trying to grin with a spoon stuck in his gob and his mop of blond hair all over the place – that was my fault.” Edward lightly giggled and continued. “George is on the right, pulling a daft face. Behind us are Edgar, Stephen, Mark, Will and Luke. We weren’t originally going to keep it because of the spoon, but it was a memory for David. For him it was one of those moments where he felt good, was eating and wasn’t concerned about himself.”
“Why, what’s wrong with him dear?”
“When he arrived at the school, when we met on the train, his self-conscience was constantly bugging his mind. He was suffering from an eating disorder and hardly weighed a thing – and when I mean hardly a thing I mean eight stone at nearly six feet tall.”
“My god, I thought you were bad!”
“At first it was anorexia, but it soon turned to bulimia once his parents noticed the change. He thought because no one took any notice of him and no one loved him – like truly cared for him – he felt that it was his appearance that needed to change because he felt revolting, unwanted and unloved. Through encouragement and that I instantly fell for him, I showed him that he was beautiful anyway, and gradually he began to eat without nauseating afterwards and put the weight on. Last time I checked he was about nine stone.”
“Well done you. You know it’s really hard for someone to have the time and patience to do that? Did he see anyone about it?”
“He had a councillor when the anorexia was first discovered, but it made him worse. When he got here, Miss Howard kept pressing on about the food. I knew that if he ate too much in one go, he’d be really ill and could die due to the sudden change in diet, and that his stomach and organs wouldn’t be able to cope, so I did it gradually. He eats the right portions now and is of almost normal weight. I’m just afraid that with my departure, he’s going to go back to stage one again. He won’t listen to anyone but me.”
“So he needs you?”
“I need him. Without him I’d be violent to anyone who said anything against me. He’s taught me to calm down and take out my danger in different methods. With him I’m more open to the world, not just the quiet giant nerd who’s stuck in a book. I’m scared that I’m going to go to my old ways again and I’m afraid that after parents’ night, I’m never going to see him again.” As Edward wept, Sylvie pulled out a pack of tissues for Edward to dry his eyes with.
“We can always have him down for Christmas, and once school is over you can stay together for the summer.”
“He’ll forget me.”
“By the way you’ve talked about him he loves you that much he couldn’t forget you, even if he tried. Now come on, let’s pack.” Together in comfortable silence, they packed the remainder of the items.
As soon as the clock turned 12 and Mr Phelps allowed them to leave, David shoved his Victorian textbook into his bag and left his book on the pile at the front of the classroom, sprinting down the corridor and down the stairs. On the way out, word had got around of David and Edward’s fight against Garrison, and some of the students were chanting, “fight the power!” Once down the stairs, he pushed open the main doors and sprinted back to the house. Outside the house was the car to get them to the train station. Sylvie and Albert were by the car, Miss Howard and Edward following them from the front door.
“Ed! Ed wait!” Everyone turned their gaze to David, who was panting from being out of breath, tears streaming down his cheeks as he collided straight into Edward’s arms, Edward twirling him as he lifted him up, David’s legs curling around Edward’s waist. Being heavier now, David was soon back down on his feet. His grandmother felt tears come to her eyes of how painful the departure must be for them, removing her glasses to wipe her tears away.
“Nan, Granddad, this is my boyfriend Dave.” David blushed upon hearing the word boyfriend, and pleasurably shook hands. Greeting Sylvie, she wept with joy. “Look, you’ve got me crying now.”
Softly smiling, she hugged David.
“Ah, a fine young chap you are. See, he’s too in love with you to forget you.”
David stilled and turned to Edward, who was also weeping. “You’d think I’d forget you?”
“I was worried that once I left I’d became a vague shadow, and soon after nothing.”
“Oh Ed, I won’t stop loving you. Never, do you understand?” Edward took something out of his bag, and handed the little parcel over to David. “This was meant to be a present for Christmas, but because of the turn of events, I’m giving it to you now.” David unfolded the tissue paper to reveal a chain, containing half a heart. “I know one half is meant to be for a woman but its good enough for us as well. You have one half, I have the other, and if you put them together it reads…”
“Yeah, because I’ll never give you up. I don’t care how long it takes for us to be united because we will always be together.” Placing the chain around David’s neck, Edward already wearing his own, they enveloped in a tight hug, kissing the living daylights out of each other.
“We need to go.”
Sylvie turned to David as Alfred got in the front passenger seat. “I hope we do meet some time soon, properly, and I’d be happy to have you over for Christmas.”
“Thank you, but wouldn’t Garrison appeal against it?”
“I’ll arrange for it to happen,” Miss Howard proclaimed.
“Thank you for all the help you’ve given to Edward, and please do visit in the future. You’ve been good to him.”
Miss Howard turned to Edward. “Well, we’ve had some good times McArthur. Good luck to you and I’ll see you in December. Don’t worry, George and I will keep this little bugger in shape, and you better write to him or he’ll go insane.”
“Don’t worry, I will. I’ll write as soon as I get home.” Sylvie got in the car, leaving David with Edward.
“You be good yeah, and practise them violin pieces for me. By the way, I’ve left you a little something on the bed.”
David drew his left hand up to cup Edward’s face, his other hand lingering around his waist. “Please don’t go.”
“I have to and we all know that. Just think, a month time and we’re together again, and then we have all of Christmas, as well as the rest of our lives.”
“I love you Ed.”
“And I you Dave.” They shared a long and slow departing kiss, touching each other in the right spots to remember them well enough to visually picture the other for future reference. Miss Howard tugged David’s hand, forcefully letting go of David.
Anger starting to cave in as he sobbed, constantly shouting “No! Don’t leave me here! Ed don’t go!” as Edward closed the door, the car setting off down the lane and towards the gates, Edward mouthing, “This isn’t goodbye and I love you,” before the car was out of distance. Miss Howard offered a shoulder for David to cry on as they got in the house.
It was unusual for a house mistress to hug a student, but in the boat that David was in, he needed all of the comfort he could get and so she embraced him, letting him weep. “Have the afternoon off, you need it. I’ll make you your favourite for lunch with some hot chocolate, yeah?”
“Sounds nice.” A moment of silence passed before David continued. “If you don’t mind me, I’m going upstairs.”
“I’ll bring the food up.”
David gradually climbed the stairs and opened the door to his bedroom, not theirs no more, but his, as if the title had lost its rank. Dropping his bag on the desk chair, he kicked his shoes off and placed them in the closest, now half empty along with his uniform, changing into day clothes. Observing the room, the small space looked remarkably different, one that it was tidy and two as if all life had been drained from it, and now only a dying corpse left. On the bed David was greeted with Edward’s favourite jumper, a worn, black round-neck jumper that was still soft to the touch, and smelled entirely of Edward. Neatly folded, there a note on top of the fabric reading “To remind you of me. Wear this with great care and comfort. See you in December. Lots of love and a million smooches, Ed.”
David knew that once he started to wear the jumper, eventually the smell of Vanilla – Edward’s scent – would fade, and it would be just David, but knowing that his uniform remained on him most of the time, he could wear the jumper on all other occasions along with the purple one that Edward bought him for his birthday, which partly held his scent. This should last him until December when he had the very person in front of him. He wondered around the room to see what was remaining. One thing that was left behind was his copy of the photo they had together at the London Eye. Whilst up there, the pair asked a middle-aged woman to take their photo if she didn’t mind. Kind enough, she took their photo for them, Edward wrapping his arms around David whilst kissing his cheek and trying to grin at the same time. David had done the same, but grinned at the camera – an extra goofy one from the non-expected peck. Having it inside a photo frame, this would be a vital object to David for the next month.
Around half an hour later, Miss Howard brought up his lunch with the hot chocolate, placing the mug on the small table next to the bed. She handed over his food and went down to collect hers, where they would eat upstairs together, Miss Howard providing a temporary source of comfort. She hoped he had the strength to complete his exams, which started tomorrow with his French oral and Maths. David was already wearing the jumper Edward had left behind for him, giving him some warmth. Once finished, she took the plates down and found entertainment of her own. David moved over to Edward’s old bed, moving his main pillow over. Before he went to sleep, he kissed the frame and placed it under his pillows, knowing that Edward was still in a way there. He slept and dreamt until the other students arrived later in the afternoon.
Just after three, a small knock came on the door. With no reply, the door was opened, George coming in to see how David was doing. Once the six other housemates arrived that afternoon, Miss Howard notified them all not to annoy David because he’s completely broken and needs time alone. George noticed David asleep in Edward’s bed alone, and slowly roused him awake.
“It’s me Dave.”
“George?” Dave questioned as he blinked his eyes open, sore and bloodshot red from the amount of crying.
“Do you know that in the building all afternoon they’ve been having a revolution?”
“Yours and Ed’s words earlier about not hiding. Some of the girls have been over and the guys have been kissing them in front of Garrison and his cronies. Even – and you probably wouldn’t believe this – you know Owen Gardiner of our year? He’s in your Maths group?”
“He came out today. Came out of the closest. He kept saying about how you and Ed were right – we shouldn’t have to hide who we are and we should be proud of ourselves. Said it in front of everyone in Religious Studies. What a subject to say it in though! Then he said he’d had a crush on good old Timmy Daniels for at least half a year. Timmy was impressed that someone had finally noticed him, and thought he was rather handsome as well, and then to prove everyone of not hiding, Timmy got out of his chair and went over to Owen’s table. Joey moved out of the way, taking Timmy’s seat next to Kenny and then they felt each other for the first time, lips smacking together as the world slipped away from them. It was such a good moment. Mrs Watson obviously wasn’t happy and lost control of the class, people coming out with all sorts of confessions!”
“Sounds great.” Although David was pleased that the school supported them, George knew through the disappointment, loss and loneliness of Dave that something was up. He hadn’t seen Edward during the day or come in from classes, and he wasn’t up here. George’s grin dropped to a worrying concern.
“Where is he?”
Sobbing a little although it stung, David wrapped his arms around George, mumbling into his shoulder. “Gone, after all that this morning about not hiding and everything, they took Ed away from me.”
George mumbled back to David, tears in his eyes from losing his friend. “Dave, we’re going to get Ed back. Right now, between the school and Garrison, this is war.”
END OF PART ONE