In this chapter: Part Two begins. David is finding is tough to carry on at Hounslow without David, using his up all of his spare time to either write or practise. Miss Howard and George notice that David is going to back to square one.
A week had passed since Edward had departed the school. Because Hounslow hadn’t yet installed telephones in the boarding houses for their students to call people, if David and Edward wanted to communicate with one another, they would have to write to each other instead. To try and settle David down until Edward returned for Parents’ Night and to keep him company, George was playing the role of lodger. George had to take David’s bed as David refused to give up Edward’s, and even with George trying to communicate with David wasn’t doing the truth. The occasional letters that were sent by his parents or Jason either – to apologise for their encounter a few weeks back – weren’t helping either. The jumper that Edward had left behind still hadn’t managed to find its way off David whilst he was in his own clothing, David soaking up the scent.
He had also completed the majority of his exams. According to opinion, David just about managed to pull off the French oral exam with an almost French accent – the hint of Yorkie still coming out though, according to Professor Pierre who had given him the feedback from the examiner. The Welsh, as predicted, was spot on. The second Maths exam was to be his final, but like this one and any other day that had come across over the last week, as soon as David had either finished an exam or the schooling day and had arrived at Ashbury house, he barely spoke a word to anyone.
Normally, David would walk in and if Miss Howard weren’t busy with anything or talking to someone else, he would ask her if there was any mail that had arrived that day. Either he had mail or he didn’t – either wise, he would go upstairs and bolt the door across to read his mail in peace and immediately write a reply, or he’d practise his violin pieces – basically something which had the name of Edward involved. He would only open the door if George or Miss Howard wanted to come in, which they spoke the safe word to grant them access.
When dinner was ready, he’d go down and have some dinner, not eating any dessert and then would depart, not speaking a word during dinner to anyone. This would be the same at breakfast and during the weekend. Gradually each day, the size of the portions were decreasing, and none would speak a word about it directly to him or he might tear the house apart and cause injuries, which none wanted a second dosage of.
Even his journal received very little work, not having anything in particular to write about. He wouldn’t go out anywhere with anyone, and if he did go out of the house, it was either to the school or to the thinking spot, making sure he was wrapped in warm clothing due to the time of the year. The only thing that had improved was his grades, and that was only so that David could pass his exams and leave Hounslow and have Edward back, where things would get better.
David knew that he couldn’t leave Hounslow quite yet to Parents’ Night and that he wouldn’t know his grades until March. He would stick to what Edward mentioned over when he was leaving – get the required grades and number of GCSE’s to get you into college and then leave, knowing the results within the first few days of March. This was David’s life now, and David simply had no reason for life right now, the final most precious thing he had took away from him. It might seem a little bizarre to you how one can go from meeting someone, falling in love with them and then losing them all within a few months, but remember, whilst most of us only see people for a few hours within the week, these students are living together and see other every day for at least a few hours, so the bonds between people can develop at a much greater speed.
On the afternoon, David returned back to the house, ate a quick lunch alone (it was too cold to eat at the thinking spot that day) and then went upstairs to practise his violin pieces until his next class. Even class discussions were not the same, David refusing to pair unless George was in the same class. He never gave any answers until asked to, but his levels were exceptional. Drying that lunch break, Miss Howard knocked on the door, using the safe word where she granted access, which she had come to collect the washing. David placed his violin and bow across the desk and hopped across the room to unlock the door. The room was messy once more, books and papers scattered across the floor which was joined with pens, some of which had already run out from all the writing David had done on either assignments or writing, particularly to Edward. Noticing the mess, David noted to himself to discard any old pens that were no longer working with their lids when he got back from school later in the afternoon.
Dodging all the materials that was scattered across the floor, Miss Howard managed to step across to get to the other side of the room, where she picked up the washing basket and began to collect discarded clothes, presuming that they needed washing. She noticed the black jumper on the bed and grabbed it, showing David, who had returned to playing. “Is this for washing David?”
David turned to find that Edward’s jumper was up for questioning on the washing pile, and within an instant he dropped his equipment carefully onto the table, practically diving across the room and swiped the jumper away, placing it back onto Edward’s bed, otherwise known as its home. “Okay David, I only asked. I take that as a no.”
They’d been through this ritual now for a few days, and each time David it occurred, David got more frustrated as he had to repeat himself over and over again. “I’ve told you enough times, it stays where it is.”
“It hasn’t been washed in ages. The last time I washed it was a week before Edward left, making that two weeks. It needs a wash hun.”
“Exactly, and if you wash it then it will smell of flowery scented washing powder.” Miss Howard understood the reference at what David was getting at and dropped the conversation.
“I’m sorry. Would you like a drink?”
“No thank you.”
“Anything at all?”
David picked back up his violin and bow, ready to continue. “Some peace and quiet would be nice.” Saying nought, she picked the washing basket up, carefully stepping over items and closed the door, leaving David alone.
Returning home a few hours later from afternoon classes, the seven students of Ashbury walked in to be handed their mail. A letter had come for David, and noticing the elegant handwriting, he knew exactly whom it was from. One by one, Miss Howard handed out the pieces of mail to the students, David eventually receiving his. “Thank you. Anything else?”
“No, that’s it David.”
“Fair enough.” Edgar was nearby and knew the sender as well. “Aww, he still remembers you. I wonder what it says.” Edgar was too quick for him and snatched the letter off David, the two playing cat and mouse chase across the house. “Give it back you little shit!”
Eventually, the envelope was half open when David managed to grab the letter out of Edgar’s reach and simply walked away, Edgar expecting more. Usually he would have gone and punched him, but he was getting to a stage where fighting simply wasn’t going to sort anything, and so let it hang in the air. Edgar was shocked that David hadn’t bothered to fight back and stood their gaping. David eased his way up the stairs and into his room, sliding the lock across. George came over and did the lecturing instead, Miss Howard taking over as she took Edgar to one side, the other students curious on what she was going to say to him.
“Did I get any mail?”
“No you didn’t, but can’t you be nice to David once in a while? You know he’s really upset, if anything, heartbroken.”
“He should have followed the rules that Mr Garrison has put forward. He knew perfectly well what was going to happen and he simply blew it.”
“Remember that you of all people never follow Garrison’s rules, so your argument is invalid. At the same time how would you feel if Sally was taken from you? The woman you’ve loved for a good year? You’d be heartbroken and shattered to pieces.”
“She’s a girl. They’re two lads, it’s not the same.”
“So? Yes she goes to St Anne’s and you Hounslow whereas they don’t and yes neither of you represented us in the dance competition but that’s not the point. They were doing what you’re doing now, dating in secret. It wasn’t their fault that they caught on camera and it wasn’t the media’s business to get involved. That’s the only reason Edward has been excluded, and yes I’m speaking against my boss but he was only excluded because one: his preferences are a little different and two Garrison’s ego has slipped a little, that’s it. It has nothing to do with anyone else, but for Garrison’s personal matters only.”
“That’s how David feels right now, completely heartbroken and feels that life is simply worthless. Yes he might not like girls, but that’s not the point. He’s allowed to love whoever he chooses and not be afraid to show it, as any other human should. You should be allowed to love Sally and show affection to her whenever you like. You might not like him, and I know you don’t like Edward, but keep your words to yourself and give him the respect. He’s doing what any lover would do – fighting to get him or her back.”
“So this is what it’s all about? We’re all fighting against Garrison to be able to pull off our education and do spectacularly well and be able to be ourselves at the same time?”
“I still don’t approve of their relationship – between two men or two women it doesn’t seem natural.”
“Well that’s your opinion, but in these times we have to learn to accept everybody whether we like it or not. So can you please be a little respectful towards David?”
Returning to his room, before he started his homework, David grabbed his letter opener from off the desk and tore the envelope to fish out the goods. Usually when the pair wrote to each other, they would write a huge bundle. This letter was no exception and so read:
My dearest Dave,
I hope you haven’t gone and don’t anything daft because I’m forever fighting to come back. How has the progress gone up your end with the new revolution of ‘not hiding’? Life here is incredibly quiet. I’ve already read the book that you sent me, showing how boring life down here is. I hope you’re enjoying the book I’ve sent you. You’ll have to give me some idea of it, I haven’t read it yet. We saw a snow shower this morning, but none has stuck on the ground, so getting around places is still rather easy. At the moment, I have to have a tutor to keep me up to date with things, even though they know I don’t need one. Oh I do wish you were with me, or I back up at Hounslow with you – life is really empty without you. A few days ago I was to attend my cousin’s 18th birthday up in Lincolnshire, that is Frankie by the way, and of course I had to dress my best, which meant shirt, three-piece suit – practically the full lot. When my nan saw the chain around my neck (the one with the silver half-heart, otherwise known as my half), she told me to remove it before people started asking questions, but I left it on, keeping my commitment. I told you in my previous letter that I’d never take it off, and that I stick to. I could of hid it under my shirt, but I left it on show, showing my pride, showing my love and devotion for you. People asked about you and the chain anyway, knowing about the story from the television interview and newspaper articles. I mentioned about my expulsion from the school and how you, George, Miss Howard and the others who support us are trying to get me back there along the revolution of ‘no hiding’. We’ve gone to the educational department about this, so hopefully I’ll return in January. No matter how much we fight to be united and they keep us apart David, we’re inseparable. Inside the envelope contains two sheets of composed music. I started to compose them during my little free time a while ago – this was before I met you, but I never got round to finish them. Since I’ve been home however, I’ve had the time to continue and finish them. Nan and granddad continue to worry about me, and worry about you back there alone. I constantly worry and cry often thinking about the pain you must be going through. Play them and see what you think, for they are yours to keep, and no, these are not copies but are the originals, oh, and sorry for the smudges, I wanted to make it perfect, because that’s what you are. Perfectly sexy, attractive and amazingly gorgeous, talented and beautiful.
Anyway, for now, that is all I have to say.
Miss you lots, and I love you lots.
Reading the note, David found the two composed sheets of music enclosed and went into the closest to grab his violin case. Preparing the station up – having to move things out of the way first – David began to play the first sheet of music. It was a short piece, but regardless of that, David was in tears at the end of it. The second piece was more cheerful but sad at times, Edward noting at the bottom of the piece of paper that the piece reminded him of David. Having played the pieces, David wouldn’t attend to dinner until he’d written his letter out. This was the reply:
My dear Ed,
When you say daft, initially I haven’t done anything wrong. I received your letter this afternoon after arriving home. Edgar managed to snatch it off me but I soon as I got it back, I didn’t use violence. I just simply walked away, which I know, isn’t like me. But that’s a good thing right? Being the better man? I’ve also continued to practise on the violin, and have played the pieces you’ve given to me – which by the way reduced me to tears you little sod! But surely you’ve got copies of your own? It’s your work after all. Speaking of not abandoning things, Miss Howard came in this lunchtime, complaining that the jumper that you left for me needed washing. It isn’t washed of course. I can’t let it go, and the chain hasn’t gone either. It’s hanging from my neck, as I lie flat on my stomach to write the reply. The room is a mess again, which I’m to tidy before bed. Other than my half of our pendant, and the jumper and the letters and photo of us on the London Eye, that’s all I have of you, and I can’t let go of them. I’m glad that we’re getting somewhere on getting you home. I wish to be at home with you and never let you go. To be able to go to bed with you and wake up next to you every morning, to share every moment we have together. Our performance is to be for 8th December, and we leave a week later, so the break between seeing you isn’t that big, thankfully. The three of us here continue to persuade Garrison to allow you back, but nothing seems to convince him.
George as usual says hello, as does Jason when we communicate. Funny enough we’re back on speaking terms after you punched him when he tried to get me off that day. He saw our interview on the telly and heard about what had happened to you, so he’s against Garrison as well, and is getting his school to complain – some of the kids parents work in the government and law department. Jason will be attending the performance as well. As for my parents, it’d be hardly likely for them to jet off from America to come for one night, but you never know.
Anyway, Miss Howard is probably going to kill me if I don’t go for dinner, because I’m back to square one on that. I don’t talk to anyone and the only places I go to is school and the thinking spot. I’m sorry for that, oh god now I’ve gone and worried you even further!! If only time could go quicker. I constantly think and worry about you here, and I won’t give up your bed, George playing lodger and using mine. Anyway I must go.
Love as always,
Sealing the notes in an envelope, David placed it onto the desk and then collected all of the non-working pens with their lids and chucked them in the bin. He grabbed the box of letters that had been sent to him from inside the closest and placed the newest one in, sealing the box and placing it back. With the room a little more tidy than it previously was, David carried the letter with him downstairs and handed it over to Miss Howard, who was gaining a well deserved relax in the living room, the other students now upstairs doing their own things. “Please can you send this off?”
“Of course. The leftovers are in the kitchen since you didn’t come down to dinner. Help yourself.” Leaving his tutor, he went into the kitchen and prepared himself some food, barely but trying to eat something. Seeing George come down the stairs into the living room, she called him over for a private word – their voices low so that David didn’t catch on.
“It’s David. You see him around school. Does he eat anything for lunch once I’ve prepared the lunch buffet each day here?”
“He’s ate on his own since Edward left. I never see him in here like I used to. I only see him in classes. He’s probably up in the woodland eating up there, something to remind him of his lover, as they spent quite a bit of time there together.”
“I’m worried about him. I fear he’s growing incredibly lonely. Yes it’s only been a week, but look how well those two got on. They never left each other’s side unless it was for a class. Splitting them, they grow cold and lonely. I of all people should know that.”
“We’ve tried everything to get Edward back but Garrison won’t buy it.”
“‘I think I’m going to have to call his parents and that’s my last resort.”
“Well, is he eating now?”
“Hardly anything. I left him enough just in case he’s feeling that extra peckish but I dare he’ll touch much of what’s left. Basically since Edward’s departure – he’s gone back to square one, and his parents might be the only people who could get something done about this. I know his uncle from his mother’s side works in the education department of the government and has quite a huge role. Maybe if he spreads the word, he might be given the authority to bring him back.”
“If you don’t try you never know.”
“It’s too late to call them now.”
“So that’s our plan then?”
“What other choice do we have?”