Finding the Perfect Companion: Chapter Twelve

In this chapter: David has been sent to hospital following the injuries by Garrison as well as being seriously underweight from his eating disorder. David gets a very special visitor whilst he’s in there, which comes out as a question on whether he actually got a visitor or was it just a dream. Officers Greene and McDougall question David.

17th November

For four consecutive days, David had been bed-ridden in hospital. Being admitted in as an emergency, he had been put onto a drip feed the minute he had been checked over. As a result from collapsing a few hours after the assault from Mr Garrison, he’d suffered from head injuries in the form of bruising from the impact of falling, as well as several bruises across the body, this being from Mr Garrison belting him with David’s steel ruler a few hours before the initial incident. The secondary effects were collapsing a few hours later from a lack of food and drink. This of course was mainly due to mourning from the departure of his lover, Edward. The other injury was a hairline fracture to the ankle, which from the position David had landed on his ankle, he was fairly lucky he hadn’t completely smashed it.

Barely able to communicate or move, Miss Howard and George had been the main visitors during his stay at Newbury Hospital. Following from the events that had happened, George and Miss Howard had thoughts that a dispute/argument had occurred between David and Mr Garrison earlier on the evening of his fall. Consequently, the police had been informed over his actions, now keeping a close eye on him around the school of his interactions with others, but to justify whether they should take further action, including the arrest on suspicion of assault, they needed a report coming from David; that was once he woke up and was fit enough to give answers to their questions.

Regular checks were made on him during his stay, the nurse commenting to George and Miss Howard that he often mentioned the name of Edward or Ed for short and the words ‘come home’. Miss Howard referred back, briefly describing his recent loss. The nurse, going by the name of Janet Howell, then recognised exactly who her patient was.

“You mean to tell me that my patient here is that young bloke who was interviewed on the BBC? The one who was in that love triangle with his dance partner and roommate? He said to them two presenters that it wasn’t their business.”

“Yes, that’s him.”

“How can a man of his stature be this ill in a matter of weeks? I understand the training was harsh, and it’s only obvious from the amount of exercise one takes on during the training and performing they’re bound to lose weight. But after the show finishes, unless they take this for a living and continue to train, one puts the weight back on, not continue to lose it. For his height, he’s well underweight.”

“How much did he weigh when he was first admitted?”

“Barely seven stone. He should be at least 10 stones for his height, making him dangerously underweight. He’s got to eat, even if he’s in here for months. When I saw him on TV for the final, he looked ever so healthy. Something obviously traumatising has got to have happened? Or he’s just been seriously unwell.”

“Something did. Following that interview on TV, his roommate and boyfriend was expelled by the headmaster. Many of us protested providing that Edward hadn’t been a given a suitable reason for being expelled. He’d been on a warning for years, but this was the final nail in the coffin. Garrison has never been fond of him; don’t ask me why, I’ve no idea. At the same time, David was suffering from bulimia when he first arrived at the school.”

“How long for?”

“Anorexia for a good two or so years. About a year ago, his parents noticed the changes in his diet and major weight loss, so being concerned, they appointed him to a councillor, which didn’t do much help. Because of being caught, anorexia changed to bulimia. He was just about eight stone when he arrived here September just gone.”

“Ridiculous! He should have never been put forward for that competition. Surely there was someone just as good that could have taken his place?”

“There was, but I don’t make the rules. Dubois only seeks the best, regardless of their medical health. Edward was just as bad, being just over 10 stone when he started the training and he’s six-foot-one. As their training went on, they tried to maintain their weight, but they ended up losing a bit. Through the expulsion, that’s where David drastically lost it. He never would listen to anyone besides him, and with that one thing gone, he’s alone. We’ve taken him out of P.E. lessons due to the problems. All he does when he’s at home is writing and practise his music. He only eats if his stomach is literally growling, but when he does it’s barely anything. The loss of Edward is killing him.”

“Well, I’m sorry to say but if he doesn’t start to improve, then I’m afraid he’s going to die, so in this case I think Edward deserves to know. Also, where are his parents?”

“Living in the US, that’s why he’s here and not back in London. This is more or less his first year alone.”

“Poor man.”

“Tell me about it.”

“If he does die then Garrison has got a lot to pay for.”

“Through all the years I’ve worked there, I’ve never liked him. He’s by far too cruel to the children. The reason I mainly joined there in the first place was to try and help the poor buggers.”

“Well, to say this, if nothing does come out of this, he’ll soon be out of a job come March when the school inspectors arrive.”

18th November

David blinked open his eyes, his eyelids heavy as he was awakened to bright lights. Someone clutched his left hand, soft long fingers drawing patterns on his wrist. Tilting his head across to the right, he noticed a pale blue door. Outside he could see nurses up and down the corridor, doctors checking over information with other nurses. Catering staff were about delivering meals. Speaking of which, what time is it?

On the table in front of him was a jug of water; some of the water had been poured into a paper cup that was half-empty. He noticed that he was attached to a drip feed. To his left, a tall figure rose from the chair and stood to the side of the bed. One hand came to his face, pushing back the hairs that had stuck to his forehead. Then a soft whisper came, the voice incredibly familiar and welcoming; something that sounded quite like home. “Dave?”

Bending down in front of him was two bright blue eyes with pale skin coating his face. The same old mop on unruly chocolate tinted curly hair, and what was this, a pair of glasses? A pair of black rectangle-shaped glasses sat firmly on his nose. “Ed?”

“Dave!” Ed leant down to greet him with a kiss, David grinning and relieved that he wasn’t alone. David was curious to know what had gone on. “Where am I? What am I doing here?”

“You’re in hospital and you’ve been in for five days. You know why you’re in hospital (Edward had no clue of the details). The police have been here and were asking for you. They need the information Dave, and only you can give it to them. And you of all people need to eat. What did I tell you not to do?”

David had a lump form in his throat, knowing he’d gone against Edward’s wishes. “You told me not to go back to square one. You told me in your letter to try and maintain my health and not to do anything stupid.”

“And you disobeyed me.”

“I’m sorry!” David grabbed Edward’s wrist, his other hand too weak to move as he broke into a sob. “Please don’t leave me again.”

Edward used his free hand to stroke David’s cheek, tears spilling down his face. He noticed for safety reasons, David’s pendant had been taken off him. “I never left you to start with. You carry me all of the time in your heart. The worst thing is now because you’re not eating or drinking, you’re dying. They weighed you when you were admitted and you were only seven stone. Seven stone Dave! That’s worse than what you started at! You’re at least three stone underweight!”

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry! What about you though? Did you lose any?”

“A bit. I’m back up to ten stone though. It hurts but I have to fight.” David remained silent and Edward continued.

“But what you need to do now is tell them what happened and eat what you can. I’m there in your heart telling you to gradually eat a bit more each day. I know that you miss me but we’re on the 18th now so it’s only two more weeks to go. You’re going to be in here for a while but if you want to see me at school on the 8th then you’ve got to eat mate. We can then get this sorted and I can come home. Do you promise me that you’ll do this? Get better for me? For us?”

“Yes.”

“Good, now get some rest my love.”

“Where are you going?”

“I’m not going anywhere.” Edward took the chair and moved it forward. He leant down for another kiss and placed himself into the chair, twining his fingers with David’s. “See, I’m right here with you. I always am.”

“Good night, Ed.”

“Sleep well my love.”

The next time David woke up, it was on the evening of the 18th. George was back at Hounslow with the lads, and in the meantime Edie was looking after them. Miss Howard was still there, making sure David had company just in case he woke up. Janet was keeping an eye his gradual progress. When we woke up, he looked much more healthier, even if he was still weak.

David blinked the remains of sleep as he urged to force himself up, wondering mainly where Edward had wandered off to, David not quite sure how long he’d been asleep. “Hello?”

“David, it’s okay.” David turned his head frantically to see who was there. It was only Miss Howard.

“Where’s Ed gone?”

“Ed hasn’t been here David.”

“Yes he was. He was here earlier. He told me I’d been in for five days.” Finding it difficult to communicate, he began to drift off the current topic. “Does this bed actually lift up at all?” Janet called a team in to help to raise the bed so that David could properly sit up, David now having the energy to do so. Whilst the team rearranged David, Miss Howard traced that since Edward’s expulsion, this was the happiest that David had ever been, which obviously meant he had been dreaming. Initially at first she assumed that Edward hadn’t actually visited the hospital and had communicated, but providing that he was happy at the time, she was prepared to listen anyway, but once hearing David’s side of the story, she began to question her own assumptions. With David now in a more comfortable position, Janet also listening to him, Miss Howard continued with their conversation.

“And what he did say when he visited?”

“He watched me sleep. He held onto my hand and he was so worried, so concerned for me and was begging for me not to die. He was so happy to see me again after a fortnight away from each other, that he produced tears, muttering that I went against his wishes and that the police need to speak to me and that I need to tell them what happened. I admitted to him that I was sorry and that I felt so alone, his reply was that he’s always with me in my heart and if I want to be reunited on the 8th, my health needs to drastically improve. Then he told me to get some rest. I asked where he was going and he said nowhere because he’s always with me wherever I go – the stalker! He got back into the chair and held my hand as I went back to sleep. He kissed me of course.” David’s head gently hit the pillows as his eyes went fluttery. “I miss those lips so much. And here I am.”

“It was very kind of him to come, especially all the way from London.”

“I know. I’m glad I have a wonderful boyfriend. Now, have I missed dinner or whatever meal I’m supposed to have at this time?”

Janet dismissed herself and spoke to one of the nurses to see if they could provide David with some form of food, even if it was only a small amount. She returned to the room with a doctor. “We need to check your weight.” A wheelchair was brought over to the bedside so that they could wheel him over to the scales, David still too weak to walk. Disconnecting him from the tubes, gradually Janet. Grace and the doctor lifted him from the bed, easing him into the wheelchair and wheeled him over. Janet took note of his weight whilst the doctor noted the changes on his file, Grace supporting David as he stood on the scales.

“What is he?” , Grace questioned.

“Good news! We’re up to seven stone nine.”

“And how long will it be before I’m back?”

“Over a week at least. We’re not letting you go until you’re at least nine and a half stone.”

“I’m not going to be able to gain two stones in a week, which means I’ll miss the concert, I won’t get to see Ed.”

“Well, we better get working and eating again and see in the space we have left how well you can get.”

“Can I also have a cup of tea? I fancy one of them right about now.”

“Of course. Drinks are on the house. We’re not going to give you too much food today because if we do then it’ll make you worse.”

“Yeah, Edward said that would happen.”

“So we’re going to gradually increase it each day and in a few days time we’ll see how you go.”

Easing him off the scales and back into the chair, they got him back into bed and connected him back up. Tomorrow another nurse would come along and take some blood to make sure everything internally was working to standards. Pulling the table closer to him, David was provided with a small plate of chips and a muffin. A cup of tea soon joined the contents. In the end, the muffin had been downed with most of the chips. Initially, the nurse was going to take the polystyrene box away, but David insisted to keep it there just in case he got hungry between then and breakfast. By 4am, the box was empty.

19th November

Awaking to two pieces of toast with a lump of butter on a plate with a cup of tea in front him, a tutor soon arrived before 9am to make sure that David was up to scratch with his studies. Before midday, where his tutor had departed to the canteen for lunch, two officers had come to the room to allow David to hand over a statement so that the investigation could continue. Grace Howard and nurse Janet were with them.

Grace wandered over to the bedside, Janet made sure David was comfortable and the officers took the spare chairs. “Dave, this is officer Julia McDougall and officer Andrew Greene. They’re here to find out what happened at the incident back at Ashbury.”

McDougall had dark blonde hair that was tied up into a bun, her hat covering her head. She was a petite woman of around 30 and quite stocky. She was taking notes as Greene questioned him. Greene was a tall, ageing man of around his mid-forties. He was near enough bald – just the odd dusting of grey hair here and there.

David was concerned that instead of this being some comfy situation, they were going to interrogate him. McDougall started, noticing David’s nervousness. “David, it’s okay. We’re only here because we want to help you.”

“I know, it’s just that I get a little tensed up that’s all.”

“There’s no need to be nervous. Just take your time.”

“It’s not that, it’s when people notice you and think you’re a criminal and you’re a piece of scum.” Julia looked above and noticed the rails for the curtains. “Erm nurse, can we have some privacy for the young man please?”

“Of course.” Janet drew the curtains and departed the room, seeing to her other patients. Greene followed on.

“Now, we’re here because when you were found as of 13th November, you were found on the floor in between two beds. To our knowledge, your head teacher Mr Garrison was having a quiet word with you in your room. Apparently, he asked you to come downstairs but you refused?”

Grace propped up two pillows behind David so it made him more comfortable and easier to communicate. An attendant brought in a chair for Grace to use, placing it near the bed next to McDougall. “I refused because I barely leave my room. My room became my sanctuary, and because I was rather unstable, I asked if it was possible to chat in my room where we would have privacy, which he accepted.”

“And what did he ask you?”

David closed his eyes to try and memorise the scene. “His eyes travelled across the room and noticing the mess, he mentioned that it could do with a clean. He took the desk chair whilst I was on Edward’s former bed, which I refused to give up when George Crofts moved back in.”

“And who exactly is George Crofts?”

“Initially he was my roommate. Because of a crisis between Edgar Laurelhurst and Edward, the four of us swapped around, George putting up with Edgar whilst Edward and I became roommates. George got me to know the school.”

“Okay, go on.”

“He then mentioned that he presumed that George was having Edward’s bed and asked whether George always allowed me to use his bed. I told him that George was using my bed, I had taken over Edward’s because it felt as if he was with me.”

“Okay, and then what?”

“I asked him, because he was getting on my nerves what was it that he wanted to speak to me about. He just said he wanted to know how life was going. He knew exactly how my life is at the moment and that he knows I’m not eating, but he goes and asks me anyway. I replied that I only eat when I need to. He came out with remember what I told you, just eat little things.”

“And then?”

“Then to try and take off my mind off food, which I confessed to him I hadn’t eaten a thing that day because I didn’t feel the need to, he mentioned about a gala party thing that his niece was having, her name I think was Amy or Amelia or something along those lines. She’s near enough my age and he was to have me attend so that I warm up to her. Basically a way of trying to forget about Ed and remove him from my life.”

“And Edward is?”

“Edward McArthur, my boyfriend.”

McDougall noted his name. “That’s the man who won the competition. You were in it as well. You’re dance partner was Anne Williams. You were on TV when you confessed about you and Edward dating.”

“Yes.”

“And where is Edward?”

“Garrison chucked him out because of our relationship. He was going to chuck me out as well, but because I don’t have family nearby – my uncle Robert can’t look after me because of always being down in the House of Commons, he couldn’t exclude me. So he kicked Edward out. He’s receiving a tutor back in London at the moment until January, where he’s to start Wyckham House in the new year. We’re doing everything we can to get him back, because technically he did no wrong. Edgar Laurelhurst has bullied people that much he should have gone ages ago, but he’s still there, so where’s the justice in all of this?”

Grace added extra words in. “Timmy Daniels, Oliver Lewisham, Owen Gardiner, Joshua Cunningham and Robbie Carter have all been suspended as well within the last few days.”

McDougall and David both replied. “What for?”

“For their sexuality.”

“I hate that man!!”

“Garrison placed a ruling on the morning of the 13th November following protests on the revolution that Edward and David started of ‘not hiding’ on Edward’s final day there. ‘No hiding’ means not having to hide who you are just because you view things a little different to others, as well as being able to love another freely regardless of who you are. Since then, they’ve expressed themselves how they wish, being free to live their own lives. Garrison mentioned that following the rules of no dating, anyone who was heterosexual was allowed to continue, anyone bisexual or homosexual was forbidden. Anyone caught would be expelled.”

“Okay, well technically he is in charge so it’s his decision…”

“Ugh…”

“But, he can’t stop people from loving who they wish. As long as they keep their grades up, I can’t see what the problem is. And yes they might have broken the rules, but that is a poor excuse to exclude people, especially since it’s no longer illegal. It’s been legal for nearly 30 years so he can’t do anything. Anyway, back to the 13th.”

McDougall read the last few notes. “So he invites you to the gala ball thing so you can meet his niece. What did you say to him then?”

“I said that if he’s trying to hook me up with a female then it’s not going to work. I’m with Edward no matter what. He then tried to convince me that the relationship is over, Edward will probably or already has moved on and found another guy and that I should move on too, which I refused. I know he wouldn’t cheat on me, and even if he found someone else, I wouldn’t move on. I don’t even like girls! Not in that way. I like guys I can’t help that. I liked Jason and we had a little fling, but he was dating Katherine at the time so we moved on and I fell in love with Ed.”

“Then what happened?”

“I asked politely for him to leave. He remained perfectly still, didn’t move an inch. That’s when I lost my temper and told him to get out. He stood up and bellowed at me – telling me that I can’t tell him what to do. I shoved him into the wall and admitted that I was through with the school and through with him. That he has to respect his students despite their preferences whether he likes it or not. I threatened him with my steel ruler. I didn’t hit him, I swear. If I did it would be perfectly logical to kick me out or arrest me for violence. That’s when he shoved me out of his way and I fell. He then left me. George found me next. I don’t know what happened from there.”

“Okay. Is it okay if I can have a look at you? If there’s any bodily evidence it counts in your favour?”

David nodded in agreement. “Okay.” Julia moved away from the curtain, Grace following. Janet and Andrew Greene eased David out of the bed, using the table for support.

Janet took the gown off David where Greene could check him over. Janet unwrapped the bandage from around David’s head, where Greene noticed the major bruising. Stitches were in place where David had cut his head open. She put the bandage in place and then Greene took note of it as well as the fractured ankle. He checked over his body for anything else, when he came across a marking near his neck and a series of bruises on his forearms. The bruises had faded, but were still there.

“What are these?” David gave no reply. Greene put the question into a different context.

“There’s more to it than just a shove isn’t there?” David spilled tears as the statement continued.

“It’s okay. Just tell me. Can McDougall and Miss Howard have a look?” David nodded and McDougall came in, Grace following. Janet held David in place, David feeling weak. They both took note of the bruising.

“Dave, can you tell us?” Grace turned to the officers. “These were raw red, almost black when I first saw them.”

Greene continued to question. “And when was that?”

“On the night of the 13th. When George told me that David was on the floor and had a head wound. Garrison had just left.”

“Where was the ruler?”

“On the floor.”

“Where is it now?”

“Still there I think.”

“What happened David?”

More tears spilled. “He belted me with the ruler. He snatched the ruler off me when he shoved me and hit me where he could with it. Told me that as long as I loved men, I’d never get anywhere in life. Uni and employers would turn me down. I’d never have a nice life and god hates me and I’m going to hell.”

“Thank you.” Janet and Grace put the gown back onto David. Greene picked up his radio and reported. “Get a team over to Hounslow. Arrest Mr Garrison for assault. Take the ruler from David’s room in Ashbury house as evidence and take DNA samples off it. It should be on the floor somewhere. It’s a steel ruler. Get DNA samples off Mr Garrison and see if they match.”

A voice replied through the radio. “Yes, sir.”

The gown back on, they eased David back into the bed, David having a question of his own. “Well what does that mean? Garrison is fired and they can come back?”

“Well, he’s to be arrested. If guilty, he’s in prison. If not, well, he’ll never teach again. Until his court sentence is due, which we have to question him first and then show him the evidence through the interrogation, he’ll technically still be head teacher.”

McDougall added. “For now until he is officially sacked, someone will have to stand in for him? Who is the deputy?”

“Mr Sachs.”

“Well, he’s in charge for now. When he is officially fired, Mr Sachs will become head or the education department will have to find someone else, but they can’t exclude any more people unless for a proper reason, such as bullying.”

“So Edward and the others will come back?”

“In time.”

“And how long does the procedure take?”

“It depends. Eventually though, Edward will be back and will finish his year at Hounslow, which is a guarantee.” This, David was pleased at. The two officers left the room and David went back to bed, waiting for his lunch.

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