In this chapter: David comes out of hospital to be greeted by his fellow Hounslow students. Mr Garrison has been arrested, Mr Sachs taking over in his place for the time being. Edward comes back for Parents’ Night. To be continued in the next chapter.
Resulting in the statement from having officers McDougall and Greene visit him, as well as the supposed visit from Edward in the form of a dream, David continued to fight to gain his strength so that he could perform on Parents’ Night, and more importantly, come home to his lover. Weighing just over nine stone when he was given permission to be discharged from the hospital just over two weeks later – making his total stay nearly a month – he was given leave providing that he would continue to gain weight to reach his target weight and arrive for check up’s each week, Janet setting a minimum target of 10 stones before she was completely satisfied, which he’d have to maintain. Because David was in Hounslow for two more weeks, he would attend Newbury hospital for those weeks, however, he would get away with it during the Christmas holidays, but once he returned in January, the check up’s would continue.
A welcome home party was provided for him when he arrived at Ashbury on the 5th – a buffet specially made by Grace. Although David was still upset that Edward wasn’t initially there to celebrate with him, it wouldn’t be long before they were reunited again, which kept his spirits up. Mr Garrison had been out of the school for over a week, with Mr Sachs acting as principal, still using Mr Garrison’s rules until it was confirmed that he would take over. Whether he’d continue using these rules once he became officially known as principal was another question. As soon as the mini buffet was over, David departed from the group and returned to his own room. The bed had been made, Edward’s jumper sitting on top.
Getting changed for bed, David opened up his violin case and went straight to practise, George soon coming in and complimenting his work. George was lying flat on the other bed, David moving across the room, knowing the compositions more or less off by heart now. Once finished, David bowed to George and George clapped. Getting off the bed, he put his arm around David’s shoulders and gave him a sideward’s embrace.
“Ed is going to be so proud of you when he hears that, as well as your overcoming battle.”
Breaking contact, David placed his instrument onto the bed, George still standing up. “Do you think it was still a dream?”
“Ed coming to see me. I still think it was real. I could hear nurses and there was lights on and everything. I could see him, complete with the mop of dark curls. He was wearing a black shirt with a black jumper. His long, black woollen overcoat was on the chair on the left. His pendant hung from his neck when he leant down, the cool silver against my skin. The only difference was that he was wearing glasses.”
David started packing away his instrument as he described the scenario, George helping him by placing all of the music notes together. Filing them, he placed them onto the desk in the folder labelled ‘David’s music stuff.’ George then gave his response.
“I don’t know. If it was then it was, if it wasn’t well then that’s a different story. Maybe that’s what we do when we’re at our loneliest and weakest? We use our minds to trace the one thing that’s most important to us and then afterwards it feels as if they were actually there.”
“Maybe. I’m just trying to figure out one thing. If Ed, Alfred and Sylvie are coming up here, then where are they going to sleep?”
“I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and find out. Do you know when he’s due?”
“No idea. I know he’s going back Monday morning.”
Placing his violin case into the closest, he flopped down onto Edward’s bed, relishing in the scent of the duvet and pillows. He grabbed one of the pillows and hugged it, twisting onto his side so that he could directly talk to George. George flopped back down onto the other bed, leaning on his side so that they could communicate with each other.
“Well, if he’s staying here, well then I’ll move back into my own room. I can’t exactly stay here when you pair want privacy.” David smirked and George knew he had ideas on his mind.
“What are you thinking? I know it’s something dirty.”
“Unless you want to watch? I’d say let’s have a threesome but I don’t do them, and I don’t think Ed does either.”
George couldn’t help but laugh. “Ha-ha no thanks. I think there’d be too much protesting then. Also, I’m not fond of them either. What would Lisa say if she found out I was having sex with two other guys, more importantly, with two of my friends?”
David had no reply to that. “God knows.” George went into a singsong style. “Let me join in!”
David chuckled, allowing George to continue once his giggles calmed down a little. “Na, I’ll just leave it to you pair. Just don’t mess up my lodging bed.”
“Thank you, and how do you know it wasn’t messed up before you became lodger?” George made a foul face and fell off the bed. David burst out laughing, having to be careful and not fall off the bed and injure his ankle any further.
To surprise David, Edward had an idea that a month away from him would have driven David insane, and so, with Alfred and Sylvie’s permission, he phoned the school for Miss Howard and asked if he could come down a day early to give him a surprise, which he was granted.
Starting out on the early morning, his grandparents would be staying at a hotel in Newbury, whilst Edward would stay at the house for the weekend, needing a few hours to practise and complete rehearsals as well as spend as much time with his love as possible. Edward arrived at Ashbury House for 2pm. Grace was in the house on her own when she noticed the cab pull into the curb. Opening the door, she would be the first to greet Edward with a hug. Edward paid the taxi driver and got his duffel bag and violin out of the car. The taxi drove away as they walked into the house, Grace closing the door behind them. Edward placed the bag and violin onto the sofa and followed her through to the kitchen, where she put the kettle on and got two mugs out. “Tea?”
Edward went to the fridge and got out the milk as Grace got two teabags out of the tin. Edward placed the milk by the kettle, Grace adding sugar to the mugs. “How is he?”
“Getting better. You did visit him at the hospital didn’t you? He’s convinced us – that’s George and I by the way – that you did. I heard nothing of it from the nurse so I presumed that he had a dream about you.”
“He probably did have dreams about me, but I did visit him. I went the day after you phoned me. The nurse who was attending to him probably wasn’t working then. He looked so ill and weak when I saw him lying there.”
“I had an idea you would go hearing the first word.”
“The tutor weren’t happy to find that I wasn’t in London that day.”
Pouring in the hot water following with the milk and giving the mixture a stir, she handed one mug over to Edward whilst she finished her own off. She then placed the milk back into the fridge and picked up her own mug to sip. “He’s lucky to have you, you’re a good man. You’re also lucky to still have him. It was your words that got him out of there. He came back two days ago and returned to classes yesterday. He’s still a bit uneasy – he feels a bit wobbly on the occasion and his ankle doesn’t help.” Edward made his way up the stairs – grabbing his bag and violin on the way – and into their room, Grace following. The first thing that Edward noticed was how tidy the room was. There were only a few things in there now. Dropping his bag and violin onto his bed, his eyes skimmed the room. “My god what happened? It’s tidy!”
“It wasn’t this morning. There were pens everywhere and bits of paper, books of all sorts and music sheets.”
Edward undone the bag and started unpacking, Grace taking the desk chair, her mug resting on the desk. Edward’s was on the bedside table. “He’s worked hard then?”
“Overworked I think. I had to buy him three packs of pens from all the writing he was doing. He might calm down a bit now that you’re here. Oh and George has moved back into his own room so that you and David can have some privacy over the weekend.”
“That’s very kind of him.”
“David’s parents are due here tomorrow.” Edward dropped the pair of jeans onto the bed, gobsmacked over the idea that David’s parents were actually making the effort to see their son’s performance.
“They’re coming over from America?”
“They want to see their son; they’re concerned over his health. They also want to see his performance, as well as meet you.”
“I understand.” With Edward finishing unpacking, placing his clothes into the closest and leaving out the ones he wants to change into following his long, exhausted journey, he placed his violin next to David’s and shut the door. Striding over to the bed, he took hold of the black jumper that he left behind for him. Picking it up, he noticed that it was grubby. A smile came to Edward’s face as he clutched the woolly item and sniffed it. “He hasn’t washed it has he?”
“Nope. Wouldn’t give it up.”
“Bless him.” A thought came to him. “How long would it take to wash and dry it?”
“From the travelling, I could do with a shower and change of clothing. I’ve still got my Hounslow uniform with me for tomorrow. I was thinking of wearing the jumper over the weekend and then leaving it for him to use until it came to Christmas. When do they get the train back by the way?”
“They leave here…” A moment of thought to get the correct date; knowing for certain, she continued, “… the 21st, the date got changed.”
“Hmm, not too long then. Anyway, I’m going for a shower.”
“I’ll wash and dry it for you and I’ll leave it on the bed. They’ll be finishing classes in 40 minutes in case you wanted to greet him.”
“The I.T. room by the stairs on the first floor.”
“Towels are in the bathroom.”
“Thank you.” Grace left the room, taking the jumper with her. Edward opened the bathroom door and went for a shower, dressing himself in a purple shirt and black tie with black trousers. His jumper, now washed and dried, went on top. Once he was dressed, Edward chucked his laundry into the washing basket and went downstairs to dry his hair off. Coming back up for his cup of tea, he finished it off and took it downstairs for it to be washed up. Placing his glasses on, he left the house and took a slow stroll into the school.
Hearing the bells go to declare the end of the school day, Edward had managed to climb the stairs and walk through the double doors, where he waited outside the classroom. Because there was a window, he could see inside. George and David were next to each other logging off. Most of the students were quicker than them. Inside he could hear, “I’ll see you in a bit. I’ve got to head to the reception first.”
“Okay, I’ll see you back at the house.” George and many of the group came out and greeted Edward, waving and shaking hands, welcoming him back. For him it felt awfully strange to be popular and for people to be nice to him.
“Afternoon old mate,” George started as they shook hands and hugged.
“I thought you weren’t due until tomorrow?”
“I wasn’t, but I couldn’t bear the thought of Dave being on his own.”
George lightly shoved him. “You old softy! Anyway, it’s good to have you back. So… I’ve got to pop down to the reception, something about my parents and where exactly all the hotels are to stay, so I’ll see you back at the house.”
“Okay then, see you.” George continued on, heading down the stairs. David, due to his ankle, was slower than everyone else. He eased himself up, pulled his chair in and grabbed his bag. Turning around, the halls were now empty – the odd student passing here and there – David noticed Edward outside of the classroom and grinned, Edward grinning back from the sight of David’s face. Bidding farewell to Mr Lovell and brisk walking out of the classroom – he couldn’t quite run yet due to his ankle, but he couldn’t care less – he shoved the door open and collided into Edward as they squeezed each other, Edward kissing David.
“Yeah, I’ve missed you.”
“So have I.” Breaking away, both of them flushed, both of them took note of the changes in their appearances. Edward started with David, noticing his ankle, pointing at the limb, a sneaky grin coming to his face which he couldn’t help.
“What the hell have you gone and done? I said don’t do anything stupid.” David followed Edward’s eyes down to his ankle, which contained a bandage. David sheepishly grinned.
“Oh that thing. Erm, well it’s more or less healed now. I’ve just got the bandage on to protect it.” They moved in to one side of the hallway so that others could come by.
“When did you do it?”
“About a week after you left.”
“You big idiot! You didn’t kick the door in or kick a tree did you?”
David remembered his past times of doing that and giggled. “Funny enough no.” David stepped closer and cupped his cheek. “You’ve changed. Firstly, what the hell did you do to your hair?”
Edward bit his bottom lip and used the one hand to scratch his head, worrying that he’d gone and done something stupid. “Oh god, I feared you wouldn’t like it.”
“No no, I do. I love it! It’s just that it’s shorter.” His hand travelled upwards and went into his hair, stroking the curls. “It’s still soft. And you’re wearing glasses.”
“I was complaining about my eyesight at home and nan took me to the opticians. According to the optician, I should have been wearing glasses ages ago. My vision isn’t terrible – I can still see without them on, but I need them for daily use. I guess Edgar was right after all.”
“Never mind him. They’re lovely. They really suit you. And you’ve gone taller and I love the shirt with the tie and god I’ve missed you.”
“So have I.” David leaned in and pressed their lips together again, taking a few minutes to lean against the wall and kiss each other.
“Come on. There’s somewhere else you haven’t been in a long time.” David then grabbed Edward’s hand and took them to the thinking spot.
Under the old oak tree, Edward leant against the tree trunk and David lay in Edward’s lap as they spoke of life, David filling Edward in of what had happened since his departure in early November. Their fingers were knitted together, David kissing each knuckle as he asked about Edward visiting him a few weeks ago.
“You visited me at the hospital?”
“Yeah. Miss Howard gave me the word about that you’d gone in. Apparently Garrison came over on the night and he spoke to you. He hurt you and then he left. You collapsed during the night.”
David briefly nodded. “When did you find out?”
“The 16th – it was on the afternoon. As soon as I heard about you’d gone in, I did everything I could to get there. That’s why it was the 18th when I arrived. When I entered your room, you were just lying there motionless, your eyelids closed and your chest barely rising up and down. You were so ill and I kept wishing you would get better. I sat down in the chair and observed you. Gently I cradled your hand in mine and drew soothing patterns on your delicate wrist. Any weaker and you could have died.” Edward’s voice cracked. He moved away from the tree, straddling David. He bent down so that his face was millimetres away from David’s, tears running down his face.
“You were barely seven stone when they first weighed you! Seven stone Dave!!!” More tears came as David pulled him close, fingers running their way through his hair, their heads joined, tears smearing across their cheeks. Edward continued choking up his words. “Don’t you dare ever do that again Dave! You scared me to death! You almost died! You can’t leave me on the Earth alone that soon! We have the rest of our lives together; let me have something to hold onto at least.”
“I’m so sorry, but I was so alone. I lost everything and more importantly I lost you. I didn’t bother eating because I was more focused on practising and writing and fighting to keep you with me.”
“I told you, I never left, I never will.” David traced Edward’s chain around his neck, fingers dancing their way down the chain towards the half-heart. “You kept it on?”
“I never took it off.” Edward dug beneath David’s shirt collar and found the other half still there. He fondled the half-heart. “Yours is still there.”
“They had to take it off when I was in hospital. But it stayed by the bedside. Every day I clutched it, knowing I had you with me. After you went, I forced myself to get better, for us. The minute I was dressed, the pendant went back on, and it’s stayed on since.” Silence passed them for a few moments, both of them staring into each other’s eyes, glad to have the other back. David tugged down on the pendant, bringing Edward down with him as lips met, David carding his fingers through Edward’s hair, Edward pushing David’s blazer off, David forcing himself up so Edward could remove the garment off him.
David whined as the blazer came off him. “It’s so cold!!”
Edward bent forward and cocooned David, acting as his shell. “Don’t worry, I’ll keep you warm.” Some more kissing then occurred as David flopped back down, Edward straddling his hips.
“Most of all, I’ve missed your smiles, your touches and your lips.”
“Well, they’re not going away any time soon.” Edward dived back down to meet David, Edward practically on top of David as they continued where they left off.
Towards the evening they came back to the house. Inside, the students were bustling about practising for their performances, George working with his band in his own room, Edgar being forced out onto the football pitch with the rest of the team to practise for tomorrow’s game. The noise was that overbearing, you had to shout and stand close together to try and communicate with someone, as if you were in a disco or club. As for the lads, David used the little bit of time remaining to get changed out of his uniform and to place his bag into the closest, Edward forever eyeing him.
Dinner was celebrated by having Edward back in the house, Grace taking photographs of everyone having a good time. She tapped on Edward’s shoulder as he munched on a ham sandwich, David high as a kite as he communicated with George. Showing him the camera and her intention, Edward tapped David’s shoulder. Noticing the camera, David shuffled his chair closer to Edward’s so that the chairs were practically touching, Edward wrapped his arms around David’s waist and leant his chin on his shoulder, his and David’s cheeks brushing each other. David covered Edward’s hands with his own as they both beamed and their picture was taken.
Following the next few snapshots, everyone was holding conversation at the table, for once the entire household was happy. George started a conversation aimed at Edward, everyone listening with wide grins as more food was eaten. “It’s good to have you back. Even if it’s just for a few days.”
“It’s good to be back. You know, in the five years I’ve been here, never have I wanted to come back so much, in fact, this is the first time I’ve ever wanted to return. There were things I left behind and I needed to return to and take care of them.” Edward turned to David, who was now near enough sitting on top of his lap, munching on a grape, Edward’s arms still snaked around David’s waist. “I came home to run into your arms and to hold you. This is where my home is, with you.” David grinned as he leant in for a kiss, a hand going to Edward’s head to pull him closer. Grace went to grab her camera from off the table to take a picture of the pair. The table cheered for their happiness, a lot of them going ‘aww’ as well as shouting ‘fight for the power’. Edgar still wasn’t fond of it, but through Garrison’s treatment to them, the two reuniting put a smile on his face.
After dinner, everyone went and done their own things, most of them back to practising or trying to get some sleep due to the long day ahead – or if your name was Grace Howard it was putting away leftovers from the buffet and cleaning up the dining room and kitchen. The lads were up in their bedroom; David was setting up their stations to practise when something came to Edward’s mind. Edward was flicking through the sheets of music on his bed, his eyes casually drifting over to David’s arse now and again.
“One person I haven’t seen yet is Garrison. Where is he?”
Edward dropped the papers back onto the bed and sat up, much more intrigued, wanting to know the details. “What? He got the sack?”
“No, he got arrested.”
“What for?” David put his sheet music down onto Edward’s bed and removed his purple jumper and t-shirt. Meeting Edward in the middle of the room, he showed him the marks from the ruler as Edward observed David’s body. “What the…” Edward noticed one of the marks and pointed to it, his voice welling up with anger. “What is this? Who’s done this to you?”
“His crime. These were blood red, almost black and blue when I first had them.”
Edward’s voice raged with anger. “He hit you?”
“With the steel ruler, it happened on the night I went into hospital. Came up on the evening and asked how life was going and eating habits and all that. Tried to convince me to go to some gala ball thing with him and meet his niece, I’ve forgotten her name. Anyway, tried to convince me to cheat on you and forget you. I told him to get stuffed because you’d never forget about me and you wouldn’t cheat, so why should I? I asked him to get out, he didn’t so I threatened him with the ruler – going back to square one – and he bellowed at me. He shoved me, took the ruler off me and belted me with it, throwing all sorts of insults at me.”
Edward grabbed David and held him in his arms. “The bastard!” Edward stroked David’s hair and back soothingly. “You poor thing. Are you okay? Did they treat at the hospital properly?”
“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
“I didn’t want to worry you. I don’t like to see you upset.”
“It does worry me though. I don’t like to see you hurt, I want you safe and happy. It’s okay though because you’re safe now and I’m here to protect you from any harm. Anything else that needs to be added hun?”
“The police found out when I was questioned the day after you came. They saw the marks and took photographic evidence. They arrested him and took the ruler as evidence. The DNA samples taken from Garrison were tested and they found a match on the ruler.”
“Is it enough evidence to kick him out?”
“A good chance yes. Sachs is running under Garrison’s rules at the moment and the trial hasn’t come up yet, so we’ll have to wait for now. But there’s an improvement, and Garrison will never teach again.”
“Will I come back?”
“According to one of the officers, you will definitely finish the schooling year here.”
“Good.” They then did a little practising together, Edward’s mind constantly on the marks, feeling uncomfortable from the pain that David must have suffered whilst being belted with the ruler.
Placing their equipment away and getting changed into barely anything, Edward was still worried about the marks. David placed their violin cases into the closest and closed the door, the room a lot emptier. David followed Edward’s eyes, where he could easily feel Edward’s concern about him.
“It still hurts, if that’s what you were thinking and was going to ask, and it was bloody painful when I got hit.”
Edward wickedly smirked, coming into David from behind and casually wrapping his arms around David’s waist and gliding his chin over David’s shoulder so that faces could meet. “Well, I know a brilliant way to soothe them. You’ll love it.”
“And what’s that then, hmm?”
“You’ll have to come with me.” Edward guided David over to the bed, the bed now clear of music sheets and eased him down onto his back. Climbing on, he spread David’s legs apart and positioned himself in between, Edward bending down to kiss every mark, latching his tongue to every bruise, David gasping and growling from each flick of the tongue across his skin and every suck.
A little while later – once he managed to finally pull away, Edward tempted to remain where he was, carry on and take David apart, he removed himself from the bed and removed his glasses, placing them back into the case on the bedside table, David plastered to the bed, grinning like an oaf. Placing the case down, Edward turned the radio on, keeping the volume low because others were trying to get some sleep. Clearing the floor space so they had some room, he turned to David, who hadn’t moved an inch. Some love ballad came on. Edward locked the door, the only light now coming from the lamp, he then wiggled his finger towards David, inching closer.
“Can you still dance?”
“With everything that’s happened in the last month, I’ve forgotten half of the steps.”
Edward lowered his eyelashes and fluttered them, attracting David’s attention another way. “Okay, but do you still remember how to dance with me?”
David sat and grinned. “That I can’t forget.”
“C’mere then.” David got up from off the bed and followed Edward to the middle of the room, meeting half way. David sank into Edward as he softly swayed them from side to side. David placed his head on Edward’s shoulder as his arms wrapped around Edward’s torso, aiming further south towards his arse as he lightly rubbed, removing the last of his clothing. Edward’s arms snaked around David’s neck. Edward kissing David anywhere he could, his arms gradually slipping south, removing his underwear. Pressing themselves together, they then continued to sway, the dancing become more heated. With David and Edward both losing patience and control, Edward broke away and turned off the radio, David flopping back down onto the bed. Edward joined him as he flicked off the lamp light and leant down to meet David, where they continued with what they started. Trying not to wake the entire household, they slept together naked, David’s head on Edward’s chest, falling asleep to the sound of Edward’s heartbeat and his arms wrapped around him.