In this chapter: Following on from Chapter Fifteen, David continues to stay in London with Edward. David gets to know Amanda better and the life she currently lives. Jason and Daniel visit the lads and the pair pack to return to Berkshire, Edward starting his new term in Wyckham House.
As Edward hoped, David fell into place in regards of Amanda working in the household; however, unlike Alfred and Sylvie, Amanda’s employers; David regarded Amanda as a friend, if not, at least a human.
Being Christmas Eve, Edward and David having done their Christmas shopping earlier during the week, Amanda drove the pair up to David’s house in Notting Hill, having to collect presents and such. Edward was eager to see David’s house, something of which he could probably refer more to as home rather than his own mansion – type house in Belgravia. In Edward’s mind, anywhere living with David was home.
Unlocking the front door, Edward leaning into him from behind, Amanda at the car, he pushed the door forward to be greeted with a wad of letters from the last few months, mostly addressed to Kathleen and Peter.
Helping to collect the documents, the two went inside to the front room. Edward sneezed as he came in, dust collecting around the place. “Bless you,” David muttered to Edward.
“Thank you,” was his only reply, a small smile forming on his face. Dropping the items on the coffee table, David went back to the door, shouting to catch Amanda’s attention, David waving his arms about. “Amanda!” Amanda rolled down the window. “What is it?”
“We’re going to be here a while, you might as well come in.” Rolling the window back up, she climbed out of the driver’s seat, closed the door and locked it. Placing her car keys into one of her pockets on her long, knee-length cream coat, she pulled down her knee-high skirt, which had ridden up even though she had tights on underneath.
Coming up the driveway, she entered the house, her nose tingling from coming into contact with so much dust, where she’s used to the clean, spacious house of Belgravia. Taking off her coat, she came into the front room, taking the armchair, Edward and David on the sofa. “This place needs cleaning, I feel as if I’m about to sneeze.”
“Ed has already sneezed.”
“Twice!” He then went to sneeze again, the other’s lightly giggling from his frustrated impression. “There’s the third!”
Amanda could stand it no longer and got up from the armchair. “Where’s the cleaning equipment? It’s the least I could do to give you a helping hand. And at the same time, come the summer when your family returns, you’re all going to be very ill.”
“Are you sure? I can easily do the cleaning later on.”
“Of course I don’t mind, and it gives me something to do.” David guided Amanda to the kitchen and opened the cupboard nearby the kitchen sink towards the back door. Grabbing some of the cleaning products from the cupboard, Amanda also noticed the garden and how the grass needed a cut. Although it was cold, there wasn’t moisture in the air, and no precipitation had come down within the week. “The garden needs a tidy up.”
David closed the cupboard and went to stand up, producing a bucket with more cleaning products and a duster. He then eyed the garden from the kitchen window. “Oh for crying out loud! Mother should have completed that before they set off for America.”
One of Amanda’s hands went to David’s shoulder and lightly squeezed. “Don’t worry, it’ll get done before we leave.”
“No worries.” Placing the few products she held onto into the bucket, she took the bucket from David and went into the front room to begin cleaning the place, gradually working her way around the entire house. David followed her into the front room, where David and Edward would spend the next fifteen or so minutes separating the mail, leaving a pile for Peter, one for Kathleen and another for David, as well as making separate piles for advertisements, Christmas cards and notes from the post office to say that parcels had arrived, David’s family members preferring to send the parcels to the house rather than Edward’s.
With permission, Edward collected David’s mail and placed the pile into David’s bag, including the Christmas cards that had been addressed to him. David took his parents’ mail upstairs into the master bedroom, placing the two piles on the desk. By the time Kathleen and Peter returned home, the desk would be littered with stacks of mail.
With the first job completed, David wandered off to his own room to collect extra bits and bobs that he might need. He’d have to return home before having to return to Hounslow anyway, needing slightly cooler clothing for the spring. Going back downstairs, he placed these items into the car, Amanda handing over her keys. With Edward trying not to sneeze from the cleaning, David handed over his set of keys to Amanda so that they could complete the garden.
Opening up the shed, Amanda took hold of the lawnmower, unwrapping the cord. David took the cord from her and connected it to the extension cable, which was connected to a plug in the kitchen. Edward went to collect the rubbish bin from the side of the house. Taking the lid off, the bin being empty, Edward went in search for black plastic waste bags, David making them all a well-deserved cup of tea.
After finishing tidying up the lawn, Amanda returning the set of keys to David to lock up, they finished up and left the house, heading towards the post office to collect the parcels, remembering to bring the notes with them. Having a bulk to carry, a member of staff helping them out, some of the parcels were addressed to David’s parents, the majority for him. Placing most of them into the boot and the extras onto the back seats, they made a quick stop off at David’s to drop off the parcels belonging to his parents, placing these in the master bedroom on the bed, and finished off by closing every curtain in the house to prevent being burgled. Then the three returned to Edward’s.
On the evening, the three took the items upstairs, Edward finding some wool and pins to drape it across the walls to hang the cards up, keeping one envelope spare to place the money that David received in, keeping this in his rucksack. Helping Amanda with the dinner, Edward insisted for Amanda to join them rather than eating alone, Alfred and Sylvie being out for the day, much to their distaste. Following up dinner, Alfred and Sylvie leaving the finished plates and glasses, the lads stayed behind to help her out, Edward collecting plates, David collecting glasses and cutlery, Amanda at the sink ready and waiting to wash the items. This gave David and Edward the excuse to get to her know her better.
Edward started the conversation off, bringing in the first few plates, David behind him. “So, are you returning home for Christmas?”
“Where are you initially from?”
Amanda remained silent, David placing a comforting hand on her forearm once he placed the glasses onto the worktop. Amanda glanced towards them, petrified. “I don’t have a family. I lost my job a few months back, which is why when your grandparents offered me the job, I took it.”
David continued on, having to remain quiet due to Sylvie and Alfred sitting in the front room, not knowing how much they had already heard. “But you barely earn a thing, and no offence to your grandparents Ed, but they treat you like crap.”
Edward knew from what he had seen, that this was truth. “None taken, hun.”
Amanda tried to shrug it off. “Yes, I earn very little, but to have a bed to sleep in, hot water to use as well as a roof over my head and food in my belly then I much appreciate that. The life I have here now is much better than the squalors I was living in as a child.”
“Lads, even if I wasn’t working here, I’d be pretty much carrying out the same jobs at home. And to be working where I get to be amongst two wonderful, caring and considerate young lads is a bonus.” Amanda opened out her arms to embrace the two lads.
Edward continued questioning her. “Is this your first Christmas away from family?” Amanda nodded.
“So, how do you prepare to spend your day tomorrow?”
“The same as I do every day, awake early and eat something, and then serve you until you all go to bed, eating in between and after.”
Edward placed a hand on her shoulder, his other hand on the small of David’s back. “Very well, we’ll help you tomorrow with the cooking. You should be able to relax and enjoy the day as much as we get to. We’ll have our own Christmas party with music and crackers.”
Amanda sighed, knowing that Edward would do anything to make sure she enjoyed herself whilst working. “I don’t think your grandparents would approve of that.”
“Tough shit if they don’t. You are my guest and as much as family as Dave is, which is a lot. Both of you are without family this year so you are my guests. Amanda, my wonderful friend who lives with us and Dave, my wonderful, handsome boyfriend.”
“Come on, we might as well have an early night. Big day tomorrow.” The three continued to wash and dry up, Edward making them all a hot chocolate before they parted and went to bed, leaving Alfred and Sylvie to finish off.
Edward kept to his word, deciding that Amanda would be his guest, David being his other. Rather than have a lie in on Christmas Day, which on the Eve of Christmas as they settled down to sleep, Edward explained to David how dire Christmas usually was, this year called for changes. Rousing David awake through kissing him, the lads dug out some clothing and popped into the bathroom for a quick shower.
Once dressed, the pair made the bed and cleaned the room, coming downstairs to find Amanda in the kitchen, already at work. Keeping their promise, they rolled up their sleeves and washed their hands to help prepare the Christmas dinner, David peeling potatoes and Edward going in search to find a cassette tape to play music. Amanda was checking upon the turkey that was roasting in the oven. “You’re not a vegetarian are you, David?”
“Nope. And if I was, Ed would soon turn me back.”
“No food allergies that I need to be aware of?”
“That’s good then. How does the full trimmings of a Christmas dinner sound with a mini-buffet on the night, complete with Vienetta and jelly?”
Edward popped his head around the door, grinning. “It sounds wonderful.” Edward then produced a tape, placing it into the player and adjusting the volume. David continued peeling the potatoes. “Yes, it sounds lovely, thank you.”
Amanda was overjoyed from their comments. “Excellent! A good, proper English dinner is what you need for a day like today.” That she meant it was suitable for a cold, snowy day.
Continuing on, David finished peeling the potatoes, collecting them into a bowl and handing them over to Amanda for chopping. Getting rid of the peelings, David re-washed his hands and went to prepare the dining table, Edward finding a stash of crackers. Five plates were put down with cutlery along with five glasses, ready to be topped up with wine.
Alfred and Sylvie eventually came down to find five plates at the table, the music from the kitchen drawing their attention, Amanda and David singing, Edward too shy. Alfred pressed the stop button on the player, causing silence. The three workers turned, David holding a knife, Edward holding a bottle of red wine and Amanda holding a saucepan containing the chopped spuds. There they found the displeased couple, Sylvie howling. “What’s going on?”
Edward spoke up, eyeing the others for back-up. “We’re preparing dinner, what does it look like we’re doing?”
“Yes I can see that, but what’s with the music and why are their five plates on the table?”
“Amanda is joining us.”
“She’s an employee.”
“She’s my guest. Oh come on nan, lighten up. Instead of making this place dreary and dull, let’s us liven up the place.”
“Oh alright, for the sake of having guests.” From inside the front room, the telephone was ringing, Edward dashing off to answer it. “Dave, it’s Jason!” Placing the knife down, David left the kitchen to answer the call, Edward staying close.
“Hi Jase. Merry Christmas!”
“Yeah, Merry Christmas to you all as well. Listen, can you do us a favour?”
“Yeah, what’s that?”
“Our oven has buggered up and mom can’t do the dinner. She plans on going to my nan’s but I can’t be arsed and would much rather be happy. Dan is with me as well. Can we come over?”
“You better ask Ed, it’s his house, not mine.” David muttered the situation to Edward, Edward taking the receiver off David.
“Yeah, come over to mine, there’s plenty of food to go around seven of us.” Edward handed the phone back to David and went back to the kitchen to collect two more plates, making room on the table.
“I think we’ve overdone a bit, having five of us to feed.”
“Yeah. Us pair, Ed’s grandparents and Ed’s maid Amanda.”
“He has a-“
“Not now, we’ll have the dinner done in about 20 minutes. We’ve got wine as well.”
“Brilliant! Mom will pick us up for about nine-ish.”
“See you then!” Placing the receiver down, David returned to the kitchen. “Darling, two more plates please.”
“I’ve already placed two more on the table. I’ll just get you some glasses.” Alfred was concerned over the details. “Why, who’s coming now?”
“Jase and Dan.”
“Oh, how charming.”
“Oh, hush it granddad! At least the two-decade old crackers will finally be used.” No more was mentioned.
Going up into the attic to search for more festive decorations, the house being more or less bare as it was, Sylvie produced something for Edward to hang up. As he used the step ladder to attach the object to the ceiling, the doorbell went, Sylvie going to the door, David keeping Edward in place. Hugs were passed as Jason and Daniel entered the front room from the hallway, Amanda taking their coats to be hung up. Jason was carrying a plastic bag containing presents.
“Merry Christmas lads! Ed, what you hanging up there?”
“Just a little decoration for us to enjoy.” Coming down from the step-ladder, David guiding him down, Jason and Daniel took note of the decoration. “Mistletoe!” Leaving the bag near the Christmas tree, they followed on through to the dining room, Jason presenting Sylvie with the main present. “These are for you and Alfred to enjoy. It’s to say thank you for having us here today.”
“Thank you,” Sylvie exclaimed, Alfred remaining civil. Opening the package, she found the gift to be a box of chocolates. “These are wonderful! They’ll go well the buffet tonight, thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” Each allocated themselves a seat at the dining table, collecting their respective plates and queueing up in the kitchen for food, Amanda ready and waiting to carve the turkey. Helping themselves to food, they all came back to the table to dine, Amanda pouring wine into the glasses, or coke if they preferred. Edward raised his glass, tapping his spoon against it to grab everyone’s attention. “I’d like to make a toast, for having the pleasure to be among some of the most wonderful people in life on this beautiful Christmas day. To Christmas!”
“To Christmas!” they all recited as they each took a sip from their raised glasses. Unable to wait much longer, the seven dug into their meals, going into conversation on various topics, the music still playing in the background via radio. In between, the crackers that decorated the table were pulled, jokes were told and hats of various colours were worn. It was coming to the late afternoon when Sylvie glanced at her watch. Now the television in the McArthur household wasn’t used too often, but as proud British citizens, the television was always used at Christmas. “Oh goodness, everyone gather around the television. Quickly!”
Dan was puzzled. “What’s wrong?”
Edward knew exactly what was to happen. “Oh don’t worry, Dan. This happens every year, and now we have four extras to join us with the bore of the same dire told every year.”
“Edward! You shall respect her royal highness!”
Dan then took note of what they were referring to and pulled a foul face, shaking his head. “I’m never going to escape it!”
“It’s the Queen’s speech! Now come on, we mustn’t miss it!”
“Now nan, only the likes of you and a few others would bother to watch this, but for the sake of that the television will actually get used for once, we might as well watch.”
The speech wouldn’t last too long anyway, Sylvie hissing at everyone for muttering whilst the Queen was rambling on. Once it was over, the television returned to its normal state, the seven going back to their food, everyone helping to tidy up and get the buffet for later going. Presents were opened and Jason flicked through the TV channels, leaving Home Alone on for them to watch. On the occasion, kissing under the mistletoe would take place.
Before Jason and Daniel were set to leave, Amanda put together some leftovers for them to take home, and Edward collected the CD’s they requested from George following the concert a few weeks beforehand, handing them over. Waving them off from the front door, Edward closed it and locked up, David and Edward having an early night.
Edward produced a few candles from the kitchen and brought them up to his bedroom, lighting them and then rummaging through his closest for clothing. He then hid in the bathroom until he was sure that David was in the room and undressed. David threw his dirty clothing into the washing basket, taking the time to admire the scented candles. Light on his feet, Edward came from out of the bathroom and draped some silk around David’s eyes, tying it around his head as some form of blindfold. He moved away from the older teen as he prepared the bed ready for them. Guiding David over, David settled in the middle of the bed, Edward crawling over him. He then undone the knotted silk ribbon, David chucking it somewhere. Glancing up, his noticed Edward’s attire. Completely naked, save for a pair of silk boxers and his new silk dressing gown, David went silent, glancing up Edward’s body until he gazed at him, Edward pleased that he seemed so appealing, gaining more confidence as their relationship grew. He found the idea of the transformation he’d gone through in a matter of months bizarre; how he’d gone from this, insecure, closed young man to a more confident, open male, but still keeping that exterior shell as well as his remarkable intelligence, and how now before him lay the most beautiful man he’d set eyes on, gasping with want.
Edward grinned following David’s expression. “Merry Christmas, love.” His hands came up, tracing up and down Edward’s chest, retreating back to his shoulders, slipping the silk garment off, dropping to the bed. Not initially moving, but teasing the hem of his boxers, David uttered two words that would break the tension that had built within a matter of seconds. “Kiss me.”
Not needing another command, Edward leant down, his hands on the bed to hold him up as lips met, the lads gradually becoming hotter and hands went roaming, David slipping the boxers off Edward, admiring the feel of them against skin. Completely naked, he rolled the pair and began to tease, kissing Edward in his most sensitive spots, Edward pressing their bodies together for the much-needed friction as they pleasured each other, not to mention the banging from Amanda and his grandparents to keep the noise down.
Before heading off to bed the night before, Edward got the weighing scales out of the bathroom cupboard to check David’s weight. Over the two weeks that they had spent together, Edward nor anyone in the household had come to mention it, but Edward was still concerned about his lover’s welfare, and so suggested for him to see how he was doing, keeping the results between them. David stood on the scales, Edward peering over him as the readings adjusted, finding coming to a standstill.
“10 stones…” Edward knelt down to read the dial. “10 stone, six pounds!” David’s eyes travelled down himself, taking in what he now looked like. “I feel fat.” Immediately standing up, almost falling over in doing so, Edward brought David over to the mirror above the sink. It wasn’t a full-sized mirror, but it was enough for David to see himself. “You aren’t fat. This…” Edward opened up his arms to represent his actions of what he wanted to say. “This is healthy. This is the weight you’re meant to be. And no, you’re not fat and ugly. You’re still gorgeous and lush.” Edward planted kisses across David’s body to emphasise his words.
As for the morning, Edward and David got dressed into their uniforms, Edward now having to wear the Wyckham House uniform, much to everyone’s displeasure. Eyeing himself in the mirror, David got his bags together, Amanda giving him a hand to carry them to the car. “I can’t stand it! I want my old uniform back!”
“And you will get your old uniform back. Just because Sachs is now in charge, it doesn’t mean to say we give up. We’ll fight to the very end.” David came to Edward and planted a kiss on his cheek, his arms loosely wrapped around Edward’s neck.
“It’s going to be weird going to a new school, other than there’s some attending there who I know from previous events.”
“It’s always weird doing new things. That’s how I felt last September.”
“I dream to be at Hounslow, waking up every morning to see your beautiful face, snoring your head off.”
“I don’t snore!”
“Yes you do!”
“No I don’t.”
“It’s not as if you’re loud. Lightly snoring I’d say.” David made a pout, Edward giving in. “Silently snoring then.”
“That’s better. Anyway, even though we’re not together during the weekdays, it doesn’t mean to say that we can’t meet up during the weekends.”
“What? Meet in Newbury every Saturday?”
“Why not? It’s probably the best we’ll get until we can get you back. Who knows, with Miss Howard’s permission, we might be able to sneak you in and let you return on Sunday.”
“Well, that’d be nice. It was good what we got, right?”
“Of course it was. I’d soon choose two weeks with you than five months at Hounslow.” The initial idea was to drop David off at Paddington Station and wave him off, and then Amanda to drive Edward to Wyckham house.
Standing on the platform, a member of staff ticked David’s name off the list, shaking hands with Edward, finding it hard to believe he was no longer with them. Once he was crossed off the list, two attendants took his luggage and he said his goodbye’s, hugging Sylvie and shaking hands with Alfred, hugging Amanda and then kissing the living daylights out of Edward.
David climbed aboard the train, closing the door behind him and popping his head out of the window, taking Edward’s hand and kissing his knuckles. “I’ll see you next Saturday.”
“Yeah. I’ll write to you on the Monday, so you know the new address.”
“I still don’t like the uniform.”
“Who would? It’s maroon!” Reaching in for one final kiss, they tore apart as the whistle was blown, David going for the old carriage that they met each other in as the train rolled out into the station.