I'm a little dissatisfied with the ending of this one. Maybe someday I'll expand it so that instead of describing the relationship between the three, it'll actually be a scene between them.
Word count: 1895
Will spent much of Sunday unpacking and setting up his household. Most of his essentials had survived the trip, and he was especially pleased that both of his computers were none the worse for wear, but there were a good amount of things that the insurance money would be replacing. The most expensive thing was the projection telly; he decided that he wasn't going to replace that, along with his sofa, until after his first full paycheck. He did, however, borrow David's car to visit the furniture stores in town to replace his computer desk, which he spent a portion of the afternoon putting together, and wardrobe. He unpacked what boxes he could, then turned to the much more pleasant task of setting up his computers and network. Testing his laptop, he was delighted to find that David was right, that his laptop still had excellent internet access at this distance from the router, and he set it up to stream one of his favourite films while he worked.
Work the next day was normal as expected, though he felt a bit more camaraderie in the atmosphere, having gotten to know a number of his coworkers quite a bit better on Friday. He especially felt a kinship with Ben, though he wasn't sure if it was because they had chatted the most at the pub or because their desks were adjacent. Still, he felt a lot more comfortable talking to them and asking "newbie" questions now that he knew them a lot better.
The bus stop closest to Will's house was two blocks away on a different road, so he found himself walking past David's place on the way home. This evening, the silver sportscar was gone, the space in on the street empty. Tesco, Will thought to himself with an amused grin; the man really did never use his car to do anything else. Will had to do his own shopping run that night and would be back on the bus after dinner, and shrugged his disappointment that he wouldn't be able to piggyback his own trip on his friend's. An hour later, Will emerged from his own house to head out on his own shopping trip, and walking up the street, he noticed that David's car was still gone. Frowning, he glanced at the dark windows of the house. Wonder what he's up to?
On his return, the silver car was back in its normal spot, though the house was still dark. Will trotted home and put his groceries away, then headed to his friend's house and knocked on the door. He heard a very faint, unintelligible call from deep inside, then saw the lights pop on progressively closer as footsteps grew louder, obviously coming down the stairs and striding across the wooden floor. The door swung open. "Will! Good evening!" David flashed a wide, toothy grin. "Come in!" He stepped to the side to welcome his friend.
"Long time no see," Will quipped as he entered.
"Did you have dinner? I can whip up something if you like."
"Oh, no, I've eaten, thanks."
"All right." David headed into the lounge and plopped into the armchair while Will settled in his accustomed spot on the sofa. "All settled in now? I hope you haven't been too inconvenienced by the loss of your things."
"Nah. The only thing I really needed was the computer desk, and I bought a new one and put it together yesterday." He wagged a finger at David. "Thanks for letting me borrow the car for that."
"Any time, Will. Feel free to use it any time it's out there."
Will shook his head in disbelief. "You're too generous, mate. So, you know, it felt strange to be finally moving in a week after starting the new job. I was thinking of maybe having a party at my house, when I finally get it all set up, just to settle in. What do you think?"
David nodded as he considered the idea. "Sounds like fun. Inviting your workmates over for some beer and music then?"
Pursing his lips, Will stared up at the ceiling, pretending to consider his options. "No, actually, I was thinking much smaller, say, test the new telly by inviting my neighbour for dinner and a couple of films, maybe. To thank him for his hospitality."
"Oh!" David was genuinely stunned. He opened his mouth to speak but his first words stuck in his throat and he cleared it, patting his chest. "Well. You're welcome, always, but you don't have to do that. I don't want anything from you, really."
Will laughed, shaking his head. "You're a strange one, mate. I'm not trying to repay you for anything. I'm just thanking you, and I want to hang out with my friend. Is that so hard to believe?"
His eyes dropped to his hands in embarrassment. After a moment, he nodded and shrugged. "Yeah, I guess?" His shy smile told Will that he was extremely pleased.
"So," Will began on a new subject to save David any more discomfort, "I saw you were gone when I got home from work. What've you been up to? Or was that just a two-hour Tesco run?"
"Oh, no!" David lit up with an eager energy, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees to relate his story. "I did what I said I was going to do!" At Will's confused frown, David grinned even wider. "Well, first, I went to the dig at the church. Remember? Amy told us about it last night."
"Oh, yeah!" Will exclaimed, nodding. "That!"
"I talked to the archaeologists and they said they don't accept volunteer help. They don't like untrained amateurs handling delicate objects and messing with their systems." He shrugged. "That was disappointing. I'm actually quite knowledgeable in antiquities and could probably teach them a thing or two." He didn't notice Will's sceptical stare. "But, couldn't be helped, so I did the next best thing. I drove up to the Glasgow Science Centre!"
Will's eyes popped wide open in surprise. He wondered if this was David's first trip out of town since he moved here. "Ah! And what did they say?"
David almost bounced in his seat and looked like he was restraining himself from jumping up and dancing around the room as he spoke. "They accept volunteer work all the time! Their natural history section has a small lab where they process fossils, but the volunteer schedule there is filled. So I'll be helping with building and maintaining displays, and maybe doing some guide work." He grinned, his eyes shining and his tongue peeking out between his teeth. "Can you imagine? Filling young minds with knowledge and sparking curiosity? That's just brilliant!"
David's enthusiasm was infectious and Will couldn't help but grin. "It sounds like a perfect fit for you."
"It does! I'll be going up there once a week." He rubbed his hands together. "I can't wait."
"Isn't that a bit far, though? Maybe there's a place in Berwick or Newcastle that's closer."
"I thought about that, but you know, I haven't been back to Scotland in so many years, and I miss it." He glanced away, a distant gleam in his eyes. "I'd like to be there again, even if it's only a little bit."
Will nodded. "Oh, I can understand." He glanced out of the front window at the street. "And you'll get to enjoy that fancy car of yours."
David's gaze followed his. "I hadn't thought of that. I haven't really driven it since... Well, it's been a very long time and she really is a beauty. But," and he leaned forward, lowering his voice with a conspiratorial air, "you know what I'm looking forward to most?"
"Just being around people who speak properly." Grinning impishly, he winked, and Will joined in his laughter.
"You're going to have a fantastic time there, mate."
“Lovely place, it is. I spent a large portion of the afternoon touring it.” David launched into a long rambling description of the whole centre, his eyes sparkling as he painted detailed verbal illustrations of his favorite exhibits. The facility sounded fascinating, but Will was just as amazed at his friend's skill at relating the entire experience as he was at how taken he was by it. He expected that David would turn out to be an excellent guide and educator for the visitors to the centre.
True to his word, David travelled one day a week to Glasgow to work, the parking spot in front of his house empty by the time Will passed it on his way to work every Thursday morning and when he returned home in the evening. The other days of the week seemed to continue as they had always done for him: he was always home whenever Will stopped by to seek company for a film or drag him to the pub, and each time, the time it took for him to answer the door indicated that he'd been upstairs working.
For the first couple of weeks, Will mostly kept a simple schedule of sleep, work, and evenings spent playing computer games, and he found David to be a willing companion at any time he called. His friend usually invited him over for dinner two or three nights a week, and though it meant having to weather his improvised dishes, it was worth it for the company and conversation. After a while, as he became more comfortable with his workmates, however, Will found himself doing more things with them. The default activity was gaming. Both Ben and Pete, it turned out, played the same online game as he did, and it became a habit to bid his mates goodbye at work, get home, grab a quick dinner, and jump in game to raid with them.
Computer gaming camaraderie soon expanded to other pursuits, and Will found himself invited by one or the other to table-top games, the cinema, or just to hang out almost every weekend. Ben, who was born and raised in the town, took it upon himself to show Will around, taking him at least once a month to visit this historical building or explore some secret spot unknown to most tourists. He always invited David along, too, especially after discovering that Will’s friend was about as enthusiastic about historical sites as he was, and David seemed to flourish when he found a second friend in Ben. Will was often required as peacekeeper when David and Ben held heated discussions about historical and political events. Both were extremely knowledgeable, with Ben defending his opinionated assumptions about politics and history against David's wealth of cold facts, and though sometimes the arguments left Ben angry and David contemptuous, they both seemed to enjoy them immensely. David still cleaved to Will as his closest mate, but he valued Ben's intellectual stimulation.
After two months of living in town, Will found that he was far more happy and fulfilled than he had been in the London rat race, working a job that was teaching him new things and provided a sense of accomplishment that had been missing in his life and surrounded by a small group of good friends. Despite its rocky start, this adventure in pursuing a new life in a distant, unknown town had so far been successful.