Dwight Houston and Ethan Brightman are in love. Nothing could ever come between them, not until the car accident. Ethan loses all memory of being with Dwight but can love truly conquer all? Can Dwight find a way to trigger Ethan’s memories?
Meanwhile, Ethan is struggling with strange feelings he never thought he’d have. He’s drawn to Dwight and knows thaat there is something important there, something he’d forgetting, something just out of reach. If he could just figure out what it was.
Characters from CP Coulter’s ‘Dalton’
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Dwight was freaking out. He shouldn’t have been, really. It was nothing much. He wasn’t taking Ethan far, but that was just it. He was taking Ethan. On a date. He was usually the one being taken on the dates, not the other way around. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to take Ethan on dates. It was just that he was a whole lot better at it than Dwight was.
Dwight couldn’t figure out what to wear. It seemed like the most stupid, trivial thing in the world, but what he wore was so crucial. Maybe if he wore what he wore when they had the accident, it’d help trigger some memories. He couldn’t do that though. There was blood on the hoodie. His favourite hoodie. He missed it so much.
He decided to just grab any hoodie, one of Ethan’s that was still in his room. This one was red and Dwight wasn’t sure if the colour would suit him or not but he decided to go with it. He didn’t have enough time to be fussy about this sort of thing. Grabbing his black skinny jeans, the ones Ethan loved so much, Dwight quickly slipped them on. He still wasn’t sure he looked okay. He really should’ve been trying harder for Ethan, but it wasn’t about that on this date. It was about reminding Ethan of who he was, of who they were. He ran a hand through his hair, biting his lip as he looked at himself in the mirror. He couldn’t quite get it to sit right. Ethan wouldn’t mind, right?
He was running late. He really had to get going and pick up Ethan. Taking a deep breath, he grabbed his car keys and made his way out of the room. He wasn’t sure how Ethan was going to take the night, but he decided it was worth the try. As he arrived at the Tweedles’ dorm room, he took a deep breath, trying to prepare himself. He could do this. He could. All he wanted to do is see Ethan’s face again.
Hesitantly, Dwight knocked on the door, looking down at the floor. He wasn’t sure what he was planning on saying when Ethan opened the door, so he thought maybe it’d be best if he wasn’t looking at him. It might make things easier.As the door opened, Dwight’s stomach filled with butterflies, the nerves suddenly getting the better of him.
“Are you okay?” Ethan murmured, and it was just enough to make Dwight look up, his breath catching in his throat. Dwight was usually the one wearing plaid. Ethan told him he looked good in it, so to see Ethan in it took him off guard. He looked so good. Dwight couldn’t stop his eyes trailing over Ethan’s body, biting his lip in an attempt to stop himself groaning. He looked amazing.
“I-I’m fine.” Dwight murmured, smiling fondly, “You look…wow.”
Ethan chuckled softly, a red tinge creeping onto his cheeks. “I’ll take that as a compliment. Thank you. Isn’t that another one of my hoodies?”
“Yeah.” Dwight looked down at himself, pulling at the hoodie to make sure it was sitting right and looked back up at Ethan, tilting his head to the side, “You don’t mind, do you?”
“No, no.” Ethan leant close, tugging gently on the strings of the hoodie, smiling cheekily, “It looks good on you.”
Dwight bit his lip, wrapping his arms around Ethan and pulling him into a hug. It was all impulse but he couldn’t help it. He needed to hold him in his arms again. He didn’t mean to do it, really. He couldn’t help it. He hadn’t had Ethan really close in such a long time and suddenly there they were, about to go on a date together.
Ethan froze at first, unsure of what to do, but soon wrapped his arms around Dwight and murmured softly, “Hey, are you okay?”
Dwight couldn’t quite bring himself to speak. His emotions getting the better of him. He just nodded, clinging to Ethan a little tighter.
“Then, what’s wrong?” Ethan was so scared he’d said the wrong thing, he’d done something wrong, “I’m sorry.”
“No.” Dwight looked up, resting their heads together and murmuring softly, “No, I just…I really missed you.”
“I’m not back yet. Not the me you’re missing.”
“You’re the closest thing I’ve got.” Dwight smiled softly, looking up into his eyes. He brushed his thumb along Ethan’s jaw, leaning forward and pressing a gentle kiss to his cheek. “I know you can’t say it yet, but I love you.”
Ethan looked away guiltily, shuffling awkwardly on his feet, “Where are you going to take me?”
“There’s a cafe near here.” Dwight smiled faintly, “We had breakfast there the morning before the accident. We eat there a lot though, so I thought it might help trigger a few memories.”
“Sounds fun.” Ethan smiled faintly, holding out a hand and wriggling his fingers, “We going then?”
Dwight stared down at Ethan’s hand. He longed for the brush of those fingertips. Against his hand, against his skin. He hesitantly threaded their fingers together, squeezing gently, “Right.”
Dwight was a little bit nervous to be behind the wheel of a car again. He had driven himself home from the hospital, but this was different. Ethan was with him. It gave his memories and thoughts more to cling to. The thought of another car accident, this time taking Ethan away from him forever. Needless to say, Dwight had decided to take the long way to the cafe. It meant he got more time with Ethan anyway, and he wasn’t about to turn that down.
“Can…can I…?” Ethan hesitantly held out his hand and Dwight grinned, quickly taking it.
“You can always hold my hand.” Dwight murmured softly, gently squeezing his hand. He had missed that familiar touch. There was something so simple about Ethan’s hand in his. So simple, yet so perfect. He hadn’t realised quite how much he had missed it until that moment. He never thought he’d miss anything that much before. Ethan’s hands were perfect. They gave him butterflies. Gently rubbing his thumb along Ethan’s hand, Dwight glanced over at him for just a moment, smiling fondly.
“I have a confession to make.” Ethan mumbled, biting his lip nervously.
“Oh?” Dwight almost didn’t want to know. He liked living in this fantasy world in his head, this world where Ethan has no regrets about him, or anything to do with them. He liked that world. It was perfect, but he had a feeling the confession would do nothing more than shake the foundations of that world. Nothing is ever quite the same once the foundations are shaken. Things break, change, twist. Dwight wasn’t sure he was ready for that to happen.
“Yeah. I…I’ve been wanting to hold your hand since I woke up in hospital.”
“Really?” Dwight bit his lip, trying to stifle his grin, “You know you could’ve just taken my hand any time you’d wanted, right?”
“I know.” Ethan looked out the window, trying to avoid Dwight’s eyes, “The second you let go of my hand in that hospital, I wanted it back, but I thought I was insane, so I didn’t say anything. I tried to ignore the urge after that. It’s nice though. I like it.” Ethan smiled fondly.
“From now on, act on instinct. Please. It seems to be working in my favour.” Dwight chuckled softly.
As Dwight parked the car, Ethan looked around them curiously, trying to figure out if he could remember the place. It felt familiar, but he couldn’t quite place it. Maybe he’s been there before, but he felt like it was all brand new. He supposed that if he said that, it would disappoint Dwight. He didn’t want to disappoint him. He wanted to keep that smile on his face, as much as the deep desire to do that almost scared him.
Looking over at Dwight, he smiled softly, murmuring, “This place looks really nice.”
“We go here all the time.” Dwight shrugged, smiling faintly, “You said you didn’t like always staying at Dalton, and we both couldn’t cook anyway.”
Ethan chuckled softly, gently squeezing Dwight’s hand without even thinking about it, “That sounds about right.”
“Stay right there.” Dwight quickly got out of the car, rushing to Ethan’s side and the Tweedle rested his head back, laughing softly. Dwight was trying to hard. He wondered if Dwight always did this. He couldn’t quite seem to remember but he was just reveling in the moment, grinning at the adorably nervous look on Dwight’s face. As Dwight opened the door for him, holding out a hand, Ethan bit his lip, trying to hide the grin. Hesitantly brushing his palm against Dwight’s, Ethan sighed happily as Dwight gripped his hand, helping him out of the car.
Dwight smiled faintly and Ethan was sure it was one of the cutest things he had ever seen. He tilted his head to the side, furrowing his brow, “Dwight, are you okay?”
“I’m fine. This is just a big deal.” Dwight rubbed the pad of his thumb against the back of Ethan’s hand, “This is the closest I’ve been to getting you back. This could help you remember.”
“Dwight…” Ethan pulled Dwight closer, pressing a gentle kiss to his cheek. He almost stopped himself, but he promised he wouldn’t stop himself, he’d run on instincts. Looking into Dwight’s eyes, his instinct was to kiss him. Right there, but this time he did stop himself. Instincts aside, he simply wasn’t ready for that yet.
He smiled softly, paying particular attention to the beautiful darkness of Dwight’s eyes as he spoke, “Just take things slow, and we’ll see where we end up, okay?”
Dwight nodded slowly, “Just know that it’s taking everything for me not to just press you against the car right now and ravish you.”
Ethan laughed as Dwight blushed, “You mean like I-” He cut himself off, taking a deep breath. He didn’t know where that had come from. He just knew that he had pressed Dwight against a car. Recently. He wasn’t sure how recent it was, but he could remember it. It was scary. It wasn’t like the others. He didn’t just have the picture there. He had the feelings with it. He knew this one was real.
“Hey…” Dwight leant forward, pressing a reassuring hand to Ethan’s shoulder, “Are you okay? What’s wrong?”
“I-I remember. I remember that.” Ethan clung to Dwight, taking shaky breaths. It was the first real thing he remembered. Other memories had come up every now again but never with emotions and never with so much force.
“Hey, shh, calm down. I’ve got you, okay?” Dwight pulled Ethan into his arms, hugging him as tightly as he could. He took a long deep breath as Ethan clutched him to his chest, running his hand soothingly up and down Ethan’s back, “This is a good thing, okay? It means you’re starting to remember everything.”
“I-I didn’t…it was a different car, but I had you pressed against it. I asked you on a date…but why did I do that?” Ethan buried his face in Dwight’s neck, desperate for the comfort.
“Because you love me. I know you can’t remember that yet, but you will. I know you will.” Dwight pressed a gentle kiss to Ethan’s forehead, “Come on, let’s go inside, have our date, and see what happens, okay?”
Ethan nodded slowly, “Thank you.”
As they walked in Dwight reached out without even thinking about, grabbing Ethan’s hand. He felt his heart flutter when Ethan let their fingers thread together. Things were finally getting better. They were going to be okay. He just knew this was the first step on the road to recover. He would do anything he could to get Ethan back. Looking over at Ethan, he grinned, seeing a familiar spark in the other boy’s eyes.
“Did I tell you you look beautiful?” Dwight murmured softly, slipping into old habits.
“No, but I think the ‘wow’ kind of gave off that impression.” Ethan chuckled nervously, blushing, “Thank you. You do too.”
Dwight smiled fondly, looking over at the cashier, “Hey. I’ll have a coffee and he will have one medium caramel frappe with extra coffee and a bacon and egg bagel.”
Ethan frowned, looking at Dwight curiously as he handed the money for their order over, “How did you know that I wanted that?”
Dwight chuckled, “Because you get the same thing every time we come here. I can’t help it if you’re predictable.” He pulled on Ethan’s hand, bringing him closer and whispered into his ear, “And yes, we’ve had this conversation before.”
Ethan bit his lip nervously, looking Dwight up and down, “I can’t seem to figure you out.”
“Better that way, don’t you think?” Dwight grinned.
Ethan chuckled, leaning into Dwight, “Yeah, okay, that’s true.”
Dwight took a deep breath, sighing happily as Ethan leaned into him, pressing right back and sharing their warmth. He tentatively wrapped his arm around Ethan, pulling him closer and resting his head on his shoulder, “I missed this.”
“I wish I could say I did too.” Ethan rested his head against Dwight’s, “But it’s nice.”
Dwight looked up at Ethan, biting his lip to stifle a smile, “Well, I guess that’s a start, huh?”
Ethan kissed Dwight’s jaw, letting his lips linger there for just a moment and Dwight’s eyes fluttered closed at he contact. It felt so intimate, so important. He didn’t want to move. He didn’t even want to open his eyes in case he was dreaming it.
Ethan chuckled softly, “Dwight, wake up. We need to take our order.”
Dwight reluctantly opened his eyes, “If you can’t kiss me, that’s a really nice substitute, just so you know.”
Ethan laughed, grabbing Dwight’s order and handing it before taking his own, “I’ll keep that in mind. Where are we sitting?”
“We have a booth at the back.” Dwight linked his arm with Ethan’s, pulling him in the right direction.
“We’ve got our own booth?” Ethan raised his eyebrows, smirking.
“Well, you could say it’s ours.” Dwight pulled Ethan over to the booth they usually sat in together, pulling him to the side he usually sat at. He put his order down, taking Ethan’s and placing it on the table.
He pulled Ethan closer, “Look…” Pointing out the small D.H + E.B carved into the wall, “You did that. It was a long time ago now. You said we’d come back here years from now and we’d see it and remember our lives together.”
Ethan stared at the wall for a moment, leaning closer and brushing his fingers over it. It was surreal. He could remember flashes of himself doing that. Taking a deep breath, he whispered softly, “Y-You kept telling me to stop because you thought I’d get caught.”
Dwight grinned, speaking just as softly, “And you just giggled and told me to relax. No one even noticed.”
“D-Dwight. Stop. Please.” Ethan pulled his hand away, sitting down in the booth and taking a sip of his drink, trying to calm his nerves, “I need time to process all this.”
“Right. Sorry. I got carried away with myself again.”
Dwight quickly sat across from Ethan, watching him for a moment. He felt horrible for forcing so much on him so soon. He was just so desperate and as the memories started coming back, he started thinking about how close he was to getting Ethan back. Ethan picked up his drink, taking a longer sip and looked over at Dwight from across the table, frowning.
Dwight looked down at the cup in front of him, “I just…I’m so glad you agreed to come tonight. I didn’t think you would.”
“How could I say no to you?” Ethan chuckled, “I don’t know, I just wanted to see you. It feels wrong, being away from you for so long. I have trouble sleeping sometimes and I don’t know why.”
Dwight smiled faintly, tapping his fingers gently against the table, “You know I’ve been having the same problem. It’s not the same without you. The closest thing I have it that pillow that smells like you.”
Ethan shifted in his seat, leaning closer, “You have a pillow that smells like me?”
“The whole room does.” Dwight blushed, “You spent so long in there with me, it started smelling like you.”
Ethan blushed, biting his lip, “I didn’t realise I’d spent so long in there.”
Dwight nodded quickly, “You’re with me most of the time, and when you’re not with me, you usually have something of mine on you. It’s been this way for so long now, I just got used to it.”
“Do you…do you have something of mine on you right now? Other than the hoodie, I mean.”
“Yeah.” Dwight bit his lip nervously, pulling a necklace out from under the hoodie, “You said it was good luck, but you liked me to wear it.”
Ethan held his hand out impulsively, brushing his fingertips over the necklace, smiling fondly, “I got that when I was just a kid. I always thought it was good luck.”
“I-If you want it back, you can have it back. It wouldn’t be right for me to keep it if you didn’t want me to have it.” Dwight almost regretted saying it, really. He wanted to keep the necklace. He knew it didn’t really give him any luck at all but it made him feel like it did, knowing that Ethan thought it did. That was enough for him. He didn’t want to let go of that hope.
“No. No, I want you to keep it.” Ethan smiled reassuringly, looking down at his food bashfully.
Dwight had missed Ethan like this. It was nearly his Ethan, nearly the one who loved him. He was so close to getting him back, he could tell. It was a little hard, not to be able to reach across that table, pull Ethan to him and kiss him, especially when he was being so sweet, but Dwight was at a crucial point. He didn’t want to do anything to mess this up, so he sat in his place, gently tapping his finger against the table and watching Ethan fondly.
He wasn’t expecting Ethan to cover his hand with his own. He wasn’t prepared for the feel of soft fingertips against his. Dwight’s stomach filled with butterflies as he stared at their hands, not wanting to say anything, not wanting to let anything spoil that simple, perfect moment.
“Relax.” Ethan whispered, causing Dwight to look back up at him, “I’m not going anywhere. I promise.”
Dwight couldn’t quite find his words, taking a deep, shaky breath. He hadn’t expected anything like this. He hadn’t expected Ethan to be so kind and for him to try so hard for him. Looking into those perfect blue eyes, he wanted to say those three words all over again, but he wouldn’t. He didn’t want to spoil the moment, knowing Ethan couldn’t say it back, not yet, but there was hope in those eyes. Dwight knew deep down that it was going to get better. They were going to be okay.