Patrick loved David’s hands. They were the first thing he really noticed about him—the first thing he got to touch. For days afterwards, he tried remembering the feel of the heavy weight of David’s hand in his as they shook hello, the two metal rings cool against his own hand. He had never paid much attention to rings before, but there was something about the way they looked on David, and how they felt on his skin, that made him want to hold his hand forever.
Or, even just to look at them. Patrick thought his wants would be satisfied by simply being able to look at David’s hands forever. It didn’t escape Patrick’s notice, after the first time they met, that he’d switch up the placements of the rings often. The next time that he saw David, he had all four of the rings on his right hand; two rings stacked on each hand. Patrick had given David his framed business license and he had wished that David was a handshake person or something, because he was dying to get his hands on David’s again.
But David didn’t offer his hand, so Patrick only nodded and took himself into the back room. He let himself breathe for a moment, pulling his fist closed tight and clenching hard a few times; nails digging into his palms and then he let go. He shook his hands out, as if that would get rid of the ache in him. Finally, he reached for the box of hand creams that Alexis had volunteered for him to unload.
It got worse. There were days that David and Patrick would spend alone together, music streaming from David’s phone as they unpacked boxes and set up the store. Every day, but on those days especially, Patrick took stock of how David wore his rings. He loved when he wore all four together, one on each finger, but he also loved when he wore them stacked or opted for only two or three on. He loved David’s rings–hands, really– in every way.
“Patrick,” David huffed one day. Patrick looked up from where he was staring at David’s hands. “Hand me the cream.” He went a little red before handing the cream to David. They had set up a bit of an assembly line; Patrick unboxing and David left to do the organizing.
“Sorry,” he said. “Got distracted.”
“What, like pulling tiny containers of cream out of boxes isn’t a thrilling way to spend an afternoon?” David smirked and continued to fiddling with the containers. Patrick traded back a smile and they went back to work.
Patrick didn’t stop thinking about the way David wrapped his hands around the jars, cologone bottles and the mop handle. He didn’t stop thinking about the way David always held things so delicately; his hands would move wildly, but there was an undeniable softness about them. For once, Patrick let himself think about those hands and what they could do to him, for him. To hold, to touch, to guide him, he wanted it all.
His wants used to sit in the back of his mind, buried deep down in his heart, daring never to come out or be thought of. Now, it was David every second of every day. It was scary but downright fucking exhilarating. Patrick had ached, deeply, for years. This kind of ache was new, it wasn’t based in confusion or shame. It was pure and unadulterated lust and want for another person, and fuck if Patrick didn’t love it as much as he hated it.
The first time that David kissed Patrick, he brought his hand to his face and on his neck. All of it was overwhelming, but Patrick tried to remember every part of it. The feel of David’s lips on his own, his hand grazing softly over his own face, cold silver rings pressed up against his neck. It was intoxicating in ways that he had never imagined, but deep down he knew it could only be this way with a man. With David.
Patrick’s own arm moved its way up to the armrest on the door beside him, squeezing it tightly as they kissed. It was dizzying and he needed to center himself. For days and weeks afterwards, he felt like he couldn’t pull himself together after every kiss David pressed onto him. He loved it, god, he was fucking desperate for it. Patrick wanted to take that dizzy feeling from the feel of David’s lips and tongue, those strong hands and warm skin, pulverize it into a pill and take one every second that he wasn’t with him.
One night, David noticed. They had started getting more and more heated with back room and car make out sessions, but were still going slow, per Patrick’s request. They both knew that that was the smartest decision, but all Patrick wanted to do was take those hands, feel that metal again, but not just on his cheek or the back of his neck—all over him, in him, anywhere.
“You do that a lot,” David said to him. Patrick was still a little breathless from the kiss, lips perfectly pink and feeling raw. He was sitting in the front seat of the car, hand still clenching the armrest, then easing up as he saw David looking at his hands.
David smiled, looking down back at Patrick’s hands and then his lips. “You clench your hand on the armrest. Or on the shelves in the back room.”
Patrick flushed and shook his head a little bit. He didn’t know how to explain his unquenchable thirst to touch David in a way that wouldn’t end with them half naked in the backseat of his car, in the dark and on a random gravel road by the motel. For longer than he’d liked to admit, he wanted that. Badly.
“I’m trying to be slow,” Patrick explained. He really was trying.
“You can still touch me.”
“You,” he hesitated. “You can touch me...too.” His face felt hotter and it showed even in the dark. David carefully reached out again and grabbed Patrick’s hand, soothed a few circles into the palms for a moment. He guided it to his cheek, where Patrick delicately outlined the features of his face. He didn’t wait any longer, crashed his lips back into David’s and moaned into his mouth. A hand slipped into David’s hair and the other moved to the side of his neck.
David’s hands rested on Patrick’s chest, and Patrick knew he could feel the way his heart was beating faster and faster. They travelled further down his chest, and Patrick’s stomach muscles clenched as David brought a hand under the shirt, hiking it up to feel the soft skin.
“David,” he breathed. Patrick wanted to continue, wanted to continue badly. He pulled back and just grabbed David’s hands instead. His skin was soft, especially softer than Patrick’s. Hundreds of dollars spent towards perfectly-applied bougie hand lotions. The fact that David had never done a day of hard labor in his life helped, too. They were full of life, comforting and strong all at the same time.
Patrick’s hands were rough. The years of playing baseball took a toll on them, and he found himself habitually digging into his calluses when he was nervous or angry. The tips of his fingers were hard and coarse; perfect for playing guitar. They were practical and got the job done. Hands that took charge and did what they were supposed to. So, he loved when he got to hold David’s hands, soft and full of unabashed joy. Now, Patrick kept those hands close to his chest and evened his breathing.
“No,” he said immediately. David smiled and Patrick just bowed his head in a breathy laugh. It all felt right, David’s hands in his. “No, this is perfect. I just wanted to remember this moment.”
He shook his head again and David pulled in for another heated kiss. Patrick willingly opened his mouth for David, moaning as their tongues finally met. David’s hands were back under his sweater, gripping his sides and scratching his fingernails down his chest and to the sensitive skin right above his waistband.
Patrick gasped into David’s mouth and instinctually lifted his hips into the touch. Wanting and needing friction. “Please,” he begged quietly. His skin was on fire, cheeks splotched red and eyes shut. David laid kisses down Patrick’s neck, biting and lapping his tongue right above his collarbone. Patrick’s eyes opened and he moved David’s hands away from him.
“Is this okay?”
“I said you can touch me. I want you,” Patrick said with his voice hushed and rough. He unbuckled his belt and reached for David again. Soft, languid kisses were long gone. Patrick’s hands gripped David’s hair as they chaotically kissed.
“Off,” David said as he pulled away and tugged incessantly at the blue sweater and white undershirt. They untangled themselves for a moment, taking off their shirts and throwing them haphazardly in the backseat. David didn’t take a moment to fold his sweater and even Patrick winced. Still, he was achingly hard and confined to his jeans, the abandoned clothing in the backseat left his mind quickly.
David took the time to eye Patrick in the soft, dark light and ran his fingers over his chest and down to his abdomen. “Fuck, you’re beautiful.” Patrick blushed and almost let out a moan. He wasn’t gonna last, it was gonna be over in a goddamn second the moment that David’s hands reached him, but he had never wanted anything more.
Finally, finally, David’s took Patrick’s cock out of his jeans and into his hand. He started moving slowly, spreading the precum leaking from the tip and working him softly.
“David—” he gasped and threw his head back. David worked up his speed and gripping harder. Patrick opened his eyes to see his own cock slipping through David’s fist. “Fuck, David, your hands.” His own hips were snapping up into his touch and he was close, too close.
David leaned over the center console, a bit awkwardly, to kiss Patrick’s neck. His thighs were trembling and he tried to gasp out a warning to David. It was barely a second later before he was coming.
“David, David, oh god.” He let out one last moan before completely collapsing back into the seat, his breathing beginning to even out.
It was mind blowing, short, a little bit awkward and messy and absolutely everything he had wanted for weeks, years, a lifetime. There were little marks in his lower stomach and hip from where David’s rings had been pressing. Patrick almost thought he could have gotten hard again immediately when he looked at them.
He realized David’s hands were still covered in his own cum and he cringed, immediately starting to apologize. Before he could get out the entire sentence, David brought his mouth to his fingers, licking and sucking softly to get it all off.
“Wow,” Patrick laughed. David only smirked and unbuckled his own pants.
David had made everything okay. He had known what to say, what to do and how to make the situation better. Patrick was overwhelmed; the day had been a whirlwind of emotions and choices he knows he should have made a while ago. But it was all okay because of David.
They both had made it into Patrick’s bed after the party, David not even bothering with a long skincare routine. Instead, he stripped down to his boxer briefs alongside Patrick and held him closely. Patrick lay back on his chest as David softly scraped his nails along his arms and in his hair.
They were both tired, but Patrick’s mind couldn’t calm down from the night yet. It was sadness, relief, and overpowering love all at once. David did something for him that he would never know how to express his gratefulness for. He was in it forever, they both were.
David took a single finger to Patrick’s shoulder, tracing letters over and over.
“What are you doing?” Patrick asked, twisting up to look him in the eyes.
“I’m writing you a secret message.” David made a duh face and patted Patrick’s head back down on his chest again.
“Okay, try to read it.” Patrick laughed but relaxed and closed his eyes, basking in the way David’s hands felt on him.
David traced a letter, one line and a big swoop. “P?” David nodded.
Another letter. “H?” Patrick asked and David sighed dramatically.
“Okay, no. I’ll try again.” He traced it again, making sure to go slowly and deliberate. Patrick shivered.
“R?” David nodded. Another letter, and David took his time. Drawing a big circle and using his nails to scrape a little harder into Patrick’s skin, gaining another shiver from beneath him.
“O,” he says a little breathlessly. An enthusiastic nod from David.
Another letter. “U,” he says.
“You keepin’ track, baby?” Patrick was the one who nodded this time. “One last letter.” So, he traced the last one and waited for Patrick’s response.
“D,” he said softly. Patrick peeled himself from David’s chest and turned around, pressing his lips softly into David’s. “You spelled proud.”
“Yes,” David said and kissed Patrick again. “I’m really proud of you for tonight.”
“Thank you,” he whispered. Their lips met lazily once more, before curling into each other and holding each other's hands as they fell asleep.
It came to Patrick a week after deciding he was going to propose to David. He was at the top of the hiking trail he had been walking since he got to Schitt’s Creek. It was early, far too early for David to be even remotely awake. Still, Patrick had sent a text that morning saying, “Morning baby. If you see this before I’m back, I’m on a hike. I’ll bring you back a coffee :)”
He was looking out at the view, wind softly hitting the tree leaves and creating a cool air around him. Patrick’s heart swelled as he remembered his hikes when he had first moved to Schitt’s Creek, when his heart was heavy and his head was lost. Then he met David. The permanent ache in his stomach began to heal when he shook his hand for the first time.
Patrick hadn’t even noticed it was there; that gnawing feeling of inadequacy and fear that he would live a life like that forever. David’s smiles began to take place up in his brain, replacing the memories of Rachel’s. It had been unnerving, finally letting himself fall into the feeling of longing for another person and to begin to let go of the past.
The way that David’s hand felt in Patrick’s was like doing a puzzle. When you have tried to make the same piece fit, time and time again. Sometimes you would give up on it and try other pieces that looked similar, but those pieces were even more far off. Then, your hand lingers over an unknown pile and pulls out an unexpected but perfectly fitting piece.
It used to feel like a random chance that Patrick had ended up in Schitt’s Creek. Simply nothing more than blind luck that he had found David. Now he believes, knows, that they would have found each other regardless. David laughed it off when Patrick told him that, but he thinks that they both knew. Living in two seemingly completely different worlds, but pulled together by some act of the universe.
Patrick imagined telling David about all of the hikes that he took when he was first pining over him. He’d go before work, letting out as much energy and tension as he could bare. He’d go after work, before he had to go back to Ray’s and be secluded in a small room with his thoughts of David, David and more David. Patrick imagined bringing David here and expressing how far they had come and how much further he wanted them to continue. Forever, he thought.
David’s black hair blowing in the wind, eyes bright and shining in the sun, silver rings glinting. It hit Patrick then, sitting on his usual rock. David’s four silver rings. They were apart of him, always had been teasing Patrick’s skin since the first day they met. Four rings.
He practically rushed down the mountain so he could get service on his phone–it was research time.
Before he started, he stopped by the cafe and got David’s usual coffee order.
Patrick had no idea where to start. He wanted David’s exact rings but in gold. It was perfect; he was practically patting himself on the back for the idea. Still, he had no idea where to start . Patrick didn’t know David’s ring size and he couldn’t just ask him.
He ended up on wedding blogs. A lot of wedding blogs.
“How To Find the Perfect Ring for The One!”
“How To Recreate a Lost Wedding Ring”
“Engagement Ring Copying”
“How To Secretly Ask For Your Girlfriend's Ring Size”
“How to Find Her Ring Size Without Her Knowing”
None of them told Patrick how to get a copy of an exact ring. David was always wearing them, and if he left one or two home, they sat in the same spot right on the bedside table. If Patrick was going to propose to him before Cabaret, he had to act fast.
Each article kept telling him to “ask a loved one” for their ring size. Patrick knew, however, that if there was even a hint of him proposing to David, that Alexis wouldn’t have the ability to keep a secret. Stevie seemed like a better option, but she didn’t seem the type to know ring sizes.
Finally, he had an idea.
Simple enough, he printed a ring size chart when David wasn’t paying attention at the store. Check. Then, while David was asleep in the morning and hadn’t put on his rings, he snapped a picture of them. The final step was trying not to raise any suspension when going to Elmdale’s jewelry shop. He stopped by when picking an order from a vendor and there was a weight lifted off his shoulders.
Four golden rings that looked just like David’s were soon enough in his own hands. He picked out a beautiful velvet ring box and his heart stuttered every time he looked at them. It was happening, it was happening. He was going to propose to David Rose, the love of his life.
The days, hours, moments, leading up to the proposal was filled with excitement and anxiety he wasn’t sure he’d ever feel again. A thrumming through his veins and a heart beating so fast he was worried that David would hear it as they woke up that morning of the hike.
It didn’t go the way Patrick pictured it but it was magical–just the way that his entire life had gone. He had never imagined as a young boy that he would get to marry the most beautiful man in the world, his best friend and his soulmate.
It was as they were packing everything back into Patrick’s car that he asked him, still looking down at the rings every few seconds.
“How do you always do it?” David asked. Patrick just looked at him puzzled, waiting for more explanation. “You always know what to give, what to say, what to do.”
“I never had before, but with you...it’s easy. I don’t have to think so hard about what’s right, because it just is.”
David’s eyes felt watery again, for the thousandth time that day. Patrick took David’s hand in his and kissed the tops of his knuckles and then each of his rings. They stood there, holding each other's hands and letting some more relieved and happy tears fall. The feeling of the new rings didn’t feel any different to Patrick’s skin, but it still electrified him as if it was the first time holding his hand all over again.