Stevie marched over to Rose Apothecary with a fierce determination to give Patrick a piece of her mind. Her best friend was suffering like she’d never seen before and it was all Patrick’s fault. Stevie knew all about David’s past relationships and how he’d been treated like a doormat solely because he had money and a giving heart. She also knew that his so-called friends dropped him immediately when the money was gone. She’d thought Patrick would be different and in fact, had even told David “I like this for you.” Patrick treated David with respect and kindness and gave David no reason not to trust him. But now… well, he’d broken that trust and Stevie wasn’t sure David would be able to recover from it. For the past three days, David slept the hours away, only materializing during mealtimes to grab something to eat or to shower. Even Alexis started spending more time away from their motel room, claiming it was “so depressing in here, David,” and was currently spending her nights at Twyla’s.
When Stevie finally arrived at Rose Apothecary and entered the store, she found the main shopping area sans Patrick. She stomped over to the check out counter and began pounding furiously on the bell by the register. “Hello, Stevie,” Patrick deadpanned, emerging from the back. Stevie opened her mouth, ready to read him the riot act, when she took in his haggard appearance.
Patrick looked as though someone had sucker-punched him in both eyes. They were bloodshot and deep, purplish bags sagged beneath his lower lids, which stood out in stark contrast to his ashen face. His hair was askew, and he looked like he hadn’t shaved since the barbecue. His normally well-ironed button down was rumpled, and Stevie noticed he’d missed a button.
“You look like Hell!” Stevie blurted out, her previous anger forgotten.
“Gee, thanks. I haven’t been sleeping well the last few nights,” Patrick mumbled, his voice coming out gravelly. “What can I do for you?”
Stevie looked down at her shoes and shrugged. “Uh…mm, I came over here to give you a piece of my mind but… well, you look worse than David does.”
At the mention of his boyfriend’s name, Patrick’s face crumpled, and he leaned over the table, putting his face in his hands. He let out a heart-wrenching sob and Stevie felt her stomach drop.
“Shit! Um…” she said in a panic. Stevie went to front entrance, flipped the sign to closed and locked the door. Then she hurried over to Patrick and put a comforting hand on his shoulder. “C’mon, Patrick. Let’s go in the back and sit, hmm?”
Patrick stood up and nodded. He allowed Stevie to lead him into the back room where he promptly dropped in a heap on the couch. He pulled his knees up to his chest and wrapped his arms around them protectively. Stevie watched as Patrick plunged forward once more, pressing his forehead onto his knees. She had always viewed Patrick as this calm, collected individual, yet here he was falling apart at the seams. Stevie sat beside her friend and wrapped him in and awkward side hug, placing her chin on his shoulder. She could feel him trembling as he sobbed and squeezed him tighter. “I’ve got you,” she murmured quietly. They remained like that for what seemed hours before Patrick’s sobs began to die out. Stevie removed her arms and Patrick slowly uncurled himself and turned to appraise Stevie with puffy eyes. “S-sorry, S-Stevie,” he mumbled.
“It’s okay. Do you… do you wanna talk about it?”
Patrick shrugged. “I r-really fucked up Stevie. And I honestly wouldn’t b-blame… I wouldn’t blame D-D-David if he hates me n-now. I hate me…”
Stevie inhaled sharply but remained silent while Patrick continued.
“I was supposed to be better than this. I was supposed to be someone he could trust; someone he could depend on. I mean what the Hell was I thinking keeping my engagement to R-Rachel from him? And now… I might have just lost the person who makes m-me feel truly m-myself. Stevie, what am I gonna do without him?”
“Patrick. You haven’t lost him yet. Yeah, you hurt him, badly. And I’m not going to pretend like I’m not super pissed at you right now for doing that to him. I mean, I was on my way over here to yell at you. But I see now that you never intended to hurt him.”
“No… no, of course not. But… but I did. I really hurt him…” Patrick stood up in agitation and began pacing the floor, running his fingers through his hair nervously. “Stevie, how am I gonna fix this? How can I make this b-better?”
“I don’t know…”
“What if I can’t fix this?” Patrick went on distractedly. “Maybe I should just let him go. He d-deserves better and I…” he trailed off abruptly and he placed a steadying hand on the wall, face paling.
“Patrick?” Stevie said apprehensively. Patrick waved her off.
I’m f-fine. Just feel a little diz-“ Patrick trailed off and time seemed to slow as Stevie watched Patrick sway unsteadily on his feet before collapsing unceremoniously to the ground in a crumpled pile.
Aftermath of Patrick's fainting spell
“Shit! Patrick?!” Stevie sprang from the couch and rushed forward, falling to her knees beside Patrick’s fallen form. She rolled him over onto his back and lifted his head up into her lap. She placed a gentle hand on his forehead and instantly recoiled. “Christ, you’re burning up… c’mon Patrick. Wake up for me…”
After several long moments, Patrick’s eyes fluttered open and he looked up into Stevie’s worried face in confusion. “Stevie? What… what happened?”
“You fainted. And I think you might have a fever. I think we should have Ted check you out. Do you think you can stand?” Stevie asked. Patrick nodded and peeled himself off up the floor slowly with Stevie’s help. Once he was standing, Patrick swayed again. “Put your arm around my shoulders,” she instructed. Patrick complied and Stevie wrapped a supportive arm around his waist. “Where are your keys?
“My pocket,” Patrick slurred.
Stevie nodded and the pair began to slowly make their way out of the back room and towards the front door. Once outside, Stevie looked around until she found Patrick’s car in a parking spot in front of Rose Apothecary and led him over to the passenger side. She leaned him up against the back door and Patrick reached for his keys clumsily, handing them over to Stevie. Once she’d gotten him into the passenger seat, Stevie went around to the other side and ducked inside the car. Patrick’s head lolled back onto the seat and he closed his eyes in an attempt to quell his nauseating dizziness that had overcome him in the store. Stevie shot him a worrying glance before starting the car and putting it into drive.
She drove over to the vet clinic and parked. “I’ll be right back, okay?” Stevie said, placing a hand on Patrick’s knee. Patrick groaned affirmatively and Stevie hurried out of the car and ran inside to the receptionist’s desk. She waited impatiently for the young woman sitting there and began tapping the counter with her hand when she didn’t look up. “I need to see Ted,” Stevie demanded.
“Do you have an appointment?” the receptionist droned in reply, not bothering to look up from the magazine she was reading.
“No. But this is an emergency! I need to see him now. So why don’t you put away your magazine and go get him!”
The receptionist looked up sharply and scowled at her with annoyance. “Listen lady…”
“Stevie?” a voice interrupted. Stevie whipped around and found Ted standing behind her with a concerned look on his face. “What is it?”
“It’s Patrick. He just fainted in the store. I think he has a fever. Can you come look at him? I know you’re not a human doctor, but you did help David that one time when he had his panic attack and…”
Ted held up a hand. “Stevie, stop. I’d be happy to check him out. Where is he now?”
“He’s outside in the car,” Stevie replied.
“Okay. Let me just go grab my bag and I’ll meet you out there, all right?”
Stevie nodded and began leaving the clinic, shooting the receptionist a nasty glare as she did so. Ted emerged soon after and followed Stevie to Patrick’s car. He went over to the passenger side and opened the door. Patrick’s head tilted to the side and he opened his eyes slowly. “Ted?”
“Hey, Patrick. I heard you fainted. I’m just gonna check you out really quick if that’s okay?” Patrick nodded and Ted set his medical bag down on the floor. He pulled out a thermometer and placed it in Patrick’s ear. After a minute, Patrick removed the thermometer and looked at the display. “Wow! 38 degrees! Well, that’s not too bad, but I am a little concerned about the fainting.”
Patrick looked down at his hands. “I uh… also might not have eaten anything in two days…”
Stevie let out an involuntary gasp and Ted shot her a concerned frown. “I see… Well, unfortunately, my blood pressure cuffs only fit animals, but if you haven’t been eating, I’m guessing your blood pressure is probably low. Look here for me?” Ted held up a finger in front of Patrick’s face and pulled a tiny pen light from his bag. He checked both Patrick’s eyes and put the pen back in his bag. “It doesn’t look like you got a concussion, so that’s good! But uh… when’s the last time you’ve gotten a decent night’s sleep? Because I hate to tell you this buddy, but you aren’t lookin’ so hot.”
Patrick shrugged. “Um… three days ago?” The day I fucked up my relationship? He added to himself.
Ted nodded. “Okie dokie. Well, I think the first thing is for you to get something to eat. And then I want you to go to bed.” Ted turned to look up at Stevie. “Can you pick up some soup or something for him at the café?”
“Great. Tell Ray that I’ll stop by when the vet clinic closes to check on him.”
“Okay, I will. Thank you, Ted.”
“No problemo!” Ted turned back to Patrick. “I want you to eat all of the soup and then go straight to bed as soon as you get home. Okay?”
Patrick nodded. “Yup.”
“Awesome sauce. All righty, I will stop by and check on you later, gator!” Ted packed his medical bag back up and headed back to the vet clinic, while Stevie got back into the car to carry out his instructions.
Stevie takes Patrick home. David finds out he's sick
After they stopped at the café, Stevie drove Patrick to Ray’s and helped him inside. Mercifully, Ray wasn’t home, so Stevie led Patrick into the kitchen and over to the table. Patrick lowered himself into a chair slowly, Stevie’s guiding hand on his arm. She placed the soup container in front of him. “Where does Ray keep the spoons?”
“Drawer next to the sink,” Patrick replied. Stevie nodded and went in search of a spoon, while Patrick looked down at the soup in front of him and frowned. His stomach flipped uncomfortably and when Stevie handed him a spoon, Patrick began to stir it around slowly.
Stevie watched as the spoon swirled around in the container. “I don’t think that’s how you eat soup,” she teased.
“I’m just… I’m not hungry.”
“Patrick. You heard what Ted said! Your blood pressure is low; you need to eat. Just take it one bite at a time,” Stevie replied encouragingly. Patrick nodded and lifted a spoonful of the hot broth to his mouth. It took some time, but Patrick managed to finish it all. He grabbed the soup container and started to rise from his seat before Stevie stopped him. “I got it.”
Stevie threw the container out in the trash and tossed the spoon into the sink. “Okay, let’s get you in bed.” She helped Patrick stand once more and he directed her towards the room he rented from Ray. When they arrived, Stevie led Patrick over to his bed and helped him sit down. “Right. Where are your sweats?”
A deep blush spread across Patrick’s cheeks. “I think I can manage getting ready for bed…”
Stevie sighed dramatically. “Oh stop. First, you’re gay and dating my best friend. Second, it’s not like you’re stripping naked. Besides, you can barely stand. Let me help you.”
Patrick looked down at his hands in embarrassment. “Top drawer on the left,” he mumbled reluctantly.
“Mmk. Do you have an undershirt on under your button down, or should I grab a t-shirt?”
“I have an undershirt on,” Patrick replied.
“Great.” Stevie grabbed a pair of sweatpants from the drawer and walked back over to the bed. She waited patiently for Patrick to unbutton his shirt and put it on the bed next to him. Then she helped him slip off his jeans until he was sitting in just his undershirt and boxers. “Huh…I would’ve pegged you as briefs guy…”
Patrick’s face colored again. “Stevie…”
“Sorry.” Stevie replied sheepishly. “C’mon. Let’s get your sweats on.” Patrick allowed Stevie to help him change into sweats, albeit reluctantly, and then got into bed. “Do you need anything else?” Stevie asked, once he was situated.
Patrick shook his head.
“Okay well… I’m just gonna chill downstairs until Ray gets home. I don’t want to leave you alone.” Stevie turned to leave when Patrick said her name.
“Thanks, Stevie. I… I know you’re probably pissed at me too, but I appreciate your help.”
Stevie stopped in her tracks and thought for a moment before turning to look back at Patrick. “I was pissed at you. David’s been through enough bad relationships in his life to last a lifetime and I didn’t think you’d hurt him, albeit unintentionally, like this.”
“Let me finish,” Stevie interrupted. “But you want to know what makes you different from the rest of the girls and guys he’s dated? They didn’t give a rat’s ass how their behavior affected David. You do. They wouldn’t have beaten themselves up it so much that they’d make themselves sick. You did. I honestly think you have a fighting chance to save your relationship. Just don’t give up on him.”
“I never planned to. He asked for space and I just… I want to respect that,” Patrick replied.
“Good. Just… don’t give him too much space. He’s not fairing much better than you are right now.” Stevie watched as Patrick’s eyes lowered in shame and she felt guilt creep in. “I don’t tell you that to make you feel bad. I just want you fight for him. Don’t let him get away because I don’t know if he’d survive it. But for now, you need to take care of yourself and sleep. I’ll just go watch television downstairs until Ray gets back and let him know Ted’s coming over to check on you. Just holler if you need me.”
“Thank you, Stevie.”
“No problem.” Stevie shut off the light and Patrick settled down underneath the covers and promptly fell asleep.
An hour later, Stevie was still on the couch waiting for Ray, when her phone rang. She looked at the caller ID and swore; it was Mr. Rose. She’d forgotten to call him and let him know she’d be late getting back to the motel. “Hey, Mr. Rose,” she answered.
“Stevie! Where have you been? You said you’d be back half an hour ago.”
“I know, I’m sorry. Something came up.”
“Is everything okay?”
Stevie sighed. “Um… yeah. I uh… I went to Rose Apothecary to yell at Patrick…”
“And uh… he’s… he’s not okay.”
“What’s wrong with Patrick, Stevie?” Mr. Rose asked.
“Something’s wrong with Patrick?!” Stevie heard a familiar panicked voice squeal in the background followed by a rustling noise as Johnny’s phone was ripped from his hand.
“Stevie!” David shouted hysterically. “What’s wrong with Patrick?”
“Okay, David, I’m going to need you to bring it down an octave please. He’s sick. Like, really sick.”
“What?! What does that even mean, ‘really sick’? What happened? And how do you even know he’s sick?”
“Well… uh… don’t be mad but I kinda went to Rose Apothecary to yell at him…”
“After I asked you not to?!?”
“Yeah? I’m sorry, David. It’s just, you were so sad, and I got mad and I just couldn’t help myself.”
“Okay, whatever. What happened?”
“He fainted in the store. David, he’s in bad shape. He said he hasn’t eaten or slept in days…”
“FUCK! Where are you?”
“Ray’s. But David…” Stevie was about to tell her friend to not come, but he had already hung up on her. She sighed and was just about to call David on his cell phone when Ray walked in the door.
“Stevie? What in the world are you doing here?”
“Hi Ray. Sorry, I just brought Patrick home. He’s sick and I didn’t want to leave him alone,” Stevie explained.
“Oh dear. Ooh! I believe I have some soup that I can heat up for him!”
“That’s not necessary, Ray. I got him some soup from the café. He’s asleep right now. But uh… David’s on his way over here. He heard Patrick was sick and in true David fashion, got himself in a tizzy over it.”
Ray nodded in understanding. “Of course. Well, would you like to try some peach pie? My sister made it and it is delicious.”
“Um, no thanks Ray. I’m really sorry, but I need to get back to the motel. I told Mr. Rose I’d be back half an hour ago…”
“Of course! Raincheck then?”
“Uh yeah… sure,” Stevie replied noncommittally. “See you later, Ray.”
“Good bye Stevie!”
Stevie began walking towards the door and grabbed her messenger bag from the floor before remembering that Ted was supposed to stop by later. “Oh! I almost forgot. Ted is going to come by after work to check on Patrick.”
“Well that’s silly. Ted is a vet!” Ray stated obviously.
“I know that. But he’s stopping all the same.”
“Okie dokie. See you soon, Stevie!”
Stevie nodded, though she had no intention of returning for pie, and left Ray’s. She was about halfway back to the motel when a black Lincoln sped past her. Stevie whipped her head around and watched as it disappeared down the road and sighed. “I hope he doesn’t crash the car…” She shrugged and continued towards the motel, silently hoping that Patrick would be okay and that he and David would be able to work things out.
David rushes to Patrick's side
David arrived at Ray’s house around 5:00, ran to the front door and began ringing the doorbell incessantly. Ray opened the door moments later and smiled. “Hello David. Stevie said you’d be coming!”
“How is he?”
“Ted is with him right now. I told Stevie how silly that was because as you know, Ted is a vet and vet’s don’t typically treat humans. Though I guess since he’s the only doctor in town…” Ray droned on pleasantly.
“Yeah. He did help me once after I had a panic attack though. Can I see come in and see him?”
“Of course! How rude of me! Come in, David!” Ray stepped aside flourished his arm towards the foyer and David entered the house.
“I was just about to make some tea. Perhaps you’d like a cup while you wait for Ted to finish checking on Patrick?” Ray offered.
“Uh no. No thanks. I just really need to see Patrick.”
“Of course. Well, don’t let me keep you! You know where Patrick’s bedroom is,” Ray replied.
David thanked Ray again and bounded up the stairs two at a time. When he reached the second-floor landing, Ted was just stepping out of Patrick’s room. “Oh! Hey David. I was just finishing up checking on Patrick.”
“Is he okay?”
“Well, he has a fever of 39.1 degrees and he’s been in and out of consciousness. He’s been saying your name in his sleep.”
“Yeah. He was saying something else too, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. Are you gonna stay with him?”
“Good. Listen David, if his fever goes up to 39.5 or higher, you need to get him to a hospital right away. There’s nothing else I can do for him and a fever that high can be dangerous. I put a cool washcloth on his forehead and gave him some Tylenol, so hopefully that will help. Try to keep him cool and don’t let him out of bed unless absolutely necessary. If he’s not feeling better tomorrow, it might be a good idea for him to see a people doctor.”
“I can do that. Thank you, Ted.”
Ted gave David a friendly tap on his upper arm and headed downstairs. David listened as Ted accepted a cup of tea from Ray, before taking a deep, shuddering breath and entering Patrick’s bedroom. David found his boyfriend asleep and hesitated in the doorway, unsure if he should approach Patrick or not. He was still deciding what to do next when Patrick whimpered uncomfortably, solidifying his resolve to hurry over to Patrick’s side.
David sat down on the bed and grabbed Patrick’s hand, giving it a squeeze. “Mm… David…” Patrick moaned, as though sensing David’s presence. David leaned forward and stroked Patrick’s cheek with his free hand.
“I’m right here, baby,” he murmured.
At the sound of David’s voice, Patrick’s brow furrowed, and his eyelids fluttered open. He looked up at David, who was giving him a gentle smile of concern. “David?”
“Yeah baby, it’s me.”
“What… when did you get here?” Patrick began to sit up, but David laid a gentle hand on his chest and pushed him back onto the pillows.
“Lie down, honey. I just got here a few minutes ago,” David replied.
Patrick squeezed David’s hand and began to ramble out an apology. “David, I’m so sorry. I-I hurt you and betrayed your trust! I know that you don’t trust people easily, especially because people haven’t always given you a reason to be trusting! But I was supposed to be better than that. I wasn’t-“ Patrick’s outburst was cut off abruptly by David putting a finger to Patrick’s lips.
“Stop. We don’t need to talk about it right now. You need to rest.”
“No buts. You’re sick and need to sleep, baby.” David stroked Patrick’s cheek again.
Patrick closed his eyes at David’s touch and reached up a shaky hand to place over David’s. A tear trickled down Patrick’s cheek and David swiped it away with his thumb. “P-please don’t leave me alone,” Patrick choked out.
“Shh. I’m not going anywhere, baby. I’ll be here when you wake up. Now sleep.”
Patrick nodded and settled down into the bed. He was about ready to fall back asleep, when his eyes opened once more. “David?”
“I really am sorry,” he replied, his eyes taking on a glassy sheen.
“I know you are, honey. Sleep.”
Patrick closed his eyes again and David waited until he was sure Patrick was asleep. When Patrick’s breath began to deepen, David reached up and checked the washcloth on Patrick’s forehead. It had started to lose its coolness due to the heat radiating from Patrick’s head, so David removed it and went to the bathroom to run it under cold water. Once he was satisfied, David rang it out in the sink and returned to Patrick’s bedroom. He sat back down on the bed and dabbed gently at Patrick’s neck and cheeks, before laying it back down on his forehead. Then David kicked off his shoes and carefully lay down on the bed next to Patrick, resting his head on his chest and wrapping an arm around Patrick’s waist. Lulled by the soft rise and fall of Patrick’s chest, David drifted off to sleep.
Patrick's temperature spikes and David rushes him to the hospital
At some point during their nap, Patrick had snuggled into David’s side and was now trembling in David’s arms, waking him from a dead sleep. “Patrick?” David whispered with concern. “Are you okay?”
“I f-feel ch-chilly,” Patrick groaned. David frowned and reached up to feel Patrick’s forehead.
“Shit, I think your fever may have spiked. One sec…” David carefully disentangled himself from Patrick and went downstairs in search of Ray to ask for a thermometer. Fortunately, Ray was in the middle of doing a couple’s photoshoot with some clients, therefore unable to engage David in a lengthy conversation, and instead quickly told David where to find the thermometer. David sent up a silent thank you to the universe and went to grab the thermometer.
He returned back to Patrick’s room, shutting the door behind him, and sat down on the bed. “Patrick? Can you open your mouth for me please?” David asked. Patrick complied and David stuck the thermometer under his tongue. The thermometer beeped after a minute and David looked at the display, reeling back in alarm at the number shown: 39.4. “Fuck. Patrick, we need to get you to a hospital.”
“Mm fine…” Patrick insisted, gazing up at David with glassy eyes.
“You are decidedly NOT fine. C’mon honey, I need you to get up for me,” David replied.
“Can’t. Tired…mm… don’t feel good, D’vd,” Patrick slurred.
“Okay baby. Okay. Uh…” David sprang up from the bed and pulled back the covers. He slipped one arm under Patrick’s knees and the other under Patrick’s back. “Put your arms around me,” he instructed. Patrick did so and David carefully lifted his boyfriend up off the bed.
Patrick nuzzled his face into the crook of David’s neck. “Yer strong. Haveyoubeenworkinout?” Patrick asked, his words blurring together.
“I have. Thanks for noticing. Okay, let’s get you downstairs to my car. I’m not that strong and you’re heavy.”
“Mm not! Thas not vrynice…” Patrick complained.
“You’re right, I’m sorry baby. Come on, let’s go.” David started walking towards the door and nudged it open with his foot. As soon as he reached the bottom of the stairs, Ray rushed over in a panic.
“David? What’s the matter?”
“Patrick has a really high fever; I’m taking him to the hospital. Could you do me a favor?”
“Of course!” Ray asked, eager to help.
“Can you open the front door for me and help me get him into the car?”
“No problem, David.” Ray hurried towards the door with David in tow. Once outside, they made their way to Patrick’s car. “Where are your keys?”
“Fuck,” David cursed. “Uh, they’re in my back pocket. Can you grab them and unlock the door?”
Ray nodded and quickly reached into David’s pockets and withdrew the key to the Lincoln. He unlocked the car and opened the passenger side door.
David awkwardly deposited Patrick into the seat and buckled the seatbelt. Patrick immediately curled up into a ball and wrapped his arms instinctively around his middle, trembling violently. David ran around to the trunk and opened it, grabbing the blanket and returning to Patrick. “Remind me to thank my dad for insisting we keep a blanket in the trunk,” David said to no one in particular as he covered his boyfriend in the blanket. Once Patrick was situated, he turned towards Ray. “Thanks for your help.”
“Of course! Would you like me to accompany you to the hospital?”
“No, that’s okay; I think I can manage.”
Ray nodded, unusually solemn and grabbed David’s hand. “Please let me know how he’s doing later… if you think of it?” Ray asked.
“Yeah… uh I will. Thanks Ray.” David patted Ray’s hand awkwardly and went around the car to the driver’s side. He sat down quickly and put on his seatbelt, flinching in concern when Patrick whimpered in discomfort.
“Mm cold,” he grumbled.
“I know baby. But there’s nothing else I can do about that right now. If I turn the heat up, that will just make your temperature worse,” David replied. He put the key into the ignition and started the car. Then he pulled out of Ray’s driveway and started driving towards Elmdale.
“Where we goin?”
“The hospital, remember? Just try and relax honey. I’ll wake you when we get to there, all right?”
“Mmk, David,” Patrick muttered.
Patrick is admitted into the hospital and David receives distressing news
It's been a hot minute since I updated! I started grad school in September, found out I was pregnant in November, and have been super busy trying to navigate virtual teaching.
Patrick laid on his side in the hospital bed, shivering violently. His entire body ached his mind felt foggy. An IV drip had been set up in an effort to bring down his fever and get Patrick much needed hydration. David sat next to him, frowning with worry and stroking Patrick’s forehead and cheeks gently.
When the couple had arrived at the hospital 2 hours earlier, Patrick could barely stand and had to lean on David heavily for support. He’d been admitted almost immediately and had been diagnosed with hypoglycemia, which the doctor explained was a result of Patrick not eating enough in the past few days, and dehydration, which was causing the high fever. The doctor had given Patrick a glucagon injection to help with the hypoglycemia but had given him horrible nausea.
Patrick groaned in discomfort and looked up at David with glazed eyes. “Mm… don’t feel good…”
“I know honey. You’re probably going to feel crummy for the next few days. But the doctor said you seem to be responding well to treatment, so you’ll be right as rain soon,” David replied, leaning forward and placing a kiss on Patrick’s clammy forehead.
“Right as rain?” Patrick smirked.
“Yes. Shut up. Try to sleep, baby. I am going to go call Ray; I promised him I’d let him know how you were.”
“Mmk…” Patrick mumbled, his eyelids already drooping. David smiled at his boyfriend affectionately and kissed him one more time before excusing himself into the hallway. He took his phone out of his back pocket and dialed Ray’s home number. Ray picked up on the first ring.
“David! How is Patrick?” David filled Patrick’s roommate in quickly. When he finished, Ray dropped a bombshell David hadn’t expected.
“Poor Patrick! Um… David… Patrick’s parents called...”
“Fuck! I should have called them! Did you tell them Patrick was in the hospital?”
“Yes, but David… I don’t think they know…”
“You don’t think they know what, Ray?”
“I don’t think they know you and Patrick are together,” Ray whispered quietly.
David felt his heart drop into his stomach. “W-What? Why do you think that!?” he asked, his voice rising in pitch.
“Well… I told them that you had taken him to the hospital, and they said that it was exceedingly kind of Patrick’s business partner to look out for him like that…”
“Fuck,” David breathed. “What did you say to them?”
“Nothing. I just said it was and told them what hospital he was at. They are flying in this evening to come see him. I’m very sorry, David,” Ray replied.
“It’s f-fine… thank you, R-Ray….” David hung up the phone and collapsed into a chair in the hallway, trying to process what Ray had just told him. The more he thought about it, however, the more it made sense. Patrick hadn’t told David about his failed engagement to a woman. Of course he hadn’t come out to his parents yet. David knew he had to return to Patrick’s room and find out what was going on, but he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to. He took out his phone and sent a panicked text to Stevie.
Stevie: What? Is Patrick okay?!
David: He’s fine
Stevie: Then what’s with the dramatic text?
David: They don’t know!
Stevie: Who doesn’t know what?
David: That he’s gay!
Stevie: Okay… I’m gonna need more information here David
David: Patrick’s parents! They don’t know!
Stevie: Shit! What do you mean they don’t know?
David: They called Ray’s home and when he told them he was in the hospital, they said it was nice of Patrick’s BUSINESS PARTNER to look out for him like that!
Stevie: Fuck! What are you going to do?
David: I don’t know, Stevie! That’s why I’m texting you!
Stevie: Well you have to talk to him!
David: Don’t you think I know that? But what do I say?! I feel sick…
Stevie: Okay, David. Don’t freak out. It’s gonna be okay
David: No it is not! His parents are flying in now!
Okay… just go talk to Patrick
I mean, if his parents don’t know…
Then they are gonna be totally blindsided
David: I’m gonna vomit
Stevie: Well vomit after you talk to Patrick
It’s gonna be okay, David. First step is to just talk to him
David: Fuck! Okay
Stevie: Text me if you need me, okay?
Stevie: Deep breaths
David put his iphone back in his pocket with shaky hands and prepared himself to walk back into Patrick’s hospital room. He did NOT want to do this, but Stevie was right. Taking a deep breath, David walked back to Patrick’s room and stepped inside.
Aftermath of Ray's phone call
Finally an update!! I have been so busy with life! Work, having a baby, grad school, lol
When David returned to the room, Patrick was sleeping restlessly, his head tossing back and forth on the pillow. David’s distress over finding out Patrick’s parents didn’t know about their relationship was immediately replaced with concern for his partner. David quickly sat down beside him, took his hand, and began stroking Patrick’s palm gently. He reached over with his other hand and caressed Patrick’s cheek lovingly. “Patrick, baby?”
Patrick moaned and opened his eyes slowly. He looked up at David and frowned. “David?”
“Are you okay?”
Patrick smiled weakly at him. “I can’t sleep. Did you leave?”
“Oh uh… yeah. Sorry. Ray wanted me to call him and let him know what was going on,” David replied. “He was worried about you.”
“Mm, he’s a good guy.”
“He is.” David smiled softly. He began to spin the rings on his fingers absentmindedly and Patrick frowned up at him with concern.
“What is it David?”
“Well uh… see… your parents called Ray because they hadn’t h-heard from you and they’re kinda flying in tonight.
Patrick’s face paled. “What?” he stuttered.
“Yeah. So um Ray seems to think they don’t know about… er, that you haven’t told them… about-about u-us,” David mumbled nervously.
Patrick reached over and grasped David’s hand, giving it a weak squeeze. “David… I-I’m so sorry. I’ve wanted t-to tell them about us, really, I have. It’s just I wanted to do it in person, but I haven’t been able to get home to see them…”
“Mmk. So all the times they’ve called the store, they just thought they were talking to your business partner?” David asked.
Patrick looked down as tears of embarrassment and shame welled in his eyes. Taking a shuddering breath, he replied, “David, I know my parents are good people. I just… I can’t shake this fear that there’s a small change that this could change everything; that they won’t accept my being gay… And I know that’s probably stupid but…” Patrick trailed off again and looked away in shame.
David nodded, understanding why Patrick hadn’t told his parents about their relationship. He took Patrick’s hand and squeezed it gently. “Patrick, look at me.” Patrick looked back up at David, a tear trickling down his cheek. David thumbed it away with his free hand and gave Patrick’s hand another squeeze. “I get it. When I first came out to my parents, it was literally one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. So look, I can head home before your parents arrive and just be your business partner for now, if you think that’ll help. Because I know how hard coming can be, and it should only be done on your terms.”
Patrick was beginning to feel groggy but forced himself to stay awake. He had to make this right. He shook his head and squeezed David’s hand. “No… no, I c-couldn’t ask you to do that. That isn’t fair to you, and I owe it to us to let them know.” Patrick took a deep, shuddering breath before continuing. “I’m just, I’m so sorry David. I’m fucking everything up with you…”
David reached over and stroked Patrick’s cheek. “It’s okay. I’ll be fine and we are going to get through this together. Just promise me no more secrets, okay?”
“Okay. I’m sorry, David.”
“It’s okay baby. I forgive you. Everything is going to be okay.”
Patrick simply nodded as the guilt he’d been experiencing was replaced to sheer, emotional exhaustion. He took a shallow breath and closed his eyes in an attempt to stop the room from spinning. David frowned and grabbed Patrick’s chin gently, gazing at his face intently. His boyfriend was beginning to go glassy-eyed with fever. Concerned, David stroked Patrick’s cheek. “Patrick?”
“Mm. sso tired,” Patrick slurred, his eyelids beginning to droop.
“I know, baby. Sleep and I’ll be here when you wake up.”
“Mmk,” Patrick mumbled.
The Next Morning
Marcy and Clint Brewer stopped in their tracks upon entering their son’s hospital room. In a chair by the bed, a tall, dark-haired man sat hunched over their son, his forehead resting on one arm while he held Patrick’s hand in the other. They looked at each other in surprise and then back at the two men. They silently backed out of the room and turned to face each other once more. “Well, it seems like you were right, Marcy…” Clint said to his wife.
Marcy smiled sadly. “It would seem so. What should we do? Patrick didn’t tell us that he was dating his business partner, so I don’t want to go in there and make them uncomfortable…”
“Well honey, we can’t just stay out here in the hallway,” Clint replied.
“Yes, I suppose you’re right…” Marcy grabbed the doorknob of their son’s hospital room and reentered with Clint trailing behind her. She quietly walked over to the bed, placed a hand on the dark-haired man’s back, and shook him gently. The man sat up and looked at Marcy with confusion. Realization that it wasn’t a nurse dawned on him almost immediately and he sprang up from the chair. “Uh…. H-hi,” David mumbled in embarrassment.
“Hello,” Marcy replied softly. “You must be David.”
“Y-yes… I’m sorry I didn’t m-mean to fall asleep… I just didn’t want to leave Patrick here alone and…” David rambled before Marcy grabbed his hand and squeezed in reassuringly. “Thank you for taking care of our boy, David. I can tell that you care a great deal for him.”
“Y-yes, I mean I d-do, I mean… shit. I’m s-so sorry. I w-was supposed to be gone before you got here…”
“Breathe, David; it’s okay. If it helps, we had our suspicions,” Marcy replied.
“M-maybe we should g-go out in the hall?” David suggested. Marcy nodded and she, Clint, and David quietly left the room. David shut the door behind him and turned to face Patrick’s parents.
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t know y-you didn’t know. I had assumed Patrick had told you…”
Marcy’s heart clenched in sympathy. “Oh David, I’m so sorry honey.”
“Do you think we did something, David? To make Patrick feel like he couldn’t tell us he was gay?” Clint chimed in for the first time. David looked at Patrick’s father.
“No… no, he was fully planning on telling you. He just…he wanted to do it in person,” David replied. Clint and Marcy nodded in understanding.
“Okay, so what should we do? I don’t want to make him uncomfortable…” Marcy said.
“Well like I said, I wasn’t supposed to be here. But I must have fallen asleep. So I’m going to go get some coffee and I’ll come back. That will give Patrick some time to tell you himself. I’m just… I’m so sorry you had to find out this way.”
“It’s okay, David. And for the record, I’m so happy to know that Patrick has such a lovely partner to take care of him. Thank you, David.”