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To Have and To Hold

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“I can’t keep having this fight, David,” Patrick yelled right as their verbal sparring match hit the hour mark.

“Then stop making the same mistakes,” David shot back.

“As if it’s my fault that a customer gave me his number?” Patrick said as he threw his hands up.

“Right, because you’re just so fucking irresistible,” David said with a roll of his eyes that made Patrick want to draw blood. Was it so hard to believe that Patrick didn’t notice that people flirted with him sometimes because he was happy in his marriage? Apparently for David, it was.

“I can’t do this tonight,” David said finally.


“Not tonight,” David repeated, “I’m going to get very high with Stevie and I will see you in the morning.” Patrick couldn’t do anything other than watch David leave and think about their bizarre day. David had brought him tea, they’d bickered fondly then they’d bickered not so fondly, then they’d fought over a guy who had come in and apparently flirted with Patrick. Flirting that, according to David, Patrick had encouraged. Patrick, for his part, had just been trying to make a sale. A sale that ended up being triple what the guy had originally come in for, thank you very much. But David had overreacted and he would see that once he cooled down. But maybe Patrick didn’t want David to cool down. Being cold had been most of today’s problems, until David had suddenly blown up at him.

Not tonight. I can’t do this tonight. But what was tonight?

Then Patrick caught a look at the calendar that hung in their kitchen. Oh no. oh fuck. It was September 3rd, their wedding anniversary. Suddenly it all made sense. David’s annoyance at waking up alone, his shortness at the store. Someone flirting with Patrick had just been the final straw and Patrick hadn’t even seen it until it was too late.

But how had this happened? Patrick thought his biggest selling point as a person was reliability. He was the guy who you could trust, the guy who followed through. He wasn’t the guy who just forgot important, meaningful things. Until today, apparently.

He’d even had a gift in mind when he’d thought about their anniversary in passing months ago. But now, they were in the middle of renegotiating half their deals and Patrick was starting to prepare for their year-end paperwork, and the date had just slipped his mind.

Patrick cursed as he grabbed his coat. It was clear he was going to be doing some major groveling. He was halfway to Stevie’s before he turned back. If he was going to apologize, he wasn’t going to do it emptyhanded.

The high hadn’t been nearly as intense as David needed. He’d wanted to escape this day and all the feelings that had come with it. David knew Patrick was busy with their business, but he was always the kind of guy that could juggle it all. But Patrick forgetting their first wedding anniversary hurt more than he was willing to admit.

David didn’t tell him and instead waited to see when he’d realize on his own. But instead of that, he’d had to watch someone shamelessly flirt with his husband. Then Patrick had the audacity to put the blame on him.

So now here he was. Stevie had smoked most of their last joint. She’s insisted she was being responsible by not letting David get too high to talk to Patrick when he came to collect him, but he knew she just wanted the joint for herself. Either way, David was disappointingly sober when Patrick let himself into Stevie’s house a little after midnight.

“So, happy anniversary,” Patrick said without preamble.

David laughed despite himself, “Getting halfway high while Stevie passed out was just how I wanted to spend it,” he quipped. Patrick spared a glance at Stevie asleep on the couch before he sat next to David on her bed- the bed where he’d learned so much about the man he was going to marry five years ago now.

“I’m sorry, David,” Patrick said as he wove their fingers together, “I should have remembered.”

“I could have reminded you,” David admitted, “You do remember everything else important about our lives.”

“I’m not saying this just to get out of trouble,” Patrick began, “But it feels like I’ve always been married to you. It feels as natural as breathing, and I guess I didn’t realize I’ve only had you for a year.”

“That is a very sweet thing to say,” David said around the lump in his throat, “But that guy was flirting with you.”

“And I didn’t even notice with the love of my life standing ten feet away,” Patrick said as David snorted.

“Fine. Forgiven. But only because I want to see what’s in that bag.”

With a small flourish, Patrick presented David a small giftbag. Never one for patience, David threw the paper aside and pulled out a small notebook, one that he had seen Patrick writing in before.

“Care to explain?” David asked as he flipped through the filled pages.

“That,” Patrick said, “Is a notebook from our store, and it is where I wrote about 18 drafts of our vows.”

David broke out into a huge grin and started looking at the pages in earnest. He saw his own name, the name of the store, his family’s names, snippets of their memories together.

“It’s impossible to put how I feel about you into words,” Patrick said, “But I still thought you’d like to see me try.”

“I will absolutely be doing that in private where no one can hear me cry,” David said as he reverently closed the notebook and put it back in its bag before kissing Patrick quickly, but passionately, “It’s perfect. I don’t have a gift for you, though.”

“I think,” Patrick said as he returned the kiss, “Our life together more than makes up for that.”