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you should let me save the day

Chapter Text

Patrick felt the knots in his back once he finally slumped over on the bench in the bus shelter. It had been quite the semester and he was glad to be heading home. With a group presentation and his International Business Economics final falling late in the week, he wasn’t able to head out until Thursday evening when most of the campus had emptied. He leaned his head in his hands and tried to clear his mind, but the last year kept playing on repeat.

The fact that Patrick made it to winter break on its own felt like an accomplishment. After a sophomore year that had started so well, his and Rachel’s relationship quickly became a strain on both of them last spring. Rachel was pressuring Patrick towards finding an apartment of their own to stay in town for the summer as she had lined up an exciting summer internship. Patrick however had been looking forward to being home, working, and saving money before leaving his parents as empty nesters in the not too distant future.

On top of that, after being together with a few breaks since they were 14, Patrick knew that living with Rachel was not what he wanted deep down. Instead of seeing the excitement and commitment to their relationship in this next step, it made him feel trapped and anxious about what he really wanted in life. These fears had been weighing on him for a while, but the fast approaching reality of post-college life brought a lot to the forefront. As time went on, some of the reasons behind these looming insecurities started to crystallize.

It was nearly impossible for Patrick to hide all his feelings from his perceptive girlfriend, who regardless of where they stood at any time, knew him better than anyone else. While Patrick pushed her off with placations of being fine for a while, everything blew up after another night of him not wanting to go out, then claiming he had a headache when she tried to initiate sex for the third time in row, followed by curling up against the wall in her tiny bed. This time, Rachel pushed back on his rejection, which led to a long night of shared tears, fraught questions, and eventual acceptance causing some truths to emerge. Patrick finally spit out that he didn’t think he was in love with Rachel the way she deserved, and he didn’t think he’d ever love any woman like that, because he was gay.

The simple one syllable word echoed off the concrete block walls of the dorm room, but its reverberations hit Patrick and Rachel like an earthquake in that moment. Patrick, hanging his head in shame, sadness, but relief, felt Rachel’s hand touch his knee. He glanced up, and through the tears, watched her face turn from shock into understanding. He had left her suite that night, a bag of belongings he had kept there slung over his shoulder and a small hug between them.

The pain though was still fresh, and they decided to take some space before figuring out the next permutation for their relationship. Patrick poured his energy into his studies, downloaded but never filled out a profile on a dating app, and just tried to buckle down. He spent most of last summer doing manual labor for his uncle’s landscaping business and avoided a lot of their shared friends. He thought maybe he’d step more into his new life this school year, but the strenuous junior year workload of his degree program and feeling like he never met anyone that gave him that spark he was searching for left him questioning where exactly he fit in. He did take up his friend Reina’s invitation to go to a LGBTQ+ campus event or two in his minimal spare time, but that was it.

Patrick again looked at his phone, wondering where the bus was, hoping that being the only one waiting did not mean he read the schedule wrong. Pulling his coat more tightly around himself, he was looking forward to trying to sleep on the plane. Used to Rachel driving them back and forth from Bern Hill in the car passed down from her brother every break before, this time Patrick was flying home on his own, adding to the new experiences in his life as of late.

Just as he was about to make a call to the number in his confirmation email, the roar of a diesel engine caught his ear. Patrick stood and threw his backpack over his aching shoulders and gathered his duffle bag as the small bus approached the student center. He stepped aboard and showed the driver his ticket. It seemed that this was the last stop as the bus was quite full. The end of the semester had caught up to many, and most had their legs or bags up on empty seats, eyes closed as they rested. Patrick quickly shuffled toward the back of the bus. As he tried to pick out a seat partner he wouldn’t have to wake up for the two hour trip to the airport, a man stood and moved across the aisle next to a woman who looked up with a smile.

“I’ll sit with my girlfriend, you can take this one, man.”

“Thanks, I appreciate it.” Patrick shoved his duffle under the seat while dropping the heavy backpack next to him. He let out a long breath as the driver started to shut the door, preparing to pull away from the curb. As Patrick leaned his head against the frosty window, the bus started to roll away before abruptly hitting the brakes. It wasn’t enough to jostle most of the passengers, but Patrick looked up as the light over the driver illuminated again and the doors swung open.

“Sorry, sorry,” he heard a harried voice repeat a few times, obviously a late arriving rider. Why couldn’t people just be on time?, Patrick thought. He had the last late flight out so he would probably be fine, but he didn’t want to push it.

Patrick's focus quickly changed from looking out the window at the student center to down the aisle, seeing the tardy passenger trying to minimize his lanky body as he navigated towards a seat. Unlike everyone else wearing whatever clean jeans and sweatshirts they could find until they made it to their hometowns, this man wore patterned joggers, winter boots that looked like they were meant only to be seen in a ski lodge and not the actual snow, and an embellished hoodie with a militaristic peacoat open over top. Everything could be described as both black and expensive looking.

Patrick, being sympathetic, could see the nervousness radiating off of this person who looked like he had never ridden a bus before in his life. His feelings must have shown through as the man’s eyes widened when they bounced to Patrick’s face in his frantic search to find somewhere to sit.

“Um, I am sorry, but do you mind if I sit here?” a small voice from the expressive face said.

Patrick felt like his brain was slightly rebooting, before he gave some sort of affirmative response. He grabbed his backpack and slid it under the empty seat in front of him.

“Gucci on a bus floor, I thought I’d never see the day,” the man mumbled while he forced his large weekender bag under the chair.

“They actually clean the floor. I’d worry more about what’s stuck under these seats,” Patrick punched out, trying to add some levity to the stressful situation.

The man’s face crumpled in horror as he tried to pat his very stuffed bag down as flat as he could. As the driver started to pull away again, Patrick’s new seatmate finally sat down with a huff, placed his studded leather messenger bag on his lap, and threw his head back onto the threadbare headrest, eyes closed.

Patrick looked at him before a wash of warmth took over his own body. The curve of the man’s extended neck, the sharp angles of his jaw and cheekbones, the slightly ruffled but carefully arranged hair, the woodsy smell that Patrick realized was the man’s cologne, lingering in the space they now shared.

Patrick cleared his throat and turned his head back to stare at the stain on the seat back in front of him.

Oh, so this was what actually being attracted to a person was like.

+++++++++

David knew he was already cutting it close with the time. He had scheduled his portfolio review project with Professor Andres for as late as he could on Thursday, nervous and anxious about how he would do. Thankfully, it seemed like all his worry had been for naught as his instructor was very impressed. After one hell of a year, David felt what he now knew as pride for what he had accomplished. As he slammed the dorm room door and gathered his bags to head towards the bus, he knew that this holiday would be unlike any other.

When he ended his junior year at NYU last spring, David had been ready for more. He had spent most of his first three years linking up with the artists of Greenwich Village, sleeping occasionally in a condo his dad bought on Bleecker Street, while also exploring his sexuality with the myriad of interesting people and places throughout New York. While he had started to find himself, he saw that everything that glittered wasn’t exactly gold. From the clout-chasing ‘friends’ to his not-really-a-boyfriend Sebastian’s manipulative ways, David wanted to recommit towards something bigger and more meaningful. While he enjoyed the opulence his life provided, it was lacking any great substance. He did not want to burn out like those around him.

It was on a short trip back to Toronto to do his customary check in with his parents when everything he knew came crashing down and David’s idea of bigger and better got way smaller and simpler. The revenue service had left them their clothes, a town, and very little of their dignity.

Once they made it to Schitt’s Creek, David considered taking the path of giving up and wallowing, but decided it was as good time as any to make some changes. In meeting the varied and eclectic townspeople as his family acclimated to their new normal, David reshaped his original intentions. Between Jocelyn Schitt’s insight as a high school teacher, and Ronnie Lee’s hard knock nudges when he wanted to give up, he was able to find a public college where he would get financial assistance due to his current status, but could also transfer what classes he did pass at NYU. He would only be a little over a semester behind, but it was doable.

As he hustled from his dorm on the edge of campus towards the student center, he thought of all that had happened once he had arrived. While news traveled fast between his unique style and internet gossip, David found most of the other students were kind and non-judgmental once they met. David though mainly kept to himself. He reached out to the student health center and was able to find a no-cost therapist, he became inspired to create his own art again, and from mistakenly entering the wrong conference room, had sat through an interesting seminar on a new design and business Master’s program that the school was developing.

He was thankful for the quick friendship that developed with Stevie in Schitt’s Creek, even after a few intoxicated hookups which transformed quickly into a platonic friendship David never had before. They texted through the days and kept each other company through the good, bad, and mundane. Stevie manned the motel desk for late check-ins and David signed-out evening studio space so he could dip his toes back into painting again without the distraction of others.

Rounding the corner of the quad, David gasped as he saw the shuttle bus doors closing. As best he could, he started jogging even with the heft of his boots slowing him down. Just as the bus was starting to pull away, he made it to the doors and caught the eye of the driver. Out of breath, flustered, and now seeing the packed seats, David had to try to navigate this rare social dilemma for him.

Trying to move as stealthy as possible, his eyes bounced from side to side as he prayed some kind soul would just offer a spot. But instead, most people were already conked out or engrossed in their phones. David looked towards the back only to be struck by a pair of warm, wide, searching eyes that seemed to realize his predicament. Grabbing on to them as a lifesaver in this anxiety-riddled moment, David’s voice squeaked out a request.

The man, dressed slightly better than the rest of the motley crew around them in a blue button down and sporty little puffer coat blinked back with a positive answer and gave David a small downturned smile before moving his bag. David knew what he looked like to everyone around him, and he could only hope that he’d just make it the two hours to his next destination without Mr. Preppy Spice being too awkward or uncomfortable with David.

When David thought his voice was quiet enough for only him to hear, grumbling about one of the few nice bags he still had, he didn’t know if he should be offended or amused by his new bus neighbor’s joke. Getting old nasty gum on his GG Supreme Weekender wouldn’t have been the worst thing to happen, but he just didn’t need it right now. Before the forward propulsion of the bus could toss him off his feet, David crashed in his seat. It was going to be a long night, but now he could rest.

He steadied his racing heart with a few deep breaths, thankful that the heat on this bus didn’t seem too intense so he could leave his coat on and not create another scene trying to get it off. Feeling slightly more centered now, he straightened his neck and slowly opened his eyes. Out of the corner of his vision, he could see Mr. Wrapped in Blue’s head turn back towards the window. Was he looking at David? David just hoped he wasn’t going to be stuck next to some guy that had to prove his masculinity with the same underhanded edgelord jokes David had heard from other boys since the age of 11.

Though by surprise, the man turned back to look at David with a quick, but apologetic smile before rooting through his bag under the seat. David momentarily felt the warmth of the man’s leg as he pushed it against David’s, spreading his knees to reach further down. David took in the muscular and thick thighs encased in the dark wash denim. God, I need to get laid, David thought as his tratorious eyes inched upward from those juicy quads toward the zipper of the serviceable jeans.

Before he could get caught, the man’s legs suddenly folded back inward. David tried to cover up his staring by shifting his eyes to his hands, before he noticed a bag being held out in his space.

“Trail Mix?"

Chapter Text

“I didn’t know this shuttle bus included a hiking excursion too,” Patrick’s seat mate answered as he warily eyed up the Ziploc bag. “Raisins and chocolate are like absinthe and molly, two things that should rarely be mixed together.”

Patrick had to hold back a snort. “I’ll have to take your word on that comparison, but the raisins in this are minimal and my mom always puts in double the amount of chocolate chips and M&Ms,”

“How quaint,” and as if Patrick couldn’t think this man was any more attractive, he furrowed his prominent brows in adorable contemplation, seemingly unsure if he wanted to risk sharing food with a stranger. There was only one way to fix that.

“I haven’t eaten out of this at all, so I can pour it into our hands if you don’t want to jump right in. And, I’m Patrick by the way,”

“David,” The man, David’s, gaze jumped up to Patrick’s face as he returned the custom, his dark eyes warming up to a little bit of kindness. Just as suddenly, David rifled through the bag on his lap before returning with a miniature bottle of hand sanitizer. Patrick watched his long fingers gently snap open the lid before letting a few drops of the liquid drizzle into his broad palms, then briskly rubbing it in.

“My contribution to this shared endeavor,” David held the bottle towards Patrick expectantly, so Patrick sat the trail mix back on his lap and held out his hands. Rubbing the sanitizer in until he figured David would have been satisfied, he picked the plastic bag back up and cracked the seal.

“What do you say?” Patrick adjusted the bag to tilt slightly at David, who gingerly cupped his hands to catch it as Patrick poured a small amount in.

“Thank you,” David popped a couple of the M&Ms before looking back at Patrick at the exact moment he cracked his jaw open and shoveled a too-large handful of the trail mix in.

Jesus, Brewer. What are you, a five year old?

“This is very good,” David picked through the mix as he seemingly arranged curated bites to balance out the flavors. “I have overlooked the correctness of a freshly made trail mix, although you’d never catch me on a hike.”

“Never? You don’t know what you are missing out on,” Patrick responded with a teasing lilt in his voice.

Is this flirting?
Am I actually somewhat successfully flirting with a man, and a gorgeous one at that?
Of course, he is sort of stuck here with me.
And he just watched me scarf down way too much trail mix at once.

“No,” David looked back with a hint of annoyance. “Though I wouldn’t be opposed to this after a particularly vigorous yoga or Pilates session,” as he casually tossed another M&M in his mouth with a little shimmy.

And now Patrick was thinking of David, only centimeters from him, in some sort of sexy exercise outfit. The very legs which he already felt, solid and lithe, against his thighs when temporarily manspreaded into David earlier. Would he wear leggings, or some high cropped athletic shorts? Stretching and moving that body into all sorts of shapes.

God, it was going to be a long ride to the airport.

In order to not make a fool of himself with someone so obviously far out of his baby gay league, Patrick offered an out. “I don’t mean to keep you from your phone or sleeping. I can leave the trail mix out and let you be,” giving a shy smile to punctuate his sentence.

A flash of disappointment briefly crossed David’s face before he schooled his features to respond. “No, no, I don’t have data on my phone unless this bus miraculously has wifi. I have a hardcover book, but after studying and working on my portfolio all week, my eyes are not in the mood. I also used up the last of my meal plan bucks on a triple shot espresso at the cafe instead of dinner, so I don’t think I will be sleeping for awhile.” David turned back towards his headrest and rolled his lips inward, and Patrick noticed he almost winced as if he felt he shared too much. Patrick couldn’t get over all the adjectives he kept assigning to David with cute being the current one.

“Well then, I guess we could keep each other company, if that is ok,” Patrick tried to say with as much unearned courage as he could muster.

+++++++++

He knew he shouldn’t have had that espresso. Too much caffeine or too much alcohol and David’s mouth had a mind of its own. Thankfully, it’s sloppy nature only appeared after cosmos and polar bear shots. This random guy, Patrick, was just trying to get home and now felt like he had to be charitable towards David. Giving him a snack, talking with him, being a congenial person. He probably was dying to text his girlfriend or snore up against the window with his headphones in like everyone else on this bus. David was still adjusting to the realness outside of his previous life, and it was hard to reconcile that people were just being nice and didn’t have an ulterior motive, like wanting to fuck him or ring up the charges on David’s tab. But that didn’t mean Patrick wanted anything more than a tolerable shuttle bus experience.

David glanced down at the opened bag of trail mix as Patrick continued to pop morsels in his mouth. He did look very cute when David caught him eating the whole handful at once. The old David of New York would have never called someone cute in anything other than a disparaging way, and definitely not a buttoned up boy next door on a bus. David couldn’t blame someone who enjoyed the pleasures of food much like he did, but his dirty mind conjured up the thought of seeing those big hands all over his body.

Okay you hornball, calm down.
This cutie (did I just progress to *cutie*??) would never fuck you.
He is just not as much of an asshole as every other man on the planet.
Just be glad he’s the one you picked to sit next to on the bus.

David carefully reached his hand to the open bag and looked over at Patrick with a questioning eyebrow before Patrick gestured as if to say “have at it” to him.

“I mean, since we’re on a first name basis and all,” David scooped out a generous handful, smiling at Patrick before they discussed their other favorite road trip/post workout snacks.

The conversation continued to flow. Patrick asked David what he was studying, and to protect himself, he told him how he had transferred back from the states to “be closer to family” and was working on an art and design degree, but possibly extending that for the plus one Master’s design and business program he had recently found out about.

“Oh, I heard about that. I am actually a business major,” Patrick excitedly shared.

“Yeah, the business side is what scares me. I have the vision for retail and design ideas, but the minutiae of the numbers and paperwork. Yikes.”

“Then you have me where the numbers side is a piece of cake, but coming up with any tangible concept would take forever. I might just try to find something where I can consult or be behind the scenes.”

“I’d love to have a store someday. Curated with beautiful things. They don’t have to be expensive, but to help people find small items, tools, or products that make their life more lovely, their space better. Make them feel better. There are so many small businesses that have a great product, but only local seasonal markets to sell at, with a big hassle if they want to sell online. That’s where I’d like to bring it all together,” David’s voice diminished slightly as he realized he was rambling again. Now he was going to have this actual business major tell him how it worked in the real world.

“That sounds amazing David, really. It is very inventive,” Patrick’s little upside down smile returned, disarming David after he had shared so much.

“I’ve actually never told anyone that before. About the store,” David twisted his silver rings around his fingers, nervous that he actually spoke and shared this fantasy, something his therapist had recommended he started doing more to let people in, even just for a peek. It felt safe sharing this with Patrick.

“Well then, I guess I am in your debt for a secret,” Patrick warmly responded. No chiding, no teasing, no judgement. David’s stomach fluttered, not from the espresso, but how at ease he could feel around someone after such a short period of time.

Chapter Text

Patrick shared back a little about himself, but left out the parts about the ex-girlfriend and newly realized sexuality. There really wasn’t much to tell. David seemed amused though by the overview of his lifetime of baseball playing, hosting open mics, and the story Patrick told about how he got locked out of his dorm room as a freshman wearing only a towel as a tour of prospective students and parents came through. Patrick hadn’t felt so at ease talking to someone in a long time, regardless of the obvious and immediate attraction he felt towards David.

Patrick finally looked at his phone and was shocked to see they were only about ten minutes away from the airport. While he knew David went to his college, he didn’t want to stop the conversation or connection right now. He didn’t even ask where he was headed to. Could they be lucky enough to be on the same flight? Even so, he was determined to at least ask David for his number.

The prickle of nerves edged up Patrick’s spine as he could see the road signs indicating the approach to the airport. A few snow flurries fluttered in the air and there seemed to be a lot of bumper-to-bumper traffic for this time of night. As he was about to ask David where exactly he was flying to, a chorus of dings and vibrations carried through the bus. Everyone seemed to wake up at once as hushed conversation fell across the vehicle. Patrick looked at his phone to see that his flight had been canceled, and from the discussion around him, everyone else was having the same experience. David bit at his lip seeing the people around him react, but then only stared at his phone screen and a text that had come through.

Patrick jumped online to see that a storm that was supposed to pass far to the north had changed directions quickly to envelop the provinces. With worse than expected high winds and icy conditions, most airports had shut down west to east for the night to avoid backups. It looked like everyone was going to wait it out until mid morning when higher temperatures and sunshine were supposed to return.

Before Patrick could say anything to David, he saw that his flight had already been rescheduled to noon tomorrow and he even had a message to click for a provided hotel voucher due to the late change. He guessed it paid off that his cousin was a flight attendant supervisor and he took advantage of her offer of employee passes. Feeling a wave a relief that he’d make it home soon enough without needing to sleep on an airport floor, he finally looked back at David who was pursing and nibbling on his full bottom lip. Patrick would normally find this enticing if it weren’t for the return of David’s nervous vibe from when he first got on the bus.

“Everything okay? Sounds like there is a little storm packing a punch.” Patrick questioned. Maybe David’s flight was one of the few that was going to make it out heading east tonight.

“Ah, not really. I - uh. Yeah.”

“Did your flight get canceled too? Mine already got rebooked, so whoever you are flying with, I am sure they will get you out tomorrow.”

“That’s not it,” David shut his phone screen off and stared straight ahead. Patrick wanted to help if he could, but didn’t want to push David who seemed to be quickly building a wall around himself.

The bus slowed to a crawl in front of the terminal. The now-awake passengers started to gather their things. Some were already on hold with their airline trying to get a new flight, others asking the bus driver if he knew where the hotel shuttles were or if he’d be going back to campus at all. Since they were towards the back, Patrick and David waited, the uncomfortable silence building between them.

As the rows ahead of them cleared, David suddenly stood up and crouched down to get his bag under the seat. Carefully pulling it out, his face clearly holding back some emotions, he looped his messenger bag over his shoulder, hung the handles of his duffle over his wrist and started to stalk down the bus aisle without looking back at Patrick.

He couldn’t let David just disappear like that. Patrick grabbed blindly for his bags, waddling as fast as he could, his backpack catching on a seat handle before he could extricate himself. He watched David disappearing in the crowd as he tried to catch up to him.

“David, wait!”

+++++++++

David needed to escape. He wanted to find a corner and just cry. The waves of panic were rising from his stomach to his chest and he just couldn’t do this in front of Patrick. Whatever goodwill he had built with this man would quickly disappear when he saw what a mess David was. He didn’t want to see the pity in those deep brown eyes for his circumstances. He had monopolized enough of his time and kindness already.

David put one boot in front of another with no idea really where he was going, he just needed to find some privacy until he could formulate a clearer thought. Patrick would call his girlfriend and trail-mix-making mom to let them know he wouldn’t be home until tomorrow and today would be a blip in his holiday plans. Maybe he’d see Patrick in passing at the library next semester. They would wave to each other, remembering their conversation, but both busy and not willing to break the awkwardness between them because David had to be a drama queen and stomp off.

As the tears started to cloud David’s vision, he ducked into an alcove at the abandoned end of the ticketing lobby which held a bank of vending machines and water fountains. The overhead lights were dimmed, so no one else was in there. Leaning his back against the wall, he let the din of people milling about block out any thoughts as he forced his lungs to expand deeper with each breath. Eyes closed, his bag slid off his shoulder so he only had to hold up the metaphorical weight of the moment and not anything else.

“David?”

Jolting from the sound, he turned to see Patrick standing there in the arch of the entrance. The blue-tinged glow of a pop machine casted shadows on his pale, beautiful face while David felt the pit in his stomach grow. With nowhere to escape to, he let his body sink down until his ass hit the scuffed tiles of the floor. Pulling himself inward, David wrapped his arms around his shins and placed his forehead on his knees.

It was so quiet that David thought Patrick had realized what a fucking weirdo he was being, turned tail, and left. But then, he felt movement to his side and when he lifted his head, he saw that Patrick had taken up the same position as he did, sitting side by side just as they had been on the bus.

“Did I say something that upset you? I - I am sorry if I did,” Patrick’s eyes were full of questions, and David didn’t know how many he had the energy to answer.

“No. I am the one that should be sorry. I just - my life is a mess and now with the weather? I didn’t want to bother you anymore.”

“David,” Just the sound of Patrick saying his name smoothed out the ragged edges of David’s nerves. “You weren’t a bother. Far from it,” David’s blurry eyes couldn’t be trusted in this low light, but he thought he saw the apples of Patrick’s cheeks blush slightly. “If you need help with the flight rescheduling. I know you said you didn’t have data on your phone…”

“I don’t have a flight,” David smooshed his face back into the arms of his wool coat, wanting to muffle the shame he felt.

“I don’t understand.”

David reared up, spine stiffened, ready to let everything out. “I don’t have a flight and I don’t have data because I can’t afford them. I’m David Rose. Maybe you’ve heard about the Roses of Rose Video? ‘Snotty socialites shocked into simplicity’, I think one headline read. We lost all our money. I was going to transfer from here to the bus depot for a 8 hour ride back to our only asset, a tiny town in the middle of nowhere where I live in a roadside motel with my family. But they aren’t even going to try to run buses until tomorrow night at the earliest from the text I got, and I have just enough money to buy the one meal I was planning on, so excuse me while I probably hitchhike to the bus terminal and find a bench to sleep on!”

David felt the frantic energy coursing through him, but he could only bite his lip and fall back against the wall rather than get up and run again.

“David…”

This time as Patrick said his name, he reached his hand out and covered David’s which was perched on his knee, silver rings digging into the cotton of his pants. David could feel calmness bloom slightly from Patrick’s touch, and even with his face streaked with tears, somewhere deep inside of him, he felt he could let Patrick see him like this. He turned his head and only saw generosity reflected back.

“Let me help you, okay?"

Chapter Text

Patrick felt he did a pretty good job hiding his shock at David’s story. He had heard about the Roses. There had been gossip around campus, but he ignored it. He had no idea what David looked like and had his own issues to deal with when news broke. He remembered getting frustrated hearing people making fun of them when word spread that one of the children was attending their school, but the Roses had been swindled and had done nothing illegal. While he could never imagine the sort of wealth David had, Patrick could certainly empathize with not feeling like you fit in and that everything around you was crashing down.

Now, all Patrick could feel was the warmth of David’s skin contrasted with the coolness of the wide rings on his fingers. He gave David’s hand one last squeeze with a tight, understanding smile before removing it and grabbing his phone. He had to hold back on the impulse of wanting to gather David in his arms, telling him everything would be okay.

“So if you had to fly home, what would be the nearest airport?” Patrick started typing a text.

“How would I get a flight now if I could even afford one?” David’s face scrunched up as if he was contemplating if Patrick had heard a word he said.

“You let me worry about that. I have connections. So where to?”

“Toronto,” David said quietly, now moving his rings between fingers.

“Hey, me too,” Patrick bumped into David’s shoulder over the latest shared connection between them, looking back at his phone again.

“But, I live sort of far out, it is just the closest airport. I’d have to find a way.”

“Hey, me too,” Patrick echoed his words and grinned. “Let’s get there first, eh? We can game plan the rest,” Patrick handed David his phone. “Can you answer these questions? It’s for my cousin. She works for the airline and thinks she can get you on the same flight to Pearson as me tomorrow.”

“You really don’t have to do this,” David whispered as he quickly typed in the requested information.

“No, I’d like to.”

+++++++++

David can’t remember anyone wanting to do something for him before. Well, want in the sense of benefitting David. People had always wanted to do something with David, but at the expense of his time, his money, and his fame to make themselves shine brighter and live more extravagantly. It had always left David drained emotionally along with financially, no matter how hopeful he had been that this time it would be different. Except now he was feeling a little like a charity case.

After giving him his phone back, Patrick hopped up and dug his wallet out of the very tight back pocket of his jeans. It had been a shitty last hour, hell, a shitty year, so David wasn’t going to feel bad about enjoying the view.

He watched as Patrick fed a five dollar bill into the machine and turned to say “Diet, Regular, Lemon Lime or Tea?”

“Diet, please,”

Patrick pressed a couple buttons as the raucous sound of the pop bottles tumbling down filled the small space. Patrick returned to his same spot, only a little closer to David this time, and handed him the drink.

“Thank you,” David cracked the seal and took a long sip, letting the carbonation bubble in his mouth.

Patrick’s phone vibrated, and David watched out the corner of his eye as Patrick scanned the screen.

“Good news, the flight tonight wasn’t sold out, so she could get you on the rescheduled one before the morning masses rebooked. Noon tomorrow. The confirmation text should come to your phone in the next half hour.”

“Wow, I don’t know what to say,” David set his pop down and rubbed his face. Were people actually like this? “I - I can work towards repaying.”

“David, she earns passes from work and was happy to help. She has been begging me to take some off of her hands. There is no obligation,” Patrick finally unscrewed the top of his bottle and took a long drink.

“So I guess we better find somewhere to sleep. I may have to sacrifice one of my sweaters as a pillow,” David picked his duffle up and unzipped it, weighing the pros and cons of each top and which one would wash out “overnight airport funk” the easiest.

“Oh, I didn’t tell you. When my flight was canceled, they auto-sent me a hotel reservation. Another employee perk, I guess. Let me see if she can get you a hotel room too.” Patrick nervously fumbled for his phone and started clicking around.

David quickly finished the rest of his pop, hoping it would settle his rollicking stomach. He shot Stevie a text to keep her informed. She sent the eyeballs emoji back at the brief mention of the “guy from the shuttle that was helping him out”. She also said the storm wasn’t as bad there and included a very generous offer of picking him up at the airport since it was her day off. She did owe him after conveniently forgetting to share that she kept dating Jake after the aborted throuple situation. He said he’d let her know as they—er, he—wouldn’t land until about 1:30pm. Stevie sent back about 15 winky faces and one eggplant emoji. That troll.

“So,” Patrick’s voice nervously broke the quiet, “because we are now under the same booking, there is only one hotel room offered, and I am guessing everything else is sold out by now,” Patrick looked at David with what he assumed were apologetic eyes.

“It’s ok. You go rest. We can meet up in the morning? You’ve helped me out so much, I don’t know how to thank you.” David kept pillaging through his bag, neither wanting to make eye contact nor think about what he was going to look like after a hard night's sleep tomorrow.

As much as David wanted to keep spending time with Patrick, he knew there was a limit. Patrick was a nice, probably straight, guy who for some reason extended kindness towards David in that altruistic ‘tis the season sort of way. David knew how he came off to those around him. He was a lot, and he wouldn’t blame Patrick for probably drawing the line at sharing a close space outside of public transportation with the likes of him.

“Oh no, David. That’s not what I was insinuating. I can’t leave you here. We- we can share a room, right? I mean, if that is ok. I don’t want to make you feel uncomfortable.”

Patrick, the teachers-pet, trail-mix-sharing, pop-buying, flight-conjuring literal hero of a man with the finest ass he had seen in years, was afraid of making David Rose uncomfortable.

Before David knew it, they were walking side by side, following the terminal signs towards the shuttles. Most people who had been lucky enough to snag a hotel room had already departed, so the driver whisked them just a block or two away from the airport grounds. Patrick was already making an online order from the driver’s recommended best and fastest local pizza place.

“Pepperoni and cheese, ok?” Patrick asked as they wandered into the bustling lobby. David nodded back, still wondering how he wasn’t sleeping under a highway overpass right now. “Why don’t you grab a seat and watch our bags? I'll check us in,” Patrick pointed to a lone chair towards the entrance where David plopped down.

David watched the snow pick up and the steady stream of people arriving and then departing disappointed when it became obvious the hotel was booked solid. He didn’t know how his day was going to turn around when he saw those wide, searching eyes as he bumbled onto the shuttle bus, but he was going to be thankful he found them at all.

“We’re all set,” Patrick came back a few minutes later, tossed his backpack over his shoulders, and picked up David’s bag to hand to him after he stood back up.

With some other weary travelers, they made their way into the elevator. Patrick pressed the button for their floor and they stood side by side against the mirrored back wall. David closed his eyes, feeling the warmth radiate from Patrick’s arm and the rush from the elevator shooting upwards. It felt like even through the tiredness of this day, this week, this semester, this year, maybe he could rest and let his guard down soon.

“This is us,” Patrick said quietly, as he led them off the elevator and down to their room. All David could think of now was a hot shower, a couple pieces of pizza, and hopefully a soft bed he could spread out on. Considering he was expecting to be on a bus overnight, anything was an improvement from that. He kept a respectable distance as Patrick stopped in front of their door and slid the keycard in. Patrick pushed the door open and stepped inside to flick the lights on.

David nearly crashed into the back of Patrick, who had stopped dead in his tracks.

Chapter Text

Oh god, there was only one bed.

As if this day wasn’t going to try to wring Patrick out anymore, there was this. As soon as he was able to get David on the flight, he felt waves of relief crash over him. He wanted to immediately ask him to share his hotel room, platonically, because even after his running off, Patrick still didn’t want their time together to end. But he didn’t want to act like a creep and had honestly asked his cousin if there was a way to get another room. Her teasing response of “bunk up” with some choice emojis had said enough. She had been one of the only other people from his past that he had shared his new-found realization of his sexuality with since she had been like a big sister to him growing up.

“Oh,” David said softly behind him, nearly in Patrick’s ear because of how abruptly Patrick had stopped once he saw the predicament.

“I can call and see…”

“The hotel is obviously sold out, Patrick. Maybe I can get one of those roll away beds?”

“David, those are made for kids, your legs would be hanging off of it,”

“Not to mention probably festering with bed bugs and whatever other parasites children have,” David’s hand brushed against Patrick’s back as he seemed to try to shake off the thought of such horrors, sending a zing of energy into an already charged situation.

“That too, of course,” Patrick stepped further into the room, moving near the window to set his bag on the desk just so he didn’t spontaneously combust from that touch and the thought of David sleeping mere inches away from him.

“Well, we can share right? Unless you have restless legs. Please don’t tell me your legs are restless.”

“No, no. My legs are very restful, and yeah of course we can share,” Patrick was grateful David was occupied hanging up his coat in the small closet so he couldn’t see the excited panic on his face up close.

“Okay, good. Do you mind if I take a shower first? I might be a while.” As if Patrick wasn’t going to think about that now and whatever processes it took to make David look as incredible as he did.

“Sure, go for it. I didn’t have the room number yet when I ordered pizza, so I’m just going to meet the driver in the lobby,” Patrick watched David gather his toiletries and a change of clothes to head into the bathroom.

As soon as the door shut. Patrick slumped his back against the wall next to the desk and took a deep breath. This was going to be a long night.

Patrick pulled out his own comfortable clothes, and hung up his puffer coat, quite a contrast from David’s sleek peacoat on the opposite side of the closet. Over 20 minutes later after pacing the room, ignoring the sounds of the shower, and nearly wearing a path in the carpet, he received a text that the pizza delivery was about to arrive.

Wanting to dispel some of his nervous energy, he decided to take the stairs down the four flights to the lobby. After giving a generous tip when the driver also handed him some plates and napkins, he stood still for the first time waiting for the elevator to come back. As the toasty box warmed his hands, Patrick didn’t really know what the rest of the night was going to hold, but he had a feeling that David was a sign that he was on the right path for the first time in a while.

Arriving on their floor, Patrick strolled back to the door, pausing at the little vending area. Sitting the pizza on the ice machine, he pulled out his last five dollar bill, and got another diet pop and unsweetened ice tea for himself. With the drinks under his arm, he made it back to their room and carefully finangled the keycard out of his pocket with his free hand.

Conscientious of the pizza box, he pushed the door open with his shoulder, rolling in sideways to the room. As he stepped forward so it would close behind him, he looked up to see the bathroom door open with a flourish, steam escaping out of the small space, as David stood clad only in a towel around his waist.

+++++++++

“Oh fuck!” was the first thing that escaped David’s lips. He didn’t know exactly where to put his hands, but at least one misfiring brain cell thought to grip the edge of the tiny hotel towel that was perilously hanging off his hips. He had just forgotten to grab a fresh pair of briefs and figured he shouldn’t go commando in front of Patrick in the thin pajamas pants he had packed. He guessed it didn’t really matter now because Patrick was getting quite a show. He almost risked walking out without the towel, so at least there was that.

David panicked and backed into the bathroom, slamming the door. Though he couldn’t help but notice that Patrick, standing as still as a statue with the pizza box, let his gaze wander up and down David’s long figure in that short moment.

“I - ah - forgot something in my bag. I called out your name to see if you were there. So sorry,” David mumbled through the crack of the door.

“Uh, yeah, no worries. I just got back. Um, did you still need something from out here?” Patrick’s voice moved across the room and David smacked his hand on his head. He never got the chance to even grab the underwear.

“It’s ok. I’ll be out in a few.”

David scurried to throw on the pajama pants and long sleeved black t-shirt, pushed his toiletries bag neatly to the corner of the counter, and folded up his worn clothes. He had already dried his hair slightly before Patrick returned, so he gave himself a once-over before taking a deep breath and opening the bathroom door.

Patrick sat in the small desk chair near the window, scrolling his phone and looked up with a bashful smile when David emerged. The pizza box with plates, napkins, and a fresh bottle of pop were waiting for David on the desk. As pathetic as it sounded, this was the most effort anyone, that wasn’t being paid to do so, had put into presenting a meal to David. Patrick was also now in a soft light blue hoodie with some gray sweatpants which he must have rushed to change into before David came back out.

“Hi,” David said quietly, “you didn’t have to wait for me,” as he placed his folded dirty clothes at the bottom of his bag. Grabbing his wallet, David pulled out the one twenty dollar bill he had left and sat it near Patrick’s suitcase. “For the food and drink, though I don’t think that covers my share fairly,”

“No need, but if you insist. Let’s dig in,”

David could tell Patrick was again being a gentleman by letting David go first. David carefully opened the pizza box and pulled out two slices to put on his plate. With some napkins and the pop bottle, David realized he didn’t know where to sit with only the one basic office chair Patrick had been sitting in.

Before Patrick could say anything, David placed his food on the nightstand, pulled the comforter over the pillows, sat down, and swung his socked feet up, leaning his back against the headboard. As if he did this every night and didn’t have a complex about crumbs in the bed, David uncapped his pop and unceremoniously took the biggest bite of pizza he could.

Just like before, his attention was pulled momentarily to Patrick who stood there the entire time and watched David with a curious expression. It wasn’t annoyance or exasperation, but fondness, maybe? Or at least what David could only hope was something along those lines. Patrick seemed to suddenly remember where he was before grabbing his food, walking to the other side of the bed, and taking up the same position as David.

“Cheers,” David mumbled through the mouthful of pizza as he leaned the top of his pop bottle towards Patrick’s, unsure how he was happier sitting on a lumpy bed in an airport hotel than in all the 5-star luxury accommodations he had visited over the years.

Chapter Text

“Cheers,” Patrick smiled back before he clanked his bottle against David’s and then took a sip. He should feel nervous, not only because he was going to be sleeping next to basically a stranger, but this was the hottest, sweetest, and most captivating man Patrick had ever met. He had to temporarily block out the image of David in that low slung towel and the quiet determination he had in choosing the bed as their dining location, or his most base desires were going to be quite obvious soon.

This was a whole new level of feelings that Patrick was going to have to actually work at reigning in. He could tell David had been tossed around by the world in the past, and if Patrick could be maybe the first non-asshole towards him in a while, he would gladly carry that moniker and be grateful if that is where it ended. Maybe they could be friends, too. That didn't stop Patrick from wishing for more though, and his brain temporarily forgot to keep it in check.

“So, were you texting your boyfriend earlier?”
“Are you seeing anyone?”

They both spoke at the same time, their heads snapping towards the center of the bed to look at one another.

“No,” both replied back just as quickly.

“I’d say jinx, but you’ve already bought me two Cokes today,” David tried to hold back a gleeful smile, a dimple escaping from his cheek which Patrick wished he could kiss.

“Ha, funny. And I also shouldn’t have assumed it was a boyfriend. Your girlfriend, partner. Sorry,” Patrick gnawed on the pizza crust in lieu of sticking his foot in his mouth.

“I appreciate that. I am actually pan. But no, no friends of that type, girl, boy or non-binary. That was just my best friend from back home. My new home,” David sat his plate on the nightstand before starting to fiddle with his rings again like he had done at the airport. Patrick had to stop himself from reaching over to try to help ease the swelling of nerves he could see again.

“Ah cool, it seems like there is a pretty decent queer scene on campus at least,” Patrick waited to see if David had any response to that as he took another sip of his tea.

“After only being here a semester and sort of burying my head in my studies like I said on the bus, that is good to know. Do you have some friends in it?” David didn’t seem to want to make any assumptions of his own either.

“Yeah, I do. Not that I have been super involved, but I just came out at the beginning of the year. As gay,” Patrick desperately wished he had his own set of rings to fidget with now, he could see their draw.

“Thank you for sharing that with me, Patrick.”

In that moment, Patrick decided to be brave. Here he was with this one night, fortuitously stuck in one bed forcing their proximity, and with one amazing man that had finally made him feel right for the first time ever. He turned to face David, sitting perpendicular to his legs which seemed to stretch forever. “You remember how I told you I was in your debt for a secret?”

“Yes...I hope you didn't feel like you had to keep being gay a secret from me, or anyone else.” David had pivoted on to his hip towards Patrick, reflecting back the care that Patrick had tried to give David on the bus and in the airport earlier.

“No. My secret is that even though I know for sure that I am gay, I’ve, um, never done anything. With a guy.” Patrick was rethinking the whole turning to face David, especially now when he could see his eyebrows shoot up slightly. Patrick looked down at his lap, thinking that he probably just made a fool of himself. He froze slightly when he felt David’s hand cup his kneecap, deja vu overwhelming him for a second.

“You know that doesn’t make you any less gay, Patrick. If you say you are gay, you are,” Patrick tried to keep his breathing even as he felt David’s thumb trace a soothing pattern on his leg. He needed to take another step forward, so he lifted his palm to tightly grasp the top of David’s hand before he raised his eyes.

David’s pupils were deep, searching pools, nearly completely black by this point. A flush of warmth colored his cheeks. Patrick could feel his jaw drop slightly as his lungs tried mightily to keep up, everything hanging in this forever moment that in reality only lasted for a second or two.

Before Patrick could do anything else, David took the final step that Patrick couldn't. His other hand quickly came up to grip the side of Patrick's face, pulling Patrick’s whole body into him as their lips crashed together in the hottest kiss of Patrick’s life.

+++++++++

The whole night since they had exchanged names, David hoped beyond hope that he wasn’t about to scare Patrick away. Now after Patrick bravely shared his truth, all David could feel was thankful. Grateful that Patrick saw in him someone he could lean on, trust, and possibly want something even deeper from. Those kind eyes had given David a chance, chased him down, soothed his nerves, saved him from a hellish return trip, and now David hoped he could equally return the favor. Patrick deserved everything good coming to him, and if possible, the best first kiss of his new gay life from someone who actually cared about him, even after such a short time.

What David wasn’t expecting was that this was going to be the most perfect kiss of his new life too. While his fingers dug into the short strands of hair at the nape of Patrick’s neck, David felt like he could float away if not for his grip on Patrick. If his brain had the room, he would have made himself think of the objectifying, unenthusiastic, and middling kisses of his past that he accepted. He had kissed plenty of people within hours of meeting them, in all sorts of exotic and decadent locations, but every other memory was being deleted to make room for the experience that was currently occurring in this nondescript airport hotel room.

Patrick had used the momentum from David pulling him in to awkwardly straddle David’s thighs, towering over David. His broad hands came up to cup the side of David’s head as David felt his thumbs rubbing along his temples. David anchored the kneeling Patrick by digging his hands into his waist over top of his hoodie.

David opened his mouth slightly, hoping to tease out Patrick’s tongue, but as soon as he did, Patrick titled his head, and with the gasp David let out, they seamlessly slotted their mouths over top of one another, their tongues battling for control.

"Patrick," David moaned after a minute, not wanting to stop this moment, but needing to check in. “Patrick, wait.”

Pulling apart slightly, David opened his eyes to see Patrick looking utterly wrecked. Pinkness mottled his neck, his eyes cloudy and unfocused, lips plush and wet, and Patrick’s breathing stuttered.

“Is this ok? If it is too much, please don’t...for me, we can-” David was having a hard time voicing what he wanted to say, taken back by the rush of affection for the man in front of him.

David,” Patrick pleaded as his gaze bounced across David’s face. Instead of words, he lowered his hands to either side of David’s neck and pulled him deeply into another kiss. David could feel his eyes roll back at the sensation of being so wanted and cared for by this man since nearly the moment they had laid eyes on each other, and he let himself fall. Towards what exactly, he wasn’t sure, but he wasn’t about to hold back now.

With that, David’s hands slid from Patrick’s waist to fondle that perfect ass, pulling Patrick impossibly closer. Both of their moans harmonized between their mouths as David gripped and massaged through Patrick’s sweatpants. Patrick’s wobbly legs buckled and his ass hit David’s thighs, their mouths temporarily disconnecting as they both sucked in air.

Patrick leaned his head back, looking towards the ceiling as his chest rose and fell. Even with the hoodie in the way, David's mouth felt a magnetic pull towards Patrick’s skin and he started to move from the neckline upward, huffing out little breaths of want as he licked, kissed, nibbled, and traced.

“David, it’s so good,” Patrick’s shaky voice box reverberated under David’s lips. “And we’ve only kissed.”

“We can just keep kissing,” During this time, David’s hands snuck under the hem of Patrick’s hoodie. When his palms cupped Patrick’s lower back above the band of his sweatpants, Patrick’s muscles jolted as if he was being branded before he melted into David’s hands.

“David… I need…”

Before David could say anything more, Patrick hands scrambled to pull his hoodie over his head, toss it across the room, and look down at David. The rush of warmth from Patrick’s blown pupils and flushed complexion as he revealed himself stopped David in his tracks. David took his hands from Patrick’s back, bringing them up to his firm shoulders. He let his fingers lightly trace downward towards Patrick’s pecs, watching as Patrick inhaled sharply. Laying his hands flat, David kneaded the strong muscles of his chest, before catching Patrick’s peaked nipples in between his fingers. A loan groan escaped his lips and Patrick rolled his head to the side as he bit his lip.

“Look at me, sweetheart,” David uttered, causing Patrick’s head to snap back at the endearment.

With the smallest of tweaks, David’s fingertips bid goodbye to Patrick’s nipples as they fluttered down to his stomach. With his vision just catching the faint wisps of golden hair scattered downward from his sternum, David loved the comforting feel of Patrick’s slightly soft belly. David broke eye contact with a tiny smile as his eyes followed the path of his fingers and progressed further south. With the hoodie removed, it wasn’t until then that David got to see Patrick’s delicious bulge pressed against the sweatpants and his thigh, thin enough that a spot of wetness was just starting to form. It was obvious Patrick had skipped wearing anything under his pajamas too.

David’s digits danced downward until they were tracing the enticing outline of Patrick’s dick through the cotton. A low rumble from Patrick’s mouth made David look upwards and ask, “So, should we keep going?”

Chapter Text

Jesus Hockey Christ, Patrick was going to die.

He often thought people were leaning on hyperbole when they talked of “mind-blowing” sex or “seeing stars” after they orgasmed. It had always felt like a chore or a slightly comforting feeling once he was finally able to come in the past, usually after way too much concentration on his own end, even after coming to the realization of his sexuality. It is only now that Patrick is beginning to recognize that others weren’t lying. In fact, they might have actually been downplaying it. Here he was, making out, only his shirt off, and he was about to lose it. Of course, most of that had to do with the beautifully stunning and kind man in front of him.

In response to David’s query if they should keep going, Patrick could only nod his head at the light touch of David’s fingers over his leaking cock. Current-Patrick was very grateful for past-Patrick who decided in the moment to go without under his sweats.

“I need to hear you. I want to make sure this is okay.”

Patrick huffed out a laugh. “It’s more than okay, though I feel like I might explode as soon as you touch me more.”

“Well then, I would take that as a compliment,” David’s face, earlier so etched with worry and stress, was glowing now. With the same careful touch, David kept running his fingers up and down Patrick’s cock. “Maybe we should take these off before they get too messy?”

“So I’ll be naked and you completely dressed? That doesn’t seem fair David.” Patrick tried to keep his breathing even, but as David’s other hand rubbed firmly on the top of Patrick’s thigh before wrapping around to grab at the swell of his ass, it was difficult to tease David effectively.

“We can fix that. I mean, you already got a look earlier.” With a wink, David leaned up slightly, taking his hands off of Patrick to grip the bottom of his shirt, shucking it off, and tossing it onto the desk chair. Patrick was temporarily stunned when all of David’s torso was exposed to him again, but this time it was for more than five seconds. Patrick felt like he had stepped into the sun for the first time after a very long, dark winter.

“David. Do you know how fucking gorgeous you are?” Patrick’s hands found their way to David’s freckled shoulders before his fingers meandered through the dark hair extending from David’s chest all the way down to his waist and back up. David was the teenage dream Patrick had never even thought to consider.

“Okay, well let's not get too carried away,” David deflected as he tried to look away. Patrick's index finger touched the side of David's chin, gently turning David's face back towards him as their eyes locked. As Patrick leaned forward, David surged up and both of their mouths and chests met. Patrick moaned from somewhere deep within, pushing against David as he felt the soft skin and hair brush up against his coiled body which was ready to snap.

With his mind lost in the haze of want between the press of their bodies, the kissing, and everything this was leading towards, Patrick didn’t even realize David had bent his legs for leverage and grabbed his hips before he was flipped onto his back on the bed under David.

"Holy fuck,” Patrick’s mind spun taking in the satisfied smirk on David’s face at his little maneuver. Pulling David down as he plunged his tongue into David’s mouth, Patrick’s legs seemed to spread without him thinking as their bodies met from head to pelvis. When their cocks touched, Patrick squeezed even tighter around David’s back to stop himself from coming right then. So overwhelmed with how right this all felt for the first time in his life, Patrick’s body naturally started to rock against David, seeking release.

“So what about getting these pants off?” David broke the kiss and groaned into Patrick’s neck. David sounded about as gone as Patrick which gave him pause. How could boring, plain him bring someone who was obviously so experienced and worldly to this point? That thought only lasted a nanosecond before the image of “naked with David” took over his mind. Patrick’s hands flailed downward to try to push his pants, trapped between his and David’s body, off.

“Okay, okay!” David giggled as the squirming was sliding him around. Patrick was struck by the pure joy on David’s face and fulfilled his earlier wish by kissing David’s dimple, wanting to memorialize the happiness surrounding them and hoping this wouldn’t be the only time he got to experience it. David scooted to the side and hopped off the bed.

“Wait, come back!” Patrick pouted as David stood over him. He didn’t want to waste a minute of being able to touch David.

“You get yourself comfortable, and I’ll be right back,” David leaned down to place a peck on Patrick’s forehead. Patrick tracked his movement as David stood back up and paused, his lips curling in on themselves, before he scampered off to the bathroom.

Patrick let his arms fall against the bed as the door to the bathroom clicked shut. He was really going to do this. He had imagined his first time with a guy maybe being some awkward bathroom hook-up at one of the bars in town, or an anonymous meetup if he ever had the nerve to try something online. College ‘dating’ had seemed so impersonal to him, and had been part of the reason he had hesitated jumping right into anything once he finally broke up with Rachel. Patrick never envisioned something like this however. It didn’t seem possible that he had only known David for about 4 hours at this point.

Realizing he didn’t have a lot of time until David came back, he stood up and got to work. He moved both of their bottles and plates over to the pizza box and decided that they might not want to be on the scratchy comforter, so he folded it down to the bottom of the bed neatly. He flicked off the main lights and just left a small lamp on, casting a dim glow around the room.

Now he just needed to fix the pillows that had been knocked askew.

+++++++++

Once the bathroom door closed, David let his back slump against it. This was not how he saw today going.

He had way too many random hookups to count, but this? This all felt so different. Standing back up to look in the mirror, David let out a giant breath as he fitzed with his hair. He wanted this to be perfect for Patrick. He also wanted it to be perfect for himself. A lot of things had changed against David’s will this year, but this was one area that he hoped he could determine on his own. Maybe, just maybe, Patrick wanted more than this one night too.

Realizing he didn’t want to leave Patrick too much time to change his mind, he grabbed his toiletry bag and pulled out the inner pouch with the travel lube and condoms he always kept with him. Before he could talk himself out of it, he pushed his pajama pants off, his hard cock springing out, before he folded them neatly and put on the counter.

Luckily this room had been well stocked, unlike anything Stevie would provide him, so David picked one of the folded bath towels off the rack and gathered everything in his hands. With one last steadying breath, he opened the door and walked back out into the room.

The sight of Patrick’s strong back and especially gorgeous ass now filling out the midweight sweatpants sent a small zing down to David’s cock. As he was bending over, anxiously fixing and fluffing the pillows, he didn’t even hear David come back out it seemed. David quietly placed his supplies onto the empty nightstand before quickly enveloping Patrick from behind in his arms. Feeling the shot of breath shoot out of him, Patrick stood up stiffly.

“I thought you were going to get naked for me,” David whispered, nuzzling the shell of Patrick’s ear before kissing lightly behind it. It was then he felt a wave of panic. Maybe this had gone too fast for Patrick. Here David was, naked and hard pressing against Patrick’s back, and Patrick was remaking the bed and still had his pants on. He didn’t want this. The sirens started to go off and David had to do something.

“Unless, you wanted to talk-” David voice pitched up and as if not to spook Patrick, he slowly pulled his chin off Patrick’s shoulder and unwrapped himself from around Patrick’s body. In a moment that David would be thankful for in years to come, Patrick quickly spun around in David’s retreating arms and looked at him straight on.

“You- I wanted you to do the honors,” Patrick whispered into the small space between them as his body pitched forward when he felt David’s cock press against him. Their closeness and the low light prevented Patrick from seeing anything, but David could feel the warmth building between them.

“You sure? If you need to slow down-” David checked in again.

“One hundred percent” Patrick let his hands slide from David’s back to rest on the top of his naked ass to give David that last bit of confidence.

David smiled, tucked his thumbs into either side of Patrick’s waistband, and shimmied them downward. He moved back slightly and Patrick took the space to get one foot out before flinging the pants to parts unknown with his other leg. Stepping forward into David, their mouths reconnected as their dicks finally (finally!) touched skin to skin. Patrick’s jaw just dropped as he panted into David’s mouth while they lightly grinded against each other. David could have spent all night like this, but he had bigger plans for them.

“Let’s get situated a little better, and save these sheets,” Keeping one hand on Patrick’s hip, David turned towards the nightstand to grab the towel. He felt Patrick stiffen up a bit, and with a glance back realized Patrick’s reticence right away as he probably equated the condoms and lube to maybe David anticipating or expecting anal. This series of contrasting panic and overwhelming contentment was about to take David out, but when he would normally run away and hide from such big emotions, Patrick made him want to face them head on.

“Oh no, this probably looks like a lot. I just wanted to be prepared. If you wanted to use them for oral, or even hands. I know we’re not ready for everything tonight. And, um, I got tested two months ago on my normal schedule and I am negative. I haven’t had any partners in, well, a long time. If you need, I have my test results on my ph-” Oh god, that blasted diet Coke was making him ramble, but then Patrick was kissing him, palm cradling the back of his neck, soothing every last concern he had.

When the kiss broke, David rubbed his hand up and down Patrick’s hip before grabbing the towel and placing it over the sheets.

“I, uh, actually got tested too,” Patrick started to share. “Last month. I had an ear infection and went to the health center, and so I did it then for the first time in a while. I am negative too. My only other partner ever was my ex, uh, girlfriend, and we always used protection. And that ended almost a year ago.”

David couldn’t help but smile, his hands now grabbing at Patrick’s ass to pull him back in. Kneading the muscles of Patrick’s backside, he leaned into his ear, letting the prickle of his stubble graze upon Patrick’s cheek.

“So whatever you want, however you are comfortable. I’m all yours,” he whispered.

“I need you to touch me to start. And I want you, just you.” Patrick pulled back to look at David, his message loud and clear.

David moved his hands to Patrick’s hip bones and pivoted him, before pushing him downward and back on to the towel. Patrick took the lead and heaved himself back onto the bed, his head on the propped up pillows. David just had to take him in.

That sexy assertiveness that kept reappearing from Patrick peeked its head out again as Patrick let his hand run down his body and grip his cock which had been curved firmly against his stomach, rosey pink and leaking. Patrick seemed to be fighting the war between watching David’s face, but also taking in David’s body, fully on display for the first time.

Before he could consider anything too long, David was swinging his leg over Patrick’s knees, his own eyes going between Patrick’s face and cock. He had grabbed the lube and set it to the far side of the bed before his hands ran up and down Patrick’s quads.

“You are so, so pretty Patrick. Mmmm, these thighs caught my attention first,” David leaned over and started trailing kisses from Patrick’s knee upwards. Patrick’s hand stilled on his cock, the goosebumps flourishing under David’s lips as he kissed up to one hip before replicating the motion on the other leg.

“Here, let me,” David said as he made his way to the top of Patrick’s leg, ready to explore this amazing man through every sense possible.

Chapter Text

Patrick could feel his lower body tense in anticipation as David’s kisses started to move inward. In just a second, David’s hand had replaced Patrick’s on his cock, as David’s lips pressed into the straining underside of it. The dueling touches tore a whimpering moan from Patrick’s mouth.

David titled his chin upward and looked right at Patrick, the overwhelming want and sincerity bubbling over. His dexterous tongue stuck out from that perfect pout to lick from the seam of Patrick’s balls up to the head of his dick where his palm had been gently circling to keep it in place. Patrick wanted to freeze time, get a polaroid, and/or hire a renaissance painter to capture this moment forever. Instead, all he could do was contort his own face as the zings of pleasure ricocheted through him with each of David’s motions.

Like earlier, Patrick’s legs spread on their own volition, and David sunk into the V of them onto his stomach. Patrick could see the curve of David’s ass hitched up slightly, and he got a thrill thinking of exploring David from every angle. While wanting to watch as much as he could, it was a battle of wills as his eyes and brain nearly shut down from the overload of pleasure.

David’s hand had switched places, gently rolling Patrick’s balls as his tongue honed in on every sweet spot around the head of Patrick’s dick, the underside, the slit, the frenulum, and switching it up to suckle on it gently. Patrick lit up like a pinball machine, never knowing which direction David would go next with moments of calm before he hit every target. Patrick’s hands flipped and curled in the sheets before he finally took hold of David’s shoulder with a squeeze.

“Have you ever?...” David asked as his dry finger slid behind Patrick’s sac to tease at the space below it, licking up Patrick’s dick after his question.

“Uh, a little on my own. I’ve—oh god, your mouth—just rubbed some. Just didn’t have the privacy for more.”

“Mmm, I’d love to watch you do that to yourself.”

“Re-really?” Patrick’s words stumbled off his tongue, his mind brainstorming so many different scenarios from David’s comment.

“Patrick, I think I’d get hard watching you complete a sudoku puzzle wearing cargo shorts. But yes, especially now that I see what was hiding under all of those blue clothes. Only if you’d want, but what about a little touching outside to start, with some lube?”

“Yes David, fuck please.”

David huffed a little laugh at Patrick’s outburst before he took his wandering hand to find the lube. The moment that David wasn’t touching him, his attention needed to open the finicky travel bottle, made Patrick run cool, his brain having difficulty imagining a time when David Rose didn’t have his hands or mouth all over him. He hoped against hope that tonight wasn’t going to be the only time David did.

The breath that he sucked in when David returned to peck small kisses to his hip bone and use one hand to shift his pelvis and knees up slightly felt like resurfacing after a too-long dive underwater.

“Still okay?” David asked, holding his lubed fingers at the ready as he gathered the pre-come that had accumulated in his absence to languorously stroke up and down Patrick’s cock.

“Yes, more than okay. Please. David.”

“Such manners. Let me know if you need me to slow down,” and with that, David used one hand to angle Patrick’s cock to his mouth while the cool slick of David’s finger teased the backside of Patrick’s balls. David kept inching forward, letting his mouth meet his hand on Patrick’s dick while the shallow circles he was making on Patrick’s perineum kept getting longer and closer to his hole.

Patrick hummed with the electric energy that was building low in his spine. The nervousness he had felt drifted away, knowing he was in such caring and capable hands. His own hands needed somewhere to go, so before he got too far gone, he gently threaded his fingers through David’s hair, the ends slightly curled and mussed. The resulting moan around his cock from David confirmed this was the right choice.

He could feel the slight scrape of David’s beard skitter across his thigh as he took Patrick further and further down. If he thought that it felt amazing pressed against the side of his face, this motion was transcendent and everything he never knew he was missing. He let his other hand return to his chest and experimentally pulled at his nipples, imaging David teasing them with his mouth. Maybe next time, his brain supplied.

This trifecta of contact was currently hurtling Patrick towards a distant finish line he had never seen nor imagined reaching before. The warmth that had been building became an all consuming fire, sparking through every nerve of his body. He felt like it was going to burst out of him, and it started with his voice.

“Christ, David, your mouth,” he blabbered out, not even sure his own tongue worked anymore. He felt the pads of David’s fingers get more insistent as they deftly worked over his hole, circling, zig-zagging, pressing slightly, but always in continuous motion.

Patrick had to watch, he needed to see this. As he felt his climax rapidly approach, he moved the hand on David’s hair to shove a pillow further under his neck to hitch his head up. He was transfixed as David’s mouth teased and tormented his cock, going from deep pulls with his cheeks hollowed out, to his flattened tongue lapping along the underside. As if he could tell Patrick’s eyes were on him, he glanced up and pulled off momentarily, but let his hand that had been holding on to the base take over.

“Are you ready to do this?” David said, his lips red and sinfully plump, his tongue now pointed and traversing all across the head of Patrick’s cock after his question.

“Mmmhmmm,” Patrick had reached the point beyond words. He furiously nodded and hoped that David would take that as enough confirmation.

“Come for me then, I can’t wait to taste you,” and with that, David opened his mouth, removed his hand that was stroking the shaft to now hold his hip, and took Patrick’s dick all the way down his throat until his nose was pushing against Patrick’s neat patch of hair at the base. His fingers pressed just ahead of Patrick’s hole and it was like a bolt of lightning hit him. Patrick’s body flexed and bowed, close to rolling right off the bed if not for David’s arm now acting as a bolster across his hips.

Feeling David swallow around him and then moan, Patrick’s hand shot down to return to David’s hair like a magnet, grappling with the silky strands. Once anchored, Patrick’s ears rang with static, not even registering the desperate sounds he made as he came and came and came. Whiting out by the peak of his climax, Patrick felt turned inside out as he let his body vibrate with pleasure, sinking back into the sheets like a new man, panting David’s name shallowly into the quiet space.

+++++++++

After Patrick winced with overstimulation, David gave one final kiss to his softening cock before he let his head rest on Patrick’s delicious thigh. He reveled in the feeling of Patrick’s hand carding his fingers through his hair gently as he came back down, his name still on Patrick’s lips. So focused on Patrick’s pleasure, David had nearly ignored his cock, but with one stroke as their breathing both regulated, a dribble of pre-come pulsed out and brought his immediate need back into focus.

David scurried up the bed, and before he could excuse himself or jump up to take a swig of his pop as a courtesy, Patrick’s tongue was licking the taste of his own come out of David's mouth. David could feel his cock jerk as Patrick’s body radiated the after effects of his orgasm.

Patrick’s broad hand cupped around David’s neck, and he felt like he could cry. So used to encounters that ended without a word, and often without reciprocation, David started to trust that this wouldn’t be like the rest. He couldn’t believe how much he had bared to Patrick already, and how he didn’t feel a bit of remorse. Even if this was the only time he slept with Patrick and they never spoke again, the whole night was a paradigm shift for what he wanted going forward in his relationships.

“David, I need to see you,” Patrick said in between kisses as he pushed himself into a seated position. David and his mouth followed him, planking sideways on his forearm as the room filled with the sounds of smacking lips and greedy moans. In his own show of strength, Patrick hauled David upwards until his back was leaning against the headboard with the pillow behind his hips, lounging with his legs spread and his cock straining in the crease of his thigh.

Patrick scampered in between David’s legs before shamelessly raking his eyes over every bit of David’s body. While David had already been surprised with his lack of fear from Patrick seeing the real him tonight, having his body openly lusted after, if Patrick’s face was any indication, should have brought every insecurity forward. Between his overly freckled shoulders, his inability to afford waxing like in New York, and the little lovehandles he had now that he was actually enjoying eating on a regular basis, his usual self-deprecating thoughts had taken the night off.

“I… never” Patrick muttered as he reached out and rubbed his hand up David’s thigh, trailing his fingers across the muscle and hairs before he scooted closer.

“Never, um, what?” David’s voice warbled slightly, afraid he had built Patrick up too much in his head and he was about to say something to make it all come crashing down. Patrick’s eyes flew up to David’s face hearing the crack in tone.

“I never knew it could be like this. What I was missing out on. All those years I just thought something was wrong with me. Though I think it mainly has to do with you. Tonight. Us. ”

With a palm now resting over David’s heart, Patrick leaned in and captured David’s lips before David could break into a million pieces from Patrick’s honesty. Soft, insistent, teasing, and thoughtful, Patrick’s kisses match his personality. David palmed the back of Patrick’s head, not anywhere near ready to be as eloquent as Patrick, but as he bit and pulled Patrick’s lip and let his tongue tickle across the roof of his mouth, he hoped Patrick would know he never knew it could be this good too.

“I know I am new to this and probably really don’t know what I am doing, but what do you want, David?” Patrick leaned his chin on David’s shoulder, kissing at the junction of his neck and up.

“I’m not going to last very long, whatever it is. I just want you to touch me, too.” David stretched his neck to the side as Patrick kept kissing him while he finished his request.

Without missing a beat, Patrick’s hand drifted from David’s chest to his lap, hand circling around David’s shaft with a light squeeze, causing David’s hips to jut forward. As Patrick released enough to ghost his fingers up to David’s slit, he spread the gathered pre-come in his hand as he slowly started to stroke up and down, his head bent to watch David’s cock slip in and out of his fist.

“Mmm, so wet for me,” Again, another David quirk that he had once been belittled for was now being admired and praised.

“I think - you know - exactly what you are doingggg,” David’s voice hitched with each stroke, the last syllable stretched as Patrick twisted his hand off the head of David’s cock.

Patrick’s thick, calloused fingers glided back down, slowly increasing in tempo, teasing the ridge which he quickly discovered through David’s moans was very sensitive, stopping back for more pre-come which at this point due to David’s arousal, has made the lube obsolete. Patrick had spent some time kissing along David’s jaw, but overall he pulled back to look between his hand and David’s face which was sure to be contorting in all sorts of unattractive positions. Patrick’s other hand explored as well, tweaking a nipple, running through David’s chest hair, but now had moved down to roll and lightly tug on David’s balls.

“I’m getting close,” David whined. His approaching orgasm felt like a suprise tide about to roll in, ready to crash into him from behind with little warning. His head lolled to the side, breath coming out in short staccatos, and he desperately tried to keep his eyes open to watch the wonder on Patrick’s face.

“Are you going to come for me, just for me, David?” Patrick’s voice took on a husky timbre, making David’s stomach swoop. He kept up his motions between both hands on David’s dick and balls, but his gaze was firmly planted on David’s face, his own mouth agape at the sight in front of him.

“Yes, yes. Oh god,” David felt like he hit the bottom of the hill of a roller coaster before the orgasm rang through him, waves echoing from his pelvis. David latched onto the pillow next to him as his body tried to recline further, but Patrick just went along for the ride, his face bursting with a mix of amazement and joy.

“Oh my god, David. Are you okay?”

“Never fucking better,” David heaved in a few deep breaths before he looked at Patrick who now wasn’t looking at him, but down at his hand.

Without a word, Patrick’s eyes flitted back up to David’s as he drew his own hand up to his mouth and started to lick David’s come off of it.

“Patrick, come here,” David flailed, clutching Patrick’s other forearm and pulling him into his lap so that he could kiss him. Their tongues swirled around each other, fighting over the taste of David in each other’s mouths. Breaking the kiss, David grabbed Patrick’s wrist, looked him dead in the eye, and sultrily let his tongue weave in and out around his pointer finger and thumb to scoop up most of the rest of the release.

“Jesus,” Patrick could only watch, keeping his hand in place even after David let go of his wrist.

“I taste good on you,” David said sweetly, with a chaste peck on Patrick’s lips and a slight shiver, his body trying to regulate all of the emotions coursing through him in the chilly hotel room.

Patrick, finally coming back down to earth himself, returned the kiss, pulling back before biting his lip in contemplation.

“Regrets?” David asked, out of habit.

“Only that I think we are both too spent after today to do that again right now. But maybe we can, in future? And I can treat you to something nicer than airport hotel delivery pizza? Like an actual date?” Patrick’s wide eyes tentatively searched David’s face for a positive answer.

David’s eyes sparkled with the thought before he happily nodded his head enthusiastically.

Patrick smiled before bending in half to grab the comforter from the foot of the bed. David pulled the towel out from under them and rearranged the pillows. On his way back up the bed, Patrick leaned over to turn off the side lamp before billowing the comforter overtop of both of them, their legs and bodies tangled together in the middle of the bed.

“Goodnight, David.”

“Goodnight, Patrick.”

Chapter Text

The next morning

As Patrick woke up, his body had this restful heaviness to it. He hadn’t slept that well in months, and it usually took a few days off with no responsibilities for his mind is able to let him doze without being constantly on alert. Taking a few deep breaths through his nose, he burrowed down into the somewhat heavy pillow for just a moment more. On one inhale, he caught the faint whiff of a deep, spiced scent that eluded his sleepy brain for a moment, conjuring up warm skin, gentle touches, and soft words too mumbled to make out.

Patrick finally let his eyes open to see the beige striped wallpaper and pastoral framed hotel art next to the bed on which he only took up one side. Turning his head, he saw that the other half of the comforter was tucked neatly with the pillow placed on top as if it hadn’t been disturbed at all. Was… was it all just a really intense dream after a long and harrowing year?

Patrick’s semi-conscious mind only had a few moments to panic before he heard a keycard being slid into a door. His door. He jolted up to a sitting position to see that dream return to reality as David walked in, wrapped up in a bulky dark gray sweater with black jeans, perilously holding two plates and a coffee carrier laden with breakfast.

David’s face traveled through a few expressions of warmth and confusion before landing on concern. “Uh, hi,” he walked back over to the empty side of the bed and placed the food on the nightstand, while glancing back at Patrick warily. “Um, are you ok?”

Patrick could only watch David as his brain caught up before he let a grin spread across his face. He reached over for a croissant hanging off the edge of one of the plates.

“I've never been better,” before he shoved half of it in his mouth.

++

After a breakfast interspersed with making out, which led to David giving the still-naked Patrick the hottest and fastest morning handjob of his life, they both packed up their belongings and let the front desk know they needed the van return to the airport. This time as they stood in the elevator packed with travelers ready to resume their trips, Patrick reached his hand out to take David’s, lacing their fingers together with a squeeze.

Once checked in and updates texted to family and friends, they were finally boarding. While Patrick was forever grateful for his cousin’s passes, they found themselves seated a few rows apart. David, who had spent so much time trying to act aloof much like when he first got on the shuttle bus last night, kept looking over the seat and smiling at Patrick while the rest of the passengers boarded, as if he was afraid Patrick might just up and disappear on him.

Patrick was entertained by how David’s face spoke volumes in his expressions, an eyebrow raise for the lady with the yappy puppy in the carrier, his mouth sliding to the side in annoyed disbelief with the man who insisted his rollercase would fit in the overhead compartment, and an eye roll for the lady complaining that she most certainly had a first class seat, no matter what the computer said.

“Did you not book together?” the elderly women sitting next to Patrick said.

“I’m sorry?” Patrick responded, trying to read David’s lips about something.

“You and your boyfriend. Did you not book your seats together?” she gestured towards David with a nod.

Patrick froze in place.

David Rose, his boyfriend.

It had been just over 12 hours that he even knew David, but he had never heard anything so right. By the time he got his wits together, the kind lady offered to switch seats with David which they thanked her profusely for and they got to lean against each other and talk for the next hour and a half in the air.

Toronto Pearson was overrun with people once they were back on the ground. David had said this morning after they realized they lived about 2 hours apart the same direction from Toronto that he could get them a ride home. With their hands once again locked together, they hurried out into the cold parking garage, David’s brow furrowed as he searched the numbers on the concrete poles.

“Ah, I see her car now. I apologize for any snark from her in advance.”

That is when Patrick finally got to meet Stevie. While they huddled closely in the backseat of the car, she randomly peppered questions at Patrick while they escaped the stop and go traffic surrounding Toronto. Once they hit smoother roads, she left them alone, only for David to promptly doze off on Patrick’s shoulder.

As they approached Bern Hill, David woke up once they exited the highway, his hand gripping Patrick’s thigh tighter the closer they got to Patrick’s parents’ house.

“Uh, Stevie, do you mind maybe pulling off here. I’ve got a gift card you can grab a coffee with?” Patrick indicated towards a quiet plaza with a Tim Horton’s in the front. Stevie looked in the rearview mirror without a word before parking a respectable distance away from the restaurant and any other cars. She took the card from Patrick before hopping out and leaving them be.

There wasn’t much more to say between them, besides making sure for the fifth time that David’s phone saved Patrick’s number, promises for FaceTiming and visiting after Boxing Day, and that Patrick would get them flight passes from his cousin back for January. The rest of the time, Patrick’s hands imprinted themselves on the back of David’s head, his neck, his cheeks to wipe away a few tears, and his jaw while their lips did the rest of the talking without saying a word.

 

+++++++++

3 months later

“I don’t know how you think that is going to help,” David said as he took a bite out of his grilled cheese seconds after they sat in a booth towards the far end of the dining hall.

“Well it certainly can’t hurt,” Patrick tried to hide his continued amusement at David as he unwrapped his straw and stuck it into his unsweetened iced tea.

“But it’s ‘Cheesy Friday’, Patrick! I can’t believe my boyfriend thinks a side salad is going to balance all of that out. Why bother?!”

“What did you say?” Patrick looked up from shaking pepper on his macaroni and cheese to see David’s eyes widen.

“I said, ‘I think you got way too much marinara for the mozzarella sticks’,” he tried to deflect.

“Huh. I thought it was something about how my boyfriend doesn’t want me to eat this salad. I guess I won’t,” Patrick started to push the bowl to the edge of the table.

“I will have you know that wasting salad is just as incorrect as getting too much marinara,” David got up to slide into Patrick’s side of the booth, bringing his towering plate of food with him.

“We do what we have to do,” Patrick couldn’t hold in his grin anymore before kissing David. His boyfriend.

 

+++++++++

A year and a half after meeting

“David, are you ready?” Patrick stood by the doorway, his gown and cords draped over his arm.

“Coming, coming,” The lights in the bathroom flicked off and David came back into the main room, his mortarboard already perched on his head. He cut an elegant figure in a black and blue striped suit with crisp white shirt which complemented the gown and hood for his Master’s degree. Patrick couldn’t tear his eyes away from the beauty or pride he had in this man.

David had decided to take a maxed out course load the spring after they met plus an intensive summer session so that he could catch up to finish his Bachelor’s and then be a part of the inaugural cohort for the one year Master’s of Design and Business add-on while Patrick finished his senior year and a lucrative internship in the spring. They had chosen to work hard now to secure their futures, even though it meant weeks apart in the summer as Patrick went home, hours studying both together and alone, and a maturity to know that they both had the same goal in mind and the sacrifice would be worth it.

“Before you say anything, I didn’t want to take the chance of putting this thing on without the benefit of a full mirror or hair products, so I am going like this,” David shoved his phone in his pocket.

“I wasn’t going to mention a thing, except that you look so handsome and that I love you," Mindful of the cap, Patrick leaned up to kiss his boyfriend, looking forward to them leaving school behind and heading towards building something deeper and even more meaningful together. He would always be grateful that he found David here in the most obscure of circumstances, but after a lot of work, they were both ready to stop saying “When” and start saying “Now”.

As they broke the kiss, the look on David’s face indicated he was having similar thoughts. “I love you and you look amazing too, honey. But we better get going before my mother turns the family seating into a Sunrise Bay autograph session.”

They headed out the door of their small off-campus apartment, prepared to take on the world together.

 

+++++++++

3 years later

Time flies when you are having fun, or working your ass off.

Patrick stood behind the counter, the sun shining through the gleaming windows looking out on the town, their town. They couldn’t have asked for a nicer day.

He watched as David flitted around, turning labels outward, eyeing the color arrangement of the scarves, checking that the holder for the twig pencils wasn’t going to fall over. A monochromatic flash in his zebra print sweater and white jeans, he just never stopped moving.

Patrick should probably be doing something too, but he already looked over the POS system three times, ran a couple of test transactions, and wrote himself a post-it that said “first sale receipt!” and stuck it to the bottom of the screen.

Instead he had time to think of things, like the package that had been delivered to his parents’ house, a long velvet box and four rings. His mom had let him know it had arrived and they were going to discreetly pass it along to him tomorrow when they came by for opening weekend. He was thinking of finally taking David on a hike, with plenty of Marcy’s trail mix to accompany the important question Patrick needed to ask David.

He could also imagine that little cottage on the outskirts of town. David always longingly stared at it when their vendor meetings took them nearby. While they weren’t in a position right now to purchase with the new business, he wanted to make that dream of David’s come true, too. After all, it was David that gave him everything just a few years ago, starting with one look down the dreary aisle of a shuttle bus.

Patrick glanced at his phone. It was time. David had finally stopped moving around, pausing just between the front door and the counter. He turned his head back towards Patrick after taking in the line gathered outside.

“Are we ready to do this?”