Patrick promptly knocks on the door of Room 7 of the Rosebud Motel at 7:58pm. David runs his hand down the big lightning bolt splashed across his chest to smooth out any wrinkles in the Neil Barrett. David saunters towards the door, again trying to play it cool. Cool, calm and collected, he silently reminds himself. He wonders if Patrick is as nervous yet eager (he must be, he couldn’t even wait two more minutes!) as he is for their date. It is a date, right? It has to be. No one gets picked up at 8 o’clock to just hang out as friends. No one gets taken to a small, intimate Italian restaurant in Elmdale to just hang out as friends. David has driven past the place Patrick had suggested before, it totally looked like the type of place you’d take a date. And he certainly hopes no one gets to see the inside of the greenhouse with Patrick alone, at night, except a date.
Upon opening the door, Patrick is standing there, holding what appears to be a beautiful plant in a black ceramic pot with a subtle white herringbone pattern on it. Patrick certainly cleans up well, the streaks of dirt washed off his face and the t-shirt replaced by a navy blazer with a light blue button-up underneath. He still has the top button undone, giving David just a little peek of pale skin. The mid-range jeans still make an appearance, giving an overall informal and relaxed impression. Though the look at Patrick’s face doesn’t exactly seem relaxed as he holds the plant out towards David.
“For you.” Patrick gives him a shy smile.
David smiles back at him, slightly askew, as Patrick continues. “It’s a Philodendron Birkin.”
“Wait, a Birkin like the Hermès bag?” David is sure he must have misheard. He graciously accepts Patrick’s offering.
Patrick laughs brightly in response. “Yes, David. I think that’s where they got the name. It’s a very popular and highly coveted variety.”
“My Mom used to have the most amazing crocodile Birkin. She never even made it to the waiting lists, her favourite salesperson would always put the best pieces aside for her. And Alexis also had this gorgeous camel coloured one she got in Cannes when she attended the film festival with Johnny Depp.” David finds himself getting lost in a dreamlike wistful state reminiscing about the past. Kind, sweet Patrick doesn’t interrupt him, even though he’s still standing in the doorway of the motel room.
Bringing himself back to the present, David gently rubs his fingers on one of the Birkin’s leaves. The feeling as he moves the waxy leaf between the pads of his fingers is almost soothing and the white pinstripe formation along the leaves is really quite elegant. “Thank you for this Patrick. It’s lovely. Shall we?”
“Yes, we shall. Let’s go.”
David puts the plant down on his bedside table and locks the door behind him, meeting Patrick at the car, where he’s standing beside the open passenger side door waiting for him. Such a gentleman.
As they turn into the long driveway for the greenhouse, it’s late, already past 10. They both agreed that they were probably too hungry to visit the greenhouse before dinner and the decision was made for them when David’s stomach rumbled in the car, 5 minutes into the drive. The dinner went very well, as they enjoyed delicious pizza and pasta together tucked away in a booth in the back corner of the restaurant. Patrick has a great sense of humour and dinner conversation was the perfect mix of teasing, joking, and stories being shared by both men. There was never an awkward silence, which is a good sign for things to come.
Full of carbs, the car (and his belly) shake slightly as they drive down the gravel driveway. In the dark, David can barely make out the shape of the greenhouse in the distance. As they approach the glass structure, the shadows of what appear to be hundreds of large fronds are evident inside. He really has no idea what to expect.
Patrick comes around to open the door for David again, holding out his hand this time to ensure he keeps his balance on the uneven stones below. David appreciates the gesture. He follows Patrick to the door, which he promptly unlocks and they head inside. Patrick flips on all of the light switches just inside the doorway.
A rush of warm air hits them as soon as they enter. The warmth feels pleasant on his face and he welcomes it along with the freshness in the air that must be from all of the oxygen produced by the extensive selection of plants in varying shapes and sizes now laid out before him.
“Well, I must say I’m impressed, Patrick.” David has a hard time figuring out what to focus on amongst the sea of green.
It becomes easier when Patrick comes back into his peripheral vision. “Thanks, David. Can I show you around?”
Patrick leads him up and down all the rows in what feels like a repeat performance of what had occurred at his shop earlier that day. They see everything from the massive birds of paradise to tiny barely-there seedlings, ready to shoot upwards at any moment. David can’t help but notice the way Patrick carries himself through the greenhouse with extreme confidence and pride in what he has grown. As Patrick describes the plant tracking spreadsheets and watering schedules he’s created, his meticulous level of precision and care is evident. Not unlike his own. David realizes they have a lot more in common then he may have initially thought. Though he could really use Patrick’s help on the spreadsheet side of things, as that’s not really his strong suit.
David stops midway down an aisle of cute Peperomia plants when he remembers he still hasn’t gotten his end of the bargain they made earlier. “Wait! Patrick, you never told me at dinner what the deal is with the name of your shop! I saw you wince when I mentioned it earlier. I’m not letting you off the hook on this one.”
It is clear that Patrick purposefully did not bring it up earlier because he huffs and almost rolls his eyes before he starts talking. He rubs the back of his neck with his hand. “Alright, alright, I guess it’s only fair since you did go to dinner with me.” He pauses to gather his thoughts.
“So, I believe I mentioned earlier that I play baseball for the Elm Glen team. One of the teams we play against is Bob’s Garage, I think they’re based in Schitt’s Creek too.” David nods. “Right, well one of the players, her name is Ronnie...”
David fully cuts Patrick off before he can finish telling the story, too excited by having a mutual acquaintance (though maybe more of an enemy to Patrick?). “I know Ronnie!! She’s on our town council and she’s almost friends with my Mom, I guess? They sing together. I like her, we get along.”
“Well we most certainly DO NOT get along. I still haven’t figured out why exactly she hates me or what I ever did to get on her bad side. Anyways, one day a few months ago she came into my store, laughing hysterically after her team had beat ours the day before. She just started pointing at me and pointing outside at the sign and said I must have named the store after myself because I look like a thumb...she was laughing so hard she could hardly breathe, David! It was so embarrassing!! And what does it even mean to look like a thumb, really?!?”
David chuckles as he pictures Ronnie teasing Patrick in this way, and Patrick gives him a stern look back in response. David covers his mouth with his hands, trying to hide how funny he finds the situation, as Patrick does not look amused.
They continue to walk and talk their way through the greenhouse aisles, David learning more about plants, the germinating process and propagation in the last 20 minutes than he did in the first 30-something years of his life.
Patrick pauses again in front of a vast array of seedlings. “David, in the interest of us working together, there’s one more thing I have to come clean about.”
“Okay…” David anxiously awaits his revelation.
“I recognized you when you came into my shop this morning.”
“What? You knew who I was? I hope you didn’t look at my entire Google image history, there are some really unfortunate looks in the photos the paparazzi sold to the tabloids around the end of 2004…”
Patrick lets out one of those cute giggles David is quickly becoming very fond of. “No, no, David. Nothing like that. From Instagram. I got a whole bunch of notifications last night from likes on my photos. Some of them were ancient. I did notice a trend in that all the photos you liked were the ones I was in…strangely not just the ones with my face though. Anyways, I clicked on your profile of course and scrolled through a few of your photos.”
Shit. David thinks he really should have learned to be a better social media stalker by now. Even though he should really be the one embarrassed by this, Patrick is starting to blush. The pink high up on his cheeks looks gorgeous and maybe he could add a bit more… “That makes more sense now. There were some really attractive forearms featured in many of the photos, so I had to like those too, of course.” David sets his mouth well into his left cheek, proud of the way he’s made Patrick squirm a little bit.
Even dressed up in his blazer, Patrick can’t help but work throughout their time in the greenhouse. He’s been touching the plants and getting his hands in the soil, so it comes as no surprise when David notices faint streaks have made their way back to Patrick’s face. A small smudge on his forehead, a little smear along the right side of his jaw. All the places David wouldn’t mind running his fingers along or dropping a kiss to, if he’s being honest.
Patrick catches David staring at him and makes eye contact, remaining silent. He isn’t sure if it’s the warm air or the warm feelings blooming in his chest but David starts feeling flush. Patrick’s eyes flash down to his lips and he leans in a little. David meets him halfway in a sweet but chaste kiss, Patrick’s lips soft and lush like the foliage surrounding them.
He thinks he could get used to this. Maybe it’s a bold statement, but he’s certainly glad he decided to add greenery to his store window display, now that it has led him to all of this. David is giddy with anticipation to see how his new plants, his new venture and his new relationship all grow and blossom from here.