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would you be mine? could you be mine?

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"It was that guy…"

"Seriously?"

"What the hell is his problem?"

 

David swallows a grimace and tries to keep his face neutral as the crowd murmurs accusingly around him. It isn't like he meant to set off the fire alarm in his building at three a.m., thus forcing all his neighbors out onto the sidewalk on a brisk April morning. It isn’t his fault – the instructions for the microwave pizza… thingy were unclear.

David had only been living on his own for a few months. He'd lived alone before, of course: in the loft his parents got for him while he was at school, the Parisian flat they let for him during his misspent gap year, and even his own childhood home, during those three months his parents and Alexis were in Monaco and didn’t realize they’d left him behind. But he hadn’t been on his own those times, not really. He’d had concierge services and money for food delivery and outings to expensive restaurants, or, on those rare occasions he felt like eating a home-cooked meal, a personal chef to come over and make it for him.

Now, though, David was On His Own. And he was determined, for once, to provide for himself without throwing his parents' money at every challenge that came his way. There had been a few speed bumps along the way, he could admit that. Like now, for instance. Apparently heating a convenience foodstuff in the microwave took a little more finesse than he'd realized going into it.

So, okay, maybe the hostility of his neighbors was earned, but was it deserved? Didn't intention count for anything? He hadn't meant to catch the weird cardboard sleeve thingy on fire. Nor had he meant to catch the towel on fire that he was using to try to smother the cardboard thing. Obviously.

"You're 4D, right?" someone asks him. David turns to see an unremarkable guy standing a few feet away, a little closer than the rest of the rabid mob. He's wearing plaid lounge pants (ew) with a worn tee shirt touting some sort of bird-related sports club (typical) and a slide-on sports sandal (why).

"Yes," David admits. "David Rose." He doesn't offer his hand to shake and neither does Plaid Pants.

"You just moved in a couple weeks ago, right?"

"That's right."

The guy clucks his tongue and gives his head a rueful little shake. "Not off to an auspicious start here, David."

"Okay, I was just trying to fix something to eat. Is that such a crime? It was an accident." David waves his hands defensively before remembering that it's fucking freezing, and his own tee shirt and joggers aren’t as protective as one would hope.

"Well, that's a relief." Is Plaid Pants... laughing? "I'd be very concerned if you told me you were intentionally trying to set the building on fire."

"Is this how you greet all your new neighbors?" David accuses, wrapping his arms tightly around his middle.

"No, you are definitely getting special treatment. Most of my neighbors don't see me in my pajamas for at least the first month."

"Oh, those are your pajamas,” David scoffs. “I assumed a burglar stole all your belongings, and you were forced to clothe yourself in whatever you could find among the lost and found boxes at a college dorm."

Plaid Pants is definitely laughing now, which is simply not the correct response, even if his smile does pleasant things for his face. "Nope. These are 100% mine," he says.

"That's a brave admission," David volleys back, bristling at how amusing he apparently is to this random stranger in the hideous loungewear. Thankfully, David doesn’t have to waste much mental energy on him because the firefighters are releasing them to go back inside. David moves away from Plaid Pants while graciously allowing his neighbors to reenter the building first. Of course, Plaid Pants won’t let him be, also waiting for everyone else to go ahead. Once inside, he has the nerve to corner David as he waits for the elevator. David’s without his phone, so he can’t even pretend to not see or hear him like he normally would with someone so annoying.

“Hey, if you need help cooking next time, just let me know,” Plaid Pants says. “I may not be that good at it, but at least I’ve never started a fire.”

“Great!” David winces. “I will definitely not be taking you up on that, but thanks so much.”

Plaid Pants is laughing again. Does he just go around laughing at everyone, or is David somehow special? The elevator arrives and he steps in, holding an arm out so the door won’t close as David follows him. “Well, I’m in 4C if you change your mind. I’m Patrick.”

“Neat. I’m going to take the stairs,” David tells him, and walks right back out into the lobby. He can hear Patrick laughing at him as the elevator doors close. When he gets back to his apartment, he throws the charred remains of the microwave pizza product away and fixes himself a bowl of cereal.

 

@@@

 

David had never laid eyes on Patrick, whose apartment turned out to be the one directly across the hall from his own, in the short time he’d lived in the building, but after that night he sees him fucking everywhere. They check their mailboxes at the same time, get food delivered at the same time, pass each other getting on and off the elevator more often than not, and, on one memorable occasion, David hits Patrick with the door trying to exit the building whilst texting as Patrick tried to enter it also whilst texting. 

During these frequent (and sometimes literal) run-ins, Patrick always has a smile or a friendly nod or a "Hey, David" for him, and David realizes that he’s actually kind of cute when he’s not being actively insulting. And thankfully, Patrick keeps his snarky comments and offers of cooking assistance to himself after that first night, which is why, despite his better judgment and initial, terrible first impression of the man, David is outside Patrick's apartment at 10 p.m. a week after the Microwave Pizza Incident.

Patrick answers the door in basketball shorts (no) and a t-shirt with a picture of a cartoon crab that says "I Got My Crabs from Dirty Dick's!" (good GOD).

"David, hi." He leans casually against the doorframe and crosses his arms. "What's up?"

"Um. Hi," David offers. Patrick really has no right to be making this look work right now. "I, um, I need your help."

"Oh, sure. Kitchen emergency?" Patrick asks, looking smug.

"No," David says, and his voice absolutely does not go up half an octave in defense.

"And what are we burning for dinner tonight?" Patrick goes on, and David mentally rescinds his notion about him being kind of cute. "Kraft dinner? Instant ramen?"

"Okay, this was obviously a bad idea." David waves a hand to encompass his neighbor's snarky, poorly-dressed yet well-built frame. He's halfway back across the hall before he hears Patrick move behind him.

"Wait, wait, I'm sorry." He absolutely does not sound sorry; he sounds amused, but David stops in his tracks anyway. Desperate times. "How can I help?" Patrick says.

David sighs. "I have a bug situation."

Patrick makes a face. "What, like, an infestation?"

"Like a personal violation. An attack."

"I don't know if I can help with a bug problem, David. You may have to call a professional…"

"No, ugh, it's one bug."

"...one bug."

"That's right, but it has an aggressive energy," David insists.

"The bug does," Patrick says evenly. He doesn't seem to understand the severity of the situation.

"It's in my bedroom,” David explains. “It's huge and looks like some sort of demonic cricket. How am I supposed to sleep knowing that it's in there, skittering around, waiting to crawl into my mouth and nest in my throat?"

"Wow. That’s, uh, graphic."

"Please, Patrick. I just need this thing gone." David's practically begging now; he's aware that he is, but he really, really is not going to be able to sleep. He can't just call the super and ask to switch apartments in the middle of the night. Can he?

“Why don’t you just get rid of it yourself?” Patrick asks, as though that were a plausible suggestion.

“Because I don’t do well with bugs! Historically, it hasn’t gone well, between me and– and bugs. And you seem,” David gestures weakly at Patrick, “capable.”

Patrick gives him an assessing look, mouth slowly quirking up on one side. For once, David doesn't even care that Patrick is basically laughing at him again. As long as he helps, he can laugh all he wants.

"Well. If you think I’m capable," Patrick says finally.

“You know what I mean. Competent,” David tries, and at this, Patrick practically lights up like a Christmas tree. It’s like every word out of David’s mouth is funnier to him than the last.

“Oh, competent!” he all but crows. “Wow, after a compliment like that, I feel like I’m obligated to help you now.”

“I know you’re making fun of me,” David rolls his eyes, “but, yes, I would appreciate your help.” He leads the way back into his apartment. Thankfully, Patrick already knows where the bedroom is because all the apartments are laid out the same, so David can hang back in the relative safety of the hallway.

"I'm not seeing a bug, David," Patrick calls after a few minutes. "Demonic cricket or otherwise."

"It's right by the chair," David calls back. Another long pause passes while David waits with bated breath.

“Nope, there’s nothing– oh, wait. There’s something by the bed.”

“The bed!” David decidedly does not shriek. There’s the sound of scuffling coming from his room, and then Patrick emerges, his hands clasped gently in front of him, bits of tissue sticking out between his fingers. “Oh god,” David says.

“Want to open a window or something?” Patrick asks, and David jumps into action, opening the living room window ahead of Patrick, who leans out of it, waves the tissue around a couple of times, and then pulls himself back in. “There you go,” he says.

“It’s gone?”

“It’s gone.”

David breathes out a relieved sigh. With the threat removed, though, he’s starting to realize how ridiculous Patrick probably thinks he is. He’s watching David with that amused little smirk on his face again.

“Well, thank you. I’m sorry I bothered you…” David starts, unsure how to make this situation even a fraction less awkward than it currently is. But Patrick puts a hand out, interrupting him.

“It’s no bother,” he says. “You can swing by anytime.”

“Oh. Okay.”

“Yeah, you know, insect removal, cooking lessons…” Patrick shrugs. “I’m here for whatever you need.”

“Alright, you don’t need to bring up the cooking thing again.” David was just starting to kind of like him. He’d been starting to not actively dislike him, at least.

“Oh, I think I do.”

“Well! It’s late. You probably want to get back to your place now,” David says pointedly.

“Unless there’s anything else you need help with?” Patrick says, but he’s laughing again and making his way toward David’s front door.

“Nope. Think I’m good,” David says, following. Patrick opens the door, and for one sweet instant David thinks he’s actually going to simply leave like a civilized person would do, but once he’s stepped into the hall, Patrick turns back.

“Enjoy the rest of your night, David,” he says, smiling that stupid smug smile that David definitely hasn’t been spending way too much time thinking about. “I’m sure I’ll be seeing you around.”

“Mm, lucky me,” David says with false brightness and shuts the door in his face.

 

@@@

 

David still sees Patrick all over the damn place after that. He even runs into him at his favorite neighborhood coffee shop– was nothing sacred? Patrick is still all smiles and friendly little waves and hey, Davids like they’re friends. Are they friends? David doesn’t have a lot of experience with friends, so who can say for sure? Patrick always seems happy to see him, at least, and David doesn’t hate seeing Patrick, for purely aesthetic reasons having to do with the generally pleasing shape of Patrick’s smile. And that of his shoulders and back and legs and ass and eyes. But that… probably doesn’t mean they’re friends.

The elevator is already on David’s floor, doors open, when he exits his apartment, so he’s nearly jogging by the time he reaches it, trying to beat the doors from closing, which is how he ends up running full body into the person already inside.

Who turns out to be Patrick. Because of fucking course it is. He’s wearing department store jeans (ugh) with a braided belt (absolutely not) and a blue button up (I mean, fine).  At least now David can add ‘chest’ to the list of Patrick’s body parts that are above average.

“Oof,” Patrick says.

“Ugh, sorry.” David extracts himself fully from Patrick’s personal space and tucks himself into the far corner of the elevator.

“No worries,” Patrick says easily. He’s so amiable, god. How can a person be so amiable all the time? David’s never been amiable. He doesn’t know how to be amiable. “In a hurry to get somewhere?” Patrick asks amiably.

“Job interview,” David admits.

“Oh, wow, that’s exciting. What’s the job?”

“Um.” Trend forecaster, David thinks. It’s what he’d told his parents. What he’d told himself, when he was trying to convince himself that he was in any way qualified for this or any other job. But, with Patrick, it feels like a lie. One he’d probably see right through, because David is slowly starting to learn that Patrick can usually see through his bullshit. “Sales associate,” he says instead, because it’s the truth. “In a, um, a clothing boutique?”

“Nice,” Patrick says, nodding, and he sounds sincere. Just then, the floor lurches under their feet, sending them both stumbling. David manages to stay upright, but Patrick lays a steadying hand on his shoulder anyway. “You okay?” he asks, and at David’s tight nod, he moves to the bank of buttons on the wall. He messes around with them for a minute, but nothing happens. They’re not moving. “Looks like we’re stuck,” Patrick says calmly, pulling his phone from the tight, tight pocket of his jeans. How’d he even fit that thing in there? They’re so… nope. Not the appropriate time. They’ve got more pressing matters than the matter of Patrick’s jeans clinging impossibly tightly to the skin of his thighs and… nope. Fuck.

Apparently, David’s thought train re: Patrick’s thighs goes off the rails for longer than he realizes, because when he snaps out of it, Patrick is pulling his phone away from his face and saying, “Okay, the super’s on it. He says this happens from time to time. He’s going to reset the system.”

“Reset the system,” David repeats. “That sounds serious. What if it doesn’t work? What if he can’t get us out–”

“David, relax,” Patrick says, wrapping a hand around David’s bicep. It’s strangely grounding. “It’ll work, and if it doesn’t, he can call the fire department, and they can get us out. Remember your friends at the fire department?”

It’s a weak joke, but it works, stopping David’s spiraling thoughts. Resetting the system will work, Patrick had said. This happens from time to time. There was nothing to worry about, probably. Patrick didn’t seem worried. Patrick seemed calm, tracking David with his wide brown eyes. Still, the space felt small– had this elevator always been so small? Had they renovated it to be smaller since the last time he’d been inside? That seemed unlikely, but it definitely felt smaller. Cramped. How much air did they have in here?

“Tell me more about the job,” Patrick says, apropos of nothing. His hand is still wrapped securely around David’s arm.  

“What? Oh, the… it’s, um, a women’s clothing boutique. And I’m– I’d be, you know, selling clothes.” It sounds so lame when he says it out loud like that. There’s no way someone like Patrick would be impressed with something so–

“I bet you’ll be perfect for it,” Patrick says. He doesn’t look like he thinks it’s lame. David takes a deep breath and feels like the air around them is expanding, a little bit.

“You think so?”

“Of course. You always look so amazing.” Patrick’s eyes flash with something indecipherable, and then they’re flicking away from David, down towards Patrick’s shoes. David doesn’t want to look at Patrick’s shoes. He knows without looking that they’re something atrocious. “I mean, you know, you always look so put together.”

“Hm,” David says. “You know, I’ve been called a lot of things, but I don’t think ‘put together’ was ever one of them.” He can feel a smile trying to break out on of his face. The elevator is the same size as always, he’s pretty sure.

“I believe I said you look put together.”

“Oh, okay, as long as you’re not implying that I am together.”

“No, I would never,” Patrick assures, “that would also imply that you can remove your own bugs and cook for yourself.”

“God, you’ll never let the cooking thing go, will you?” David accuses, but there’s no heat in it.

“I will if you ask me to,” Patrick says, and it feels like a peace offering. “Honestly, I was just sort of hoping you’d take me up on my offer to cook for you.”

And, oh, wait. Patrick’s offering to cook for David? The times he’d said something before, David had thought he meant it in a teasing way. An ‘I’ll help you cook, since you clearly can’t manage it on your own’ sort of way. Not a ‘let me cook for you’ way. But the way Patrick’s looking at him now, he wonders if he got it all wrong. Did Patrick want to cook him dinner? Like a– a date?

“Was that a sincere offer? I thought you were teasing,” David manages, keeping his tone casual with some effort.

“Oh, I was,” Patrick says, smiling at him again. It’s a small thing, tucked in at the corners, and David likes it. It’s not smug at all, he realizes. He likes it so much. “But I mean, I haven’t lived here that long, either, so I don’t know that many, um- I just thought it might be fun to hang out sometime.”

Oh. Patrick wants to be friends. He wants to cook dinner in a friendly way. A hang out way. No, that’s… that makes more sense. “Sure. We can hang out,” David says.  

“Great. We’ll just make sure you stay away from any open flames or heat sources.”

“Oh my god, let it go!” David exclaims, but he’s laughing despite himself. He can do this; he can be friends with Patrick. A whirring noise sounds from somewhere above them, and suddenly they’re moving again. They exchange a look.

“Well, that was… harrowing,” David says.  

“Are you going to make your interview?” Patrick asks. “I could give you a ride.”

“Oh, no, that’s okay. It’s not far, and I’m sure they’ll understand me being a couple of minutes late when I tell them I suffered a literal near-death experience.”

“I feel like that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but sure.”

The doors open onto the lobby floor. “I have to go,” David blurts, stepping away from Patrick and his cute smile and tight jeans and offer to cook David a friendly meal sometime.  

“Right, okay. Good luck, David,” Patrick calls as David makes his way toward the exit. “Let me know how it goes!”

 

@@@

 

The whole elevator experience had been distressing, and not even for the reason it should have been distressing. No, the source of David’s distress was that there was something there with Patrick. Prior to the Elevator Incident, David had been content to ogle Patrick’s various parts from afar while resenting himself for thirsting after a smug, snippy guy with terrible fashion sense. It had been comfortable, because David knew it would never go anywhere. Patrick wasn’t into him and David didn’t even want Patrick to be into him. They had an ideal relationship.

Except now Patrick was, like, a real person. One who wanted to be friends and hang out. In the elevator, Patrick had distracted him from what was ramping up to be an anxiety attack, and then he’d offered to cook for David, and told him he was teasing him with this pleased little smile on his face, like he liked teasing David. Like he wanted to go on doing it for a long time, and David didn’t know what to do with that.

Patrick was a nice person, for all his snippy smugness. He was put together, and David didn’t know what to do with that either. He didn’t know what to do with nice. The thought of spending too much time with Patrick made him itch, somewhere low along his spine, and David was afraid that the next time he saw Patrick, he’d do something monumentally stupid. Like kiss him. 

So, he hadn’t taken the elevator in a while. Or loitered in the lobby or hallway when there was any chance that Patrick could be there. He should probably check his mail soon, now that he thought about it. Maybe if he went in the middle of the night?

He’s coming out of the stairwell on his floor and wondering how late he’d have to wait to be absolutely, 100% sure that he wouldn’t cross paths with Patrick in the mailroom, when, of course, Patrick happens to come out of the elevator at the same time. David freezes mid-step, half ready to turn and go back down the stairs, except that would be really obvious. He clearly can’t do that. Patrick spots him and gives him a friendly little nod. He’s wearing jeans again and another blue button up (cute).

“Hey, David,” he says.

“Hi.”

“How’s it going?” They’re doing small talk, then. Apparently.

“Good, great. I’m great. Just finished a grueling four hour shift at the boutique, so I’m exhausted, actually.”

“Oh, you got the job! That’s awesome,” Patrick says brightly. Why is he being so friendly right now? Doesn’t he realize that he asked David to hang out, and then David avoided him for days? Doesn’t he realize that things are supposed to be awkward between them? Why isn’t he being awkward? Now David’s the only one being awkward. Great.

“Yep, thanks,” David says, moving as quickly as he can toward his door without trying to make it look like he’s trying to be quick. “Well, have a good night,” he says, digging for his keys.

“Oh. Yeah, you too.” At least Patrick can take this hint, turning away to leave David to his business. David keeps looking for his keys. And looking for his keys. He digs through his pockets, and the side pocket of his bag, but…fuck.

“Fuck.”

He left them next to the register. Wendy had been the one to lock up; he’d forgotten he even got them out. He drops his head in his hands, sighing dramatically. He’ll have to go all the way back to the shop to pick them up. He’ll have to call Wendy to meet him–

“David?” Because the universe hates him, Patrick is still across the hall to witness David’s shame. “Everything okay?” he says.

“Yes, fine. I left my stupid keys at the stupid boutique, and now I’m going to have to call my boss to let me in to get them, and she’s going to know how unreliable I am, and I just wanted to take a long shower and eat a frozen pizza and enjoy my night in peace, but now–”

“Whoa, hey,” Patrick’s hands are up, mollifying. “It’s not a big deal. The super has a spare, right? We can call him to come let you in.”  

“Oh, right,” David says, nodding, suddenly grateful Patrick is here after all. He always knows what to do. “I don’t, um, have his number in my phone, though,” he admits helplessly.

“It’s okay, I’ve got it.” Patrick’s smiling that amused, slightly mocking smile at him. Whatever. He deserves to be mocked. And if it’s Patrick doing the mocking, he doesn’t even mind it that much. Patrick jerks his head toward his apartment door. “Want to come in while you wait?”

David follows him in, and Patrick gets the super’s number for him. There’s no answer, though, so after a few tries David leaves a voicemail and hovers awkwardly in Patrick’s kitchen wondering if he should call Wendy after all.

“I’m sure he’ll be up here soon to take care of it,” Patrick assures him. “Stay for dinner.”

That answers that question, then. Patrick gets David set up at the breakfast bar with a glass of wine while he starts on dinner. They share easy small talk while Patrick does things with a knife and then a skillet that fills the entire apartment with the most mouth-watering aroma of spices. Twenty minutes later, dinner’s ready, and the two of them settle in at the cozy dining table with their plates and wine.   

After a few minutes of eating in comfortable silence, Patrick takes a sip from his glass and leans back in his chair. “You know, David, I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable before,” he says. “I’m kind of new to all this and I– I thought we were, um, flirting. But after the elevator I realized maybe I pushed too hard? I never meant to make you uncomfortable. I’d like us to be friends, if you want that, but I’ll back off.”

David sets his fork down halfway through this little speech and reaches for his own wine, but by the time Patrick finishes speaking, he’s frozen, arm suspended halfway to the glass and an undoubtedly baffled expression on his face.

“What the fuck are you talking about?” he says.

Patrick huffs a frustrated laugh. “Which part is confusing for you?”

David blinks a few times. “You thought we were flirting?”

“…Yeah?”

“When?”

“When? Um, always? I mean, I was. I thought you were– clearly I was off base.”

“You were flirting,” David says, and it sounds a little disbelieving and a little like an accusation.  

“I was.”

“With me.”

“Yes.” Patrick looks incredulous. “You really didn’t notice?”

“You weren’t flirting with me the night we met,” David argues. Patrick is obviously mistaken. He hasn’t been flirting all this time, or David would have noticed.  

“Oh, I was most definitely flirting with you that night,” Patrick says. He doesn’t sound mistaken at all.

“Okay, but. You were kind of an asshole that night?”

“That’s… how I flirt, apparently. You just kind of bring it out in me.”

“Is that why you kept making your little comments about my ability to cook for myself? I thought you were just being–” David finally remembers how his hands work and uses this newfound knowledge to wave them around, bewildered.

“An asshole?” Patrick finishes for him.

“I was using a more colorful term in my head? But yes.”

Patrick laughs outright then, a sunny, clear thing. “Man, I was sure I came on too strong,” he says shaking his head. “Wait. So if you didn’t think I was trying to ask you out, why have you been avoiding me all week?”

“So that I wouldn’t accidentally hit on you!”

“What?”

“I thought you just wanted to be friends,” David explains. “I was trying to not make it weird.”

“Well, you made it weird, David.” The amused, pleased little turned down smile is back. David’s missed it.

“No, I– I see that now.”

 “So, wait,” Patrick grabs their plates and moves to deposit them in the sink. “You wanted to hit on me,” he says over his shoulder.

David takes their wine glasses and follows Patrick into the kitchen “Okay, that’s not– we’re talking about how you were trying to hit on me. Let’s not get sidetracked, here.”

Patrick takes the glasses from him and sets them on the counter. “No, we wouldn’t want to get sidetracked,” he says.

“So, were you… was there something you wanted to say to me?” David prompts.

“Was there?” Patrick’s standing very close to him now. What were they talking about again? 

Oh. “I meant, like, was there something you wanted to ask me?”

“I can’t think what that would be.”

“Oh my god,” David huffs.

Patrick’s laughing again as he leans in even closer. “David.”

“What?”

“Now that I know you’ve been dying to ask me out,” he says, pausing graciously to give David time for a proper eye roll, “why don’t we make this an official date? You could stay for dessert; I could put on a movie we’re not going to watch. What do you say?”

Wow. Where was this guy this whole time? There’s no mistaking Patrick’s intent now.

“I mean, I’m still locked out of my apartment,” David points out.

“Ah, so you’d just be staying because you have nowhere else to go then,” Patrick jokes, but there’s a slight question behind it too.

“That would be one of the reasons, yes.”

“Hm. What would some of the other reasons be?” Patrick asks, and fuck it. The banter is really working for him, but David’s done talking. He closes the distance between them and presses a kiss to that clever, teasing mouth. Patrick doesn’t hesitate to respond, pushing in close to kiss David thoroughly. He tastes like oregano and crushed red pepper and the wine they’d had with dinner, earthy and spicy and just a little bit sweet. Patrick presses him into the counter, arms bracketing him on either side as he kisses David within an inch of his life, and this may not have been how David pictured his evening going, but he’s very, very okay with the plot twist. A few minutes later, they pull apart to catch their breaths, and Patrick drops his forehead to David’s shoulder.

“Good reasons,” he says.  

“I thought they had some merit.”

David can feel Patrick’s soft, breathless laughter as much as he can hear it. Patrick tilts his head up to catch David’s lips in a quick, tender kiss.

“So, you’ll stay?” he asks, and David’s nodding before he’s even finished speaking, arms coming up to wrap around Patrick’s neck, pulling him in.

“I’ll stay.”

 

@@@

 

Several months later...

 

“I’m just saying, I’m not sure why I’m the one who had to move your floor-to-ceiling custom storage unit into the bedroom while you stand there, what supervising?” Patrick’s standing just outside the door to his- nope, their apartment, arms crossed over his chest.

“I’m helping,” David insists. “Look at this box I’m carrying. It’s huge.”

“David, that box says PILLOWS on it.”

“They’re very dense.” Patrick follows him into their apartment and watches him unpack the box, a pointed, mocking look on his face. “I also moved over all my knits,” David feels the need to say after a moment.

“I offered to help with that.”

“Oh god, you’re not trained for that, honey. Imagine?” David waves a dismissive hand.

“I see, but I’m qualified to move all the heavy stuff and assemble those shelves by myself.”

“Well,” David says, tossing the last pillow aside and moving to drape his arms over his boyfriend’s strong, perfect shoulders, “you’re better at handling the drill than me.”

Patrick hums knowingly, moving his hands to David’s hips. He presses in for a slow, languid kiss. “I see you trying to turn this into a sex thing,” he says after he pulls away, “but we still have a lot of your stuff to bring over.”

“Ugh.” David tips his head back. “Why didn’t we just move into my apartment? I have way more things than you; you have the interior design instincts of a Spartan warrior.”

Patrick swats his ass and heads back across the hall, calling over his shoulder, “My apartment doesn’t have smoke damage.”

“Oh my god,” David cries, tossing his hands up in disgust, “you start one fire, and you never hear the end of it!”

He follows Patrick across the hall.