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you're the book i can't put down

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It’s a quiet Monday morning at the Elmdale-Schitt’s Creek Library, just how Patrick likes it. As he reads through the requisition requests emails, stopping at It's a Jungle Out There, Jane: Understanding the Male Animal in Your Life, and shaking his head at Ms. Gwen Currie’s suggestion, Patrick still can’t believe how things have changed so much in the last six weeks. It is a bit of jungle, he supposes.

As he goes to the drop box to collect the Sunday and overnight returns, Patrick thinks about how he drove away from everything he knew and that was familiar in Blossom Park; his family, his friend group, Rachel, and trying to piece together work between helping his dad’s business and the unfulfilling assistant librarian position at the public university.

While sorting the books and DVDs to be checked back in by Edie, the retired-teacher-turned-clerk who works in the mornings, Patrick winces when he sees a copy of the wedding planning book that had sat for so long on Rachel’s nightstand. Riddled with tabs sticking out of various sections, Patrick remembers how he’d stay late pouring over spreadsheets with his dad, or offering to be the carpool driver for away beer league baseball games so that he could slip into their bedroom after Rachel fell asleep, the book often the last thing he would see before turning off the lamp next to her bed.

Avoiding the conversations, the awkward touches, and resigned sighes, he recalls the shame when he had started to pull away from her again as soon as the post-engagement comments turned from “When are you going to make an honest woman out of her?” to “You’ll be popping babies out in no time!”. He had stupidly hoped getting engaged would quell some of his lingering anxieties about their relationship, but they had only increased tenfold until Patrick reached his breaking point. He knew he could never marry Rachel.

Walking towards the small safe where they keep the cash drawer for people to pay for overdue books and printouts, Patrick reminds himself that he did the right thing, even if he may have bungled the exit. Turning the combination lock, he thinks of how miserable he and Rachel would have been long term. No one should feel trapped in their own bedroom, but Patrick couldn’t wait to escape each morning to go to a job he didn’t like much better. The weight off his shoulders once he blurted out that he was leaving and that they were over as a couple had propelled him forward. Where that boost will take him eventually is to be seen, but Patrick is content with where it has carried him for now.

“Hello, Patrick! Nice day out, isn’t it?” Patrick’s overthinking ends thanks to the cheerful arrival of Edie, her neon floral purse clanking onto the desk.

“Good morning, Edie. Yes, I think I need to get out for a hike before the rain arrives later this week.” Patrick smiles at the kindly woman, her colorful reading glasses perched on top of her short silver hair. Edie reminds Patrick of one of his favorite college professors bundled with the warmth of a neighbor that has known him since he was a baby. She treats Patrick like the adult and supervisor he is, but enjoys bringing him a tin of cookies or boosting his ego just a bit by complimenting one of his many blue shirts.

“You go grab yourself another tea and I’ll get started on checking in those returns.” Edie pushes up the sleeves of her sweater, heading to the front.

With just 15 minutes before opening, Patrick takes her suggestion and fires up the electric kettle for a refill. Living with Ray, the world’s chattiest landlord/roommate, is still a work in progress, especially during the first few weeks when Patrick wanted to just mope around. To not reach his limit of Ray-ness per day before 8am, he often comes in early with his breakfast and tea to the library. The morning is good for enjoying some reading of his own or catching up on what little internet he cares for since he had temporarily disabled most of his social media pages when he left Blossom Park.

It had been a stroke of luck when he saw the short-term opening in the Elmdale Library system. He had spent many nights browsing postings from his childhood bedroom where he had escaped to after leaving Rachel for good. The permanent librarian had requested an extension on their maternity leave, but the previous long-term substitute could not stay on any further. With only a 4 month time frame, it seemed like the ideal opportunity for Patrick to start somewhere fresh without a ton of a commitment.

Finding Ray had also been fortunate in that he was a multi-business proprietor and consultant. Patrick, concerned about the viability of a Library Information Sciences degree, had minored in Business as a backup plan during undergrad and partially because he had already spent a lot of time helping and learning from his father’s own one-man accounting firm. He found that Ray was more than eager to hear about his experience, and even offered that he could use some very minor assistance in exchange for a reduced rent cost. So, one or two evenings a week, Patrick would organize and handle Ray’s expenses and paperwork. Having an outlet for these skills that had always interested him gave Patrick some hope and contentment, leaving him daydreaming about starting a business himself some day.

With a warm mug and the sun shining through the tall windows towards the east, Patrick unlocks the main entrance, boots up the printers, and flicks on the remaining lights in the children’s section, reading nook, and meeting tables.

The morning starts with some regulars; parents ushering their children around, seniors finger typing slowly at the bank of computers, and college students meeting to discuss projects and Friday night’s party scene. Once he reviews the morning administration emails, updates the weekly online calendar, and confirms some of the upcoming presentations in the next two weeks, Patrick sends Edie on her break and posts up at the front desk. He loves that he gets to be involved in all aspects of the library including patron services. It was one reason why he was ready to leave the profession altogether after bureaucracy and meetings consumed his life back in the university system. Being stuck in a dingy back office with no interaction with what made him fall in love with libraries, books and people, had been another boulder for him to carry back home.

After collecting change and assisting Mr. Takagi with his printing from a classic cars website, Patrick turns to survey the open and airy room before what can only be described as a bolt of lightning rattles through him. In the non-fiction section stands possibly the most uniquely gorgeous person Patrick has ever seen.

Patrick’s heart thuds in his chest as he takes in the long legs in tight black denim, a marbled gray and white sweater hugging a strong and solid body, and the effortlessly statuesque swoop of raven hair and stubble lit by the mid-morning sun through the skylights above. An expressive face scans what looks like the economic and financial books, corners of the full lips shifting in contemplation. While Patrick had a multitude of reasons for why he ran away from Blossom Park, the main one is being illustrated by the man across the library from him.

He is 100% gay and it has never been more clear than in this moment.

Patrick briefly closes his eyes and wills his lungs to expand more fully, but he realizes he has lost sight of the mysterious and literally breathtaking man. Time is on his side as he glances up at the clock before noticing Edie returning to the circulation desk.

“I’m going to take a turn around,” Patrick spits out as he swirls his finger to gesture towards the perimeter of the library before Edie can get talking to him. As he nearly trips over the main desk, Patrick catches a glimpse of some bent knees with olive skin peeking through artfully torn jeans in between empty shelves in the DIY stacks.

Patrick tries to play it cool. He has seen attractive people before, celebrities even, like that time half the NY Rangers dropped into that dive bar in Toronto or the movie production that came to his college campus. He reminds himself he is at work, but this for some reason is on a whole other level. It takes thinking of the staff checklist for Patrick to center himself. As he approaches the printers, he opens the cabinet below to get some paper to refill them. Standing up, he spots a white-clad shoulder jutting out from an end cap catalogue computer station.

Quickly grabbing the children’s books that need to be put back after their morning visitors, he shoves them where they belong. It’s not his fault it is easy to watch the black hi-tops shift up and down an aisle over top of the child-height shelves. The man now looks to be wandering aimlessly around non-fiction, cradling a book in his long fingers which are adorned with thick silver rings. The traitorous sun glints off of them, catching the corner of Patrick’s eye while he fruitlessly tries to reorganize the picked over young adult fiction from the weekend.

As he finishes up with all the tasks he has for now, he sees the man glide across the main floor towards Edie at the front desk. Patrick would have to power walk like a gazelle to make it there to help him, not to mention, attempt not to make a fool of himself, so he decides against it and hangs back to watch.

The man gently steps to the counter, not as if he is ashamed, but more like he is trying to make himself a little smaller or less noticeable. Patrick doesn’t understand how anyone could not notice him in an instant. He must have complimented Edie’s glasses as she grins and touches the frames. She quickly checks out the man’s book, hands him back his card, and it takes no time for him to slip past the front doors and out of Patrick’s sight. The electric energy Patrick had felt over the last ten minutes ebbs into a small orb of warmth in his chest, replacing much of the anxiety and doubt that had overshadowed his choices of the last few months.

With nothing more to waste time with on this side of the floor, Patrick walks back to the front desk. Edie moves towards the far corner to help two younger women figure the ancient copy machine. Patrick makes the turn around to the main counter, wondering what he would have even said to the mysterious man if he would have been the one to help him. Would he have paid Patrick a compliment too? Would Patrick have had the guts to give anything other than a friendly greeting (but not comment on his book, rule number one of library customer service).

Leaning his palms on either side of the staff desktop he looks up to the screen. He always forgets that it leaves the last patron logged in until the next card is scanned, therefore Patrick is met with the name he longs to know in large block letters: David Rose.

Chapter Text

Patrick figures that after Monday’s immediate and intense attraction toward the man he now knows as David, that his feelings would fade. It was just him hopped up on too much tea, spring sun, and the frenetic energy he had felt returning from another lonely weekend. However, David wasn’t far from Patrick’s thoughts at all the rest of the week.

With the nice weather, Patrick took that hike he had mentioned to Edie Monday evening, but while sitting at the quiet overlook, his mind was filled with sharp cheekbones and monochromatic arms. As he worked through his laundry on Wednesday, Patrick surmised he might have to go shopping at some point for some nicer clothes, letting himself fantasize about long looks over a table tucked in a dark corner, well manicured fingers and rings intertwined with his own. Even at work, he had never paid much attention to the comings and goings at the front door. It wasn’t until Edie nudged his ribs on Thursday with an “expecting a delivery or something?” off the cuff that he realized that he kept hoping David would make a reappearance.

Another week is done and Patrick has the weekend off. After he arrived, most of Patrick’s free time was spent sleeping as his body acclimated to the gamut of changes he had thrown at himself in a very short period of time. As things were more settled, he still didn’t have the energy to do much else but catch up on his own reading, chores, complete work for Ray, and avoid his mother’s phone calls, placating her with a text or two back. He wanted to save money, so it seemed like the best idea at the time to hang low, not thinking he would be staying in Schitt’s Creek for long.

Thankfully, Ray’s real estate showings often kept him busy during the day on Saturday and Sunday, but they had also spent a couple evenings with a pizza and movie, Ray chatting away, but not requiring anything more from Patrick. He eventually started taking drives into Elmdale for coffee or a movie, explored nature, but overall just tried to get through the day and remind himself that he made the right decision.

With the weather a bit iffy on Saturday, Patrick decides to forgo another hike and instead walk around Schitt’s Creek which he hadn’t had the chance to do yet. Heading out, he makes his way past a veterinary clinic, smiling at the large dog that its owner and the enthusiastic vet were trying to coax out of the back of a SUV. As he gets closer to the center of town, he sees the motel entrance to the side, set back from the road. Perfectly serviceable with a few cars out front, his business mind wonders how well they do with a limited amount of attractions to draw tourists even during the busier travel season.

The sparse center of town features a few older homes, a somewhat recently closed storefront, the beat-up looking Bob’s Garage, and Cafe Tropical. With his early mornings and frugal living as of late, Patrick had yet to stop in. Seeing as he ate an early breakfast and it was half past 11, he figured he could beat any sort of rush with lunch now.

Swinging open the door, he takes in the giant bird sculptures, out-of-place murals, and the duct-taped booths. A young woman with a gleaming smile from behind the counter welcomes Patrick to sit wherever he would like. He sees an older man in a suit with a woman wearing a black bolero hat and a shock of fushia hair underneath. As his mom would say “Patrick, it takes all kinds!” A few people sip coffee and read the paper at the counter, so Patrick decides to take a booth towards the back.

“Hello! What can I get you to drink?” the waitress Twyla, if her name tag is to be believed, asks as she sets an extra large menu in front of Patrick.

“Just some ice water please.” Patrick unfolds the unruly menu and scans over the many, many, (many!) options.

“We also have a shrimp and spinach stuffed turkey burger and pumpkin, peanut butter, banana, chocolate chip pancakes as our specials!” Twyla exclaims as she stands there, holding her pen to her order pad.

“Wow, quite the line up. I think I’ll need a minute though to decide.” Patrick tilts his head back towards the menu.

Twyla grins before leaving as fast as she had arrived.

Patrick shakes his head, thinking between Ray and Twyla, Schitt’s Creek must have the market cornered on overly cheerful people.

As his eyes bounce around the overwhelming choices, a cacophony of sound comes from the doors of the cafe. Patrick tries to find the least offensive item before Twyla reappears, settling on a BLT. Glancing up over the edge of the menu, Patrick’s eyes boggle in his head.

It’s him.

David.

He is with another woman who is wearing a large hat, sundress, and heels that look more suited for a fashion runway. They seem to be disagreeing about something, but all Patrick can feel is the blood pulsing in his ears. He had prepared himself to see David again at the library, but not for this.

They slip into the booth with the man and the woman that were already seated, David’s back towards Patrick. He now can see the resemblance and they must be his parents, and he is guessing his sister with how the dynamic is continuing to play out. Definitely not a girlfriend or something along those lines. Patrick notices the profile of David’s father, and then the familiarity hits him.

David.

Rose.

Oh god.

Patrick feels like he is buffering while staring at David’s broad shoulders, covered in a black sweater with a metallic geometric pattern which Patrick wants to trace with his fingers. Shaking out of that thought, his brain makes the connection that this is that Rose Family, of Rose Video.

It was Patrick’s high school job that he loved so much, where he’d often find himself renting the same few movies with his employee pass, action, spy, and even some thrillers with tall, dark, and handsome male leads, watching them in the rec room long after his parents went to bed on the weekends. He used to be so excited to work with Arman, a year older than Patrick who lived in the next town over. They’d spend slow Sunday afternoon shifts laughing about the most ridiculous video cover art, sharing the nearly expired snacks they had to damage out from the inventory, and chatting about anything. Now with what Patrick knew about himself, he realized his evenings and weekends at branch #785 revealed a lot about him that he had only recently come to fully understand.

Regardless, he had heard what had happened to Rose Video. His mom saw the story in the paper and mentioned it to him, bringing back all the fond high school memories while he was secretly battling the stress of Rachel dropping engagement hints at the time. Patrick remembered images of Johnny Rose from the Rose Video promotional and training materials. A little more gray now, Patrick had admired the business-savvy-yet-friendly charm Mr. Rose seemed to exude and how well the company treated employees. Besides his dad, Patrick had been influenced by Rose Video to get his business minor in the long run in case some entrepreneurial inspiration struck. At the very least, it had given him an edge with many of the financial administration tasks in his librarian career.

“Did you decide what you wanted?” Twyla pops up out of nowhere again and startles Patrick. Unphased, she jots down his order before sliding over to the Roses. Patrick now realizes he doesn’t have the mammoth menu to hide behind, but glancing at the booth in front of him, sees an abandoned Elmdale Chronicle which he scurries to grab. He can see the younger woman’s hat tilt up and as she looks at him briefly. As he settles back in, he hopes that he doesn’t draw too much attention to himself, even though he would be content with just staring at the back of David’s head.

By the time his fairly palatable looking sandwich arrives, it seems the Roses are ready to head off, David and his sister only stopping for a beverage and conversation. Patrick observes David sneak the last sip of his coffee, long neck stretching backwards, leaving Patrick to think about what it would be like to kiss a man—no, kiss David—from his Adam’s apple up to his jaw.

To feel the prickle of that five o’clock shadow under his lips.

To be the one that has to lean upwards so that he can part David’s lips with his tongue.

Patrick is suddenly very grateful he is sitting in a booth with no need to get up at the moment. This is going to take some getting used to. He grabs his water and quickly drains half the glass before he starts picking at the fries that came along with his meal.

Patrick watches David and his family saunter out of the cafe, waving goodbye to Twyla. David bends his arm for his mother, who wraps her hand around his elbow while he calls out questions to his sister walking ahead. They are an experience he could watch for hours. And just like on Monday at the library, that deep flutter of warmth resettles at a higher temperature now behind Patrick’s ribcage.

Chapter Text

Patrick keeps himself busy the rest of the weekend, the spark of seeing David in person and getting out and about igniting him a bit. Before he knows it, another Monday has arrived. A misty and cool day, some families are already enjoying the children’s section soon after Patrick unlocks the doors. Edie is coming in a little later due to a doctor’s appointment, so Patrick gets to work on Sunday’s returns and pulls up a stool so he can look over his paperwork at the front desk.

Patrick only has to stop a few times to check out some patrons and assist others. While he is mindlessly arranging his notes for the system-wide administration staff meeting at the end of the week, a name and a voice bring him quickly back to reality.

“Ugh, David. Haven’t you ever heard of ladies first?!”

Patrick’s eyes stay on the screen, but he can feel the hairs on the back of his neck rise as David and his sister come into his field of view as they enter the building.

“Alexis, it’s a library, be quiet! And you were walking too slow!” David hisses out as they start to trot to the far side of the space towards non-fiction. Patrick generally assesses that Alexis is in some flouncy dress, but he gulps when David comes into view with white jeans, silver embellished high-top sneakers, and a tight gray animal print sweater that helps to accentuate the curvature of David’s shoulders and back. Patrick’s eyes bounce between the words on the screen and the spectacle that is the Rose siblings in front of him.

As David and Alexis meander around the shelves, attempting to talk in hushed voices, Patrick clamps his lips to stop from laughing at them. David is obviously determined to find something in particular, while Alexis is unsuccessfully assisting. Everytime she makes a suggestion, David’s eyebrows, mouth, or hands gesture in a way that telegraphs exactly what he is thinking, and it appears to not be positive.

“Ahem.” Patrick hears to the side and as he turns his head, he sees it’s Mrs. McGilliam, all four foot ten of her, patiently waiting with her weekly stack of cookbooks. Patrick gives her a closed mouth smile, trying to ignore the monochrome and flowery flashes still happening in the back of the library.

Patrick dutifully scans each of her selections and helps her place them back into a well-worn tote bag. Finishing the transaction, Patrick’s eyes widen as he sees Alexis approach with David behind her, hot on her very high heels. Alexis stops behind Mrs. McGilliam, smiling at Patrick as she towers over the elderly lady. David is standing next to her acting very fidgety as he crosses and uncrosses his arms, and looks around the library, specifically not at Patrick.

“See you next week, Mrs. M,” Patrick says as he slides the totebag off the counter, braces his hands on the edge, and prepares for whatever the Roses have for him. He can feel his heart thumping wildly as Alexis bounces up towards him.

“Hello! My brother here is looking for some books and we just can’t seem to find what he wants and figured you could help! Oh, and I am Alexis by the way.” She indicates to the golden ‘A’ necklace on her chest. Patrick pointedly doesn’t cast his eyes downward to look at it and instead glances at David.

“Hi Alexis. I’m Patrick. And what sort of books does your brother...” Patrick pauses and looks back at David, stopping himself before he acts like a real creep, already knowing his name.

“David, this is David.” Alexis tilts her head back in David’s direction.

“Okay, Alexis, I think we can leave him alone. I am sure there are more important people that can use Patrick’s help.” David looks at Patrick as if he wants the earth to open up and swallow him whole versus listening to his sister for a minute more.

“Well, as you can see, I am just overrun with patrons today.” Patrick gestures towards the empty space around the front desk and watches as David’s eyebrows jump up at his bit of trolling. “So David, what can I help you find?” Patrick fist pumps in his head as he manages to get through that sentence without his voice cracking even though it feels like his heart is trying to escape through his throat. He continues to look at David, even though he can tell Alexis is trying to wink badly at him.

As Patrick comes around to the front of the desk, he sees David’s mouth start to open while Alexis’ eyes narrow. Before David can explain, she steps in front of him and blurts out, “You look sort of familiar. Doesn’t he, David? You didn’t used to live in New York did you? Or maybe Luxembourg, say in 2011?”

“Um, no, I just grew up in a small town about 4 hours away, and college in London.”

“Oh maybe that’s where! What neighborhood did you live in? Our parents had a place in Belgravia.”

“Uh, I mean London, Ontario… at Western.”

“Oh.” Alexis continues to ruminate.

Patrick steps to the side of Alexis so he can see David better “So what kind of books are you looking for, David?”

“Um, business. Like, starting your own business.”

Patrick smiles at his luck. “Well, you’ve come to the right place. Follow me.”

Patrick confidently leads David as well as Alexis back to the general area that David was in last week and where they were circling today, measuring his breaths now when David can’t see.

“So, we have some books on entrepreneurship, startups, online businesses, business marketing, and some more.” Patrick gestures to the shelves. “Any one of those areas in particular stand out as to where you’d like to start?”

“Oooh David, business marketing! Maybe they have something about influencers!” Alexis ducks around David to peer at the shelf, getting so close to Patrick, he steps back.

Oh my god, Alexis. I think the children’s section is calling your name!” David huffs out while mouthing a “sorry” to Patrick.

“Fine, David. I was just trying to help! See if next time American Girl Magazine wants to feature me like they did in 1998 if I even mention you!” Alexis flips her hair and heads off to the current events and biography display.

“I’m so sorry. If she hadn’t already signed out our family car for the day to go to Elmdale, I would have left her at home.”

Patrick smiles, “No problem. I think she was trying to help in her own way. Anything strike your fancy?”

“Hmm, I am sort of starting from the beginning. Looking into retail. Maybe I should have done some research first before taking so much of your time. I grabbed a book last week, but it was more historical than instructional.” Patrick has a front row seat to the David Rose face journey experience, and he couldn’t be more charmed.

“This is what I am here for. I am actually the interim head librarian until Rishika comes back in a couple months, but I also have a business background.”

“You do? That is quite the combination.”

Patrick gives David the elevator pitch version of his education and experience, but leaves out his living with Ray, and the whole ex-fiancee situation, as he scans the bookshelves for things David might find helpful.

“I have recommended this before and people say it is very helpful for managing potential pitfalls.” Patrick hands David a copy of Founder’s Dilemma. “Flip through it and see if you think that might be along the lines of what you are looking for.”

David leans his back against the opposite side of the aisle as Patrick crouches down to check the bottom shelf. His eyes stop suddenly when the name in bright red font on the binding pops out.

Johnny Rose.

By the time Patrick was working at Rose Video, there had been two or three editions of Fast Forward to Success released. Most of the other employees joked about the dusty copies that were in the break room with Mr. Rose’s dated hairstyle, but Patrick had skimmed through it a time or two on slow days and it was quite interesting how Mr. Rose had achieved his goals. Though the last thing Patrick wants, knowing the Roses' history and probably why David was here instead of asking his successful businessman father about his potential new adventure, is to have David see this now.

Patrick turns to look over his shoulder only to see David bumble the book and try to quickly refocus on the page in front of him. Was David checking him out? He’d have to file that away for later.

“So, how is that one?” Patrick says as he stands.

David is carding efficiently through the pages, but doesn’t look up at Patrick, “Hmmm, yes, good so far.”

Patrick spots another title just next to David. “You might get a lot from this one too, if you are looking for some ground floor ideas.” Patrick pulls Retail 101 from the shelf and passes David the paperback. “If you don’t mind me asking, what sort of retail business are you looking at starting?” While Patrick would like to stand directly next to David, his father’s book shines like a beacon to him, so he moves slightly to the left so his legs cover its location.

“Well, I noticed there are a lot of great products made locally. Things like wine and food, skincare, or home products. Way better than some brands I used to spend ridiculous amounts of money on. These independent makers really only sell at local artisan markets during holidays and the summer, and most don’t have the time or knowledge to sell online either. So, I want to bring them all together. It would be like my brand, but they would produce the products under consignment as a part of it, I think. I am still considering all my options since I know, like, nothing, obviously.” David’s voice trails off as he looks at the back cover of the book that Patrick handed him.

As if Patrick isn’t taken by the thoughtful way that David appreciates the vendors and their crafts, he is very intrigued by his proposal. “I wouldn’t say that at all David. It sounds like you know a lot, and it is a very inventive idea. Sounds like a great, sustainable business model.”

David’s eyes sparkle at Patrick’s compliment before transitioning into a roll, seemingly not wanting to let Patrick’s sincerity sink in too deeply, “Well, like I said, I’ve just considered it. I worked in someone else's store recently before it closed and I got a taste for it. But anyway, I am just surprised my vulture of a sister is leaving us alone.”

Patrick leans around the endcap to see Alexis and the newly-arrived Edie gossiping in the celebrity biographies section. “I think she has found a way to entertain herself, and my clerk.” Patrick's body reacts to David’s presence as he steps behind him. The scent of David’s cologne wafts over Patrick’s shoulder as he also looks towards the two women. Patrick takes a shuddery breath in, trying to hold his shoulders steady, savoring the moment. David being so close is intoxicating and he can’t believe he has missed this feeling all his life.

“She can always draw a crowd.” David's voice tickles just behind Patrick’s ear. Before Patrick has to hit the panic button and run towards his office, Alexis’ sixth sense catches them watching. She air kisses each side of Edie’s cheek before floating back towards them.

“David, we’ve got to go! I promised Ted I’d pick his delivery up by 1. Patrick, it’s been a pleasure.” Alexis holds out her hand limply, so Patrick barely grasps her fingers and minutely shakes them before she starts heading for the door.

“I can check those out for you, if you still want them?” Patrick says.

“Yes, um, please, Thank you for the suggestions,” David says, looking at the books in his hand as Patrick leads them towards the front. Edie waves at them both as she restocks the books that she had been looking at with Alexis.

David removes a thin wallet from his pocket, holding out his library card. As Patrick reaches for it, their fingertips touch, sending an actual zing of electricity up Patrick’s arm. His eyes shoot up to look at David and it seems like he isn’t alone in that feeling.

“The cafe! That is where I recognize you from!” Alexis’ outburst startles both David and Patrick out of the moment as their heads sharply turn towards her.

With the connection gone and after sucking in half a breath, Patrick quickly scans David’s card and both books, looking at the computer to help steady himself versus letting either of them read his face too closely, “Uh yeah, Cafe Tropical? I stopped by the other day for an early lunch.”

Shyly looking back up at David as he places his card on top of the two books and hands it all back to him, Patrick smiles at David as Alexis continues to talk. David smiles back, before closing his eyes in annoyed resignation. “Ok, Alexis, again, we’re in a library!” he shout-whispers.

“Bye, David.”

“Goodbye, Patrick.”

~~~

After the rest of the evening staff leave and before the janitors come through, Patrick has one more thing to do before closing up. He wanders back to the non-fiction, reliving the late morning. Patrick crouches down, thinking back to David possibly looking him up and down in that position. Realistically, people probably give him a once over now and then. He usually feels pretty plain and inconspicuous, but how he tried to carry himself around David, even though nervous, made him feel more confident and sure of himself than he had in a long time. It just never occurred to Patrick to pay attention until now, when the one person he wants to notice him might actually have.

Patrick grabs Fast Forward to Success and tucks it under his arm. He had already checked it out manually before he shut the computers off. Whistling to himself, he heads out the employee entrance into the crisp September night.

Once home, Patrick watches a baseball game as Ray is at one of his many social gatherings for the evening, but he can tell he is having a hard time concentrating. Hoping to avoid his roommate's return, Patrick heads upstairs early. Fresh out of the shower and now in bed, he cracks open the book, reading the dedication with a smile.

To my greatest successes:

David and Alexis

After finishing the first chapter, Patrick closes the book and lets it lean on his chest. Who knew it would take David’s dad to continue to push Patrick in the direction he had always been headed.

Trust Your Instincts.

Chapter Text

Patrick spent the following days feeling like he was walking on clouds. Edie didn’t say anything about the colorful Rose siblings, but Patrick did notice her smiling wistfully at him a time or two. With Monday an early afternoon close, Patrick saw that the weather was clearing up, so he hustled home to change for a hike, his fastest climb yet. He texted Ray that he was going to grab a pizza and beers and they enjoyed a nice night chatting and eventually watching a movie, building their tentative friendship. Patrick felt energized and somewhat centered for the first time in a very long while.

It isn’t until the next morning, before you could even call it bright and early, that some of his anxieties come creeping in after he wakes, drenched in sweat from a foggy, stressful nightmare, one of those where he can’t remember the plot, but he knows deep down it was not good. As he tries to calm down, every single worry in Patrick’s brain starts bouncing around, led by the one asking if David is even attracted to men.

Everyone had assumed Patrick was straight, and look at where that left him! He feels he shouldn’t make the same assumptions. Even so, that doesn’t mean someone like David, worldly, gorgeous, and probably with his pick of partners, would ever want anything to do with a plain, boring librarian like him. Patrick’s mind flashes back to where he thought he caught David checking him out, but that could have been a fluke. How can Patrick ‘trust his instincts’ when they seemed so misguided for most of his life?

Patrick also didn’t know how he’d see David again. He might come back to the library, but what if he hated Patrick’s selections? He can imagine David sending Alexis in to get more books, just to avoid a repeat interaction. Also seeing them together made Patrick realize that if he is ever going to broach anything more in depth than the library's circulation catalog, he is going to have to do it without David’s sister flittering about.

The only thing that grounds Patrick in this frantic, sleepy moment is the thought of David himself. He starts envisioning those broad shoulders in eclectic sweaters and the tufts of hair on the back of David’s hands. Then there is everything from the cute mole on his chin, those plush lips that move in every which way, and the conjuring of what David was wearing under those skin tight white jeans that flip like a highlight reel through Patrick’s mind.

For someone who thought they were “not really into sex”, Patrick’s body sure has a funny way of showing it now. Without even a second thought, his hand is drawn over top of his thin pajamas, his cock slowly waking up. The anxiety from the dream morphed into nervous contemplation to now, a pressing want that is making itself quite known. Patrick clumsily stuffs his hand down the front of the pants, his thumb catching when he can’t wait a minute longer until he encircles the warm weight of himself with his fingers.

And it isn’t just David’s looks, as amazing as they are, that are getting Patrick there. Looking towards the window, just below the curtain to see the edge of blue light creeping in on the horizon, he thinks of David’s quick words, well considered business ideas, and bravery in the face of all that his family had gone through. Just in the short time that Patrick had observed David in person, he can tell that he is authentically himself, but he obviously suffers from a lack of comfort around being as vulnerable as he craves with his nervous habits and shrinking confidence. Patrick wants David to know that he would do anything in his power to make space in the world for him, for him to realize what it is like to have someone care about you and your ideas as they are, not trying to fix or take credit for, but support and uplift.

In the gauzy minutes that follow, Patrick strokes the wetness from his slit downward, letting his head sink into his pillow while he gives into his deepest fantasies. Though he has only recently embraced the desires now pressing at the forefront of his consciousness, if he is being truthful, they have always been underlying. The only difference is that they now have taken on a more concrete and tangible form. Rings on precise fingers and raven hair, long legs and colorful conversations, five o’clock shadow and a tall silhouette surround him, causing Patrick to throw his mouth into the crook of his elbow as he comes with a shout.

~~~

After the rest of the week follows unassumingly, Patrick travels to Elmwood for his administrative meeting on Friday morning. He shares his monthly update and everyone seems impressed with some of the subtle changes Patrick had implemented and even a project he suggested. Not needing to be at the library until 1pm, Patrick heads back through Schitt’s Creek for lunch and to get a head start on some quarterly tax prep for Ray after the meeting concludes early. Patrick makes a simple ham and cheese sandwich and settles in at his desk to eat and look up all the forms he will need to print for Ray.

About fifteen minutes into his Canadian Revenue Service website deep-dive, there is a knock on the door. Ray mentioned he was going to show a house on the far side of the county in the morning like most Fridays, but he didn’t usually schedule any appointments until after 2pm. Patrick wipes his mouth on a napkin before swinging open the front door, only to be confronted with David Rose. Once again, Patrick realizes the vision of David in his head is no comparison to real life. Patrick slowly takes in David wearing combat-style boots, skirted pants, and a black sweater with thick and thin gray crosshatches accentuating each angle and curve. It’s sexy, defensive, and alluring all at the same time.

“David, hi,” Patrick breathes out, trying not to let his excitement overwhelm either of them.

“Hi, Patrick. Uh, what are you doing here...at Ray’s?” David holds the fingers of one hand in his other, his eyebrows trying to meet in the middle of his forehead. Patrick just wishes it was easier to see if David was as thrilled as he was to see him again. The fact that he remembers Patrick’s name is enough to hold him over for now.

“Oh, I live here. Ray is my landlord-slash-roommate. I had a library meeting at another branch, so I came back for lunch. Did you want to come in?” Patrick nearly trips backwards over the entry mat making room for David.

David gingerly steps inside far enough for Patrick to shut the door. “Ray told me to come by ‘anytime’ to see him about what sort of paperwork I needed. Business paperwork.”

“Ah. Ray’s off at a house showing last I knew, but he starts chatting and the whole schedule gets thrown off, you know.” Patrick wants to lead David further into the house, but doesn’t dare turn his back on him lest he disappears.

“I guess I should have called first. I can let you be and come back another time.” David turns to grab the doorknob to exit.

“I could help you, David,” Patrick’s brain supplies as David freezes in place. Regardless of whatever appointment Ray had with him, Patrick wasn’t about to look this gift in the mouth. He also felt he probably had a better chance of not annoying David than Ray did.

Anticipating David’s next response, Patrick follows up with “It’s no bother. I’ve started doing some business consulting on the side,” Truth be told, Patrick’s only consultancy had been setting up a computer, internet, and business software for Mr. Hockley Greenhouse, but it was a start. He had done a lot with his dad and for Ray, so he was pretty comfortable with all areas, especially initial paperwork.

“Um, ok,” David answers tentatively, as he follows Patrick back towards his desk and sits in the office chair facing it. Patrick gets out a new file folder and pen as David crosses and uncrosses those long legs.

“So, business paperwork, that is exciting.” Patrick watches as David’s eyes refocus on him after bouncing around at the various posters and knick-knacks cluttering Ray’s downstairs.

“Yeah, so, I have a verbal agreement in place with the town for the old general store, for a lease.” David nervously bites his lip which Patrick has to consciously look away from.

“Across from the cafe? That seems like a great place,” Patrick takes some notes to look into the town leasing codes and any other history he could find on the building.

“Well, it’s not exactly a booming commercial real estate market, and I figure the center of town is probably the best place to be.” David’s lips roll in on themselves, halting any more self deprecation from leaping out.

“It sounds perfect for your vision, and if you’d like anyone to look over the lease agreement, I’d be happy to, if you’d want. I know your dad…”

“My dad isn’t involved in my business dealings. There was enough of that in the past,” David replies curtly.

Patrick can obviously tell he has hit a sore spot, watching David’s shoulders hunch and his mouth crinkle in on itself. He put the offer out there, so it seems best to leave this portion of the discussion be.

“Okay, so the main thing you’d need to get started is incorporating your business, which is a pretty straightforward process. Then you can apply for any other licenses or tax IDs.” Patrick gets up and pulls a couple additional provincial forms out of the filing cabinet and hands them to David. His demeanor hadn’t seemed to change since the discussion about his dad, his eyes racing across the words and bylaws on the page.

Patrick leans forward and takes the copies back from David with a smile before picking his pen back up. He shuffles through to find the incorporation form first, setting the others aside.

“So let’s start with the name of the business...”

After some bumbling and oscillating, Patrick transforms a veritable “word vomit of ideas” as David puts it into the beginning stages of his business, which David is 87% sure will be named Rose Apothecary. There are still some things that David will have to decide, and Patrick gives him some suggestions about where the money from the Blouse Barn would best be spent to start out. Outside of some strategically placed post-it arrows and a small list of notes, David is well on the way to completing his introductory information on his own. David obviously had done some serious research and taken those books to heart, and Patrick is even more impressed with the foundation he had set.

David places everything in the folder that Patrick gives him, glancing fondly before he closes the cover. This could be where Patrick just casually asks David out for drinks, or tea, or dinner. He can pretend he has asked a hundred men out for a date before instead of only being with the same girlfriend for over a decade plus a handful of other women who initiated contact.

Easy.

Simple.

“Well, thank you for your help Patrick. I hope I didn’t take up too much of your lunch or make you late for work. I better get out of your hair now.” David quickly stands, gripping the folder to his chest, and pivoting towards the door before Patrick can get the gumption to inquire about a more personal meetup.

“David, wait.” Patrick is minorly stunned when David’s face, lit with the mid afternoon light coming through the window, turns back to him, so much less worried and stressed than earlier.

“Just in case, if you have any other questions.” Patrick fumbles in the desk drawer for one of Ray’s appointment cards. He turns it over and writes his first and last name and number. “Interim Librarian and business consultants without a business card,” he smiles as he hands it to David. “That’s my cell. Feel free to call or text.”

Patrick extends the glossy cardstock, and just like with the library card, a jolt passes between their bodies as their fingers touch. Patrick can hear a short huff of an inhale from David as he pulls back. Before either of them can say anything, the sound of Ray bumbling through the front door, talking to someone on the phone, comes flooding in from the foyer.

“You’ve already done so much, probably more than you needed. But thank you, Patrick.” David looks at Patrick’s printing, running his thumb over Patrick’s name before he slides it into his back pocket, gives Patrick a small smile, and leaves Ray’s as quickly as he had arrived.

Patrick has about ten more minutes before he has to get on the road to the library, so he lets himself fall back into the desk chair, unable to contain the smile that blooms across his face. He exhales as he feels the reverberations of being in David’s presence wash over him, before Ray bursts his little bubble.

Chapter Text

Patrick tries to reign in his feelings over the next couple of days, but as someone who is normally very even keeled and focused, he feels like a lovesick teenager constantly thinking back over the thirty minutes he and David spent together hashing out the beginnings of David’s next life step. He also finds himself a little too eager when it comes to checking his messages, to the point of being disappointed when his mom sends a text, and not David, whose contact information is now in Patrick's phone, for business purposes taken from the intake form Ray provides, of course.

Monday and Tuesday are slow, and Patrick is grateful because there is a lot on his work ‘to do’ list. One of the initiatives he presented at the meeting on Friday was a system wide plan to increase diversity through both library circulation purchases as well as highlighting marginalized groups and authors in displays, usually by celebrating recognized heritage months. The head of the Elms Library System had emailed him back right after his meeting while he was with David and asked him to try his idea in the Elmdale-Schitt’s Creek branch right away. If it happened that October and Canada’s LGBT History Month were upcoming, it would just be a happy coincidence for the recently-out Patrick.

He wants to make sure to provide something with both breadth and depth to appeal to all, so he has to remind himself that not only is his realization of his sexuality new, but this project is, so he doesn’t need to overthink each decision and that it is something for the library system to hopefully build upon. However, being a bit of an overachiever means Patrick is off to the races as soon as he receives the go-ahead.

Patrick had been researching some other library systems who had successfully implemented like-minded activities around Pride in June and LGBT History Month, but is not one hundred percent sure what will make the most impact in the Schitt’s Creek area. There is Drag Queen Reading Hours, teen focused education including book clubs and inviting the queer youth services to put on a fun event, and even organzing a reading challenge with prizes for all ages. Patrick first wanted to tackle the display of materials; books, music, movies, and more representing LGBT History, authors, and creators, which was going to be his pièce de résistance in the middle of the main floor.

He had already bookmarked about fifteen “LGBTQ2S authors/books you should know” lists, but it is overwhelming. With some of his university connections, Patrick sought out funding to fill gaps in his branch’s catalog, especially representing BIPOC writers and feels that he is at least making some headway. He does not want to throw all the books out haphazardly, so he has been keeping notes for display information he could include. Edie, with her usual quiet support, has been taking over some additional small duties when she sees the work and extra hours Patrick is putting in without question.

It is a text message on Thursday morning that shakes Patrick out of his laser focus. As he tries to decide which James Baldwin books he is going to put in the display first, his back pocket vibrates multiple times in quick succession. Thinking that it is probably Ray asking for suggestions on what font to use on his latest business pamphlet, he sucks in air with a bit of surprise when he sees David’s name pop up on his notifications.

 

David Rose: Hi David, it’s Patrick.

oh god, it’s David. You know what I mean.

I wanted to thank you again for all your help last week.

I think I have almost everything filled out now.

 

Patrick chuckles at David’s mixup, imagining the face David is probably making at his phone right now, but sees the three dots pop back up and does not want to interrupt.

 

David Rose: I was wondering if I could return the favor and bring you some lunch?

I have to return those books I took out last time, and I had one last question on the Tax ID form.

I don’t even know if you’re free today.

I realize it is already 11, maybe you’re busy…

 

Patrick feels his eyes widen and that familiar warmth growing again near his solar plexus. He takes a breath and tries to respond quickly.

 

Patrick Brewer: Hi David. Happy I could help

I can definitely answer any questions with that tax form.

There is no obligation, but that is really nice of you.

My lunch today isn’t until 12:30, but we have some picnic tables out back if you want to join me?

I am not a picky eater, so whatever you pick up is going to be better than the salad and apple I have!

 

Patrick sets his phone down on the desk, feeling his knee bounce nervously. Was he too forward? Did David just want to drop lunch and the books plus give the excuse of needing help before going on his merry way? How was Patrick going to have any appetite to eat in front of David?

The screen goes dark before any more messages come through, and even though it has only been a minute, Patrick’s stomach flips. Mercifully, another notification appears.

 

David Rose: Sure, as long as I am not intruding on your lunch hour. I’ll see you at 12:30.

 

Patrick can feel his face warm as he tries not to break out in a full, dopey smile, even in the privacy of his office.

 

Patrick Brewer: Happy to have company. I will see you then.

 

Patrick looks up at the clock to see it is now quarter past eleven. The next hour and fifteen minutes are going to be the slowest of his life, he figures. He knows he is at his best when he is working, so he decides to make the most of the time and plow head first into more of his featured book display. He assembles a list of works and authors he knows are already in the stacks after cross referencing with the catalog, grabs a cart after he sees that Edie has the front under control, and gets to work.

He makes it through the children and young adult sections, marking down some backup options to replace items that are hopefully checked out before he heads to fiction, trying to visualize how it will all come together. Patrick crouches down to read the back cover of one of the WWII era queer period novels he is considering when he suddenly feels eyes on him.

“Hi Patrick.” And even with a softer tone, there is no hiding David’s voice.

Patrick turns in his current position to see David’s ankles, the tanned skin framed by his white sneakers and ankle cut black jeans. He pops upwards, holding back his grin at David, today dressed in a mostly black sweater, a swath of white outlined birds making its way from one hip towards the opposite shoulder.

“David, hi. I guess time got away from me.” Patrick bashfully taps the book on his palm before placing it onto the cart and sees David’s eyes follow to scan his collection thus far.

“If this is a bad time…” David points to the door, showing his teeth in dramaticized awkwardness, pulling the tote bag he is carrying back up his shoulder.

“No!” Patrick says too loudly. There is no way he is letting David out of his sight now. “No, I just lost track of time with this new project I am putting together. Now is perfect.”

“Shhhhh!”

Their heads snap to the side only to see some college freshman hunched over a calculus book, giving them the stink eye before turning back to their graphing calculator.

Patrick blushes slightly from the shock of being lambasted by a teenager as well as how David’s head rears back and his brow furrows in astonishment.

“We better head out before we cause more trouble. I just need to drop this cart off.” Patrick slowly starts to push the cart towards the front desk as David walks parallel to him, peering back at the shusher to make sure they aren't going to make any more comments. Patrick pinches his lips together to keep from outright giggling at David’s endearing response.

Edie is finishing checking out a patron, her face lighting up when she sees the pair approach.

“David, is it? Tell your sister hello and that I definitely enjoyed that book she recommended.” Edie glances between both of their faces with an overenthusiastic smile as Patrick places the cart out of the way.

“I can only imagine what Alexis would share, but I will. Nice to see you too.” David pulls the two business books he needed to return from his tote and places them on the counter.

“We’re just going to have lunch out back, Edie. Call my cell if you need anything?”

“Oh yes, yes. You boys have a lovely lunch. Take as long as you need, Patrick. See you soon, David!” Edie goes to reshelve the recent returns, her head on a swivel to admire the two men. Patrick is starting to wonder if books were the only thing Alexis spoke to Edie about last time.

“Well, shall we?” Patrick gestures towards the hallway to the side that leads to the back parking lot. They walk silently down the echoing space and Patrick pushes the door open, holding it for David who tips his chin downward with a smile. There are a few picnic tables on a patch of grass across the asphalt driveway that leads to the receiving and service areas of the library and where the Bookmobile and employee parking is.

Patrick leads them to the table furthest from the doors, tucked to the side around some of the memorial saplings that have been placed around the property. The light breeze bends the tall grasses surrounding the lawn, and Patrick admires how David’s hair doesn’t give in to the wind like the foliage. Patrick is thankful it is a mostly cloudy and cooler day so he doesn’t have to squint to take in all that is David or that the heat will chase them from being outside.

David removes a couple bottles of water, a small brown bag and two wrapped items in a plastic bag, placing one in front of Patrick.

“This doesn’t look like it’s from Cafe Tropical.” Patrick’s stomach rumbles in agreement as he pulls the paper away to find a delicious looking sandwich on focaccia bread.

“Uh yeah, I had to run into Elm Falls, so I stopped at Maestro’s. I went with the Italian Chicken Cutlet sandwich for you, I hope that is okay. We can always trade. I just did a Caprese.” David deftly takes his food out as Patrick digs in.

A throaty moan escapes from Patrick at his first delicious taste. “This is the best thing I have had in a very long time, wow.” David holds out a napkin, the corner of his mouth bending upwards at Patrick’s reaction. There is however a pang of disappointment that the napkin is too big for their hands to touch. Patrick feels ridiculous and slightly out of control at such an emotion, but he is grateful that he is finally feeling something for once compared to the muted indifference he thought was normal for so long.

Patrick takes another bite and chews as he observes David lean uncomfortably over the table and folded deli paper, ever aware of not spilling on his clothing. Uncapping his water and taking a swig, Patrick warms with the thought of sharing more than just one meal with this man. Both caught up in the food and company, they enjoy the comfortable silence as they polish off the sandwiches.

Patrick gathers up their garbage into the plastic bag, mentally considering if he should ask a more casual question or see what David needs help with on the tax form.

“Cookie?” David holds out the brown baggie that was apparently holding dessert when big fat raindrops start to descend from the dark cloud that snuck up on them. Patrick watches as David's face transforms from serene into horror.

Patrick quickly pats the pockets of his jeans, “Oh shit, I don’t have my scan tag on me,” realizing he only has his basic set of interior work keys after he emptied his usually overloaded pockets before David was to arrive. In a panic as David looks down at his sweater and tries to cover his hair with his hand, Patrick jumps up from the table and glances at the Bookmobile, the small converted RV that was going to Schitt’s Creek Elementary tomorrow.

“C’mon, it will take too long to get back to the front door!” Patrick grips the garbage threatening to blow away while David collects his tote bag, and the men make a run for it under the unfurled awning of the RV that had been drying out after maintenance cleaned it on their stop earlier this morning.

Both slightly out of breath from the surprise and exertion, they watch as the heavy shower turns into an intense downpour. David slides closer to Patrick as the rain starts to sheet off of the woven covering, coming inward towards his shoes, their patch of dry pavement decreasing. The awning might as well be the size of a mini umbrella for how close it feels David is to him, the now-familiar scent of his cologne mixing with the fresh scent of rain circling around Patrick as his eyes catch David ghosting his hands over his hair to make sure it stayed in place.

“This doesn’t look like it is going to let up soon.” David makes a cursory attempt to bend in order to peek at the clouds, pulling back and nearly bumping into Patrick after the small glimpse he got of the sky.

“Uh yeah, sorry about that. I should have looked at the radar first.” Patrick rubs the wetness and embarrassment from the back of his neck, thinking that he has probably ruined any chance of things with David after this.

“Well, let’s just say I’ve gotten better at handling surprises since coming to Schitt’s Creek. Not your fault.”

Even though he had a pretty good idea of the answer, Patrick decides to push forward. “How long have you lived here?”

“Um, a little over a year and a half? I used to live in New York and Toronto, and travel a lot. My situation was...a bit different.” Patrick’s peripheral vision catches David anxiously playing with the rings on his hands.

“Uh yeah,” Patrick says with a little laugh. “So I, uh, used to work for Rose Video. In high school.”

“Oh,”

“When Alexis mentioned seeing me at the Cafe, I recognized your dad there. He was actually one of the reasons I did a business concentration along with my library and information sciences degree.”

“Yeah, well. The business thing… that’s why we are here, but you might already know about that.” Patrick can feel David trying to shrivel up onto himself. He is almost afraid David will try to make a run from the uncomfortable conversation, forgoing his concern for his sweater and hairdo.

Touching his pocket, Patrick remembers the keys he had attached to this ring this morning after maintenance left, and has an idea to break the tension. The cheap fabric overhang is becoming no match for the ever increasing precipitation, the interior seams starting to bulge and drip closer to them from the deluge. This lunch can’t go any more sideways than it already has, so Patrick takes a gamble.

“Do you want to go inside the Bookmobile?”

Chapter Text

Patrick faces the interior door of the Bookmobile, securing it shut from the storm after letting David enter first. He gives himself a moment to try and hide his shaky breath before flicking on the light switch. As he turns, the shaded fluorescent lights along the ceiling hum to life, creating a homey glow along with the pale yellow walls in the small space.

He watches as David looks down at his outfit, seemingly satisfied that he did not get too wet before he takes in their new surroundings. Patrick is grateful that David doesn’t seem upset about the weather’s interruption and that he didn’t balk at Patrick's suggestion, agreeing quickly with a slight head nod.

“I’ve never been in here before.” David’s eyes peruse the books in front of him before his hand runs along the side of one of the bookshelves. “These built-ins are quite nice.”

“Yeah, some local woodworker customized the system at cost a couple years ago and there was an anonymous donation from a Schitt’s Creek resident to cover that and the maintenance, so it is housed at this location mainly. It’s a great asset for a rural library system.”

“This woodworker wouldn’t be named Jake, would they?” David turns to look at Patrick with a raised eyebrow before flipping through some of the paperbacks.

“Yes, that’s him. Are you familiar with his work?” Patrick tries to look casual, content to observe David, leaning against the small checkout counter behind the driver’s seat of the RV.

David snorts out a laugh. “Yeah, I guess you can say that. He knows what he is doing and I am glad to see his generosity...extended in this way.”

Patrick isn’t sure how to follow up when it seems there is part of the story he is missing out on, so he just hums in the affirmative. David heads further back into the vehicle and Patrick is captivated by the graceful way he moves. The back of David’s sweater is solid black, so he is set off by the natural wood and cool lighting. To some, David would look like he is out of place, but Patrick doesn’t know who would be able to focus on anything but David and his presence, regardless of the venue.

The sound of the heavy rain batters upon the metal roof and fills the silence as David makes it to the end of the displays. Patrick would be happy if a whole hurricane blew through so that he could stay in this little cocoon with David for an extended period of time, even if it is just to watch him look over the Bookmobile catalog.

“Can I ask you something?” David says suddenly, turning to look over his shoulder.

“Uh, of course.” Patrick’s people pleasing ways don’t let him hesitate for a second.

“I saw your cart. What you were working on inside when I showed up. Were you pulling stuff for a group or something in particular?” David’s questioning voice trails off as he picks up a book, too small for Patrick to see what it is from here, and cards through the pages.

“Uh, yeah. Well, it’s a project. I suggested it to the library system. A proposal to feature different underrepresented groups each month in a large display and also put money towards purchasing works from diverse authors that may be lacking in the catalog. Plus a component to reach out to community connections for events or networking.”

“Hmmm, and they were receptive to it?” David’s long fingers gently place the book he was looking at back as he turns his head to the opposite shelf, giving Patrick an exacting view of his perfect silhouette.

“Yes. I think I told you how I worked in a university system. I reached out to some former colleagues, got some more information and resources that hadn’t been tapped into yet for funding, which is always the biggest hurdle. I am sort of doing a pilot run.”

“Specifically for gay history?”

“Well, they liked my idea so much, they wanted me to do it right away, and with next month being October and LGBT History Month, it sort of worked out like that. Though I was planning on doing something on a smaller scale already for our branch on my own.”

“Seeing as it is your full time job, if you are anything as thorough as you were helping me with my business paperwork in a half an hour, then I am sure it will be a success.” David seems to make sure he was looking right at Patrick when he says that. All Patrick can do is respond with a smile as his brain tries to process David’s kind words.

“And do you have any favorites? That you are pulling for the display?” David is progressing back towards Patrick, crouching to look at a book here or pulling a binding out to read the back cover there.

“Uh, well, I have been going through some lists online, and googling, other research, and what I can get my hands on in time to order. I haven’t had a lot of personal free time to read as much as I would like, but there are a few on my list.” Patrick’s squeaks out.

“Are you interested in queer lit? I mean, outside of your project, is it an area of interest to you?” David’s voice is quiet, his eyes back to not meeting Patrick’s. Patrick feels his face warm, knowing that if David looks up right now, he would basically be a flashing neon sign of clueless babygay, a term which definitely defines him, but one he would gratefully take on.

“Um, well, as of recently, moreso, yes. Do- do you have anything you might recommend?” This was about as close as Patrick was going to get to “Hi, I think you might like men, and maybe, hopefully, me?” without completely embarrassing himself.

The truth is that it was books that had finally started Patrick on this journey of realizing who he really was. They were his first love, why he got into this profession in the first place, and they were the only solace during the lonely lunch hours in his car or the long nights of insomnia when he couldn’t figure out why things weren’t working with him and Rachel.

It was a weird coincidence how it all started. A book left mistakenly on his desk by a coworker that he often traded recommendations with. As he read the novel that night, he was taken into a world he had little perspective on. A relationship that just happened to be between two men, fighting for love, standing up to the world together, finding joy. While he felt he had always been open to writing from diverse viewpoints, Patrick realized that he didn’t actively search out LGBTQ2S literature. At first, he made it a professional mission to be more diverse, to seek out training, and to listen to the stakeholders at the university system.

When he found himself buying a copy of the book and re-reading the same passages over and over again, the prose from the narrator echoing deep within him, he thought maybe, just maybe, there was something more to this. From there, his reading snowballed and he finally believed he belonged somewhere, that people were writing what he thought, felt, and wanted from his life. The trail of online reading groups, articles, and more truly solidified that he couldn't marry Rachel for both of their sakes. And while many of his most favorite and impactful works were on the carefully organized spreadsheets for his display-to-be next month, he still knew he had more to learn and more perspectives that needed a spotlight, hence his comprehensive research.

But this wasn’t the time for Patrick to share his reading log, not with the look that David was giving him now.

Because it was David, in this little library in this small town, like that final piece of a puzzle when it locks securely into place, that had cemented things for Patrick.

David abandons the shelves, his chin set firmly as he gets closer to Patrick, stopping about two feet in front of him. Patrick’s arms tense up, his grip tightening on the edge of the counter as he lets himself be open to David’s face, taking all of him in and letting him know it.

“Yes, though when I was a curious teen knowing that I was not straight, the thought of queer books given promenance in an actual library, even in my circles, was just a fantasy. Plus all the YA novels now? And to have a whole month of activities, unabashedly out and in view of everyone?”

David pauses, his voice dropping almost to a whisper. “Patrick. Do you even know what that might mean to some kid? Or even someone from an older generation who felt they had to hide away? A parent with a trans child who wants to support them, but wasn’t raised to accept that? People are accepting here, but that doesn’t mean everyone is fully educated or sees themselves represented. You are going to make such a difference.”

“It’s nothing.” Patrick’s usual confidence has dried up and the tendency to brush things off and assume humbleness rattles through him like a flight or fight response. Though actually, he did know, because he was someone that had been changed. And if he could help one person in this small community with his project, that would be enough.

Patrick focuses on scraping his toe across the linoleum floor, too overwhelmed about what he might see if he looks back up and too afraid to crack a joke to diffuse the praise. As his body reacts to what is probably a rare moment of earnestness from David, he turns to the side, hoping to see a magazine or board book on the wall that needs to be straightened.

Before he pivots away, David reaches out and grabs his wrist. “This is not nothing, Patrick.”

Patrick’s eyes dart up and lock with David’s. He swallows so loudly at the soft intensity in David’s face, Edie can probably hear it from inside the library. If Patrick thought that he felt something when their fingers touched previously, well this was an entire power plant exploding under his skin now. With his grip still firmly around Patrick’s wrist, David leans in with his right hand, cupping it near Patrick’s ear before drawing him in for a kiss.

Patrick shivers at the touch of their lips and the coolness of the rings on the back of his head. Quickly, his body settles into this moment which he has been thinking about since the first time he saw David. He doesn’t know how he got to this point from observing David’s pursed lips that had entertained him through contemplation, laughter, and annoyance along with overwhelming him in his deepest fantasies, but he only hopes this kiss is a stepping stone towards more.

A sigh involuntarily escapes Patrick and David seizes on the opportunity, humming contently as his tongue explores Patrick’s mouth. With the waist-high counter digging into his back, Patrick shakes off David’s hand on his wrist so he can grip David’s torso and step him backwards against the side of the bookshelf. Patrick feels David relax under his touch, his fingers flexing over David’s sweater, kneading the taut muscles of David’s sides as he starts to realize what he had been missing out on for so long.

David’s fingers nimbly move downward as David cups the back of Patrick’s neck and Patrick knows he is never going to forget those silver rings that caught his eye that first day ever again. David’s other arm is now crossed overtop of Patrick’s, the softness of his sweater rubbing on his forearm as David’s hand inches lower down Patrick’s back, approaching his belt. Patrick tenses at the anticipation, of wanting not just a man’s hands, but David’s, all over him. David reacts to Patrick’s movement and backs off a bit, both his hands now meeting in the middle of Patrick’s back, his fingertips framing Patrick’s spine.

As David’s lips slow down, they break momentarily before Patrick can subtly lean forward to sneak in two more tender kisses, hoping that David sees it more as “hey, I like you” than “hey, I like this”. Patrick’s head is swimming with the monumental shift this last five minutes has caused in his life, but in other aquatic related changes, he can hear that the rain has stopped, the sun now peeking through the Bookmobile windshield. After the second, calmer kiss, Patrick lets himself lean back into David’s strong hands and finally opens his eyes, still only inches from David’s face.

“Thank you, David.” Patrick needs to say exactly what he is feeling, or it might burst out of him.

“For what?” David’s lip curls to the side, his eyes sparkling with the arrival of the sun beaming in behind Patrick.

“I’ve never done that before, with a guy.” Patrick looks down at David’s shoulder, the swell of emotions inside mirroring the birds ascending on David’s sweater into an unknown, upward spiral. It gives Patrick a second to collect himself, just in case there is a slim chance that David reacts negatively.

David’s head ducks slightly to catch Patrick’s eyes, “And was that okay?”

Patrick smiles with a chuckle under his breath. “Yeah David, you made it more than okay.”

David’s face lights up with a grin that Patrick has never seen before, and somewhere deep down, he knows many people haven’t been favored enough to witness it in its full glory, making it all the more precious.

Just like the surprise storm that blew them in there, the trance-like state of wide smiles is broken by Patrick's phone alarm, vibrating loudly from his back pocket alerting him that his lunch is nearly over. Patrick reaches into his pocket to silence it before his hand is drawn like a magnet back to David’s side.

“Guess that is my cue to leave.” David is still so close, his breath percusses with each syllable over Patrick’s mouth.

“Yeah, I guess so.” Patrick wants to wrap his arms tighter around David and keep him there until someone comes looking for them, but he knows he needs to process this. He reluctantly releases his hands from David’s waist and steps back, feeling the pile of David’s sweater brush his skin, setting off goosebumps on his arm as a last connection.

David straightens out his outfit, biting his lip as he reaches over to pick up his tote bag, coyly looking over his shoulder as he opens the Bookmobile door.

“Bye, David.”

“Bye, Patrick.”

Chapter Text

After letting himself calm down, Patrick retreats from the safety of the Bookmobile, long enough for David to have left before trying to casually re-enter the front door of the library. While he knows her support is meant to be positive, Patrick is slightly relieved that Edie’s shift ended 15 minutes before Patrick’s lunch was over, so the early afternoon clerk Matteo was at the front desk now. A quiet man who keeps to himself, he nods at Patrick after he explains leaving his scan tag inside for lunch without asking for more.

Patrick heads to his office, lets his back sink against the closed door, and grins like a fool at the ceiling.

He kissed David.

His hand reaches up to brush against the nape of his neck where David’s fingers and rings had been. His stomach flips and cheeks flush as he remembers how David’s hands marched southward, something he hopes they can recreate soon. Patrick can almost feel the luxury that was both David’s sweater and the outline of his body under his fingers if he thinks hard enough. His fists clench with the want of more.

But there is no time for that, because it was David’s sincerity about this library project that has inspired Patrick most of all. Maybe if Patrick had seen something like this as a kid or a teen he could have figured things out a little sooner. His body tenses as counts up the wasted years and heartache he and Rachel both went through. His parents were accepting people he knew, but no one was out in Blossom Park back in those days. He had never met anyone that identified as queer, let alone outside of the gender binary until college himself. What could have been, though?

Patrick could spend all day considering things, flipping over the events and thoughts of his past that seem so obvious now, but what good would that do? At the very least, his path has brought him to David, and he will be grateful for that. He also knows that there are two important phone calls that he will make tonight in the privacy of his little rented bedroom in Ray’s house. He needs to let go of the past and share his whole truth so that he can be fully present for his future. A future that he hopes will include David.

Before he gets carried away, Patrick has work to do. Sitting down at his desk, he opens every list, spreadsheet, and local email contact and gets to work at making LGBT History Month at the Elmdale-Schitt’s Creek Library the best it can be.

In the midst of his continued research and sourcing of funding opportunities through a maze of national and provincial websites, Patrick remembers that this job is only his for about two more months. Three weeks ago, he would have been grateful for the opportunity Schitt’s Creek had provided for him to escape, giving him funny stories of an over enthusiastic roommate and the weird town name to share in his next stop, but now? Now Patrick realizes that he has to see if there might be something here for him in more ways than one.

As he goes back through some of the early websites and programs he had bookmarked, he strikes a literal goldmine of an idea relating to David, and also to him if it comes to that. He forwards a few sites and creates a hastily thought up bullet list of notes to his personal email account before delving back into library work.

Rachel is somewhat surprised to hear from Patrick after so many of her texts had gone unanswered. In the end, she doesn’t sound too shocked by Patrick’s revelation and just listens while he talks They both agree to stay in touch after things settle in a bit more, and Patrick is buoyed by hearing that she was going back to school for her Master’s degree and had been finding her way in the world on her own.

When Patrick’s mom answers his phone call after that, her voice thick with happiness and relief to hear from her only child, he almost tears up. Before he can get too carried away and raise any alarms, his dad is summoned and Patrick is put on speaker phone. Without as much hesitation as he thought he would have, Patrick tells them he is gay. After emphasizing that he is sorry he ran off, wishing that he could tell them in person, and that they were great parents doing all they could and he only had just figured things out for sure, they all had a good cry. Patrick vows to maintain a better connection on a regular basis and invites his parents to come visit sometime next month to see the work he is doing. He doesn’t want to jinx it, but he hopes that maybe there might be more good news to share by the time they make their way to town.

With such an emotional day behind him, Patrick crashes early, conking out for a full eight hours of sleep before waking around 5am, feeling better than he has in ages. Under the stinging spray of the shower, his body awakens to the delayed reactions of the previous afternoon. Soapy hands can’t recreate those soft palms and silver rings, but the memories they burnt into Patrick’s skin quickly rise back to the surface. Patrick steadies himself with one hand on the wall below the showerhead, wishing David could be in that space like he was up against the bookcase.

Patrick lets his other hand slide down the side of his back and over the curve of his ass, imagining what could possibly be in their future. He drags his short nails upward, his cock filling at the sharp sensation and the warm water cascading down his spine. Trailing towards the cleft of his ass, the remaining body wash and water help his fingers to slip across his hole before he more directly rubs two fingerpads around it, gasping slightly at the gentle pressure.

Patrick braces his feet against the sides of the tub as he lowers the hand on the wall to his cock. Leaning so the water diverts down his back, he grips tightly around the head and gathers the leaking precome. With short, concentrated strokes, he fully envisions David’s elegant hand or those plush lips surrounding his dick, but shivers really ricochet through him at the thought of David also replacing the fingers Patrick has teasing his hole. Panting David’s name to himself, Patrick’s orgasm is like the final release valve letting go of the months and years that have held him back.

As Patrick heads to work, he has tasks for both his idea for David and the LGBT project bopping around in his head, but his biggest concern is what the least dorky way to reach out to David is. He is fairly certain that David wants more than just an afternoon makeout with him, but he barely prepares himself for what may happen if not. Patrick makes a promise that he will not let this opportunity pass him by. David seems more than comfortable with the physical aspects of intimacy if yesterday is any indication, so Patrick vows to stand firm on the emotional side for both of them because David is worth putting himself out there for.

Once things settle down around 10am, Patrick has a file of information for David, purchase orders placed for some additional books through a memorial foundation award, a confirmation from the Greater Elms Pride Foundation having a table each Saturday with different activities through October, and some other connections made with community partners. After Patrick had to play off Edie’s questions about his lunch date coolly, his phone rattles across the counter and Patrick immediately ducks into the staff room.

 

David Rose: Good morning…

So we got a little sidetracked and never looked over the Tax form.

I did actually have a question. It wasn’t a ruse.

Not that I am complaining.

 

Patrick has an idea that might just work out.

 

Patrick Brewer: Morning, David.

I am not complaining either.

I heard from Ray (he likes to talk...) that you got the keys for the store.

Meet me there at 8? Make it more businessy and all.

Come hungry.

 

David Rose: Uh yeah I did get the keys.

And I always have an appetite.

See you then.

 

Patrick slips his phone in his back pocket, grabbing his abandoned book cart from yesterday with too many hours to fill until he can see David again.

Chapter Text

At 7:50, Patrick has a messenger bag with printouts tucked in the front and dinner supplies he picked up on the way home packed in the main compartment. Trying not to wrinkle the fresh baby blue shirt he put on, he swings the bag over his shoulder and turns off the oven, pulling out the fresh pizza that was delivered 30 minutes ago that had been keeping warm. It’s a quick walk to the center of town versus loading everything in his car.

Surprisingly, only a minute or so after he arrives at the front of the old General Store and sets the pizza and his bag on the stoop, Patrick sees a shadow approach through the late September twilight. Once reaching the limit of the streetlamp at the corner, Patrick can finally see David’s face as it curls with a smile, his body hugged by a white sweater with abstract vertical black lines drawing his eye down his tall frame to solid black jeans and sneakers as he holds the folder that Patrick gave him on his trip to Ray’s.

David stops about three feet in front of the store, peering up at his recent acquisition, before looking back at Patrick with a shy “Hi.”

Patrick can’t help the smile that crosses his face as he says “Hey.” back. They both stand on the curb looking wistfully at each other before David breaks with a little chuckle and leans in to kiss Patrick’s cheek. Patrick has to stop himself from gathering David in his arms to continue where they left off yesterday, but he figures that there will hopefully be time for that later.

“Do you want to show me around?” he asks David, gesturing to the front door.

After David finangles the door open and finds the light switch, Patrick places his bag and the pizza on the wooden front counter. David lifts the pizza box lid, giving an approving look to the steam coming off of it as Patrick moves to the middle of the floor, hands on hips as he looks up and around at the space.

Patrick can almost hear David fidgeting behind him as he examines the bones of the building.

“I have to do more cleaning obviously, and go hunting for some furniture. A few things were left in the back. The light is nice in the afternoon.” Patrick moves to look out the front windows and hears David’s quiet footfall behind him.

“Maybe I can do some seasonal displays. Or I thought of partnering with a nursery to feature some houseplants here, but I am getting ahead of myself.”

Patrick turns around as he hears David’s voice trail off. “Nothing wrong with having a clear vision of what you want, David,” he says with as much confidence as he can muster.

David’s eyebrow raises slightly at that as he rolls his lips inward, “No, that is true.” His eyes dart to the side, breaking the moment “And what I want now is some of that pizza before it cools off.” They each grab one of the rustic chairs that had been left behind, pulling them towards the counter.

“I hope you like red wine,” Patrick asks as he unpacks the dinner supplies, pulling a bottle from his messenger bag along with serveware and the least offensive plastic tumblers from Ray’s kitchen.

David grabs the corkscrew Patrick had set down with a flourish, “It is my favorite right now.” He grins at Patrick as they work together to prepare for their meal.

After comparing each other’s favorite pizza toppings and alcoholic beverages while they ate, Patrick quietly cleans up their trash, setting the bag aside after he pulls out the bundle of paperwork to sit next to the folder David had brought with.

“Did you want to look at that tax form?” Patrick questions when David returns from washing his hands.

David smiles sheepishly, going around the backside of the counter and giving Patrick a vision of what's to come. This man, in the place he is going to transform. David carefully pulls out a paper from the folder and is apologizing from the get-go.

“I feel silly, I have no idea what they mean with this ‘program account section’. I know you said these later pages didn’t apply to me, but I started reading and some of this seems like it might. Do I just register? I should have listened better.” David’s hands fly around his body, the page in his grasp cutting through the air like a kite caught in a blustery wind, about to crash to the ground at any moment.

“David, David, you were right,” Patrick interrupts, walking around the counter to stand next to him, barely able to stop himself from grabbing David’s arms from their wayward trajectory. “You just want to mark down to register for this. You don’t have any income yet to report, but then you put in your revenue when you pay.”

David’s body relaxes. “Okay, good. I am just extra nervous about screwing the tax stuff up. I am afraid they are going to see my name and just assume I’m up to something wrong.” David stops there, looking out the windows, hiding his face from Patrick.

The last thing that Patrick wants to sound is patronizing, so he stays silent, but his heart clenches for what David must be going through. He doesn’t blame him for feeling apprehensive about this, so he lets him have a moment.

“Anyway,” David says, shaking his hands out. “that is settled.” David places the form back into his folder, but now sees the pile of papers that Patrick brought with him. “What is this? Don’t tell me that Ray has more intake paperwork I need to complete. I draw the line at asking me for my birth certificate.”

“No, no,” Patrick chuckles as he reaches for the packet. “I, uh, had some ideas for you, about the business. If you are interested.”

David cocks his head to the side with a bit of trepidation, “Okay…”

It’s now or never for Patrick as he steadies himself to give the most important pitch of his life. He spreads the printouts on top of the counter before starting.

“I know you were concerned with overhead costs and how far your check from the Blouse Barn would go, and you’re right. You are going to need some more start-up money.”

David grimaces, “Ah, more start up money. And where do you think I’ll be able to get that?”

Patrick pushes on.

“Well, in my research for funding my project at work, I found there are grants in the for-profit sector when you support local businesses, like your store would. It would give you more flexibility starting off and getting through the first year. And I would be happy to help you fill out those applications.” Patrick points to some of the tables and graphs showing the different options, along with basic projections of what it would do to help David’s bottom line going forward.

“That is very generous of you.” David’s face softens as he looks over the spreadsheets.

“Well, I wouldn’t be doing this for free.”

Like a rollercoaster of emotion, Patrick can see he has David’s hackles up again by the looks of his beautiful, expressive face. Hopefully his next proposal will alleviate some of these concerns.

“I mean, when you get these grants in the next couple of months, you would have the money to pay me, and I’d invest, as a partner, to handle the business-side of the store.”

David looks confused for a moment, “You-you’d want to work here? With me? What about the whole librarian thing?”

“Well, my contract has less than two months left, and unless I want to start all over in another university system which I hated last time, there aren’t exactly a lot of options. I do love the library and books, but I like working with people and the community more. I don’t have to give it all up completely, but there is a reason why I stuck with getting that business minor. And I think that reason is this. And you.”

David looks at Patrick, then looks at the paperwork, before turning to face Patrick head on.

“So, what happens if I’m not awarded the grants and I can't hire you? Is that it?” David’s voice nearly cracks along with Patrick's heart. Patrick doesn’t need to be told that David is not only referring to the store, but also their burgeoning relationship.

“Ohhh, I’m going to get the money.”

And before Patrick knows it, David grabs his wrist like yesterday, but this time, it is to haul him through the open door frame to the side, pushing him up against the wall of the backroom, away from the prying eyes of the town.

“That is the hottest fucking thing anyone has ever said to me,” David mumbles before he plunges his tongue into Patrick’s mouth. Patrick can feel David’s hands grip his hips, his thumbs circling the juncture of his legs. Patrick is momentarily stunned, his hands flat on the wall as he allows David to take control.

Patrick finally lets his hands come up to frame David’s face. As he slows down their kiss and they break apart, both gasping for breath, Patrick sees the fire in David’s eyes that is more than a carnal want. It looks like relief, release, and hope.

“I think you’ve really got something here, and I want to make that happen, for us.” Patrick whispers.

“Yes, yes Patrick. Let’s do this.” David pants before attaching his mouth to the hinge of Patrick’s jaw and working down under his ear. Patrick's hands glide backwards as he threads his fingers through the gloriously soft hair on the back of David’s head, holding it as David’s mouth continues down his neck, past his collarbone, lighting sparks under his skin.

One of David’s hands leaves Patrick’s waist to work on the buttons of his shirt while David’s lips and tongue forge a path down the vee of the opening. Patrick can’t think, can’t speak, but can only feel at this point. It’s overwhelming and perfect and scary all at the same time.

David seems to notice Patrick’s hands have frozen in his hair, so he pulls back, lips cherry red and eyes wide, as he scans Patrick’s face. Patrick’s hands slide down to cup David’s shoulders as a flurry of words escape David’s mouth. “Is this okay? We can stop. Oh god, I’m going too fast.” David’s palm rubs soothingly up and down Patrick’s sternum, even though David is the one that needs the reassurance right now.

Patrick covers David’s hand on his chest with one of his own, “David, it’s fine. You are just sort of blowing my mind right now and I am trying to keep up. I have no idea what I am doing, but I want more. Don’t stop, please.”

It was true. Maybe in a different time or place he would have slowed them down, asking David to go to the Cafe for a date and their first kiss could have been in his car versus a converted RV surrounded by books. They could have worked up to sex, foiled by both a lack of privacy and inexperience in different ways for both of them with a relationship like this. But Patrick had waited long enough to finally feel right. They could have the traditional stuff later. Right now, Patrick wants David. He needs David. And he has an inkling that the feeling is mutual.

A predatory smirk travels across David’s face as he glances downward, all but confirming Patrick’s suspicions.

David kisses the opposite side of Patrick’s neck from before, grazing his earlobe with his teeth before letting his hand follow the path of Patrick’s remaining buttons, down to his fly, “I think you are doing a great job of keeping up,” David cups Patrick’s throbbing erection roughly over his jeans, causing him to surge upward with a moan, “and I’d like to blow more than just your mind, if that is okay.”

All Patrick can do is nod and moan “Yes” then watch as David looks him in the eye, gives him a tender closed mouth kiss, and then sinks to his knees.

Patrick braces his back against the wall, looking down at David, a determined jut to his chin as he hastily unbuttons the rest of Patrick's shirt. Patrick doesn’t even need to ask before he is leaning forward to peel it off his body, tossing it into the darkness behind David.

With the light bleeding in through the doorway from the eventual sales floor, Patrick can see David’s chest rapidly rising and falling as he curses at the buckle of Patrick’s braided belt under his breath before flicking the button of his jeans open. As he carefully slides down the zipper, Patrick’s cock nearly bursts out at the relief of being freed. David quickly peels the jeans down Patrick’s legs before his attention returns to the blue cotton boxer briefs. David grimaces and presses the heel of his hand to his own crotch with a hiss.

“Are you okay? Is the floor too dirty?” Patrick can hardly string together a thought, but nothing was going to stop him from checking in with David, assuming that those clothes and dust bunnies did not go well together.

David’s hands flatten on Patrick’s quads like a brand before he squeezes around their thickness, groaning again. “My jeans are way too fucking tight and you are about to make me come in pants like a teenager! These goddamn thighs aren’t helping either. Also, I cleaned the floor last night. I had to channel my energy somewhere after that kiss.” David leans his head on Patrick’s knee with a quiet “grrr”, and all Patrick can do is laugh.

David looks up, concern etched across his forehead. Patrick keeps giggling before realizing his cock is about three inches from David’s mouth, feeling it twitch at David’s closeness.

“I’m sorry, I am not laughing at you. It’s just—I’ve never laughed during sex, or had the chance to play and have fun. It always took too much concentration and effort. And you make the cutest faces too, so it can’t be helped.” Patrick runs his thumb over the slight frown on David’s lips, his expression softening at the touch.

“So, how about you stand up, take your jeans off, and if you still wanted to do what you—”

David stands, a glint in his eye “You mean suck your cock?”

“Yes, that,” Patrick grabs the belt loops of David’s pants and jerks him forward, watching David’s face as he reaches down, and more gracefully than he expects, releases the button of the black denim, roughly pulling the top of the fly open, “Off, David.”

Patrick toes his shoes off, holding out his forearm to David so he can balance on one foot to unlace his sneakers. Patrick can hardly contain himself as David strips, revealing more and more gorgeous skin and body hair than he knows what to do with. He quickly shucks the rest of his clothes and enjoys the show of David folding his sweater and jeans to place on the top of his shoes, loving that he gets to learn new little quirks about him even in a time like this. He whispers “go on now” when David eyes his own jeans and shirt, and then folds them as well. Before they know it, they are both standing facing each other, David in a pair of black briefs that even in the low light look like they can hardly contain his dick.

“God, I hoped you locked the door,” Patrick says as his hand brushes down David’s side with the lightest of touches. He runs his fingers on David’s ass along the hem of his underwear, absorbing every moment. His own cock has roused back to attention, tenting his boxer briefs.

“Mmhmm, I did,” David breathes into the space between them before he steps closer, rubbing his palms on Patrick’s broad shoulders. David leans into the shell of Patrick’s ear whispering “You are so beautiful, Patrick” as he staggers their legs and gradually presses Patrick into the wall. Patrick’s jaw drops as he feels the hot, hard length of David against him as he grinds his hips slowly. The heat building between them crashes like waves over Patrick, who is happy to drown in all that is David.

Patrick's hands move to David’s lower back, his fingers dipping just below the band of his briefs, pulling David closer. He starts to meet David’s every move, and while his boxers are not of the same caliber as David’s, the swish of the cotton and their dicks between their bodies create some of the most overwhelming feelings Patrick has ever had.

As if to create a balance, they start to trade the sweetest kisses, savoring each other in this moment. Patrick gets to play and explore, kissing David’s brow bone, the bridge of his nose, the apple of his stunning cheekbones, and his hairline, before their mouths meet again. While he was previously afraid that he too was about to come as soon as David touched him, Patrick is now at a gentle simmer, able to lean into the anticipation without popping off right away.

Their mouths meet again, and David pulls back. “I’m just going to…” and he nods his head downward “if that is still fine?” his hands running up and down Patrick’s biceps

“Yes, please.” Patrick gives David a hand again as he watches him try to re-kneel on the floor as gracefully as possible, with only a few mumbles and grumbles as his knees hit the floor. Patrick grins at the ceiling, but as soon as he feels David’s hand encircle his cock, which he can now feel is leaving a wet spot upon his underwear, his head nearly thumps back against the wall.

David doesn’t slow down from there, and after a couple teasing strokes, his fingers are now hooked in the elastic of Patrick’s boxers, shimmying them down. Patrick looks straight ahead as he feels them drop around his ankles and he kicks them to the side, knowing that it might just be on the side of too much if he looks down right now.

“Mmm, Patrick,” David says, either to Patrick or to his cock, he isn’t sure. The first touch of David’s hand to his bare skin is nothing short of amazing. Those pangs of warmth that David caused from the first day Patrick saw him across the library feel like they have taken over every cell of his being, causing a fiery flush to run through his veins.

He thinks he is prepared for those lips, overflowing with honey and sass, the tongue that has distracted him momentarily in their interactions, but there is no way Patrick could be ready for when David takes the head of his cock into his mouth. He feels like a fireworks show where every fuse is set off at the same time, making you unable to keep your attention to any one spot, the reverberations of the explosions coming from every direction. Once he thinks he is settled in, David does something else with his tongue that makes Patrick’s stomach drop or legs shake.

He takes a chance and looks down when he feels David’s mouth pop off to take a break, but he continues the blissful friction by using his hand to pleasure Patrick. One would think David is the one getting his dick sucked by the joy on his face, even from this angle. He must sense Patrick’s gaze as he looks up, pupils blown and eyes wide and that stunning grin bursting out.

They don’t say anything, but really, nothing needs to be said. David makes sure Patrick’s eyes are still on him as he ever so slowly reopens his mouth and sinks down, sealing his pout around Patrick’s cock until it meets his fist around the base. Patrick feels his hand claw involuntarily at the wall as he hangs on for dear life. David is a vision, one burned into Patrick’s memory forever as he slowly trails his lips up and back down his cock, attached to the edge of his fingers. As he speeds up, all Patrick can do is let his jaw hang open, blinking back the wonder until he has to touch David. Taking one hand from the wall and threading it through the thick hair at the crown of David’s head is one thing, but the resulting moan from David is another, making Patrick grip even more tightly around the locks.

Patrick is careening towards something that is going to take him out, he knows it, but every time he thinks that he can’t feel more, it just ratchets up to another level. He keeps watching David, while huffing out his own moans and growls interspersed with David’s name. David lets go of his hand around the root of his dick, grasping back onto Patrick’s thigh, but then it is his entire perfect mouth and throat enveloping Patrick and swallowing around him.

Patrick is a goner.

When David’s nose buries against the skin and hair at his base, Patrick can’t hold back, arching against the wall and riding the nerve shattering blast that rockets through him. He hears a shout that he vaguely realizes is his voice, echoing through the empty room until his lungs are spent. David to his credit holds on, taking and giving Patrick everything at once.

Feeling like he is fighting off a weighted blanket of comfort that has landed on top of him, Patrick’s legs start to wobble and he feels himself sliding down the wall before two large hands hug his hips and lift him back to standing

“Nuh uh, I draw the line at sitting ass down on a bare floor,” David says, trying to rise from his knees as he pushes Patrick upward.

Finally feeling like his head is a little less blurry, Patrick’s breathing barely catches before he takes David’s face in his hands and tastes himself, desperately licking at David’s mouth. In a scramble of limbs, he drops one of his hands to David’s waist, trying to push the form fitting underwear off so he can get his hand on David fully.

“Hey, hey, it’s okay. Slow, slow,” David says, guiding Patrick by the wrist. “I am so close as it is, we don’t have time for much.” He leans to mouth over Patrick’s neck, tasting the light sheen of sweat and sex even Patrick can smell pouring off of him.

Together, their hands work to pull David’s briefs downward, Patrick does a side bend to pluck them from David’s ankle and toss them on top of the rest of his clothes. When he stands, David is grinning at his attention to detail before his mouth gaps open as Patrick’s thick, calloused fingers take hold of his dick.

Patrick tries to remember everything he likes, just mirroring it now as he runs his palm firmly up and down David, tracking each sigh, moan, and throaty sound David makes, kissing him, nuzzling against the side of his face, and whispering his name into his ear. Patrick switches to an underhand hold so he can jack David off faster, catching the drips of precome on his way up. David wasn’t lying about being close and soon, David’s hand wraps over top of Patrick’s, doubling the grip as they both strip his cock. David throws his head back, voice accenting the syllables of Patrick’s name, and he is coming. Oh, is he ever coming. Patrick looks down in wonder as David’s release shoots between them, coating their chests with its force. David lets his hand drop and Patrick gentles him through the aftershocks until David twitches with sensitivity.

“Well, nice doing business with you, partner,” Patrick mumbles into David’s shoulder before he gets a well deserved pinch to his belly as they both laugh together. David’s hands wrap around his shoulders and squeeze Patrick close, making him feel safe and that he has finally found where he belongs.

Chapter Text

“David?”

Patrick pushes the store door closed and secures the lock behind him as he balances the box of pastries in his hand, David’s one request from Toronto. In the evening darkness, Patrick takes in the store, the showroom-esque lighting glancing off of each container, label, and display a little differently. The orderliness and symmetry would make some retail spaces look like a stark and cold museum, but David’s eye and simple touches make it a warm and inviting place, even now after closing hours. Patrick is transported back a year to when they first stood in this space, empty besides a few chairs and the counter, before they filled it to the brim with the beginning of their love story.

That first special night, after quickly cleaning up and redressing, Patrick and David leave the empty storefront together, both slightly rumpled but deliriously happy. David locks up, Patrick holds out his hand, and he walks David back to his room, closing the evening with a kiss up against the motel room door.

The next day, Ray is thankfully off to visit his cousin in Glen Cove overnight, so Patrick smartly makes a baked ziti and salad and invites David over. Bookended by glasses of wine to start and scoops of ice cream to end, they canoodle on the couch and share. Patrick details his relationship with Rachel, while David’s recounting of his parents’ meddling in his art galleries causes Patrick to promise that they will go over the ledger together weekly.

The other stuff is there too, like the true importance of the book project to Patrick, how his parents just found out he is gay, along with his love of escape rooms and baseball. David’s pansexuality and many disasters in his dating life, from now having Stevie as a best friend to the hell that was Sebastian Raine and how David knew Jake, emerge along with the actual number of sweaters he owns, the dramatic ways he has had to get Alexis out of trouble in the past, and his tiny fear of moths. They talk so long that it is after 2am before they know it. Too tired to do anything else, they head upstairs, Patrick spooning up behind David after tucking the comforter around the both of them as they doze off quickly.

LGBT History Month at the library is a huge success and by the end of October, every other head librarian in the system and others from the region come through Schitt’s Creek. Rishika, the head librarian Patrick had been filling in for, even came by and was so excited with the changes, looking forward to continuing the initiative with Patrick’s support. While Patrick had signed up to be David’s business partner, David decides his volunteer efforts could be helpful towards the library, so he uses his artistic prowess to design and handwrite out summary information cards for Patrick’s media display (“we are not using lined index cards, Patrick!’), stays with Patrick until 3am the night before the month kicks off to put the finishing touches on everything, gets Jocelyn involved with Schitt’s Creek High School’s Gay Straight Alliance, plus convinces his mom to arrange a stirring k.d. lang/Tegan and Sara mashup for the Jazzagals to perform at the Family Pride Night.

Patrick’s parents come to visit, not only to see the things he has accomplished in the library, but to meet David and see their vision for the store. If David liked Patrick’s hugs, they were nothing compared to the many that Marcy Brewer left him with. After they spend two weekends knee deep in grant writing, David scours the countryside for the best vendors, gauging their interest in participating in the store. Slowly, the grant award emails come rolling in. With little time to celebrate, they start writing contracts, outfitting the sales floor fixtures, and are able to put a big circle around December 1st as their opening day with them pushing forward full time once Patrick is finished with his library contract.

Through all of these exciting changes, David and Patrick make time for their relationship as they take dates from making out at the drive-in before it closes for the season, an overnight at Crystal Elms Spa where Stevie and Alexis secretly team up to convince the front desk to send warm chocolate chip cookies and wine free of charge for their four month anniversary, to just eating lunch along the Moira’s Rose’s Garden 4856. They share (and complain) about each other's favorite movies, have quiet afternoons curled up in David’s twin bed reading, but also find new depths to their relationship sexually, building the intimacy neither one had experienced before, whenever they can find enough privacy, even if it means borrowing Stevie’s apartment for the night.

Patrick eventually moves into his own place, which David was over to nearly every night. The store is on solid ground as they keep bringing on more vendors and products, with many immigrant, Indigenous, Black, and LGBTQ2S creators joining the fold. After the roar of the holidays, they have to find new ways to engage the community, and Patrick revealing his musical talents at their first Open Mic sure softened David up for the experience.

They become a secondary hub for the literature scene as they curate a selection of novels, non-fiction regional history, and poetry that current and past residents of the Greater Elms have created along with leather-bound journals and pens to inspire the next wave of writers. The bookmobile has a monthly stop in front of the store, causing Patrick to blush whenever he steps onboard. Twyla sets up a table of free seasonal drinks and snacks each time, making a whole day of it for people. The store even hosts a signing/reading event for none other than Edie, who had secretly been busy in her retirement outside of working at the library, her cozy mystery set in a town resembling Schitt’s Creek.

Patrick is asked to turnkey some training for both his monthly project as well as grant finding/writing for the rest of the library system, and while it took up some free time, the extra income helps. With his obligations finally done, he receives a call from his former boss over the summer. There is a recently vacated position on the Elms Library System Board of Trustees and they wonder with his librarian, business, and community background if he would be interested. It is David that convinces him to take it on, eager for him to be able to participate in all the things that are important to him and to guide the community forward.

Now here they are, a year into the rest of their lives.

Still wondering where his boyfriend is, Patrick sets the baker's box on the counter. He had been in Toronto representing the area at the annual Ontario Library Association conference and while he had enjoyed the camaraderie and learning the impact his project training had made across the area, he missed David wildly the entire time. They had never been apart more than one overnight in their entire relationship, and even working daily with each other, it was not something Patrick wanted to repeat any time soon.

“Hi, honey.” David swooshes open the curtain, posing effortlessly in the door frame. His hair looks picture perfect, with a black sweater decorated in short parallel lines down the front, and the cutting scent of a fresh spritz of cologne curling around them. His gorgeousness stuns Patrick every time, just like it did that first day in the library.

“Hey, sweetheart.” Patrick smiles as David looks at him then down at the box, flipping it open with a little whimper at the abundant desserts inside.

“Hungry?” Patrick asks as David’s eyes roam the selections.

While Patrick was happy to get the treats for David, his trip also had another important pit stop. For it was in Toronto that Patrick found a special jeweler that could create the perfect set of four gold rings. The gold rings which are now buried underneath the pamphlets and handouts from the conference, deep within Patrick’s messenger bag, some place David would never look. He hasn’t settled on the exact plan yet, but Patrick knows he will not be able to wait long to ask David to be his forever.

“Mmm, yes, but hungry for something else first,” David flirtily replies as he steps around the cash register, grabs Patrick’s wrist, and twirls them behind the curtain. Patrick hits the lights for the main sales floor as they giggle and come together in one of the places, outside of the library (and maybe the Bookmobile), that mean the most to both of them.