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Anything Else But the Truth

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Patrick shakes his head, looking back at David. He can feel warmth and then delicious heat flood his gut as he breaks David’s gaze and turns to walk out the door and towards the cafe. Each step is lighter, easier than the last. 

It’s finally over. It’s been the longest week of his life. 

His hands tingle with the knowledge that they’ll be touching David again soon; his brain has become a series of tangled wires, each short-circuiting in turn thinking about showing David how sorry, how grateful he is with the heat of their bodies. This is the longest he’s gone without even seeing David since they’ve met, and if he can, he’ll make sure it never happens again. Even before they kissed, Patrick always seemed to find ways to touch David—gently on the upper arm when showing him something on the computer, squeezing past him in the crowded stock room, “accidentally” brushing his shoulder against David’s back. It’s impossible for Patrick to stay away from him.

When he steps into the cafe he almost runs straight into Twyla carrying a loaded tray. 

“Oh gosh, Patrick, I’m sorry! I didn’t see you!” she apologizes as she struggles to catch herself, arm still wavering precariously under the weight. Patrick reaches for the tray and her shoulder instinctively, steadying them both. 

“My fault, Twyla. I wasn’t paying attention.” 

As she regains her balance, he lets go and follows her back towards the bar, hopping onto a stool as she rounds the corner and sets the dishes down. 

“You’re looking a lot better than the last time I saw you.” 

“Yeah. Well. I needed to come back strong after that,” he shakes his head, chin down, before looking back up at her. “This hasn’t been my proudest week.” 

“Well, it seems like you listened to what I said.” 

A sheepish smile spreads across Patrick’s face and he nods, rubbing the back of his neck. 

“Yeah, Twyla. I did. Thanks again for that.”

“Not a problem—always happy to help!” She shakes her head and smiles. “Now. What can I get you?” 

He gives a small, closed-mouth grin.

“Um. I’m gonna do the club sandwich plate and the italian sub to go. Fries with both? Extra for the sub.”

She smiles back, knowingly; the sub is David’s favorite. 

“Coming right up.”



When Patrick gets back to the store, food in hand, he notes fondly that David is struggling to hide a nervous grin, watching him walk in towards the register. 

God he just wants to give David everything. 

“Well, David,” he says, firmly, heart thrumming frantically in his chest even as he keeps his face carefully neutral, looking straight into David’s warm, dark eyes and setting the sloppily labeled boxes on the counter next to each other. “I ended up getting two sandwiches—a club and an italian sub—so you can have one of them if you want.” 

David reflexively reaches for the sub, his wrist making an odd, desperate motion before he stops it and pulls slightly back. Like he thinks this is a test.

And in a way it is, Patrick guesses. 

Come on, David, he thinks, wetting his lips and watching David’s face carefully. Take what you want.

“Um,” David hums in indecision. He screws his eyes shut and scrunches his chin for a brief moment in an expression Patrick finds painfully cute before he allows his faltering hand to take the box marked ‘I. Sub.’ Patrick winks at him, face still neutral.

“Ok then. Let’s eat.”

“Um. It’s incorrect for me to eat standing up at a counter like some sort of large, awkward bird of prey, but I’ll make an exception this time.”

Patrick swallows his chuckle.

“Thank you. For making an exception.” He pauses to eat a fry. “For what it’s worth, I think you’re a lovely bird.”

David’s eyes shine as he tips his chin up haughtily. Patrick turns his focus to his sandwich, unwrapping the wax paper around it. He watches in the upper edges of his vision as David opens his own box and notes the amount of fries, eyes darting to Patrick’s downturned face for confirmation that this was his plan all along. They both say nothing and eat mostly in silence. With every furtive, sideways glance, electricity courses through Patrick, so after a few minutes, he pulls out his phone to cut the tension. 

“I made a list, David,” he says casually, setting his phone on the counter between them so David can sort of read it upside down.

“What?” David asks around a french fry, crooking his neck to get a better angle on the screen.

“I made a list. Of things we can get done today before we close. Since I fell behind while you were out.”

“Um. I know. I noticed.” David raises his eyebrows and a self-righteous hand finds his hip. “I already front-faced all the skin care products while you were at the cafe.” 

“Wow. Thank you, David,” Patrick says slowly, keeping his voice deliberately monotone, controlled. “Have you seen how dirty the floors are, though?” 

“Are you saying that we need to clean them?”

“I’m saying that you need to clean them.” 

He raises one barely there eyebrow and not so subtly clenches his jaw because he knows it drives David wild, then gathers his lunch trash and walks outside to toss it in the corner trash can. David watches as he makes his way from the front of the store to the back room and returns with the broom and dustpan.

“Whenever you’re finished with lunch you can get started.” Patrick sets them down behind the counter. David’s mouth is full but his eyes narrow slightly. He swallows.

“Okay, but why can’t we get a Roomba again?”

“Because, David. They’re like $300 and you and I both have perfectly good arms.”

David clears his throat, eyeing the broom with open distaste as he takes a bite of his sandwich. Patrick observes the scene fondly from his position in front of the counter. 

“And what will you be doing while I’m sweeping?” David has already adopted a masterful pout, lips pursed and chin wrinkling.

“I’ll be catching up on some inventory and scheduling vendor orders for the month. So, I will also be working.” Patrick blinks back at David and then turns to busy himself with straightening the products around the cash as David watches him, eyes still narrow. 

David finishes the rest of his fries in indignant silence. When he comes back from throwing his trash away, he picks up the broom like it’s a front-of-the-store plunger, glaring at it with affected repulsion. Patrick gives him a down-turned, closed-mouth smirk. 

“Thanks so much David. I really appreciate it. My back is stiff from standing all week since I was the only person here.” He turns both palms around flat on his lower back, thumbs out, pushing his hips forward slightly to emphasize the stretch. David wets his lips, eyes widening as Patrick’s hips roll. Patrick subconsciously bites his bottom lip but gives a minute shake of his head as if to say not yet.

“I’m pretty sure Alexis was here helping,” David mutters mostly to himself as he turns his head down again and begrudgingly begins to clean by the front door, propping it open to sweep the dust and stray leaves out. 

“What was that, David?” Patrick tilts his head as if he didn’t quite catch what he very clearly caught, a betraying grin spreading across his face. 

It’s a treat to watch David with the broom. Patrick can tell he’s getting a little warm from the effort as his cheeks flush and torso twists, wrapped in a baffling leather sweater that’s somehow still irresistibly attractive. As David moves his way towards the back of the store, Patrick tries to avoid turning his head while still letting his eyes rake over David’s solid, gorgeous frame, his broad shoulders, long legs. The gentle sway of his hips as he sweeps methodically along. Patrick’s eyes are captured there, his mind back in bed last week, deep between David’s thighs, when David clears his throat. 


“Enjoying the view?” David asks, barely concealing a smug grin.

“Mm. Just noticing that you missed a spot under the scarf hooks.” Patrick walks out from behind the counter and points towards the shelf on the back left of the floor. 

Patrick will remember forever the indignant, garbled noise David traps in the back of his throat.

Patrick turns on his heel, humming happily to himself as makes his way into the store room. While ostensibly counting the remaining vanilla soy candle stock, he takes a minute to lean against the shelf, cover his face with his hands, and smile. Breathing deeply, he sends out a delirious prayer of thanks to whatever is listening that he gets to have this life. This life that is everything he never knew he wanted.

When he comes back out a while later, full product counts complete, David is tidying up the final corner. 

“It looks great.” 

David curtsies sarcastically before he turns to walk the broom and dustpan to their home in the back room. There’s still the hint of a smile at the corner of his pursed mouth as he brushes past Patrick and Patrick can’t stop staring, letting himself drink David in. He stands with his hands on his hips, heat building overwhelmingly in his head until he shakes the fog away. 

As he’s clearing his brain, the bell on the door rings and in walks Mrs. Gleason, an elderly neighbor that lives a few houses behind Ray’s. She’s probably 127 years old, 65lbs, 3 feet tall and David’s third least-favorite customer, rivaled only by Roland and anyone who wears bootcut jeans. Patrick couldn’t have asked for a more perfect scenario. 

“David!” he calls as David rounds the corner back onto the main floor, “Mrs. Gleason requested your specific help with something.” David’s face immediately falls flat.

“I did?” She looks confused, squinting up at Patrick from behind her very thick glasses.

“You did,” Patrick confirms, eyes wide, feigning trustworthiness. Please let me have this, Mrs. Gleason.

“Okay, then. David, is it?” Mrs. Gleason’s eyes narrow even further as she looks up at him. She furrows her already heavily creased brow. “You’re unusually tall.” 

“Um. Thank you.” David shoots an icy glare at Patrick who has to look away to avoid breaking. “How can I help you, Mrs. Gleason?”

“Well you see, I bought my teenage granddaughter one of those ridiculous, fancy yak shirts but before I could give it to her, my dog found it and dragged it into his bed. It’s the first blanket he refuses to pee on, so I was hoping I could buy another as backup.” 

Patrick has to turn away completely, shoulders shaking in silent laughter. He can feel David’s eyes burning the back of his head over Mrs. Gleason’s tiny shoulder. 

“Um. We don't. Sell. Yak?” Each word is clipped and strangled, David doing his best to cling to the illusion that he’s patient. Patrick’s never heard his voice this high or this far from controlled (outside of bed, but he really can’t go there right now).

“Oh, I don’t know then. One of those...llama animals.” Mrs. Gleason waves a wrinkly hand in the air dismissively and Patrick can’t keep from sneaking a peek at David’s face over his shoulder. It’s still dangerously flat, but the corners of his beautiful mouth are twitching just slightly. As if saying to Patrick, okay, I’m letting you win this time.

“Oh!” David crows in his most obnoxiously loud, slow, faux-enthusiastic voice. “You must mean our sustainably farmed alpaca hoodies! Right this way, ma’am!” He beckons at her with a ridiculous, wide smile on his face, dropping it flat for a split second when he meets Patrick’s delighted gaze before pasting it on again. 

David directs Mrs. Gleason to the hoodies on the back shelf and she looks through the sizes, demands an XL because she “wants the most fabric for her money” and then leaves after David rings her up, but not before she makes another comment about his apparently freakish height. When he closes the door behind her, David leans back against it, shutting his eyes and pulling his lips into his mouth. Patrick would love to kiss his neck. 

“Thank you so much for that privilege,” David says as he opens his eyes again. He shakes his head, arms folded around himself as he walks back to the counter, stopping in front of it, across from Patrick.

“Oh I figured you probably really, really missed Mrs. Gleason,” Patrick answers, narrowing his gaze as he turns and slowly comes out from behind the register to rest on the same side of the counter as David. David rotates his body with Patrick’s, watching him carefully. His eyes are darkening in a way that makes Patrick’s mouth actually water and he shifts his hips, trying to adjust himself discreetly as he gets closer and closer, the space between them a sweltering moment of familiar smells and body heat. Their eyes meet and David pulls his lips into his mouth again but smiles a little, blinking slowly and happily. Patrick’s stomach flips. 

“Yep.” David nods. “Yep. I definitely missed Mrs. Gleason.” David blinks at Patrick again, their eyes speaking for a long moment, and warmth tingles deep in Patrick’s belly. “So, what else can I help with?” 

Patrick recognizes the look in David’s eyes—he’s teasing, yes, but there’s a layer of naked sincerity there, too, which sends a flash of pain through Patrick’s chest, knocking him breathless.

“Um.” He pulls out his phone to check the list again, suffocating from the headiness of the moment. “Well. Would you rather water the plants or break down the boxes for recycling?” 

“Well, seeing as I don’t want to break a sweat in this sweater with the hill-people watching me struggling to collapse flimsy cardboard in public like some sort of deranged maniac, I’ll water the plants.” David tilts his head and rolls his eyes. 

“If you water the plants you have to follow the rules, David.” Patrick’s voice is solemn and David’s eyes continue to roll; they’ve written an entire schedule for plant-watering that Patrick actually laminated and keeps on a shelf under the register.

“The only thing I like about watering are the rules! I might not be the best at reaching your standards but if I do everything on the list according to the instructions, you can’t blame me for any unexpected deaths. I still feel like I’m taking the worse option.”

“I don’t want you to take the worse option. I want you to take the option you’d rather do.”

“Okay well I would rather do the plants,” David concedes immediately, “it’s too hot outside to be jumping around like a wild baboon on shipping materials in a leather sweater.”  

“Okay, David,” Patrick grins, briefly touching David’s upper arm before walking around him towards the back exit. 

Truth is, Patrick finds breaking down boxes therapeutic; he’s enjoyed it since he was little. His mom always went to get a pair of scissors but by the time she got back, he’d have found the easiest way under the tape without damaging anything. It was almost like a little puzzle, as strange as that sounds. It’s soothing, productive, and Patrick always seems to think clearer when his blood pressure is a little up.

So he stands behind the store and he thinks about David and he breaks down boxes. There are a lot, so he has a bit of time. He’s noticed that David is looking at him differently now, something disarming held in his face. Patrick can’t tell if it’s good or bad yet, just that it makes his breath catch in his throat whenever their eyes meet. Did David read what he’d written in the little book he’d stashed the polaroids in? Did he understand? 

Is it fair to ask him to? 

He’s surprised how fast he feels tired. One of the boxes is held together by large staples in heavy plastic seams and it’s unusually difficult to collapse. Patrick has to work at it for a while, his strong forearms burning. He smiles to himself when he feels it give slightly and then pop crisply apart, the ends of the staples pointing upward as it unfolds. 

Patrick thinks he can be the stubborn box—painstakingly deconstructed and covered in sharp spots, but ready to start over. 

Maybe David can be, too. 



David is on the floor between Patrick’s knees, head thrown back and arms in the air, mouthing along to Tina Turner, and Patrick’s never felt this many things at once. The number of perfect moments in his life have skyrocketed since David slid into it, and this is absolutely one of them. He’s an endless surprise. Patrick throws his arms up in mirrored response, tilting his own head back and grinning wildly. David is glowing and open and soft, and so god damned handsome, hands resting on Patrick’s thighs as the song fades out. 

“Wow,” Patrick breathes, beaming at David shining up at him, “that was—I’ll never forget it.” 

“Well. I may have drunk like half a bottle of prosecco to get up the courage. So.”

Patrick chuckles, and, with a grunt of effort, slides off the edge of the chair to join David on the floor, walking on his knees into the space between David’s perfect thighs, their faces closer and closer. He’s surrounded by David’s smell—spicy, fresh, and warm—and the look in David’s eyes pins him there.

“I missed you,” Patrick mumbles, heart suddenly racing as his eyes drop to David’s perfect mouth, hands coming to rest on David’s hips.

And he falls in. Finally. 

The kiss is gentle at first but somehow still just at the edge of urgent, and it sends a shiver of anticipation down Patrick’s spine, David’s tongue eventually breaching Patrick’s mouth to trace the inside of his bottom lip. Patrick moans; he can’t help it. When they break apart, he smiles, the faint sweetness of prosecco now on his tongue too. David shakes his head, still breathless from his rousing performance.

“Okay, maybe—” he pants a little, eyes shining, throwing his head back, “—maybe three-fourths of a bottle.” 

“Ah. So that’s why you kept going back into the stock room,” Patrick nods, a fond smile on his face, squeezing David’s hips gently. “Well. Before anything else, we need to get you something to eat. If you wait here, I’ll go pick up...french toast? Extra whipped cream?” He looks at David pointedly and David waggles his eyebrows with excitement, sitting back on his heels and letting Patrick stand and make his way to the door.

“Hurry back,” David says as he stands up himself and moves the chair to its designated spot again, dark eyes dancing.

It only takes about 15 minutes for the cafe to fill the order because the dinner rush has mercifully passed. Patrick’s stomach is simultaneously hungry and anxious on the return walk, eager but apprehensive to have the chance to finally explain himself. When he arrives back at the store carrying the take-out bag, David’s leaning against the register counter, waiting. He walks toward Patrick with an excited shimmy, cheek dimpling slightly, and Patrick still can’t believe he’s really this lucky.

“Wanna eat in the office?” Patrick looks up at him, feeling suddenly bashful and David nods, his grin pinned to the side of his face. As he turns towards the stairs, Patrick slides an eager hand down from between David’s shoulders to the small of his back, supporting him gently.

Office is a generous word; there’s a small room and private half bath in the second level of the building that came with the lease. Patrick put in a desk and a couple chairs, planted some cacti to sit in the window. It’s nothing fancy but it’s good for quiet moments. And private ones—in these trying times, need often outweighs comfort.

“I think we should do some, um, truth telling.” Patrick sits down at the desk and David rolls the other chair up to the end of it, perching gingerly. The styrofoam container of french toast finds its home on the corner between them. David nods.

“So,” Patrick says, looking down at the toast and away from David’s eyes, which are currently burning straight through him.

“Patrick,” David says his name, watching him carefully, his face a mixture of merciful confusion and soft sympathy, “why didn’t you tell me? Because, I mean, yes, I wish I’d known but—it also must have been hell going through all of that alone.”

Patrick swallows and hesitates, wishing away the dryness in his mouth and the pounding at the back of his head.

“I...guess I was worried about...scaring you off?” He digs his left thumbnail into the skin of his right palm and drags it across his hand slowly, biting his bottom lip and looking up at David again before continuing. “Between being fresh out of the closet and fresh out of a 15 year relationship, I figured neither of those would necessarily be wildly attractive to you. I mean, you were so hesitant to even call us boyfriends, like it was this...I don’t know—this big, embarrassing thing.” 

Patrick can feel David’s eyes on him, dark and sad.

“Patrick.” David grabs his hand across the corner of the desk, voice low. “I was hesitant because I was scared.” He rolls his eyes and shrugs a shoulder. “If anyone should be embarrassed of us, it’s you. You deserve so m–”

“David, don't.” Patrick interrupts him, more loudly than he means, surprising them both with his sudden fierceness. He stiffens, sitting up straighter in the chair, his voice deep and rough. “Don’t talk about yourself like that,” he continues, softer but no less firm, “I don’t want that.” 

David tips his head back slightly, looking up at the ceiling of the little office, eyes clearly brimming again, and a pang of fondness echoes painfully through Patrick’s chest, knocking the breath out of his lungs. He squeezes his hand in David’s, softens.

“I know what I have with you.”

It’s simple, but it’s the truth, and Patrick lets it sink into the silence between them. David clears his throat, blinking tears away, and gives a small wet laugh.

“Sorry I’m just—I’m not good at this.” 

Patrick’s heart tightens and he shakes his head, downturned, slight pained smile on his face, before he looks back up at David.  

“That makes two of us.” Patrick’s thumb traces softly across the inside of David’s palm. “What else?”

“Um it’s a little tangential, if that’s okay?” David’s voice goes up timidly at the end of his question and Patrick gives a little nod of permission, studying David’s face hungrily. He can barely keep his hands to himself. “So, um. How many people have you slept with, then?”

David sounds so casual but Patrick’s cheeks burn immediately, the flush creeping up into the whites of his eyes, and he’s pissed about it, because, no matter what, he’s going to look embarrassed. He exhales.

“Um. Five,” he answers haltingly, letting go of David’s hand to focus on sawing away at the french toast and the styrofoam container underneath with more effort than necessary. He holds up a piece for David to eat. 

“Five,” David repeats, dodging the fork. Patrick continues to watch David’s mouth, avoiding his eyes.

“Yes. Five.” 

“Including me?”

“Including you,” Patrick confirms with a single nod.

David leans forward to take the bite, clearly deep in thought and Patrick’s stomach churns. His strong brow furrows and then relaxes again, face almost unnaturally neutral as he licks his lips then clears his throat.

“Thank you, Patrick.” He pauses. “Um, if you were planning to ask me the same question, don’t bother, because I don’t have an answer. I–hm–” David’s voice breaks and he takes a second before continuing, “I was on a lot of prescription narcotics and partaking in an equal amount of, um, not so legal substances before my family ended up here.” His face is illegible now and voice incongruously nonchalant, as if he’s trying not to put any weight behind his words though their implications are alarmingly heavy. His eyes dart to Patrick’s and then away again, uncharacteristically avoidant as he shifts in his chair. “My general awareness of the number or character of people in the room at any given moment wasn’t always….great.”

He busies himself with snatching the fork and stabbing a piece of the toast Patrick cut off, still not looking Patrick in the eye.

“David…” Patrick feels sick to his stomach at the thought of David heavily medicated and dangerously complacent. 

“It’s my own fault—I’m an idiot. I wish I was lying about being damaged goods.” David chokes out a bitter laugh. “You have—you have no idea how many people I’ve let use me, Patrick. I didn’t care about myself for such a long time. There’s a good chance with the amount of molly I’ve done that I’ve given myself Swiss cheese for a brain and I’ll forget my name in 10 years.” 

Patrick watches David’s face carefully but David refuses to meet his eyes.

“I’ll help you remember,” Patrick murmurs softly, reaching to grab David’s wrist around the back of the styrofoam container, thumb closing on the cool silver metal of David’s new bracelet, squeezing. Patrick thinks again about the day after he proposed to Rachel, how his own thoughts had skittered recklessly across the idea of doing something a lot worse than a bunch of molly, and infinitely more permanent. 


“Your name. I’ll help you remember.”

David freezes for a second and Patrick sees his eyes fill, a tear spilling over his dark eyelashes as he eventually bobs his head in acknowledgement, patting the top of Patrick’s hand heavily with a noisy inhale that sounds suspiciously like a snort-sob, before he takes another bite in silence. After he finishes chewing, he meets Patrick’s gaze again.

“Um. Ok. So I need you to tell you something and I need you to not get upset or ask me too much because I’m not ready to talk about it yet.”

“Okay, David.” Patrick nods once, stomach churning at the concerning preface. He swallows and consciously sets his face in a neutral expression.

“So. When Sebastien was here in Schitt’s Creek, before we opened the store,” David begins, wrapping his arms around himself protectively and pulling his lips into his mouth, “I, um,”  he pauses and takes a deep breath and the back of Patrick’s neck prickles, “I slept with him.”

Patrick disguises a noise of distress by clearing his throat hurriedly. He hates what David just said with every fiber of his being but he promised he wouldn’t get upset, at least not here, not in front of David. 

“Was it consensual?” he asks after a long moment, voice strangled, reflexively clenching and unclenching a fist, watching his knuckles whiten. David looks at Patrick, eyes wide, and nods, lips pulled between his teeth again. 

“It was, um, more out of necessity than desire, but yes, I chose to do it.” 

“Then I feel like that’s all I really need to know.” Patrick busies himself with the toast, trying to ignore the fury for Sebastien that’s bleeding into his stomach. “But if you ever feel like—like talking about it, I’ll listen.”

Patrick stabs a piece of toast with his fork and dips it into the whipped cream before holding it out in front of David, and David leans forward to take the fork from him, popping the bite into his mouth, looking relieved in a way that twists Patrick’s heart.

“David, I know you can’t trust me right now; I don’t expect you to tell me anything until you’re ready,” Patrick continues, voice thick with shame. “I’m going to earn it back.” He nods to himself, as if to confirm his resolve. David’s still watching him carefully.

“I told Rachel.” The words keep spilling out of Patrick’s mouth before he gets a chance to second-guess them. He just hopes that he eventually lands on the right combination of things that will make David stay. David freezes for a moment and then consciously relaxes when he notes the uncertainty in Patrick’s eyes. “About us, I mean.”

“Mm. I know.” David runs his tongue between his lower lip and his bottom teeth, looking sheepish and warm fondness oozes over Patrick’s shoulders. “Um. In the spirit of honesty—she came into the store while you were at Town Hall talking to my mom last week. I gave her my card, before I knew who she was, and we...may or may not have texted, since. Is that weird?” 

David grimaces, baring his teeth and shrugging his shoulders. Patrick’s mouth goes dry and his first attempt at a response comes out as a gurgled inhale. He clears his throat and tries again.

“It’s not NOT weird, David.” David swallows down a coy smile as Patrick holds his gaze in amused disbelief for a moment. Patrick clears his throat and looks down, shaking his head.  David’s given him an out, probably unknowingly, but he still wants to say this. He inhales shakily before continuing.

“When I talked to her, that was, um—that was the first time I’d said I was gay. Out loud. To anyone.” 

His eyes sting and his throat tightens and David reaches for his hand again.

“Oh, honey,” he sighs, a soothing thumb stroking the back of Patrick’s knuckles. Patrick pulls his lips into his mouth, pressing them together firmly, and gives a watery smile. 

“It was ten years late, David. I can’t believe I wasted all that time.” 

“But you’re here now.” The matter-of-factness with which David speaks makes Patrick’s stomach ache with appreciation and need. “I think that, in this moment, we’re both exactly where we’re supposed to exactly the right time.” David winces and widens his eyes as he haltingly finishes the sentence, as if he’s just realizing what he’s saying. “Hm. I never thought that combination of words would come out of my mouth consecutively. So that’s something.”

Patrick grins despite himself. He knows that somewhere deep down, David has a soft part for Schitt’s Creek, and that gives Patrick a soft part for him, among the numerous other soft parts he’s already harboring for the man in this leather sweater. And some not-so-soft parts.

“I’ve never felt like I was supposed to be somewhere more,” Patrick agrees. It’s mercifully the truth. “It’s just...Rachel’s the first person I’ve told from...before.” He rubs a hand through his short hair, frustrated, looking down. “I’m just starting to realize that I couldn’t figure out how to bridge before and now. And maybe that’s part of why I didn’t tell you.” 

David clears his throat and sits back, eyes narrowing slightly. He rolls his tongue in his mouth, indicating he’s thinking—assessing in the meticulous and thoughtful way he always does—but he says nothing, waiting for Patrick to continue. 

“Really, there’s me before you, and then there’s me after you.” 

Another merciful truth. 

“And I never wanted you to meet me before I knew you.” 

This makes no god damned sense, but David’s nodding like it’s the truest thing he’s ever heard. He clears his throat, wetting his lips.

“I didn’t want you to know me before I knew you either.” 

“Well. This was confusing.” 

“I don’t think so,” David says simply, eyes soft and honest. His hand overlaps Patrick’s, squeezes it and their knees knock together softly and then suddenly David is out of his chair, climbing onto Patrick’s lap and straddling him and Patrick’s pulling up on David’s sweater and undershirt, down on David’s pants, desperate for more, for anything. Needing everything. His hands are shaking and their mouths crash together and everything gets a little fuzzy around the edges.

Missedyoumissedyoumissedyou. Patrick murmurs desperately into David’s torso, face half against the leather sweater, half gloriously tasting skin. He slides his hand up to tweak a nipple with his thumb and David hisses, bucking slightly. He pulls Patrick’s face up to his to kiss him again and then breaks away, touching their foreheads together and putting his hands on Patrick’s shoulders, stilling him and Patrick whines, hips searching.  

Fuck, Patrick. I missed you so much but we cannot have makeup sex on a desk in our office. I’m in my mid-30s; I need a bed if you want me to fuck you properly.”

Patrick’s mouth falls open and he can feel his face catch fire; he’s speechless for a moment and panic lights David’s eyes. 

Unless that’s not what you want,” David rushes to add. “Zero pressure, honey, but, um, I thought—I thought, if it’s something you wanted, it might be easier for you to tell me you want it if I offer first?”

Patrick’s hands are steady on David’s thighs as he looks up at his handsome face, into his gorgeous, dark, warm eyes. Eyes that want to trust him. He swallows, wets his lips slowly, gaze flickering to David’s beautiful mouth. 

“David,” he rasps, “yes.”

David’s hand is on the back of his head, woven into the short hair. David tugs at it a little and the hair on the back of Patrick’s neck stands up, tingling deliciously. 

“What do you need?” David asks, his voice dangerously low and quiet, eyes still boring into Patrick’s relentlessly. Patrick swallows again, hips rolling reflexively under David’s weight.

“I need you inside me.” 

David stares down at Patrick in a way that makes his stomach completely disappear. He can’t feel his feet or his tongue and he’s well on his way to hard, David’s hand in his hair tugging firmly again.

“Okay.” He leans down to kiss Patrick gently. “Take me home.”